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Immaterial Materiality: Collecting in Live-Action Film, Animation, and Digital Games

Andersen, Kara Lynn (2010) Immaterial Materiality: Collecting in Live-Action Film, Animation, and Digital Games. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation analyzes depictions of collecting and collectors in visual media, arguing that cultural conceptions which have long been reinforced by live-action film and animation are now being challenged by digital video games. The older notion of collectors as people dissociated from present-day society and unhealthily obsessed with either the past or the minutiae of inanimate objects are giving way to a new conception of the collector as an active manipulator of information in the present moment. The dissertation argues that this shift is partly influenced by the ontology of each media form. It focuses primarily on the rise of digital technology from the mid-1980s to the present, 1985 being the year the Nintendo Entertainment System was first introduced in the United States, reviving the flagging video game industry and posing a threat to the dominance of the cinema in visual entertainment media. Beginning with an overview of collecting in the Western hemisphere, it argues that popular stereotypes of collecting are out of step with the actuality of the practice. Analysis of the ontology of film links the tendency to portray the figure of the collector as a socially inept male, while the museum is a source of monsters and mystery. The animated film aligns itself with change and transformation and thus rejects the stasis implied by traditional notions of collection. The interactive nature of digital games embraces colleting as a game activity, making the player a collector of digital objects, and the game collection a positive indicator of progress in the game.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Andersen, Kara
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFischer, Lucylfischer@pitt.eduLFISCHER
Committee MemberLowenstein, Adamalowen@pitt.eduALOWEN
Committee MemberLandy, Marciamlandy@pitt.eduMLANDY
Committee MemberHalle,
Date: 27 January 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 26 October 2009
Approval Date: 27 January 2010
Submission Date: 28 November 2009
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: animation; collecting; collector; film; new media; video games
Other ID:, etd-11282009-183210
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:06
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:52


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