July 27, 2010

Backlog

…a.k.a. link dump / linkage /clickage from the past month; more to come…
inplanesight-bushwick-via-gothamist

  • Very Bushwick and very fabulous (NYT)
  • You know how we do in Brooklyn (Inc.)
  • Pitchfork is Times-worthy.
  • I managed to avoid reading any commentary on Inception until I actually saw it for myself yetserday, though at this point, I cannot possibly hope to catch up with all of the bandwidth that has been spilled (not to mention plot spoiled)—in theory and in practice, for example—over Nolan’s polarizing masterpiece. Also: A.O. Scott on film criticism in the digital age in theory and in practice; Dileep Rao (who plays Yusef) gives us the straight dope; Jonah Lehrer speculates on the neuroscience behind the film. Plus, Jonah Lehrer on LSD (in a manner of speaking)
  • Am I guilty of “a breezy writing style”? (The Economist; related: China’s microblog macro-crackdown)
  • Amid all the talk of his new book Imperial Bedrooms, Bret Easton Ellis also finds time to reflect on American Psycho (The Guardian)
  • Sasha Frere-Jones endorses music in cloud form (The New Yorker)
  • Tom Vanderbilt included a link to Dave Horton’s unabashedly self-righteous five-part essay on the fear of cycling in his own musings on bicycle highways for Slate. Definitely required reading for anyone who chooses to bike for transportation (as opposed to simply for leisure), with the caveat that it feels a bit too much like justification for my sense of entitlement that I feel when I tell pedestrians to get out of the bike lane. Still, the car culture of the US is easily worse than that of the UK (where Horton’s expertise lies; at least London has congestion pricing) and the essay actually affirmed my fear that cycling still has a long way to go.

04deitch4-popup

pulpo_paul-via-salon

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July 16, 2010

Guerilla vs Guetta

I finally got around to seeing Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop at Brooklyn Heights Cinema today. Of course, I went into the theater expecting to enjoy the film and it fulfilled itself: the pseudo-doc was thoroughly entertaining indeed, in keeping with Banksy’s ever-contrarian perspective on contemporary art. My only criticism is that Guetta is a little too perfect a foil for Banksy and the plot, in turn, is a little too perfectly ironic.

Conversely, I just watched Sebastian Peiter’s Guerilla Art documentary, available in full on Babelgum, which forgoes the knowingness for the straight dope… including interviews with the late Rammellzee.

rammellzee-500x645-via-twbe

His name was derived from RAM, plus M for magnitude, Sigma (Σ), the first summation operator, L for longitude, L for latitude, Z for z-bar, plus a couple more summation operators (Σ) for good luck.

–Daryoush Hah-Nahafi, Rammellzee Fashion, Viceland Today, July 7 2010

More obits at NYT / The Guardian, among other places.

via inqmnd

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Also, a production worthy of Nowness:

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Related: Invader Walk

via Animal

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April 14, 2010

The Art of the Streets, Pt. II

“You’re talking to a madman… Art for me is everywhere.” –Thierry Guetta

Too much, too much—

http://arrestedmotion.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/p1070053.jpg

Full coverage & photos at Arrested Motion

Exit Through the Gift Shop premiere in L.A. I missed it in NYC… guess I’ll have to throw down $12.50 to see it at the Sunshine. (AM)

NYT’s review speculates about some kind of deeper meaning; NYMag’s interview with the Thierry Guetta aka Mr. Brainwash yields no answers whatsoever. UPDATE: Jon Reiss reviews Exit for HuffPo; GOOD has another bizarre interview with the filmmaker.

(Meta Alert) A sneak preview into the sequel, Exit Through the Garage Door. (SlamxHype)

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os-gemeos-ilovegraffiti

I Love Graffiti has a decent, if somewhat lengthy, interview with Os Gêmeos; worth checking out the photos for sure. (TBWE)

os-gemeos-mural-at-bowery-houston

OGs doin' work last summer...

Apparently, the Brazilian twins’ awesome mural at Houston and Bowery is no longer: Animal reports that Deitch Projects has buffed it to furnish a blank slate for Shepard Fairey.

http://animalnewyork.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Houston_Street_wall_buffed.jpg

Os Gêmeos were also featured on an episode of W+K’s D.I.Y. America:

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UPDATE (4/15): Blek Le Rat studio teaser. (Wooster Collective)

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boogie-trueslant

A nice interview with Serbian photographer Boogie. (True Slant)
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March 28, 2010

Skhizein

A friend recently introduced me to this incredible short by Jérémy Clapin. Definitely worth 13 minutes of your time.

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March 25, 2010

An Entire Life Behind Things

Plastic Bag” is a short film by Ramin Bahrani, narrated by Werner Herzog, one of 11 short films produced for FUTURESTATES, a critical examination of “What will become of America in five, 25, or even 50 years from today?”

I have yet to see the other ten films, but some thoughts on “Plastic Bag”:

1. American Beauty reference duly noted: remember how that kid in American Beauty said that the plastic bag was the most beautiful thing he’d ever filmed? Bahrani destroys him artistically… completely, utterly, shamelessly destroys poor Ricky, thanks largely to Herzog’s narration. (Unfortunately, I could only find the Family Guy clip in Italian.)

2. The Plastic Beach / Garbage Island allusions are nicely folded into the plot.

3. “Where was I going? Who Was I?” = Gauguin reference? Probably not, but who knows?

4. I found “Plastic Bag” unique in that I was simultaneously able to suspend my disbelief and not believe a word of it. I guess Werner Herzog’s voice strikes me as very anthropomorphic.

5. I can only hope that the script is a close approximation, short of verbatim, of what Werner Herzog is thinking all the fucking time.

6. The film has a particular resonance for me because I’m all about reusable bags; I try not to use plastic bags at all, if I can help it.

7. It’s kind of intense, if you let it be. Then again, it’s just the intoxicating effects of Herzog’s goddamn voice, the apotheosis of the mellifluous matter-of-factness of German inflection…

via Kottke

Bonus pic:

I Lego NY by Christoph Niemann for the New York Times

I Lego NY by Christoph Niemann for the New York Times

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March 13, 2010

Psychic City

» Modest Mouse – Tiny Cities Made of Ashes (3:42) – 4.3MB mp3 @ 160kbps

Director & VFX artist Sam O’Hare has just completed a short film using time-lapse tilt-shift technology to create the illusion of a miniature New York City. The Sandpit is really quite amazing—I recommend viewing it in fullscreen HD.

I’m not quite clear on how the film was created, even after reading this brief interview on how the film was created, but, as with so many other Internet rabbitholes, Kottke simultaneously introduced me to Koyaanisqatsi, a landmark 1982 art film by Godfrey Reggio and Ron Fricke with an original score by Philip Glass (viewable in full on Hulu), as an obvious reference point for O’Hare.

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Meanwhile, an unidentified student at Kyoto University of Art & Design has transformed several home appliances into tiny cities.

Spoon & Tamago via Swiss Miss

kyotouad

8-Bit NYC is perhaps the polar opposite of the beautiful works of video and sculpture above, but it’s pleasantly diverting nonetheless.

8bitnycs

What the hell, I love this song: YACHT – Psychic City (5:09) – 9.8MB mp3 @ 262kbps

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March 3, 2010

Aanteni (2010: A Space Odyssey)

*UPDATE: Embeddable version (via Creativity Online) embedded below.

aanteni1

Like the rest of the blogosphere, I posted about OK Go’s latest viral effort “This Too Shall Pass” yesterday. I also posted a link to Nicholas Carr’s infamous essay on Google, which is bookended by a 2001 reference. Well, for a completely different take on what you can do with an empty warehouse in LA / an allusion to Kubrick’s Space Odyssey, Rodarte and Todd Cole present Aanteni.

Guinevere van Seenus stars in Aanteni, a high-fashion techno-thriller from CFDA award-winning design sisters Rodarte, shot by their friend and frequent collaborator, the photographer and video artist Todd Cole. Set in the deserted grounds of Paypal founder Elon Musk’s Space X jet lab in Hawthorne, California, the film was inspired by the pioneering spirit of the space race, which, according to Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy, “has defined generations of artists in their desire to use new mediums and question the established rules they were taught to follow.” This cinematic collision between rocket science and visual daring is an apt match for Rodarte’s spring 2010 collection—a symphony of flesh-colored crochet knits, fluorescent fibres, leather bandages and distressed plaid.

aanteni2

I enjoyed Ryan McGinley & Tilda Swinton for Pringle of Scotland, Yang Fudong for Prada, and Lifetime Collective but, to be perfectly frank, I think Aanteni is just a bit too over-the-top. Maybe it’s just me, but I found the imagery captivating yet nauseatingly arty at times, while the film itself simply lacked a compelling narrative—honestly, I watched it mostly for No Age’s original soundtrack, which sounded like No Age playing incidental music for an art film. In sum: it’s more style than substance, and it shows.

But don’t let me deter you: Todd Cole for Rodarte – Aanteni / 2010: A Space Odyssey (NSFW)

Nowness also has a brief artist statement by Todd Cole.

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February 27, 2010

Still vs Moving

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February 25, 2010

The Lost Art of Inglourious Basterds

» Mr. Oizo – Nazis (Justice Remix) (3:50) – 7.3MB mp3 @ 262kbps

Munk One

Munk One

The recent Upper Playground × Inglourious Basterds poster collaboration inspired me to finally watch Quentin Tarantino’s latest masterpiece (six months late is forever sooner than never).

All images via Arrested Motion (full-size images available, since my web-optimized crops don’t do the artwork justice).

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L: David Choe; R: Estevan Oriol

Like most of my postmodern peers, I’m predisposed to like anything that Quentin Tarantino has a hand in (I actually genuinely like Jackie Brown) and it was largely a foregone conclusion that I would enjoy his fifth feature-length film. Even so, I would say that Basterds is somewhat unique, not just as Tarantino’s take on a war flick—homage-y, genre-agnostic and immanently quotable—but even within his oeuvre: the film relies heavily on the absolute moral compass dictated by historical hindsight, operating within a framework of unambiguous good guys and bad guys. This isn’t the clusterfuck of Reservoir Dogs or, say, Vietnam: the eponymous team of Americans is fighting goddamn Nazis, a.k.a. evil in its purest form.

NB: Spoilers ahead.

L: Alex Pardee; R: Rene Almanza

L: Alex Pardee; R: Rene Almanza

With history on his side, Tarantino can afford to instill the Basterds with a measured, weirdly heroic, sadism: the American boys sent to terrorize enemy forces in Nazi-occupied France can do no wrong. Scalping, clubbing, scarring, it’s all good—it’s nothing compared to the horrors of the Holocaust.

Nevertheless, Basterds is relatively tame for the auteur who made his name by transcending senseless violence by depicting it for what it is: nasty, brutish and short. Seasoned film viewers have certainly seen worse.

But Tarantino is (and arguably never was) going for shock value, and graphic violence is but one of his calling cards: he’s at his best when he’s spins tension out of talk, typically between arch-enemies (knowing or otherwise), over milk, strudel, whiskey or fashionable pumps (T has always had a bit of a foot fetish). Tarantino further demonstrates his mastery of dialogue with the clever but unforced play on language: if English is the lingua franca, America is the punchline—cheap shots, perhaps, but all in good fun.

L: Sam Flores; R: Grotexk

L: Sam Flores; R: Grotesk

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February 2, 2010

Yang Fudong – First Spring

or, A New Direction in China’s Visual Communications

Once again, Designboom seems to have tapped into my subconscious, enriching my recent firsthand exposure to images created by Chinese artists.

Still from First Spring, 2009

Still from First Spring, 2009

Yang Fudong is today’s topic. I recently came across his work as a “new direction in Prada’s visual communications”: his latest work is a short film for the luxury brand (full video at the end of the post), which was picked up by Hypebeast, among other blogs. I watched it and didn’t give it a second thought.

Yang Fudong - Dawn Mist, Separation Faith, 2009, via UCCA

Dawn Mist, Separation Faith, 2009

It wasn’t until I chanced upon his name in Designboom later that day that I realized that I had seen his work before, at UCCA’s “Breaking Forecast” exhibition (which runs through the end of February). Unfortunately, I somehow managed to miss the film ‘Dawn Mist, Separation Faith,’ a new full-length film that was screening at the UCCA.

Yang Fudong - Ms Huang at M Last Night #2, 2006, via Designboom

Ms. Huang at M Last Night #2, 2006

In any case, the show included a couple of photos from his 2006 series ‘Ms. Huang at M Last Night,’ which suggest a mute narrative that is probably less intriguing than the stylistic content/composition implied by the noirish glamour of the stills.

Yang Fudong - Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest, Part I, 2003, via Shanghart

Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest, Part I, 2003

Seven Intellectuals in a Bamboo Forest‘ is a five-part video piece that apparently found an audience at the 2007 Venice Biennale. I don’t really know enough about film or photography to legitimately critique his work, so I’ll just say that it looks pretty good to me.

http://www.designboom.com/cms/images/andrea04/yang04.jpg

Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest, Part V, 2007

Which brings us to Yang Fudong’s latest film, ‘First Spring,’ a period piece set in Shanghai during what the West knows as the Interbellum Period.
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