Minoru: Memory of Exile. Dir. Michael Fukushima. DVD. National Film Board of Canada, 1992. Courtesy of the artist.

Images and Texts Reproduced, XIth International IAWIS/AIERTI Conference. University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland, July 10–14, 2017.

Founded in July 1987, the International Association of Word and Image Studies/Association Internationale pour l’Etude des Rapports entre Texte et Image (IAWIS/AIERTI) seeks to foster the study of Word and Image relations within visual culture. The eleventh triennial IAWIS conference focused on the topic of "Images and Texts Reproduced" and explored the impact of reproduction/reproducibility on artistic and literary creation.

In this conference presentation, I discussed the implications of re-representing archival and photographic documents via animation in the autobiographical films I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors (2010) and Minoru: Memory of Exile (1992). Below is my paper abstract.


“Unstoppable Development”: The Symbiosis Between Photography and Animated Film

Photography and animated film have long spoken a common language. Developed in the dark room, drawn on a light box, photography and animation are entrenched in a philosophical oratory of life and death. Through a close visual analysis of contemporary animated documentaries that incorporate photography into their aesthetic conceits – including Michael Fukushima’s Minoru: Memory of Exile (1992) and Ann Marie Fleming’s I Was A Child of Holocaust Survivors (2010) – this paper examines how animation can reconsider the potential of photographic materiality and process, what film theorist Kaja Silverman describes as the medium’s “unstoppable development.” Though the photograph is seemingly immobile, Silverman asserts that it is always a work in progress. If not through an evolution by light or through the fluctuations in its chemical stabilization, photographs continuously reconstitute themselves. This perspective complicates traditional valuations that relate photography to the death of the image. The photograph is envisioned not as a decaying representational mode but as a dynamic form in the midst of its ongoing evolution. The relationship established between photography and animation within the cinematic examples explored in this paper acknowledges this process of becoming. Within these films, animation creates an additional lens through which we may view the photographic image: not only is the past ever present, it is ever changing.