Beyond Still Life: Surrealism and Animation

Ed. collection, 15. October 2021.

Call for Papers: Edited Volume

Edited by Abigail Susik

Deadline for proposals: October 15, 2021

A number of surrealists and scholars of surrealism have published writings devoted to the subject of surrealism’s fascination with the phenomenon of animation and animated cinematography, but a comprehensive book on this subject is overdue. Beyond Still Life: Surrealism and Animation, edited by Abigail Susik, will be the first collection of scholarly essays focusing on surrealism’s vivid engagement with various kinds of animation and theories of animation on an international basis over the course of the 20th century. Why was surrealism so invested in animation, and how did it contribute to the development of this medium, especially animated cinematography?

This call for proposals invites abstracts on any topic related to the international surrealist movement and animation.

Possible essay topics include:

-    Historical scope of the volume: 1850s-2000
-    Geographic scope: international

- Artists, writers, filmmakers, animators, animated films, extended animated film sequences, screenwriters for animated films, animation studios, and theoreticians of animation with explicit connections to the international surrealist movement, such as: Jean-Louis Bédouin, Robert Benayoun, Joseph Cornell, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Wilhelm Freddie, Lawrence (Larry) Jordan, Petr Kral, Ado Kyrou, Len Lye, Roland Topor, Hans Richter, Jan Švankmajer, Michel Zimbacca, and contemporary surrealist practitioners of animation, etc.

- Artists, writers, filmmakers, animators, animated films, extended animated film sequences, screenwriters for animated films, animation studios, and theoreticians of animation with indirect but substantial (whether theoretical, methodological, content-based, technical, etc.) ties or links to historical or contemporary surrealism: Walerian Borowczyk, Stan Brakhage, Brothers Quay, Bruce Connor, Jean Desvilles, Eric Duvivier, Jean Giraud (Moebius), Jeff Keen, Yōji Kuri, Jan Lenica, Chris Marker, Norman McLaren, Hayao Miyazaki, Val del Omar, Pat O’Neill, Sidney Peterson, Suzan Pitt, Norman Rubington, Carolee Schneemann, Penny Slinger, Harry Smith, Stan Vanderbeek, Eiichi Yamamoto, Karel Zeman, etc.

- Animators, animated films, animation studios, animation techniques, or cartoon characters beloved or despised by members of the international surrealist movement; as well as other examples that are of significance to surrealism in various ways: Tex Avery, Ralph Bakshi, Walt Disney, Max Fleischer, George Herriman, John and Faith Hubley, Chuck Jones, Georges Méliès, Pat Sullivan; Betty Boop, Bugs Bunny, Felix the Cat, Koko the Clown, Krazy Kat, Mickey Mouse, etc.

- Surrealist theories of animation, collage novels as animated forms, the activation of still-life, and living pictures—whether cinematic, painterly, poetic, or other

- Potential types of animation to be included: pre-cinematic, analogue modes of animation (zoetropes, automata, etc.); traditional 2D; stop motion; cut out; collage; claymation; time-lapse; photo animations or film still animations, extensive use of animated special effects (Contemporary forms of animation such as motion capture, 3D, CGI, and other forms of digital animation may be considered in certain cases, but the volume’s focus is primarily on pre-digital methods of animation)

- also open for consideration: other relevant topics not listed here

Note: Please do not send proposals for essays about films with only tenuous or inconsequential ties to the international surrealist movement or its activities.

Selected essays will be 5000 to 7500 words in English (including footnotes and sources). Essays can include up to three or four illustrations and should feature at least one image. Contributing authors will be responsible for arranging and paying for image rights. Essays must include a thesis/argument and will demonstrate engagement with relevant theoretical perspectives. Emerging scholars, artists, and practicing surrealists are encouraged to submit a proposal for consideration. Please note that artist statements are not being considered for publication.

Completed essays will be due no later than September 1, 2022.

Deadline for proposal abstracts: October 15, 2021.

Send abstracts of 400-600 words to:

Include a short author biography (150-300 words) and if possible, one illustration with a preliminary caption.

Contact Info: