You can watch Headless Population here.
As part of the BBC New Creatives program, the short film ‘Headless Population’ by Catriona Carswell takes the viewer on a journey of modern-day life posing questions around our use of technology, and whether we are really taking in the world around us. The piece merges both nostalgic animation style and modern sounds in order to captivate the viewer and tell a poignant storyline in just 2:30.
The film starts in a calming, almost meditative way, as the crashing of waves and sounds of nature can be heard before the orchestral backing track starts to build up pressure and density. We see how a group of people are so engrossed in their phones that they are completely unaware of the lives around them. A small bird flutters down to greet them before stealing a small snack and flying away, something that would allow many to appreciate the natural beauty of the world if they were able to take time solely in the moment.
The animation itself is full of emotion despite having almost zero intricate detail in parts. The human characters have no defining features, many without heads (hence the name), exhibiting how we all have a tendency to get lost in our phone screens as well as our mundane day-to-day cycle of travel and work. As the orchestra builds, the sounds become heavier and heavier, the clicking of keyboards, clicks and clacks of the railway as well as electronic beeps and buzzes reminding us all just how much time we spend with technology as opposed to people. One thing the short film does really well is giving the viewer an insight into the things they may be missing, such as children playing in the park or friends who are feeling lonely that may need to talk.
‘Headless Population’ gives the viewer an ultimatum between the everyday cycle and life’s priorities asking whether we are striking the right balance. The short film is a perfect anecdote for the 21st Century, and Catriona manages to pack it full of emotional moments in such a small time frame, giving the viewer many questions to take away.