Timeframing: The Art of Comics on Screens

Repetitive Logics

Manovich cites Zbignew Rybczynski’s Tango and the way in which it composites multiple film loops as an extreme example of the loop as narrative engine, one which subjects “live action footage to the logic of animation.”

Another significant example we could cite are the films of Godfrey Reggio—films like Koyaanisqatsi and their sequels, which are noted for their compression and expansion of time. While Koyaanisqatsi doesn’t rely on literal loops of film, it does rely on repetitive motion, and in that way it’s perhaps even more relevant to digital comics. The type of repetition we see in Koyaanisqatsi’s shots could be described as algorithmically repetitive—what we’re seeing is a process producing a tightly constrained set of visual possibilities, even though no two frames of a given shot are identical. 

In a similar way, loops in a digital comic don’t have to be strictly repetitive sequences of images; they need only represent the state of the story over a limited range of time. This temporal restriction, whether achieved via traditional loops or algorithmically triggered animations, does the same work that print comic panels do: it segments time for the purposes of storytelling.

This page has paths:

This page references: