This article brings together the history of US independent animation production in the 1970s and 1980s and feminist social reproduction theory in these same decades in order to understand independent animation in the context of an increasingly precarious and feminized post-Fordist creative economy. The article builds a composite portrait of independent animation at that time, anchored by films by six artists who navigated this economy at its nascency. It proposes the “homeworker” as an alternative figure to the common categories of “freelancer” or “independent artist” as part of a feminist analysis of living and working conditions that sustain independent artistic practice. By framing independent women’s animation as a site of speculation about creative possibilities of social reproduction, the article contributes to expanding scholarship on gendered labor in creative and cultural production.
Homeworkers: Independent Animation and the Feminization of Creative Labor, 1970–90
Alla Gadassik is an associate professor of media history and theory at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Her research bridges the disciplines of cinema studies, history of technology, and genealogies of media practice. Particular areas of interest include the history of cinematography, film editing, and animation methods as they transformed across different disciplines invested in rendering movement. She is currently completing a book on media kinaesthetics and working on a project on eco-materialist approaches to animation.
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Alla Gadassik; Homeworkers: Independent Animation and the Feminization of Creative Labor, 1970–90. Feminist Media Histories 1 July 2021; 7 (3): 53–81. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2021.7.3.53
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