How can we describe movements in animated films? In Figure and Force in Animation Aesthetics, Ryan Pierson introduces a powerful new method for the study of animation. By looking for figures - arrangements that seem to intuitively hold together - and forces - underlying units of attraction, repulsion, and direction - Pierson reveals startling new possibilities for animation criticism, history, and theory. Drawing on concepts from Gestalt psychology, Pierson offers a wide-ranging comparative study of four animation techniques - soft-edged forms, walk cycles, camera movement, and rotoscoping - as they appear in commercial, artisanal, and avant-garde works. In the process, through close readings of little-analyzed films, Pierson demonstrates that figures and forces make fertile resources for theoretical speculation, unearthing affinities between animation practice and such topics as the philosophy of mathematics, scientific and political revolution, and love. Beginning and ending with the imperative to look closely, Figure and Force in Animation Aesthetics is a performance in seeing the world of motion anew.
About the author
Ryan Pierson is Assistant Professor of Film at the University of Calgary.