project director: Simon Yuill
original drawings: Chad McCail
development team:
Ricardo Creemers
Stefan Gartner
Eleonora Oreggia
Simon Yuill
sound design: Mark Vernon


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All content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, unless otherwise stated.

Original story and artwork

spring_alpha is partly based on drawings by Chad McCail: 'Spring', which depicts the story of the struggle between the existing society and the people, and 'Evolution Is Not Over Yet', which is a series of banners proposing possibilities an desires for an alternative society. The 'Spring' darwing is accompanied with a written narrative by Chad.

The black and white 'Spring' drawing has become the basis for the 2D version of spring_alpha, and the colour 'Evolution Is Not Over Yet' drawings the basis for the 3D version. Documentation of these can be found in the modules section.

Spring, Chad McCail, 1998

click on image to see enlarged sections

It is spring. A high-density council estate is bordered by a railway and a river. Many of the people who live there have worked nearby in the slaughterhouse and the arms factory. Their experience in these industries has engendered an overwhelming desire to find an alternative means of providing for themselves and their children.

Two years ago they decided to grow food on the land around their homes. Vegetables now thrive where there were roads, trees and bushes line the embankment and a greenhouse has been constructed beside the river, its course adapted to allow watercress to grow along its banks. Further upstream a large reedbed cleans the water before it enters a deep trout pool.

Throughout this period of transition the men and women of the estate have continued to work in the factories, carefully spreading word of their intentions amongst friends and comrades, aware that a time would come when it would be necessary to claim back more land if they were to succeed in releasing themselves from their dependency on the factory owners.

However, manipulated by the increasingly powerful demands of big business, a weak and corrupt government has recently initiated a policy intended to provide the capitalists with a workforce finally purged of all dissident and uncooperative elements. This policy has been piloted in the locality.

On completion of their final exams at school, young people are taken to a newly-constructed Obedience Testing Centre, where they undergo Milgram's Obedience Experiment. If a subject successfully applies the 360 Volt shock to another, whom the subject believes to be one of his/her colleagues, s/he is considered to be employable. However, should the subject balk and refuse to administer the larger voltages s/he is considered unfit and a disciplinary procedure follows with his/her immediate confinement in the adjacent holding cells. S/he is then transported to a newly-adapted residential area where a cell-cage has been constructed in the back garden of each semi-detached home. Given a dog-mask and supervised by a domestic robot, the disobedient subject performs menial services for the home-owner.

After a period of humiliation the dog wo/man will be taken back to the Obedience Testing Centre for re-examination. However if problems arise and the dog wo/man infringes s/he may incur a more severe penalty. S/he will be taken to cells within a nearby public house, which has been equipped with new facilities.

Here, after a few drinks, men and women from the surrounding area, complicit with the regime, will make their way to a backroom where robots wait in rows of seats facing a large cage. As a robot rises so a man or woman slips into the vacated seat and, with a joystick, takes control of the prosthetic partner, guiding it into the cage. Taken from the holding cells, a dog wo/man is released into the arena where, with more or less skill, s/he is beaten to death by the robots.

These new refinements in disciplinary policy have been observed by the occupants of the council estate with increasing alarm and it is with foreknowledge of the impending visit of the Prime Minister, to launch a wider application of the scheme, that they have decided to act.

Careful plans for the insurrection have been laid and sympathetic groups in every walk of life have co-operated to ensure the overthrow of the military-industrial complex.

The council estate forms the base for operations in the locality, acting as field hospital and centre of communications. Refreshments are prepared in its kitchens and the youngest children are kept out of harms way.

The first objective has been to take the Prime Minister hostage and compel him to broadcast a statement outlining the new situation while calling for a calm and peaceful redistribution of wealth and land.

After a struggle the people have overcome police and bodyguards and temporarily incarcerated them in the Obedience Testing Centre's holding cells. The Prime Minister has been left with no alternative but to brief the nation on the transfer of power. His invited guests, bankers, factory owners, media moghuls and their lackeys are directed towards the slaughterhouse. Made to crawl into the bowels of the building like condemned animals, they will spend some time in contemplation before being led back to the pens above to recover and reflect further on their changed status.

Disaffected elements within the armed forces have mutinied and the younger schoolchildren have organised a ritualised return to the community for the soldiers.

Coffins have been constructed in the school's wood and metal workshop. A young child climbs into a coffin and is carried by his peers to the gates of the army base where the coffins are placed to form an avenue. The child climbs out of the coffin to receive the soldier's gun which he places in the empty coffin. The disarmed soldier is applauded by the gathered crowd and, discarding his helmet and ammunition belt, is welcomed back into the community.

The older children have used the school's electronics laboratory to monitor the airwaves and maintain contact with revolutionary groups throughout the country. In the domestic science and chemistry laboratories tea and cakes laced with strong herbal tranquilisers have been provided for those less immediately disposed to the changing situation. In the workshops persuasive electric prods have been constructed, allowing children to deal effectively with slow-witted adults.

Some people who have disembarked from the halted commuter train are being guided up the railway line. They have refused to aid their comrades in the confrontation outside the shop and are being led to the slaughterhouse.

A large group of riot police is being pushed back towards the public house. Instrumental in the crowd's success are a small group of dog wo/men released from their cell cages on the adapted residential estate. In an act of release and purification, a blindfolded man has followed a rope laid through the defiled homes and cages and set the prisoners free. The rope leads eventually to the conflict where the appearance of the dog wo/men strikes terror into the hearts of the police.

Further downstream, the house of a rich man stands by the river in extensive grounds. The insurrectionaries, seeking a share of his land, have broken down a section of the retaining wall and are trying to negotiate. Unwilling to relinquish any part of his estate, he holds a gun to the head of his own son and threatens to kill him unless they leave his property immediately.

Sketches for Spring, Chad McCail, 1998

Click on a thumbnail to view a larger image:


riot police


house interior

radio station

house interior

dog man

dog mask

dogman and robot

Evolution is Not Over Yet, Chad McCail, 1999

Click on a thumbnail to view a larger image:

land is shared

roads are dug up

school is not compulsory

money is destroyed

people take turns to do the difficult jobs

everything is shared

people have relaxing orgasms

mercy is shown

obedience doesn't relieve pain

people build homes and grow food

soldiers leave the armed forces

wounds are healed

armour dissolves

no one charges no one pays

people stop using things