The aesthetics of animation has come to occupy a significantly expanded social and political role, moving well beyond the sphere of either children’s entertainment or avant-garde filmmaking. We now encounter digital animations, 3D simulations and computational models in contexts ranging from ecological activism, to human rights law, to military training regimes. As rhetorical tool, affective trigger and imaginative technique, the strategic use of the animated image has become a powerful means to both “re-animate” the past and speculatively predict or envision the future. Digital and analogue animations intervene in life processes at both the intimate level of the body and the expansive scale of urban design and planetary phenomena. In relation to living systems, animation may constitute an effort to capture or simulate that which already exists, or an attempt to bring into being that which could not exist otherwise. Given this apparent contemporary proliferation of animated life, this symposium will re-consider the place of animation and simulation within visual, material and political culture.