A piece of jellied toast lying face down on the floor. A frying egg yolk drifting lazily to one side of the white, then dividing into a runny mess. A downloading progress bar stuck at 99%. These are the gnat-like irritants that float in humanity's collective karmic ointment. A new video focuses on them in hypnotic detail.
Set to the mournful lament of Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings"—the go-to classical piece for musically enunciating tragedy—the video is called The Most Unsatisfying Things in the World, and was produced by motion design studio Parallel as a way of highlighting many of the petit disappointments of life.
Such as? A free-throw basketball indecisively circling the hoop's rim, then impotently flopping off. A stainless steel spoon drowning in a bowl of alphabet soup. A fuse sputtering out mere millimeters from where it would have exploded a firecracker. A soda can being stuck in limbo between the glass and coil of a typical vending machine.
And so on. Situations as irritating to write down as they are to witness, The Most Unsatisfying Things in the World is a paean to life's smallest letdowns; a poetical animated tribute that anyone can relate to o the death-by-a-thousand-cuts frustrations of modern life. But more importantly? From a design perspective, each one of these existential flyspecks is a potential million dollars to be made, if only it could be solved.
Even for spectators, there's something bizarrely satisfying about watching others acknowledge unsatisfying things. No wonder the video has sparked a contest from Parallel, inviting fellow animators and filmmakers to catalog their own diminutive dissatisfactions in the order of space and time. For example, that ropy coil of hidden nose hair that unfurls itself moments from the deepest recesses of your nostril, no matter how much time you spend grooming in the weeks and months leading up to an important date. Not that I'd know anything about such things.
You can find out more about the Unsatisfying Challenge, and contribute to it, by clicking here.