2 minutes

Stop, don’t go: stop-motion animation creates life from the stuff we throw away

‘They’re like little actors that only ever get to play one role. Everything they do is their swansong.’ 

Stop-motion animation, created by capturing incremental movements of physical objects and creating the illusion of motion when the individual images are played in sequence, has been a distinctive tool in filmmaking since the birth of cinema in the 1890s. Often used for special effects, from the groundbreaking visual tricks of Georges Méliès to the iconic sequence of King Kong scaling the Empire State Building, stop-motion has always enchanted filmmakers and audiences alike. More recently, stop-motion has been used to bring to life the intricate worlds of Aardman Animations (the Wallace and Gromit films, Chicken Run), Laika studios (Coraline, Kubo and the Two Strings), and the Wes Anderson films Fantastic Mr Fox and Isle of Dogs. In this expressive short, the award-winning Scottish animator Ainslie Henderson reflects on the strangely sentimental experience of crafting stop-motion characters from found objects. He finds an ‘inherent sadness’ in his ephemeral creations, which briefly burst to life before being put back on the shelf, returning to their original inanimate state.

Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter Sign up
Follow us on
Technology & the Self
The quantified heart

Artificial intelligence promises ever more control over the highs and lows of our emotions. Uneasy? Perhaps you should be

Polina Aronson & Judith Duportail

Future of Technology
Do platforms work?

The distributed network has gobbled the hierarchical firm. Only by seizing the platform can workers avoid digital serfdom

George Zarkadakis