The images above, amazingly, are small oil paintings, created by the very talented Carly Waito. Carly is a Toronto based artist who paints these fantastic little paintings that so perfectly capture the essence of these natural gems and minerals. What’s inspiring to me is how perfect she gets them. The lighting pours through each gem, making them look entirely magical. Definitely visit her website and check out the rest of her pieces, they’re all equally as beautiful as the ones above.
Above is the most literal, architectural interpretation of crystals that I could find. It’s a theater, the Kinémax, at an amusement park in France that revolves around the future. The park, Futuroscope, opened nearly 25 years ago and the Kinémax has been an emblem of the park ever since. It’s kind of amazing. The theater, like most of the structures around the park, was designed by Denis Laming. “Denis Laming was only 34 years old when he submitted his design proposals for Futuroscope in early 1984.” He could not have known that he would spend much of his future in the park, adding new pavilions. Many are clever, but none of his pavilions after the Kinémax are as immaginative or surprising.
Manchester-based illustrator Rob Bailey has recently launched a new site and it’s filled with so many images of his beautifully crisp illustrations. His wonderfully clean and simple style is really refreshing to see, and I particularly like his series entitled Warriors, which is filled with Samurais, Vikings and Roman Legions.
Rob’s style is particularly great because of how he can create such powerful images with such a restricted use of shape and of color. His new portfolio has some really great pieces in it that I demand you head over there right now and go check it out!
Steven Briand, who was a recent intern over at Partizan, created this amazing stop-motion video called Protéigon in just two months. The short is pretty ambitious, animating paper in some pretty fantastic ways. When you think about it, this video is made up of nothing but paper, but when you add in the subtle motions of his arms and the lighting, it becomes something special. I totally want to make something in stop-motion right now.
One of the greatest ironies of today remains the modern addiction to news media while simultaneously cursing its existence. I think everyone is guilty of it. You either can’t stand the right, the left, the middle, and every talking head who says something you don’t like. Even if you can stop watching they won’t stop talking and you’re stuck, either with your head in the sand or mesmerized as to how things got that way. Ours is a world of media inundation, where popularity and high ratings lead to financial and social freedom. But not always.
Network is the story of Howard Beale, the first known instance of a man who was killed because he had lousy ratings.
Who is Howard Beale? The legendary, mythical television news anchor whose ratings are in the pits. As this classic from 1976 begins, Beale, played by Peter Finch, states he is going to kill himself live on television. In a week’s time, he ends up starting an evangelical movement of angry Americans and his ratings go up. The rallying cry is now infamous: “I’m mad as hell and I can’t take it anymore!” Initially repulsed by his promise of bloodshed, the parent company changes tune when the ratings skyrocket far beyond any news show, hell any television show. The network executives throw the bloodthirsty executive Diane Christensen (Faye Dunaway) at his producer (William Holden) to sustain the show as the highest rated on television. Beale leaks his sanity day by day, claiming America is “sick” and is corroded by television and money. Lamenting the moral ineptitude of the nation and its economy, Beale sighs, “All I know is, you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a human being, goddamn it. My life has value.'”
Much of the verve in Network is in its forceful, prodding dialog. Paddy Chayefsky’s script might be his finest achievement in his impressive career. Echoing the self-inflicted death of Christine Chubbuck, Chayefsky took that point and proverbially “rolled with it.” Network could have been about a disgruntled worker or a eulogy for the dying art of news reporting. Instead, Chayefsky turned a simple concept into a scathing critique of then-modern television and economics. He gently prophisized evangelical television. Diverted the fear of the Cold War into distrust of Big Oil Conglomerates. Revealed the false comfort of populism as a residual effect of commonality of capitalism. In short, it’s a masterful work to read, yet with so many heavy hitters in this film (Finch, Dunaway, Holden, and Robert Duvall) and a great director, the script feels effortless.
But the heavy-handed politicking of the film doesn’t. Network’s highest points seem to be the ones that strike the viewer’s moral well being. Ned Beatty, playing the owner of a megaconglomerate, delivers a monologue that sticks to the ribs. Hitting a larger issue of the global economy, his attempt to scare Howard Beale straight seems just as much an attempt by Chayefsky to speak directly to the viewer. The speech, which lasts about five minutes, marks the hopelessness of nationalism and populism in the face of commerce and the power of capitalism. Theory, books, studies all mean nothing in the great “corporate cosmology” that governs the world we live in. When Beale starts blubbering about being “totally unnecessary as human beings, and as replaceable as piston rods,” he couldn’t hit closer to home.
“You are television incarnate, Diana,” Holden tells Dunaway, “indifferent to suffering, insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality.” Under this prism, the rest of the film plays out as a bitter satire of not just the entertainment industry but those who consume it as well. There is no “right or wrong” coverage, just news that gets viewers and those that don’t. In this “dollars and sense” era, informing the populace to the truth is the last thing on the agenda. Misinformation and disinformation are the new soma, untouchable and essential all at once.
The film’s prophetic qualities are almost unmatched. I remember when Jurassic Park came out, every major media source jokingly talked about bringing back the dinosaurs. That wasn’t prophetic. That was rubbish. Network could have just been a commentary on television. Instead, with 35 years of age, it’s almost like looking at the painting of Dorian Gray. Holden ditches his relationship with his wife for a fling with a woman who can’t love him back. Finch parlays his anger into a career, gaining followers as mindless as those he indicts on a nightly basis. Faye Dunaway’s addiction to career opportunities overpowers her sexuality. Humanity is losing itself to profit margins and cheap thrills with nothing to show for it.
Inevitably, telling people what they already know and reminding them of the difficulties of their lives is the last thing they want to hear. And with that, I tip my hat to this film for doing it for me.
There’s something mesmerizing about this short video, Stillicide, by Eric Ko. Maybe it’s watching the drawings of houseparts floating around like they’re in soup, or the otherworldly sounds (by Alex Cook) floating in the background that make the video a delight. The only kind of story I could piece together from this video is that a someone dreams that both he and his house are falling into a kaleidoscope. The video was made by Ko for an intermediate animation class at RISD.
The track starts with a scratchy voice. It’s a voicemail. And it’s Q-Tip. Arguably hip hop’s greatest producer, J Dilla, had passed away in the past year. He wants Robert Glasper to play some J Dilla tracks. “Trio style.”
J Dillalude is exactly that – a four minute jazz exercise and tribute to one of the icons of hip hop. Houston born Robert Glasper, one of the marquee finds of legendary jazz label Blue Note, creates a quick medley of some of J Dilla’s most iconic beats. Glasper has a subtle style, sometimes criticized for being too palatable. Actually, that’s his greatest gift. By being able to blend R&B, hip hop, and post-bop era jazz, Glasper’s style may feel familiar but it is a romantic, nuanced take on modern piano playing.
There is a light touch to this medley. His rhythm players (Damion Reid on drums, Vicente Archer on bass) do a great job of augmenting and retaining the head-bobbing characteristics of hip hop. The trio churns through some of the most familiar pieces in the J Dilla catalog. Most recognizably, Common’s “Thelonius,” Slum Village’s “Fall in Love” (cooly rearranged into Bill Evans-esque phrasing), and De La Soul’s “Stakes Is High” make appearances. It’s a fitting tribute to not just Dilla himself but to the people who think jazz and hip hop are one and the same.
This track comes from In My Element, one of the best jazz releases this millenium. Cop it.
After a slew of beautiful entries, I’ve chosen my winner for the Romeo and Juliet Re-Covered Books contest – Christopher Porter. Chris is a designer from Falmouth, Cornwall who wanted to create something contemporary:
I’ve tried to go with a direction that would appeal to younger generations, the Irvine Welsh generation, the sort of people who are more than likely to judge a book by it’s cover.
I think he’s done exactly that. I like his cover for a few reasons – typography, color palette and choice of image. As with a lot of entries, typography, or the lack there of, tends to be a major problem. Chris uses only two typefaces, both of which are appropriately used. The script used for William Shakespeare is so damn beautiful and gives his name such life, it’s a perfect application.
As for the imagery, I love this old photo he found of a dead couple. What I find most interesting is that they aren’t perfect of beautiful, they’re real people. They might not be the correct age, but I think that’s ok. I’m sure we’ve all felt that yearning for true love at many stages in our lives, and this reflects that in some ways. I also love the addition of “Love Is Toxic”, which makes me think of Britney Spears, and I’m guessing others would as well. Overall this one felt the strongest, especially because he created a whole package to show the full idea. Well done Christopher!
Check back in the new year for our next contest, and if you have any suggestions for books you’d like to see, please put them in the comments.