C: (Maintenance) Animation is a Drag: It takes all the f****** time*

  • Orla Mc Hardy Virginia Commonwealth University


Animation and motherhood are parallel acts. There are striking overlaps between animation practices and the maternal time of maintenance and caregiving: repetitive acts and gestures, interruption, incremental and elongated time, the embodied experience of slow mundane practices, the durational drag of staying alongside something or someone. The pooled time of caregiving and maintenance, and the pooled time of animation production have a lot in common. In this paper, I want to pull apart some of the ways that an expanded animation practice-as-research shows how animation’s formal self-reflexiveness and media specific histories can start to reveal where value is placed (and not placed) on the time of their shared invisible labours. Possibilities emerge from thinking these invisible labours together, revealing the problematics of what constitutes a rightful subject or object of mothering, and what can be said to constitute animation.

* Mierle Laderman Ukeles. Maintenance Manifesto, 1969! Proposal for an exhibition “CARE,” 1969.