Dangerous Minds pal Paul Gallagher posted a fascinating interview with animator John Butler at his wonderful Planet Paul blog where he writes about cultural obscurities and and things that interest him:
In 2001, Channel 4 television, in the UK, broadcast a 20-part sci-fi short animation series called Workgroup Alpha. It starred Ed Bishop and dealt with a team of inter-dimensional consultants, lost on an intergalactic space mission. Bishop, with his association as Commander Straker from Gerry Anderson’s cult TV hit UFO, was ideally cast as Aquarius, the Enterprise Class Visionary, who with his fellow travellers explored “a whole new dimension in universal solutions.”
Though there is the passing hint of Frederick Pohl’s satirical sci-fi classic The Space Merchants, which imagined a world run by ad agencies, Workgroup Alpha offered an intelligent and witty critique of the growing cultural obsession with corporate speak, focus groups, PR consultants, and all those other anemic constructs that have depersonalized our world.
The end credit to the series was attributed to the Butler Brothers, the name by which John and Paul Butler operate. Paul is the co-producer, writer and conceptual consultant. John is writer, designer, animator, composer, co-producer, and director.
I first heard about the Butler Brothers through friends, though it was always John Butler who attracted the most attention. His name was mentioned with that hushed reverential tone and nodding head of respect that said we had touched on some sacred matter. It made Butler seem almost mythical – a great creative artist who lived somewhere (no one seemed quite sure where, or if they did, didn’t say), a garret most likely, where he created, with help from his brother, these incredible digital animations, of such intelligence and imagination.
I sent Paul a quick note last week that I had enjoyed his interview and he replied:
“Butler’s latest animation, Children of the Null, was inspired by Dennis Wheatley and to an extent, more Stephen King. When I asked him about it, he said the Children of the Null was about the occult practice of finance.
“I tend to think of Finance as an occult concern, hence the masks of the Transactors. The fact that during the collapse, derivatives were described as being too complex to understand confirms this suspicion.”
Though John is an atheist - he sees capitalism as an evil.
I think he just might have something there.”
Do androids dream of eclectic sheep? – an interview with John Butler (Planet Paul)