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


“The Realm of Possibility” is a digital animation based at the intersection of absurdity and logic. Deductive reasoning, as found in the syllogistic form (a is b, b is c, therefore a is c), becomes a vehicle to validate concepts that might not necessarily be true.

The structure of the narrative is meant to parallel the premise of a syllogism. Many men use libraries; many libraries reference aviation; therefore, many men are pilots. In the end, navigation to another planet becomes a curious byproduct of flawed logic.

The opening sequence begins from the point of view of the main character looking through the eyeholes of a helmet into the interior of an old library. A larger image of the library interior then fades into view, highlighting a document on a large table. A series of short glimpses show four more suited men standing in different areas of the library, all wearing ridiculous helmets. The main character then walks over to the table and sits down by the document. As the main character defines the meaning of syllogism, the camera slowly approaches until the viewer can clearly see the document; an old game board depicting early aviation adventures.

The middle sequence dissolves into a greatly enlarged view of the printed game board. The same characters from the library are now walking along a series of numbered markers used in the original game. The viewer comes in close and follows each character long enough to hear a syllogism. The characters relate increasingly absurd syllogisms until the main character is discussing things that might not necessarily be “true on our planet.”

The third sequence returns to the original scale and environment of the library. The viewer moves quickly past four small biplanes placed on library tables, idling and prepared for take off. After the four biplanes are airborne, the viewer is placed close enough to the planes to understand that the pilots are actually the four helmeted characters from the previous sequences. Four elements of a syllogism (“All x are m”, “All m are y”, Some x are y”, “All x are y”) are spoken in turn by each pilot. Immediately after each phrase is uttered, an overhead view of the planes in formation depicts a graphic representation of that concept.

The final sequence returns to a view of the game board as a single plane flies over it and toward the exit of the library. As the doors open, it becomes clear that the plane is heading towards a large “planet.” As the viewer follows the plane out of the library, the camera catches up and the point of view returns to the inside of the main character’s helmet, viewing the distant planet.

Review: The Independent Critic, Richard Propes