Though I have said previously that photography feels like a culmination of everything that I have learnt, from costuming and prop making to special fx and make-up, all these varied things, it does not feel like the end of the road either. Photos were always meant to be a stop off point on the path to larger projects, a way of learning the foundations before jumping into something more tangible. So I've been developing projects, gathering my ideas and writing and writing until, one of these days, something sticks. Here are a few of the things that I have sitting around at the moment, my dream projects and demon babies growing strong in the basement:
Animation & Puppets
Three Pounds of Flesh (set in the world of The Configuration): A short stop motion using my rough construction techniques and creepy puppets, Three Pounds tells the story of a man that awakens without a face in a decaying hospital. Already partially animated.
Beneath the House of Hands: A giallo puppet film set at a large estate in the Italian countryside housing an all-girls school. As they prepare for the end of year performance of Faust, country folk begin to turn up brutally murdered and a figure in blood stained robes is seen stalking the fields. Only when girls start disappearing does attention fall upon the school. A detective and a girl with a dream connection with the killer must uncover the secrets of the house before it is too late. Dark hands are at work and nothing is as it seems. Featuring a coroner puppet dissection, ultra puppet violence, creature effects, bad lip syncing, and loads of blasphemy, this is my main dream project that I really want to do one day.
Conquering the Worm (set around the Spire): A larger expansion on the themes and style of Three Pounds of Flesh, about a woman in a shadowy half-life looking for everything she has lost and coming to terms with the power she holds.
The Configuration: The Configuration is to be a cinematic photo novel series properly establishing the nihilistic modern mythology of my Communion series.
Caught between the physical and the conceptual, the gods struggle against their own fading light. When their influence over the psychic landscape of humanity wanes, they risk plunging deeper into the void, for in this gap power and manipulation is everything and to become forgotten is to become nothingness. With no afterlife, no heaven or hell, even the gods are mortal.
The series follows a duo of hired killers on their path to take down The Configuration, a group of gods that are trying to remove all traces of the outsiders through direct action.
Each book will explore a different cult or deity. I like the idea of two hitmen (in this instance a man and woman) taking out backwater cults, with the supernatural element very much in the background.
Heart of Concrete: The Art of Hobocalypse – I have wanted to do a photo book for a long time that covers all 65 characters I have created for the world, including the ex-cons Dumpster Nixon and Boxcutter Bertha, Piles the Clown, Jeremiah the Geek, the Mexican wrestler with a melted face El Hombre Sin Rostro, and The King of Rats (among many others).
Marian): A surreal horror about a man’s investigation into the disappearance and eventual death of an old friend. Explores the idea that what we see of the world is only a thin membrane that hides the true flesh beneath. Currently in development.
Trashfeeder (Set after Future Fatigue): Some time has passed since the world moved on. Now, in the old tunnels beneath the petrified earth, humanity ekes out an existence, finding survival in the long forgotten refuse of a dead civilisation. Those that have chosen to dwell down there lead difficult and dirty lives, utilising the garbage and feeding upon the strange array of fauna that has thrived out of our sight. Most have formed a functioning society, with trade and a moral structure in this tired existence. Others have refused to follow the old way. They are the Anarchs; the cut-throats and drug addled of the modern world.
Beneath the sun decayed cities of Australia, a group of Anarchs, only recently divorced from one of the larger Tribes, seek to establish themselves deeper in an uncharted area known as the Devil’s Arsehole. Supplies have dwindled behind them, making this new frontier their only option. Descending deeper still, they break through into fresh tunnels, disturbing something older than humanity.
Hell & Gasoline (Before Future Fatigue): Civilisation is drawing its last breaths; the structures that held it aloft are crumbling under the strain of public disorder and a generation of the disenfranchised. More and more people are pushed out of the cities by an overzealous military government. Outsiders, the poor, the homeless, their numbers grow daily and they are given only one option: leave the asphalt for the dust filled heart of Australia. A rage is building in the desert as men and women fight to survive, a rage that breaks on the city’s shores every so often. These incidents take the form of Barren Runs, a competitive event that sees drivers of highly modified vehicles punching a hole in the city and grabbing whatever spills out. Outside of city runs, a circuit exists for the next wave of Runners to hone their skills. A violent, often deadly place of sand and twisted metal, it is here that the new world undertakes its rites of passage. Tribes have formed around it, filling the once forgotten ghost towns and disused workshops of the area.
Perverse: I really want to get together with a bunch of different artists and directors to make a collection of trailers, shorts and adverts set in the world of Hobocalypse, released on VHS with custom covers for each of the fake films shown in the trailers. Packs would include posters, advertising material and collectable cards; an interesting way to flesh out my neon grit world and to showcase the work of other artists.
Hobocalypse: This is board game I have been developing over the past three years and is pretty much where the world of Future Fatigue and Only Villains Remain has come from. The majority of content has been written, I am just trying to find the time to produce the prototype so I can start play testing. Though it would be a hell of an undertaking, I really want to produce the art for it in photos. We’ll see.
The game itself is about gangs locked out of the city of Maekoma seeking to hold claim of as much of the gutted buildings and fire bins of the outskirts as possible.
In the near future, the year 1999, the middle class has fallen away and all that remains is the mega rich and the working homeless. The city continues to function in a weird equilibrium, a calm before the last death rattles shake everything to the ground. As NYE swiftly approaches, a race to hold sway over as much of this corner of hell has begun, but can you get what you need before everything goes to hell?
Foreign Bodies: An interactive short story about identity and volition. Most content has been made for it and there is a playable prototype, but I want to add photographs and a soundscape to finish it off.
Pale Harvest (Set in the World of Communion): A point and click adventure about the small town tallowford, a green oasis amongst vast expanses of desert. Set during the late 1940s, you play a private detective contacted by an old family friend asking for help to find a group of missing children. Arriving there by train, you have a single night to uncover what is happening in the town and every decision takes time, every move leads you to its own conclusion. Then you wake up, start afresh, unknowing at first that there is something else happening. As you uncover more, you discover the meta-game and your character starts to have flashbacks. Why does this same day repeat itself?
I started writing a massive backstory to this game and have 50,000 words so far, with the plot entirely laid out. But with so many avenues and so many different endings, this would be a crazy endeavour to undertake. I might just be crazy enough though tongue emoticon
Nightcall (Set in the world of Communion): A perma-death, randomly generated detective game, with a story in the vein of True Detective (season 1). The characters are randomly generated, with their occupations varying from security guard to police detective, though all are called out on to a job that is not as it seems. At first things are normal, but the more you uncover, the more you discover the strange mythologies at work. A security guard for an office building is called out to check why the basement alarm has been set off. As she investigates the door is locked behind her and the only way out is down. A detective is called out to follow up on a serial killer, but finds that each murder has been committed the same way by multiple people, all from normal backgrounds. A police officer is called out to the swamp because of sightings of strange lights. A private detective follows a lead that takes him to an old cavern. So many potential beginnings. You can solve the case, or you can die or even leave, and the game will always continue. Unsolved cases might appear again as cold cases, you might even be called out to investigate the disappearance of another detective. The key here is the evidence; the more you find, the deeper the stories you unlock. I have been designing creature puppets to animate for the game, the characters would be Full Motion Video among 3D landscape art, all adding to the weird dislocation of the world. I have developed a bunch for this, and understand that it is a massive undertaking, but the design also can be incrementally made, with only a small portion needing to be completed before it is playable.
These are only part of my brain spawn of the past few years and all that this leaves me with is a question: where to next? We’ll see what sticks, what becomes viable for me to pour myself into. Most of these would take years to do individually, so I guess it will be whatever gets rolling first.
If you have read through all this, I thank you for being interested in the worlds that creep into everything I do. Without them and without my ability to explore them, I don’t know what else I would do; they are everything to me. If you have the time, let me know what you think.
Again thank you.