Dezeen Magazine

Henning M Lederer depicts the human body as a machine for Max Cooper's Anatomic music video

Music: German visual artist Henning M Lederer explores the biological machinery of the human body in an intricate animated video for Max Cooper's track Anatomic.


Musician Max Cooper approached Lederer to create the film before he composed the accompanying score.


"I worked with Henning M Lederer to show we're all composed of different modules, the heart, the lungs, the circulatory system, the brain, which are themselves little machines in their own right," the musician said.


"Henning's detailed beautiful hand-drawn infographic approach to video seemed like the obvious fit for telling this part of the story," he added.

The action opens on a series of black and white spinning cogs surrounded by graphic rays of light, with a human figure contained in the centre.


The lens focuses in on the central figure to reveal its beating heart, before further zooming in to reveal the cogs, pistons and other machinery keeping it pumping.


The film continues to focus in greater degrees to reveal the molecules flowing through the pipework of the body's veins, and the individual cogs that comprise each molecule.


A cyclist is revealed to be powering the unending movement of the cogs in each molecule, and is in turn shown to be powered by a circuit board.


Finally, the film reveals the energy source of the cyclist's brain, which contains a kaleidoscopic collection of arrows, circles and fans, all moving in tandem. A central human figure brings viewers back again to the original opening scene.

The film is part of Max Cooper's Emergence audio-visual show, which is "about how simple behaviour creates complex outcomes."


"We had a bit of a challenge thinking about how to show the inside of the mind, and Henning came up with the nice idea of the infinite tunnel as the mind's eye, which I think is quite fitting," said Cooper, whose previous music videos have included an abstract representation of primordial life and a simulation of cell growth.


"Working on a concept by Max is always a challenge; mainly because he is writing and thinking in a very complex and elaborate way," Henning told Dezeen.


Using the concept of the Emergence show as a starting point, the artist was free to develop his own approach, with Cooper giving feedback on sketches and animated sections as the film progressed.


"The aim was to keep the style I normally use only when creating layouts or scribbles," Henning said.

"The next step then was to transfer and vectorise these images, by keeping the style but making it possible to work in the digital environment. In this way everything looks much more natural and original."


The film builds on Henning's research into the connections between man and machine, developed during an MA course at Norwich University of the Arts, and further explored since through his Machinatorium blog.


"Being a graphic designer originally, I'm used to creating infographics and designs that explain complex structures," he added. "Keeping in mind that these illustrations need to move and be animated later on is normally the tricky part."


Anatomic is the fifth track in Cooper's Quotient series of releases and will be performed as part of his Emergence tour.