I can’t say that I have ever found taxidermy terribly fashionable. The process is fascinatingly odd, but the end result is not necessarily something I would want lurking around the empty corners of your home. Trust Opening Ceremony to change my mind; their collaboration with legendary Parisian taxidermy boutique Deyrolle breathes life into the somewhat antiquated craft with their new collection. Bastien Lattanzio’s accompanying short film brilliantly showcases the clothes in the rustic setting of the shop, thereby juxtaposing the natural and botanical prints with the creatures that inspired them.
Featuring foxes, cats and beetles, the designs make up a small menagerie transposed to shirts, skirts and dresses. Now that is the kind of taxidermy I can live with.
Video games can be art and art can be video games, but rarely are either regarded as such. You don’t play a video game, enamored by its beauty. And, if you do, you are probably losing the gameplay. Video games are rarely written up in Artforum and art is rarely written up in IGN. The two worlds do not collide and do not seem to have a reason to, beyond the limits of the tangential video art world.
Limbo, an Xbox Live game released last summer, straddles this line. It is a video game, but it also is an incredibly deep artistic thought. The game plays simply enough, side-scrolling in 2D with only two “moves” (jump and push/pull) that you must discover for yourself. The game is “trial by death,” if you will. The story is simplistic and is not really explained: you play as a little boy who is just roaming through a dark, dangerous world searching for something. You deduce from the name that he is in a purgatory of sorts, which manifests itself as many different demons. There are many puzzles and “challenges,” but it being so simultaneously basic and difficult makes it a gamer’s delight: good gameplay, good story, good visuals–and nothing is ever explained.
In terms of artistry, the game–literally–feels like you are manipulating a melancholy, minimalist, monochromatic animated painting. It’s a dark cartoon-like version of a German Expressionist film. Created by Danish independent game studio Playdead, Limbo is the brainchild of Arnt Jensen, the game’s director. Through ups and downs over creative control, the group decided to ensure that the product was exactly how they wanted it–not Microsoft, not IO Interactive. The result is magnificent: a stoic, dark meditation on the search that befalls us in the afterlife. In this case, the search for answers and meaning underlines the ultimate goal in the game, which is stated in the tagline: “Uncertain of his sister’s fate, a boy enters Limbo.”
No one actually knows what limbo or purgatory or “the in-between” is like at all. But, if it is actually like this, then I guess we have a beautiful, puzzle filled, black/white/gray pre-heaven to look forward to.
My buddy Ben showed me this video by Time magazine with renowned futurist Ray Kurzweil, a guy who can tell you, reasonably, what the future’s going to look like. It’s not about flying cars and lasers, it’s about taking into account current technologies and the path these technologies have taken to get to where they are. In the vide above he talks about some of the advances we as humans will be making, like the ability to tell our bodies to stop storing fat, which is an age old survival technique that isn’t necessary for most people in most modern cities. I love hearing guys like this speak because it makes me excited about the future, though I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who find this stuff scary. Well, change is scary, but it’s inevitable.
The weather here in Los Angeles lately has been so amazingly beautiful, I feel like this new video by Todd Cole for Rodarte does a great job capturing the feeling of what it’s been like. Titled The Curve of Forgotten Things, the short film features Elle Fanning, the younger sister of Dakota Fanning, and in my opinion, a huge up-and-coming actress who will be making waves in the very near future. You may have seen her in Somewhere, Sofia Coppola’s most recent and you’ll be seeing her in Super 8 over the summer, J.J. Abrams next directorial endeavor.
Director Todd Cole has Elle Fanning traipsing around the hills of Baldwin Hills, which is about 20 to 30 minutes south of Beverly Hills. I like that the film is really simple and does a great job of making the beautiful dresses by Rodarte shine. If you’re not familiar with Rodarte they’re a pair of sisters, Kate and Laura Mulleavy, who’s work you might have seen in Darren Aranofsky’s Black Swan. Rounding out this immensely talented group is the band Deerhunter, who made the music for the short. A ton of talented people coming together to make something beautiful.
Yesterday, Danica posted a lovely videoDe Vivre le Langue about the joys of discovery made when traveling or studying abroad. It reminded me of the video above Cliché: France seen from abroad made by French animator Cédric Villain. Villain pokes fun at the stereotypes associated with France using humor and a vintage animation style. From “rendezvous in a cul-de-sac” to French fries, French maids, and the French Riviera- the video treks across obvious territory before poking fun at its own leaders gaffes and the number exiled former dictators that have lived there. Villain does not offer tours of France, but he does offer a brief “making of” video about his Cliché animation here.