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The Phenomenological Experience of Post-Newtonian Physics through Experimental Animation and the Uncanny – Ana Carolina Estarita Guerrero (University of Southern California, USA)
This paper explores how animation allows us to experience modern physics notions of time that otherwise would be impossible to access, and how this experience, evoke on the spectators a sense of uncanniness. The argument starts by exploring how our understanding of time depends on our phenomenological experience of it rather than on conceptual or mathematical comprehension of its principles, revealing at the same time, that in contrast to our unidirectional experience of time, there other times proven by physics that are for the most part obscure to us, given our difficulty to experience them through empirical exposure.
Later on, the paper states how in contrast to what happens in live action footage, where the image is inevitably linked to a unique event duration and the footage is a repetition of what happened once as Roland Barthes states it, Animation is by its nature detached from a physical object’s natural duration, and this characteristic makes it a unique medium capable of generating “new layers of time” on top of our experience of the linear thermodynamic Arrow of time, and is as well the perfect tool for bringing into the phenomenological realm notions of time that for the most part are relegated to a few mathematically literate people.
Finally, the paper analyses the concept of the ‘uncanny’ where that which is familiar feels unsettling because something in it is outside our regular knowledge or perception. I relate this sensation to the particular experience product of the encounter with films where alternate notions of time are explored. Collecting examples from specific films, the argument states that these works serve not only as poetic representation, but also as a phenomenological experience of complex concepts of time that are deviant of our familiar experience of the arrow of time. These explorations of time, which are mostly understood through a phenomenological involvement and not through a rationalist one, generate visceral reactions closely related to the experience of the uncanny.
Ana Carolina Estarita Guerrero is a Colombian Visual Artist and Animation and Digital arts M.F.A. Candidate at University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts whose work inquiries about temporary phenomena and its effects on the organic matter, relating concepts of the visual arts and theoretical frameworks from physics and literature. In her work, she uses a theoretical-practical approach that allows her to research through experimentation with video, animation and installations, the answers to the questions she finds during her preliminary research, using visual arts and its practices as a thinking process.