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I was listening to a speaker recently who mentioned that we live in a world which offers unlimited information but that extra information doesn’t afforded us any extra meaning.
His pitch was that there is a breadth of experience to be had at our fingertips and that’s the problem – it’s only at your fingertips. It doesn’t have any depth. It’s a puddle we run through on the way to another puddle rather than an ocean that we can immerse ourselves in.
We used to read books then we started reading the Cliff notes on a book. Now if something is over 140 characters or 2 minutes in length then we can’t be bothered because we’re convinced that there’s something else amazing around the corner waiting to capture our attention (and there usually is).
There’s something to his idea. I find myself craving focus, meaning, a through line for everything I see in a day. I see a lot of stuff but I don’t walk around thinking I know very much.
But maybe that’s just old hat too. Maybe meaning hasn’t been lost. Maybe, like information, meaning is just changing. How things come to mean anything is evolving.
This video skips across a lake of experience and images, touching down just long enough for a glimpse but it creates a great story and… well… it meant something to me.
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Things are a lot more interesting when you slow down.
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I never made it to New York city in time to see the twin towers.
I don’t regret that.
I could only see one purpose in visiting the building: to tick it off a list of buildings that I was supposed to visit (according to the emphatic 48 point bold opinion of a glossy tourist brochure).
Never been big on lists. Especially when they’re glossy.
While I do have a soft spot for architecture (I have a major cliché crush on the Chrysler building for example), the Trade Center, in my mind, didn’t have much character – just epic size – which doesn’t really mean much on its own. You really need some dude to tight rope walk stuff before it gets real.here)
Anyway, when I arrived in NYC for the first time the glossy brochures were freshly edited – WTC was off the list, GROUND ZERO was at the top.
It wasn’t because of the brochures. I just had this weird sense of duty about it. The same duty I feel about visiting the grave of the unknown soldier. People die. Someone should bear witness to their passing. They should be honored for a moment. Even by strangers.
Especially by strangers.
I don’t know why I’m wired to think that way. Sometimes I think grief is the thing that makes humans most human. Sometimes I think if we felt more of a connection to people then we’d be less inclined to destroy.
Sometimes I think I just need to get out more.
Anyway, I arrived after ground zero was cleaned up but before there was any kind of monument (I’m guessing because bureaucracy was tasked with the burden of helping the public express grief which is hard for bureaucracy – it isn’t really in touch with its emotions).
Stepping between clusters of browning flowers and portraits of screaming eagles going down in flames, I discovered that ground zero is one of the most mystifying places on the earth.
Here are some reviews via TripAdvisor (where ground zero is ranked #249 out of #1385 attractions in NYC): “Nothing to see.”, “It’s more to say you went…”, “Not a tourist attraction.”
That’s the thing about Ground Zero.
Yes, the site has deep political, personal, global and religious implications. I don’t want to diminish the fact that thousands died. All I’m saying is that, purely aesthetically speaking – it’s a an absence.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of tourists travel hundreds of thousands of miles to flock and shove – just to visit an absence.
I like that. Not just the irony. The simplicity. There’s something beautiful in nothing. Something complete.
We all come from nothing. We’ll all return to nothing.
Discovered these oddities a while back but haven’t shared them on this blog so here we go:
Sometimes art and science run parallel and never meet. Sometimes they run in opposite directions screaming at each other as they go. But sometimes they meet at a glorious crossroads and create an amazing convergence.
Usually that point is located around porn.
To explain, a while back a Belgian artist, Wim Delvoye, started messing around with x-ray images in his work like this:
Cool, jarring. Intriguing.
And then he started messing around with x-rays of people kissing, licking and fellating each other.
I know. I mentioned fellatio, where’s the fellatio?. The rest of the pics can be seen courtesy of Joseph Brett’s blog here.
All of this coolness was sent to me via @BenjaminAyres so, of course I had to try and one up him with my internet skills (yes, this, as you suspect, is what I look like – though I recently quit smoking):
Anyway, my Google-fu was in fine form and I discovered footage of a scientist who captures two people having sex in an MRI machine. Video is below (be patient, the sexin’ begins at 1:30, perv)
Ah, art and science, united once again by porn.
I’ve been trying to figure out why people do these. It doesn’t get you anything in the way of production value. Granted, getting all your shit together enough to actually nail something in one take is totally impressive…
Ah. So maybe they do it for the bragging rights.
Having worked in film/t.v. for a while, I find it hard to believe that undertaking such a giant pain in the ass like this is worth the ego sauce (except, of course, when Robert Carlyle makes it look like a walk in the park to shoot – see below).
Writing about one takes I feel bound to mention Russian Ark . There, I did it.
Ok, ok. Russian Ark did a one take for a whole movie.
I remember it well. They called it a, “milestone of cinema”. I was chuffed to see it. You know, develop my cinematic tastes and see just how high my brow could stretch.
Despite my earnest desire to love the movie, it made me more drowsy than a fistful of Butterball washed down with an udder of milk (not to mention I’ve never seen so many extras staring directly into a camera lens in my life).
I digress. The one-taker-makers are on a quest for awesome. Let’s see how they’re doing (our example scenes are arranged go from worst to best so make sure and check out the bottom of this post before you get back to your “life”):
First, a spot from a drink manufacturer in the U.K. It earns bonus points for a massive cliff-side, Braveheartesque ending, but suffers deductions for xenophobia in the wanna-be-witty dialogue:
Contender #2. Less flash in this one but bonus points for class and advertising Scotch (yes, admittedly I have a bias). This is the tale of Johnny Walker as told by Robert Carlyle (you’ll probably know him as Francis Begbie from “Trainspotting”):
It’s super fun and, as a mandatory bonus point is awarded for each ass kicked, it ranked pretty high:
Our last entry comes courtesy a 172 students at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). It’s wins for a few reasons:
1) It’s a lip dub which is hard as hell to pull of with 1 person let alone 172 – not to mention they coordinated it to work in one take.
2) This one isn’t about pulling off a stunt to inflate egos or sell stuff – it’s about pulling together a legion of like-minded people to bring you some awesome to your Tuesday.
Sources: First two are from Neatorama, third is from my adolescent fixation on martial arts flicks and the last comes via my buddy, Dwayne Hill.
Found this amazing clip on flickr where someone had outfit an Armadillo with a camera and taped P.O.V. footage of it trucking around doing its armadillo thing (video’s below).
I discovered that this is just one of a dozens films created by Sam Easterson (he’s taped sheep, buffalo, falcons, tarantulas, alligators).
1st up is a video explaining the project. The animal videos follow below (the Gos Hawk vid is amazing)
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Similar BBC footage of a falcon and gos hawk:
Skipping along tangents today. This post relates to an earlier one re: Spike Jonze.
This trippy, slo-mo skating vid was up on Youtube a while back but got yanked but it’s back up on vimeo.
Track is “Heaven” remis by Unkle.
Give it a little time to build. It’s got some amazing stuff (I recommend watching it full screen with HD goodness):Vodpod videos no longer available.
It’s everywhere. The planet has 326 million trillion gallons of the stuff. If we shared it equally among all the people living on this world right now then each person would get over 46 billion gallons.
Each person who is, of course, composed of 55% – 78% of water.
Could anything be less remarkable?
Yeah, yeah, it’s pretty but who cares?
I’m guessing you in about three minutes.
A preeminent water photographer (yes, there is more than one), Martin Waugh, shows a wealth of absolutely incredible material in this clip – including a rare double water drop. What’s that?
Check it out:
“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”
~ LORAN EISELY, The Immense Journey, 1957
Yeah, it’s an ad. It’s also a quarter million superballs so I’m calling this a win.
This videos a couple years old but it never ceases to bring me joy. Do yourself a favour – cick on the HD/HQ button on the bottom right and watch this in full screen.
The song is Heartbeats, written by Swedish duo “The Knife” and performed by José González.
Making of video here (worth it just for the sound of the balls… Huh, now that’s a phrase I never foresaw myself stringing together.)
Another ad they did. Not quite as awesome in my opinion but very cool. Bellagio fountains meet paint in Scottish housing complex:
Then they turned their attentions to Egypt and the Pyramids:
Then India for dominos:
Their latest ad was a bit of a departure as they refocused their ad campaign focus from color to movement:
I’m not big on predictions – given that the only constant in the universe is change, they seem pretty useless.
Plus it always seems that predictions are composed with the subconscious hope that you can one day say, “I told you so.”
Anyway, I realized that I’ve been walking around with this prediction in my gut. I think the sense of taste in the world is about to get a lot more subtle.
After decades of information-exploding-celebrity-pornography-globalism-super-saturated-extra-everything… people need a break. Kinda like having a glass of milk after too much cake.
People are going to rebel. Chuck all the over done, glittler culture. Start looking for the unique in the unnoticed. The amazing in the boring. The beautiful in the unremarkable.
And what could be more unremarkable than passing a stranger on the street?
That’s the literal and figurative heart of this post. A blog called, “I Heart Strangers”.
Started by Joshua Langlais, the photo blog began with simple challenge – go out everyday a take one photograph of a stranger.
One of my favorite things to photograph is people. My favorite moment is when they realize that they are being photographed. Their reactions are always magic to me. Some immediately start mugging for the camera, some adjust thier hair or clothes quickly, some scowl, some smile, some tell me to fuck off.
I love these photos for the reactions. Just people being people, making a choice in a moment that is so split second, so unconscious that it has to hold some real truth about who they are. To echo a quote from Josh’s blog, “i am constantly surprised by what comes from making a single choice.”
What I love about Josh’s photos isn’t related to aesthetics or technique or style – what I love is the people. Open, warm, a hint of self-conscious. Most seem to be saying, “Me? You really want to take a picture of me?”
I wonder what Josh said to them because, for one shutter snap, these people gave themselves permission to be themselves and be beautiful. No small feat.
All the photos below are from Josh’s blog which is here
“saul was walking down the sidewalk in no hurry. as he got closer, i realized he was extraordinary.”
“when i was done photographing, elisabeth asked me what made me think of doing this project. i answered quickly, “a mild depression”, and i guess that is just about it. in september i was feeling pretty miserable. she asked if i was feeling better, and i said that i was.”