An Exploration of Character Based on ‘Perdido Street Station’ by China Miéville

Perdido Street Station is an award-winning adult fantasy novel by British author China Miéville. The story takes place in a fictional city where both magic and steampunk technology exist. Humans, and bizarre immigrant races coexist in disharmony under an authoritarian government. The novel would be adapted into a high budget television miniseries. I chose to explore three characters based on their position in society, using a different approach for each character.

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Isaac: The human protagonist, Isaac, is a brilliant but undisciplined scientist, dabbling in all areas of science. I explored Isaac’s character through his work space, creating an instillation of his desk for my degree show exhibition.

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Lin:  Lin, is a Khepri who are a female dominated race with human bodies and scarab beetles for heads. Fantasy creatures are rarely portrayed as complex characters in film and television so I explored how to make her relatable to the audience despite not having human facial features. I designed and made a static prototype of an animatronic scarab head that would be worn by an actress playing Lin in the television series.

Mr Motley

Mr Motley: To counterbalance these two sympathetic characters I also explored an antagonist character, Mr Motley. He is a Mob boss who has grafted extra body parts from various creatures onto himself. This is a practice called ‘remaking’ used by the government to punish and humiliate criminals, but Mr Motley has taken this to the extreme as a form of self aggrandisement. I used sculptural maquettes to design Mr Motley, exploring how to make him menacing and grotesque but still portray him as a character as opposed to a creature.

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