"On one hand, animatedness points to restrictions placed on spontaneous movement and activity; in Modern Times, for example, it emerges from the exclusion of all bodily motion apart from the one assigned to the assembly-line worker. On the other hand, the affect can also be read as highlighting the elasticity of the body being animated, as evinced in Sergei Eisenstein’s praise of “plasmaticness” in his analysis of Disney cartoons. Just as animatedness integrates the two contrasting meanings of automatism, then, the affect manages to fuse signs of the body’s subjection to power with signs of its ostensive freedom—by encompassing not only bodily activity confined to fixed forms and rigid, specialized routines (Fordist or Taylorist anima- tion), but also a dynamic principle of physical metamorphosis by which the body, according to Eisenstein, seems to “triumph over the fetters of form” (what we might call “animistic” animation). It is clear that for the filmmaker, the excessive energy and metamorphic potential of the animated body make it a potentially subversive or powerful body, whereas for Chow, the very qualities that Eisenstein praises as liberatory—“plasmaticness,” elasticity, and pliancy—are readable as signs of the body’s utter subjection to power, confirming its vulnerability to external manipulation and control."

Sianne Ngai, Ugly Feelings, p.100-101
Elizabeth Meiklejohn
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