Soul Control

2021

Duration: 5:02 min

 

Soul Control offers up a mythic retelling of the energy beam in popular culture through a combination of experimental animation and narrative storytelling. Popularized in recent decades by superhero comics, anime and science fiction, the energy blast has served as an external projection of inner strength and magic, and has become a staple in the fantasy / action genre. Soul Control traces a broader history of this narrative device as influenced by metaphysics, ancient Greek theatre and Chinese wuxia fiction. Weaving together different visual references into a single composition, the camera traverses through a tapestry of looping animated assets, immersing the watcher in the classic and contemporary ideas that define this extraordinary, enigmatic power.

**** Full Audio Transcription ****

The visible spectrum of light

Waves bouncing off of anything and everything to define its specific shape to our naked eyes.

 

Hard, tangible light- It is legendary because it does not exist

But also because its existence is only retold in cultural storytelling. 

Acts of fiction

 

Here, the ray of light as wielded by an individual becomes a beam of energy

To hold, wield or to fire

To spin and to dance

To roar and howl

 

This peculiar force has gone by many names since language could give expository form to its fantastic shape:

  • Regions of the heavens above the terrestrial sphere

  • A force awakened by ancient future orders

  • Ki, Qi or Chi

  • Tenketsu pathway system

  • A metahuman’s might

  • Soul Control

  • The fifth element

  • Intervention from a divine hand

 

According to metaphysics, such power requires Total Control

“Mastery” for lack of a better word

A cultivation of something that lies inside you.

The harmonic resonance of you

 

They say that shifting matter gives form to everything

 

Water

Earth

Air

Fire

 

The elements help us understand the lexicon of the natural world

But what of the supernatural?

The elements do not constitute a fifth

Because life force itself is quintessential

And it has no physical form

 

Long ago, Wuxia lore pollinated the concept of spirit energy to the general populous 

Amidst their brawls, their protagonists lunged forward and shot beams of light out of their palms

Projecting an internal strength outward.


 

Though these stories were the source of which all future depictions draw influence from 

In various ways, this enigmatic energy predates even this.

 

Cut to Ancient Greece

ἀπὸ μηχανῆς θεός (apò mēkhanês theós)

God from the machine

 

Euripides, the tragedian playwright himself

Summoned Helios for Medea

Summoned Artemis for Hippolytus

Summoned Thetis for Peleus 

Summoned Apollo for Orestes

 

I’ve heard that Euripides is an impatient man

 

Under his swift tutelage

The gods are are rendered in aether

And their heavenly presence exonerates the stage with hasty resolution.

 

The twentieth century onward referred to this energy as metahuman in nature, 

Gifted

Great power that came with great responsibility

Interwoven with a strong moral compass and heroic destiny

Creators suited their champions in lycra and flowing textiles

Draped off the shoulder

Entrusting them with this same saving grace.

 

Right before impact you will hear a very soft warping sound

Chaos before complete quiet swiftly tapers the end of the suck

It’s an illusion of course, but by the logic of contemporary myths

Beams of technicolour aura engulf the surrounding air with destructive flare

 

Kamehameha

Hadouken

Rasengan

 

Genesis

The biggest of bangs

 

The celestial quality to this power

It speaks to the way we embody and interpret parts of the cosmos.