For the past couple months I’ve been working on changing Kitsune Noir into something new, something better. If you’ve read the blog for long you probably realize that I have a tendency to change the design when I get bored. Well, that’s not what this is. I decided to change the name of the blog to The Fox Is Black for a number of reasons.
First is that it’s about a million times easier for people to remember. I think about 4 people in the world knew how to pronounce Kitsune Noir. Second is that annoying French record label who puts out crappy mixtapes and threatens to sue me all the time. This now allows me to break free so people don’t confuse what I’m doing with those dudes. So now I’m free to start my own record label without people getting up in my grill. Third reason, I wanted a fresh start with some new ideas and a new design for the site.
Speaking of, how much better is this design than that last one? Man, that last look and feel sucked. I’m extremely happy with how the site looks now and I hope you agree. There’s a lot of elements from older versions of the site and a lot of new ideas as well. As a warning I want to say that there are still some bugs and odd things, so please bear with me as I’m cleaning the site up. If you see anything crazy and not obvious than please leave it in the comments, which are also back and cleaned up as well.
There’s a lot of exciting things coming up in the next couple weeks like a brand new Desktop Wallpaper Project which launches on Wednesday and some other goodies as well. Thank you all for your feedback and positivity and passion for this site, Alex, Danica and myself really appreciate it.
It’s tempting to use this video as an excuse to talk about Lisa Nowak* but the video is so great, that I don’t want to distract you with the International Space Station’s version of Tonya Harding. The music video above is for the song Kisses from the band Kisses, made up of Jesse Kivel (of Princeton) and Zinzi Edmundson (who has her own designish blog, here.) Kisses’ first full-length album The Heart of the Nightlife is already available in the U.K. and available in the U.S. starting Tuesday
I love Astronauts and swimming pools, so there’s not much to say about this video that artfully combines both, other than to say “Thank you, Kisses” and “OMG hotdog/jesus cameo.” Oh, yeah, and there’s the music that happens. I like it.
*Lisa Nowak is a former NASA Astronaut who was arrested in 2007 after driving diapered for 900 miles in a foiled attempt to kidnap a romantic rival.
“Thomas Voorn points you into new directions.” So says the information page on Voorn’s portfolio and, I have to admit, it’s pretty true. Take the Dutch designer’s fantastic “Garment Graffiti” project for example: if you strip the concept back to it’s bare bones, it’s quite simple. However, Voorn’s execution, through his attention to setting and colour, makes it magical. Although he works within a number of disciplines and stretches himself to cover different ideas and approaches to design, my favourite projects are the ones in which Voorn has incorporated wordplay and typography. Not merely confining himself to garments, he has used all manner of objects to create words.
Voorn is currently working on a project entitled “Fashion Herbarium In Practice” whereby he transplants floral imagery onto all manner of surfaces, including toilets, cakes and walls. Delightfully unexpected and aesthetically pleasing, I look forward to seeing what Voorn comes up with next.
At the risk of being labelled an “unrepentant misogynistic pig”, I am a devoted fan of South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-duk. His films are, understandably, better known for the controversy they spark than for their artistic merit; however, I find that the unrelenting focus on “shock value” tends to overshadow the fact that Kim is not only a talented director, but also a skilled writer who is unafraid to confront – and sometimes torment – his viewers with the pain and tragedy of the human condition. Particularly known for his use of sparse and minimal dialogue and psychologically wounded characters, Kim is an auteur who zeroes in on raw human emotion and the complexities of social interaction. He is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but if I were to suggest a Kim film for the uninitiated I would go with his most recent film Dream (2008). Although Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter…And Spring (2003) and 3-Iron (2004) are arguably his most popular and accessible films, Dream, to my mind, exemplifies the delicate balance between violence and poetry that is the mark of Kim’s style.
I don’t make films to serve the audience. I don’t try to entice viewers to watch, understand, or even like my films – that’s not my job.
The premise of Dream is rather surreal in its elaborate construction. Following a late-night car accident, a man (Jô Odagiri) discovers that his dreams are strangely connected to the sleepwalking of a woman (Lee Na-yeong) he has never met, and it is subsequently revealed that while he dreams, she enacts the content of his oneiric narratives. Dream touches on a number of reoccurring themes in Kim’s work, such as connection, desire and negotiating male-female relationships. There is always an element of magic realism in all of Kim’s films, which usually arises at the denouement and works to confound the viewer, and Dream takes this approach to the extreme. As the film progresses it becomes increasingly difficult to disentangle dream, reality and fantasy.
This confusion is principally expressed through violence in scenes where the infliction of physical pain becomes the only mode of communication available to Kim’s tormented characters. However, the violence in Dream is filtered through an aesthetic lens. Every element of the mise en scène culminates in an aesthetic that consistently juxtaposes violence and beauty. Indeed, what makes Kim such an intriguing and challenging director is that while he confronts the viewer both visually and thematically (child prostitution, rape, self-mutilation, suicide and murder have all featured in his oeuvre), his films transcend their own ugliness. Notably, Kim has no formal training, but spent his foundational years selling his art on the streets of Paris. It is therefore no coincidence that his films use colour, light and composition in such a sumptuous fashion.
In Roger Ebert’s review of The Isle (2001) – a film that pictures scenes of real animal cruelty and the oral and vaginal insertion of fishhooks – he made an extremely poignant comment regarding the viewer’s choice to watch films of Kim’s ilk: “Most people choose movies that provide exactly what they expect, and tell them things they already know. Others are more curious. We are put on this planet only once, and to limit ourselves to the familiar is a crime against our minds.” If you’re willing to be a challenged I definitely recommend that you check out Dream, as well as Kim’s other films.
I’m a big fan of Deerhunter and their newest album Halcyon Digest so hearing a new remix of their song Helicopter by Diplo and Lunice is quite a treat. This is my favorite song off the album, that or He Would Have Laughed, and I think Diplo and Lunice do a read job on this remix which also goes really well with the video, a bunch of pieces from Andrey Stvolinsky’s Slow Moscow.