I’ve posted many a time about Harmony Korine, the eccentric filmmaker and artist who helped shaped a young Bobby. So I was happily surprised when I got the Urban Outfitters Spring 2011 catalog in the mail, and the whole thing was shot by Mr. Korine. It’s a pretty crazy looking affair. Lots of analog photos that have been fucked up in some way or another. It seems to me like less of a fashion catalog and more of a collection of art, which I think is admirable for UO to be doing. I’ve included a bunch of my favorites down below, definitely take a peek.
I think it’s also worth mentioning that Urban Outfitters has started to move away from their anti-design and has moved back into being quirky, a much better look for them, in my opinion. These observations based on their home page, which is looking a lot better.
When those of us who are less artistically inclined refuse to give up our dreams of art stardom, we often turn to abstract and conceptual art. Of course, you either have it or you don’t and Finnish artist Jaako Mattila clearly falls within the first category. Mattila’s abstract works, which traverse a number of different mediums, are beautiful examples of the symbiosis between colour, shape and form. When reflecting on his art, Mattila made the following comment:
My work is of nothing in particular. I’m interested in the fundamental elements that create our sense, or illusion, of the world. That is perhaps the main reason why my work appears as it does. I work in very varied mediums and try to find new ways to create images constantly. I get inspired by cleanliness, emptiness and the complexity of pure nature.
His interest in emptiness and nature finds expression in minimalist compositions that make nothingness aesthetically appealing. I never would have guessed that nothingness would look this good.
What comes to mind when you think of the word clean? Is it pure whiteness? What about nothing at all? The people over at Leif, makers of fine body washes and lotions, have chosen to let their products speak for themselves. Their packaging comes in an elegantly shaped bottle that’s reminiscent of scotch, perfume or cleaning products. I have pretty positive association with all of those things, though seriously, the top bottle looks like it be used to clean your hardwood floors. Something about that though is pretty enticing to me, like if it’s good enough to clean my floors it can certainly get my body clean.
Honestly though, these look great, and the flavors they come in look even better. There’s Desert Lime, Vanilla & Orange, Rose & Alpine Pepper and Lemon Myrtle, Sandalwood & Eucalyptus. Pretty interesting, right? Lastly, I should mention that their logo is really done as well, feels very chic but comfortable as well, especially with it’s use of lower case. Now I just need to convince them to send me some free samples!
iPhone games are a dime a dozen. But, good, attractive, smart, challenging, and fun iPhone games? A little hard to come by. Thus, we at The Fox Is Black have taken the time to sift through many, many games to give you what you want: the best three games you could ever pleasure yourself with on a phone.
Colorbind is a beautiful, fun, and simple game. The gameplay involves placing a ribbon or ribbons over dots, kind of like a dainty, pretty, adult version of connect-the-dots. As the game progresses, the patterns get more and more complicated: overlapping ribbons nullify dots, symmetry demands your attention, and one small turn may screw all your connections. The game can be very, very hard and frustrating, but do not fear: when you unlock one level, you unlock three other levels. In terms of functionality, the game is extremely minimalistic and simple: the design is simple, the look is simple, the game is simple. If you don’t want any bells and whistles, want a good game, and even want to listen to your own music as you play, do yourself a favor and drop $1.99 on Nonverbal’s Colorbind!
Edge is one frustrating game. It’s very hip and it is very hard and highly lauded by even Apple itself. Gameplay is easy: you have to push around a neon cube around a Q-Bert inspired landscape toward the finish, but must collect tiny neon cubes in the process. As original French house music plays, you must push your cube up stairs, balance your cube along moving planes, and even turn into a tiny cube to climb up walls and push buttons. The game is a hoot and so visually tasty. I’ve played this game on and off for almost a year now, where I have learned–although I love it–it can simply be too hard and too frustrating to burden yourself with: when you are mad at getting only D scores (ahem, the lowest score), take a break from the game!
Note: I also highly, highly, highly recommend you checking out Mobigame‘s other three games, all of which are spectacular as well! You can also get this game for iPad and–likely–have a better user experience.
Osmos has to be the prettiest, most delicate looking game with the most exciting and unique gameplay experiences I have ever witnessed. Like the aforementioned games, this too involves moving an item around to capture smaller items. However, what Osmos does with gameplay is something neither Colorbind nor Edge achieve: it truly challenges and rethinks playing a game with your fingers on a touchscreen. The other two games–and 99% of iPhone games–could be played on a computer or X-Box or Playstation or Wii, but Osmos is uniquely iPhone or, better yet, the iPad. With many worlds and challenges to face, Osmos provides a wonderful time for you to try to “become the biggest” orb with plenty of ambient music to keep you going. Run–don’t walk–your fingers to download this $2.99 treat!
In closing, of course these three games are a few of 984209837023981209390247502394203 other iPhone games out there and, yes, those could have very well made the list. Thus, I would throw in Awesome Solitaire, Muddled, Push Panic, Trainyard, Pathpix, and Plants Versus Zombies as honorable mentions. Have a game you love and don’t see it here? Please leave it in the comments as I’m looking for new games!
Laura Carlson researches spatial cognition: how we understand space. In this video, she talks about three factors that could help or hinder someone trying to navigate a building for the first time: 1) the features/spatial complexity of the building 2) a cognative map you make as you wander around and 3) if you tend to get lost or not. Recently, she co-authored an article in Current Directions in Psychological Science about how architecture can bias cognitive maps though asymmetrical circulation patterns or floor plans that vary at each different floor. Which sounds like a lot of contemporary buildings. The article uses the Seattle Central Library designed by OMA as an example. OMA used simplified diagrams to explain the relationship between the building’s spaces and functions:
It doesn’t look too crazy, but compare the diagram with a more detialed sectional drawing taken at roughly the same place:
It’s not quite as clear. Carlson believes that architects and cognitive scientists can learn from each other: “Architects could explain how they use building features to encourage certain patterns of movement within the building, informing research on how people move through space; scientists could contribute data on how we build cognitive maps and what strategies different people use to find their way around.”
Hou Hsiao Hsien is often referred to as the Taiwanese counterpart to Wong Kar-wai. Both filmmakers work within the marginalised outskirts of the Chinese disapora and utilise time as a trope to explore memory and personal history, desire and place. However, Hou’s filmic meditations on temporality are arguably slower and less flamboyant than Wong’s; intoxicating, languidly paced and obsessively focused on seemingly banal details that are exquisitely framed in each shot. Hou’s most recent feature-length film set in Taiwan, Three Times (2005), entwines the slow burn of desire and the fragility of romantic connection with the passage of time.
I feel that every era has its own distinctive sense. These eras will never come again. Time keeps moving forward. One’s environment and one’s thoughts keep changing as well. They’ll never come again. It’s not that they’re good times, it’s because we’re recalling them that we call them good times.
Split into three narrative strands, Three Times captures the dynamics of a romantic relationship between Shu Qi and Chang Chen in three different periods. Individually titled, “A Time for Love”, “A Time for Freedom” and “A Time for Youth”, the vignettes are set in 1966, 1911 and 2005 respectively. Shu and Chang have different roles that reflect each period: a pool hall hostess and a soldier in 1966, a courtesan and a nobleman in 1911 and a singer and a photographer in 2005. Loosely tying together the individual narratives is the theme of yearning, which saturates every frame with unspoken desire. The chemistry between Shu and Chang is palpable, but the problematics of communication are repeated in each story and the timing of romance is always out of sync.
Although the details of each era are perfectly re-created, Three Times is less concerned with history in a larger sense than the personal impact of history on connection. The cinematography of frequent collaborator Mark Lee Ping-bin lingers on tiny fragments hidden within the mise en scène, gesturing towards the private details that set the backdrop to the characters’ interactions. Through Lee’s lens every shot is perfectly framed and composed. It could be suggested that Hou favours style over substance, but this mode of filmmaking, which meticulously records every object, complements the dreamy rhythm of the film’s central relationships.
Three Times may be considered an arduously slow cinematic experience and the long takes, close-ups of props and décor and silences may be too dull for some viewers. There are no narrative conclusions or grand statements, but a microcosm of longing that explores the shift in expressions of intimacy with the years.
So along with watching people work I love to see inside people’s workspaces, seeing where they work and make amazing things. Cambio Goes Home did a feature on artist/photographer/skateboarder Ed Templeton and his home in Huntington Beach. It’s funny to me how he’s both kind of horrified by the suburbs but enthralled with them. It fuels his work and helps him to create.
As for Ed’s home it’s a suburban house in a suburban neighborhood, something I’m very familiar with since I grew up in something identical. He uses his garage as his primary painting area and he also has a pretty large looking dark room for developing his photos. Once he goes inside it’s crazy to see all the art he has on his walls, a lot of the biggest artists of the last 20 years. I wonder if he’d let me come over and hang out?
I’m a huge fan of process videos like the one above, featuring printmaker Bill Fick creating a linocut. For those not familiar, a linocut is “a design is cut into the linoleum surface with a sharp knife, V-shaped chisel or gouge, with the raised (uncarved) areas representing a reversal (mirror image) of the parts to show printed.” This sounds easier than it really is. I tried to make one of these when I was in high school and nearly sliced off my fingers with that little knife tool. Bill makes it look so easy in this video, it’s kind of absurd.
I don’t know what it is about these videos that I like so much. It’s the little things like listening to his pencil or his brush on the paper, or the sounds of the tiny pieces of linoleum being carved away. It’s also inspiring to watch someone so talented do something so technical with seemingly little effort. I promise that the seven and half minutes you spend watching this are worth every second.