Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Living Without Heads, Feeding Without Mouths: Chickens and Babies

I recently heard about Mike the Headless Chicken. You can also find videos about him on Youtube.

Basically it's a rooster that lived for 18 months without a head, more or less... Most of his brain stem and the sufficient veins were still there apparently. It's sort of exciting to imagine what this would be like with humans, and what it would mean about the human nature. I offered my dad to try something like this on him, but he didn't trust me, rightfully. He said that I might end up killing him and that I should first do the necessary research to operate properly.

Anyway, one inevitable consequence of missing a head is also missing a mouth. In Mike's case he was fed with an eyedropper, right into his open gullet. This reminded me of something. I actually had the idea of making a short film about someone who has to feed through his umbilical cord for his entire life. The storyline was something like this:

A pregnant woman is kidnapped by a mad evil scientist. After the baby is born the scientist puts the baby in another room, binds both of them to different beds but there's a hole on the wall in-between and the umbilical cord is somehow still intact connecting the two. And the guy somehow also seals off the child's mouth. So he keeps feeding the mother regularly and the baby continues to live alone in a dark room feeding only through the umbilical cord. The baby is growing up. After a while the mother dies for some reason and the mad guy kidnaps a new woman. The umbilical cord is now artificially connected to this new "mother". While many "mothers" come and go, he develops a gadget for the child, something like an artificial mother: It can digest whatever food you throw into it and it has an output mimicking the women's. As the story continues the child is no longer bound to the bed-thing, he learns to live with the gadget. And one day he(she?) manages to run away, into the wild. He/she swears that he'll come back and take revenge...

And in the end he probably takes his revenge, or forgives the scientist, or something else, I don't know... I hadn't determined all the details. This was sort of the introduction into a bigger story. (I actually thought about combining this one with another idea I had about a tree by the river that envies the birds and wants to fly. It ends with the tree "flying" down a waterfall.) I came pretty close to start drawing a storyboard back then, but the timing wasn't right. It was too big for one inexperienced animator. So I laid it aside. Somewhere, I do have a few drawings of the grown up version of the character though, but I wasn't so pleased with the design, needs more work. (The gadget I'm talking about was attached to him like a backpack, with a funnel-like-opening on top for food entrance to throw in fruits and pieces of animals or whatever. He was sort of like a wilder version of He-man with a sealed mouth and a jet pack.)

Nowadays I'm pretty sure that I'll never keep working on this project, I just don't care so much about it, or I should rather say that I care much more about other stuff. If there's someone out there who has enough time and interest in these ideas, feel free to be inspired and use them. Even though I'm not enough motivated to work on this project, I would still be interested in watching/reading stuff like this.


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