With an emphasis on the animated special Really Rosie (CBS, 1975), this essay explores the queer capacities of limited cel animation, an artistic and technical mode that provides striking occasions for figuring both queer’s potential and its circumscriptions. In the process, the essay situates queer as a structure of feeling that tends to be glimpsed not in its murkiness as a structure but rather through some of the forms in which it gets concretized. It comprehends limited cel animation as a fertile mode through whose motions we may test claims about queer structure’s precipitation into more discrete forms, because such animation creates sites at which formal experimentation and formal redundancy are vividly and co-constitutively apparent. The essay also, playfully, nominates the suite of at-once realist and fantastical effects engendered in animation as the condition of animation’s reallyism: a nonce word meant to signal, through the prosthetic addition of a cheeky syllable, the both/and of genuine realism as augmented by lyrical (or silly) escapes from it. Where the “reallyism” of limited cel animation is more particularly concerned, formal repetition and banality make present to the very fabric of the moving images two aspects of the real: (1) the often repetitive, banal industrial processes involved in the manufacture of the animation itself alongside (2) the likewise repetitive, banal social processes involved in the manufacture of subjectivities. Yet the quirks and quiddities of animated worlds enliven this real with more hopeful and rosy—which is also to say queer—feeling.
Nick Salvato; Queer Structure, Animated Form, and Really Rosie. Camera Obscura 1 September 2018; 33 (2 (98)): 139–159. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/02705346-6923142
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