Animation Television and the Production of Knowledge

The following essay outlines the production of knowledge in watching the periodic animated series of Etele. I laid the outline by visiting the historical background of moving images such as animation. The stepping back in order to move forward, however, emphasizes the importance of producing and production by briefly discussing the unrestrained creative process, which interestingly results to making active consumers who are potential producers of collective knowledge.


Animation started during the popularity of early cinema but there are claims that it started as early as Paleolithic era. In ancient times the effectivity of animated visual illustrations was a helpful tool to communicate an idea. This is how archaeologists and other scientists understand Altamira and Lascaux cave paintings so far. They consider it as a powerful tool that forged a primitive community together.

Producing animation for television resembles this primitive desire of man to hold each other together. However, the big difference between then and now is the capacity of television as a technology to bring people together en masse. But what kind of idea is communicated in television animation? What kind of community? Does it have a definite ideology that aims to build a political community?

In the case of NHK Educational TV or popularly known as Etele – a sister service of NHK General TV that broadcasts educational, cultural, and intellectual programs, the traditional role of television as a propaganda tool is reconsidered here. Rather than making television for consumption their periodical animated shows foster production of knowledge.

The very short Etele animation series about thirty seconds long makes one think upon watching it. The production of this type of animations requires intensive research on behalf of the producers before animators and the entire production team executes it for the public to consume. However, the intention is to stimulate the public viewers to respond actively rather than following the traditional formula of mass media that cultivates passivity. The consumption here is interestingly diverted to activate the capacity of the public viewers to produce knowledge.


This active consumption of TV animation through the Etele results to a productive community where collective production of knowledge is emergent. To conclude, the primitive desire of man to actively bind together is observed in the periodic animation series of Etele, which is the result of empathic and intelligent production practice that exhibition production or curation is important to learn.


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