This month’s Art of Brick featured artist article breaks with our usual format of presenting the creativity of our team. Instead of stringing together a variety of works from one artist, we delve into one specific individual project that left us awestruck. ICARUS, created by our Senior 3D artist Andrea Pedrotti a.k.a. Pedro, is an animated short film that takes you on an otherworldly journey. Below, we unfold the many aspects that shaped this artwork, from how Pedro sees the role of those creating videos to what symbols enrich the animation.
While completing his university studies in architecture, Pedro developed an interest in creating videos and received commissions as a freelance videomaker. It was through this experience that he pinpointed the goal of both the architect and the videomaker: to represent the unreal by turning abstract ideas into visible, comprehendible elements. He sees both architects and animation producers as visionaries who are equipped to show what will happen in the future through their set of original views and solutions. In realizing this, he decided to perfect his craft and ended up specializing in architectural visualization. After successfully completing Brick Academy’s Intensive Archviz course, he joined Brick’s team and has been creating realistic imagery for architectural projects ever since, while conveying his personal visions through individual projects in his free time.
Guided by Martin Scorsese’s philosophy, which says: ’your job is to get your audience to care about your obsessions’, Pedro created his first animated short film called ICARUS that centers on a subject he is fascinated with – outer space and the unknown future. He had drawn inspiration from science fiction movies – Space Odyssey and Interstellar-, the Foundation series written by Isaac Asimov and the musical composition of Philip Glass titled Prophecies, which also accompanies his animation.
‘I’m not fond of movies that are too didactic and explain too much. I prefer leaving things up to the viewers’ imagination. My aim is to grab their attention and get them to speculate about the unknown. Having said that, I only provide 90% of the story – the remaining 10% needs to be figured out by the viewers, urging them to come up with their personal interpretations.’ – Andrea Pedrotti
Being brave instead of safe
In letting us develop our individual reflections, Pedro furnishes us with an abundance of symbols. The first one in a line of symbols and metaphors that makes us ponder about the extraterrestrial quest is the title itself – ICARUS.
A quick recap on Greek mythology: Icarus was the son of a talented craftsman called Daedalus. Together they attempted to escape the island of Crete by means of wings, which were created from feathers and wax. The father warned his son to remain in the middle ground when flying – to avoid both the sea, as its dampness would ruin the wings, and the sun, which would melt the wax. Despite his father’s warning, Icarus soared way up high, the wings melted, causing him to fall into the sea and drown. The moral of the story, as we often cite, is to be cautious and avoid being over-ambitious.
But there is a second line of thought which is less frequently mentioned – the steady ‘safe zone’ advised by Daedalus is a rather conservative take on living life, where one should suppress the urge to be risk-taking. Icarus refuses to live in a cocoon – casting fear aside, he pushes the limitations posed onto him. Owing to his bold mentality, Icarus became a metaphor for heroic daring and the inevitable will of humankind to push its limits.
Symbolism of spaces
A focal element of ICARUS lies in depicting spaces – different locations in a cyclical manner. Perhaps the most notable of these places is the ring-shaped spaceship, which drifts away from the Earth towards uncharted territories. It is not by coincidence that this structure resembles one of the most important and well-known inventions of humanity – the wheel – which is a symbol of progress and development. This hints somewhat at the purpose and magnitude of the voyage – to make a life-changing and meaningful discovery.
Despite the fact that the rest of the spaces are stripped down to their bare essentials, they are clearly identifiable. There is an individual space – a bedroom, which is fit to accommodate a single person, and a collective space – a classroom, which is large enough to host a group of inquiring minds. Even though the shots suggest the basic function of these spaces, Pedro provides us with an unusual setting and a somber mood. Through this, he places the seemingly familiar, mundane environments into an unearthly dimension, furthering our experience of the unexplored.
Apart from profane locations, ICARUS contains numerous cultural references to the sacred. Laocoon, the Trojan priest, and his sons struggle with the sea serpents sent by the gods. The Aztec calendar, a dating system aligned to religious rituals, levitates as a legacy of a lost civilization. These imply that in our attempt to venture into the higher realm, we must not forget about our heritage.
Similar to David – the biblical figure who confronted the colossal, seemingly undefeatable Goliath -, we face the black hole, concerned but wishful that we are on the verge of a new adventure, discovery and not our demise.
The end (?)
We are left with a lot of open questions, as the animation does not supply us with answers. The magnetic, long shots do not communicate anything that lies beyond or within the black hole.
We know that in Greek mythology, the figure of Icarus perished due to his ambitions. Here, we can only hypothesize about the conclusion. One thing is certain – we are facing the unknown in a faraway terrain, which begs to be discovered.
We invite you to fill the missing 10% gap with what you best see fit: