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Book review: Jeremy White on Spyros Papapetros, On the Animation of the Inorganic: Art, Architecture, and the Extension of Life, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2012

5 February 2015

Studying frozen movement

Review of:

Spyros Papapetros, On the Animation of the Inorganic: Art, Architecture, and the Extension of Life, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2012, 400pp. + b/w illustrations, £35.00, ISBN-10: 0226645681; ISBN-13: 978-0226645681 13/JW1

Jeremy White

Abstract: Spyros Papapetros examines ideas about simulated movement and inorganic life during and after the turn of the twentieth century. Exploring works of a selection of important art historians as well as artists and architects of the period, the author maintains that the ability to identify with material objects was repressed by modernist culture, and yet found expression stylistically through depictions of inorganic forms. That expression is shown to have continuity with older medieval and renaissance depictions.  The book is organized by a narrative that evokes the modes of inquiry documented and critiqued by the content of the book, employing movement as a narrative device, a metaphor, while serving as a subject of inquiry.

Keywords: animation, extension, inorganic, movement, organic, modern

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