The best procrastination outlet of the year award goes to 27-year-old rocker Ty Segall’s interactive video for his new single, “Manipulator.”
Directed by Matt Yoka, the video is takes you down into a surreal rabbit hole consisting of cut-paper collage from random old books and catalogs on nature, architecture, and Medieval and Renaissance art–all with a heavy Terry Gilliam influence, as Wiscombe told The Creator’s Project. And it’s accompanied by an interactive website, coded by Simon Wiscombe, which lets you click around to, yes, manipulate what’s going on in a stop-motion Ty’s psychedelic universe.
Manipulating the animated collage is trippy and strangely addictive: Click on a hamper and a little bearded man pops out. Click on the wall and it turns into a slab of meat, then aliens appear. Click on Ty and a fan of arms sprouts from his back, click again, he grows a beard, click again, his skull explodes.
The number of possible visual combinations in “Manipuland,” as the director calls the animated room, aren’t technically endless, but there are 1 trillion of them, so you could be manipulating for a long time before you get bored. Playing out every bizarre permutation of images available could take ages–as Wiscombe explained:
Starting with the first scene, there are 19 different things you can click on. Each of those has a different number of possible rotations. Let’s take the floor as an example. That has 13 different possible forms if you were to just cycle the floor. If you were to cycle only the floor and the right curtain, you’d have 13 (for the floor) x 11 (for the right curtain) possible combinations. Expand that to all 19 and then for each scene, you have… Scene 1 – 1.67 * 10^17 (167,000,000,000,000,000 or 167 quadrillion) Scene 2 – 8.7 * 10^7 (87,000,000 or 87 million) Scene 3 – 6.0 * 10^11 (600,000,000,000 or 600 trillion) So all in all there are about 3.1 * 10^31 different combinations. Which is about 6x the number of bacteria that exist on Earth.
And the song is good, too! Play around with “Manipulator” here.