Recent film scholarship has turned to the kinetic element of cinema as a way of bridging analog and digital practice, often latching on to animation as the vehicle for describing this relationship. This study thus explores the origins of animation in cinema from 1908-1921 in an attempt to construct a meaningful connection between old and new animated media. Two filmmakers in particular pioneered the first animated films at this time: Winsor McCay and Emile Cohl. These graphic artists illustrated the ability of the animated image, even in its most nascent stages in film history, to
negotiate a personalized expression of reality through a myriad of technological and sociocultural shifts which threatened to efface their artistry. Positioned between contemporary and archaic forms of animated media, their work functions as a paradigm of how to understand the animated image through the three cinematic components of screen, simulation, and situation.