“The main idea [of Glucose] was obviously to reflect the human experience, my experience as a Black man. And more than that, as a human using technology… Explicitly, I wanted it to be a reflection of the Internet. Each time we get [online] it’s a journey that doesn’t really have a narrative, but it’s all connected because it’s the same universe, or algorithm.”
Glucose uses fast-paced, low-poly graphics and myriad pop culture references to produce an experience that is both unsettling and expansive. Glucose depicts the dream-state odyssey of a video game boxer. Losing the first match, the protagonist dreams of images as visceral as a rebellion of oppressed people and his own wrongful murder at the hands of a police officer and scenes as outlandish as humongous headless dolphins and his life as a science experiment inside a laboratory tank. After this intricate dream, the boxer is able to defeat his opponent, a White leopard, in the final round of the championship.
Saturated with flashing, brilliant colors, the imagery of Glucose is initially jubilant and buoyant. However, as the film advances, the reverie morphs into a nightmare, evoking the perilous experience of Black people in the United States with respect to the American Dream. Through its powerful allegorical symbols, such as black panthers and police pigs, Glucose underscores the sinister history of Black Americans throughout the development of the United States.
The moniker of the film stirs up even deeper allusions: “Sugar was the engine of the slave trade that brought millions of Africans to America. Glucose is sweet, marketable and easy to consume, but its surface satisfaction is a thin coating on the pain of many disenfranchised people.” The cultural obsessive fetish for sugar as both a commodity and a drug parallels the nation’s desires and revulsions of the Black subject.
Jeron Braxton (b. 1994) is a director and writer, known for his powerfully animated short films—Glucose (2017), Octane (2018) and Daytime Noir (2019). Braxton graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Art through the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture and Design. With the rise of technological advancements, Braxton is one of the leading 3D animators of Generation Z. As an animation artist, Braxton incorporates a variety of elements including political messages, dance beats and Playstation aesthetics to create his hyperactive short films that explore the Black American experience. Braxton’s complicated animation methods are blazing new ground in the field, pushing the artform into unexplored territory.