The walls are covered in various alloys in the garage where something is roaring to life. A stone-faced figure slides into a man-machine, a two-wheeled wearable motorbike that takes on the form of its rider's body. One gaze through the helmet visor of our unnamed protagonist and we're off, bursting from the hatch of a hybrid helicopter cargo plane, dodging enemy bullets and mortar fire as we weave through a gridlocked morning commute.
This is Speedhack, the proof-of-concept short film for EXTROPY, the first film in designer, CGI, and VFX artist Dylan J. Nathan's proposed sci-fi trilogy. "Speedhack is a high-octane journey through a near future city sprawl," Nathan tells The Creators Project. "When reality is augmented, DNA is synthetic and machines are sentient, what does it mean to be real? What is life?"
After cutting his teeth in both the electronic music scene as Jega, an artist on both Planet Mu and Matador Records where he came into contact with Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada and Björk—"Radiohead named a track off Geometry, my second album, as an influence on 'Kid A,'" he tells us—and CG graphics and architecture at Digital Domain in Venice, where he got to work on Tron: Legacy with both GMunk and Joseph Kosinski (the director of Oblivion), Nathan decided to try his hand in the narrative feature realm. "I have been wanting to make a film for years, since my early days in New York when I had an unfinished short called Fireball," he explains. "So many ideas have been percolating since then, and I was waiting for a window of opportunity to develop my own film." The result, created on a custom-built PC "spilling out with graphics cards, cables, and fans," is like Ghost in the Shell meets Halo meets I, Robot—a sci-fi spectacle that aims to take narrative CGI to the next level and very well could, considering that the jaw-dropping two minutes seen below were created by a single person.
"I think the title EXTROPY is the artist statement, and why I revealed it at the end of the short," says Nathan. "It has a lot of complex connotations. Literally a week ago, a ground-breaking physicist proposed mathematically the underlying mechanism of life - essentially that life has a driving force towards self-organization and replication. I call that Extropy." Check out Speedhack below, see more concept art on EXTROPY's website and Facebook, and visit Dylan J. Nathan's website for more.