“Utilizing special macroscopic photographic techniques, filmmakers Claude Nuridsany and Marie Perennou created this fascinating and visually spectacular look at the hidden worlds in the life cycle of an ordinary meadow in France. When seen through the lens of Nuridsany and Perennou’s cameras, insects become gigantic beasts, blades of grass turn into towering monuments, and raindrops form puddles that resemble vast oceans.”
The Forgotten Space follows container cargo aboard ships, barges, trains and trucks, listening to workers, engineers, planners, politicians, and those marginalized by the global transport system. We visit displaced farmers and villagers in Holland and Belgium, underpaid truck drivers in Los Angeles, seafarers aboard mega-ships shuttling between Asia and Europe, and factory workers in China, whose low wages are the fragile key to the whole puzzle. And in Bilbao, we discover the most sophisticated expression of the belief that the maritime economy, and the sea itself, is somehow obsolete.
A range of materials is used: descriptive documentary, interviews, archive stills and footage, clips from old movies. The result is an essayistic, visual documentary about one of the most important processes that affects us today. The Forgotten Space is based on Sekula’s Fish Story, seeking to understand and describe the contemporary maritime world in relation to the complex symbolic legacy of the sea.
An essay film in the tradition of experimental documentarians like Chris Marker or Harun Farocki, Remember Carthage takes the viewer on an epic journey in search of an abandoned resort town deep in the Sahara desert. However, one travels not through archival or personal images but through footage sourced from PS3 video games and Second Life, depicting ancient civilizations that seem at once familiar and totally fantastical. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition “Museum as Hub: Walking Drifting Dragging,” which centers on artist expeditions, Remember Carthage is a first-person journey through a historical fantasia that highlights the fictionalizing and exoticization of culture within gaming and virtual worlds.
The voyage begins on the swaying deck of a ship in unnamed waters and proceeds through a myriad of different landscapes, from arid deserts to the gaudy interiors of what appear to be Persian palaces, to barrooms and bedrooms—each new scene unfolding in sync with the narrator’s melancholic remembrances. As in other works by Rafman, a feeling of alienation and loneliness structures the story, with the narrator searching for a connection and yet unable to grasp what is real or stable around him. In Remember Carthage, the filmmakers emphasize how digital media makes history seem both totally accessible through archival information and, at the same, completely foreign to us. Here, the narrator’s search for the abandoned town is rendered increasingly futile as he traverses a landscape where markers of time and place often appear to be unmoored, floating signs. And, as his journey continues, he becomes unable to distinguish authentic sites from simulated versions.
The repetitive and circular sequencing of the film, with recurring locations and characters, furthers the protagonist’s sense of dislocation and interpolates the logic of gameplay—continual death and resurrection—into his journey. It is unclear whether the narrator in Remember Carthage ever arrives; despite constantly moving, he is caught in a horizontal, virtual dreamworld where his goals become ever more distant.
Jon Rafman is an artist, filmmaker, and essayist whose work explores the impact of technology on consciousness. His films and artwork have gained international attention and have been exhibited at the New Museum, the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and the Saatchi Gallery in London. Rafman’s work has been featured in Modern Painters, Frieze, the New York Times, and Harper’s.
Rosa Aiello is a writer and video artist. She has recently completed an MA at Oxford in literature and philosophy, and an artist’s residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Her writing and video practice deals with the limits of language, reason, and humanness. Aiello has been exhibited at the Museo d’arte contemporanea Roma and the Festival de Nouveau Cinéma in Montreal.
For the first time, a massive data set of 10,000 porn stars has been extracted from the world’s largest database of adult films and performers. I’ve spent the last six months analyzing it to discover the truth about what the average performer looks like, what they do on film, and how their role has evolved over the last forty years.
The average male and female performer are the same height as the average American man and woman: 5’10″ and 5’5″ respectively. However, porn stars are quite a bit lighter. At 117 lbs, the average female performer is a considerable 48 lbs under the national average for women, and the average male, at 167.5 lbs, weighs 27 lbs less than the national average for men. So, just how were these porn stars’ weights determined when they were typed, probably with one hand, into the database?
The Internet Adult Film Database’s data is culled from various sources, including performers’ modelling profiles and the information they give during interviews in the porn films themselves. So presumably at some point the heaviest woman in my sample, who weighs 719 lbs (about the same as two giant pandas), and the lightest woman, who weighs 10 times less, at 74 lbs (the same as the average American 10-year-old girl), mentioned their weights, and an owl-eared fan heard them and rushed to the database to pop them in.
Excerpt from a study by Jon Millward. Continue HERE
Numbercult has created a series of visual music pieces that explore the use of Voronoi tessellation, and intersecting nodal networks using VVVV. The works are marked by a refined use of color, and a cross-wiring of sound and video resulting in narratives of pure geometric abstraction.
How did the Galactic Empire ever cement its hold on the Star Wars Universe? The war machine built by Emperor Palpatine and run by Darth Vader is a spectacularly bad fighting force, as evidenced by all of the pieces of Death Star littering space. But of all the Empire’s failures, none is a more spectacular military fiasco than the Battle of Hoth at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back.
From a military perspective, Hoth should have been a total debacle for the Rebel Alliance. Overconfident that they can evade Imperial surveillance, they hole up on unforgiving frigid terrain at the far end of the cosmos. Huddled into the lone Echo Base are all their major players: politically crucial Princess Leia; ace pilot Han Solo; and their game-changer, Luke Skywalker, who isn’t even a Jedi yet.
The defenses the Alliance constructed on Hoth could not be more favorable to Vader if the villain constructed them himself. The single Rebel base (!) is defended by a few artillery pieces on its north slope, protecting its main power generator. An ion cannon is its main anti-aircraft/spacecraft defense. Its outermost perimeter defense is an energy shield that can deflect Imperial laser bombardment. But the shield has two huge flaws: It can’t stop an Imperial landing force from entering the atmosphere, and it can only open in a discrete place for a limited time so the Rebels’ Ion Cannon can protect an evacuation. In essence, the Rebels built a shield that can’t keep an invader out and complicates their own escape.
When Vader enters the Hoth System with the Imperial Fleet, he’s holding a winning hand. What follows next is a reminder of two military truths that apply in our own time and in our own galaxy: Don’t place unaccountable religious fanatics in wartime command, and never underestimate a hegemonic power’s ability to miscalculate against an insurgency.
By Spencer Ackerman. Text and Images via WIRED. Continue HERE
The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard documentary, which tells the story behind the embattled Swedish Pirate Bay project, is now available on YouTube. The film just premiered in Europe and was simultaneously launched on line at Youtube and for download on Pirate Bay.
It’s the day before the trial starts. Fredrik packs a computer into a rusty old Volvo. Along with his Pirate Bay co-founders, he faces $13 million in damage claims to Hollywood in a copyright infringement case. Fredrik is on his way to install a new computer in the secret server hall. This is where the world’s largest file sharing site is hidden.
When the hacker prodigy Gottfrid, the internet activist Peter and the network nerd Fredrik are found guilty, they are confronted with the reality of life offline – away from keyboard. But deep down in dark data centres, clandestine computers quietly continue to duplicate files.
“Gravity is a mistake. We work hard to correct it.” – Institute for Centrifigual Research.
Landfill Harmonic is an upcoming feature-length documentary about a remarkable musical orchestra in Paraguay, where young musicians play instruments made from trash. For more information about the film, please visit facebook.com/landfillharmonicmovie.
Somewhere between film and video-game, in the interactive installation Hold On, you can go your way through famous movie’s sequences like those from The Shining, Way of the Dragon or Jurassic Park.
Thanks to an arcade-type device, you can choose and control sequences from those video-ludic style movies. Paradoxically using both the very contemporary interactivity process and the old recording practice, the spectator can control the movements of the main actor turned into an avatar. The spectator can break the logical rhythm of the movie and lengthens the action using his joystick. He can delay the inescapable course of the sequence unit its end, both playing with and against time.
When machinimas are currently exploring video games to reproduce cinematics, Hold On, on the contrary, develops a playful and dynamic experience based on cinema.
Google Earth Movies project consists in a series of interactive adaptations of emblematic sequences extracted from famous movies, recreated and played in Google Earth. In this visualization software, which allows exploring the 3D world from many satellite sources – topographical and weather satellites – the original video camera movements are precisely transcribed in the original filming location and with the original soundtrack synchronized. Moreover, the software being interactive, a joystick may be used to manipulate the camera during the reading to observe the whole screen out landscape. Thus, it is a striking cinematographic experience that is given to us: the “objectivation” operated by Google Earth, presenting ghostly worlds emptied from any characters, allows to be focused on the framing and the editing of these well-known movies haunting our imagination. Putting these narrative sequences back in context establishes a true bridge between these cinematographic, physical and virtual spaces. The spectator is freed from the frame and from the territory; he is given a new space of time, a sort of intimate screen out, interrogating its link to the real and to fiction.
All the works above by Émilie Brout & Maxime Marion. Text and Images taken from their website.
Under Tomorrows Sky is a fictional, future city. Speculative architect Liam Young of the London based Tomorrows Thoughts Today has assembled a think tank of scientists, technologists, futurists, illustrators, science fiction authors and special effects artists to collectively develop this imaginary place, the landscapes that surround it and the stories it contains.
In online and live discussions held during the past months the think tank came together to design this future city and discuss the possibilities of emerging biologies and technologies. This time there are no dystopian visions of the future, we’ve seen enough of those. Under Tomorrows Sky imagines a post-capitalist urbanity full of optimism and joy, full of life and aspiration.
It is a city of extraordinary technology but at first glance appears indistinguishable from nature. It is an artificial reef that grows and decays and grows again as the city becomes a cyclic ecosystem. A city as a geological formation of caves and grottos covered by a thick layer of soil and slime, a biological soup of human and non-human inhabitants. The city and us are one, a symbiotic life form. The city grows and we grow with it. Together we form a giant complex organism of which ecology and technology are inseparable parts.
At this moment the phase of creation has begun. An intricately detailed miniature model of this future city will rise under tomorrows sky and come into being at MU in the upcoming weeks. Between August 10 and October 28 all involved with the creation of the model will develop a collection of fictions based in the city. The model will be the backdrop for animated films and a stage set for a collection of stories and illustrations. The audience will also be invited to contribute their own narratives to the city through a series of workshops. Under Tomorrows Sky will be the starting point of a new ecological urban vision. The city of the future is not of a fixed time or place but it will emerge through the help of many.
Text and Image via Under Tomorrows Sky
The filmmaker Errol Morris speaks with young Americans about the merits of voting and why some resist, from apathy to awkward family dinners.
It doesn’t look good for the United States. We are proud when Iraqis and Libyans dodge bombs to vote in their first free elections in decades, and then, when it’s our chance, we barely exceed their turnout rates. Often, we do worse. Roughly half of us vote, and the other half don’t.
It made me wonder: What’s stopping us? Do we have reasons not to vote? How can we hear so much about the election, and not participate? If hope isn’t doing it, isn’t the fear of the other guy winning enough to brave the roads, the long lines?
In the middle of October, I spoke to more than 50 people between 18 and 40, almost all of whom are planning to go to the polls on Nov. 6. That made them exceptional: only 51 percent of young people voted in 2008. A smaller group is expected this year.
Text via NYT. Continue HERE
An art catalogue of an exhibition which explores the creative potential of communication technologies, with ideas and approaches which are relevant today.
Software was a show curated by an artist and critic Jack Burnham for the Jewish Museum in Brooklyn, New York City, 16 September – 8 November 1970, and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 16 December 1970 – 14 February 1971. The show put together computers and conceptual artists, linking them through the idea of software as a process or a program to be carried out by a machine or, why not, by the audience based on “instruction lines” formulated by the artist.
Participating artists: Vito Acconci, David Antin, Architecture Group Machine M.I.T., John Baldessari, Robert Barry, Linda Berris, Donald Burgy, Paul Conly, Agnes Denes, Robert Duncan Enzmann, Carl Fernbach-Flarsheim, John Godyear, Hans Haacke, Douglas Huebler, Joseph Kosuth, Nam June Paik, Alex Razdow, Sonia Sheridan, Evander D. Schley, Theodosius Victoria, Laurence Weiner.
Text and PDF via Monoskop Log
“At the foremost of this evolving genre is Paris-based photographer Jean-François Rauzier, who has spent the last decade building photos of unprecedented detail. His latest image … are around 10,000 times the resolution of a normal photograph. Even at 66 feet wide, around the size of two school buses, his images are incredibly crisp.”
Text via The Dish
See interactive version by Jean-François Rauzier HERE
To understand what hyperlapse is becoming, pay attention to the train movement at minute 1:25 in the video above. Video by Ben Wiggins
This video shows the result of a photographic journey to Berlin from 12 may – 18 may 2012. Video by b-zOOmi.
Evil Media develops a philosophy of media power that extends the concept of media beyond its tried and trusted use in the games of meaning, symbolism, and truth. It addresses the gray zones in which media exist as corporate work systems, algorithms and data structures, twenty-first century self-improvement manuals, and pharmaceutical techniques. Evil Media invites the reader to explore and understand the abstract infrastructure of the present day. From search engines to flirting strategies, from the value of institutional stupidity to the malicious minutiae of databases, this book shows how the devil is in the details.
The title takes the imperative “Don’t be evil” and asks, what would be done any differently in contemporary computational and networked media were that maxim reversed.
Media here are about much more and much less than symbols, stories, information, or communication: media do things. They incite and provoke, twist and bend, leak and manage. In a series of provocative stratagems designed to be used, Evil Media sets its reader an ethical challenge: either remain a transparent intermediary in the networks and chains of communicative power or become oneself an active, transformative medium.
Matthew Fuller and Andrew Goffey
Life after New Media
Mediation as a Vital Process
Sarah Kember and Joanna Zylinska
In Life after New Media, Sarah Kember and Joanna Zylinska make a case for a significant shift in our understanding of new media. They argue that we should move beyond our fascination with objects–computers, smart phones, iPods, Kindles–to an examination of the interlocking technical, social, and biological processes of mediation. Doing so, they say, reveals that life itself can be understood as mediated–subject to the same processes of reproduction, transformation, flattening, and patenting undergone by other media forms.
By Kember and Zylinska’s account, the dispersal of media and technology into our biological and social lives intensifies our entanglement with nonhuman entities. Mediation–all-encompassing and indivisible–becomes for them a key trope for understanding our being in the technological world. Drawing on the work of Bergson and Derrida while displaying a rigorous playfulness toward philosophy, Kember and Zylinska examine the multiple flows of mediation. Importantly, they also consider the ethical necessity of making a “cut” to any media processes in order to contain them. Considering topics that range from media-enacted cosmic events to the intelligent home, they propose a new way of “doing” media studies that is simultaneously critical and creative, and that performs an encounter between theory and practice.
When Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique in 1963, “the problem that has no name” was the problem of college-educated housewives sitting at home being bored to death. Today, the “problem that has no name” is more widespread, more alluring and more aggressive. Its most insidious aspect is how close it comes to the licit ways in which women are used to lure, seduce, persuade and sweetly tease those who see them. To buy more. And more. Promising to make us sexy and our eyes glaze in pleasure. In the commercials saturating our public spaces. The bestselling novel now rising high on sadomasochistic frisson. The film crossing and uncrossing its legs.
We like to think that these are metaphors. That the impossibly beautiful things calling out to us, seductively and low-voiced – to be them, to desire them, to touch and possess that thing they have, their hot sexiness on the edge or pure life itself – don’t literally mean it. Or do mean it, but then only in order to sell us sandwiches and Victoria’s secrets. Or as a bit of diversion from boredom. And yet, the constant presence of their siren-calls wherever we look, day in and day out doing their best to arouse in us some amalgam of desire to be, to possess, to have what they have, is striking.
Excerpt from an article written by Markha Valenta at Berfrois. Continue HERE
Can we speak of a twenty-first-century cinema? And if so, on what basis?
In the immediate aftermath of World War II, the French film critic André Bazin characterized cinema as an idealistic phenomenon and cinema-making as an intrinsically irrational enterprise. “There was not a single inventor who did not try to combine sound and relief with animation of the image,” Bazin maintained in “The Myth of Total Cinema.” Each and every new technological development—synchronous sound, full-color, stereoscopic or 3-D movies, Smell-O-Vision—served to take the cinema nearer to its imagined essence, which is to say that “cinema has not yet been invented!” Moreover, once true cinema was achieved, the medium itself would disappear—just like the state under true communism. Writing in 1946, Bazin believed that this could happen by 2000.
In fact, something else occurred: the development of digital computer-generated imagery (CGI). Bazin had imagined cinema as the objective “recreation of the world.” Yet digital image-making precludes the necessity of having the world, or even a really existing subject, before the camera—let alone the need for a camera. Photography had been superseded, if not the desire to produce images that moved. Chaplin was perhaps but a footnote to Mickey Mouse; what were The Birth of a Nation and Battleship Potemkin compared to Toy Story 3?
Excerpt from an article written by J. Hoberman at NYR. Continue HERE
When David Attenborough joined the BBC, 60 years ago this September, Britain had only one television channel. Cameras had to be wound up like a clock and could only film live or in 20-second bursts. There was no way to capture sound and vision at the same time, or to broadcast from anywhere but the studio. Attenborough, like most people, did not own a television set; he thinks he had seen only one programme in his life. He had applied for a job in radio, as a talks producer, and been turned down, and it was only by chance that his CV was seen by a television executive, the head of factual broadcasting, Mary Adams. She gave him a chance—but when he first went in front of the camera, she said his teeth were too big.
By 1956, Attenborough had persuaded the BBC to let him try a new way of filming—from and of the natural world. With only a cameraman and animal expert for company, he would go off for months to remote lands in search of rare beasts. In Borneo, some days’ walk from civilisation, he was on the trail of orangutan when he spied a man paddling up the river, wearing only a sarong and bearing a message tucked in a cleft stick. It was from the BBC, giving instructions on how to use their new toy: colour film. What started in a makeshift fashion with “Zoo Quest” matured over the decades into “Life on Earth”, “The Private Life of Plants”, “Life in Cold Blood”, “Frozen Planet” and many more. With Attenborough, the phenomenon of natural-history film-making was born.
Excerpt from an article written by Samantha Weinberg at Intelligent Life. Continue HERE
Few film directors seem as directly present in their work as Werner Herzog. Not only does he have an instantly-recognizable aesthetic, but unlike most European auteurs of his generation, he has become a familiar face in front of the camera. We are so accustomed to seeing him—playing football with Peruvian indians, arguing with Klaus Kinski, eating his own shoe at Chez Panisse—that we might mistake him for just another “personality,” one of the celebrities who parade past at various scales, from cellphone to Times Square, on our screens. Directors are required to be showmen, particularly directors of documentaries, who always have to hustle to finance and screen their work. But Herzog’s presence, his insistence on being in the middle of things, is something more like an artistic strategy—which is to say it’s the very opposite of a strategy, unless it’s possible to be both strategic and uncalculated, canny and impulsive at the same time.
Excerpt of an article from Hazlitt. Continue HERE
Architecture has taken the cinema to new heights in recent months, with the transformation of both the Hirshhorn Museum and Sydney Opera House into behemoth multi-media screens by architect Doug Aitken and German artist URBANSCREEN, respectively. Following suit this summer is Ron Arad, whose forthcoming “720°” installation at Jerusalem’s Israel Museum trumps both in scope.
The Israeli designer and architect will offer 720 degrees of film and video art by the likes of Mat Collishaw, Ori Gersht, Christian Marclay, and David Shrigley — whereas Aitken’s installation, which wrapped the circumference of the circular museum, was limited to a mere 360 degrees. The installation concept suspends 5,600 silicon rods 26 feet above the museum’s Isamu Noguchi-designed Billy Rose Art Garden, forming a circle. Visitors have the option of viewing projects from the outside, or experiencing the immersive, unannounced live performances within. At its scale, “720°” is not merely a cultural spectacle; it becomes a built part of the museum’s 20-acre campus and a glowing addition to the Jerusalem skyline.
Text and Image via ArtInfo
The Creator explores the legendary myth of the father of the computer age and maker of AI (Artificial Intelligence) machines, Alan Turing. Combining Lynchian nightmare with the prophetic themes of J.G. Ballard, The Creator takes you into the surreal dream world of the visionary scientist, where his binary children embark upon a mystical quest to discover their origins and destiny in the universe. This unique new film commission premieres on the occasion of the centenary of Turing’s birth. Contains scenes of a sexual nature and optical effects.
Written and directed by Al & Al
Showing as part of Abandon Normal Devices Festival Preview, Abandon Normal Devices (AND) Festival 2012
Text and Image via Cornerhouse
The Theatre of Synthetic Realities is a series of real and fictitious locations and events, actors and devices that attempt to question our production, embodiment and perception of social space as mediated through technology. Through the use of ubiquitous personal and mobile computing we have become both constant consumers and producers of information, both live receiver and transmitter. We, and our environments, exist simultaneously as physical and real-time digital manifestations, as such augmenting our relationship to space, time and experience.
Text and Image via Madhav Kidao
Making Friends and Other Functions is a illustration of a possible iteration of the Theatre. Working collaboratively and symbiotically with a network of semi-autonomous machine actors, the designer/editor attempts to recreate a film for a live global audience, through the use of unwilling actors. The machines construct their own reality based upon the information they extract from their environment alongside the selective guidance of the observer. This is ultimately a task with no beginning or end, and fundamentally questionable ethical integrity.
Cloudy is the newest short by artists Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III of Friends With You. More info via Friends With You
Beginning in the late eighteenth century, huge circular panoramas presented their audiences with resplendent representations that ranged from historic battles to exotic locations. Such panoramas were immersive but static. There were other panoramas that moved–hundreds, and probably thousands of them. Their history has been largely forgotten. In Illusions in Motion, Erkki Huhtamo excavates this neglected early manifestation of media culture in the making. The moving panorama was a long painting that unscrolled behind a “window” by means of a mechanical cranking system, accompanied by a lecture, music, and sometimes sound and light effects. Showmen exhibited such panoramas in venues that ranged from opera houses to church halls, creating a market for mediated realities in both city and country.
In the first history of this phenomenon, Huhtamo analyzes the moving panorama in all its complexity, investigating its relationship to other media and its role in the culture of its time. In his telling, the panorama becomes a window for observing media in operation. Huhtamo explores such topics as cultural forms that anticipated the moving panorama; theatrical panoramas; the diorama; the “panoramania” of the 1850s and the career of Albert Smith, the most successful showman of that era; competition with magic lantern shows; the final flowering of the panorama in the late nineteenth century; and the panorama’s afterlife as a topos, traced through its evocation in literature, journalism, science, philosophy, and propaganda.
About the Author
Erkki Huhtamo, media historian and pioneering media archaeologist, is Professor in the Department of Design Media Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the coeditor of Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications, and Implications.
Text and Image via MIT PRESS
If you don’t think is offensive to watch Sans Solei in Google Video, click HERE. (w/ Spanish Translation)
La Jetée is available in its 28-minute entirety.
Sound Design and Music by Aaron Lampert
Made at Beakus
The first 2 minutes of the videoinstallation “The Wizard of Oz experiment”
The Videoinstallation “The Wizard of Oz experiment” shows the movie „The Wizard of Oz“ 5829 times side by side. The movies are arranged in rows from left to right and time shifted by exactly one second each. The video starts at the top left, with the first second of the film and finishes bottom right with the last second of the film. The projection is in a continuous loop that repeats every 98 minutes.
A computer voice speaks the whole subtitles of the film “The Wizard of Oz.“ in a 68-minute loop.
The Wizard of Oz experiment by Dennis Neuschaefer-Rube.
Mr. Allen, do you truly believe that happiness in life is impossible?
This is my perspective and has always been my perspective on life. I have a very grim, pessimistic view of it. I always have since I was a little boy; it hasn’t gotten worse with age or anything. I do feel that’s it’s a grim, painful, nightmarish, meaningless experience and that the only way that you can be happy is if you tell yourself some lies and deceive yourself.
Continue at The Talks