New theme: Animation and Set Dressing

Deadline: June 18, 2023

The accident Greek philosopher Aristotle noted in his Rhetoric that, when poets use language to bring inanimate things to life, the poem with its things “represents everything as moving and living; and activity is movement” (1412, a 8). This Aristotelian notion of ‘setting before the eyes’ of the reader could for viewers in the context of moving images be something akin to the French word `mise-en-scene’. Apart from the acting performance itself, mise-en-scene is simply put, the intricate ways that different elements of the moving images work are brought into play with each other within the visibility of the framework to convey the visual and narrative information about the imaginative world of the production.

For this theme, we invite posts that explore set dressing and animation from any perspective, and we wish to approach the notion of ‘set dressing’ in its broad application of ‘setting up’ and arranging the various elements into place to make a production come to life. Although film and animation share many of the same filmic devices that bring a production to life – such as different levels of backgrounds, props, and cinematographic elements –, we welcome in particular posts that focus on how the specific uses of animation techniques and technologies bring further aliveness to the ‘set’ of a production, and how they bring about its aesthetic and meaning-creating impact.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • spatial layout, backgrounds and the composition of the frame or overall framework in animated media;
  • the use of animation in relation to the function of sets, props, hair and make-up;
  • the enhancement of the non-verbal narrative strategies of perceived elements through animation;
  • uses of animation to create, intensify or change the atmospheric effect and mood of the production;
  • animation as it exists in relation to stage performances, theatre, museology, performance art and virtual settings;
  • visual and technical elements in animation in relation to theorization of film style.

Posts that are between 600 and 900 words discussing any aspect of the above topics are welcome. Contributors are encouraged to include clips, and at least one image (less than 2MB in size), to support their posts. Please also include a short bio (100 words max) and 3 keywords. All permissions are the responsibility of the contributor.

Please contact editor Carmen Hannibal ( and Anastasiia Gushchina (, and managing editor Cristina Formenti ( with submissions or questions.