Date Archives October 2010

Maria Gil Ulldemolins

Irrespective of the amount of enthusiasm, time and perseverance I have dedicated to trying to style my hair, I have never really surpassed a simple ponytail. My plaits are wonky, my buns are always falling out and I can’t braid to save my life. I doubt that Spanish illustrator Maria Gil Ulldemolins has this problem. Committing gorgeously intricate representations of perfect up-dos to paper, her Hair Illustrations are the visual representation of my hair dreams. I particlarly love the fine details of the strands of hair and the simple monochrome palette.

If you also have issues with your hair – or perhaps a fetish – Ulldemolins has a selection of her hair illustrations available to purchase in her shop.  I think I might just have to get one – it is definitely the closest that someone such as myself will get to a chignon.


Spirit of ’77

My buddies over at OMFGco have been quite busy lately with their newest endeavor Spirit of ’77, a brand new sports bar in Portland. I think the bar has been open for maybe a week now but all my homies up in Portland have been raving over the place saying how much fun it is. I’m ultra-impressed by that giant Spirit of ’77 sign they installed and if you look behind the bar, it’s a custom made basketball style floor. These guys should be incredibly proud of what they’ve done with the space, it looks amazing. If you’re in the Portland area be sure to stop by and say hi, they’re having Happy Hour from 4 to 6 tonight.

Spirit of ’77
500 NE MLK Jr Blvd.
Portland, OR 97232


Space Suit of the Week

This week’s Space Suit could easily be confused with a clown suit thanks to Remi Gaillard: the French brother of Tom Foolery. Remi, apparently, loves to interrupt people with short tempers. It’s surprising how quickly and easily irate these golfers get. Is this normal for golfers…to try and strike down with clubs anything that interrupts their golf game? I would be delighted if someone interrupted my life wearing a space suit and bouncy shoes.

What the golfers may not know is that American Astronaut Alan Shepard knocked around some balls on the moon during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971. His first swing didn’t go so well since Space Suits are designed to keep folks from dying in the vacuum of space more than they are intended to help folks “follow through at the hips” so Shepard had to golf with one hand, which is awkward. Somewhere on the moon the golf balls he launched using a modified shovel are still patiently waiting for someone to pull them out of the dust and pick up a game; heaven forbid that game be interrupted by some prankster planting flags.

Can you imagine how far someone could throw things at people if they were on the moon?


Big thanks to Rae from Canada for suggesting the video this week, and big thanks to her little brother for sharing the video with Rae’s family during Canadian Thanksgiving which happened this past Monday.


I love it when a new iPhone app comes out of left field and suddenly I’m using it all the time. That’s how I’ve felt about this new app called Instagram, which is a unique, social photo experience. It’s easy to use, you take a photo or choose a photo from your phone, add a filter (there are 11 to choose from) and then you can optionally add a title, location and even choose to share it through your other networks like Facebook or Twitter. It’s a simple idea but so far it’s become a way to share the artsy photos I take. Why is it different? Because you follow people that interest you and you’re all doing the very same thing. Its limited scope actually make it more interesting because you’re not going to get 400 photos from your cousins bar mitzvah. I’ve been using it pretty nonstop for the past week and you can see some of my images above. The final reason you need this is that it’s free.

Instagram is still growing though. To view all of your photos you have to look on your iPhone, there’s no user repository, so it’s a bit hard to share with people. That said this is an amazing company coming up with some great ideas, I’m looking to seeing where they go with it.

Also, if you care to add me you can find me under ‘thefoxisblack’.


Emilie Faïf

As I was preparing this post, one of my friends looked over my shoulder and commented that I have a penchant for weird things. Although this is possibly a keen observation, I would not personally describe the textile sculptures and installations by French visual artist Emilie Faïf as “weird,” but as magically surreal. Her work is seductive in its tactility and dreamy in concept, such as the sculpture that portrays the architectural cartography of Paris and New York. There are resonances of Claes Oldenburg’s soft sculptures; however, Faïf’s work possesses a more abstract and feminine feel. Utilising floral fabrics, she constructs art pieces that suggest the form of an object, but leave the final imagining to the viewer. It is this ambiguity (or “weirdness”) that definitely makes her work so fascinating.


‘Last Life in the Universe’

Although some critics have been quick to compare Pen-Ek Ratanaruang’s Last Life in the Universe (2003) to Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation (2003), I find the association slightly tenuous. While both films have a Japanese connection, feature protagonists that are stuck in emotional limbo, show the often humorous outcomes of clashes in culture and focus on the development of an unlikely friendship, Ratanaruang’s film is darker in tone and more complex in scope. Simultaneously bizarre, sad and intense, it is the sort of film that lingers in your consciousness long after you have viewed the final frame.

Last Life is a film that actually opened up a lot of possibilities of filmmaking to me. That maybe you don’t have to know what you’re doing. To say that is a bit extreme, but I mean to say that with my experience— I’ve done three films before I know how to control a film— and with Chris’ experience, with Asano’s experience, there’s no way we were going to fuck it up…And we kind of looked for the film in the editing. And then I start to realize ‘oh that’s another way to make films’, as long as you don’t panic. You just keep looking. Maybe, it doesn’t always have to be bad films. And at least you’re not as bad as Wong Kar Wai, you’re not as messy as him. Only five pages and he makes a film; that takes five years to shoot. I’m not even like that. So then I thought, that there’s nothing really to be scared of.
– Pen-ek Ratanaruang

Set in Thailand, the film follows a Japanese librarian (played by the amazing Tadanobu Asano) and the series of macabre and surreal incidents that lead him to meet a local Thai girl (Sinitta Boonyasak). The plot relies heavily on the chemistry between the two leads and utilises their dynamic to shed light on themes of alienation, displacement, love and mourning. Christopher Doyle’s assured cinematography is key to establishing an atmosphere that moves between sorrow and unexpected joy.

In contrast to Doyle’s work with Wong Kar-wai, the visual style and rhythm in Last Life in the Universe is more observant and contemplative, beautifully capturing the slow and achingly lugubrious mood of the film. The camera lingers on a lace curtain gently moving in the breeze, a stack of filthy dishes left in a kitchen sink and the small details of the characters’ existences. There is a tangible sense of weight and oppression that is conveyed through the camerawork, which is relieved in moments when the narrative surprisingly shifts into magic realism. One scene, in particular, pictures the contents of Boonyasak’s dishevelled house magically being rearranged and ordered by some invisible force. It is moments such as this that make Ratanaruang’s film so compelling to watch, as he constantly confounds the viewer’s expectations. Thailand, which is often portrayed as a utopian paradise, looks unbelievably desolate in some shots, the characters’ journeys are littered with dead bodies and the plot continually shifts in unanticipated directions.

So many films appear to recapitulate similar stories and ideas, tracing the boundaries of established genres and conventions; however, Last Life in the Universe is refreshingly unique and stunningly strange. Film-goers who are tired of the offerings of mainstream cinema will undoubtedly appreciate Ratanaruang’s cinematic skill.


WK Interact for Re:Form School

If you haven’t heard about this yet, “RE:FORM SCHOOL is a high profile group art exhibition, event series and public awareness campaign taking place in New York City, that brings together the creative community in a call for the reform of the American Public Education System.” It was an amazing event that I’m a bit late to the party on, the event actually happened last weekend. But of all the artists and pieces my personal favorite is the work of WK Interact. I’ve been a big fan of his work for a while now and it’s incredible to see his style being used to decorate a kids playground. There’s always so much motion and life in his installations and I think it works great for this kind of application. I hope they leave it up for the kids to enjoy and I also hope the kids draw all over it, adding to the collage.


D.I.W.S.W.T.T.D. by Serena-Maneesh, Directed by Kristoffer Borgli

Where do I start with this music video… Well, it’s for the band Serena-Maneesh and their song D.I.W.S.W.T.T.D. The video was directed by Kristoffer Borgli, whom you might remember for his video for Casiokids and their song En Vill Hest. Now to talk about the video. It’s really weird and slightly disturbing and I think could potentially piss people off, so I asked Kristoffer about it because it’s still extremely well done.

The inspiration came from an extremely odd source, the Heaven’s Gate cult that committed suicide when the Comet Hale-Bopp was at its brightest. I was familiar with what happened because I’ve grown up in California all my life, but Kristoffer is Norwegian and lives in Oslo, so it was kind of weird that he knew about what happened. It turns out he just recently found out about the group and it inspired him in an odd way. The way I see the video is that a young couple believes that aliens exist, and they think their neighbor might be one. So they kidnap him in order to try and meet more aliens. Pretty weird, huh? But that’s why I think it’s so awesome.


‘A Necessary Ruin’ by Evan Mather

A forgotten future was hidden in plain sight from filmmaker Evan Mather until he went hunting for it in his hometown, Baton Rouge. He was surprised when he found what was left of the Union Tank Car Dome, a geodesic dome designed by Buckmister Fuller: “this was supposed to be a world famous piece of architecture and here it was, a genuine ruin, rusting away in the wilderness.”

At the time of it’s completion, the geodesic structure featured the largest free-span in the world. Within the 384-foot-diameter dome, a giant turntable sorted and shuffled rail cars until the standard size of rail cars changed and the turntable didn’t. For decades the unmaintained dome served as storage, and it was razed in 2007.

And now you can stream Evan’s movie about the structure’s realization and demolition.

‘Waiting for the End’ by Linkin Park

I never thought I’d be posting a Linkin Park video on this blog, ever. EVER. But then I saw their new video for the song Waiting for the End… and I kinda’ got chills watching it. I’ve always known they were not only talented musicians but accomplished artists as well. Both Mike Shinoda and Joe Hahn went to Art Center where they actually started Link Park. Joe Hahn, who also goes by the moniker Mr. Hahn, directs a lot of Linkin Park’s music videos and he directed this one as well. He describes the video in his own words rather well:

“It was my attempt to digitally crush us to the point that you feel the soul of the music through what has become the essence of us,” he says. “We become the ghosts in the machine. Some may say that because of technology, we lose a sense of who we are. I counter that by illustrating that we can get closer to who we are if we sift through the noise. If this sounds like it’s too ‘out there,’ just ignore what I said and enjoy the pretty pictures.”

I absolutely applaude him for creating something so dynamic. There are a lot of familiar elements like Radiohead’s video for House of Cards and elements of anime pop into my mind as well. That said it still feels like an inventive and fresh video. And hey, the song isn’t too bad, either.

Found through My Modern Met