Accepted Paper:

Animating dreams and memories  
Michaela Schäuble (University of Bern)

Paper long abstract:

I am interested in the ways in which invisible but socially relevant realms such as the imagination, memories, reveries and dreams can best be accessed and visualised in anthropological research. In this context, I propose to take a closer look at the genre of animation and graphic novels, at artistic devices and deliberate alienation effects, at ways of looking and re-presenting that the writer W.G. Sebald (2003) refers to as a "synoptic and artificial view", that are conveyed by imaginative creation and that are inevitably subject to an inexpungeable uncertainty. These, I consider, have the potential to unveil and articulate inner states of mind that reach beyond a historicist realism.

In my paper I will focus on recent examples of animated accounts in which critical historical events are narrated from affected people's individual perspectives and perceptions - including imaginative contents. Ari Folman, the author of Waltz with Bashir (2008), for instance, justifies his decision to animate his film as follows: "There was no other way to do it, to show memories, hallucinations, dreams. War is like a really bad acid trip, and this was the only way to show that."

My paper aims at considering what chances animation techniques might hold for generating new kinds of anthropological knowledge.

Panel W088
The imagination in times and spaces of crisis: day and night dreaming as forms of creative invention