Monica Zoppé, Tizianna Loni, Ilaria Carlone: The Dark Anim

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    The Dark Anim


Creation Year:





    5:23 min.


Artist Statement:

    The activity of our brains, one of the most complex machines in Nature, can be described as the work of active connections among the several billions neurons within our heads. These cells, the neurons, communicate to each other at specialized sites, called synapses, that transmit information through a complex mechanisms that transforms an electrical signal into a biochemical one, back and forth.

    Synapses are very small structures whose size is measured in micrometers (about one hundredth of a millimeter), and are classified by their types. Each synapse has a specialized type of receptor that recognizes one of several molecules; synaptic activity is also determined by its location in the brain. One type is the serotoninergic synapse, whose main transmitter molecule is Serotonin, a neurotransmitter strongly involved in mood regulation.

    The work presented here, The Dark Anim, was the result of an effort aimed at showing the inner working of Serotonin and of one of the drugs (fluoxetine, aka Prozac) used when its metabolism is dis­regulated. The work was commissioned by Filmtank to be inserted into a full length documentary, titled The Dark Gene, by directors Jakobs and Schick.

    Even for scientists, who naturally want to adhere strictly to scientific knowledge, there is always a major input of creative choice in the preparation of such animations. Besides deciding the cameras, lights, and movements of the protein characters, we had to devise a way to visually explain how an electric pulse brings about all the events that lead to neuronal excitation.

    The overall impression is reminiscent of Scanning Electron Microscopy images, but with a sort of ‘underwater feel’ that should elicit in the viewers the sense of living matter.

Technical Information:

    Media Used: Video.