'Kill Your Coworkers,' Flying Lotus

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WARNING: contains cartoon violence. A quirky parade is destroyed by murderous robots in this animated music video for Flying Lotus' "Kill Your Coworkers." 

Mike Winkelmann is an animator, designer, and VJ based in Neenah, Wisconsin. In this interview, he talks about how animating a universe is like building a diorama and why he makes all his project files "open source" and available for other people to use. 

The Atlantic: How did you come to collaborate with Flying Lotus? What was the inspiration for the video?

Mike Winkelmann: Steve (Flying Lotus) called me up out of the blue after a friend of his showed him some of my work. He really liked it and asked me to do a video for him. I actually hadn't heard any of his stuff at that point but was listening to a lot of very similar stuff so I instantly loved his shit. The inspiration for the video was from the very first thing he said to me about the track: "it's like a parade." I tossed around a bunch of other ideas before realizing that maybe it would be cool if I actually just made a parade with all kinds of wacky shit.

How would you explain the process of creating a world in Cinema 4D to someone who has no idea how animation works?

Well the way I create a world in Cinema 4D is probably a lot different from someone who actually knows what they're doing. I usually take it once piece at a time. One day I'll build a bunch of buildings, then the next some people, then the next some outdoor things like signs and trees and then after I have all of these objects I sort of put them in place just like you'd put action figures into a diorama. That's the fun part, when you've taken all the time to make all of these little toys and then you get to put them together and you realize you suddenly have this very animated, vibrant world with all of these little details for each thing that you've been working on for the past couple months.

What motivated you to make all your animation projects “open source”? Has anyone sent you a cool project they created with your project files?

Well to be honest, after I render out the project and show it to the world, there really is no use to me for the project files. I'm never gonna use them for anything else, so they're just gonna sit there. So I figured if other people could get some use out of them, that would be great. I've learned so much from other's tutorials, it's the least I could do. As for projects, I've seen tons of cool stuff that people have sent over and that's also been really motivating.    

Is the singularity near, and should we be worried?

Depends on who you ask. If you ask my buddy KK Vander Goob, who is a card carrying Kurzweil fanboy then the singularity is about two weeks away. I don't predict it will be in our lifetime though. Even if it is though I think it will be so quick that there's no need to worry. We'll all be either instantly dead or immortal all-powerful deities. Either way, the luddites have already lost. It's coming. :)

What’s next for you?

I need to finish [the next music video in the Instrumental Video series] IV.10!!! I've got easily two to three months of work left on it and I'm already sick of it and just want it to be done. I'm at a really boring part of it where it's super tedious and life-draining. Other than that, I just did some visuals for deadmau5's set at Lollapolloza so hopefully some more shit like that as well as more VJ clips and of course my everyday bullshat.

Instrumental Video 9:

 For more videos by Mike Winkelmann, see http://beeple-crap.com/.

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.
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