"Ummm," Here's an Animated Trip into Consumerist Hell
You can thank Jeron Braxton for this, your daily dose of visual over-stimulation.
Screencaps by the author
If any piece of 3D animation could match the chemical-infused freneticism of jungle and drum and bass, it just might be Jeron Braxton’s “Ummm.” The self-taught Indiana-based animator, music producer, and graphic designer manages to pack in as much imagery and movement as a drum and bass track, with a wise disclaimer that reads, “Warning: This film features fast flashing lights.”
To catalog it all would take an entire day, but there are variously floating jellyfish-like creatures, video game imagery, subverted corporate logos, microscopic textures, and fantastical virtual environments amongst other many-splendored things. Plus, the video is deftly edited to fit the rhythms of Braxton’s jungle-infused track.
But, as Braxton tells The Creators Project, the video is about much more than trippy visuals. It deals with the Western world’s hyper-consumerism and oppression of native peoples and African slaves, which is how it obtained and sustained its power—the very techniques that Braxton sees as eventually bringing about its downfall.
“[It’s] being reinvented in the modern age by way of multinational corporations taking occupied native lands to extract resources and the profiting off of incarcerating blacks and Latinos via racist campaigns such as the 'War on Drugs,' the FBI's sabotage of the Black Panthers, and any other attempt at black unity,” Braxton explains. “The advent of nuclear energy is productivity and innovation’s dark side and is a symbol of the West flying too close to the sun”
“The beginning sequence depicts a figure in three different poses repeatedly—the poses represent ‘see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil,'” Braxton adds. “That sequence is accompanied by flashes of products to represent how it’s hard not support these violent corporations when they are so prevalent in everyday life—products we love and are medicinal. Many of us will work for these corporations to survive despite their histories.”