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The 3-D Animated Codescape: Imperfection and Digital Labor Zones in Wall-E (2008) and Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

Wagner, KB; Jang, I-G; (2016) The 3-D Animated Codescape: Imperfection and Digital Labor Zones in Wall-E (2008) and Wreck-It Ralph (2012). Animation , 11 (2) pp. 130-145. 10.1177/1746847716638267. Green open access

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Abstract

Live-action film and video games share a presence and convergence in each media’s visuality and narrative storytelling; this is especially apparent over the last four decades – from Tron (1982) to Run Lola Run (1998) to The Beach (2000) and now ‘machinima’ as new computational genre cinema via Minecraft (2014). To complicate matters, only recently are cinema and video games now tropes in 3-D computer animation, with films such as Wall-E (Andrew Stanton, 2008) and Wreck-It Ralph (Rich Moore, 2012) absorbing these cultural relations. In this article, the authors explicate on two interwoven yet separable themes in the Walt Disney/Pixar films. First, they theorize aspects of the ‘imperfect aesthetic’ as connected to an audience and industry’s desire to aesthetically ‘deskill’ – as explained in John Roberts’s article ‘Art after deskilling’ (2010) – the image of its characters, in the process making the characters more vulnerable and thus more endearing. This imperfect aesthetic is typically associated with avant-garde animation or animated shorts, yet to link imperfection to 3-D computer animation illustrates a new visual tendency since the 2000s. Second, they draw on the scholarship of Maurizio Lazzarato to relate immaterial labor to what each character does in their animated worlds, what they call ‘digital labor zones’: the Wall-E robot is prone to affective labor while in Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph, the goofy villain, begins to question the reasons for his rampaging behavior and the labor behind such actions.

Type: Article
Title: The 3-D Animated Codescape: Imperfection and Digital Labor Zones in Wall-E (2008) and Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1746847716638267
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1177/1746847716638267
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: 3-D computer animation, codescape, deskilling, digital labor zones, film and video games, imperfect aesthetic, John Roberts, Wall-E, Wreck-It Ralph
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10069371
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