The Quarxs
Computer animated series


Who and what are the Quarxs ?

Beware! Scientists say their numbers are increasing!

"Faithful to the teachings of the great Masters, Claude Bernard and Tex Avery, I have been studying these animal species for many years. Their existence and origins have escaped my predecessors, as well as other long sighted observers.

This rigorous work has led me to discover a surprising variety of species, which defy established physical, biological, and optic laws: the Quarxs. I think it is time to expose my discovery of such enigmas to a public keen on scientific phenomena, but short on time..."

Anonymous

First of all, the QUARXS are characters in a series of twelve computer animated films of three minutes each. Each one presents itself as a program of popularized science: the narrator, a scientist (a researcher in "comparative cryptobiology"), takes us through the evolution of his research about the Quarxs.

The Quarxs are living creatures indifferent to the immutable laws of Nature. They have evolved into highly unusual forms because of their unique relationship with time, space and matter. To find out the true nature behind the Quarxs' behaviour, a close study involving observation and experiments has been devised. In order to visibly capture such phenomena, a visual medium has especially been adapted: a mixture of video, 2D, and 3D computer graphics.

In parodying popular science programs, this series constitutes a new frontier in 3D computer graphics animation, serving as a true screenplay and not merely as a demonstration using computer graphics. Broadcast in France on Canal + and France 3 (private and public French channels), the Quarxs have also proliferated many other countries all over the World, attending international competitions, winning several prizes and awards.

At the beginning God missed something!

That was the starting point of QUARXS adventure. The idea that computer graphics could provide mankind with the means for conceiving a better or worse world than our own, well in any case, a different world . A world in which the great principles of physics, biology and optics find themselves out of place and ridiculous, ignored, altered into opposites of themselves.

What if the Quarxs' world, which contradicts the principles science and experience that we have been taught, would collide with our own?

What if these creatures that evolve, breed and multiply under these paradoxical laws suddenly found themselves confronted with our everyday, most banal of universes? Then, the Quarx would serve as an explanation for most of our little everyday life incidents and accidents and render the remained unexplained phenomena, which do not merit complete rational explanation but are increasingly being reinterpreted.

With this new outlook on the world, it is essential to search for certainties. A process that sometimes presents us with interpretations that are just as existential as they are futile. After all, the driving forces behind the Quarxs's behavior are the same as the ones that control real life, as we know it: feeding, reproduction, hiding from predators (man, the scientist?), and eventually how to disappear. Although disappearance is not final, (in this case as elsewhere), no truth is final. Maybe inside itself is a concession to the gender laws.

Anyway, here they are! We've managed quite well without them so far but they might be able to help us cope with an often entirely absurd world by offering us complete satisfying non-explanations. The realism of the picture strengthens the pseudo-credibility of demonstration and observation. The set inspires an unsettling strangeness that is essential to fiction. But not to worry! The viewer accepts the illusion, because of this new convention in visual representation, which places the computer image midway between photographic image (common to cinema and video) and traditional animation.

This representation does not deal with a cartoon universe. The Quarxs' behavior is never anthropomorphic or caricatured. They have in common the basic motivations that humans share with the animal kingdom. The Quarx were born from the desire to build a TV program around characters that deviate the established trend for realism in 3D computer graphics. The ELASTOFRAGMENTOPLAST and the SPATIOSTRIATA for instance, continuously carry out boolean operations (intersection of volumes) just as the POLYMORPHO PROXIMENS' mimics object form (morphing from one object into another) to conceal itself, and the MNEMOCHROME, a bacterium with a highly developed social life, scans the paintings of the Great Masters dot by dot, line by line, the same way cathode rays sweep across a video or computer screen.

Created and realized by Maurice Benayoun. The Quarxs have been developed in collaboration with François Schuiten, one of the great masters in the comic book genre; famous for his collaboration in many films as well as his architectural creative skills. The concept and 3D computer graphics animation for the Quarxs were done by Z-A Production Paris.

video : The Spiro Thermophage (French version)


THE QUARXIAN PROLIFERATION IN INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIONS

FINALIST, INTERNATIONAL MONITOR AWARDS, Los Angeles, USA, October 1995.
- OFFICIAL SELECTION, FILM WEST, Sidney, AUSTRALIA, August 1995.
- PRIX JOSE ABEL, CINANIMA, AWARD for the BEST EUROPEAN ANIMATION FILM, Espinho, PORTUGAL, Oct.1994.
- TROPHEE D'ARGENT, " Espace Création ", F.A.U.S.T., Toulouse, FRANCE, November 1994.
- OFFICIAL SELECTION, ANTENNACINEMA, Festival of TV series, Trevise, ITALY, September 1994.
- OFFICIAL SELECTION, Electronic Theater, 5 Th. International Symposium on Electronic Art, Helsinki,FINLAND, August 1994.
- OFFICIAL SELECTION, XXVII e INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THE FANTASTIC FILM, Sitges, SPAIN, July 1994.
- OFFICIAL SELECTIONS, SIGGRAPH, ELECTRONIC THEATER, Orlando, USA, May 1994.
- SIGGRAPH, SCRENNING ROOM, Orlando, USA, May1994.
- PROJECTION EFFETS SPECIAUX Salle Bazin, FESTIVAL DE CANNES, May 1994.
- FILM D'OUVERTURE " Concours Nouvelles Technologies France Télévision/Art3000 ", Paris, May 1994.
- DISTINCTION (2ND PRIX) ARS ELECTRONICA, Linz, AUSTRIA, June 1994.
- OFFICIAL SELECTION, ANIMATION FILM FESTIVAL, Cardiff, SCOTLAND, April 1994.
- OFFICIAL SELECTION,SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, Tampere, FINLAND, Mars 1994.
- 3RD PRIZE Fiction category, IMAGINA 94, Monte-Carlo, MONACO, February 1994.
- OFFICIAL SELECTION, INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FILM FESTIVAL, Brussels, BELGIUM, Feb.1994.
- 3RD PRIZE Fiction categoryIMAGINA 93, Monte-Carlo, MONACO, February 1993.
- OFFICIAL SELECTION, SIGGRAPH, Chicago, USA, July 1992.
- OFFICIAL SELECTION, 5TH FESTIVAL OF COMPUTER ANIMATION, Geneva, SWITZERLAND, May 1992.
- OFFICIAL SELECTION, IMAGINA 92, Monte-Carlo, MONACO January 1992.
- PRIX TROISIEME DIMENSION ; SCAM, Paris, FRANCE, November 1991.
- PRIX DU MEILLEUR SCENARIO PARIS CITE 91, Paris, FRANCE, October 1991.
- OFFICIAL SELECTION, EUROGRAPHICS 91, Vienna, AUSTRIA, September 1991.
- HONORARY MENTION ARS ELECTRONICA, Linz, AUSTRIA, September 1991.
- OFFICIAL SELECTION, IMAGES DU FUTUR, Montreal, CANADA, September 1991.
- 1st, Artistic Animation category, Truevision Videographic Competition, SIGGRAPH, Las Vegas, USA, July 1991.






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