Maxwell’s Demon

James Duesing, Concepts and Technical Essay, ©1991, 8 minutes

Maxwell’s Demon is conceptually an outgrowth of the hand drawn animation I have been producing but technically I have redirected myself to create a completely computer generated work. Great attention to surface qualities and color depict complex social structures in which characters eke out an existence shaped by their culture.

Maxwell’s Demon is the story of characters who have been corralled on Lorado an industrial reservation when their world economy shifted to being information and service based. The reservation is built on a polluted lake, which is a tourist attraction. Locals run souvenir stands selling plastic things (Frisbees, hula-hoops and such) as remnants of their past industrial culture. In Lorado there are many kinds of love and everyone has a pet. When the last living fish commits suicide because of bad water conditions it sparks a confrontation between Fashionette and Maxwell, the one armed owner of the reservations largest boutique. In the course of the argument the lake more or less accidently gets set on fire, freeing the inhabitants of the reservation but destroying their home in the process. Fashionette begins to plan a new life for herself and the reservation but no one knows where to begin putting out a large scale chemical fire.

The process of doing this animated project was an involved one, developed over the course of several years. I spent the first year of this project doing pre-production work on the computer and organizing actors and musicians for the production of the components of the soundtrack. After eight months of creating the movements extremes for the characters and the environments I began the actual animation and dumping images to tape. The “inbetweening” allowed me to finely tune the techniques I initiated in creating the extremes while exploring ways to create computerized movement. In the tape you will notice that the complexity and density of the movements increase as the project progresses. The entire film took three and a half years to complete.