Title of Paper

Political Activism in Motion: The animated infographics of Patrick Clair



As traditional print modes are increasingly supplanted by digital media, moving image, and the Internet, a question can be raised as to the new forms of communication that have emerged to fill the space traditionally occupied by the political poster, newspaper cartoon, and manifesto. How are political figures irreverently toppled, corrupt intrigues investigated, and alternative ways of operating foregrounded, through the use of animation and digital media? How can the animated sequence be enlisted for purposes of political activism?


In the field of motion graphics, several designers have come to the fore with animated sequences that yoke together text and image to offer searing commentaries on political and social issues. These motion graphics sequences are sometimes initially screened through vehicles such as television, but it is primarily through the circulation powers of the Internet that their messages are disseminated to a wide audience, and passed around via social media networks so that they attain a “viral” status.


This paper will explore several of the political motion graphics sequences directed by Australian designer Patrick Clair, otherwise known for projects such as the Emmy award-winning title sequence for “True Detective”. Taking some cues from Lev Manovich’s analysis of Clair’s “Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus”, this paper will examine Clair’s exposé of the corrupt strategies of the Glencore corporation as well as his interrogation of Wikileaks, examining how words, graphics, and sound are intertwined to critique political and social injustices, and the effect that such sequences have upon audiences as a result.



motion graphics, political activism, text/image, audience reception, social impact



Miriam Harris is a Senior Lecturer in Digital Design at the Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. In 2011 she completed her PhD with a thesis entitled “Words & Images That Move: The relationship between text and drawing in the animated film and graphic novel”. She has had essays published in the book Animated Worlds (2007), and the online Animation Journal, and curated a major exhibition on Czech and Polish animation – “24 Czech & Polish Animators” – that was exhibited in Auckland and Portland, Oregon. She is also an animation practitioner and her experimental animated films Soaring Roaring Diving (2009) and Warsaw, January 2011 (2013), made in collaboration with composer Juliet Palmer, have won awards at the Brooklyn International Film Festival, New York.    





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