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The frozen air trail that every automobile leaves when departing


Text included in the publication Líneas Cinéticas

The existence of every event is bound to the interval of time in which it takes place. The resources
which best illustrate these events are the dynamic representations, the ones using the time itself. As in cinema, where movement is literally used in the scene, and despite narrative and film time not coinciding, a tale is built up through the selection of relevant events. It’s a variable time — not necessarily linear — which can even be accelerated or inverted. Nevertheless, in these kinds of temporal representations, time scale is implicit and isn’t explicitly or graphically shown. So the contradiction bursts when trying to represent time with a static image — in other words — trying to reach a materialization for something non-corporeal.

Space representation is relatively easy as it is linked to some axis on which one can travel around in every direction and which can appropriately refer to a space dimension. Visual metonymies
used to represent time provide a referential frame to show happenings taking place at a certain moment in time. Somehow, time is usually associated with a linear metaphor (with a straight or curved stroke). In this sense, chronologies or one-dimensional graphics in which different events take place, are common. Within them, the events are marked with a straight line and its position on the time line is proportional to the time at which they take place and in relation to the other events. Nevertheless, to represent time on a line is wrong, as time is neither a spatial dimension nor a reversible one. Paradoxically, the line is the most used representation of time. Maybe because we consider time as a sort of state of space.

The comic genre has developed a series of iconic resources to represent movement. Because it deals with static images, it cannot represent movement in a natural way, as cinema does. The artist has to translate an impossibility to an effect. For these static representations, the duration of an event is not just told or suggested through literature’s characteristic resources (the conjugation of different verbal forms). Rather, it is shown in the images using kinetic resources. This is the name given to those graphic elements representing displacement inside the frames and which offer the illusion of movement.

The most popular semantic resource for movement in comic are kinetic lines, strokes recounting the path described by an element. However, there are many other resources such as movement decomposition (repetition of a same drawn element), oscillation or vibration lines (short shaped sinuous and parallel lines), impact lines (irregular multi-ended stars), etc...

It’s an elliptical language, which is to say, a language that omits some elements whose meaning can be understood. Despite the fact that these elements are not there, the reader is able to reconstruct it, as it already exists in his logical conscious. By isolating these elements from the rest
of the information, they end up turning into independent objects. Finally, these abstractions are no more the context that gave sense to the main action, but the stars of a new story.

Translation: Brandon Hanick