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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton July 25, 2017

Analyzing the fictional worlds of Pixar with an eye on digital humanities

  • Daniel Candel EMAIL logo , Marta Giuliani Pedraza , Slavka Madarova , Paula Rubio Cáceres , Marta Ruiz Sanz , María Victoria Troyano Fernández and Kristīne Treija
From the journal Semiotica


The present article tries to close the gap between the digital humanities and traditional criticism. It does so by moving between distant and close reading, constructing visualizations, opening perspectives for coding, and analyzing a large corpus: the Pixar movies up to The Good Dinosaur. This is done with the help of a tool of analysis which studies fictional worlds and is wedged between value and method. After introducing the tool (Section 2), the main Pixar characters are placed within a spatiotemporal visualization of the tool and their semantic distribution is interpreted. This includes the organization of main characters, antagonists and remaining characters, and the gendering of characters and semantic spaces (Section 3). The article then discusses the limits of allocating characters in the visual diagram, above all by focusing on vertical and horizontal relationships, and complex semantic patterns (Section 4). It then discusses the differential aspects which make of Inside Out a different movie within the Pixar corpus (Section 5). The article closes by summarizing the different semantic patterns of Pixar movies, and by reflecting on the place of high abstraction, textual and visual, in this scheme, as well as on the complementarity of digital and traditional strategies.


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Published Online: 2017-7-25
Published in Print: 2017-9-26

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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