Staring paralyzed at an untouched canvas, waiting for an idea make itself known, is at once exhilarating and anxiety-inducing. Filmmaker and VFX artist Christoffer Bjerre spent three years struggling with creative block, perfectionism, and experimentation in making his latest film, VOID, which addresses these issues and other crises artists experience when trying to create.
Each scene begins as pristine as a blank page that slowly disintegrates into an all-consuming black hole. "This black hole, or void, represents the little nagging in the back of our minds when we create that questions whether what we are doing is good or bad," Bjerre tells The Creators Project. The effects seen in this film were originally created when Bjerre was experimenting with a live-action short. "Over time I realized how unsatisfied I was with what I shot and kept trying to start over or repurpose what I had created into something else," he continues. "Eventually I came to the conclusion that I didn't like what I had started out with at all and it was better to not do anything at all than to do something shitty."
Bjerre had put years of work into the project at this point, and wasting that time seemed unacceptable. "Once I scrapped my original idea, I was still attached to some of the scenes and elements I had created," he says. Visuals inspired by Ghost in the Shell, 2001: A Space Odyssey, the architecture of the late Zaha Hadid, and the fashion design of Iris van Herpen survived Bjerre's purge. "Not being able to use them for their original purpose eventually became their common denominator."
Each scene, be it a digital replica of Space Station V from 2001, a pod of flying whales, or a futuristic pavilion, is tied together by the specters of doubt and creative block. The film ends when, as Bjerre puts it, "we move through these bright scenarios until we finally embrace the darkness to be able to go towards the light again."
Bjerre's big takeaway from spending three years on what became a three-minute video is that sometimes it's better not to go it alone. "Most projects are better when they are collaborative," he says. "Instead of trying to teach yourself a new tool just to have creative control, it's just better to collaborate with someone who knows what they are doing and who might see things in a different light."
Bjerre took this lesson to heart in VOID, collaborating with London musician Echoic to create the piece's music. Check out the full video below, and click here to see a behind-the-scenes feature about the project.
See more of Christoffer Bjerre's work on his website.