In the spring of 1991, I was working for a small start-up computer business called The Company of Science and Art, or CoSA, in Providence, Rhode Island. Founded as a hypermedia development company, CoSA was also a nascent software developer, and their first major product was a video display engine called PACo (an acronym for Pics Animation Compiler), which had the breakthrough ability to play full-motion video with synchronized audio on a Macintosh directly from the hard drive without having to put the entire file into the RAM first. This made it possible for the first time to play multi-megabyte files on regular Macs not supercharged with additional RAM and third-party video cards. I created the Esther video as a demonstrator for PACo - because the song was ten minutes long and the video file was very large, it was the ideal vehicle to show off PACo's capabilities.

The choice of Phish's music came from one of CoSA's founders, Greg Deocampo, who had established a relationship with the band in his pursuit of potential content for hypermedia development in the form of interactive CD-ROMs. At the time, Phish was a relatively unknown band from Vermont that was just beginning to make an impression on the college circuit. They generously gave permission to CoSA to make a video for any song it chose from the album Junta - an example of the same generosity which led the band to encourage soundboard taping by fans at its shows, and which would help to create the unique fan community that would eventually make the band one of the most significant musical movements of the 1990s. I don't remember exactly why I chose the song Esther for the video - I can say, however, that I definitely had no idea how much work would be needed to create a video for a 10-minute-long song, because if I had I probably would have either picked a shorter song or just called the whole thing off. In the end, I think I recognized that the bent-reality, dream-like quality of Trey Anastasio's lyrics would make a good match for the style of drawing I had developed - especially the iconic face of the puppet, which came to me very quickly upon hearing the song and remains my favorite image from the project.

Incidentally, PACo was the forerunner of a program that propelled CoSA into the major leagues of software development and brought about its acquisition first by Aldus and then by Adobe. That program was After Effects, now an industry standard for desktop video production and one of Adobe's cornerstone applications.