Media-Morphosis. Intermediality, (Re-)Animation and the Medial Uncanny in Tsukamoto Shinya’s Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

Open access

Abstract

Operating self-sufficiently on the fringes of the Japanese film industry for almost his entire career, the work of independent filmmaker Tsukamoto Shinya1 is perhaps best-known for its uncompromising, musical freneticism, as well as its corporeal spectacle. However, Tsukamoto’s dynamic clashing of visual media signifiers, such as those of theatre and television (industries within which he also operated prior to his film career during the 1980s), and how these impact upon his reflexive cinematic style, has yet to be fully considered. Drawing on Laura Mulvey’s conception of the ‘uncanny’ in response to cinema’s potential to confuse animate and inanimate, as well as Tsukamoto’s own under-discussed background in experimental street theatre and television advertising production, this essay seeks to examine Tsukamoto’s unique method of stop motion photography within his signature, self-produced feature Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989). The intention is to show that these hyperbolic sequences instil not only an uncanniness in their live-action subjects, who are rendered inanimate then reanimated to form staccato, cyborg characters, but also a ‘medial uncanny’ that simultaneously emulates and subverts the qualities of a vast range of visual media, particularly television and its associated post-medial peripherals and artefacts.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Bendazzi Giannalberto. 1994. Cartoons: One Hundred Years of Cinema Animation. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

  • Bolter Richard and J. David Grusin. 1999. Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge MA: The MIT Press.

  • Brown Steven T. 2010. Tokyo Cyberpunk: Posthumanism in Japanese Visual Culture. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Conrich Ian. 2005. Metal-Morphosis: Post-Industrial Crisis and the Tormented Body in the Tetsuo Films. In Japanese Horror Cinema ed. Jay McRoy 95–106. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

  • Duncan Jody. 2010. The Tippett Touch. Cinefex no. 121. (April): 58–97.

  • Geller Tom. 2008. Overcoming the Uncanny Valley. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications vol. 28 no. 4 (July/August): 11–17.

  • Grenville Bruce. 2001. The Uncanny: Experiments in Cyborg Culture. In The Uncanny: Experiments in Cyborg Culture ed. Bruce Grenville 13–58. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press.

  • Heinrichs Jürgen and Yvonne Spielmann. 2002. Editorial: “What is Intermedia?” Convergence vol. 8 no. 4: 5–10.

  • Mes Tom. 2005. Iron Man: The Cinema of Shinya Tsukamoto. Surrey: FAB Press.

  • Mori Masahiro. 2012 [1970]. The Uncanny Valley. IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine June: 98–100.

  • Mulvey Laura. 2006. Death 24x a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image. London: Reaktion Books.

  • Murch Walter. 2001. In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing. Los Angeles CA: Silman-James Press.

  • Neupert Richard. 2014 [2011]. French Animation History. Oxford; Malden: Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Painter Jamie. 1997. An Insider Interview with Phil Tippett. Star Wars Insider issue 33. Aurora CO: Fan Club. Archived online at: http://www.angelfire.com/film/philtippett/articles/motion-control.html. Last accessed 13. 06. 2016.

  • Persons Dan. 1993. Tetsuo: The Iron Man. Cinefantastique vol. 23 no. 5: 50–52.

  • Pethő Ágnes. 2011. Cinema and Intermediality: The Passion for the In-Between. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

  • Tinwell Angela. 2011. Facial Expressions of Emotion and Perception of the Uncanny Valley in Virtual Characters. Computers in Human Behavior vol. 27 no. 2: 741–749.

  • Wolf Werner. 1999. The Musicalization of Literature: A Study in the Theory and History of Intermediality. Atlanta: Rodopi.

Search
Journal information
Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 461 249 17
PDF Downloads 251 147 13