This paper is a companion piece to my short film, “Victorian Organ”. This film is an effort to contextualize the mechanical, or man-made, within nature. It is an assertion that there really is no "man vs. nature"- (a radically illogical and inherently self-destructive notion), but only man as nature, in which case, alienation and disharmony ultimately lies in our own self-perception. The impulse to identify a relationship between the mechanical and organic is inspired not only by my observations of our human society, but as a way to decode my own inner workings –an urge to reconcile seemingly major dichotomies like reason and emotion. In the film, these ideas are illustrated by pulling the viewer through the innards of a self-winding, mechanically musical tree. The central metaphor is the encrypted code of the music box cylinder at the heart of the tree, whose rotating bumps dictate not only the notes of the tree’s song, but the pattern of cell growth-- a spinning mechanical chromosome. The cylinder is wound by a key nested in the center of the root structure, pushed by the tree’s own organically formed roots. The key eventually reaches its extreme point and reverses direction, turning the cylinder and playing out its code like a music box. This winding and unwinding is in keeping with the dual nature of the tree, and is a parallel theme to the harmony of complementary elements: 'concrete mechanical' and 'amorphous organic'. The paper includes a discussion of the evolution of ideas that gave rise to this project, a description of the methods used in puppet-making, shooting and postproduction, and appendices which contain the initial thesis proposal, film stills, an influence glossary, and other supporting documents. Despite any reservations I have about how I could have done things differently with this film, it by definition serves as a tangible document of my preoccupations, interests, tendencies, and general mood over the time that I worked on it .To a person interested in putting herself in context, this qualifies it as a definitive success in at least one regard.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Computer animation--Themes, motives; Computer animation--Technique; Animated films--Themes, motives; Animated films--Technique; Nature (Aesthetics); Golden section

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Film and Animation (CIAS)


Ghertner, Nancy


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: TR897.7 .D86 2008


RIT – Main Campus