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Watch Google Maps come to life in poignant animation

A city, needing oil to thrive, leaves the map in search of black gold.

The hills are alive.
Patrick Jean

Were you one of those kids who saw the silhouette of creatures in the clouds? You might enjoy director Patrick Jean's "Motorville," in which a California city, loosely based on Los Angeles, comes alive and treks across the world in search of oil.

Why oil? Jean says the city needs "oil in order to feed its body, made of streets, highways, and freeways." The director originally created the video for a television channel in the U.S., but the unnamed network supposedly declined the piece after seeing it, so Jean put it on Vimeo instead.

In an interview with art blog 1.4, Jean said various inspirations -- ranging from animation to written work -- gave him the idea for an "allegory of modern megalopolis living on a map, like massive, living organisms feeding from oil."

"But the problem is these organisms are not-far sighted enough to achieve their own survival on the long term, because they consume all the resources around them very quickly," Jean said. "In the film, these cities behave like Zombies, bacteria, robots, or drug addicts. Or a mix of all these."

The video, which features an interface nearly identical to Google Maps, isn't affiliated with the service whatsoever.