Strange eyes

17Oct05

A recent posting at BoingBoing led me to several interesting animations produced by the amazing design team at 1stAveMachine.

The animation that the BoingBoing post highlights is a series of scenes of forest vegetation sentience. Though this sequence could be read as simply another example of the “what would happen if we graft an ear onto the back of a mouse” genetic recombination school of design, I like to think about it instead as a kind of representation of the kind of animate forest that becomes available when attention is properly given to the microtonal intentionalities (in the phenomenological sense) of plant life. We look, and it looks back. It doesn’t matter, of course, whether we’re only seeing our own eyes reflected back at us, the fact of the matter is that if we look, the “mind of plant” is there.

Another animation, at least I’m pretty sure that it’s mostly animation (with some actual models thrown in as well), involves brightly colored robots moving through urbanscapes co-populated by cool-kids. I like this vision of a (mostly) unanthropomorphic robot future — as brightly colored as if a pack of Speak & Spells has come to life. It’s nice to see robots that don’t subscribe to any of the three or so classic representations that have been foisted upon them: 1) Dirty scrapheap utility devices, some of which are humanoid (Star Wars, Robocop); 2) techno-slick modernist minimalist pieces of humanoid boredom (I Robot); and 3) abstract disembodied robot brains (Alphaville and 1,000 episodes of Star Trek). If this clip represents the robot future, I think I could live in it.

Here’s another of the creations from the set of futuristic moments that were on offer.  It’s not quite as impressive as the animations, but it does give some idea of the technique of this design group: begin with an image that is representative of the everyday and then add the technological uncanny into it. This particular one reminds me of the Bradbury story where the mold growing in the telephone switchbox gains sentience and begins calling people on its own.


The original BoingBoing post.



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