The Necessites of Life - Gerald Guthrie
The Necessites of Life - Gerald Guthrie
The Necessites of Life - Gerald Guthrie
The Necessites of Life - Gerald Guthrie
The Necessites of Life - Gerald Guthrie
Gerald Guthrie: Direction, Animation, Sound
Vimeo Link
John Chase: Music
Don Pilcher: Voice
Craig Smith: Microscopic Video

Robert Patterson and Stuart Levy: M81 Animation
NASA, ESA, and STScl/AURA: M81 reference image

"A World of Difference" is a digital animation that moves us along a bumpy path through Space and Time to discover Truth, Perfection and Meaning.


Since a microscope enables us to increase the perceptual scale of objects, it might be possible to increase the physical size of that microscope and reveal hidden worlds in both microscopic and macroscopic dimensions. This enigmatic animation sets the stage for such a discovery by presenting unique machines that produce philosophical solutions on demand. These findings arm the central character with the knowledge needed to traverse a challenging path leading to an extraordinarily large, student microscope. The synchronicity of those worlds is revealed therein.


The opening scene is located in an old science classroom. A wall clock is reflected in the adjustable mirror of a student microscope placed on a desk near a seashell. The clock slowly reveals a turning spiral galaxy. A suited man then approaches a portable chalkboard and completes a cryptic diagram concerning galactic space travel. He rotates the chalkboard to reveal a much smaller version of himself standing on the back of the slate. After a moment of recognition, both notice a hole in the slate that opens to reveal an unusual machine. The small man approaches the device and manipulates it in a way to achieve one of many possible philosophical postulates. The machine disappears back beneath the slate surface and another machine appears in a similar manner. The small man interacts with the second machine in order to change the displayed word “NOTHING” to “ESSENCE.” This machine disappears as before and a third and final machine offers physical adjustments that ultimately determine an association between the words, “TRUTH” and “MEANING.” After the third machine disappears, the large man returns the chalkboard to its vertical position, hiding the small man from view. When the large man claps ceremoniously, the chalk begins to magically peel off the slate. He pulls the chalk-drawing scroll from the slate and exits the room through a swinging door.

The next scene reveals the man to be in a very large warehouse type space with skylights high above. In the center of the concrete floor is a huge version of the student microscope, several stories tall. Metal stairs lead up to specimen slides on the stage. The man is startled when several coiled objects drop from above and quickly unroll in the direction of the microscope. The objects form tracks of regularly spaced bumps and that also display philosophical terms. The man then notices that strange vehicles are suspended from the ceiling high above. A winch activates the cables and lowers the colorful three-wheeled vehicles to the floor. They all come to rest with their single front wheels resting on the unrolled tracks. The wheels have three philosophical terms placed around the perimeter. He walks to one machine and inserts his scroll into a special opening at the rear of the vehicle. The vehicle makes a sound and a voice begins to recite philosophical terms via loudspeakers placed around the perimeter of the large space. The amplified words become louder and more frequent as time goes on.

The man walks over and sits in one of the cars, then deliberates over which of three buttons to push on the dashboard. He chooses the “REASON” button and the car starts off in a lurching manner because the front wheel must rise and fall as it rolls over the bumpy tracks. Each time the wheel crests, two philosophical words align and blink briefly. As the car nears the microscope, a rear wheel runs into and fails to roll over an inexplicably placed seashell. While the car struggles to overcome the small obstacle, the man desperately presses the other two buttons, “TRUTH” and “BELIEF.” This is enough to allow the car to roll over the seashell. The terms “TRUTH” on the car wheel and “PERFECTION” on the track come together, blinking green, and the noise stops.

The man retrieves the scroll from the back of the car and walks the rest of the way to the stairs near the microscope. After climbing the stairs, he unrolls the chalk-drawing scroll across the slide of the microscope. The mirror under the microscope turns and projects the spiral galaxy up into the lens. The camera view then slowly approaches the large microscope from across the room to reveal a microscopic worm placed within the Andromeda galaxy. As the camera zooms closer into the scene, the seashell appears once again, centered within the galaxy and slowly spinning within a mass of stars. The camera enters the large shell and immediately exits the shell on the desk in the classroom. The last shot shows the mirror on the microscope turning toward the viewer to reveal the shell behind it on the desk. The clock, visible on the back wall, stops just as the music ends and the voice utters the final word... “TRUTH.

eDream Institute: University of Illinois
Donna Cox: Director