The Place of Cut-Out Animation : Larry Jordan’s Surreal Victorian Settings

This paper argues that the experimental cut-out animation of Larry Jordan demonstrates a strong interest in the cinematic construction of places, settings, and sites, one that reflects an understanding of place as a blend of history, memory, fantasy, and experience. Since the early 1960s, Jordan’s animations have appropriated a variety of still imagery, ranging from Victorian engravings and paintings to archival photographs. By transforming these materials through cut-out stop-motion techniques, these animations evoke an indexical relation to the outside world. Inasmuch as an index constitutes a trace of an object and bears an existential relation to it, Jordan’s dense tapestry of collaged ephemera serves as an index of the Victorian era. But the stop-motion manipulation also renders these indexical documents surreal through the juxtaposition of apparently unrelated images. Blending extensive archival research with a close visual analysis of Patricia Gives Birth to a Dream by the Doorway (1964) and The Centennial Exposition (1964), I contend that Jordan’s work focuses on the historiography of actual and imaginary places through an emphasis on the productive tension not just between still and moving imagery, but between indexicality and illusion as well. Rather than securely embalming the places of the past in their historical context, Jordan’s use of stop-motion exposes histories of places as fragmentary constructions open to alteration, re-reading, and reconfiguration.
Citation Formats
E. Pinar, “The Place of Cut-Out Animation : Larry Jordan’s Surreal Victorian Settings,” presented at the Society for Animation Studies (SAS) 31st Annual Conference (17 - 22 Haziran 2019), Lisbon, Portekiz, 2019, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: