Exploded Screen

Olivia Sullivan

Information Experience Design, Royal College of Art

Exploded Screen Elective

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley has been the main reference for the elective as a whole, but for this specific brief it provided me with the insight to create an alternative storyline from it. Brave New World is a dystopian future where humans are not produced naturally, they are genetically modified to become superior alphas or basic labourers with the inability to choose in their lives. Sex and relationships are considered abhorrent in the society also.

The segment of the book that strikes the most interest to me is the Central London Hatchery where the babies are produced. I wanted to uncover more by creating my own continuation of how the drug soma is really created from my perspective – through the use of the unwanted embryos and foetuses. It was an incidental ode to the science fiction film Soylent Green where bodies are made into food for human consumption.

For one of the first briefs the objective was to create a continuous shot of film that evoked atmospheric tension, but for it to also be visually arresting. I was interested in a low-fi dark representation of the egg props I used to present the incubation. Sound and ambiguity were the focus of this shot as I wanted to create a sense of tension and unease. This was my first instalment of the development of the idea that I later presented in different mediums and perspectives.

Below are a series of sketchbook drawings that I drew which informed the angles of the shot I wanted to produce. I applied an initial colour scheme to a selection of the drawings that helped with the editing process and colour grading. One of the images is a series of rough thumbnails to represent some of the thought processes I had for the shot, which also aided the perspectives I wanted to show in the stop-motion test I created to develop the ideas further.

The following pages are rough storyboard thumbnails of the thought process I had for the stop-motion short film.

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The following are a selection of stills from the stop-motion addition and development that included drawn animation and the use of props. I colour graded the film to a murky but lighter yellow to present a more comedic element to the concept rather than the unsettling feeling of the darkness of the last film.

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The last iteration I created for the concept of Brave New World was the response to the brief to create an experiential environment based on elements of the book. I started the project individually and made comics to relate to my original concept. I partially collaborated with another student to create an environment where the fragmented narrative of the drug and foetus selection process took place within an abandoned lab. The props informed what was in the drawings and it was important that there was not an obvious dictation of dialogue, it was essential that the viewer could decide for their own what could have happened. I also supplied newspapers of which the comics were printed so that visitors could take them away after the show.

This project was tutored by guest visitors Block9 who are radical set designers, they gave us advice on our pitches and idea development that was shown in an underground carpark exhibition at Leicester Square. Above are some of my developments and slides that I used for some of these pitches.

My wordless comic with the focus on muted neutral tones:

The comics were also used as props that were placed in the laboratory:

Images of the cabin built to act as the lab and a shot of the surgeon’s spectacles on the newspaper comic:

 

I gave an interview about the project which can be found here.

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