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Open Access Animated maps and the power of the trace

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The animated map, a generally overlooked rhetorical device, is questioned throughout this essay as a meaningful and useful case for rethinking the notion of the trace in the analysis of documentary films. Drawing on the debate led by critical cartography since the 1980s the essay discusses the relation between maps, ideology, and propaganda specifically with regard to fascist documentaries made between 1939 and 1942 that are entirely composed with animated maps. Through the notion of the ‘power of the trace’ ‐ the construct warranting the perfect correspondence of image and world ‐ the essay interrogates the misleading use of animated maps in documentary as evidence, informational images, and faithful reproductions of the territory. By looking at the roles played by space, time, materiality, and narrative in animated maps I instead propose an examination of the trace, taking into account the possibilities offered to visual-oriented analysis.
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Keywords: animation; cartography; documentary; fascism; propaganda; traces

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: PhD candidate at the University of Udine (Italy) and a visiting PhD student at the University of Warwick (UK).

Publication date: March 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • NECSUS is an international, double-blind peer reviewed journal of media studies connected to NECS (European Network for Cinema and Media Studies) and published by Amsterdam University Press. The journal is multidisciplinary and strives to bring together the best work in the field of media studies across the humanities and social sciences. We aim to publish research that matters and that improves the understanding of media and culture inside and outside the academic community. Each volume includes feature articles, a special thematic section, a video essay section, and a reviews section that covers books, festivals, and exhibitions. NECSUS is targeted to a broad readership of researchers, lecturers, and students, and will be offered as a biannual open access, online journal.

    The journal is published in Open Access, with the following Creative Commons copyright license: Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

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