2 - 4:30pm, Wednesday 3 July 2019
Millennium City Building, MC225
University of Wolverhampton
Dr Christopher Holliday (King’s College London) / Dr Alexander Sergeant (University of Portsmouth), nominated by the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies runner-up for Best Edited Collection (fantasy-animation.org)
Animation has played a key role in defining our collective expectations and experiences of fantasy cinema, just as fantasy storytelling has often served as inspiration for our most popular animated film and television. Yet, if fantasy films are usually animated, and usually animated films are fantasies, then the obviousness of this connection is perhaps deceptive, obscuring rather than highlighting the complex set of possible relationships that can exist between fantasy and animation. In each of these competing fields of research, the terms ‘fantasy’ and ‘animation’ are habitually placed in a power structure in which one must serve in function of the other, an approach that potentially impedes rather than fully resolves the study of animated fantasy media. Filmmakers like Georges Méliès, Walt Disney, Ray Harryhausen, Jan Švankmajer and Hayao Miyazaki can either be fantasists or animators, whilst the categories of fantasy and animation have become almost synonymous within public consciousness and industry practice.
To better understand the phenomenon of the animated fantasy, this talk proposes an alternative approach. It argues that the fantasy and animation relationship is not an ‘and’ or ‘or’, but a dialectic of ‘fantasy/animation’ that gives permission for the two critical fields of research to intermingle, intersperse and cohabitate. Approaching fantasy/animation allows us to see not simply how animation operates as fantasy, nor how fantasy operates through animation, but rather how both ideas can be productively considered in dialogue with one another. Tracing the fuzziness of ‘fantasy’ and ‘animation’ as two critical terms whose meaning has been rendered increasingly unsteady within academic scholarship and broader film culture, the talk explores the emergence of ‘fantasy/animation’ as a way of thinking about how fantasy and animation collide and intermingle within specific historical, cultural and theoretical contexts. It therefore advocates a way of approaching the animated fantasy that treats fantasy and animation as both reciprocal and correlative – instead of exclusive – media, mediums and genres.
About the speakers:
Christopher Holliday teaches Film Studies and Liberal Arts at King’s College London specializing in film genre, animation history and contemporary digital media. He has published several book chapters and articles on digital technology and computer animation, including work in Animation Practice, Process & Production and animation: an interdisciplinary journal (where he also serves as Associate Editor). He is the author of The Computer-Animated Film: Industry, Style and Genre (Edinburgh University Press, 2018). Alexander Sergeant is a Lecturer in Film and Media Studies at the University of Portsmouth. His research examines the history and theory of fantasy cinema, a subject he has published on widely in a variety of academic journals and edited collections. He is currently completing a monograph considering the Hollywood fantasy genre through the critical lens of psychoanalytic spectatorship theory. Between them, they are the co-editors of Fantasy/Animation: Connections Between Media, Mediums and Genres (Routledge, 2018) (British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies runner-up for Best Edited Collection), and the co-founders of fantasy-animation.org.
All welcome - please contact Fran Pheasant-Kelly at email@example.com to register a place; refreshments provided.