Mollusc's Condensed Gastropod and Other Delights

Mollusc’s Condensed Gastropod by Jason Levesque

Recently, the Virginia MOCA premiered “I Like Soup,” a group show inspired by Andy Warhol. Co-curated by Heather Hakimzadeh and Coilhouse contributor Jason Levesque (who also created a piece of art of the exhibit, above), the show features customized soup cans by a score of talented artists. Below is a piece from artist Chet Zar, who was featured in Coilhouse Issue 05.

You can see and purchase the cans on the MOCA website. Proceeds will benefit MOCA’s educational programming and the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia.

Can of Worms by Chet Zar

Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus

It’s official: New York Times confirms that that immediately after entering office, Obama ordered the development of Stuxnet, a computer worm. Shortly its deployment, the government lost control of the worm, which targeted Iran’s nuclear facilities.

If you’re unfamiliar with Stuxnet, the video above, created by Patrick Clair, explains it pretty well. Using slick typography and motion graphics, “Anatomy of a Computer Virus” is an excellent primer on cyberwarfare – and a beautiful animation in its own right.

Welcome to the future. Jewelry Made of Maps, Data and Lasers

South America earrings. Model: Bad Charlotte. Hair: Lorenzo Diaz. Makeup: Meeks Baker. Photo: Nadya Lev.

Meshu is a company that turns location data into jewelry. The brainchild of data visualists Rachel Binx and  Sha Hwang, Meshu allows you to enter locations (places you’ve lived, bars you love to go to, cities you’ve visited) and, based on those locations, it generates a graphic of interconnected coordinates overlaid on a map. That shape, called a “meshu,” gets laser-cut or 3D-printed out of wood, acrylic or metal into earrings, a pendant or cufflinks, and mailed to you.

US National Parks Meshu

Thus, all the places where you went on fun dates in a city can become a pair of earrings, and all the places you’ve been arrested can turn into an elaborate pendant. You can also connect to the site with Foursquare and create meshus out of your checkins. The site aims to keep the connection between the object and the information alive, and each meshu you make has a unique url (for example, here’s Racheland Sha’s trip to Iceland.) “Whether or not wearing a map is your thing,” writes Mark Wilson at FastCoDesign, “I can imagine a future where, more and more, the things we buy and wear depict something abstract and personal about our lives.”

San Francisco Neighborhoods pendant. Model: Enid Hwang. Hair: Lorenzo Diaz. Makeup: Meeks Baker. Photo: Nadya Lev.

Teenagers in Space: A Soviet Sci-Fi Film from 1974

“Teenagers in Space” (?????? ?? ?????????) 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.

Blade Runner Magazine Covers Resurface!

A series of magazine covers that appeared in Blade Runner have been making the rounds. Like most of the film, many of the covers (especially Dorgon, Creative Evolution and Kill) have a modern or even futuristic feel. The fashion magazine advertises “color spliced skin inserts,” while Kill Weekly promises color close-ups of deadly accidents. You can see all the covers here.

Over at The Atlantic, Alexis Madrigal traces the images’ internet origins. These covers were created by production designer Tom Southwell in 1980/1982. However, the web versions that you see here were painstakingly reconstructed by a superfan known only as Kevin. You can see a side-by-side comparison in the Atlantic article.

OMG SHOES: "Self-Objectification Strategy" by Scott Hove

“Self-Objectification Strategy” is a new piece from Scott Hove. The back of the heel has a functional switchblade attachment. See more of his new sculptures here.

Friday Afternoon Movie: Dystopian Miniseries Black Mirror

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Black Mirror is a grim, satirical dystopian horror miniseries that aired on Channel 4 in the UK last year. Consisting of three one-hour episodes, the show, created by Charlie Brooker, is a “a hybrid of The Twilight Zone and Tales of the Unexpected which taps into our contemporary unease about our modern world”, with the stories having a “techno-paranoia” feel. From the program description on Channel 4’s site:

Over the last ten years, technology has transformed almost every aspect of our lives before we’ve had time to stop and question it. In every home; on every desk; in every palm – a plasma screen; a monitor; a smartphone – a black mirror of our 21st Century existence.

Our grip on reality is shifting. We worship at the altars of Google and Apple. Facebook algorithms know us more intimately than our own parents. We have access to all the information in the world, but no brain space left to absorb anything longer than a 140-character tweet.

Black Mirror taps into the collective unease about our modern world.

The writing is smart, the plots just plausible enough to send a chill down your spine. In the first (and arguably best) episode, “National Anthem,” a video of the kidnapped Princess Susannah, a beloved member of the Royal Family, is uploaded to YouTube with a ransom demand that would do 4chan proud. “15 Million Merits” shows us a dehumanizing world in which green energy, gamification and reality TV intersect. Finally, “The Entire History of You” shows us a near-future in which all memories can be recorded, replayed, stolen and shared.

As piracy continues to be a service problem, there’s no easy way to purchase/view this show outside the UK. Below are the links to streams of each episode. Watch the episodes here, before they’re gone. You won’t regret it:

[via sfslim]

A Futuristic Ad on the Culture of Co-Opting

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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.

Ultimately, the video’s douchy atmosphere (and weird racial tension) ruins what could have been a timeless commercial on par with Campari’s artful, transgressive spot for Red Passion.

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.

Blade Runner Sequel with Female Protagonist Announced!

Candice Guttmann at Tokyo Blade Runner. Photo by Gabi Porter.

Today, Ridley Scott announced that his upcoming Blade Runner film will be a sequel, with original screenwriter Hampton Fancher joining the project. The storyline is shrouded in secrecy: “the filmmakers would reveal only that the new story will take place some years after the first film concluded,” a press release stated today. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Scott announced that the film will “definitely” feature a female protagonist.

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Dances of Vice: Tokyo Blade Runner New York Comic Con Afterparty 2011 from Nishell Falcone on Vimeo.

It’s likely that filming won’t begin until 2013, so in the meantime, check out this montage from the Dances of Vice Tokyo Blade Runner party, which took place in New York last fall. The future-noir burlesque performances and fashion show are so ornate and inspired, you’d think you were getting a sneak peek of the sequel’s trailer.

Previously on Coilhouse:

Gilbert Gottfried Reads Fifty Shades of Grey

This video is spreading like wildfire, and it’s too good not to repost here. It’s Gilbert Gottfried reading steamy passages from Fifty Shades of Gray, an extremely popular erotic fiction novel about a BDSM love affair.

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Written by E. L. Leonard, the book started out as a Twilight fanfic titled Master of the Universe,  published under the pen name Snowqueen’s IcedragonOnce the book was reworked for publication, high schooler Bella and vampire Edward replaced with college grad Anastasia Steele and powerful business magnate Christian Grey, the novel became an overnight success, recently landing on the New York Times #1 bestseller list with major movie studios vying for the film rights.

From Katie Roiphe’s trollgaze cover piece on Fifty Shades of Grey in Newsweek:

If I were a member of the Christian right, sitting on my front porch decrying the decadent morals of working American women, what would be most alarming about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena, what gives it its true edge of desperation, and end-of-the-world ambience, is that millions of otherwise intelligent women are willing to tolerate prose on this level. If you are willing to slog through sentences like “In spite of my poignant sadness, I laugh,” or “My world is crumbling around me into a sterile pile of ashes, all my hopes and dreams cruelly dashed,” you must really, really, want to get to the submissive sex scene.

Roiphe’s piece is clever, but flawed in its premise that feminism is at odds with the type of sex described in Fifty Shades. “It is perhaps inconvenient for feminism that the erotic imagination does not submit to politics,” Roiphe writes in one passage. “Nope!” counters Maya in a well-written rebuttal on Feministing. “Really don’t care! I don’t want the erotic imagination to submit to politics. That sounds horrible. I’d like to create a politics that affirms the full range of the erotic imagination, though.” Well-put.

[via Paul Komoda / Aaron Muszalski]