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
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
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,
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
The biggest of bangs
The celestial quality to this power
It speaks to the way we embody and interpret parts of the cosmos.