Source: Association for Chinese Animation Studies (5/23/23)
Animation, the Obsolescence of the Image, and the Disappearance of Hong Kong Architecture
By Yomi Braester
In this essay I hope to provoke scholars of animation into considering the role of time, both cinematic time and historical time. Like other genres of the moving image, animation often has at its core the disappearance of the image — an anticipated, even planned obsolescence. I examine here works exhibited as lightshows on the Hong Kong’s International Commerce Centre (ICC) façade between 2014–2016; these animations point explicitly toward the moment when the medium degrades and even vanishes.
Film relies on the ephemerality of perception, as images succeed each other, 24 times per second or even faster. The transition from one frame to the next is what allows for animation — designing one frame at a time, and animating the image by showing the frames in sequence. In this sense, animation is bound to the scale of the frame. However, we may also think at other magnitudes. At the size of an entire work, what matters is the speed with which the film hurtles toward its inevitable end — and possibly toward an afterlife in remediated and redistributed forms. In blown-up displays, in which the single pixel is visible to the viewer, the image expires also at the resolution of the pixel, many times within each frame. More than we have acknowledged, animation works pay attention to the possibilities opened up by calibrating these proportions up and down. Continue reading