Animating LGBTQ+ Representations: Queering the Production of Movement
At the heart of animation is movement, and the expression of movement is negotiated differently across media. How then do LGBTQ+ communities reappropriate the specificities of animation, comics, videogames, and other forms of visual representations that rely on putting bodies into motion? How does animation support the emergence of social and political movements from within, between, and outside media production spaces? Since 2010, studies of LGBTQ+ representation in animation have steadily increased in number. From queer readings (Halberstram 2011), to media histories (McLelland, Nagaike, Suganuma, Welker 2015), to queer media makers (such as bisexual, non-binary creator Rebecca Sugar and other queer animators like Noelle Stevenson and Chris Nee), animation production has become a vital site for the study, performance, and persistence of queer media practices. Although much conversation has been devoted to queer readings of texts in transmedia movements, the people, circuits, and institutions of queer animated media production have attracted significantly less attention.
By focusing on the “politics of movement,” we intend to grasp the convergence of 1) common techniques of animation in and across multiple media platforms, 2) means of mobile image production both amateur and industrial, and 3) social agendas in queer communities using the motion of images to negotiate their representation and place in society. While this issue will brush up against the various transmedia (narrative-based, Jenkins, 2008), media mix (image-based, Steinberg, 2012) and cross-media (toy-based, Nogami, 2015) models and their cultural geographies across the globe, our central aim here is to expand the knowledge and visibility of LGBTQ+ sociopolitical projects evolving conjointly with the creation and circulation of animated images. Producing movement in, across, and outside of media extends the synchronization of images to networks of commodities, territories, and peoples. Although an important amount of scholarship tends to address this question as the “queering of texts,” we seek another point of view coming directly from the creation of moving images itself. Such production practices are also imbricated in and respond to geo-political and cultural contexts. How then does the movement in between frames, vignettes, illustrations, and memes (to name a few examples) initiate social action (be it just to produce pornography for marginalized communities or to create conventions for amateur artists and publics to meet)?
This issue of Synoptique: An Online Journal of Film and Moving Image Studies will focus on queer media practices and the politics of movement. When animating LGBTQ+ images, media creators are also mobilizing queer practices, communities, and identities. Therefore, we are particularly interested in analyses and testimonies that examine sites of queer media production and their animation techniques, strategies, and practices. We encourage contributions that examine the interactions of animation within media related to animation, such as comics and videogames, as forms of queer movement often overflow and interact throughout multiple media platforms (Hemmann, 2015). We also invite submissions of artwork either from queer-identifying artists and practitioners, or pieces that explore queer movement, embodiment, and existence. Interviews, manifestos, essays, and other forms of writing on animated movement in queer media making are warmly welcome, as are multimedia contributions.
Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:
- The industrial or amateur structures of LGBTQ+ images production
- Movement in LGBTQ+ pornography and erotika
- Queer movement in comics, visual novels, videogames, etc.
- The strategies and places of queered images (“Queer” Media mix, Marketing, Festivals, and Conventions)
- Animated media production of the Global South (such as Brazilian Netflix show Super Drags)
- Distribution networks for LGBTQ+ animated series (TV, platforms, VOD)
- LGBTQ+ representations in animated media emerging from manga including both more mainstream (Boy’s Love, Yuri) and subcultural (so-called Bara or Gachimuchi) productions
- Local LGBTQ+ communities and their struggles expressed through moving images
- Queer movement across comics and animation
- Decolonizing sexualities
- Cosplay as queer (re)animation