Friday, November 25, 2016

ART IN ANIME (2011, Dani Cavallaro)

Dani Cavallaro. Art in Anime. London, Macfarland, 2011.

/ PDF / English / 242 pages / 0786465611 / 978-0786465613

The book comprises four chapters. The first chapter, “Cultural Perspectives,” examines anime’s thematic and technical engagement with the concept of art, promoting a comprehensive and multibranching approach to this concept as a fundamental definer of both the treatment of art in anime and of the conception of art embedded in Japanese culture at large. The discussion encompasses an assessment of four key aspects of Japanese culture and art: their hybrid identity, their anti-mimetic proclivities, their underpinnings in Eastern philosophies, and their material expression in the guise of specific objects and symbols. 
The second chapter, “The Search for a Language,” focuses on the ways in which diverse individuals strive to externalize their talent, creativity and expressivity by recourse to particular artistic discourses. 
With the third chapter, “Mythopoeia,” the analysis turns to the significance of the creative practices dramatized and embodied by anime as means of ideating novel mythologies which articulate simultaneously both contemporary encodings of emerging (and even controversial) cultural meanings, and revivals of time-honored narratives and underlying belief systems. Mythologies, in this perspective, stand out at once as conservative repositories of tradition and as experimental sites of interrogation and resistance. The fourth chapter, “Performance and Visuality,” concentrates on the dialectical interplay of these two concepts. It proceeds from the premise that Japanese culture is intensely visual and that all levels of its social and economic structure, accordingly, are saturated with images. The ascendancy of visuality is confirmed by the privileged place accorded by Japanese art to a wide range of both ancient and new-fangled patterns, emblems, symbols and stylized figures. (Dani Cavallaro)


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