Gold comes in the form of iridescent glitter powder and drips off the screen with baroque opulence in Velvet Goldmine, Todd Haynes cinematic ode to the late seventies British glam rock scene. Released in 1998, to limited artistic acclaim, the last 14 years have seen Velvet Goldmine gain a niche following which is now nestled between rock cult classic and sexual revolution coming of age story. Although the subtext can be seen as a more serious glimpse into the sexual politics of the time, the film indulges in a campy glam which emerges as a cross between poetic and just plain fun.
Winner at Cannes (1998) and the Academy Awards (1998), for artistic contribution and costume design, Haynes succeeds at putting forth a visually intricate and detailed film through collage storytelling. Similar to his 2007 film I’m Not There, Velvet Goldmine is composed of mockumetary and noir inspired vignettes that build a burlesquian glam fantasy mirroring the true-life movements of David Bowie and Iggy Pop through characters Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and Curt Wild (Ewan McGregor). Christian Bale also makes an appearance as Arthur Stuart, a die hard fan turned journalist whose role is to guide the noir-ian component of the film in an investigation into Brain Slade’s faked death 10 years earlier. Set to a landscape of the surreal, the film which begs to be played ‘at maximum volume’ is abundant with musical and art historical references that elude to Haynes direct inspirations. If you are a fan of early sixties cinema you’ll notice the influence of Jack Smith, music aficionados will catch the Venus in Furs reference, and the ‘literati’ will understand why Oscar Wilde is the fibre that weaves the story through to its end.
Once you have abandoned the notion that Velvet Goldmine should make linear sense, engaging in its flamboyant glam nostalgia and sexual fervour is a trip worth taking. Besides, who can deny two hours of Ewan McGregor clad in sparking glitter and gold lamé?
An old favorite of mine from a few years back, ‘Solid Gold’ by The Golden Filter has the melodic charm of a disco track with a modern flare. The video for the track was done by MOOPJAW, who’s work you’ve probably seen before on videos like Animal Collective’s ‘Girls’. For this video they got pretty trippy, mirroring images of Golden Filter singer Penelope Trappes in some really interesting garb with a young man running and swimming. Not sure what the connection is, but it’s a rad video and a great song.
These are pictures taken in Rhyolite, Nevada. If you had visited Rhyolite in early January of 1905, you would have found nothing more than two dudes living in a tent. If you had visited Rhyolite two weeks later you would have found a town of 1,200 people hoping to strike it rich. Why the big boost? Gold. The town flourished during a gold rush after high quality ore was discovered at a nearby mine. The town added another 1,200 people over the next six months, and by that point the town was home to “50 saloons, 35 gambling tables, cribs for prostitution, 19 lodging houses, 16 restaurants, half a dozen barbers, a public bath house, and a weekly newspaper.”
Of course this rush could not last. The ore that was once so golden was soon used up. The new ore was crappy. What stands now in the once booming town of Rhyolite is actually barely standing these days. There’s a open air museum just south of the city now, the Goldwell Open Air Museum that has a series of sculptures that look like ghosts (as well as a giant, naked lady made from concrete pixels). The ghostly sculptures seem oddly at home in the desert. But one days these sculptures will rot as well, joining the remains of the town in a scattered heap of dust on the ground.
Since we’ve devoted this week to gold it was only fitting that this week’s wallpaper fit the theme as well. I asked Bree Lundberg, a Florida based illustrator, to create a wallpaper that embodied our theme and bring it to life. She decided to take a classic quote and change it up a bit, making it more appropriate for our current times.
I wanted to take an antiquated quote about gold and update for our contemporary times which I thought was fitting for the theme. Silence is no longer golden because I think everyone should speak up/speak out for what is important to them.
Simple, clean, and beautiful, not to mention a good reminder to be proactive.
I was skimming through the Behance network earlier when I came across this wonderful calender made by the Ukraine designer Yurko Gutsulyak. Gutsulyak’s design is a unique gift calender for the Pivdennyi Bank, one of the largest domestic commercial banks in Southern Ukraine. Printed on golden sirio pearl aurum and foil stamped, the calender is devoted to the subject of gold, with each month getting a special design inspired by the element.
Taking an Art Deco inspired look, the calender explores 12 facts about gold, with each month telling a fascinating fact about the precious metal. As seen above, Gutsulyak has created unique icons for each month and the one seen here is for the month of October. Gutsulyak’s gold fact for that month is:
About 100 millions tons of gold is dissolved in the worlds oceans. But as of the moment there is no efficient technology of its extraction.
To view all twelve months and learn some cool new things about gold you should definitly check out the full project here.
Digging around for golden gems I came across these little gold robots which are also 4GB memory sticks. They kind of look like a creepy mixture between C-3PO and a LEGO man, but it’d be pretty rad to have a tiny army of these little guys safeguarding your information.
San Francisco based designer/illustrator Skinny Ships has teamed up with 55 Hi’s to create The Letters, a beautiful poster showcasing a beautiful selection of their typography. The poster measures out at 18 x 24, printed in shiny gold ink and is limited to 200 copies. I think they did an amazing job on this, and it just so happens to coincide with gold week. I’m telling you, gold week was meant to be. Go snag yourself a copy and help support to amazing illustrators (and it’s only $25).
This is Janus, an addition to the Rapperswil-Jona Municipal Museum by MLZD. The project’s name comes from the two faces that the project presents. From the north, the project blends in the the jumble of historic buildings that make up the museum, but from the narrow streets, the project presents a distinctly contemporary folded skin. In the architects’ own words:
“The “janus” project, which won a competition held in 2007, is giving the Rapperswil-Jona municipal museum a new profile commensurate with its public significance. It is designed to attract the attention of members of the public interested in culture without stopping at the municipal boundaries and presents the museum and the town as an appealing destination for excursions. The project to put up the new building has been sensitively integrated in the historic town. The view from the north, which is important for the overall visual impression of the town, is to remain unchanged. The building fits discreetly into the background of the historic picture presented by the narrow town-centre streets. With the new terrain situation and the tasteful bronze façade, the building imposes a new emphasis on its immediate surroundings and can easily be read as the main entrance to a modern museum complex.”