Ghost in The Machine

Nature is a delicate machine, we’re clogging it up.

‘Ghost in The Machine’ sees an intricate mechanical fish sculpture come to life, its metal scales undulating like the sea and shining in the light. Peril arrives in the form of a swarm of plastic bags that engulf and ultimately seize up the workings of the intricate machine. The film aims to present the audience with the plight of our plastic-filled oceans in a different way to anything they will have seen before.

The start and end shots of ‘Ghost In The Machine’ are framed from the same front-on angle. This is no accident. At the beginning, the closed sculpture represents the world before genesis, a dark world before nature has blossomed. The final shot shows a plastic-clogged sculpture closing again. It is as if nature chooses to shut down until the next genesis, many millennia from now.

I could not conceive of a happy ending, naive optimism simply is not in my DNA. I do hope however, that my narrative is in fact too bleak, and that we find a way to save the oceans, all of nature and ourselves.

Credits / Collaborators / Cast

Direction / Animation – Simon Robson @northboysouth
Score / Sound design – Gavin Little @echolab

The story behind the film

As a surfer who lives by the coast, ocean pollution is something that deeply upsets me. Paddling out in the surf and scooping up a plastic suspended eerily in the brine is a deeply un-settling experience.

Capitalism promotes consumption unabated, without burdening the consumer with the responsibility of ethical disposal. As a result, capitalism results in a constant stream of detritus into the sea. Feeling overwhelmed in the face of ocean pollution inspired me to make ‘Ghost in The Machine’.


Genre: Environmental / Experimental / Animation
Country: Australia
Language: No dialogue
Length in minutes: 2
YEAR: 2022