In_Organisms is an exploration of fictioning and embodied intelligence. Beginning as an idea to create a working sculptural algae bioreactor concept, the project evolved through the material constraints I put myself under, of recycling PET drinks bottles as the primary material of its production, into a pure speculative exercise.
After modelling algorithmically an idea of the algae tower, I realised that I would need an environment in which to situate them. This bore out as a gothic-styled laboratory, providing a place within which to craft and challenge a mythos.
I decided that a short film would be a good medium to create a narrative that would engage with topics that were beginning to open up, such as the mythology of the solitary genius, whom would be an absent character within the scene.
The main thrust would be carried by a conversation between two AI, one made of Algae and one made of Fungi, who would bicker amongst themselves within the space that they inhabit. I saw the fungi as the natural foil to the algae as in the natural world, fungi are the communicators and distributors underneath the forest floor. They connect the plants together and in turn, grow symbiotically with the health of the forest they tend to.
With my interest in systems, especially the food and labour systems, I could see this conversation as akin to many other dichotomies. The algae would be the producer and the fungi a distributor, similar to the farm/supermarket and worker/capitalist relationships of today. Within the viva, the symbiosis of director and distributor when relating to film was also brought up, something that might be relevant to engage with in the making of the film.
Further to this can be brought in more of the thematic elements of gothic, and an exploration of the digital gothic. Including fear and mystery off technology, implementation of creepypasta and ideas of corruption and contagion.
There is also a depth to be explored between two characters inhabiting a space. And in this context, the space, one that I have constructed for them and that in which narratively they in turn have been constructed. This could lead to references with Douglas Adams’ puddle story, an allegory about the argument of intelligent design. Adams, along with Terry Pratchett, Kurt Vonnegut and the works of Monty Python and Matt Groening will be the major inspiration for the writing of the film. The medium itself is rife for visual humour and there is a great ocean to plumb when engaging in philosophic dialogues between the two characters. In the Viva itself, the referent I thought of was the philosophers’ football sketch in Monty Python, where the object of the game being played is ignored in the most part in preference for an inquisition into the meaning of the game itself or what it was to be a player within it, until Archimedes cries “Eureka!” and promptly takes the ball and scores.
Philosophic dialogues are a key theme in the work of Douglas Hofstadter, of whom I am aware, but unread, and was mentioned would be useful. To this I would be applying the idea of improv scriptwriting, something that is recognisably present in Matt Groening’s “The Simpsons” and “Futurama”. I often refer to season 4 of The Simpsons as being perhaps the greatest single season of any television show. If one were to consider a show to a band and a season to an album, this would be Groening’s Abbey Road (Other Beatles albums are acceptable). One of the elements of this opinion is that the quality of the writing and performance at times transcend the medium, and almost strip away the animated skin to where I feel I am sat in the writers’ room, seeing the group in the throes of an improv game, trying to outdo the ridiculousness of each other’s “yes, and…” whilst pissing themselves with laughter.
Here I can address another question put to me, that of what the constraints of moving image give to the conceptual and narrative framing. The sight gags in Groening’s work and Monty Python will certainly be a source to draw from when creating the visual language for my animation, and I am looking forawrd to the task of storyboarding it, working in a more interwoven fashion than I have so far that has been much more oriented to creation of single assets and identities.