Hi all,

I'm currently writing my dissertation on the sense of the uncanny in stop-motion, whether the medium is inherently uncanny, the ways in which it lends itself to this theme, recurring images like the eye, dolls, human-like forms & automatons, and the double.

I'm also really interested in talking about the sound of a piece - whether the sound specifically composed for an uncanny piece would have the same effect if there was a different visual medium, and whether the usual process for composing music for stop-motion is done before or after the animation.

I was wondering if anyone would be willing to have a short discussion with me about it - whether anyone has any comments, thoughts or ideas on the subject, whether it's something you've thought about before, or whether now, reading this you're suddenly thinking 'oh, yeah that makes sense'. Any thoughts about it from anyone, from animators to sound-engineers, anyone with a vague interest to experts in the field, are so welcome!

Thanks for reading and considering, I hope I'm posting this in the right place!

Lanna 

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This sounds really fascinating, I've been interested in this topic for awhile and might write my senior thesis on it. Did you ever finish your dissertation? I'd really like to read it and discuss the topic with you sometime.

Hi! I did finish it incredibly - didn't spend much time on it in the end and it didn't get a great mark but if you think it'll be helpful you're more than welcome to pick through it. If you don't know a huge deal about the topic I'm sure you'll find some interesting points.

Yeah! I'd still love to check it out, here's my email djhill@ucdavis.edu 

It would be interesting to hear your conclusions on the subject. Can you post something about it?

Hi Lanna, sounds great! I happen to be writing my 4'th year dissertation on almost this exact subject, focusing heavily on sound and movement in stop motion and its impact on the audience subconscious to invoke feelings of the uncanny or nostalgia (or something along those lines).

I'm currently still in the research phase, but would really appreciate if you'd be willing to share any of your writing or research with me. I'm struggling to find much published on the subject, beyond the uncanny valley effect, which I'm less interested in. obviously I would not directly use any of your writing beyond quotations with correct referencing (if at all). Let me know if you'd be OK with this.

Thanks. 

The uncanny is a fascinating subject, and when used properly makes for some of the most unsettling films or scenes - far more effective than gore or the fear of physical pain/torture. It was studied by Kubrick when he was preparing to make The Shining, and accounts for why it remains one of the most horrifying of films to this day (alongside Mulholland Drive, which also makes very effective use of the uncanny). One of his main sources was Freud's essay, which can be read here. That's a PDF file - I just downloaded it and didn't get a peep from my anti-virus software, so it seems to be clean. 

Hi there.  This sounds very fascinating! Did you publish your work anywhere? I'd love to read it :)

I would very much like to read it too :)

Hi Lanna!  I am also a grad student currently preparing for my comprehensive exams, and one of my lists is on animation - I would like to focus on stop-motion animation and questions of surrealism/the uncanny, and was wondering if you would be willing to share your dissertation or even just your bibliography with me? Thanks so much!

Hi there! Did you have any luck with this request? I'm in a very similar boat (see my post below) :)

TraianT said:

Hi Lanna, sounds great! I happen to be writing my 4'th year dissertation on almost this exact subject, focusing heavily on sound and movement in stop motion and its impact on the audience subconscious to invoke feelings of the uncanny or nostalgia (or something along those lines).

I'm currently still in the research phase, but would really appreciate if you'd be willing to share any of your writing or research with me. I'm struggling to find much published on the subject, beyond the uncanny valley effect, which I'm less interested in. obviously I would not directly use any of your writing beyond quotations with correct referencing (if at all). Let me know if you'd be OK with this.

Thanks. 

You should read about the early Soviet film experiments and studies, the most famous of which yielded what is now known as the Kuleshov Effect.

While not specific to animation, Walter Murch's treatise on editing,In the Blink of an Eye, gets deep into why things like jump cuts actually work, psychologically, when we never see such events in waking life.

One of THE most stunning analyses of "serious" animation art is Buchan's "Quay Brothers: Into a Metaphysical Playroom." It directly deals with their animation of common objects and lifeless puppets, which might be right up the OP's and Francesca's alley. Super in-depth and a good read.

Thanks for the book recommendation, Nathan. Looking forward to it.

I can endorse Walter Murch's book. The best on the subject of why you place a cut in a specific place. Will always remember that they averaged 1 1/2 cuts a day on 'Apocalypse Now'. Makes stopmo look positively frenetic!

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