Nick Crockett

Fire Underground

Software Animation, 2018-2020
Overview    Video + Screenshots    Research    Preproduction    Demos + Artifacts

Fire Underground is an animation which presents a fantasy loosely based on the events of the West Virginia Mine Wars, the Homestead Steel Strike, and other labor conflicts in US history. While a labor conflict escalates into a war, the dead and dying find themselves in a prehistoric carboniferous swamp deep below ground, where strange creatures are stirring in the dark. The story is framed by scenes from a surreal “museum at the end of history'' where heroes from America's past are immortalized forever as animatronic statues and looping dioramas, alongside prehistoric creatures, war machines, and other historical artifacts.

The piece was made with Unity 2017. Most of the props and characters were made out of physical materials like clay and tinfoil, and captured with photogrammetry.

The project has been exhibited as software, as a multichannel video installation, and as a feature-length film.

The project features original music by Sarah Louise Henson, as well as:
  • “Rime,” performed by Sarah Louise, courtesy Thrill Jockey Records,
  • “Thirty Inch Coal,” recorded by Men of the Deeps, with permission.

This project was made possible with support from the Carnegie Mellon School of Art, the Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art at the Frontier, and a Carnegie Mellon Graduate Education GuSH Research Grant.

  • producer / director
  • programming
  • 3D modeling
  • sculpture
  • animation
  • research
  • writing

  • Unity 2017
  • C# 
  • Blender 
  • Agisoft Metashape
MFA Thesis Project

2021 Milan Machinima Festival, Milan, Italy
2020 Culver City Film Festival, Culver City CA
2020 Press Play Festival, Dallas, TX
2020 Oceanside Film Festival, Oceanside CA
2020 Poe Film Festival, Richmond, VA
2020 Indie Short Fest, Los Angeles Film Festival, Los Angeles, CA
2019 Power Without Extraction, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA
2019 Personal Structures, Venice Biennale Satellite Exhibition, European Cultural Commission, Venice, Italy
2019 Above Below After Until, MFA Thesis Exhibition, Miller Institute for Contemporary Art, Pittsburgh, PA