Animated Horse Play



Having discussed how it is that artists and audiences may collectively agree on what is happening, this chapter considers how particular means of representation (i.e., employing visually unrealistic puppets) encourage forms of imaginative spectatorship that are playful and pleasurable. We apply Apter’s theory of cognitive synergy to audience’s experience of puppet and horse to describe the overlapping but synaptic identities, and consider ways the puppeteers and production navigate the simultaneous expression of these dual identities to their mutual benefit. We conclude by analysing theories of perceptual affinity proposed by Mori and Cross et al. to suggest that Handspring’s puppets foster strong affective responses because they are “optimally discrepant” from realistic forms of representation.


Cognitive synergy Pleasure Novelty Puppets Uncanny valley 


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Centennial CollegeTorontoCanada

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