The Uncanny World of Potter's Mirror

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


In this proposed paper, I will discuss my current animated project, a short, animated film, Potter’s Mirror. The film is the creative play and reflection space in which I explore the theoretical ideas of my academic writing, the ontological uncanny through animation techniques.

The film Potter’s Mirror seeks to build on a tradition of re-animating the animal body. We see taxidermy used widely throughout film and television effects in animatronic form even today and, of course, there is a great tradition of using animal parts within animation in the works of filmmakers such as Jan Svankmajer and Ladislas Starevich. As well as building on this tradition the film seeks, through animation techniques, to explore the uncanniness of being. What does the re-animation of the material of the dead object say about our experience of ourselves? And what does the colliding of the two punctums say about our sense of agency?

The focus of this paper will be on one of the animation techniques used within the film Potter’s Mirror, that of, animated taxidermy. The reanimated animal body is intended to bring into focus two punctums. The first being the Barthian punctum of the ‘that-has-been’ (Barthes, 1980), the punctum of time caught up within the photograph, the past haunting the present. The second punctum being the never-has-been (Jenkins, 2013), that is, the magical punctum of animation, life brought from the inanimate object dependent upon the film apparatus to bring them into being. In the case of animated taxidermy, bringing them back into being through the animation technique. This ‘clash’ of punctums allows us to examine further the boundaries of agency and being. This then, enabling an exploration of animations direct relationship with the uncanny, that being not through its surface tropes but at the core of its form.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2023
EventSociety for Animation Studies 34th Annual Confeence - Rowan University, Glassboro, United States
Duration: 12 Jun 202316 Jun 2023


ConferenceSociety for Animation Studies 34th Annual Confeence
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Katherine has taught animation for twenty years at Teesside University and specialises in 2D and stop-motion animation. Her films and writings use animation as a tool to explore animations the ontological uncanny, the human-machine anxiety. Her most recent conference publications have examined the uncanny and its relationship to animation. That is, animations unique revealing of the uncanny as the core of our ‘being’ as well as our heterochronemic anxiety also revealed in the animation technique through its further revealing of a loss of agency within time itself.


Dive into the research topics of 'The Uncanny World of Potter's Mirror'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this