Are the Mannequins Alive?

Unbeing dead isn't being alive.

- e e cummings

The photo below is a scene from the Mannyapolis Carnival.  Underneath that, we have included only the trailer as our animation, being 30 minutes long, is a bit large (50 gig) to upload. 

The fancy that extraterrestrial life is by definition of a higher order than our own is one that soothes all children, and many writers.

- Joan Didion

Click to Play

Look, I don't want to wax philosophic, but I will say that if you're alive
you've got to flap your arms and legs, you've got to jump around a lot,
for life is the very opposite of death, and therefore you must at very least think noisy and colourfully,
or you're not alive.

- Mel Brooks

A Brief History of Mannyapolis

The word mannequin comes from the Dutch word "maneken" which means little men.  In French, the word can also mean "live model" - as in runway fashion models.  In the 1930s, Lester Gaba designed a group of female mannequins known as "Gaba Girls" whom he named then dressed in designer clothes, furs, and jewels.  They were wildly popular and it became fashionable to invite them to parties.

At first, Gaba’s mannequins were all unique, but that soon got to be too much work.  Later models became standardized and lost their cachet.

Burkhard Heim (9 February 1925 - 14 January 2001) was a German theoretical physicist who devoted a large portion of his life to the pursuit of a unified field theory, which he felt would be the key to space travel.  In 1952, Heim presented his theory for interplanetary propulsion to the 3rd congressional session of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) in Stuttgart under the title of "Die dynamische Kontrabarie als Lösung des astronautischen Problems" (The Dynamic Kontrabarie as solution of Astronautical Problem).  Sample calculations for an expedition from the surface of the Earth to the surface of the planet Mars required only 629.85 pounds of fuel to propel a manned vehicle (empty weight 50 tons) on a round trip lasting 336 hours - 111 hours for inter-planetary travel, 100 hours to explore Mars, and 14 hours to perform engine overhaul and prepare for launch.

Heim died before his theories were proven.  Today, enhancements of Heim’s basic theories have, as you know, opened up the galaxy for travel - even for travel of a casual nature, such as family vacations.

Adroit Mannequins began production in the late 21st century.  Based on well-established technology, they began producing the ubiquitous Household Helpers - the reasonably priced, incredibly reliable servants who, within a mere decade, became absolutely indispensable to society.  These mannequins were so human-like that special laws were passed protecting their interests.  Many owners of these Helpers became convinced their "friends" were conscious - alive, even.  To settle this important matter, it was decided early in the 22nd century to establish a colony of new mannequins, uninfluenced by human interaction, to see if they evolved their own society - and to see in which direction they seemed to be headed.  This, it was felt, would be an important test.

Consequently, mannequins fully loaded with the latest software, but set to have a "delayed" awakening, were left on a small uninhabited planet (Earth-type atmosphere, abundant flora and fauna, but no mammals or large predators) in a nearby solar system.  (As a side note, the planet was named Gaba as a tribute to the man who first made mannequins popular.)  The mannequins were to be left untouched.  Then, the results were scheduled to be evaluated after a century had passed.

Incredibly, scarcely 30 years passed before an event occurred that made the World Council seriously re-think this project.  In fact, the Galactic Council is soon to receive a new member.

Frankly, we couldn’t be more pleased...

Click each photo for a much larger view

Cast and crew: Dakota Hatch (sound), Manny Cognati (lead actor),
Ruth Hatch (writing, modelling, editing, design), Wolf Hatch (writing, modelling, animating, camera)

In the event you'd really like to see the whole animation, contact me and I can mail you a copy of our DVD.  Warning!  I would have to charge about $10 to cover my cost of materials and postage, though, so it probably isn't worth it...

For more animation, video clips, and shockwave games click the "Up" button below to take you to the index page for this Animation section where you will find all sorts of things.

Home Up Next