Tag Archives: Box

G for Gefulltengeist and H for Hedgegrove

Our duo of stories this month bring us a bit of background for both our unnamed narrator and Chadwick Hedgegrove.  We also get a ghost story, so that’s a plus.

G for Gefülltengeist

The Gefulltengeist story is one that I feel better about of the two stories we have this month.  Part Faust legend, part way of understanding depression, part Dracula. It’s a nice story.

H for Hedgegrove

The Hedgegrove story ended up being a bit different from what I was originally planning, but I think it works.  The dead child may be a bit much, though, especially as this is going to be the primary look into Hedgegrove’s character.  I do think it helps a bit that it’s not out of guilt that he locked himself away, but more an unending grief.

Introduction and A for Atlas

As part of a writing warm-up/rabbit hole/new years project/idea machine I’ve decided to begin working on writing an Encyclopedia.  Not just any encyclopedia, but an encyclopedia on things that do not, nor ever will, exist.  The plan is from now until the end of the year, every two weeks I’ll come up with a new entry.  For now, here is the introduction and the “A” entry.  Enjoy.

 

Introduction

 

So I’ve decided on a bit of a “House of Leaves” set-up for this, mostly to explore options of what I can do after finishing it all this year.  We’ll see how it all turns out, but let me know (as always) of any ideas or thoughts you have regarding it.

 

A for Atlas

The 2015 Ten

I don’t much care for Top 10 lists.  Personally, as I’ve said before, I find it immensely difficult to compare a movie that’s seriously flawed but enjoyable with a film that’s technically enthralling but narratively lacking with good clean genre fun.  How can you claim that any one of those films are “better” than the other, and why do we even feel the need to make film viewership into a contest?  Added on top of this all is the fact that I don’t see very many new movies- I can’t afford them.

So instead of giving you a Top 10 list of movies this year, I’m giving you the ten movies that I’ve seen this year that- for better or for worse- have stuck out to me.  These Ten movies, in no particular order, are:

  1. Coherence (2013): A really fascinating science fiction film about parallel universes with Xander from Buffy in it. One of my favorites I’ve seen this year.

  2. Kafka (1991): Surprisingly biographical.  Even though it’s doubtful Kafka ever stumbled upon a hidden giant brain workshop, the piece manages to capture the personage of its subject. Bravo Soderbergh.

  3. Bridge of Spies (2015): A very confused movie.  Half Coen Brothers tragicomedy, half serious Spielberg history.  A good non-offensive movie to watch with family and say “That certainly was a movie” afterwards.

  4. Willow Creek (2013): A found-footage horror movie that tries its best to answer some meta-filmic questions about the genre and packs in a few scares.  Now to justify the existence of the found-footage horror genre.

  5. Journey to the West (2013): I am two years behind of everything. A Steven Chow film that doesn’t reach the zany genius of “Kung Fu Hustle”, but also doesn’t get into the zany shallowness of Shaolin Soccer.

  6. The Zero Theorem (2013): Oh Terry Gilliam.  If you close your eyes there are the specks of a decent movie here.  Unfortunately they were left as only absurd and stylish specks.

  7. The Martian (2015): More survivor story than science fiction, Damon commands enough presence for his portion alone on the Red Planet, with plenty of non-character spouting Science Fiction on Earth and in space.

  8. Inside Out (2015): Pixar came back swinging with this one.  A story that manages to show the good and the bad of every emotion, especially sadness and its lasting effect on memory. Neat!

  9. The Babadook (2014): This is a spooky movie!  Meditations on single-parenthood, grief, and madness all come crashing together in the story of an Australian Boogeyman.  Well plotted and well done.

  10. Spring Breakers (2012): This might just be my favorite film that I saw this year.  A Morality Tale, A Gang war story, a Selena Gomez vehicle. A nightmarish joy. Exhibit A:

    I rest my case.

RUNNERS UP, OR “I ALSO SAW THESE THIS YEAR”

  1. The Tenth Victim (1965):  Italian film about two sexy assassins in a murder TV game show who are hunting each other. An enjoyable romp, and always good to see Marcello Mastroianni.
  2. Sound of Noise (2010): A thin story, but interesting enough for a police procedural about anarchist musicians.  Mostly a vehicle for the Stomp-like music sequences, which are executed well.
  3. Berberian Sound Studio (2012): The sound-based horror I was looking for, with plenty of personal anxiety, feeling way over your head, and isolation. Also Toby Jones!  Fun for the whole family!
  4. Wet Hot American Summer (2001): A movie that is the sum of its parts, but it’s made up of some good parts.  Of the same caliber at least as “Airplane II: The Sequel”, if not “Hot Shots! Part Deux”.
  5. The Exterminating Angel (1962): Bunel’s best continues to be L’Age d’Or, however this is a wonderful film about rich people having silly, stupid problems.  A good conceit, and offering plenty of subtext without being too serious.

100 SpoOOooOOOookier things

Its that time when every boy and girl’s thoughts turn to ghosties and ghoulies, and just in case you can’t think of anything spooky as a jumping off point this year for Halloween, then here’s a new list of 100 SpoOOooOOOooky things!  Reader beware, you’re in for a scare!

1)    A weed-strewn yard outside an old, rickety house.  You climb the crumbling steps to the door, splintered and peeling.  As you close the door, the knob falls out with a THUD and you realize you’re trapped in this ruin.
2)    Flesh blobs
3)    Portraits of children
4)    Lampreys
5)    Human face, porpoise body.
6)    Knife fingers
7)    Circus clowns from beyond the grave
8)    Teddy Bears
9)    Hell Ibis
10)    Within the ruined house you find a tattered rug, its design eaten away by moths and bleach, and portraits in an equally sorry state.  No matter where in the foyer you move, though, the eyes of the portraits follow you. The unblinking, tattered eyes of portraits of those long dead.
11)    Maggot rice
12)    Unknown VHS tapes
13)    A House Directed by David Lynch
14)    Blood Pudding
15)    Human face, mole rat body.
16)    Giant Spiders
17)    Laughing Vultures
18)    Screaming Turtles
19)    Forest Stalking Bloodsucker
20)    You wander through the hallways, the old pipes and floorboards groaning under the weight of living feet after so many years.  Finally you find the kitchen.  Any food has been eaten away by insects and vermin, and all that is left is a lingering smell of rot and mold.  As you wander through, realizing there is no door outside here, a raccoon breaks through the cabinets and screams.
21)    A Pokémon so real you throw up
22)    A House Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara
23)    Racism
24)    Centipedes
25)    Human face, cricket body.
26)    Grinning Ocelot
27)    Dead Mice
28)    Kidney Stew
29)    Unrelenting Heat
30)    Before you leave the kitchen you decide to try and get some water.  The pipes grind, the faucet shakes, but only a thin stream of rust-filled goo falls out.  You walk through more hallways, keeping an eye out for holes in the floor and piles of rubble.  Every faucet you find delivers the same result: rust.  The thirst and panic sets in: You may never leave.
31)    Suburbs
32)    Ticks
33)    Video frames skipping
34)    Talking Heads
35)    Human face, emu body
36)    Mountain of Butter
37)    Killing Gerbil
38)    Ghost Pancake
39)    Unblinking Eyes
40)    You scramble out of the kitchen and into the main dining hall.  A Giant portrait eaten away by moths looms over you, and the dust on the table has not been disturbed in years.  You grasp the decaying curtains over the windows and pull them open, hoping to find a way of escape but instead finding a lattice of ironwork holding the glass panes between you and the overgrown backyard.  You begin to cough in the dust and mildew that was disturbed, as spiders start to climb down your hands.
41)    Suffocating darkness
42)    A house directed by David Cronenberg
43)    Giygas
44)    Blinding Light
45)    Human face, eel body.
46)    Melting Skin
47)    Institutionalized Sexism
48)    Giant Smiles
49)    Tongue Sandwich
50)    The sun starts to set, the shadows creep in.  You try the light switches: Nothing.  Of course nothing, in a house this old.  You pull out drawers over the dining room, kitchen, hallways, searching for a flashlight or a candle or anything to light to keep searching.  The shadows creep in, the light fades, your search is fruitless.
51)    Emoticons
52)    Ventriloquism
53)    A House Directed by F.W Murnau
54)    Vampire Clams
55)    Human face, scorpion body
56)    Tapeworms
57)    Giggling Sloths
58)    Murder Lettuce
59)    Barracuda-Piranha abomination
60)    You find your way by moonlight to the back of the house: a storage room.  Boxes, sheets, broken furniture, and the ever-present dust.  Your cough has only gotten worse, and you sit down on one of the sturdier boxes to catch your breath.  As you sit you can tell there is no door here.  You know deep down that the architect of this house, for reasons that seemed very good at the time, only built one entrance and one exit.  You sigh.  You look for something, anything, to break down the door. As you shakily get up on your feet and move toward a likely candidate, a large sculpture of sorts, you hear the floorboards creak. Then break. Then crumble.  You fall.
61)    Unhappy seals
62)    Peeple: The Person-rating app
63)    Satanic Numerology
64)    Gelflings
65)    Human face, mammoth body.
66)    Thousands and thousands of snakes.
67)    Cavities
68)    Zombie Cactus
69)    Blood and Gefilte fish
70)    CRACK. You’re in the house’s cellar now, bits of shattered floorboards sticking out of your leg.  The worst part is you know you should feel something, but instead the leg is numb. You try to stand, but your injured leg buckles and you collapse in heap.  The cellar is dark, you only have the moonlight from the hole you fell through and another small rectangle of a window far from you to light the way.  You fumble in your pocket for your phone: it broke during the fall.  The realization that no one is coming to help flood over you, of course that could also be a concussion.
71)    Parental Disapproval.
72)    Larval Ant-Lions
73)    Microscopic Parasites
74)    Terrorist threats
75)    Human face, pig body
76)    Mama Fortuna from The Last Unicorn
77)    Subterranean Mutants
78)    Murdering hillbilly turkey dinner
79)    The Mummy’s Curse
80)    Hours pass. You drift in and out of consciousness and feel a warm pounding in your head. A steely taste grows in your mouth, and your vision is flecked by tiny red dots.  You have to get out. In a rare strike of fortune your eyes have adjusted to the darkness, and you can see some outlines of shelves and boxes.  There’s nothing you can use as a crutch, but you can see a tarp a few feet away.  You crawl toward it, feeling the fractured wood fragments digging deeper in but not feeling the pain associated with it. You get to the tarp and pull it out: Step one completed.  Step two is going to be much more difficult: use the chucks of wood in your leg as splints to keep your leg straight.
81)    The Golden Corral
82)    A House directed by George Romero
83)    E.T the Video Game
84)    Abandoned Slaughterhouses
85)    Human face, Andean condor body
86)    The constant surveillance of the NSA
87)    Grey Goo Jelly
88)    Bratz dolls and everything they represent
89)    The Witch’s Thyme
90)    The good news is that you’re able to put a minimal amount of weight on your leg.  The bad news is that the numbness is gone, and all pain has returned.  It’s not the sharp pain you were thinking it’d be, but rather a slowly expanding heat that crawls through your blood.  You try and stand a few times before finally being able to support yourself. You grasp at the walls and boxes and slowly make your way through the darkness to the small rectangular window.  You grit your teeth, open the window, and start to crawl through.
91)    The Abominable Snowman
92)    Deep sea fish
93)    A House directed by Ralph Bakshi
94)    Flying Monkeys
95)    Human face, Tamarin body
96)    Humanity’s way of justifying its monstrosities.
97)    Boo Berry Cereal
98)    Brain Pizza
99)    Frankenstein’s 5-Alarm Chili
100)    Tears run down your face.  Your head pounds, your leg burns, your blood runs thin.  With a final grasp at the thistle-riddled back lawn of the old house, you’re out.  You turn over and stare up at the stars. You breathe and think of how nice it would be to rest there for the night. Your head goes quiet, all around you silence passes over.  Silence and the darkness of the night.  You feel tiny pinpricks of insect legs starting to crawl over you, but soon even that fades.  All that’s left now is the stars, and one by one each one goes out.

I’m Tired and My Head Hurts

Here’s a seldom seen one from my time in Boulder.  Part of that is because I’ve never thought very highly of it, part of it is because it’s completely made up of copyrighted material that I don’t necessarily want to break the copyright on. At any rate, it’s a “Film Essay” that I made about the themes of loneliness and alienation in “Meshes of the Afternoon”, “The Cool World”, “Ornette: Made in America”, and “Jeanne Dielmann 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles”.  Let’s take a look at it and see if I’m right about it being sort of boring:

I’m Tired and My Head Hurts from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

No I’m not.  The disjointed nature of the film not only helps keep something like this interesting (I had never heard of film essays before, since then I’ve seen a few and so I know it’s a thing and something that could be sort of neat), but it also helps convey a lot of the ideas on these films and how they can connect visually and metaphorically in a scattered but understandable approach.  Outside of the realm of Video Essay, though, I also think that if nothing else this is a good study on alienation through information, as I included so many layers of video, audio, and text, that it overwhelms the viewer when they can’t keep up with everything (plus, the minute in complete blackness is a nice touch).  So in the end, I suppose I learned today that one of the films I had previously thought was pointless is actually sort of nice.  What did you learn today?

Once Upon a Time in Wisconsin

I hate Kraft American Singles.  They are not cheese. They are some sort of hideous amalgamation of chemicals that taste horrible, just awful.  So I decided to animate a story on them.  This came form a writing warm-up I did on my own time, I can’t even remember when or what larger piece I was working on at the time, but I remember that I just wrote this quickly in an afternoon.  Later I decided to adapt it for a class on narratives; I’d tell you the exact assignment but I can’t really even remember that anymore.  But I do remember this piece, and I do remember the horrible smell of cheese as I scanned each horrible sliver.  Was it worth the torture?  Let’s take a look:

Once Upon a Time in Wisconsin from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

Yes. Yes it was.  I enjoy this piece immensely, and I’d put this in my “under-appreciated and unseen classics” category.  First I actually enjoy the weird effect the paint on cheese has, as it gives it a strange bit of depth, like acetone sheets if they were yellow blocks of maybe-milk.  I also think the narration adds a nice touch to the story (I have a love-hate relationship with my performances, but this one is alright), adding a menacing twilight-zone-esque feel to the tale of Marty turning into cheese.  I’m not sure if there’s anything I’d change about it , it’s far from perfect, but for a project made for an unknown assignment it turned out just fine. It’s also a style, the photomontage, that I’d like to revisit with another story.  I think it’s a form that could use another go around and certainly something easy to do now that I’m all on my own.  How about you, internet?  How do like this odd little cheese-story?  How do you like Kraft American Singles?  What do you think the title of this piece should have been, because I’ll admit the title is pretty terrible?

Clean Garage

It’s strange how often the pieces that were Plan B’s ended up being pieces that I’ve either become known for or have really embraced as personal favorites.  My Name is Ward Armstrong and I Travel Through Time was a bit of a plan B project (and now it’s one of my most popular works) and Clean Garage, embedded below, was a Plan B and it’s one of my favorites.  I can’t remember what the Plan A was or what the exact nature of the assignment was, but basically one afternoon I got together a small crew and one actress and we made ended up making this.

Clean Garage from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

I see Clean Garage as one of my unsung classics. It’s got loneliness, claustrophobia, a bit of wackiness, and a some sort of Polish theme song.  I feel it’s a bit difficult to know exactly what’s going on (I chalk that up to not getting enough footage or definition on the little chunk of gum attached to the wires), but the obsession and the confining emptiness of the space really work to create on heck of an eerie atmosphere.  This atmosphere is, of course, thrown in contrast with what might be my most playful title sequence yet which results in an odd and wonderful bit of cognitive dissonance.  Also, as opposed to a whole lot of my other films, the sound mix here isn’t too low or too overpowering (I would say that this is thanks to us shooting in an almost entirely empty garage).  What about you, internet-land? What are your feelings on Clean Garage?  Do you know that’s a piece of gum on the wires? Do you believe that she isn’t able to reach it? WHAT THE HELL WAS SHE PLANNING ON DOING TO THOSE RECEIPTS?

|Square|

One of the last films I made of my sophomore year of college was meant to be a documentary project (I don’t remember the exact assignment, but at that point it didn’t really matter).  Mind you, this was when my school had gone completely bankrupt and had, for all intents and purposes, closed down and so this was also looking like it’d be the last film I’d ever make at CSF.  So I decided to make a documentary on carpet. I also wanted to merge this documentary with my own growing form of non-linear story-telling to create something as scattered as the square patterns on the floor.  Let’s take a look at what I did, shall we:

|Square| from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

So that’s that.  The reason I chose this carpet, if you didn’t catch it, is that it was  not only something unique to the school (the place) but it was also a suitable enough anachronism to fully capture every bit of  my time in New Mexico and at the College of Santa Fe.    To the extent of capturing a time and place, I’d say the film is a success.  To the extent of capturing a bit of what makes this carpet so interesting, I’d say it does half of the job.  Having three people talk somewhat confusedly I’d say sort of captures the confusion of it, and the movement over the carpet was a good idea in theory.  However, once again, my tendency to play fast and loose with color correction sort of ruined the psychedelic  scheme of the flooring, which is one of the things that makes it most interesting (I’m also not sure if I was sold on white balancing yet.  I am now, don’t worry).  The sound also sounds rather muffled, and I’m pretty sure it has to do with my technical lack of understanding (this is just one step in the journey that showed me its better to work with a crew of people who knew what they were doing, rather than alone).  It’s still a neat piece, and currently its the last documentary I made (though there are some others I’d like to make eventually), and after returning to CSF I was told that many people thought this documentary should be required viewing (and I’d also say that the larger and more immersive you can get this piece, the more spectacular it will be).

100 SpooOooOOOooky Things

1. On a dark night in a carriage going across a remote mountain range in eastern Europe there is a scratching at the door. You had heard a strange monster inhabits these parts, but those are just superstitions, right? “Rat-a-tat” goes the scratching in return, accompanied with a cluster of nervous bubbles that begin popping in your stomach.
2. Spiders
3. Barracudas

4. You ask for the carriage to stop and ask the driver about the scratching. “Little English” says the driver before patting the horses “Good horses”.  You nod: It was just a tree. You’re working yourself up too much.  That, of course, doesn’t explain this deep feeling that not only are you being watched, but that you can almost make out the smiling face of your assailant in the forest.
5. Bumblebees: THEY JUST DON’T MAKE SENSE.
6. The Rhinoceros that just can’t stop laughing
7. Gangrene
8. Eyes.

9. The carriage has stopped at an inn for the night. The scratching has followed you.  In your room you brush your teeth and get ready to sleep: It’s a tad early, but you and the carriage driver head out early in the morning.  You lean down to spit, and look back into the mirror.  There, standing behind you, is a cloaked figure with a bleeding club. “The driver is dead. There is no escape. You belong to us now” the figure says before knocking you over the head. You descend into blackness.
10. The look of absolute disapproval when you tell your extended family “I make movies for a living”.
11. Home invasions by people wearing lifelike animal masks.
12. Lifelike animal masks.
13. The liquefaction of your insides.
14. The Dark
15. Paintings of children

16. You awake, tied to a table with your head strapped in.  Somewhere just outside of your field of vision comes the sound of a record skipping, far off in the distance is the sound of an air raid siren.  Directly above you is a peeling picture of a wide-eyed smiling ape holding a cup of coffee.  A gelatinous mixture drips slowly onto your forehead, you know full well that soon this mixture will drip into your eyes and it will sting. Oh how it will sting. The record almost plays something: It sounded like your name and a gunshot.
17.The sound of a dying cat.
18. Precious Moments Figurines: THEY JUST DON’T MAKE SENSE.
19. The many-toothed mouth of a lamprey.
20. The morning you wake up and realize that you’ve become everything you’ve ever hated.
21. Teddy Bears
22. Disembodied hands
24. A hen bathing in lamb’s blood

25. More paint peels form the picture above you. You don’t know how much time has passed, but the ooze has already started to flow into your eyes. It hurts more than you expected. The door to your chamber creaks open. A cloaked figure (A different one from the one who knocked you out. This one’s shorter) walks into the room. It hovers above you for a moment, watching you; observing you. Light creeps through the hood, and you’re able to see some of its face: Peeling skin, sharpened teeth, the works. The worst part is its smile, its near ever-present smile.  You start to ask the figure something (perhaps yell, you haven’t decided which yet), but the figure presses a hand over your mouth. The hand smells like moldy blankets. The figure leaves its hand on your mouth for too long. Your breathing slows. You black out.
26. A lamb bathing in chicken’s blood
27. The farmhouse of the dead
28. Low light conditions, fog, and a mysterious drone coming from somewhere.
29. Marionettes
30. The knowledge that you are but a small cog in the infinite and meaningless machine of the universe. Worse still, you’re not even an important cog.
31. The face of a flounder
32. Furbies: THEY JUST DON’T MAKE SENSE.
33. G-G-G-G-Ghosts!
34. A Goat’s Eye
35. Leftover food that’s still stuck on a plate after its come out of the wash.

36. Falling. You feel as though you’re falling through an endless black void.  You think your eyes are open, but there’s nothing around. No peeling ape, no cloaked figure, nothing.  Your head spins. You try to breathe but all you smell is moldy blankets. You start to cough, but you can’t hear it. You try to scream, but nothing comes out. You scream and scream again, but not a sound can be heard.You feel yourself gasp for air. You feel your lungs grasp for air. You feel a metal enclosure push down on you, trapping you.
37. Nightstalkers
38. Clowns
39. Snake heads
40. One day you will be forgotten, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
41. Small screaming monkey-rodents gripping onto your leg with their terrible claws.
42. Red, squinty eyes and sharp teeth.
43. Giygas.
44. Young Adult Vampire Fictions:  THEY JUST DON’T MAKE SENSE
45. Deep sea fish
46. Parasitic worms
47. A million tiny papercuts!
48. Rusty dentist drills

49. Your clothes stick to you with sweat. You’ve lost track of time, you’ve even lost track of your own mind. Finally, the metal box is opened. You’re alone in a large banquet hall: Just you, a large table of food, and a great stone ogre with glistening ruby eyes.  You’d wonder how the box opened, but instead you eat. You eat and eat and eat, shoving as much food into your mouth as possible.  Tastes don’t matter, the fire that’s slowly spreading over the room doesn’t matter, all that matters is shoving as much food into your mouth as you possibly can.  After what seems to be a lifetime of eating, you gaze up at the stone ogre. It’s ruby eyes bore into you, it’s stone mouth gradually morphs into a hideous smile. You sweat, you panic, you see that the room is on fire and that there is no escape. The flames glisten in the ruby eyes. Your stomach starts to hurt, and you realize that there’s no way out of this. You lie on the floor and wait for the flames to eat you.
50. Your children will never appreciate all you’ve done for them until it’s too late.
51. Vampire Mummies! Oh No!
52. Vampire Squids! Oh No!
53. Eyeless toads
54. Narrow hallways without any doors
55. Faceless names
56. Rotting pumpkin heads
57. Maggots
58. Clowns
59. The Krampus
60. Modern medicine will keep you alive long enough for your brain to turn into mush.
61. Ghost Popsicle!
62. Flaming shrews
63. Moldy peaches

64. Cold water. You hope it’s water, anyway.  You open your eyes and find yourself in a doctor’s office.  Antiquated charts of human anatomy decorate the walls, and one of the cloaked figures  examines your medical chart (it’s also wearing a stethoscope, thank God). The figure looks up “Oh good, we weren’t sure if you’d make it and we’ve spent so long looking for you”. You open your mouth and realize that you’ve forgotten how to speak. Instead you let out a dry moan.  The cloaked figure walks closer, the smell of blankets again invades your brain.  “We need your blood. It’s not for us, though, it’s for the awakening of Garothe. And I’m happy to say that your blood will be perfectly healthy for it.  Your skin’s mostly gone, and we’v head to restrain you again, but your blood will be perfect”.  The figure winks at you and leaves you alone in the office.  You turn your head and look at a jar of pickled eyeballs. You try to sit up, but the leather belts of your restraints dig into crispy shell that used to be your skin. Searing, blinding pain takes over. You let out another dry moan and stare at the eyeballs.
65. Parasitic worms
66. Sticking your hand into a vat of jiggling jelly
67. Old purple drapes with teal polka dots.
68. Bratz Dolls: THEY JUST DON’T MAKE SENSE.
69. Sewer mutants
70. Credit card debt
71. Frozen bodies
72. Baby Pigeons (Look it up)
73. Insects burrowing in and out of your skin.
74. Loud thuds
75. Crowds
76. Spiked walls slowly closing in
77. Body-snatching plant pods
78. The noise Donald Sutherland makes in the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers
79. Microscopic lake organisms
80. People who are important to you will die, but no one around you will seem to care.

81. The tickling of the flies wakes you up. You’re back in the feast room, which hasn’t been cleaned out since you passed out.  What food wasn’t burnt in the fire (and even some of the burnt food) has layers of mold growing on it.  Your eyes meet the great stone ogre. This must be Garothe, you think. You try to stand, pain shoots through your legs. You fall on your back, only bringing forth more pain.  And still, the flies buzz away. You start to gain more consciousness as the stress from food, fire, and kidnapping begins to wear off.  You notices a tube leading from the blackened husk that was your arm straight into the cavernous mouth of Garothe. Your blood slowly drips into the ogre-demon’s mouth, and it’s all too happy to gobble it all up.  You try to take the tube out, but your hands have been been fused shut due to fire and spider’s webs.  Even if you could open your fingers, the tube itself has been fused to your skin.  Your head feels weak, but your eyes stay open: Locked onto the gaping mouth of Garothe as all of your blood is drained into its great stone stomach. You notice a crowd of the hooded mutants around you now, they begin chanting and throwing handfulls of salt at you. This is either to spice your flesh for the monster you’re about to set loose, or just another in a long line of tortures.
82. Dunkleosteus Terelli
83. Crocodile smiles
84. I DON’T KNOW BUT IT’S RIGHT BEHIND YOU!
85. Ticks
86. Footsteps that you aren’t sure are real.
87. Nothingness
88. The popularity of Vince Vaughn: IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE.
89. Haunted Jukeboxes
90. When you realize that your heroes and mentors are awful, terrible people.
91. Proterozoic Monsters
92. The slow march of hot lava
93. Old mansions
94. Decaying statues
95. Fish bites
96. Fly stings
97. Festering pits
98. Ant lions
99. A beast with the head of a chicken, legs of a spider, and wings of a skeleton crow. We’ll call it “The Skelenid Fowl”.

100. Garothe’s ruby eyes let loose a stream of light. It’s mouth slowly clenches down on the tube of your blood. Your eyes stay open, though you can hardly muster any energy left. The stone paws of the great best move right towards you.  The hooded figures chant and scream and cheer as Garothe bends down to sniff you. It opens its terrible mouth letting loose a breathe that smells like rotten eggs and burnt toast.  As the great stone jaws of this infernal beast close around you, and you feel as your bones are slowly crushed, you realize that all of the time you’ve spent being locked and tortured and beaten in by this satanic mutant cult you probably would have wasted reading useless articles on the internet anyways.

The Babel Project

As the seven readers I had before the Henceblog reboot know, I worked as the art director on two student senior theses before I left Santa Fe.  The later of the two was called “The Babel PRoject”, a sci-fi film about a future where people can download information directly into their brains, thus causing the downfall of language and the commodification of information. Well, that’s the world the film’s set in, the actual film itself is about a mind-erasing conspiracy at a research company, but for me it was all about the creation of the info-filled dystopia.  So let’s dive head first into it.

The main art direction for this film was to create a number of large infographic posters that would be featured throughout hallways and on walls.  These posters were about everything from the functionality of walls to the history of Tungsten to the reason why information must be hoarded and gotten at the risk of human rights.

Small Security

Elevator Safety Information

And I also created an entirely separate typeface built around the idea that once information became something that you can simply have, then the very basic act of reading and interpreting letters becomes almost irrelevant, and that as such letters would be stripped down into their most basic forms in order to be more efficient and less extravagant (the entire design philosophy for this world was to create something that would be crowded with data and information but be presented in the most simple of ways).  Seen below is a brains can that was printed onto a transparency, with information written in English (Fun Fact, the dominant typeface int his dystopia is Lucida Grande, which is the placeholder typeface for the creation of titles in the Final Cut editing suite), Chinese, and in the Simplified typeface.

A Brain Scan of something

The Simplified type and many elements of the art direction for this film were a bit rushed, and I don’t think I ever really got into the swing of things and really got to create a fully realized world, part of it had to do with me and part of it had to do with lack of communication between the director and me.  But for the entirety of the production I was acting off of my first impulse, and one of the reasons I wasn’t able to act off of more than the first impulse was because of all of the information and the complicated nature of how the inforgraphics looked.  Let’s take a closer look at some of the smaller pieces:

THe Elevator may break.

Do Wash your hands
I’m not sure what’s happening with the background here, but it’s supposed to be the same binary behind everything.

Always look at Information

So with every single smaller part of each sign every element had to be measured (because measurements are information), the color information had to be placed (again, the more information the better), and I also had to think about how best to simplify forms (People are inverted exclamation points, because we’re already using exclamation points and because all you need to show a person is a body and head) as almost everything in these infographics (minus the hands) is a combination of letter shapes found in most fonts (parenthesis, astrix, O’s).  So in between doing this for every inforgraphic of every poster, I also had larger warning signs to make that are full of almost every language (again, if you have the knowledge of speaking a language, and if this knowledge is incredibly easy to obtain, then everyone will want to use it):

Uh Oh Chemicals!

And on top of all of this I also had to create an info-filled letterhead and the Logo to the evil Logos Labs.  Fun Fact about the Logos Logo: Most of the type is all based around the same square repeated over, the only difference being the “L”: I wanted the L to bring to mind both an eye (because this is an evil future lab that’s always watching you because of science fiction) and to look like a fermata (Thus, Logos becomes a company that is focused on holding, keeping and hoarding.  It’s a company that resists change and will do whatever it takes to make sure that Logos stays Logos).

Logos Labs: Information is the Future

The entry form for Subject 17, who has had all of her understanding of language removed

And so that’s it.  Again, not my best work, but for a rush job it turned out alright.  At least, I can safely say that I think this production had bigger problems than the art direction.