Can shiny, rotating 3D eye candy have a message?

They can if they’re in the masterful hands of motion graphics / visualist wizard Beeple, aka Mike Winkelmann.

His latest short is retina-singeing, brain-stimulating imagination of the issue of transparency and data privacy, in the age of Snowden and the NSA, targeted Facebook ads, Foursquare check-ins, and Google Glass. And it works not simply because it’s impressive animation, but because that impressive animation reminds us that the science fiction universe we imagined is around us now – a Ghost in the Machine, Serial Experiments Lain, cyberpunk universe that can be utopian and nightmarish all at once. And it’s not something imposed on us: it’s something we created.

It’s an epic; it’s an indictment.

Transparent Machines™ from beeple on Vimeo.

Of course, this being Beeple, it’s also paired with some of our favorite music (hello, Hecq) and fluid, sharp sound design (Kyle Vande Slunt). And, this being Beeple, the visuals you see are Creative Commons-licensed, ready for your use.

I will repeat my earlier plea: tough as it is to build on something that looks so finished, I still want to see someone exploit that CC license and remix things into something uniquely their own. (Heck, maybe I have to take on that challenge myself, too.) If you do, let us know.

You can get the clips, and you can also get the Cinema4D files:

In the meantime, full specs on the latest Beeple etude:

sound design: standingwave
music: hecq – pulverized (
voice over: rachel salaman

film summary
Our society is obsessed with the conflicting concepts of transparency and privacy. We are “outraged” by the actions of the NSA, yet continue to willfully upload more and more of our personal information to Facebook and Google. This film explores the contradictory nature of our actions and beliefs regarding transparency.

director bio
Beeple is Mike Winkelmann, a graphic designer from Appleton, Wisconsin, USA. Despite his location outside any major media market, Mike has established himself as an influential voice working largely on graphic design, music videos, short films, and concert visuals. His short films and music videos have screened at onedotzero, Prix Ars Electronica, the Sydney Biennale, Ann Arbor Film Festival and many others.

He has also released hundreds of extremely popular live visuals under Creative Commons. These have been used by thousands of acts all over the world, as well as many major label artists such as, deadmau5, Skrillex, Avicii, Zedd, Taio Cruz, Tiësto, Amon Tobin, Wolfgang Gartner, and Flying Lotus.

In 2007 Mike also began working on an ‘everyday’ series that continues to this day. Over the last 6 years he has produced an image from scratch every single day and uploaded it. These images are viewed by thousands of people daily and have inspired many other artists to start their own everyday projects.

He currently releases work on Flying Lotus’ LA-based Brainfeeder imprint.

more info:
daily artwork:
free VJ clips:

audio bio
Kyle Vande Slunt is a sound and game audio designer residing in Champaign, Illinois, USA. In 2009 Kyle started working for the video game company Volition where he provided sound design, music direction, and systems design for Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row IV. Kyle has been designing audio and music for a large range of mediums under the pseudonym standingwave since 2005 – including animated films, national television spots, mobile games, documentaries, interactive web experiences and live theater.

In May of 2013 he took a page from the book of beeple and started his own everyday project, creating a new sound design or music piece each day. Transparent Machines is one of many collaborations with beeple, including 2009’s award-winning short film, Subprime.