When you watch a movie like Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, it is very easy to take for granted the ridiculously daunting task of making a stop-motion animation film. Even Aardman Animation’s short films take a wealth of time, resources and creative manpower. But all that can be filed under “miniature,” and not “the smallest film ever made.”
IBM can proudly boast particular achievement. With their atomically-charged short film A Boy and His Atom, a team from the tech giant created the above film which features only a set of arranged atoms and the surface they lay upon. Not actors named Adam, but atoms, people! Magnified 100 million times!
Like the first bite-sized Atari game – the film itself is only about a minute long – this represents a seemingly simplistic advancement quite unlike anything ever seen before, while still looking wonderfully rudimentary as all hell. Admittedly, its plot line is slight, but it’s thought-provoking in a different way, and proves that art can exist in any size. (Though now that I’m thinking about it, the way the dot shapeshifts perhaps makes this an itsy-bitsy homage to Finn and Jake in Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time.)
While its intention is certainly more to intrigue than to entertain, the short film’s origins lie in developing teeny-tiny data storage and figuring out how to utilize magnetism on the atomic level. Using a needle in temperatures below -200 degrees centigrade, they were able to attract the atoms and drag them around to the placement of their choice. You know what? How about I just let the IBM researchers responsible for the project explain themselves in the below video.
I know it’s early, but I’m calling for an Academy Award nomination for this, just to see if a tiny Oscar statue would be created if they’d win.