Lapis Lazuli. Politics and Aqueous Contingency in the Animation Steven Universe

André Vasques Vital

Abstract


Steven Universe (2013-), the North American cartoon produced by Cartoon Network, has been receiving attention from the media, the public and academia for its break with the relative norms of programs directed towards child audiences. It is the first animated series created by a woman (Rebecca Sugar) on Cartoon Network, and one of the first to centralize queer character narratives, breaking gender normative binarism. The present essay analyzes how the series further problematizes the questions of gender and sexuality by breaking with the binary norms related to the separation of nature and culture in Western ontology by means of the character Lapis Lazuli and her hydrokinetic powers. Mapping Lapis Lazuli's operation suggests that water emerges as an anti-colonial, eco-queer and posthumanist element, highlighted by her active power in the constitution of material and identity, breaking the dichotomies from the plurality. Water is the element that unites human and non-human bodies through material affinities, participates in the configurations of difference, and is the constitutive force of local and planetary space, beyond the fundamental contingency in the creation and destruction of ideas, political projects and feelings, furthering a more complex comprehension of its presence in everyday life.

Keywords


Water; Animation; Steven Universe; Eco-Queer Theory; Material Feminism

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/8401

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