Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Animals of the Future? Allons-y!

This is a short follow-up to the last post, on the project of my French friends & colleagues: 'Demain, les animaux du futur'.

Messieurs Boulay and Steyer wrote that they were quite happy to see that the post had generated numerous pertinent responses, so there.

More to the point, they decided to provide a bit more information on their website in the form of two new videos, on on the 'Demain...' project and one on the terraforming of Mars. It seems that the firm of Cossima Productions is off to a good start. Here is a direct link to the page where you can see both videos. From there, you can also click on the 'YouTube' logos under each video.

Here is the one where Boulay & Steyer explain what the project is all about. Mind you, the quality of the video on this blog is less good than the version you can see on the Cossima site or on YouTube, so if you want a higher quality, use that route or just go here directly.

Yes, it is in French; do not act surprised, it's what people in France speak. Perhaps I can be persuaded to provide a translation, but right away I haven't got the time to do so.

Additional text (December 2, 2011): With a bit of help by Marc in figuring out what they said I translated the text of the video. Any errors are my fault.

S├ębastien Steyer:
"Marc and I both love science fiction. Every time we saw what films and other works in science fiction offered in the way of an exobiological bestiary, we had a thing or two to say about it. So, instead of criticising the work of others, we wished to create our own universe and to imagine speculative biology in Earth's future.
For example, we designed a future flightless parrot, in which we envisaged a reduction of its wings up to the point where they disappeared altogether, with an accompanying lengthening and strong development of its legs. Bit by bit we came up with an animal we thought likely, ten million years from now.
This is no longer science fiction, it's more like 'fiction science'. It is a projection, but one taking known evolutionary, tectonic and climatological models into consideration."
Marc Boulay:
"Making a sculpture, regardless of whether of a past, a present or a future animal, involves an anormous amount of work in getting source material and discussions with scientists. That takes up about 90% of my time. The rest is applying that knowledge. Doing the sculpture takes up about 10% of my time. "



  2. It's so cool that Marc responded to our comments. He even said that our comments are helping him and the others who are working on "Animals of the Future" progress. I wonder if they will incorporate anything we talked about in their new book?

  3. I'm also glad to see that they've responded, and have given attention to our responses to what we've seen in their process. I can also understand why they haven't been more vocal and public with their project than they have been. I can speak from experience that when such an open strategy is employed people certainly offer insights and constructive criticisms, which can help the project immensely, it can also often turn into a situation where those who have commented start to get an overdeveloped sense of ownership of the project, not through any malice of course but because we all thrill at feeling like we had some role in a larger entity; we who sit and admire are then able to say, "I was a part of this, and I helped it be better!" This isn't necessarily a bad thing either, but it can get worse. There's an idiom for this: too many cooks in the kitchen. For those who aren't familiar with that phrase, it means that there are so many people and opinions involved with the same project that it becomes bogged down in deliberation.

    So I can understand why the creators of 'Demain...' may be hesitant to engage in more open conversation but I'm glad to see that what we've said has proven useful for them.

  4. Evan Black

    I completely agree with you. It is exciting that responses gained the attention of the creators of 'Demain..' but we can't give too much criticism towards their project. After all, they must have put a lot of thought and research into their project if they have been working on it for nearly 13 years.

  5. I agree with Evan's reasons to be careful about making a project collaborative. In my Furaha project I shied away from letting others design life forms as well, in part out of a fear of getting entangled in difficult arguments. The second reason is that I do not have the time.

    An as yet unmentioned reason not to show much or all of a project before it is finished is that doing so harms the prospects of getting it published.

    (PS started work on a translation of the video...)

  6. By the way Sigmund, do you happen to know any good sites about movements of the tectonic plates? I'm trying to figure out what Earth's geography will look like in 15 million years.

  7. Christian,

    That is not something I know much about. However, search terms such as 'speed tectonic drift' should help. I found the following: http://hypertextbook.com/facts/ZhenHuang.shtml

    There are probably others.

  8. In response to Christian C.

    >>> http://www.scotese.com/

  9. Marc Boulay,

    Thanks so much! I really appreciate it, Though the section about future tectonic plate location does not give me any dates. I guess I'll have to make an educated guess.

  10. Hey Marc, do you guys plan on making an animated documentary or something to go with your project (kinda like what they did with The Future is Wild), cause that would be awesome.

  11. Sigmund

    sense you seem to be more of an expert on exobiology, there is recent episode of Through the Wormhole With Morgan Freeman that talks about what aliens might look like. I'll provide the link so you can view it. Maybe you might create an article showing your analysis of it.
    BTW, one of the creatures shown is very similar to your radial fish.

  12. Anonymous (the first commenter), I have posted a translation, so I hope your Christmas will be another colour than blue.


    Expert, expert... Seeing that is possible today to study astrobiology at a university and to do actual research in it, to be an expert probably requires more knowledge than I have.

    I will have a look at 'Through the looking glass'. Am I right in thinking that there is just one episode I should check? The one entitled 'what do aliens look like?'

  13. Sigmund

    Yeah, but I though I provided the link. I'll try posting it again (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vATHUJfjRI).

  14. Christian C. - you might be interested in (at least) the maps in the book "Supercontinent" by Nield. it may help you.


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