This article positions the work of the feminist animation studio Lift Animation as a corrective to the industrialized processes and gendered hierarchies of traditional commercial animation studios. It examines Lift's unique place in the world of contemporary animation as a studio concerned especially with questions of alterity, subjecthood, and community formation in its work. A self-described “socially conscious animation studio,” Lift is structured roughly along the lines of an artistic collective in which many animators freely contribute their skills and time in support of stop-motion animated films that explicitly consider questions of disability, gender, and political action. This article considers in particular the short films The Toll Collector (US, 2003), made by Lift founder Rachel Johnson, and Henrietta Bulkowski, currently in production at Lift. It argues that both films seek to establish empathy with characters ostracized from the boundaries of community by their physical disabilities and draws a connection between these efforts and the studio's recent animated public service announcement for Lantern Software, a program designed to circumvent government Internet censorship efforts around the world through the formation of peer-sharing networks. Each of these animated works speaks in turn to the power of community and collective action grounded in a willed identification with the distant other.
Donna Kornhaber; Collectivity in (Stop-)Motion: Lift Animation, Lantern Software, and the Making of Community. Camera Obscura 1 May 2016; 31 (1 (91)): 165–173. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/02705346-3454474
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