"Supernaturalisms: The Magical Naturalism of Contemporary Media"

Phillip Thurle, "Supernaturalisms: The Magical Naturalism of Contemporary Media", June 6, 2009 --- Critical Digital Studies Workshops, Pacific Centre for Technology and Culture, University of Victoria

Many commentators have remarked upon the recent proliferation of animated content in film, WWW, and television. What especially interests me, however, is how animation priviliges new relationships between the phenomenology of time and space and epistemology. For instance, animation often eschews the detailed descriptions of traditional realism in order to explore how transformations come about, how change happens. This ability to depict change contributes to a media ecology that is simultaneously super (in that it depicts what might come to pass as opposed to what is) as well as natural (in that it substantiates these depictions as a more satisfying portrayal of natural processes). This paper explores these emergent relationships by mapping the uses of animation in evolutionary and developmental biology research and superhero movies and comics.