Reiki Master, Natalie Dekel

Natalie Dekel (MPhil), Reiki Master/Teacher

MPhil thesis by Natalie Dekel.

Can self-observation of an artist/researcher on her work stand as an academic tool of investigation? I would argue that the process of moving from theoretical analysis to practical exploration of one’s own art work can challenge and enriche any academic research, and can establish better notion of author­ship.

I have conducted a research where the topic of hand-drawn animation served as the basis on which to build up conclusions on the authority of the artist/researcher. Having produced hand-drawn animation films, I examined their place is the contemporary commercial market, and conducted a study of how an animator can express her artistry through art-activity and through academic-activity. Animation was just an ‘excuse’ for this research, since I am an animator myself. In between the lines of the research lies the core investigation of the research, which is: what constitutes self-awareness in modern society?

I focus in this thesis on intuition coupled with analytical system of research, which help to see patterns and extract insights from practice to theory. These insights can then be used as principles on which to develop better practices, in art and in academia. Read the full thesis… (opens as PDF file.)


Popular animation has expanded from its cinematic form into many areas of daily life, such as TV commercials, the internet, and packaging of food and clothes. Its broad popularity becomes significant as it uses its merchandise as a marketing strategy for the production of dreams. Viewers are encouraged to reconstitute themselves through consumption and identification with popular animated imagery.

Although contemporary popular animation has entered a new stage in its development, where it is gradually losing its binary vision of good vs. bad, any process of change takes time. Hence the “old imperialistic commercial American” attitude is still observed in popular animation.

This observation requires examination of the formal characteristics of popular animation that enable the animation industry to reproduce and distribute that ideology through its narratives. Whereas most literature concentrates on historic, commercial and industrial aspects of popular animation, my research focuses on the formal characteristics of popular animation as independent elements of animation film that connect animation films to new production technologies and the wider commercial strategies of popular media.

During the production of my film, critical analysis was applied to practical conditions and observed how purely practical terms such as line and colour can shape an ideological discussion within a film’s narrative. My practice shows that commercial popular animation modes of production are more closely connected to independently produced experimental animation than is appreciated in the critical literature. Both the theoretical findings of a wide range of complex issues within the narratives of popular animation, and the practical findings of the subtlety and diversity within the actual production process suggest a fresh critical approach to contemporary popular animation. This, in turn, suggests the possibility of a new representational language that addresses a demand for more complex and subtle narratives. Read the full thesis… (opens as PDF file.)

4 August 2010. Update 8 Nov 2015.
MPhil thesis by Natalie Dekel.