Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Aoife O'Byrne 

BA [Hons] Animation

Aoife is an animator and filmmaker from Dublin with a passion for art, storytelling and world building. They have experience working in a variety of mediums but particularly enjoy stop motion animation. In production of their mixed media film Stay Awake, they took on multiple roles, from director to animator to model maker.

Stay Awake

My film was inspired by a worldbuilding project I created based on my own nightmares, which I have been writing down and compiling for a number of years. It intends to encapsulate the inescapable off-putting nonsense of dream logic, and the way in which nightmares and their denizens reflect and distort the anxieties of the waking world.

Stop-Motion Design and its Relation to the Uncanny

My thesis seeks to investigate the connection between stop-motion animation and the uncanny. The term uncanny is used to describe that which not only evokes a sense of the strange and off-putting, but that does so through a sense of liminality. It blurs the boundaries between humanity’s perception of the animate and the inanimate, between the familiar and the unfamiliar. Stop-motion animation could be considered to have more in common with live action film than with other forms of animation since it is represented by puppets in a real physical space. Its tangibility as a medium has the ability to represent the world in a unique way that is rather reminiscent of physical objects gaining lifelike movement. This illusion of the inanimate coming to life gives it the ability to unsettle the viewer even when not specifically depicting horror. This thesis considers the definitions of uncanny by scholars such as Ernst Jentsch and Sigmund Freud, as well as a visual analysis of the design and themes present in the films The House (2022) and Coraline (2009). These film analyses specifically focus on the idea of the home made monstrous. In doing so, a connection can be made between the portrayal of the home as a distortion of the familiar and the way in which stop-motion design relates to cinematic horror. Since both evoke a sense of the familiar turned strange, the thesis concludes that stop-motion animation as a medium is innately uncanny.