Critical Writing Index

Experiments in Hybrid: Documentary and Indigenous Model Animation

by Joshua D. Miner

Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 2021, v. 16, no. 1-2, pp. 6-20

Sage, 2021

Nonfiction has proved to be a long-term strategy of Native/First Nations filmmakers and, as this documentary tradition moves across contemporary mediums, one corner of its experimental aesthetics has focalized around animation. This article explores hybrid documentary approaches in Indigenous model animation across techniques and styles, namely digitally-supplemented stop motion and game-based machinima. It begins by examining three principal characteristics of Indigenous animated documentaries: (1) they engage with the politics of documentary in the context of Indigenous and settler-colonial history; (2) they use animation to record stories and express ideas not authorized by the settler archive; and (3) they communicate via embedded Indigenous aesthetics and cultural protocols. A material analysis of Indigenous animation then accounts for how three Native artists centre re-mediation and re-embodiment in their work. These artists adapt new techniques in animation to documentary as a process of decolonization, precipitating a distinct hybrid aesthetics that travels across forms to question the veracity of settler documentary. Each reconstructs histories of settler colonialism – which has always chosen to record and authorize as "history" some images and narratives and not others – with model animation practices and new media platforms. Indigenous animation expresses slippages between nonfiction and fiction by creating imagined documents, which strike at the legitimacy of settler institutions. (Abstract taken from the journal)

ITEM 2021.003 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

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