Journal Article

Animating Imaginary Animals: Jan Švankmajer, Surrealism, and Dark Ecology

Publication

Abstract

This article examines depictions of animals in films by the contemporary Czech surrealist artist Jan Švankmajer. Švankmajer works in extension of a rich surrealist tradition of questioning anthropocentrism and human exceptionalism. Through intermedial comparisons with his creation of imaginary animals in collage and assemblage, the article argues that Švankmajer’s animation of natural history specimens, pieces of animal flesh, and imaginary animal assemblages unsettle ingrained conceptions of taxonomy and animal agency. Creating new connections across the animal, mineral, and vegetable kingdoms, Švankmajer’s films evoke Timothy Morton’s notion of dark ecology with its assertion that ecological interconnectedness is a decidedly weird phenomenon.

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Details

  • Type:
    Journal Article (peer reviewed)
  • Journal:
    Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture, Issue 42.
  • Published:
    2017
  • Language:
    English

About the Author

Kristoffer Noheden

Kristoffer Noheden is a researcher in cinema studies at the Department of Media Studies. He holds a PhD in cinema studies from Stockholm University, and an MA in film studies and a BA in cultural studies from the University of Gothenburg. From Oct... Read more

Reference

Noheden, K. (2017). Animating Imaginary Animals: Jan Švankmajer, Surrealism, and Dark Ecology. Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture, (42). Available at: http://www.antennae.org.uk [Accessed 22 Jun. 2018].