The spare beauty and narrative economy of the film work of Charles & Ray Eames should really come as no surprise to anyone who has seen the couple's design work. Their fabric patterns, chairs, buildings...everything they did was approached with an eye for combining simplicity, functionality, and beauty.
Applying those principles to films is a much trickier prospect than one might realize. Just take a look at any Hollywood creation from the last 15 years and you'll see what I'm talking about. In comparison, the Eames films are almost meditative to watch. They unfold slowly and patiently, getting the subject matter across using simple narrations and augmenting it all with a bouncy jazz score. It is impressively easy to drink in and absorb everything they are trying to accomplish and, yes, communicate.
Because for as much as scholars like to point to their 1968 documentary Powers of Ten as being their
Up through May 6th at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is an exhibit entitled"Storytelling In Japanese Art" with a main focus on the Emaki, or Emakimono hand scrolls; some dating as far back as the 12th century. What's interesting about these pieces is that they are physically lengthy, so only certain portions of the scrolls are available for viewing at a time. The scrolls will be advanced during the length of the exhibition, so if you visit more than once, chances are you'll see different sections of the scrolls, which contain illustrations as well as japanese character text. Some are faded and reflective of their age, and some are in phenomenal shape considering the fragility of the medium. The exhibition also includes full views of some of the handscrolls on iPad displays in the beautifully crafted reading room. The current of the presentation of the pieces is very fluid - literally, with a fountain by Isamu Noguchi in the center of the route and a study/bamboo mat room.
When visiting the exhibition, we learn narrative was not only told on the medium of the scroll; visitors will see illustrations on screens, fans, cards, hanging banners, books, kimonos and porcelain as well. Some are showing one or two ideas as a story, and other pieces have multiple scenes and many utilize the stylized cloud formations to separate panels or sections of the stories that is present in Japanese art through the years. Take a look at some of the details of this show in the photos after the jump and see if it doesn't pique your interest!
Marianne Trench’s 1990 documentary on the world of cyberpunk observes digital outlaws on the forefront of new technologies, fighting for freedom of information. Founded upon the spirit of the first cyberpunk novels by William Gibson, the movement is a networking hub for politically-concerned technophiles who poke around inside protected digital databases and occasionally wreak mayhem by inducing malicious software. Sometimes for fun, and sometimes to extract information, the hackers are concerned with increasing access to knowledge and generally throwing a wrench into the system. Often set in dystopic near-futures in which the lower class is dramatically underrepresented, cyberpunk (and sci-fi literature in general) helped develop the context in which we discuss the arrival of new technologies: with a guarded interest, and sometimes fear that they might eventually wreak similarly undesirable results.
Unfortunately, this cyberpunk prescience is starting to look less and less like fantasy. Gibson once described his fictional futures as “social Darwinism designed by a bored researcher who kept one thumb permanently on the fast-forward button,” where the ones calling the shots cut corners at the expense of the
Join Bronwyn Carlton & Jay Bachhuber of WFMU's Thunk Tank for a Meet-Up celebrating the opening of their first ever photography show at the Dino Eli Gallery (81 Hester St, Manhattan) on Saturday, December 3rd, 6-9pm.
The show is titled Thunk Tank: Corpus Absurdum, and runs through December 8th.
I went to St Louis for the Old School Tattoo Expo, where world renowned tattooer Lyle Tuttle celebrated his 80th birthday; here's a photo of his cake (it's the Frisco Flyer tattoo machine that he made and made famous). The highlight of the weekend, aside from reconnecting with Lyle and other great friends in the business for me- was the visit a few of us made to the 10 story City Museum there. A cross between the works of Antoni Gaudi and Mad Max, it's an amazing playground created for the most part, from junk! There was a ferris wheel on the roof, alongside the praying mantis dome, and on the same level was a schoolbus that was perched precariously with 2 wheels hanging off the roof for patrons to explore. There were slides on every floor; nope, not visual slides; the kind you plant your ass on and tumble down! One was a 10 story spiral slide, not unlike the style that comes to mind when referring to water parks. All types of sculpture and found object placement that was delightful, including an area with discarded architectural features - lions and gargoyles and lampposts, oh my! There is a section called the Enchanted Caves, which looked just like it sounded. Part of the museum had an aquarium within it; stocked with turtles and catfish, completely accessible if you wanted to pluck a turtle out of the water and walk around with him, you could! The aquarium (pictured left) was part of the maze of walk through/get lost in sculpture that made up the majority of the ground floor. I may not be describing it accurately, mostly because that's a difficult task; The City Museum defies categorization, which is a breath of fresh air this day and age. There's also a couple of bars, a smoothie joint and a thrift store within the museum's expanse, not to mention the fuselage of an airplane, a series of monkey bars that stretches countless yards, animal sculptures made of gears, a castle turret and more.
No words can really convey what goes on there; the photos featured after the jump will do some of the inventiveness and beauty of it justice, and the real experience can only be yours if you visit. Yes. It's an experiential kind of place. Show up in sneakers!
I have collected 200 Public Service Announcements into a playlist on youtube. Everything from vintage to present, serious to silly, disturbing and nonsensical. Drug abuse, sexual abuse, forest fires, littering, drinking and driving, texting while walking, bullying, farting, menstruation, and more. Take a walk down memory lane or learn a thing or two along my little detour of the information superhighway. It could make you delirious.
And now, some Friday cheesecake served up by one of WFMU's esteemed lady DJs, Monica, who rocks the headphones every Sunday evening 7-9pm. Monica says: Stock photos and publicity shots of Lady DJs rocking headphones and other gear while in various states of ecstasy and undress. Watermarks and all. (Some images NSFW).
These images are the result of a Google image search using "lady dj" and "female dj."
Heather Benjamin's comic and ink work is a flurry of deeply hacked out lines of sexual frustration. Characters stab and fuck each other in fountains of blood and dirty underwear. Through all the angst, a sensual gentle hand is apparent as seen in the way Benjamin handles hair- it's lovingly rendered even when it theatens to envelope and strangle.
This is the only image that I could get away with putting on the blog. Go to her blog (nsfw) and make sure to check out her comic Sad People Sex.
Kerehiko Hino's paintings are populated with homogenous child-like figures that are in some sort of ecstasy trance. Their faces resemble fish heads with large eyes and gaping mouths; they stare into a void, seemingly stricken with some sort of post-orgasmic rigor mortis, unaware of the viewers' gawking. Hino's lush handling of flesh, odd lighting and candy pastel palette creates even more dissonance in the uncanny tableaux. This treatment of the body as an abject object is continued in his still-life work that reduces personal items such as wigs and cheap costume jewelry into absurd piles.
Several weeks ago, I was proud to have Gaye Black/Advert as a guest on the Peer Pressure segment of Diane's Kamikaze Fun Machine. Check the archive for the show here; she was a great guest, played strictly black metal, and we talked about her life post-Adverts - a lot of which consists of being an exhibiting collage/construction artist, and some photos of her work are displayed on the playlist. Those of you in the London region are lucky; she's curating a show that opens November 25th at the Signal Gallery that features art from names in music you'll recognize... Feast your eyes!
One of the 50+ projects to spring from this weekend's Music Hack Day, Free Music Archive Radio is essentially the template for a Creative Commons Pandora. Enter the name of any artist, and FMA Radio taps into the Echo Nest's musical brain to generate a similar playlist from the FMA's curated library of 40,000+ legal mp3s. Tweak your station further with Mood and Style parameters, and/or Creative Commons license filters.
Despite the fact that it's just a demo (works best on Chrome, not so well on Firefox) FMA Radio has already been written up in evolver.fm, the Dutch blog Muziek & de bibliotheek, and Germany's Progolog. Its awesomeness is enhanced by the fact that it's html5 (plays nice with iPhone/iPad), it's open source, and it was built over the course of 24-hours (whoa!). I spent much of the weekend hanging out with FMA Radio's creators Jeremy Sawruk, Robby Grodin (ConductiveIO) and Julie Vera, the Music Hack Day veterans whose previous projects include Sawruk's Feedtunes (turns Twitter trends into playlists based on song lyrics) and Grodin's Toscanini gestural interface. In addition to releasing open source code, Sawruk and Grodin are Creative Commons musicians, and they've really done an incredible service to the community via FMA Radio.
Music Hack Day is a series of music/tech gatherings fueled in large part by APIs. After the big news last month that FMA's API had been revamped and mapped to the Echo Nest's Rosetta Stone leading up to WFMU's Radiovision Festival, this weekend introduced the FMA to the mother of all music hacking events. It was fantastic to take part -- some highlights after the jump:
Aleksandra Waliszewska's drawings depict a world populated by self-mutilating children. They roam the woods, cutting themselves in a ritualistic fervor. Animals and beasts sometimes pet the children, sometimes they eat them. Waliszeska's drawing style is crude but controlled, giving her characters an odd vulnerability even as they are hacking the limbs off of some unfortunate victim.
Trubble Club is an informal group of Chicago comic artists that meet every week to produce collaborative comics. Inkers such as Edie Fake, Jeremy Tinder and Grant Reynolds delight in farting out the most absurd panels full of gross-out humor and ridiculous surrealism.
After a turbulent run in high school, my perspective started to morph from an "us versus them" approach to a more suitable "me versus them", and a desire to have as much fun as possible with it. Jello Biafra had painted himself into a corner, KMFDM had become caricatures of themselves, and even though Atari Teenage Riot could continue to bolster their jack-in-the-box reactionary teenage angst, I was no longer in a mood for catch phrases or campaign slogans of any kind. Before long, I was hanging out in my friend's basement bathroom that he'd converted into a bedroom, watching the mushroom cloud sequence from Dr. Strangelove on repeat, doing excuisite corpses, making pornographic collages, writing for and publishing "dadaist" zines (which also included pornography), and setting random things on fire. It might be cliché in a round-about way, but it sent the ball rolling in a lot of different directions.
If there’s a better satirical film on the art world than A Bucket of Blood (1959) then I certainly haven’t seen it (note: John Waters’ Peckercomes close). This playful jab at the beatnik artist types of the 1950s easily translates into the ridiculousness of contemporary art. Reportedly made by “King of the B-movies” Roger Corman for a mere $50k, A Bucket of Blood is a thoughtful and provoking look at the beginning of modern art as cultural phenomenon. It has a lot in common with the 1953 version of House of Wax (André De Toth) in its representation of the frustrated and revengeful artist, however, it moves beyond the artist as “individual” to cleverly mimic -- and mock -- the capriciousness of the art world as a whole.
As much as the word "monetize" makes me reach for my revolver - artists, musicians, writers, and radio stations are now competing for fewer and fewer dollars, as dinosaurs like the music industry and the publishing industry shuffle off the world stage. There is plenty of great work being made right now, but until new funding models emerge its difficult to imagine how creative types can sustain the output.
There are plenty of crowd-funding websites and platforms but there is only one Kickstarter. This month the company announced that they just hit one million backers, that's one million backers of comics, albums, books, video games, urban farms, documentaries, exhibits, performances, and thousands of other creative works. Yancey Strickler is one of the co-founders of Kickstarter and he will be on stage to talk about why Kickstarter campaigns are so successful, and what the future of crowdfunding will be.
While most foundations have long lists of requirements you need to meet before they will consider writing you a check, The Awesome Foundation has only one prerequisite: that you be awesome. Christina Xu is one of the founders of The Awesome Foundation and she is going to talk about how her organization is regularly passing out no-strings-attached $1,000 grants to people doing awesome things like documentaries, public art projects, even interactive community notice boards. Awesome Foundation does not have a very complicated formula - every month a group of trustees get together and award a grant to a project they like best. New chapters are opening in cities all over the world, and they were just awarded a Knight News Challenge grant, this is a model with a future.
The music and publishing industries may be in free-fall but the advertising indusry is doing great. Jeff Tammes is the EVP, Creative & Strategy at Cornerstone of Cornerstone a marketing agency that pairs artists with lifestyle brands. Cornerstone also helped set up Converse's recording studio, Rubber Tracks, in Williamsburg. Jeff's message for creators is that lifestyle brands can help artists and musicians realize their dreams.
Our moderator for this panel is Rebecca Gates. who as a member of The Spinanes can remember both the bad and the good of the old model, as a working musician has awareness of the complexity of the current scene and as a member of the Future of Music Coalition wonders: “How are all these shifts affecting working musicians? What are the implications for a musician’s practice? And what do these new models mean for the shape of arts culture in the future?
Tickets are on sale, but they are going fast. We already sold out the Radiovision Opening Night performance with Joe Frank! Don't miss out.