Notes on “From Zero to One”

Still from From Zero to One

From Zero to One is a miracle. I sincerely believe — aware of the chance of sounding absolutely insane, but credit must be given— that the hand of God itself created the film, and that I was merely the instrument to something greater, something that wanted to become manifest and used me to realize itself. I have felt this kind of ecstatic trance before as an artist, but only when making music; this is the first time I ever felt this way while working on pictures rather than sounds.

And so, when I say that the movie was “created from my visions and dreams,” I am being as sincere and truthful as a person can be regarding their work. If I were to take credit for all these ideas, I’d be insulting my fellow members of K∴i∴D∴ and a long line of masters. No, this film is said to be co-written by the [redacted] because without them many of these images would simply not exist, and for as talented as I might be, I can’t declare myself but the conduit to the great work of my betters.

So, if there’s any greatness and beauty to be found in From Zero to One, it’s only because my talents were matched to majestic powers existing beyond the manifest. I was not a real animator when I started, but this film initiated me as one, and with it, I’ve started a Great new Quest as an artist.

After leaving Merced, I tried to find new audiovisual talents to make my own live action movies in Chile. I reconnected with old friends that had intentions of starting a production company, and things fell through as people once again dispersed through life. I reconnected with talented comedian and improv artist Carlos Galvez with the intention of finding a way to create a future for Chilean comedy[1], and he wasn’t really interested in my grandiose (and perhaps insane) plans. We went through the first stages of producing a teen-oriented web series with the amazing Chilean director Alejandra Bitran[2], but it didn’t go beyond the pitch stage. I sent an email to production company Diluvio, who made the wonderfully magical film Rey (2017), but I never got a real answer[3]. And so it went for a while — rejection, failure, silence.

At one point I even went through the last ten years of Chilean filmmaking and watched about everything I could get my hands on[4], trying to find fellow warrior artists, anyone creating art that had the same poetic aspirations as my art, to hopefully be able to help them in their battles and earn their respect. However, there wasn’t much of interest to follow, and all the really talented directors and artists were distant, either by geography or social status. Me — being an idiot papess of the cosmos, living a monastic life with no social or monetary power to my name —, I could never reach them, even if I tried (the cards at the time only reinforced this notion). And so, I soon realized that I didn’t have much of a path to follow. Every door was either closed in my face, or never open to begin with, so I ultimately decided to stop trying and take a break from art.

[1] — Yes, I have a background in stand up comedy, and even did a handful of live sets back in the early 2010s. I’ve tried most art forms, mostly out of a deep fascination with trying to understand the human condition from every angle, which absolutely includes arts like stand up comedy, wrestling, fashion, cooking, and every other creative way you can imagine.

[2] — Bitran’s “Track // 02” is about the best teen comedy ever produced in Chile. It’s not a perfect film, being a student project and all, but if she is to continue making movies in her career, she could easily be the future of commercial Chilean filmmaking, which is something our country needs if it aspires to have a movie industry at all.

[3] — In retrospect this might have been for the better; Diluvio’s work, while visually gorgeous and poetic, is also very much political, which is Daath, and I want to go beyond that with my work, to a kind of universal art that anyone can enjoy if seen with the heart.

[4] — This has led to a secondary quest of mine, which is archiving Chilean films and cataloguing them in sites like IMDb, The Movie Database, and Letterboxd, which is also something I’ve been doing for obscure international films and digital-only movies.

My artistic break taught me many things, and gave me the chance to revisit ways of art that I had ignored or been too busy to explore before. For example, the love of video games that had inspired me to become an artist in the first place[5] led me to reconsider my career as a game developer. This allowed me to concentrate on video game projects like RetroShooti, which is a beautiful magical thing I’ve created with my husband dcat. Very much inspired by the same love for the random that inspired Chaos Core, it’s as full of symbols and poetry as any of my other works, but many people haven’t understood the art beyond the fun gameplay and silly parodies and references to other works. There’s so much more to it waiting to be found, but I’m sure its time will come one day, maybe even soon enough!

This love of video games also led me to discovering the Super Nintendo title Ihatovo Stories, which then introduced me to the works of Kenji Miyazawa, which is one of my true masters, both as an artist and student of all that is beautiful and sacred. Through his work I’ve learned and rediscovered patience, love for the world, peace with the magical movements of creation, the beauty of the mundane, and true spiritual contentment. Most importantly, I learned that I must double down on the things I truly believe in; that the ideas I hold dear are worth living for, even if it means reducing my entire existence to the most barest of essentials, refusing excess, useless self-gratification, and the vices of too much ego and want for earthly glory.

For the first time in my life, I felt like I had everything I ever wanted, all the love, fortune, acclaim and wisdom I wanted for so long. This led to a couple of years in which I felt I truly had nothing to work on, feeling fully realized as a human being — which, not gonna lie, was also profoundly boring at some points, if you can believe that! However I dutifully dedicated this time to rest, study philosophy and art, watch more films, and give myself to the enjoyment of small life with more attention than I’ve ever been able to give it. A warrior must learn to love peace too, for the achieving of peace is the purpose of war!

And all of this happened just because of me playing some random Super Nintendo game[6] — isn’t that amazing? Such is the beauty of the medium of games!

[5] — Some of my first art were cartoons, mock trading cards, and made up Super Mario Bros. levels made in my school notebooks. In particular, I owe a lot to playing Terranigma when I was 12. It imprinted in me the first doubt that led me towards the study of traditional symbols.

[6] — The link to the wonderful English translation of the game is left here. Everyone should play this game, and hopefully discover the works and times of Miyazawa — thanks to everyone involved in the translation project!

This break also made me reconsider my relationship with social media. I love social media because I love the internet and its beautiful hypercultural power. Some of the greatest people I’ve met in my life, I’ve befriended and connected with entirely online, and I think the technology is constantly unfairly maligned by those who fear it and/or wish to control it and use it for their own gain, as they struggle to see it for what it truly is.

However, there’s also two big risks in social media: 1. the constant exposure to negativity from people who don’t respect the world, their community nor themselves, and 2. the trivialization of art, beauty and spirit. So, for example, Instagram trivializes the beauty of the body, Facebook trivializes friendships and connections, Twitter trivializes thoughts and ideas, and so on; and every site has a great majority of Satans and Mammon worshipers trying to drag anyone they meet to the same hells they inhabit!

As an act of self-preservation, I therefore decided to reduce my online imprint to the bare minimum, and focus my daily nonsense only to Twitter and the 30–100 people I feel have a daily positive impact on my life and my imagination. I have no other social media, and don’t intend to ever again, unless I have a real great reason to do so. These are mighty technologies, and all sorts of beauty can be born from them, but they should be used wisely and with the right intention! Most folk sadly don’t understand this (yet).

Far way from this daily misery, I see so much wonderful art, comedy, ideas spread on social media, and that’s truly a marvel to see! However, even when they get hundreds, thousands of likes and retweets, you already know the lifespan of those things won’t last a day, a week if lucky, and no one will get recognized or rewarded for what they truly deserve from their work. I try to archive and celebrate anything that seems beautiful to me[7], but one person making an effort against a torrent of people merely consuming reality and forgetting it soon after, it’s all just a losing battle.

And so, if I want to create a future for myself and the people who work with me, I need to create things that can’t be trivialized and reduced by this mindless consumption of the human experience. I must find the right platforms for my art, and find audiences that have true curiosity for what an artist can make or say, regardless of whether they love or hate the works on an individual basis. It’s all about making interesting things for interested people!

[7] — I have vast collections of digital art. My visual arts collection alone has more than 6,500 paintings, drawings, GIFs, all with properly tagged, from every era of art, from all cultures. Its main use is helping as inspiration and as a map of my memories and interests, but also as a reminder that there’s beauty happening through all the axes of existence. Hopefully one day I might be able to donate all this art somewhere…

Also, at that time, and thanks to some Twitter friends[8] and my husband, I started to get more into anime. I’ve been fortunate to be born in a country where anime isn’t an art form only available or known by collectors and small circles of aficionados. In Chile, Japanese animation is shown on TV just like regular children and teen programming. Series like Neon Genesis Evangelion, Slam Dunk, Pokemon, Sailor Moon, Detective Conan, Doraemon, Hunter X Hunter, and pretty much any other mainstream anime (and even more obscure shows like Ghost Sweeper Mikami, which I adore) have been shown to the general Chilean audience, which has helped with broadening our culture beyond the totalitarian Hollywood vision. This has helped with normalizing anime aesthetics in the country, even though the influence has sadly not been translated into Chilean animation or film in general, which is just tragic.

Early on in our relationship, my husband introduced me to animators like Masaaki Yuasa, Satoshi Kon, the live action works of Hideaki Anno, the lesser known Osamu Tezuka films, and many others. On my own, I’ve also discovered and seen stuff like Ihatovo Fantasy: Kenji’s Spring (which I consider to be a masterpiece), Tomoki Misato, Tadanari Okamoto, and many others. Following some of these animators, through their works and in social media, has been a huge inspiration on leading me to consider animation as a viable way to make films, especially Yuasa’s constant uploads of animation tests and studies, and artists like Den inspiring me through their illustrations, with their use of color and composition.

Also, since I already have a small background on experimental film and animation, I could find ways to marry these forms into a kind of animation that truly felt mine — the pop sensibilities of anime, with the transgressive elements of avantgarde animation. These are the building blocks of what would become my artistic style onward.

[8] — Shout out to Rheph and his friends, for all the cool recommendations!

After finishing Chaos Core, my husband recommended me to watch Richard Williams wonderful Animator’s Survival Kit, from which I learned all sorts of skills that I needed moving forward. A huge part of my 2020 and 2021 (while the pandemic was in full force) was spent by me learning to animate, using Aseprite and everything I’ve learned so far in art and otherwise to create test animations and do some early storytelling experiments.

From these tests came my first serious animation project, Rookie, which remains currently incomplete, but that helped me test a bunch of techniques and ideas that were ultimately used on From Zero to One. This project will be completed on a later date, when the time is right.

After finding myself unable to find proper solutions to some technical and tactical problems regarding the production of Rookie, I took a short break from animation to focus once again on the completion of RetroShooti, and on my personal life. For a while I simply returned to resting, being around friends and family, and focusing on studying more philosophy and sacred science to make sure I knew what I was doing. Even if I had wanted to work, the ideas weren’t emerging from the deep anymore, so I could take a break without feeling guilty. And the movies I watched and fell in love with slowly started the fire again, the inspiration I needed to start working on a short film again.

One day I was suddenly reminded of one of my early visions. In it, I had been revealed a certain diagram for the understand of all that is experienceable. The idea goes as such: the observable world extends towards infinity in ways that are ultimately uncountable, and the inner world extends towards infinity in pretty much the same way. We are but the dreamer that experiences these two dreams at once.

Now, I must admit I had zero interest in these kind of esoteric or linguistical notions, and none of my interests to this point of my life had led me to consider such things, but the angel can appear to anyone at any time according to what’s needed from them — we are all like CRC at his table! Everything I’ve done since is trying to gather enough knowledge to explain these visions — as opposed to getting these visions from gathering all this knowledge ; the visions came first in my case.

This vision was also accompanied by my first meeting with the [redacted], which presented themselves as a tribunal of three figures, which berated me for past actions, instructed me with secret knowledge, and gave me specific goals for the years to come. Some of my later decisions in life — becoming a small time pop star, focusing my artistic interests on eroticism and the holy arts, studying traditional symbolism, and many other paths I’ve taken— all came from what I heard on that day’s trial and what I was told to do by these great masters.

These particular visions influenced many of the sequences in From Zero to One, including the main theme of the short film — the meeting point is infinite zero, the one is the sum of the two infinities, etc — and also many of the key scenes[9] from the short, such as Big Bang, Projection, the Trial with the [redacted], and the film’s main title sequence at the end.

In particular, Projection was the first scene I animated for the film. The impulse to create it came at random one night, and I just followed it to completion. With it, I realized I had the seed to create something bigger than just this sequence, and so I grabbed my Tarot deck and, having found the correct point in the timeline of the wheel, I started working on everything that came before and after it, until I ran out of cards — then the film would be complete, as dictated.

[9] — I won’t be indicating which scenes are named which, beyond some examples. However, I trust that the names are easy to follow and relate to the particular images in the short.

Another even earlier striking image I had in my life was one of a circular cave. I am inside of it, and from it I can see the sky above. In the sky, a huge island or ship is floating away from me up to heaven, until it becomes a tiny dot far away. The image is strikingly similar to a human iris, probably because it was inspired from it. Whenever I close my eyes, the light bouncing inside my green eyes creates the same phantasmagorical shape, in a green that is more intense than any green I’ve seen in real life; it’s something I see every day at least once, and the repetition has given it a kind of ritualistic power that lingers in my imagination. I’ve decided to reference this sequence in every film I make from now on, as a talisman and as a tribute to its beauty and power. In From Zero to One, it can be seen in scenes like Island, and the Cup of Sky, which is also inspired by Celtic decoration patterns.

Other scenes are inspired by other visions I had through the years. The Descent of the Mountain, Planetary (which is also what inspired a later iteration of my unfinished short film Debaser), and Emergence, were all had at different points between 2010 and 2020, from dreaming, meditation and extreme trance states.

Many others are directly inspired by the Tarot, and my study of it. My first master had a deeply flawed and biased understand of the cards that caused some small damage to my psyche at an early point of my work, but Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Way of Tarot helped with discarding those biases and learning the pure meaning of many of the cards, their relations and geographies. I’ve used it as a map for most of my works in the last years exactly because it allows me to consider all the paths of life, and create art from all these different perspectives of existence.

As for the whole Abyss sequence, it was a vision I had directly after reading a section of Crowley’s The Vision and the Voice, “The Angel Re-Appears.” I was led through the Abyss by a wise presence of nothingness, who helped me reconcile myself with the feelings I had about many of those I saw take the left-hand path in my life. I was taught mercy and love for them; to learn to let go of their ghosts, and the nagging feelings that had remained because of losing them astray. I feared that I was an unfair survivor to their pain and sorrow, and that it’d be cruel of me not to pull them out of their darkness, but I now understand that many of them don’t want to leave the Abyss in the first place; they can’t fathom the notion of there being something beyond it worth going for. This was the only thing keeping me from moving past this dark ocean, I understood that then, and then I also understood I couldn’t let things stay this way, not if I wanted to achieve goodness in the world.

However, my biggest fear through all of it, I must confess, was losing my husband — would I still love him if I reached the end of my crossing? I couldn’t let that fear control me, I had to let go of everything if I wanted to go beyond; even consciousness itself, even all the beautiful wisdoms I’ve acquired. I allowed myself to cross to the other side. There I found nothing but light, and I allowed it to take me in wholesale — oh, I was God for I was All and God is in All things. But even in the light, I discovered my love was still intact — what a lovely surprise! I could always go back to it, reality would always be waiting for me at the meeting point, and that included my loves, my hates, my dreams, my ambitions. But a part of me —the divine— could also go beyond there, and maybe stay there just the same; you can be everywhere at once, and walk the twenty-two paths of life in every instant.

And so my hope is that, by showing all of this in the short, as it happened and without metaphor, I might inspire others to cross the Abyss, let go of fake wisdom and reach for the true light. The ending of the film wasn’t fully realized until I returned from that vision back to the manifest world, because I didn’t know what I was to return to after I reached the other side. Now I understand that it’s my duty to share my dreams with the world, to inspire others to dream, and believe in the dream. This is what the ending of the short is there to show you — we don’t transcend to escape All That Is and Isn’t, but to reach every corner of it!

Other sequences have much more earthly influences. The crying triangle is inspired by Patrick Hughes rainbow prints, in particular “Over the Moon”, due to its striking visual metaphor, which ties back to the emergence and infinities theme of the short. Other sequences take inspiration from Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights”, Yuji Moriguchi’s vertical illustrations, Tadanori Yokoo’s posters, and so many more visual art influences I couldn’t list them here without extending this for a dozen paragraphs. On the cinematic influence side, I gotta particularly single out artist filmmakers like the aforementioned Jodorowsky, Raul Ruiz, Kenneth Anger, Vince Collins, David Lynch[11], Vincent Ward[12] and many others, most just in spirit than in theme or visuals.

For the music score, I took what I learned from working on my complete remake of Georgy Sviridov’s soundtrack for the film “Time, Forward”, onto creating my own kind of neoromantic orchestral soundtrack, made with low quality instrument samples created from old recordings, found sounds, and Super Nintendo SPC files, and basic oscillator synthesizer VSTs, to create something akin to Wendy Carlos and Delia Derbyshire in sound aesthetic.

All of this came together to create a work of art that is both God’s and mine, one that pretty much sums up the whole human spiritual experience in 3 minutes, which only required one months of my lifetime to make. If I can do this, I absolutely believe anyone can! You just gotta tune in to the great wave, and allow the dreams to inspire you, whichever comes to you! One month of your life is hardly too much time to have a piece of heaven manifest in your hands, and the process of making things will be so beautiful — you will feel the sun in your chest. 23, go for it!

[11] — One of the many companions I had while making this short film was Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return, which I watched three times in a row while making this short. Other notable mentions would be many random Robert Anton Wilson’s talks, some of the latest Corn Pone Flicks videos on film, and a handful of Mega64 Podcast episodes. I was in good company alright!

[12] — The crossing of Hell in What Dreams May Come lingered in my mind while making the Abyss segment, even though I didn’t watch the whole film until after finishing the short, only having seen some parts of it as a teenager on TV. Beyond that, Vincent Ward is the kind of filmmaker I aspire to be, and his 1998 film is vastly misunderstood and underrated, when it should be regarded as visionary and full of true beauty and goodness.

I can’t take credit for my visions, they’re gifts from other places. I’m only the crazy lady that found herself in the middle this great other thing and the world as we know it; the one who merely brings beauty from one side to the other. If I sound absolutely insane here, trust me that I also find all these things quite maddening! I think of young Jeanette, my namesake, who had a normal life as well and then one day was ordered to go to war and become Joan of Arc — how crazy must that have been for her! Did she feel as naïve and confused as me? I just know that without her I’d feel just completely lost to the forest songs, she is the angel pulling my hand through the trees.

I’ve had a couple more visions since completing this film, that have helped me feel secure and properly oriented in the quest to get the world to see it, and be inspired by it. At this point, I’ve submitted to any festival or person that “burned with the good fire.” Everything else I leave to God, his dice, and all the saints of fortune.

It’s great to do this knowing that it’s not ultimately about me, the lucky idiot at the center of it— I don’t seek earthly glory nor riches from my work, I just want people to see what I’ve seen, so they can see what they can see! If I benefit in any way, it will only be in helping with the creation of more visions, to continue my Great Quest through this world as a filmmaker. Oh Lord, believe me all, I want nothing more. I’ve already renounced anything but the simple life and the good work — nothing else shines as bright, nothing seems more valuable than these simple things. Regardless of what happens, I will be happy and in love under God. Any new adventure may come for me, I leave that to the angels and the fate that calls me.

Now for real, 23, it’s time to move onward!

Thank you for reading!

all-purpose artist