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San Andreas and the Spiralling of the Analogico–Digital Animated Image

Crogan, Patrick


Patrick Crogan
Associate Professor in Digital Cultures


© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017. This article considers the contemporary state of mainstream Hollywood cinema as a profoundly animation-driven form of spectacular entertainment characteristic of global digital media in the era of what Bernard Stiegler calls hypercapitalism. With reference to the work of Esther Leslie, Dick Tomasovic and Stiegler, the author develops a critical account of what Leslie calls the ‘petrified unrest’ evident in the deployment of animation techniques and technologies in contemporary mainstream film and media through analysis of the recent Hollywood blockbuster, San Andreas (dir. Brad Peyton, 2015). This film’s big budget, spectacle-driven narrative and extensive deployment of the latest digital ‘motion design’ tools qualifies it as an exemplary instance of the paradoxical form of contemporary mainstream digital cinema, one which is both innovative and utterly conventional at the same time in Leslie’s account. The author elaborates what Stiegler describes as the spiralling instability of the current, hypercapitalist dynamic in which this paradoxical but ultimately unsustainable ‘petrified unrest’ manifests as a disorienting experience of technological and cultural transformation. For it is only in coming to terms with the profound connections between technological and cultural becoming that the potential can be found to move on from this disorienting condition of digital transformation under the prevailing hypercapitalist mode animating what Leslie terms our ‘dreamt reality’.


Crogan, P. (2017). San Andreas and the Spiralling of the Analogico–Digital Animated Image. Animation, 12(3), 334-349.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 25, 2016
Online Publication Date Nov 29, 2017
Publication Date Nov 1, 2017
Publicly Available Date Dec 1, 2017
Journal Animation
Print ISSN 1746-8477
Electronic ISSN 1746-8485
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 3
Pages 334-349
Keywords analogico-digital image, animation, automation, belief, contemporary Hollywood cinema, digital visual effects, techno-intuitive intelligence, Esther Leslie, Bernard Stiegler
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