There is nothing on Earth that has not been touched by a hand of human beings. The men explored every inch of the Earth’s surface, traveled outside of our atmosphere and into space, and the only really last thing left to conquer is an abyss of oceans. But calling our relationship with the world friendly and healthy would be delicately speaking an exaggeration. That relationship with the natural world is perfectly expressed in an animation created by Steve Cutts.
‘Man’ by Steve Cutts takes an extremely tired and dismal generalization of mankind’s relationship with nature and serves it up on a freshly carved, still steaming, walrus-bone platter. The film depicts a solitary male figure walking through what is initially an unspoiled landscape, presumably representing the beginning of time and mankind’s introduction into the natural order as the dominant animal and follows his destructive path until the world is turned into a huge pile of waste matter upon which mankind sets his throne. The whole time the solitary figure — representing us all, Mr. Cutts included — obliviously stops through whichever animal life he encounters all the while sporting a slap happy smile. Natural and industrial atrocities such as animal makeup experimentation, food processing factories, and animal skin clothing options are displayed as common place and all encompassing. Something tells me Mr. Cutts would not be so hard on indigenous tribes who use animals for food, clothing, and shelter perhaps rationalizing that the other earthly factors which make these people poor and indigenous offset these activities and somehow make them different than those of modernized man. He also probably doesn’t see himself as this harbinger of doom he has presented even though he has undoubtedly benefited from mankind’s harvest of natural resources over the years and ages leading up to his present state. Long long time ago I wanted to be a fine art painter, but it was impossible because of circumstances. Later on, when my spare time became more available, I decided to chose something else but very similar. It was photography. I love street moments, human destinies and I also love using photoshop for photo editing, if some images need it., animal shelter employees, ecologically minded scientists, and other like-minded individuals who strive every day in every way to make this world a better place. You can’t lump everyone together and present their actions as unanimous and amoral. The film ends with aliens coming down to our trash-heap and stomping man in their disgust of his horrible treatment of his home. This leads me to question whether or not Mr. Cutts is in fact a twelve year old girl or perhaps afflicted with Downs Syndrome. To presume that an alien culture would hold some universal moral stance in line with our perspective is both childish and… well any other word I can come up with is synonymous with childish so… childish.
Perspective is everything, what was once taboo is now natural.
Slavery was the norm, still is in places. Women were considered property, still are in places. As recently as the eighties, homosexuality was classified by learned men as a mental disorder. You get my point. You can’t take a time machine back to the pilgrims and ask them if they miss cable T.V.. Well you can, but then you also might animate a man destructively walking through a world for three and a half minutes and expect to have made your point. If you like watching cartoons then by all means enjoy this film. Just don’t think you are learning anything you can use to improve this or any other world in the process. — D.B. Tarpley
Written and directed by Steve Cutts
Music: “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg
Steve Cutts: I’m an illustrator and animator working in London. I previously spent several years as an illustrator at London creative agency Glueisobar working on digital projects for a wide range of clients including Coca-cola, Google, Reebok, Magners, Kellogg’s, Virgin, 3, Nokia, Sony, Bacardi and Toyota. In 2012 I left Glueisobar to venture into the world of freelance and since then I’ve been working with production houses and agencies such as Analog Folk, Lean Mean Fighting Machine, Stink Digital, The Gaia Foundation, Athlon and Bite Global to name a few. My work has also been featured on various television channels throughout the world, including the Adult Swim network and Channel 4. I mainly work with After Effects, Photoshop, Flash and Cinema 4D.