“An Experiment in Pure Design:” The Minimalist Aesthetic in the Line Films of Norman McLaren

Mollaghan, Aimee (2011) “An Experiment in Pure Design:” The Minimalist Aesthetic in the Line Films of Norman McLaren. Animation Studies Journal, 6. pp. 26-33. ISSN 1930-1928


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During the 1960s Scottish animator Norman McLaren undertook a series of inquiries into the nature of the line that culminated in three films, Lines Vertical (1960), Lines Horizontal (1962) and Mosaic (1965). Although McLaren has always been associated with innovation in animation technique and aesthetics, often times his more formal concerns have remained overlooked, underexplored, or even dismissed by critics such as Malcolm LeGrice. This paper seeks to readdress this by looking at the Line trilogy in relation to the development of minimalist tendencies that emerged in both art and music in the twentieth century. Further to this McLaren has asserted that the structure of his Line films is influenced by the structure of Indian music, a music whose formal construction is intrinsically bound to notions of the spiritual. This paper will draw on these notions in order to examine how the process of simplification intrinsic to Indian music and by extension minimalism, across the arts, has an innate spiritual quality to it that can allow McLaren’s films to function on both a formal and spiritual level simultaneously.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Experimental Animation Norman McLaren Minimalism Visual Music
Subjects: A General Works > AC Collections. Series. Collected works
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: Media
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2016 11:16
URI: http://repository.edgehill.ac.uk/id/eprint/7428

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