Sunday, September 21, 2008

Microcosmos and Borges

I saw this AMAZING movie in class the other day called Microcosmos. This French film is unlike anything I have seen before. All of the video taken for this film was done by a tiny robotic camera that watched the lives of insects for two years. The camera is all cracked out with HD equipment too; every movement looks so crisp and beautiful. Check out the trailer first.

Upon seeing this movie, I realized that bugs lead such interesting lives on the ground and that they feature a surprising number of human characteristics. The bugs fight, work together, and even lust each other from time to time. They have their own little world that we just never see.

I immediately thought how awesome of a video game this setting would make. Imagine taking the first-person view of a bug interacting in an insect world filled with creatures all doing various things. There would be no need for verbal communication between the bugs, just expressions and actions. Exploring the micro-world as a walking insect and flying insect would be an amazing game to play and watch.

I also found this clip on YouTube that I just had to share. Be warned though, this particular insect will make you think he is cute.

I don't know how this camera didn't disturb the insects but, I'm glad it didn't, because the images in this film are beautiful.

The second movie I saw in class was a documentary on Jorge Luis Borges. I talked about Borges briefly in a previous post. Borges is a famous novella writer who helped define what makes a "hypertext" novel which, simply put, is a novel that can be read multiple ways and be connected to multiple tangents.

The video below isn't from the documentary I saw but you can get a sense of what "hypertext" means by watching how this animator combined images to convey connectivity. The music is also deeply tied with the video.

Borges himself is a very strange man. He was strange not only because of his writing style but because he thought like a video gamer before there were video games. (The Garden of Forking Paths, his most famous labyrinth story, was written in 1941). Borges said in the documentary that when he's writing a story, he knows the starting point and the goal; the rest, he said, you have to invent. Gamers are often presented with the same scenario. You're introduced a character and you're told that you have to save the princess. The rest is made up by jumping over goombas (possibly in a big green shoe) or by going into pipes.

Borges also didn't enjoy writing long passages. He liked short stories so that he could get to the point. Borges liked the constant action in his pieces, much like video gamers expect when playing games.

If Borges were still alive today, I'd bet you he have some awesome ideas for labyrinth design.


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