Omnifarious

Senior thesis project

Omnifarious is my senior thesis project for my BFA. The intent of the animation is to immerse the viewer in the strange world of a man on his last strands of sanity. It focuses on the environment as the main actor while the person implied by the camera submits to a passive role. The action of the piece is the experience of the space through the eyes of its sole occupant. The animation is a cross section of a more complex story in the form of an original poem (available below the video) with suggestions of themes from the original such as the clocks, the machine, and the hobby rooms. While the themes are present, they are only visually present and their meaning is left for the viewer to extrapolate. The viewer is, however, shown the story of the lonely occupant of a large house, the function of which has been varyingly inhibited by a never-ending tangle of pipes that serve no apparent purpose. Over the duration of the animation the pipes grow increasingly intrusive until the occupant becomes immutably tangled and completely unable to continue physically as well as mentally. The larger themes at work are the destructive power of a blind and empitily ambitious life purpose and the possibility of remaining ignorant of it. These themes are not the focus of the work so much as their wake provides a medium for the visual experience to exist in. The experience is intended to be rich and questioning and prompt the viewer to ponder at a meaning rather than understand one.
Omnifarious
I had to retire
Colorless work for colorless money
Too much of it, really
More than I knew how to spend
I do miss the discourse
I had friends there
I used to have clocks here
Now I’ve only my prosaic mind and these mute, unfathomable pipes
I had grown to despise the work
If it could be so called
Trading abstractions of money for profit
My only contribution to society was to its downfall
I’m intrigued by how situations change relationships
I used to live by the clock when I worked
Perhaps I still did for a while after as well
But not by the face
With the void of work came avocations
Disciplines I’d meant to pursue
I had the time, and the blank canvas of a massive empty house
What more could I want?
They’re funny things, the clocks
So many precise parts for such a simple function
I adore their escapement. How intrinsically they are punctuated
But I suppose I purged my punctuation myself
First I read.
I had purchased a large library of books soon after the house
I always meant to read, but it was always work or sleep
Now I had time. So I read
Time came incessantly
I could not escape its persistent clasp on my existence
I dismantled every clock in the house
Partially in rebellion to my ubiquitous captor
There were so many things to learn
I endeavored to master so many
Often I felt the crushing weight of their vastness
How can one learn a thing when there are still infinitely more to learn?
The poor clocks
I saved them like I saved myself
An escape so complete they can rest speechlessly
Never again to utter the numb words of their vocation
I obsessed over topic after topic
Anything from sculpting to astronomy to epistemology
Every one earning a space in the house filling room after room
Every one just for a moment until a new breeze turned my nose
I scattered their intricate, metallic flesh all around and reused it
I hoped that by rescuing them I could find them a new purpose
A use in a grand scheme
What greater purpose can an individual have?
The weight of my interests grew to become who I was
Their impossible immensity was eclipsed solely by time
Of all of my infinities time was always the largest
I had no choice but to continue my task of learning
I often questioned my decision
Were they happier with their new life?
They were free from the drone of the old
Yet so debilitatingly fragmented
In my studies I came across an idea
A life changing idea
One that could solve all of one’s problems
With enough hard work and dedication
The crossroads of all of my work became a grand machine
I hoped it would provide a satisfying home for the late clocks
A single machine to do everything
What greater ambition could a man have?
My life slipped like the pawl of a forward-moving ratchet
Always scratching at the surface but finding no edge to catch
Each tick of a new tooth signaled a new attempt
An attempt I had come to learn to be beyond trivial
As I learned I added my knowledge to the Machine
The slow grind toward Its all-encompassing objective provided my life a vector
I stifled my doubts about the unfortunate clocks
Their parts now breathed new life
I was so happy to have the facilities to house such enterprises
But the rooms became so filled with unfinished ideas I began to forget them
Rooms would sit idle for months until I wandered in by chance
I would remember the work I did there, but the knowledge escaped me
The Machine slowly took shape
Over time it grew into my unaware being
It was as much a part of me as my own hands were
Though it was significantly more useful
Eventually my passions dulled, as all things do
I became less inclined to dive into new ventures
I think I had exhausted my capacity for learning
It became harder and harder to do
I could feel them in the pipes, in their minute hum
The familiar tick-tock of the old clocks manifested itself anew
The timeless oscillation of my old friends ran through the pipes
And comforted me by its nostalgia
Sometime, it’s hard to know when exactly
Something happened to the Machine
A break in the line I suppose, but it’s such a long line
And I’d forgotten where it starts
The pipes ceased to sing to me
They were the veins of a dead heart beyond repair
They were so massed in tangles I couldn’t begin to find the flaws
The Machine was dead
I was reduced to a nomad in my own house
With no direction I wandered the halls peering into forsaken rooms
Always followed by a knot of pipes reminding me of my new disenchantment
Their silent authenticity mocking my deceased naivety
My grand pinnacle of work has finally revealed itself
The endless labyrinth of pipes had shed my delusions
The pedestal crumbled and revealed the unavoidable truth
The idea I had glorified absolutely was just empty pipes
Now I spend my dwindling days of sanity pondering my clocks
Perhaps clocks don’t aspire to do any more than tick
Perhaps there is no more to life than ticking
But the poor clocks, I had to try
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