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World Festival of Animated Film /
7 to 12 June 2021
World Festival of Animated Film / 7 to 12 June 2021
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ANIMAFEST PRO | ANIMAFEST SCANNER VIII | SYMPOSIUM FOR CONTEMPORARY ANIMATION STUDIES | Panel 1 – ANIMATION AND THE LIVING: How Animated Films Can Invite Us to Rethink Our Relationship with Biodiversity

Brave New Imagination. Possibility of Ecopoetics Analysis in the Films of Alberto Vázquez and Pedro Rivero - Olga Bobrowska (Independent Scholar, Poland)

Panel 1 – ANIMATION AND THE LIVING
08/06, TUE 11:45 – 12:15, Kino Tuškanac

The paper discusses Psiconautas, the Forgotten Children (2015, animated feature, dir. Vázquez, Rivero), Decorado (2016, short animation, dir. Vázquez), and The Platform (2019, live-action feature, co-written by Rivero) as culture texts that testify to the moribund state of humanism in the Anthropocene. Artistically varied, dystopian and disturbing films created by Vázquez and Rivero (once close collaborators who parted their ways) question empiric existence, and moral sensefulness of the surrounding reality. In regards to narrative and mise-en-scène strategies, their films explore an interweaving, systemic oppressiveness regulating the worlds of nature, objects, anthropomorphised characters and humans, thus the textual premises transcend from cultural and social criticism into the territories of environmental criticism. As emphasised by various intellectuals such as Lawrence Buell, Dipesh Chakrabarty or Naomi Klein, the Anthropocene as a stage in the history of life (humans and nature) requires radical interventions in the spheres of politics, economy, social organisation and culture. The discourses of ecocriticism are not naive though, and with the utmost painful clarity one recognises that the more dynamic the climate catastrophe's ratchet effect gets, the more collective imagination becomes reduced, apathetic, and delusional. In her inspiring book on rhetoric and marasmus of Anthropocene, philosopher Ewa Bińczyk (2018) calls for thorough revision of several fundamental concerns in the humans’ cultural history, among them fetishisation of nature as well as moral consequences of adhering to the principles of self-agency and freedom. Ultimately new images and narratives should forge redefinition of needs, values, and understanding of human/nature relations. Artistic imagination of Vázquez and Rivero does not stop at the post-apocalyptic pessimism but acknowledges a dreadful appeal of an ongoing transformation. Their films, analysed as “reference images” compatible with Bińczyk's conceptual framework, present narrative strategies and visual metaphors which generate estrangement effects facilitating our ability of radical but still hopeful criticism.

Olga Bobrowska, Doctor of Humanities in Arts Studies (PhD degree from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow). She is a scholar active in the fields of animation studies, film studies and cultural theory as well as a film culture activist and curator. Bobrowska's main fields of interest embrace studies in animation, propaganda, visual discourses of ideological doctrines, problems of politicized representation, theories of narrative, adaptation, feminism and Chinese Studies. She is a festival director and co-founder of StopTrik IFF (Slovenia/Poland). She frequently serves as a juror, member of selection committees, and curator. She is an author of 10 academic papers, a permanent contributor of Zippy Frames and co-editor of Twisted Dreams of Animation series (2016, 2019).