Zoomorphic Biogenesis: The Elusive and Surreal Aesthetic Subgenre of Human-Animal Hybridized Character Design
Coldwell, Michael Everett
Savannah, Georgia: Savannah College of Art and Design
Thesis (M.F.A.) -- Animation
Savannah College of Art and Design -- Department of Animation
Bibliography: page 65
Filmography: page 64
"Human-animal hybridized characters – characters whose physical appearance is constructed through a merging of human and animal anatomy – are abundant in classic and modern animation, alike. Many of these characters appear on screen, to some degree, as human-shaped animals who, on the outside, retain their animal skin, fur, scales, or coloring, but walk, talk, and behave like humans ('Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,' 'Thundercats,' and the characters of Disney’s 'Zootopia,' for example). While this attribution of characteristics could be viewed as either human traits on animal characters (anthropomorphism), or animal traits on human characters (zoomorphism), the audience is often informed – through elements of the story – as to whether that character is essentially an animal or a human. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the visual aesthetic that results from the reversal of typical approaches to anthropomorphic characters by creating animal-shaped humans, rather than human-shaped animals. While few examples of this aesthetic (which will be referred to as 'Zoomorphic Biogenesis,' for lack of an otherwise identifiable label) can be found in film, artists such as Liu Xue, Jaroslaw Kukowski, and Patricia Piccinini have produced bodies of traditional artwork that capture a glimpse into this odd and unnerving, yet equally fascinating world of creatures. Through an analysis of their work and the more frequently utilized forms of anthropomorphism and zoomorphism in film, the goal is to explore the visual spectrum of human-animal hybridization in character designs, identify key characteristics of the Zoomorphic Biogenesis aesthetic, and discuss the visual and conceptual applications for this and similar aesthetics in animated film and creature designs."
Includes the author's animated film "Biogeny," "a metaphor for creation ... depicting the intentional contamination of an ecosystem...."
Keywords: anthropomorphism, zoomorphism, character design, animation, animal, human
CHAIR: Rutland, Matthew Brett
Silva, Jose Luis
1 text file (thesis) : PDF, 65 pages, color illustrations + 1 animated film (3 min.) : WMV, sound, color
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