Robot Restaurant. Or, as jwz calls it, “Chuck E. Cheese: Judgement Day Version”.
The new restaurant (official site) is located in Shinjuku’s Kabukichō district, a neon-lit pleasure paradise also known as “Sleepless City” and renowned for its host/hostess bars, love hotels and nightclubs.
The restaurant is said to have cost 10 billion yen (or $130 million dollars). It features LED-encrusted tanks, cabaret girls, and gigantic fembots that can be steered with joysticks (one video also appears to show them being controlled via motion sensor.)
Admission to the restaurant costs 3000 yen (or $38). The fee covers seating, a simple meal, and an hour-long performance featuring Japanese taiko drums, a vinyl-clad marching band, a motorcycle performance, tanks and a B-52. More images can be found at Crunchyroll, Japan News 24, and Nippon News.
“Teenagers in Space” (Отроки во Вселенной) is a 1974 Soviet children’s sci-fi film about evil robots. In the film, a group of clean-cut teenage “pioneers” embark to a distant planet in the Cassiopeia constellation. There, they discover that robots have taken over the planet and enslaved the humans with one intention – to make their masters happy, as the robots understood happiness.
In one memorable scene, stylish robots offer to give the young cosmonauts a “Happiness Makeover.” In the futuristic operating room, sleek white sarcofagi encase the teens while robots calibrate the machine to erase their feelings of love, sorrow, shame and self-doubt. It turns out that their robots’ understanding of happiness is the satisfactions of basic needs, and the elimination of all ”disturbing” emotions.
The teens learn that a small group of humans had escaped from the “Great Enhappening” and that their descendants have been orbiting the planet for generations. Together, they figure out a way to bring down the robots’ oppressive regime.
The film is available in its entirety on YouTube, but perhaps the best way for an English-speaking audience to experience the film is through the video below, which combines footage of the film with Kraftwerk’s “Robots.” See below.
Via Mike Estee, who writes: “the overt culture co-opting is perhaps the most realistic aspect of this futuristic Burning Man ad.”
In this Absolut Vodka commercial, bougie leather-and-feathers trustafarians congregate for a day at the dog races in the desert. Except that the dogs are mechanical, controlled through a Tron-like interface in which three DJs play bad house music. Still, the fashion is breathtaking, the expensive props are beautifully-crafted, and the robotic greyhounds are strikingly feral and majestic. So mute the video, put on a song by Birdy Nam Nam, and enjoy.
It’s interesting to compare this video to images that clearly served as reference. The the groundbreaking influence of Tiffa Novoa, which manifests itself in many of the opulent fashions featured on the Twisted Lamb blog, likely inspired the ad’s costume design. A recent video crafted by Sequoia Emmanuelle that features Auberon Shull dancing in the desert is on par, in terms of quality, with this expensive ad. Except that instead of selling a beverage, Emmanuelle’s video promotes a powerful performer, independent musicians and alt designers.
We’re getting so close to the point where we have the tools to outstrip the industries that co-opt us. For example, with the advent of the RED, the Mark II, and the upcoming Blackmagic Cinema Camera, producing high-quality film footage is becoming more and more affordable. Kickstarter is providing a way for people to fund independent productions on a larger scale than ever before. So even as this Absolut ad tries to be futuristic, in many ways, it’s racing towards becoming a relic of the past – a time in which production quality belonged squarely to large advertisers with vapid aims. The future can’t come fast enough.
Good morning. Pretend for a moment that this is not, in fact, the Spring of 2012, but rather the Spring of 1982, now thirty years past. We’re in England. New Romance is budding. Rocky Horror is a’rockin’. The likes of Gary Numan, Spandau Ballet, and Klaus Nomi rule subterranean radio.
Under the banner of SHOCK, two young London lads with very excellent bone structure and pop ‘n’ lock skillz named Tim Dry (who would one day become Tik from the robotic mime duo Tik & Tok) and Richard James Burgess (who would go on to produce all manner of sophisti-pop) have joined forces with two young London lasses with very large hair and dovelike coos called Carole Caplin (who shall one day become far better known as the tormented fitness and fashion consultant to Tony and Cherie Blair) and Barbie Wilde (who is soon to be immortalized in celluloid as the creepyhot female Cenobite from Hellraiser II).
If you’ve already experienced Will Sweeney and Steve Scott‘s animated psychedelic 2009 music video for Birdy Nam Nam‘s tune “The Parachute Ending”, look away. Or, hey, don’t. Because you know it’s trippin’ AMAZEBALLS and you probably won’t mind watching it again over a nice morning bowl of strawberries ‘n’ Special K.
Most Birdy Nam Nam-related things tend to be –in this blogger’s humble opinion– pretty thoroughly amazeballs. The BNN DJ crew is comprised of four fabulous Frenchmen known as Crazy-B, DJ Need, DJ Pone, and Little Mike. They joined forces in 2006 and has been steadily gaining notoriety ever since thanks largely to their novel and challenging style of music-making: they take thousands of samples gleaned from various sources, press all of the beats and patterns into towering stacks of vinyl, and then assemble/spin these kaleidoscopic collaged elements live. It’s bleepybloopy bonkersbrilliance.
Holy shitballs. New Yorkers, you lucky ducks, you get to have ALL the retro-badass fun! Via East Village Radio:
Kraftwerk –one of the most important groups in electronic music’s relatively short history– will be the focus of a retrospective taking place in April at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, the New York Times reports. The band, featuring lone founding member Ralf Hütter, will be present and performing as part of the celebration named Kraftwerk-Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8. Starting April 10th [...] Kraftwerk will perform over eight consecutive nights, with each evening dedicated to one of the pioneering group’s albums in chronological order, starting with 1974’s Autobahn.
The concerts will be held MoMA’s (appropriately retrofuturetastic) Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium. Tickets go on sale at noon, February 22nd, $25 a pop. (Zounds, they’re gonna go fast!)
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.
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:
I seem to have completely missed this upon its release (and it may have been better posted around Christmas), but Cool Hunting has a short profile of Lou Nasti, whose studio, Mechanical Displays, who has done animatronic installations all over the world. His most famous might be various Christmas displays for storefronts on Manhattan’s 5th Avenue. Nasti (whose resembles Disney’s version of Mister Geppetto to such a degree that one would be forgiven for thinking it intentional) is the perfect type for this sort of piece: earnest and in love with his work. He oversees a shop stacked high with tools and parts, and toys. Admittedly, I have a penchant for these sorts of spaces, with their towering, organized clutter. They have a character all their own, often as interesting as the people who work in them.
Good day, comrades. This mesmerizing WTFery has been on the YouToobz for a few years now, but DJ DeadBilly only alerted Coilhouse to its existence this morning. (2012 is off to an auspicious start!)
Who among our readers remembers The Rock-afire Explosion animatronic stage show from their pepperoni ‘n’ cheese-drenched childhood? It was the brainchild of one Mr. Aaron Fechter, who, in addition to creating and heading a company called Creative Engineering Incorporated, invented the Whac-a-Mole, and co-founded a venture called Showbiz Pizza Place in 1979, which eventually merged with –and became more commonly known as– Chuck E. Cheese (apparently under bitter circumstances).
In spite of a handful of painful business disappointments over the past thirty years, Fechter and his team have stayed the course, and C.E. Inc. remains “a leader in the Family Entertainment business”, designing and manufacturing “sophisticated animatronic stage shows for many amusement parks and entertainment centers around the world”.
Fechter’s company has additionally been involved in several somewhat less HappyHappyFuntimez™ projects of various sizes and technologies, ranging from development of robotic soldiers for the U.S. Army (“a great success, I might add”, says Fechter) to water removal systems for commericial roofing (“not one of my best”).
But through it all, Fechter’s heart has remained devoted to “developing high-tech equipment to entertain and amuse the public while developing the self-esteem of the participants”.