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Untold Tales Series #4 – 144 Units, by Ian Gouldstone

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The forth film from the Untold Tales project – a six part micro-commissioned series that sees seven renowned British animators explore diverse communities and untold stories of life in the UK – is by the BAFTA winning artist and filmmaker Ian Gouldstone.

Gouldstone, whose work incorporates games, animation and new media, graduated from Harvard University with a degree in mathematics before studying animation at the Royal College of Art. He is a founder of the Australian games collective Pachinko Pictures, a former member of the Computational Creativity Group at Goldsmiths and also the Gesture and Narrative Language Group. (You can follow Ian’s work on Instagram and his website.)

The Untold Tales project, commissioned by Anim18 and Animate Projects, sought out animators from a broad range of backgrounds, whose stories explore the UK’s rich and culturally diverse communities. The brief was relatively open, and could include anything from folklore traditions, to current issues or contemporary communities.

144 Units is a short film about rules and their consequences. As we watch a computer simulation of a crowd of simple bodies following a simple set of rules, we hear a spoken summary of new laws being voted on by the British Parliament. Seemingly simple rules do not always produce predictable results. Gouldstone wishes to draw the comparison with how rules are made in his computer simulations and how they are made across Britain. The piece is made using real-time computer simulation software, which could be performed live by a computer and either shown on a monitor or projected onto a Union Jack suspended in darkness.

144 Units is an algorithmic film about my tower block. It is an experiment in how I can generatively create an entire film about the people physically closest to me without having to interact with a single one of them. To do this, it draws on a variety of online databases and services – the census, real estate websites, location-based dating apps, common sense databases, wikipedia – to create simulated portraits and soundscapes of each of the units in my building. A final program assembles all the portraits into a stream of video and audio.

– Ian Gouldstone

Look out for the films on Instagram (both anim18uk and animateprojectsuk) or Vimeo (animateprojects), and check back on Skwigly for the remaining films in the series. You can read more about the other film projects here:

Untold Tales were commissioned by Anim18 and Animate Projects, and are supported by Lottery funds from Arts Council England, British Film Institute and British Council. #untoldtales #anim18

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