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Growing up in the ’80s, the surrealist illustrations of vintage science textbooks always fascinated to me, but this animated music video takes the cake. A collage of drawings from old schoolbooks of 50 years ago, it’s like the dreams you might have after sniffing glue in science class, then passing out facedown in your textbook.
The video is for “Cell Song,” a track off of London-based indie band Fanfarlo’s 2014 album, Let’s Go Extinct. The album itself is themed around the concept of evolution: The band’s lead songwriter Simon Balthazar describes it as an exploration of “the weirdness of being this thing we call a person and the double weirdness of other people.”
If Balthazar wanted a video to convey the inexplicable alienness of nature, he couldn’t have found a better director and animator than Ewan Jones Morris. Prowling the pages of “the dustiest of science journals, Ewan Jones Morris. Prowling the pages of “the dustiest of science journals, encyclopedias, and magazines,” Morris cut them cut out illustrations to create a trippy living diorama for amoebas, insects, planets, microscopic flagellum, and more.
Morris is no stranger to this technique. In an interview, he says Fanfarlo approached him to do the video after seeing a similar video he did for Pinkuoizu’s “I Chi”. Unlike for the earlier video, though, for this project Morris incorporated the band’s performances.
The end experience has a hallucinatory quality to it: part Fantastic Planet, part Oingo Boingo. Much of that quality is imparted by the printing techniques used by old textbook makers that made even the most mundane creature in the natural world look like some bizarre, otherworldly alien fauna.
Each Saturday Morning here at Adafruit is Saturday Morning Cartoons! Be sure to check our cartoon and animated posts both nostalgic and new that inspire makers of all ages! You’ll find how-tos for young makers, approaches to learning about science and engineering, and all sorts of comic strip and animated Saturday Morning fun! Be sure to check out our Adafruit products featuring comic book art while you’re at it!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.