(Thanks for the heads up, Bricey!)
Artist, musician, and grand master tinkerer Felix Thorn builds machines –wondrous, whimsical, beautiful machines– by taking apart old, obsolete contraptions and breathing new life, motion, song and light into them. His pieces have been featured in galleries and shop window displays and art installations and commercials, used in various live performances, or as theatrical accompaniment, or as stand-alone film fodder.
He states: ”Although my medium focuses on the development of acoustic sounds, I am continually inspired by electronic music – the countless abstractions act as blueprints for the construction of its acoustic counterparts. I aim to build a space where artificial and dream-like environments can become a reality.”
I have no idea what you’re talking about, so here’s a vaguely phallic thumb-faced thingy singing a duet with a vaguely labia majora-lipped pussycat. In Russian. Honestly, I have no idea what they’re talking about, either. Wheeee!
Hey, Nadya! Welcome back from the playa! We can haz translation?
(Via E. Stephen Weirdo.)
I suppose, in an ideal world, I would return from a writing hiatus with the proverbial bang. Perhaps an exposé about key parties held at the Department of Agriculture or a look at psychotic guinea pig beauty pageant moms. But this is not an ideal world, so instead I’m posting this short film — “Cloudy” — by Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III of FriendsWithYou; a film so saccharine that the resulting diabetic coma will, with any luck, erase the fact that I have been slacking off considerably from your minds.
This will, unfortunately, not work on my masters who, unlike you dear readers (My favorite people in the whole world. Have I told you that? Well, it’s true. You’re also looking quite lovely today, let me tell you.) are devoid of both souls and any emotions save for furious anger, rendering them immune to this sort of thing. For them I have this sizable stone, which I managed to pry loose from the wall of my cell and with which I hope to hit them very hard on the back of the skull. I think it’s a sound plan.
Greetings, comrades! As you may have noticed, things have been a bit slow ’round these here parts this week, owing to ComicKHAAAAN… and humidity. Lots of amazing posts imminent, though.
Meantime, there’s this:
Heads up: all of the images in this post are interactive! Click ‘em and see!
Comic-Con International in San Diego (which, of course, has been discussed with familial snark and affection by Coilhouse countless times before) wasn’t always the star-studded, geek-chic event that it is today. (By any chance, does anybody out there remember when Nerd Prom truly was purely a comics con? Back in the day, there were a few hundred participants, and they held it in the basement of the US Grant Hotel down in the Gaslamp District. That was over forty years ago.) And yet, some thing never change. To this very day, beyond the shiny veneer of celebrity panels and million-dollar television studio booths, the true hallmarks of Comic-Con —celebration and revelry in comic book and sci-fi culture— can be found by those of us who know where to look.
From gore FX makeup, to minute veins painted onto a character model, to carefully-curated contact lenses and fangs as part of the perfect cosplay costume, the heart and soul of our beloved Nerd Prom is found in the details, thanks to the legions of creative and energetic (if somewhat unsettlingly aromatic) people who come together every year to bring our favorite elements of geek culture to brilliant life.
Many folks who are unable to attend SDCC, as well as those of us who do attend and want to revisit, often (re)experience the Con through pictures and video. Traditionally, during and directly after the four-day event, the internet is flooded with sweeping panoramic shots of crowds surging through the main exhibit halls, macros of various booth displays, perfunctory celebrity panel shots, and camera phone candids of inspiring (or perplexing! or horrifying!) costumed revelers. However, this year, something entirely different is beginning to crop up, imagery-wise.
The pictures you’re looking at are examples of Con-craziness captured by a new photographic system from a Silicon Valley start-up called Lytro. These are single-exposure photographs that can be refocused and manipulated after the fact; think of Lytro as technology’s first attempt at bringing us Harry Potter’s moving newspaper pictures! Unlike a conventional camera that captures a single plane of light, the Lytro camera captures the entire light field.
From the Lytro site: “The way we communicate visually is evolving rapidly, and people’s expectations are changing in lockstep. Light field cameras offer astonishing capabilities. They allow both the picture taker and the viewer to focus pictures after they’re snapped, shift their perspective of the scene, and even switch seamlessly between 2D and 3D views. With these amazing capabilities, pictures become immersive, interactive visual stories that were never before possible – they become living pictures.” And, as you can see, here are some slices of the Comic-Con experience, presented in a series of living pictures.
Last weekend, I caught up to Eric Cheng, Lytro’s Director of Photography, in the chaotic main convention hall. Hunkered down behind a trio of enormous trolls at the Weta Booth while thousands of people milled around us, Cheng kindly took the time to explain a bit about the tech, showed off a slew of incredible shots he and his cohorts has been taking at the Con, and we discussed why the Lytro is especially perfect for capturing visually dense, action-packed memories at events like SDCC.
As someone who spent most of his childhood disassembling and (most times) reassembling anything given to him that contained moving parts, this video from YouTube user nothinghereok is nigh orgasmic. Over eleven months, he stripped down, cleaned, and rebuilt a Triumph Spitfire engine, documenting the process in three thousand pictures which, in turn, make for one amazing stop-motion video. And if you are (or were) anything like how I described myself at the beginning of this post, the ending is something you’ll appreciate.
Remember that bit at the beginning of The Matrix, when Neo is giving code to a bunch of strangers, and then they go party like crazy people? It turns out that’s been happening since the ’80s, except with high concept combinations of code, music, and graphics instead of viruses.
This demo was completed in two days. On a whim. In 2009. And while there are videos of the demo, like above, the demo itself is an executable file that draws each frame while you watch, from scratch. It is the difference between looking at a print of a painting, and watching the painter as the original takes shape under her brush.
The current demoscene is the product of nearly thirty years of people coming together to make art just to prove that they can. And if you are in New York, and you want to know more, then go see Demoscene – The Art of the Algorithms at the Manhattan film festival today (July 1st), at 2pm. Tickets are available here. If you can’t make it, or you decide you want to own it, you can download the documentary. However! This is only the second screening of this film in the US, so see it in a theater while you can.
Today is Atari’s 40th anniversary. It was 1972 when those honkin’ huge-ass, faux-wood-paneled PONG cabinets started proliferating in pizza parlors and bars and pinball arcades all over California, their glowing consoles featuring simplistic two-dimensional graphics representing a two-player table tennis game. While PONG wasn’t the earliest video arcade game, it was the first truly successful one. And the rest is history. And that’s one to grow on. And knowing is half the battle.
And now is the time on Curlhauz when we stomp punch kick derp DANSE.