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Aether
2014
4K transferred to HD
11 mins

In 1907 writer and utopian architectural visionary Paul Scheerbart began a two and a half year quest to build a perpetual motion machine believing that the machine would offer the world access to free energy. Scheerbart imagined the invention would undo the established social order, destabilising the financial institutions of the day and potentially have a significant impact on the planet. The quest was documented in a diary, first published in 1910, which chronicles Scheerbart’s efforts and failures to produce the machine he imagined would have radical consequences for society. During the course of the book he posits many imagined futures that would result from this invention including the possibility of economic collapse and a calamitous effect on the ecology of the earth. The diary includes 26 diagrams of the various incarnations of the 'machine'.

Scheerbart believed the answer to the quest lay in the gravitational pull of the earth, an incomprehensible force that tied us to the planet, which could potentially be harnessed to act as the catalyst for the machine. This film takes this cosmological connection as a starting point and expands on it, making associations with the original search for the Aether. The environment of Scheerbart’s studio was recreated as a set for the interior scenes with the camera wandering through the various apparatuses, drawings and mechanisms in which the machine was designed.

Credits

Actor: Larry Hynes
Cameras: Kevin Hughes
Lighting: Pete Ray
Sound: Karl Burke
Colour Grading: John Talbot

Aether was funded by The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaion Visual Arts Project Award (2012)