Animating The New Hero

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Today, more and more animated films and series, depict fictional heroes with complex and diverse traits on the sentimental spectrum, moving gradually further away from the stereotypical masculine attitudes of precedented characters, introducing progressively more women heroines, or more people of color while presenting heroes as ordinary people: glorifying heroism in the ephemeral moments of everyday experience. Animation itself is compiled on temporality. On the ephemeral state of each frame: rotoscoping, stop – motion. A hero doesn’t need to be grandiose in order to approve efficiently their innermost efficacy.

Art (and the aesthetic experience in general) unconsciously functions as individuating technique due to its self-reflective nature, as I. Kant pointed out in his Critique of Judgement. The hyper-democratization of visual arts (or digital technology) rapidly accelerates this irreversible process of inner personalization, subjugating also into its well-knitted depths the old-fashioned idea of the Olympian hero – everyone needs to become his own superhero. From the 20th century onwards, the omnipotent demigods of older literature are being constantly transmuted into ordinary heroic people of a mundane day-in day-out lifecycle; a modern Odysseus voyaging in the crowded streets of commonplace Dublin like in James Joyce’s Ulysses, while the grotesque monsters and otherworldly beings of epic poetry are now nothing more than the unrelenting machine-like social hyper-structures of a burnt-out megacity.

Today’s technological society forces the self-isolated individual to irreversibly confront alone his own heart wrenching phobias, without the ever-lasting hope of external help of a “deus ex machina” – the ultra-idealized archetype of a mythical savor is no longer thoroughly solicitous. Each “everyman” transcends thus his own former, frail personhood, in order to become finally his own “real” self; a hidden hero animated in his own image and likeness, who vehemently overcomes the silent onslaught of everyday life.

Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery