BIG BANG BIG BOOM, an animation by BLU


BLU, the Bologna-based street artist and wall-art animator who is responsible for the amazing COMBO and MUTO videos has recently released BIG BANG BIG BOOM, another masterpiece.  As with his other work, BLU investigates the relationships between animation, artwork, and bringing urban space to life — this time using the twin tropes of evolution and catastrophic destruction as the framework upon which meaning takes its shape.  The video begins with a black background upon which a few drips of white paint appear (the quantum potential in which something appears out of absolute nothing), a minor-key preface to the explosion that follows.  By invoking the cosmological origin BLU manages to simultaenously call attention to both the miracle of existence itself, and to the miracle of creation enabled by that especially fortuitous byproduct of evolutionary forces, the faculty of imagination.  Okamoto Taro’s famous dictum — “Art is explosion!” — certainly comes to mind here, but what’s most interesting about BIG BANG BIG BOOM is the way that the double moment of origin — cosmological and artistic — is linked together;  the moment of the Big Bang ends up following a historical timeline that leads inexorably to the very moment at which BLU ends up dripping the opening notes of BIG BANG BIG BOOM onto the urban canvas, an act that positions BIG BANG BIG BOOM as both the alpha and omega of the creative flowering of cosmic history.

While the link that’s drawn between the creation of the cosmos and the imaginative force of animation celebrates the ludic aspects of humanity’s creative potential,  the floating plastic bag that turns into a jellyfish signals the entrance of a darker subtext.  Plastic as a quality implies the malleability and transmutability that is the foundation of art and creativity; however, plastic as a substance forms the greater part of the non-biodegradable human waste stream and is the foundation of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  The animation may be whimsical, but it’s also full of the violence of concretized space that’s drowning in plastic litter.  In one of the most telling sequences of the video, an animated fish gets sucked into a plastic bottle, which then floats out into the sea.  When the bottle washes back onto shore it is rapidly and repeatedly transformed in a sequence that is essentially a stop-motion medley of discarded plastic containers.  Finally the bottle is transformed into a sea turtle with a plastic shell, that then drops a plastic egg (even the process of birth has become artificial) that is stolen by a plastic beach spider.  The beach spider rolls the egg down the beach, accumulating detritus like a garbage version of Katamari Damacy until finally an enormous plastic bundle of trash, as large as a portable toilet, has accrued.  Eventually the egg emerges from the garbage to hatch a sperm-like snake that then evolves into a lizard that is eaten by a delivery van that is transformed into a dinosaur.  Is it this a commentary on fossil fuel consumption?  Potentially, but whether there’s an intentional statement here or not, the violent and wonderful process of evolution continues, the dinosaurs are wiped out by a comet striking the earth, and then mammals and eventually humans emerge.  The appearance of humans in the the video coincides with the the technological development of weapons that are used in a round-robin process of self destruction until, finally, the technology of eradication is born — a phallic nuclear missile that explodes and produces a white flash that signals the annihilation of all life on Earth.

On the one hand, BIG BANG BIG BOOM seems to point to a hopeless eternal return in which evolutionary violence and technological development lead to annihilation; one the other hand, there’s a supremely hopeful quality to this video as well — the transformative power that’s evident in the animation itself.  The ability to imagine evolutionary history, to illustrate the possibility of our own destruction in a self-referential fashion that allows us to see the part we’re playing in it, is also the possibility of the production of the necessary self consciousness that will be needed to extricate ourselves from the spiraling gyre.    However, there is another, perhaps less comforting, option offered by BLU’s animation.  If humanity does manage its own final and total extermination, then relics like BIG BANG BOOM will be the sole remainder of the species-life that once existed, the petrified skeletons of the creative seed that is one of the only redemptions in the midst of the massive destruction that, as a species, we’re currently executing on this planet.


4 Responses to “BIG BANG BIG BOOM, an animation by BLU”

  1. Very nice video. But if you want my advice: don’t write too much txt. The sheer amount of txt stopped me from reading the txt, and I love reading :) I just ended up reading your links in pink (eg Katamari damacy).

    • 2 Trane DeVore

      Sorry that the amount of writing overwhelmed you, but it’s your choice whether you want to read or not. I choose to write a little bit about whatever I put up because there are already 10,000 sites reposting videos like these, and I don’t want to simply repost without adding something new. Thanks for the advice, but I’m not planning on joining the ranks of sites that are nothing but quick repostings and collections of links to other sites — that’s what tumblr is for.

  2. You’re absolutely right. The world doesn’t need another tumblr ;) But I love having one, though.
    You’re a good writer. But large parts of your first and some parts of your second paragraph are merely descriptive. I’ve already seen on the video what you’re telling me in the txt. The meaning you derive from the video, your thoughts, your ideas, your voice, now THAT’s interesting.

    • 4 Trane DeVore

      I suppose all of that extra description is a holdover from my graduate training in literary analysis. “Always back up your claims with evidence from the text” is the primary dictum at work there, and a hard habit to break — even when it might sometimes be useful to do so. Glad you found the ideas and voice to be interesting!

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