Download Times Vary
Download Times Vary
Download Times Vary
Download Times Vary

Gerald Guthrie
Director and Animator

Professor of Art
The School of Art and Design
The University of Illinois
(217) 333-0855
Vimeo Link


The "Necessities of Life" is a digital animation that objectifies the struggle between basic human requirements and the need for culture.

Visual abstractions of these topics are first presented inside the heads of two characters dressed in business suits. Their heads are comprised of thousands of tiny books. The book title of the first man is “Human Needs.” The book title of the second man is “Modern Culture.” These two figures are seated back to back inside a huge room inscribed with coded letters and numbers. The brown-suited man stands up and approaches a huge radio that represents culture. The blue-suited man stands up and approaches an equally large refrigerator that represents human needs. Each, in turn, performs short rituals in front of their respective symbolic objects. After each ritual is completed, the objects become more active until a loud thunderclap ends the competition.

Hundreds of small frame houses fall from above and cover the scene, after which the figures are no longer present. The camera begins to move over the fallen houses until it comes to rest directly in front of one house at the bottom of the pile. Lights are on inside the house and the faint sound of music is audible. As the camera moves slowly through the front door, we see that a single figure is seated reading a newspaper. At one side of the figure is the radio at a normal scale. Nearby in the kitchen is the refrigerator, also at a normal size. One half of the figure’s suit is brown and the other half is blue. As the camera approaches his head, we see that one side of his face is comprised of “Human Needs” books and the other side of his face is comprised of “Modern Culture” books. The answer to the dilemma is evident.

A final event takes us once again inside his head to find ourselves hovering over the floor of the huge room. We fall to the floor, much like the houses did earlier, and are now part of the solution.