‘It’s Not-You, It’s Not-Me’: Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann’s The Lost Thing and the Liminality of Donald Winnicott’s ‘Transitional Object’

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference presentation/ephemera

Abstract

In Playing and Reality (1971), Donald Winnicott describes the infant’s journey from breast-feeding, to thumb sucking, through to his or her first beloved toy, and thereafter out into the cultural-symbolic field. In so doing, Winnicott outlines three modes of experience. The first relates to the child’s inner, intrapersonal relations (the child’s understanding of itself); the second, its outer, interpersonal relations (an awareness of others); and finally a third space, one that is tasked with “keeping inner and outer reality separate yet interrelated.”¬ This last, intermediate space requires the presence of something that bridges the gap between illusion and disillusion – the child’s first possession, a transitional, ‘not-me’ object. Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann’s animated film, The Lost Thing (2010), features one such object. A young boy happens upon a fantastic ‘thing,’ which he immediately recognises as being familiar, but not entirely belonging to his world. He then takes it upon himself to care for it and find it a home. This ‘lost thing’ is akin to Winnicott’s transitional object – something that provides a connection, independent of its actual presence, to the first loved and lost object (the breast). By examining The Lost Thing in light of Winnicott’s theory, this paper tries to find its own place – a place somewhere between ‘not-you’ and ‘not-me.’
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 5 Jul 2011
Event6th Annual Limina Conference: Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies - The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia
Duration: 5 Jul 2011 → …
http://www.limina.arts.uwa.edu.au/conference#eleven

Conference

Conference6th Annual Limina Conference
CountryAustralia
CityCrawley
Period5/07/11 → …
Internet address

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