As an omnipresent form of media expression, animation pervades not only our private media practices but also political communication and beliefs: Addressing the broad public, CGI films are among the highest grossing cinema releases that convey specific values and representations of social order to a world-wide audience. Visible and invisible digital effects not only pervade live-action cinema and TV but have made ‘deepfakes’ and other manipulations of moving images possible, thereby contributing to a crisis of (media) perception. Animated infographics visualize data on the news and in various Internet formats, where they are now often being scrutinized in search for their truth value. Political parties and NGOs have realized the power of online videos and distribute their stories as socially engaged multimedia features, animated short films, and explainers. And much of the political ‘social media chatter’ is accompanied by animojis or GIFs that comment on and judge current events. Animation is an integral part of cultural and social discourses even if it has long been neglected by film and media studies as well as neighbouring disciplines.
The 5th bi-annual conference of the AG Animation will explore the manifold political dimensions and increasing relevance of animation and asks: What is political about animation? This question sits at the intersection of media studies, cultural studies, critical theory, art history, and political science and as such needs to be addressed from an interdisciplinary perspective.