Pixar’s Luxo Jr.

For nearly a year, October 8, 2015 through September 11, 2016, the Cooper Hewitt Museum had a couple rooms dedicated to a Pixar exhibition – “Pixar: The Design of Story”. The exhibition featured drawings depicting the conceptualization and development of various Pixar films, such as “Inside Out”. One small room was dedicated to Pixar’s initial animated short “Luxo Jr.” – the animation featuring the desk lamp that went on to be incorporated into Pixar’s production logo. In the gallery, the animated short is screened and the film is accompanied by documents that portray the development of the film from the animation’s script – merely a list of actions and three storyboards. The presentation effectively breaks down the evolution of the animated short and demonstrates how a simple idea may develop into noteworthy production.

Pixar's Luxo Jr. script

Luxo Jr. First Storyboard

Luxo Jr. Second Storyboard

Luxo Jr. Storyboard

OMETEPE the Video Game

Screen Capture of OMETEPE the video game

In June 2013, the Nicaraguan National Assembly approved a bill conceding the financing, planning, construction and management of a cross-oceanic canal to the Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Company (HKND Group) headed by Chinese billionaire Wang Jing. The agreement spans an initial 50 years with the possibility of a second 50 years. The initial phase of construction began in December 2014 and the target year of completion is 2020. The agreement to this 40-50 billion US dollar project was discussed by the Nicaraguan National Assembly for only one week before approval. The agreement was not made public prior to the decision. The construction of the Nicaraguan Canal would entail the largest movement of earth in the planet’s history and would have immense ecological impact. The planned route of the canal would require the forced relocation of campesino communities.

To help bring attention to the Nicaraguan Canal, the video game OMETEPE is set on the island of the same name, located in Lake Nicaragua through which the canal will pass. The island is formed by two volcanoes rising from Lake Nicaragua that are linked by low wetlands; Ometepe was officially declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2010. Although the canal project appears to be stopped due to lack of funds, the Nicaraguan government remains secretive about the project.

Games for Thought