Jimmy Brown - 9th Dec 2010

The result is a beautiful reinterpretation of a classic UNKLE icon, accompanying new music from Lavelle. In short, John Nolan has turned the 'Pointman' character from the first UNKLE albums (and animated by Shynola in their first music project) into a working robot.

"I loved John's attention to detail and his commitment to the project," says Lavelle. "I really liked the idea of being able to work in a more child-like world with his animatronics, and it was amazing seeing reactions to the robot across the ages at the exhibition. John is a true artist hence why I wanted him to be involved in the Daydreaming With... show."

Indeed, it marks a real breakthrough for a very exciting new talent.

"I wanted to get in touch with UNKLE after seeing them at Fabric where they projected animated drawings of Futura's robot/aliens at a launch for Never, Never Land," says John Nolan. "I knew that I could recreate something similar to the animations but with animatronics and practical effects and it would be good to build something based on a great design.

"I contacted James Lavelle of UNKLE through a friend of a friend and sent him my animatronics showreel; he invited me to his studio in London to talk about a project he was putting together. They were not looking to shoot any promos, but James asked if I wanted to shoot something for the Daydreaming exhibition at the Haunch of Venison. There was no budget involved at all, but it was an opportunity to work on something together where I would produce a film and UNKLE would create a track.

"It was a great way to work really because everyone who got involved did because they loved the track and believed in the idea, everyone was enthusiastic and excited to be part of it. I had a few ideas involving a Futura style robot and coloured light flashes, which were mostly influenced by Audi and BMW commercials and my animatronics background. "I designed the animatronic based on human anatomy with every joint and pivot point replicating that of a real person. The robot was made from hand-machined anodised aluminium, 28 motors and sculpted, formed plastic. Building an animatronic of this scale and complexity you have to take many things into consideration. There are issues with weight, gravity, torque, speed but the biggest challenge with creating a robot with this amount of motors is control. We have to move every motor at once to create the perfect performance but I wanted to avoid 5 puppeteers on set trying to coordinate their movements with each other.

"The track is short but aggressive and energetic. I wanted the performance of the robot to have this aggression and energy with a marching stomp towards camera. This could only be achieved with the use of an audio timeline-based control system. I used creature performer Josh Head who programmed every move of the robot in time with the track using midi. We were able to see the track at the top of the screen as a waveform and underneath the movements of the robot. We could change the movements under the track live on set but keeping the robot and audio in total sync.

Jimmy Brown - 9th Dec 2010

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