Date Archives September 2011

‘Beyond Infinity’, A Disorienting Installation by Serge Salat

'Beyond Infinity', A Disorienting Installation by Serge Salat

'Beyond Infinity', A Disorienting Installation by Serge Salat

'Beyond Infinity', A Disorienting Installation by Serge Salat

Is this what Disco looks like? I’m a bit conflicted about how to describe the interior of this installation by Serge Salat, because I’m not sure how to combine the following words into a single sentence (other than just listing them): Sol LeWitt, Fractals, Disco, Kaleidoscope and LED. And just incase these terms start to seem too cohesive: the temporary interior was sponsored by… Buick and realized inside of a shopping mall in Shanghai. This bizzarre cast of characters were living quite harmoniously in what appears to be a spacious labyrinth, there’s even a video to give you a better idea of how tricky mirrors, fractals, and LEDs can really be. But doesn’t the music seem a bit off? Shouldn’t disco be happening here, if anywhere?

Alex

‘Burning Man’ Movie Poster by Jeremy Saunders

'Burning Man' Movie Poster by Jeremy Saunders

It seems to me like it’s a great time to be a movie poster designer, as there’s so many horrible movie posters out there surely they should be able to one up, right? In this case, Jeremy Saunders has elevated this teaser poster for the movie Burning Man to a level of pure art. There’s so much going on in this poster, vegetables strewn around the ground, water reflecting sky… oh yeah, and a dude on fire. It’s all done with a perfectly color palette, with blues dominating the piece so that the red of the fire and the yellow lemons pop so much more. But it’s also filled with some deeper meanings as well.

So I was desperately looking through the stills for inspiration and saw a few (taken by Lisa Tomasetti) of Matthew Goode and Jonathan talking, reflected in the puddle, that for some reason I’d just ignored and was suddenly very taken with them. The strewn foods are from a car crash scene, and it helps to reflect (no pun intended) that Tom’s life is out of control. Plus, you know, he’s a chef, so there’s that.

You can read more about Jeremey’s process over in Adrian Curry’s post on Mubi.

Fabriclive 59 – Four Tet

If you’re a fan of house and club music – and I don’t mean the jersey shore kind, as fun as that is – then Fabric is somewhat of a shrine. This London club has always hosted the latest and most adventuresome DJs in the craft. As they pursue the most forward dance music of our time people have followed, making it one of the most popular and exciting clubs in the world. They pick the right DJs and allow enough creative freedom to let the concept of dance music keep stretching. And for the past ten years, through the Fabriclive series, the club has been releasing some of the best mixes in the world for those of us not lucky enough to be there every night.

It almost felt inevitable, then that Four Tet would not only play there but release a mix. Fabriclive 59 is Kieran’s (Four Tet) special tribute to the legacy of the club. By incorporating the past, present, and his own unreleased tracks, Four Tet encapsules the essence of a Fabriclive mix: adventuresome, classic, and forward all at once. He remixes house classic First Born, putting an infectious spin on an already addictive track. He mixes in Burial’s Street Halo with an effortless touch, the vinyl popping and hissing with each rotation. His own constructions, fabric, Pyramid, and Locked are accessible with a nervous immediacy. In his respect to the past and looking to the future, it is a mix for right now.

Snag this great mix here or listen to the preview above… and then buy the mix.

Alec

The Oil Paintings of Nathan Stapley

Nathan Stapley

Nathan Stapley

Nathan Stapley

I love the work of artist Nathan Stapley. Currently living in New York, Nathan works in a variety of media and recently he had an awesome looking exhibition of watercolors in L.A’s Gallery 1988 (you can see images from that show here).

Personally it’s his work in oil paint that I really love. A graduate of the Academy of Art University in San Francisco; his combination of traditional oil painting and his fun and playful originality is what I find makes his work so good. I think there’s a hesitancy to see a lot of oil painting and instantly draw lazy comparisons to the work of Edward Hopper, but I definitely can see that Stapley has a similar ability in capturing the wonderful balance of light and dark that Hopper had such aplomb for back in his day. This is obviously clear in the top image but take a look at how effortlessly he manages to capture the fading light in that middle image. It really is beautiful. You can find lots of Stapley’s work sprinkled throughout the web, and so I guess I should point you in the direction of his tumblr, his portfolio and his blog. Make sure you check out his watercolors too, he really is one talented chap!

Philip

RRL’s Take On 1920s Australian Mug Shots

RRL Mug Shots

RRL Mug Shots

RRL Mug Shots

RRL Mug Shots

Earlier this year, a collection of 1920s Australian mug shots surfaced and made the rounds on the Internet, where people were taken aback by how visually beautiful and even “cool” these mug shots looked. As you see above, there are a few of the 1920s mug shots and…a few impostors! Two of the above are actually shots from the current RRL lookbook. Can you spot which are authentic and which are imitation?

The rugged Ralph Lauren lifestyle brand currently features these looks on their website, showcasing this season’s styles for the brand. The concept is genius, as their aesthetic lends itself so brilliantly to their look. Of course these are admittedly a little silly as they are recycling an idea that was used to document criminals, but the execution of the idea in such a truly authentic looking manner is quite a feat. I really did have trouble figuring out which were from the 1920s and which were from 2011 when inserting these photos, but–if you haven’t figured it out already–the second and fourth photo are the impostors.

Catch more 1920s mug shot inspired photos on their website and, if you have a few extra Benjamins in your pocket, be sure to pick up some of the looks.

KYLE

‘A Real Hero’ by College feat. Electric Youth, from the Movie ‘Drive’

'A Real Hero' by College feat. Electric Youth, from the Movie 'Drive'

I haven’t seen the movie Drive yet, but from the reviews I’ve heard it definitely sounds like my kind of movie. Fast, Bullitt-esque driving, the movie takes place and it stars Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Bryan Cranston? Yes, please. Another reason to see it though is this track from the movie called A Real Hero, which is by College and features Electric Youth. The song feels like M83’s last album Saturdays = Youth, which I mean in the best way. It’s that weird synthesis between the 80s and now, it feels timeless but new and fun.

Both College and Electric Youth are on an indie record label called Valerie Records, which made it all the more cool to me. You can help support these artists by buying a limited edition 7-inch of the song by clicking here.

Bobby

A Beehive in a Library by Torok es Balazs Epiteszeti

Mosaic Dome in Regional Library and Learning Center designed by Török és Balázs Építészeti

Mosaic Dome in Regional Library and Learning Center designed by Török és Balázs Építészeti

Mosaic Dome in Regional Library and Learning Center designed by Török és Balázs Építészeti

Mosaic Dome in Regional Library and Learning Center designed by Török és Balázs Építészeti

Because I grew up in early 90’s, I am afraid of bees. If you remember way back then, there were documentaries that mapped out how aggressive and unstoppable bee species would migrate further and further north as they evolved, killing humans directly or just trapping us inside until we ran out of food and resorted to cannibalism. Movies like My Girl and Deadly Invasion didn’t help. We didn’t have to worry about the economy, so we could worry about the demonic bees swarming en masse to kill us.

The emergence of Colony Collapse Disorder changed things; hives turned out to be fragile and important in ways I hadn’t understood. Now when I read about a Hungarian library with a “beehive” inside of it, I can’t help but wish it weren’t an analogy. But even as analogy it makes sense and is helping this project designed by Török és Balázs Építészeti. To be clear, the beehive in this project is the bulbous dome so evident in the entry sequence, interior and section. The tile that lines the interior of the dome is stunning, laid out in a colorful pattern that surrounded visitors as they enter the Library and Learning Center. Inside the project, the outside surface of the dome is painted white, bouncing light from a skylight down to the reading patrons, and offering tiny peepholes into the colorful, tiled interior.

When I think of vibrant libraries, I think of ones buzzing with information. What architecture gesture could be more overt than building a giant, abstract beehive to signal this attitude? I’m still scared of bees, so this lovely beehive is much preferred.

Alex

‘Me in You’ by Kings of Convenience

Kings of Convenience - Me in You video-still

Kings Of Convenience are easily one of my favorite groups. Since the release of their debut album Quiet Is The New Loud they’ve always been one the band I’ve turned to during the quieter moments. Their sound has become a place to escape to and every listen seems to conjure up happy memories for me. During the week, the duo released a video for the song Me in You which is from their 2009 album Declaration Of Dependence. The video was shot on Eirik Glambek Bøe’s roof by Panorama Hardanger and it’s set in their hometown of Bergen in Norway. To tell you anymore might possibly ruin some of the video’s charm, but what I will say is make sure you keep watching up until the one minute mark. It really is a perfect video to a perfect song!

Found via Nialler9.

Philip

Will DC Comics’ Massive Reboot Help Them Stay Relevant?

Will DC Comics' Massive Reboot Help Them Stay Relevant?

Click image to enlarge

A few weeks ago DC Comics did a gigantic rebrand/reboot to their entire universe called the New 52, and well, it’s an interesting route to go. I’ve been reading comic books for over 20 years now, and I have a silly amount of comic book knowledge in my head. At heart I’m a Marvel kid, I’ve always been a fan of X-men, and in recent years, all of the Avengers stuff that Brian Michael Bendis is doing. That said, DC has always been doing some great work with Vertigo (which isn’t really DC Comics and shouldn’t be lumped together) and I love what Geoff Johns did with the Green Lantern comics in Blackest Night.

But this New 52? Ugh. I’m going to concentrate on Justice League, which is being written by Geoff Johns, who is basically their main creative, and drawn by Jim Lee, who was basically the most popular comic book artist in the 90’s. Here are some thoughts on Justice League, and I’ll wrap up with some other comics.

The Logo
DC Comics is owned by AOL Time Warner, one of the largest companies in the world, and Justice League is DC’s flagship title. So why does their logo look like it was made by a high school kid? Title design in comic books has always been lacking, and this just goes to show that there’s little to no movement in that area. I have no idea what that font is, but it couldn’t be more generic. DC Comics and The New 52 are all bright and golden, but the Justice League logo? Little to no care.

The Character Designs
Superman Redesign A big deal has been made about the redesign of the characters, all of which were done by Jim Lee. This may have been an insanely big deal… 20 years ago, but Jim Lee hasn’t changed his style in roughly that same amount of time. I know that’s why a lot of comic book readers love Jim Lee, but personally I see that as a being a really bad thing.

The costume redesigns might look different to a long-time reader, but the point of the New 52 is to get new readers on board. I can’t imagine someone unfamiliar with superman thinking that this looks at all different. Why reboot an entire universe if you don’t want to do something new and exciting? Superman’s cape now hangs magically off of his clavicles, he no longer wears red underwear, and there are now all of these weird lines all over this costume… how edgy. I guess there was a giant internal conversation over whether or not Wonder Woman should have to wear pants, which sounds completely sexist to me, and Batman has tech-y gloves. These are really the things that should considered when redefining a character?

The Story
I guess I shouldn’t comment too much on the story of just the first issue, but for $4 all I got to see was Batman and Green Lantern making stupid banter for 20 pages, 4 pages of a young Cyborg not-yet-turned-into-Cyborg, and one page of Superman. I’m sure it’s setting up everything but the entire thing felt cliched. Batman being chased by the cops (who have insane weapons) chasing a bad guy trying to get information when Green Lantern comes in and gets all Lantern-y.

When the Marvel started the Ultimate Universe they decided to take familiar characters and themes and twist it. The Ultimate Universe is now what the Marvel movies are being based on and expanding into new markets. It feels like DC is trying to be edgy, but it feels like they’re trying way to hard, like Batman calling the cops “idiots”. Batman is so bad ass.

Conclusion
Overall I feel bad for DC, as it’s bad for comics in general. DC seems like they’re trying really hard, but they’re not doing it right. They’re reusing tired, old comic book cliches and not coming up with any new and exciting ideas. I wish it was exciting and new, I wish they made Marvel look like chumps with an amazing story that surpasses anything they’re doing, but they aren’t, and it’s a shame.

I recently read an interview with Brian Michael Bendis, who in my mind is the smartest, most talented comic book writer out there. He was talking about how he killed off Peter Parker in the Ultimate Universe and replaced him with Miles Morales, a half-black/half-hispanic kid who happens to get powers. This is exactly why I think Marvel is doing the best work these days.

“It’s where my head’s at, man,” he says. “For this genre particularly to matter, it’s gotta feel real. People say, ‘Yeah, if I had powers, this would be my life.’ That was always the magic of Peter Parker and the Marvel era of comics when it first debuted is that if you had powers, you wouldn’t really change all that much. You’d still have the same problems — they’d probably be worse.”

There’s also big missteps like the new, gay Teen Titans character who couldn’t look more stereotypical, they’ve got Rob Liefeld (the worst comic book artist in history) drawing Hawk & Dove again, the Static Shock writer quitting and they keep making these damn Subway advertisements with their characters.

Please DC Comics, get your act together and start telling good stories again.

Bobby

‘I do not fear death’, Thoughts by Roger Ebert

'I do not fear death', Thoughts by Roger Ebert

I saw this piece written by Roger Ebert last week about mortality and death and I thought it was rather poignant. As many of you know, Roger Ebert has had a lot of health problems in the past few years, but his spirit is still stronger than most and he continues to work like nothing happened. I thought it was really worth reposting because I agree with him on so many things, especially this excerpt below.

O’Rourke’s had a photograph of Brendan Behan on the wall, and under it this quotation, which I memorized:

I respect kindness in human beings first of all, and kindness to animals. I don’t respect the law; I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer.

That does a pretty good job of summing it up. “Kindness” covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.

Definitely worth reading the whole thing, which you can find here.

Bobby