Can self-reflection become a tool for design?


Graduation Project
B.Des 2016
Animation Film Design

student social︎︎︎

RHIZOME is an animated music video made in collaboration with Pravekha Ravichandran of the Chennai-based contemporary folk-pop duo ‘Othasevuru’. The film revolved around a man's growing discomfort when pondering life’s inherent meaning. It traversed between surreal settings and reality as the narrative progressed. We reimagined the production process as a nonlinear collaboration between the musician and the visualiser.
I got to know first-hand that there is no one way to make a film. I have grown to appreciate filmmaking better because of my collaborations with peers from different fields of expertise. Another important learning was that an idea's expression and execution is as important as its essence. The pleasure of seeing a project through from start to finish is irrevocable and should not be taken lightly. It also taught me to be more forgiving to myself while being critical and demanding. As I reached the storyboarding-to-animation stage, I realised I was way behind my proposed timeline. I decided to make the most of the descriptive nature of my final time-stamp/script by pursuing the production process shot by shot, instead of iterating.

Thematically, I wanted to explore the absurdity of existential rut and the universal nature of humankind's fundamental need to attribute meaning to life. Through this project, I wished to amplify the discourse's legitimacy, and used this opportunity to learn more about prior works on the same. These themes were a manifestation of my struggles and bringing them to life helped me cope with them better. The invitation to live and create, in the midst of pointlessness, is essential to an artist’s calling. This being in direct relation to what the film, and the past year was about, was both intriguing and rewarding. To build a perceivable narration of the concept, I used self-reflection as a tool to decide tangible components in the story. This music video was a purely indie effort and contributed to the actively growing music visualisation scene in India. The project is an example for alternate ways of combining music and visualisation. Thematically, it rings a bell with the conspicuously unimportant ‘everyman’. It asserts the legitimacy and the necessity to proceed beyond nihilism.

This project helped me see alternate ways of reaching a goal. It gave me the confidence to deal with serious themes and build complex narratives out of them. I realised that as a designer, while you attempt to achieve an outcome that is closest to your vision, it is essential to remind yourself that the project will forever have a scope for betterment. It taught me that perseverance is key, and to ‘stay at it’ without thinking too much or too far. This could also be a personal conclusion to the questions asked in the film.

  • The Myth Of Sisyphus And Other Essays by Albert Camus
  • Asterios Polyp by David MazzucchelliMazzuchelli
  • Grafity’s Wall by Ram V + Anand Radhakrishnan

  • Her, directed by Spike Jonze (2013)
  • Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve (2017)
  • Taxi Driver, directed by Martin Scorcese (1976)
  • The Truman Show, directed by Peter Weir (1998)
  • Barton Fink, directed by The Coen Brothers (1991)
  • Inside Llewyn Davis, directed by The Coen Brothers (2013)
  • Knight of Cups, directed by Terrence Malick (2015)
  • The Happy Film, directed by Stefan Sagmeister, Ben Nabors and Hillman Curtis (2016)

  • Short film for Thom Yorke’s ANIMA directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (2019)
  • Music video for Jungle’s ‘Casio’ directed by Josh Lloyd-Watson + Charlie Di Placido (2019)
  • Music video for Kendrick Lamar + SZA’s ‘All The Stars’ directed by Dave Meyers + The Little Homies (2018)
  • Music video for Woodkid’s ‘Run Boy Run’ directed by Yoann Lemoine/ICONOCLAST (2012)
  • Music video for SIAMÉS’ ‘The Wolf’ directed by Fer Suniga + RUDO Co (2017)
  • Music video for Tame Impala’s ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ directed by Joe Pelling + Becky Sloan (2012)
  • Music video for Rone’s ‘Origami’ directed by Klub Simon (Vladimir Mavounia-Kouka, Dimitri Stankowicz, Pierre-Emmanuel Lyet & Thomas Pons) (2018)
  • Music video for Breakbot’s ‘Another You (ft. Ruckazoid) directed by Olivier Lescot (2018)
  • Music video for Dan Deacon’s ‘When I Was Done Dying’ directed by Dimitri Stankowicz for AdultSwim (2015)
  • Music video for Blockhead’s ‘The Music Scene’ directed by Anthony Schepperd (2010)
  • ‘L’Œil du Cyclone’ directed by Masanobu Hiraoka (2015)
  • ‘BEER by Charles Bukowski’ directed by NERDO Studio (2016)
  • ‘Chill’ directed by Jonathan Djob Nkondo (2016)

  • Why You Love A Hero Who Doesn’t Matter | Blade Runner 2049 - Shane Bertram | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JP3Rv-x3uI
  • What Makes a Viral Music Video? - Indy Mogul | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olp-Uz9xHRQ
  • How TAME IMPALA Makes Music by Middle 8 | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTz3NV5ZE0E
  • Malick’s Obsessions - Thomas Flight | https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=5f6rpDlfX5A
  • Martin Scorsese - The Art of Silence by Every Frame a Painting | https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=NUrTRjEXjSM
  • Akira Kurosawa - Composing Movement by Every Frame a Painting | https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=doaQC-S8de8
  • Paul Thomas Anderson | Visual Literacy by Entertain The Elk | https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=AarT9U12F9o
  • Taxi Driver - A Study of Masculinity & Existentialism by More Than Meets The Lens | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pAcJ0lFu94
  • Deconstructing Jonathan Djob Nkondo- AustinMcConell | https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=FINvJOAlQ0