The always busy UPSO has been putting out his magazine Faesthetic for 10 years now, and last week he released issue #13, the Luck issue. Faesthetic started out as a small, xeroxed zine and is now a beautiful full-color magazine featuring over 45 artists that will rock your mind. Guest cntributors include Jeff Staple, Jason Polan, Tiffany Bozic, Cody Hudson, Roger Gastman, Porous Walker, Destroy Rock City and everyone’s favorite, Mark Mothersbaugh, who created some punch out cards. I can’t fail to mention the crazy Mike Giant cover which in my opinion is a thing of beauty.
Like the Grumman Moon Suit, this is a prototype that didn’t quite make it off of the ground, even though it is the brainchild of Dr. Wernher von Braun (from before.) He was the rocket scientist who led the team that developed the Saturn series of rockets. In that series was the Saturn V rocket, which carried the first humans to the moon. But in 1954, when von Braun was photographed holding a model of his “bottle suit” above, the moon landing was still fifteen years away, and von Braun was working with Walt Disney to produce Man and the Moon. (Watch von Braun talk about his suit here, starting around 3:00)
Behind the absurd look of the bottle suit is an idea about how we could occupy and operate in outer-space safely; with a kind of mechanical dexterity—wearing a machine. Sure, it looks like a go-go-gadget ice cream cone, but it’s the result of following an idea to an unexpected and creative conclusion. The Bottle Suit is more than just a suit… it’s a rocket with arms, several of them, and is controlled by someone with great depth perception, but who doesn’t suffer from claustrophobia.
Most of you folks reading this weren’t around to watch the original airing of Man and the Moon back in 1955 (I sure wasn’t) but I wish we could have experienced the global thrill that accompanied the confluence of design, science and enthusiasm that lead to our landing on the moon. Von Braun was behind that confluence, engineering the mechanisms, writing the books and designing the sometimes crazy-looking space suits that anticipated, and eventually enabled a tremendous accomplishment. What if, in that moment of wonder, it hadn’t been a small step, but a small pull of the lever?
I can’t say I have ever really been one for the whole fanfare of Valentine’s Day, but I can’t resist design objects that are both cute and clever. And there is no denying the sweet concept behind Mo Man Tai Design’s “Tweet” for Valentine’s Day. Self-consciously playing with the popularity of Twitter as a communication device, they have created a compact, laser-cut “tweet” that removes technological distance and focuses on interacting “in the ‘old (romantic) way’.” After all, nothing beats a handwritten note.
The Valentine’s tweet is a limited-edition product from the Dutch design studio. You can snap one up for your special someone at the Mo Man Tai online shop.
Here’s another unique experiment done by Mateusz Zdziebko who’s taken a series of household objects and made them into musical instruments. Sort of like an artsy version of those Pomplamoose folks. Here’s what Mateusz says about the video:
This is an example, how to use the basic stuff in your room in such creative and musician way. Just take some noisy and voiced objects and record them with any sampler. At the end use all this stuff to create any music u desire. Or… You even don’t need any sampler. Just use your friends, give them gadgets and transform your party into gizmo-jam-session.
He makes it sound so easy, right? I guess anyone could do something like this, so long as you have some rhythm and a good camera and editing program. For those curious he used a Canon EOS 5D mkII, DitoGear™ CrankSlider and a Microphone Shure SM 48.
Toyota has started a pretty funny ad campaign trying to figure what the plural of the Prius is. Is it Prii? Priuses? Prien? Well, they’ve decided to let the people decide and have made a great video to advertise the campaign. But I give them mega-bonus points for asking Hunter Gatherer to create the stop-motion video for the campaign.
Todd St. John is the guy behind Hunter Gatherer and I’ve been a huge fan of his for I can’t even think of how long and this video reminds me exactly why. He’s taken his signature cut wood blocks to create all the shapes and figures. It was hard putting together the preview images on this post, I wanted to put nearly every frame up there! Todd’s style is so quirky and fun, I know these are kind of generic things to say but when I look at his pieces I can’t help but smile at them.
There is a scene in I Am Love in which the central character (Tilda Swinton) delicately eats a plate of food made by the man who will become her lover. As she savours each bite, the audio environment becomes muted, the lighting scheme alters its tone and every minute expression, feeling and sensation is captured in the changing visual characteristics of the scene. It is this mode of sensory filmmaking that runs throughout Luca Guadagnino’s exquisitely directed film, which involved an 11-year development period in which he and Swinton fleshed out every facet of the film.
I was very much influenced by the revolutionary cinematography that came out during the new waves in the late ’50s and early ’60s. The cinematography came from new Hollywood, such as Roger Deakins, Gordon Willis, etc. A little bit after I started making movies in the late ’90s, I became interested in the idea that you could control and manipulate perspective and save your ass as a cinematographer or director. All the movies these days just look the same, as they all use, more or less, high contrast and different uses of color than the Technicolor era. They’re also strongly influenced by advertisements.
– Luca Guadagnino
Set in contemporary Milan, I Am Love focuses on a wife and mother (Swinton) at the centre of a large aristocratic family. A native Russian who has adopted the Italian way of life, her life appears to be perfect; however, ripples of doubt begin to form after she meets her son’s (Flavio Perenti) new business partner (Edoardo Gabbriellini). They later start a secret affair that affects the lives of everyone around them. The film is about love, lust, family and tradition’ however, it is also a model of rich and elaborate filmmaking.
On the surface, the plot sounds quite melodramatic and Yorick Le Saux’s cinematography itself adopts a sumptuously dramatic style in keeping with films of the Italian modernist period. However, the clandestine affair is treated with a quiet elegance. Every frame exudes sensuality, highlighting the small details that play a part in seduction. For example, one of the few love scenes that is featured in the film is set in the woods, and the camera traces not only the naked bodies of the lovers, but also the flora surrounding them. This is not merely an aesthetic device, but a symbolic gesture that both fragments and complements the action. The picture-perfect compositions could easily be accused of being unnecessarily visually extravagant, but every shot serves a purpose and further establishes the boundaries of the characters’ subjective responses to both their internal and external realms.
From the opening credits of I Am Love I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was watching a film that could have been made a number of years ago. There is a classicism, grace and poise to this film that sets it apart from others made recently. Although it focuses on characters who are immersed in a world that is steeped in specific cultural mores, this tradition spills out into the opulent camera movements and rousing score. I think Antonioni would be impressed.
In my continued effort to post interesting pieces by people who inspire me I wanted to share this interview with Shepard Fairey that publishers Gestalten has just released. It covers some of the basic stuff like what inspires him, but it also touches upon the recently cleared up lawsuit with the Associated Press over his use of a photo of Obama. His point is that he re-appropriated the image and made his own, something that artists like Warhol and Rauschenberg made their careers around doing similar work.
I feel like Shepard Fairey is kind of a polarizing artist, you might love him or hate him. For me personally he was a huge inspiration and really started me out on my path into art and design. To me he’s extremely talented and has a very pure vision of what he wants to create, and his creations know no bounds. That might mean clothing or art prints, of which I own both, but it seems like he’s pretty happy doing what he’s doing, and isn’t that the point?
This short animation by Buck/Antfood was featured on NYTimes.com to coincide with with the print version of their 2010 Year in Ideas issue. There are a few other excellent animations in the feature (especially the Armored T-Shirt) but I like the mesmerizing geometries of the Turbine-Free Wind Power because they reminds me of Charlie Harper. The animation diagrams technology proposed by Dr Francis Moon, a professor at Cornell who has written about and researched extensively non-linear and chaotic vibrations. The mechanism produces power through a grid of pads that “attach to piezoelectric materials that produce electricity” as the pads rustle, or vibrate, in the wind.