Propaganda, Ideology, Animation. Twisted Dreams of History
Publication coverEditors: Olga Bobrowska, Michał Bobrowski, Bogusław Zmudziński Publisher: AGH University of Science and Technology Press Published in cooperation with: Fundacja Promocji Kultury Artystycznej, Filmowej i Audiowizualnej Etiuda&Anima The publication is a part of the project “Twisted Dreams of History. V4 Perspective on Propaganda, Ideology and Animation”, supported by the International Visegrad Fund – Project #21720353 Language of publication: English Number of pages: 256 ISBN 978-83-66016-81-1 Krakow 2019 Free access to the publication! The publication is released in a free open access mode on-line below [sdm_download id="15603" fancy="0"] The publication in print is delivered for free to various European and worldwide cultural and educational institutions as well as delivered to the interested Readers upon request sent at email@example.com (cost shipping on the behalf of the Reader). Additionally, it is possible to obtain a printed copy at the book presentations held on various animated film festivals and cultural events. Follow the route of the book presentations on www.etiudaandanima.pl, www.stoptrik.com and our social media! Key words: Soviet and post-Soviet animation; Nazi Germany animated propaganda; Cold War era American live-action and animation; Maoist animation; Polish avant-garde and Polish School of Animation; documentary approach in Hungarian animation; Jan Švankmajer; Zagreb School of Animation; Serbian animation from 1940s to 2000s; Gender-oriented language of resistance in animation; European integration and co-productions; Animation as a weapon. About the publication The monograph regards the history and contemporaneity of animated film through a prism of the ideological entanglement of this medium. The editors have invited film scholars and critics to reflect upon the dangerous liaisons between animation art and official propaganda. Propaganda that uses the intrinsically symbolic and synthetic language of animated film, may be utilized as a perfect "laboratory", allowing us to study the essence of manipulation, of rhetorical modes and of strategies of persuasion. The subject of art in service of ideology and propaganda requires a concentration on the egalitarian mainstream forms of animated film, such as children’s films and feature-length commercial production. Nonetheless, some of the texts refer to art-house animated shorts that combine personal commentaries on political issues with the reinterpretation and reconceptualization of propagandistic themes and styles. The authors study animated production against the background of historical and political contexts that include: Soviet and post-Soviet Russia, USA and Eastern European satellite countries during Cold War, Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany, People's Republic of China under Mao Zedong, Marshal Tito's Yugoslavia and its dramatic breakup, contemporary condition of European integration. The contributors represent cultural diversity and differentiated research approaches as they come from various academic and cultural environments (Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia, China, Greece/Estonia, Russia/USA, Bulgaria/Canada, Bosnia and Herzegovina/Sweden). Next to the papers written by the scholars of highly acknowledged status in worldwide Animation Studies (e.g. Mikhail Gurevich, Midhat Ajanović Ajan), we publish articles of the young generation of academics and film culture activists (e.g. Anna Ida Orosz, Jiří Neděla), as well as a manifesto of the 2017 Oscar-nominated animated film artist Theodore Ushev. The volume “Propaganda, Ideology, Animation” is a second part in the series “Twisted Dreams”. The first one, “Obsession, Perversion, Rebellion. Twisted Dreams of Central European Animation” (2016), was focused on the dissident and counter-cultural features of animated film that undermine social and political taboos. We drew upon Theodor Adorno's famous claim that mass culture may be described as 'psychoanalysis in reverse' for its ultimate goal is to anesthetize the anguish of critical reflection and to immerse the masses in the void of collective vacuity. In the current volume we attempt to switch the perspective. The contributors were asked to proceed with critical investigations into the political factors determining production processes as well as the form and content of animation. Moreover, they were encouraged to study ideologies and political doctrines of the previous and current century's global regimes reflected in the mirror of animated productions. If mass culture is psychoanalysis in reverse, then propaganda can be called 'behaviourism at full speed’, for it undertakes the task of controlling the behaviours of societies and nations. Regardless of their ideological backbones, the propaganda messages produced by 20th and 21st century political systems are based upon rather similar theoretical and methodological assumptions. From its very beginnings, animation has been used as a convenient channel to transmit ideology. Complex artistic works, educational children’s films, simple commercials – all of them have been incorporated into propaganda apparatuses upholding various political systems. The engineers of social order developed its effectiveness and transformed it into a powerful weapon of agitation and manipulation. After a period of stagnation in the 1990s and 2000s, in the following decade, animated propaganda seems to have entered a Renaissance phase. The echoes of 20th century propaganda reverberate in phantasmagoric discourses of populist prophets who unite their followers around great dualisms spread from inclusive values of pride and devotion to exclusive feelings of fear and hatred. Contemporary readers may benefit greatly from discovering and deconstructing the propaganda messages, especially since the logic of the Cold War, based on absolute ideological polarization, has made its reappearance in the ideological war between European nationalisms and Islamic fundamentalisms, and in the escalating trade wars between the USA and China. Excerpts from the academic reviews The texts collected in the revived volume are undoubtedly a valuable contribution to animation studies that enriches both Polish and world subject literature with many new thoughts and findings. Among the authors there are such outstanding and acknowledged experts in the field of animation studies as Mikhail Gurevich or Midhat Ajanović Ajan. The volume's biggest advantage is that it may serve both film scholars and regular animation aficionados who may learn about such distinguished artists as Lotte Reiniger or Jan Švankmajer. It should also be noted that the volume's erudite introduction in many cases supplements the content of particular texts with a deeper reflection.
- Professor Marcin Giżycki (Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, USA and Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology, Warsaw, Poland)
- Professor Robert Sowa (Academy of Fine Arts, Krakow, Poland)