Objectified.

The documentary film “Helvetica” by Gary Hustwit was really fun to watch and insightful, I mean someone makes the decision at one point deciding what font goes on a street sign and then we easily take that decision for granted as it becomes part of the audiovisual wallpaper of our environment. It was really intriguing to hear from some of the inventors of these fonts, clear legible fonts, to zany and beautiful fonts, and how important the design and visual harmony is to them.

Well here comes “Objectified,” about industrial design and all of those things in our environment that we use, where they come from and why they look and feel like they do. Mr. Hustwit is intrigued by these objects and how they effect us. It is still in production and is set for an early 2009 release.

However, if you are interested in toasters only you could just go to the Toaster Museum instead and deliberate over if the Prometheus or the Westinghouse is better.

Lumen Eclipse.

There is an outdoor venue for motion graphics in Harvard Square.  And there are eight short films displayed each month! Julien Vallee has created a short piece that I especially love (great editing, stop motion animation and sound design!)

“The project exists in three spaces:  Outdoors: on a pair of large outdoor video screens.  The screens incite public interaction with motion-based art by bringing artwork to the street, outside the confines of the gallery walls.  Online: as an artistic and informational community, LumenEclipse.com showcases artwork, interviews, news and events so viewers may learn about the art and artists represented.  Screenings: intimate monthly screenings at local venues facilitate conversation between art, artists and audiences.”

Le:60, a motion graphics/ film festival where the top films from each category will be played in the venue, is on September 27th.  The submission deadline is August 15th.

It’s a fantastic opportunity for exposure.

Radiohead, “House of Cards Video.”

Talk about creativity and innovative ways of expressing the inner scape of imagination.

“Radiohead’s new video for “House of Cards” off In Rainbows was shot without cameras and instead used a “Geometrics Informatics Scanning System” that uses structured light to capture the 3D images. The Velodyne Lidar system used 64 lasers spun at 900 revolutions per minute to capture the large environments, actors and Thom York all in 3D.”

In depth by Promo News.  Make your own version.

Oh!  …And a making of.

These guys aren’t afraid of hard work and taking risks for artistic experimentation.

Annecy 2008, Kunio Kato

The 32nd International Animation Film Festival in Annecy this year celebrated two anniversaries: The centenary of France’s first animated film (Emile Cohl’s Fantasmagorie) and the 10th annual edition of the festival, which has run since 1960. The International Federation of Film Critics reports on the Annecy Festival.

The 2008 Annecy Cristal for Short Films has been given to Kunio Kato of Japan with “La Maison en Petits Cubes.”  The story is described: “It is difficult to keep the house made of blocks out of the water. The grandfather who has lived in it has been constantly adding to it as the water level rises. This is the story about his family memories.”

from kunio kato's official web page

I couldn’t find any clips of the actual short film but found some of his animation style in, “The Diary of Tortov Roddle.”  It is a lovely work of imagination. I found the story and animation style almost surreal and the silence of the work, no spoken words, adds to the ephemeral quality of the story.

Misty Mountains

The forest was hushed and the trees and flowers were drenched with dew. An early morning photo of the Hyalite Reservoir caught the cool air and the stillness of the world just waking as the sun came over the ridge. To me it seems as though a chalice was tipped and is now left on its side as peaceful dreams were poured all of the night onto those sleeping in the world.

Waking Forest.

Filling Dreams.

Truest stories of the broken heartist.

The poetic tales of Paige Rasmussen and Nat Kendall join forces with a folk rock, hip hop, neo soul, beat machined, steel stringed orchestra to expose the spectrum of heartache to healing.  For salty eyed lovers and the broken heartist alike, Songbird Sing’s beat crushed doctrine plays out a struggling education in love’s ever-ebbing tides with richly balanced harmonies, emceeing that staggers from poppy to ghostly, sateen vocal hooks and stripped down but clever production.  Songbird Sing presents a truth in work with sounds drawn of drum machines, acoustic guitars, piano, wood floors, 0’s and 1’s, hand claps and bus lines.  This whimsical musical bares it all through the eyes of the abstract emcee, Nat Kendall, and the luscious vocals of Vegas songstress, Paige Rasmussen.

I have been looking forward to hearing the latest from the duo.  Nat granted me a little time to ask him some questions about the album and he and Paige’s work together, it will lift you up, read on in Nat’s words.

First off, what’s the title of this new album we’ve been waiting to hear?

The album is titled Songbird Sing and is released under the ‘nat kendall presents:’ series, similar to the Lovers and Ghosts album in ’06.  The series is a concept to continuously collaborate with new artists that don’t typify the hip-hop genre and thus help me break out of the confines of one style.

Is there a story behind that title?

‘Songbird Sing,’ there is a visual that comes to mind.  It’s a little boy with a branch/stick staring at a birdcage.  Inside sits a bird just staring back inquisitively.  The title tries to capture expectations, as well as wants, from something that knows not what is desired of it, it’s almost a somber command of sorts, a plead for a melodious tone once known.

I’ve seen you expressing some musical soul prolifically.  What keeps you going, where does all of that inspiration and focus come from?

I’m not sure what keeps me going to be honest and I’m really struggling with that at this point.  I’ve been asking myself that same question after spending 2 years on this project with absolutely no expectations or thoughts on outcome.  What made me do it?  I know I won’t stop so why will I continue doing it?  It has depleted me financially, my time, my energy and I have absolutely no expectations for the success of the album.  So, why do I continue doing this? These questions have been reassuring that I started with the right
intentions and will finish with the right intentions.  I make music because I have to.  There is something in me, not success, money, fame or anything similar, that pushes me on.  I just have to create it because I need to get it out of me.  The focus comes from a state of Zen that says, just do.  I can’t seem to stop and it scares me at times.

The specific inspiration for Songbird Sing is love.  Yes, love… in all it’s facets.  It’s a flight through all of the emotions I’ve experienced in the last couple years of my life with no specific ending and no start… just like love itself, which should be an open ended feeling and learning process.  Some songs are very explicit, maybe too specific, while others teeter on abstraction, but all revolve around the “L” word.

I’ve listened to some of the work you have created and produced with Eight Track Mind and the song I found on URB seems to be taking a different direction.  What sparked the new sounds?

What I’ve done with Eightrack Mind is a whole different beast.  That project is driven by 8 people who all need to contribute to the songwriting process.  It’s a challenge to get a unified direction from that scenario.  Taking a break from that and collaborating with just one other person has given me so much more freedom to do what I want musically and thematically.  And again, collaborating with Cy Ducharme on Lovers and Ghosts, or Paige Rasmussen on Songbird Sing has encouraged me to go in new directions.  Songbird Sing is a complete departure and being the only producer behind it gave me freedom to really push some musical boundaries for myself.  I’ve been intrigued by the electronica lately and really wanted to fuse that into the hip hop.  Paige brings such a soulful voice in and I tried writing the album with a much more folkish approach.  It was all written on an acoustic guitar and then we electrified it in unique ways to get this
weird, neo-folk, neo-soul, hip-hop, elctronica sound that I think really sets it apart.

You can find a little preview of the new sounds at URB.  Drop them a line, give them some stars, send them some love. You can also check them out on myspace at:  Songbirdsings.  The album flies out on August 5th.

Friday at the Rhizome.

I have been visiting Rhizome, an archive of the ephemeral pieces of art that appear on the web since 1999.  I mean how many things on the internet are to a casual observer deemed a nothing?  For instance, This is Sand. Or Moving Toward the Inevitable.  However the intricacy and thought that went into making a seemingly simple visual is astounding.  When Sound Freezes Over.

The Artbase used to be open all of the time, but as the cost of space and time increases with an ever expanding collection, Rhizome had to start charging for a membership, $25 a year, a small price to pay to have a record of technologies people have come up with, concepted, even if there is no use for them, yet.

There are many new things invented every day, every hour and with the sheer volume what if something valuable is missed, passed over and then dissappears from the internet.  Like TheOtherEnd.  It can only be found here at the Artbase now. It used to be fun to log on in say Bozeman, have your friend log on in perhaps Sri Lanka, and by pressing the space bar a little red light would light up on your friends monitor in Sri Lanka, and vice versa.  Useless, perhaps, but it predated chat services and implemented new technology.

Buddah’s Caves

Tourism, experiencing a pseudo event… so how tragic is it to take a story almost tangible, yet out of the context of time, even farther away from the audience? A story of the fifth century Northern Wei Buddhas.

There are caves, caves carved out of a cliffside known as Mogaoku – ‘peerless caves.’ The first on record to be in A.D. 366 by an itinerant monk named Yuezun who said that one night he saw flamelike lights pulsing across the cliff face and took it as a sign to stay.  So he cut a hole into the sandstone wall and moved in to think and experience.

The caves are near the Silk Road, a couple miles outside of what was once a cosmopolitan town, Dunhuang, where people would stop and stay on their travels between China and India.  Buddhas traveled too going from India into China and beyond.

As a Buddha one would know that the material world is a phantom or a dream, “a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp,” as the Buddha puts it in the Diamond Sutra, “Sutra of the Perfection of Wisdom of the Diamond that Cuts Through Illusion.”  And the landscape on the cusp of the Ghobi Desert would do just that… show us proof that it’s all elemental and as the art is built of sand will just as readily turn back into the wind blown sand rushing over the desert floor.

To many the story that is preserved by these caves is important enough to try and preserve the elaborate rooms and art made by the hands of Buddhas who passed through.  As reported by the New York Times the caves have been thrown open to visitors in recent decades and the site has been swamped by tourists in the past few years. The caves now suffer from high levels of carbon dioxide and humidity, which are severely undermining conservation efforts. The short-term solution has been to limit the number of caves that can be visited and to admit people only on timed tours, but the deterioration continues.

Plans are under way to recast the entire Dunhuang experience in a way that will both intensify and distance it. Digital technology will give visitors a kind of total immersion encounter with the caves impossible before now, but that immersion will take place 15 miles from the site (Holland Cotter, New York Times.)

So the question remains, will the story, the way, be obscured by such a separation of place?  The time and context is already obscured to any tourist, so is it worth trying to stop time, wind and sand from taking back what was a simple changing element to begin with? Either way I suppose contradictions pile up, and unending change continues.

Motion

I have been busy making phone calls, scheduling a shoot that will happen 1667 and then 1767 miles away.  So I haven’t been here for a bit.  And although I am working as a production manager now, my passion still is with art, creative, design and of course motion.

There are a couple of designers/ artists who through sheer creative impulse put out a large body of work, probably by staying up half of the night, inspire me to keep with the meditation and create output (as designiscasual calls it).  Some are already discovered, some are on their way to being discovered.  I will be posting a lot about work that I find inspiring.

One, ANOVA, is a Danish designer, who I found on a blog called Heavy Backpack and saw some time ago on The FWA after his site overhaul.  Anyhow, there is an interview with ANOVA on the Muse website.  He has been using all this software we have found to express his ideas and styles for himself and an impressive roster of clients.  It takes so much hard work to get noticed, he must have spent a lot of alone time at the face of a computer.

It’s obviously worth it.