Stop motion: From plastic to plasmatic cinema | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 3, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN: 2042-7875
  • E-ISSN: 2042-7883



When talking about Animation as a graphic or a plastic cinema it is underlying a certain idea of what the medium is and how it is different from live-action films. On the one hand it is about creating the movement and on the other hand it deals with an infinite kind of techniques related to fine arts and graphic arts to produce the images needed, in a word: the forms. Among these techniques, the Stop motion as a privileged medium based on frame-by-frame, shows that reality and its matter can be animated too and not only the abstract space of the representation, be it a drawing or 3D modelling. With Stop motion, even if the technique can be ‘reduced’ to animating puppets and a set or clay for example, we will argue that its specificity lies more specifically in the possibility of changing the propriety of a matter and its limit of elasticity to the point of breaking the consistency of things, transmuting the substance into another. In this state of thing, the link between creating form and creating movement cannot even be drawn anymore because the form and movement are one and the same consequence of the substance behaviour the artist is giving to matter, whereas in traditional animation you create a form more or less stable and you make it move. This art, now interrogating the global notion of arts of movement, cease to be a graphic or plastic cinema and becomes what we would call a plasmatic cinema. The form never really gets a permanent consistency and integrity to be able to be seen as a moving object or subject but as pure protoplasm constantly transforming and redefining a matter. Indeed, the natural limit of elasticity of matter can be modified with Stop motion to the point that anything can become subject to plasticity – not only a gum in cinema or the body of a drawn character in animation, for example. In these kinds of cinema the matter is pure virtuality, where in Stop motion it is real matter becoming virtual through the plasmatic process: movement is just a change of the form and form just a change of character through movement. The whole matter of the world is becoming a material to be liquefied and redefined where movement and forms are sharing the same state of the art. If a plasma is in chemical research the fourth state of matter (with solid, liquid and gas) we would say by analogy that it also helps to define another kind of animated picture dealing with a perpetual fusion (or fusing) of forms. In that sense, Stop motion is exemplifying what is plasticity of motion, in the overall arts of motion.


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