Painting the future

You know those short films that show how a stonecarver or a typesetter or a watchmaker or some other kind of master artisan works? Well, this film is about an artisan whose craft is dreaming about the future.

What I like about the vision articulated here by Syd Mead, who created concept art for Blade Runner, Tron, and Aliens, is that he can embrace the most optimistic logarithmically-driven kind of futurism and still expect our descendants to face all the problems of the human condition.

I also appreciate the film’s richly saturated palette, which serves to estrange us from quotidian scenes, making even mid-twentieth century machinery like the automobile look like visions from Mead’s art. And the materiality of his work, with daubs of paint, rough sketching boards, and delicate brushes, reminds us that the future we live in now is a rich and textured place.


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