The “Spirit Bomb” of Harajuku Culture

Featured previously on Coilhouse for her debut music video Pon Pon Pon, 19-year-old blogger-turned-singer Caroline Charonplop Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (also known is Kyary, or Carrie Pam) is back with a new music video for her single Tsukema Tsukeru.

According to Super Happy Awesome, the song is all about the application, appreciation, and effects of false eyelashes. Kicking off the video with a sparkly-lashed wink to Kanye’s Power (which was also parodied to great effect by Freddie Wong), Kyary celebrates the art of eyelash extension through lyrics (“It’s the magic in a type of eyelash / My confidence changes, the way I see the world changes”), choreography (plenty of jazz hands emulating the batting of full lashes), set design (with some terrifying CGI depictions of the (lash-bedecked) Hamsa Hand floating in the background), and, perhaps most potently, costume design (featuring an extra head on top of her wig wearing lashes, a rather anatomical-looking corset decorated with an eye pendant, and two giant false eyelashes on her boobs).

The same team that created Pon Pon Pon was responsible for Tsukema Tsukeru. The song was produced by Yasutaka Nakata, one half of the electronic duo capsule. The video was art-directed by Sebastian Masuda, a pioneer of “kawaii culture” who also founded Harajuku fashion label %6DOKIDOKI. Masuda and Kyary also recently collaborated on an exhibition titled Table of Dreams.

In describing his first meeting and subsequent collaboration with Kyary, Nakata calls her “the ‘spirit bomb’ of Harajuku culture.” (The spirit bomb, the translator explains, “refers to an attack in the classic anime ‘Dragon Ball’, which channels the energy of surrounding life forms into a powerful sphere.”) Kyary’s success, writes Nakata, lies in her ability to infect people with enthusiasm for her projects. “I think it’s because everyone who gathers around Kyary feels like, ‘if I were with Kyary, I’d be able to express things that are new to me.’ That is, of course, how I feel too. So it’s different from a collaboration, and – to tell the truth – even saying that I produce her has a different meaning. The closest I can get is saying, ‘I’m doing it just for the fun of it.’ I feel like Kyary has this power in her to involve people that way.”

See also:

[via Nicole Aptekar]

Batman And Friends Via Aardman Animations

The best, silliest thing: Aardman Animations — the studio responsible for Wallace and Grommit and the series Creature Comforts, among others — teams up with DC Comics to produce a series of shorts for Cartoon Network. This one uses a setup similar to the aforementioned Creature Comforts, here taking some familiar DC villains and heroes having children voice them. So silly, but so, so good.

Via Drawn

Human-Shaped RC Planes Soaring Above NYC

WOW! Check out this splendid footage of three human-shaped, remote-controlled planes being flown above downtown NYC/Brooklyn, creating the illusion of people flying:

VERY cool. Perhaps somewhat less cool: it’s apparently viral marketing for that movie Chronicle. “Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… product placement!” But still. Wow.

[Via Wayne Chambliss / Gizmodo]

IFC Screening of “The Party in Taylor Mead’s Kitchen” / “The Girl with the Black Balloons”

Our friend, longtime Coilhouse contributor Jeff Wengrofsky, has just informed us that The Party in Taylor Mead’s Kitchen, his latest Syndicate of Human Image Traffickers film, will be screened at the Independent Film Center (IFC) in New York on Tuesday, January 31st at 8pm, as part of the “Stranger Than Fiction” film series. “Come early,” says he. “It will be the first film shown, thus kicking off the STF 2012 Spring Season.” It will be followed by The Girl with the Black Balloons, a film about a reclusive artist in the Chelsea Hotel.

Both films sound fascinating; here’s a bit of background from the Syndicate on the Taylor Mead feature:

After reading Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Taylor Mead, the scion of Michigan’s Democratic Party political boss Harry Mead, left his Grosse Point home and Merrill Lynch sinecure to hitchhike across the United States. Upon arriving in San Francisco, his ability to write and perform clever, bawdy, homoerotic poems made Taylor an instant hit with the Beatnik scene. He soon came to personify the Beatnik ethic in Ron Rice’s classic film, THE FLOWER THIEF, in 1960. Deciding to move to the Lower East Side of New York, then the Beat capital of the world, Taylor was soon a fixture of the downtown poetry scene and a Warhol Superstar, most famously appearing in “Tarzan and Jane Revisited…Sort of,” and most notoriously, as the star of ‘Taylor Mead’s Ass” in 1964.  Taylor has since appeared scores of films, has acted for the stage, and has published books of poetry.

Fifty-odd years after trading in upper-crust luxury for bohemian art stardom, THE PARTY IN TAYLOR MEAD’S KITCHEN finds Taylor still living a life of poetry, painting, partying, acting, homo-eroticism, modest living, and indifference to bourgeois notions of hygiene. We visit the octogenarian in his Lower East Side grotto, finding him still brilliant, boyishly innocent, abundantly cute, and wanting to party at noon. The film depicts the romantic beauty and squalid dereliction of the bohemian life while dishing the dirt on Andy Warhol, Jack Kerouac, Ron Rice, Woody Allen, and Tallulah Bankhead.

“Pony” by Tim Lewis, and the Kinetica Art Fair

This is “Pony”, a motion-sensitive kinetic sculpture by Tim Lewis. Unsettling and beautiful:

“Tim Lewis combines mechanical devices and sculpture to investigate, test and experiment with his own doubts and perception of the world.” (via)

Lewis, recently interviewed about his work by Dazed Digital, makes a compelling statement about the power inherent in tangibility:

I think that when you first approach a piece of art, and you imagine it and draw it, there’s a sense that it will always remain somewhat in your imagination. Its only when you take the 2D object and re-work it into the physical 3D world that it becomes somewhat more real. It no longer just exists in your eyes and mind, but instead has to react with the floors and walls around it in the physical world. For me, kinetic art highlights the importance of bringing both inventions and imagination into a physical existence.

Lewis’ work is regularly exhibited and promoted by the folks who run the Kinetica Museum and related events in Spitalfields, London. Their annual Kinetica Art Fair is coming up in February. As it has for the past several years, the Fair will bring together “galleries, art organisations and curatorial groups from around the world who focus on universal concepts and evolutionary processes though the convergence of kinetic, electronic, robotic, sound, light, time-based and multi-disciplinary new media art, science and technology.”

Are any of our UK readers going? Please do report back! It sounds amazing.


Via Tertiary, thanks!

R.I.P. Eiko Ishioka, July 1939 – January 21, 2012


Eiko Ishioka, Motoko Narsue, Kyoko Inui, poster 1979. Photographed by Kazumi Kurigami.

One of the world’s greatest costume designers, Eiko Ishioka, died today at age 73. Ishioka’s work spanned genres and continents; she is best known for her costume design on Dracula, The Fall and The Cell, as well as her collaborations with Bjork, Grace Jones and Cirque du Soleil. From the New York Times:

Ms. Ishioka won an Academy Award for costume design in 1992 for “Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula,’ ” directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Her outfits for the film included a suit of full body armor for the title character (played by Gary Oldman), whose glistening red color and all-over corrugation made it look like exposed musculature, and a voluminous wedding dress worn by the actress Sadie Frost, with a stiff, round, aggressive lace collar inspired by the ruffs of frill-necked lizards.

These typified Ms. Ishioka’s aesthetic. A deliberate marriage of East and West — she had lived in Manhattan for many years — it simultaneously embraced the gothic, the otherworldly, the dramatic and the unsettling and was suffused with a powerful, dark eroticism. Her work, whose outsize stylization dazzled some critics and discomforted others, was provocative in every possible sense of the word, and it was meant to be.

Ms. Ishioka was closely associated with the director Tarsem Singh, for whom she designed costumes for four films. In the first, “The Cell” (2000), she encased Jennifer Lopez, who plays a psychologist trapped by a serial killer, in a headpiece that resembled a cross between a rigid neck brace and a forbidding bird cage.

“Jennifer asked me if I could make it more comfortable,” Ms. Ishioka told The Ottawa Citizen in 2000, “but I said, ‘No, you’re supposed to be tortured.’ ”

Eiko Ishioka worked until the very end of her life. Her latest works can be seen in Tarsem Signh’s Immortals (2011) and Mirror Mirror (2012). After the cut, more images of Ishioka’s work throughout the ages, as well as recent video of her talking about her work on Immortals.


Costume design from The Fall


Costume design from The Cell

Rabbit Rabbit Radio


(Rabbit Rabbit Radio illustration by Mariko Ando.) 

Next Wednesday, February 1st, professional musicians/married couple/doting parents Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi –whose various other projects have been mentioned on Coilhouse many times– are launching a very interesting new multimedia musical subscription service called Rabbit Rabbit Radio.

“Saying ‘rabbit, rabbit’ on the first of the month is a tradition here in New England,” Kihlstedt explains. “It is said to bring good luck and a sense of renewed purpose. We’ve taken it to heart and are releasing a new song on the first [day] of each month along with photos, videos, and other implicating evidences of our creative process, all on rabbitrabbitradio.com


The Kihlstedt/Bossi family: Matthias, Tallulah, and Carla. Photo by Eurydice Galka.

Last year, not long before the Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (a legendary band they were members of) closed its doors, Kihlstedt and Bossi moved from Oakland to Cape Cod with their baby girl Tallulah. “Our lives have changed a lot since [she] was born and since we moved back East.” Kihlstedt and Bossi predict that their Rabbit Rabbit Radio project will help them to accomplish many things, warmly and comfortably, in ways that more traditionally grueling channels (constant low-budget touring is exhausting enough without kids!) could not:

“It keeps us in touch with you [our audience]. It conveys each song with much more depth and dimension than a simple iTunes download would. It holds us to an ongoing commitment to our own creativity. It allows us to be creatively independent from home, which in turn allows us to be good parents. In short, everyone wins. We have finally created our very own dream job.”

Fans who subscribe to Rabbit Rabbit Radio can choose to pay $1, $2, or $3 per month (but there’s no difference in content access; it’s just a chance to pay them a bit more for their efforts, if you can afford to). You can learn more –and get a taste of the quirky, sweet whimsy this lovely duo creates together– from the following YouTube pitch video:

RRR has its own Twitter account and a Facebook page as well.

Rabbit Rabbit Radio is a fascinating-yet-simple premise that feels very new, and fresh, and… cozy! Kihlstedt and Bossi both hope this kind of project takes off: “there are lots of artists whom we would gladly subscribe to ourselves!”  While there may very well be other musicians out there attempting similar transmedia subscription services (and please feel free to give them a shout-out in comments, because we’d love to know more about them, too) it’s certainly not status quo quite yet. Fingers crossed that it soon will be.

The modern quest for reasonable and sustainable alternatives to a more staid career path in the arts is always worth discussing on Coilhouse. We live in interesting- no, scratch that, fascinating times. It might feel daunting to watch the old regimes fall down around our ears, but there’s no doubt about it: we are lucky to be alive during a time period where there’s so much opportunity to build newer, better, kinder infrastructures. Let’s stay tuned in!

Culture Osolence by Lucas de Alcântara

From the same land that recently brought us Vinicius Quesada’s ominous post-apocalyptic images in the McDonald’s color scheme comes this two-image series from Brazilian artist Lucas de Alcântara.

The strange atomic-age flying machines (robots? winged helmets? …life forms?) recall Leonardo da Vinci’s technical drawings, while the composition echoes high-concept, hand-drawn film posters of bygone days. The would look great on a wall next to some Takashi Itsuki prints, no?

The images appear in Alcântara’s Depthcore portfolio. Consisting of digital artists around the world, Depthcore is a treasure trove of weird cyberpunk art. Work on Depthcore seems to be presented in chapters, and the image above appeared in the chapter titled Obsolete among many other beautiful submissions.

[via the highly addictive Surrogate Self]

Jim Henson’s Soulless AT&T Robot

A short film by Jim Henson from 1963 created for an AT&T seminar on data communication:

The organizers of the seminar, Inpro, actually set the tone for the film in a three-page memo from one of Inpro’s principals, Ted Mills to Henson. Mills outlined the nascent, but growing relationship between man and machine: a relationship not without tension and resentment: “He [the robot] is sure that All Men Basically Want to Play Golf, and not run businesses — if he can do it better.” (Mills also later designed the ride for the Bell System at the 1964 World’s Fair.) Henson’s execution is not only true to Mills’ vision, but he also puts his own unique, irreverent spin on the material.

Sure beats a PowerPoint presentation. This wasn’t the first gig for the smoke-belching, metal host either, it had already made a previous, corporate appearance in 1961, at the US Food Fair in Hamburg, Germany:

Via AT&T Archives : Poetv

Oscar Sanmartin Vargas

Spanish artist Oscar Sanmartin Vargas has a staggering portfolio of mixed media work, ranging from dioramas, to surreal architectural etchings, to detailed studies of alien biological specimens. The drawings are especially haunting; all their subjects depicted under a perpetually overcast sky. In regards to those strange animals: he released a book in 2007, entitled Leyendario: Criaturas de Agua (Legendary Creatures of the Water), a video preview of which can be found below. I am completely smitten with these — the line work, the use of empty space, the mystery of them. They are simply wonderful.