Nathan Snow (PhD) is an Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies at Utah Tech University in the United States. His research advances historical, contextual definitions for different forms of animation, and explains the critical significance of the shift from traditional to modern 3D computer generated techniques in terms of their effect on the spectator. As such, this research focuses on film history and theory specifically as they relate to theories of genre and spectatorship, identifying and expounding on the changing intersection between viewer and viewed. E-mail: nate.snow@utahtech.edu


Posthuman Ecoscapes: Synthetic Materiality and Distributed Cognition in Southeast Asian Animation

Abstract: This presentation extends posthumanism into the realm of animated films both set in and produced in Southeast Asia, postulating that such 3D computer animated narratives constitute a novel form of posthuman ecomedia reflective of the region’s unique cultural relationship to changing ecology. Through their creation of unreal, synthetic representations of the ASEAN landscape, Southeast Asian 3D animation technologies entangle the viewer’s experience in a mesh of non-indexical augmented ecoscapes, providing viewers access to versions of Southeast Asian biomes heretofore unimagined and decidedly non-anthropocentric. The resulting experience pivots our conception of ourselves as human subjects and spectators into a cyborg model of human cognition coupled with animated, synthetic materials that encourage the audience to construct their subjectivity as cinesthetic bodies, becoming a seamless part of a distributed system of cognition and ecomedia. In other words, applying posthumanism to Southeast Asian 3D animated films alters the fundamental concept of what it is to be a subject watching a film, resulting in a reciprocal relationship that posthuman “viewers” have with animated interpretations of ASEAN ecology. This work expands the scope of posthumanist theory and criticism to Southeast Asian 3D computer animation, advances a theory of cyborg vision and cinesthetic bodies, and ultimately argues that posthuman ecomedia in animation can encourage audiences to interact psychophysically with synthetic materials and remove empirical boundaries from our perception of ecoscapes.
Keywords: materialism, animation, cinesthetics, cognition, posthumanism