Date of Award

Summer 7-31-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Moving Image Studies

First Advisor

Greg Smith

Second Advisor

Jennifer Barker

Third Advisor

Angelo Restivo


This thesis grounds an unstable ontology in animation’s industrial history and its plasmatic aesthetics, in-so-doing I find animation to be a site of rendering visible a particular confrontation with an inability to properly rationalize, ossify, or otherwise delimit traditionally held boundaries of motility. Because of this inability, animation is privileged as a form to rethink our interactions with media technology, leading to utopian thought and bizarre, pathological behavior. I follow the ontological trend through animation studies, using Pixar’s WALL-E as a guide. I explore animation as an afterimage of social pathology, which stands in contrast to the more ludic thought of a figure such as Sergei Eisenstein, using Black Mirror’s “The Waldo Moment.” I look to two Cartoon Network shows as examples of potential alternatives to both the utopian and pathological of the preceding chapters.