Toward holistic animacy: Digital Animated Phenomena echoing East Asian Thoughts

Ka Nin Chow

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In a previous article published in 2009, the author showed how animation, when combined with computer technology, makes movements of different degrees of liveliness that are meaningful to humans. Following this thesis, this article draws on insights from perceptual and cognitive psychology to propose a new typology of liveliness for classifying digital animated phenomena. This classification emphasizes balance and spread of liveliness in today's digitally mediated environments, echoing traditional East Asian holistic thoughts, including the core ideas of Dao and Shinto. Using analyses of exemplary animated artifacts from contemporary East Asia, including a montage sequence from the Japanese animated film Ghost in the Shell (Mamoru Oshii, 1995), an animated version of the Chinese painting Along the River During the Qingming Festival exhibited in Shanghai Expo 2010, and Electroplankton, a video game released on a Japanese portable game console, the author argues that today's digital animated phenomena incorporate co-creation between animators, computers and even spectators/users, thus provoking thought on the human-machine relationship in pursuing the illusion of life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-187
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2012


  • animated painting
  • anime
  • computer interfaces
  • Dao
  • digital animation
  • digitally mediated environments
  • East Asia
  • perceptual animacy
  • Shinto
  • video games

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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