Anselm Franke

Animism has continued to pose a serious riddle to Western epistemologies. While the evocation of life is a well-known effect in animated cartoons and digital animations, and in more delicate ways, in painting and sculpture, outside the territory of art and mass media, animation has been a disputed problem. Far from being a matter of abstract considerations, when animation is taken outside the field of art it becomes an ontological battleground that is at the frontier of colonial modernity: in the context of contemporary politics and aesthetics, it concerns the urgent question of the transformability and negotiability of ontologies, in which claims to reality and the ordering of the social world are at stake. On this battleground, the problem of animation was given the name “animism” by nineteenth-century anthropologists aspiring to see their work incorporated into the ranks of science.

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