You can now see Moving Illustrations of Machines on Mike Judge's and Don Hertzfeldt's The Animation Show DVD, Volume 1, in addition to more than a dozen other spectacular films. It's exciting to have a new venue for animation, so please visit their web site and see all the amazing work being created!

Thank you for your interest in Moving Illustrations of Machines. I hope you enjoy this collection of artwork and information related to the film.


"Sort of 'Eraserhead' meets '2001' by way of 'Metropolis'. Solterbeck's hypnotic score is elegantly Eno-esque and seals the ethereal deal from frame one. Given the amount of mind altering movie magic the guy manages in nine and a half minutes, it's staggering to imagine what he might do one of these days with two hours."
– Rick Kisonak, Film Threat

" . . . absolutely fascinating in detail and production. This dark, surreal concept piece took nearly 4 years to complete, and it really shows. Easily one of the best shorts . . . and an inspiring work of art."
– Randy Miller, DVD Talk

"Jeremy Solterbeck has created a masterpiece in animation with this short film. Every frame is beautifully detailed and leaves no void. These thoughtful "moving illustrations" are set to lyrical and illuminating original music and revolve around a theme of "What if . . . clones?" In just a few minutes, the viewer is taken to another world which lends an appreciation for the originality of the mind of Solterbeck as well as the divine mystery of what it is to be human."
– Internet Movie Database

"Baleful, non-verbal, and magnificent, this ambient film with soundtrack to match reminds me of the work of Jim Blashfield, with which it shares a similar landscape of far-out visuals and creeping loneliness."
– Taylor Jessen, Animation World Magazine

'Machines' further proves that the best animation is in the indy short circuit. Man, there was a certain quality about this one I can't explain, it's a dark short about a machine that seems to do stuff to eggs. Recommended."
Ain't It Cool News

"Striking black & white animation that brims with a shadowy ambiance reminiscent of great film noir cinematography."

" Film Arts Foundation director Gail Silva has told me how wonderful Solterbeck's film is several times. In the 20+ years that I've known her, she has rarely been that excited about recommending a work so."
– ASIFA San Francisco

"Solterbeck’s 'Machines' was a beautifully hand-animated short comparable to anything in 'Fantasia 2000.' Its strangely haunting commentary on technology and man is mesmerizing."
– Nolan Reese, Daily Free Press

"Luscious, rich animation brings the human machine to life, from the inside out, like a steel ballet."
– Johns Hopkins Film Fest 2001

"A gorgeous and detailed vision of a horrifying future."
– Film Arts Foundation

"A bizarre, impressionistic take on cloning."
– Release Print

Click above to view the trailer for
Moving Illustrations of Machines.




Kudzu Film Festival
– Winner, Year 2000 Red Eye Award

Digital Catapult

– 1st Place, January 2000

– Bronze medal 2001

Prix Ars Electronica 2001
– Honorary Mention 2001

Film Arts Foundation
– Year 2000 Completion and Distribution Grant


South By Southwest
3/10/01 • Austin, TX

Prix Ars Electronica 2001
4/20/01 • Linz, Austria

Seattle International Film Festival
6/5/01 • Seattle, WA

Slamdance Anarchy
Short Film Competition

12/7/01 • New York, NY

Atlanta Film and Video Festival
6/14/01 • Atlanta, GA

Telluride International
Experimental Film Festival
10/27/00 • Telluride, CO

Anima Mundi
7/01 • Rio de Janeiro

Uppsala International Film Festival
11/6/01 • Uppsala, Sweden

Nashville Independent Film Festival
6/10/01 • Nashville, TN

Foyle Film Festival
12/2/01 • Derry, Ireland

California SUN International
Animation Festival
3/24/01 • Northridge, CA

Johns Hopkins Film Fest 2001
4/12/01 • Baltimore, MD


Chicago Underground Film Festival
8/01 • Chicago, IL

Boston Underground Film Festival
2/20/01 • Boston, MA

1 Reel Film Festival
9/01 • Seattle, WA

Kudzu Film Festival
10/20/00 • Athens, GA

MicroCineFest 2000
11/1/00 • Baltimore, MD

Film Arts Festival of
Independent Cinema
11/5/00 • San Francisco, CA

Foreign Cinema’s Trailer
11/27/00 • San Francisco, CA

Hollywood Shorts
12/10/00 • West Los Angeles, CA

Sprockets Ensemble
2/8/01 • San Francisco, CA

Hi Mom! Film Festival
3/3/01 • Chapel Hill, NC

Hi Lo Film Festival
3/31/01 • San Francisco, CA

Phat Shorts Film Exhibition
4/9/01 • New York, NY

Rose Rock Film Festival
10/6/01 • Tulsa, OK

World Animation Competition
8/01 • Agoura Hills, CA


Consider Moving Illustrations of Machines a revisionist animation. It ignores all tenets of traditional animation: color, hypernatural movement, and the depiction of vibrancy and life. The only characters as such are machines.

Work began on this film as a commentary on the 1997 cloning of Dolly the sheep. The goal was to visualize a hybrid world where the distinction between organic machines (such as cells) and their man-made counterparts (such as microchips) becomes unclear. A duality has crept into our technological consciousness: first, the idea that a living mechanism such as an ovum can be described as a machine, and second, the idea that man-made mechanisms with extreme complexity must at some point be considered alive. For instance, the CPU of your average desktop computer can now outperform insects in terms of information processing power. Does this suggest that microchips are in some way smarter or more alive than insects?

This new paradigm of the machine concept is here applied to a narrative that encompasses many of our emotional perceptions regarding cloning. Setting a provocative tone, the film opens with the mission statement of scientist and entrepreneur Richard Seed:

God made man in his own image. God intended for man to become one with God. We are going to become one with God. We are going to have almost as much knowledge and almost as much power as God. Cloning, and the reprogramming of DNA, is the first serious step in becoming one with God.

The film introduces this machine world in a series of images that depict simple motion, consisting only of the benign spinning and turning of various mechanisms. The world is designed to lack a sense of scale and orientation, to be surreal and mysterious, yet to also be beautiful. The second sequence begins with an unsettling image of worm-like machines. They appear more complex in form and motion, but still seem to be metallic and man-made. Then the ova are introduced and the rest of this sequence details their journey from being “hatched”, to being inseminated by the mechanical worms, to being inscribed with information by the needle of an ominous cloning device. After we see a single egg being altered, the final sequence begins and we learn the rest of the eggs have been inscribed as well. They slowly conglomerate as the music builds, and in the end appear indistinguishable in a mass, an organic surface that is the accumulation of these hybrid organic machines.

Moving Illustrations of Machines wishes to reconsider what it means to be living. Has technology and cloning changed the definition of the word machine? Is the human machine open to revision by humanity itself? As our technology becomes unfathomably complex, will the human ovum become as eligible for alteration as any of our mechanical gadgets? This film doesn’t propose to answer these questions, only to present them for the viewer's consideration as cloning and related scientific issues continue to surge to the forefront of our ethical and moral quandaries.




Moving Illustrations of Machines © 2000 by Jeremy Solterbeck. All rights reserved.