Do you think it will always be like this?


Posted: 2010-06-19 23:25   |  More posts about animation art design film oddities short film

Thanks to Paddy for bringing this to my attention. (You should really check his blog out too, it's excellent.)

Please Say Something is a 10 minute short concerning a troubled relationship between a Cat and Mouse set in the distant Future. The final film was completed in January 2009 and contains 23 episodes of exactly 25 seconds each.

The film won the Golden Bear for best short at the 2009 Berlinale, the Cartoon D’or and several other awards. In 2010 it was given a distinction of cultural significance by the German ratings agency FBW (Prädikat Besonderes Wertvoll).

Please Say Something - Full Length from David O'Reilly.

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Nice photos of the Swedish Underground


Posted: 2010-06-16 22:54   |  More posts about architecture art design

Plenty of photos here.

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Unearthed design of the 1950's


Posted: 2010-06-13 15:53   |  More posts about design oddities

mikeyashworth on flickr has an interesting photostream of old 1950's design. The most impressive of which are photos, taken officially by London Underground, of posters in Notting Hill Gate tube station, London, which hadn't seen the light of day for many decades. He writes:
Work at the station has recently uncovered these amazing advertising posters in non-public areas and that date from c1956 - 1959 when the station's lifts were removed and replaced by escalators. These are in an old lift passageway and will be safe.

Check out more photos, along with scans of mid 20th Century design.

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Innovative Art


Posted: 2010-04-30 14:36   |  More posts about architecture art berlin design german language

Torstrasse 166 is an artists' space in Berlin. One artist's work which really stood out to me was that of Chiharu Shiota, displayed above and below. Here is a rushed translation of some text from her part of the website:
Chiharu Shiota (b. 1972, Osaka) studied with Marina Abramovic and Rebecca Horn and has lived in Berlin since 1999. Her work has been shown in important exhibitions, museums and film festivals across the world, including the Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin, National Museum of Modern Art Tokio [sic?], P.S.1/MoMA New York and the biannual film festivals in Kwangyu, Yokohama, Lyon and Fukuoka. In 2008 she was awarded with the most prestigious Prize of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan. ... The power and energy of Chiharu Shiota's installations fascinate and unsettle simultaneously. Fears and nightmares are packed into her works. Indeed it is the poetry, the aesthetic allure of her work which captivates the observer. In earlier installations, Shiota encased herself in black wool, like a cocoon. She slept in exhibitions, trapped in her webs of wool which form an impenetrable bush between a bed and the walls.

Brandon Shigeta, on the other hand, had a new exhibition in February entitled Skate & Destroy, which showcased objects made from old skateboard decks. Here you can view a full flickr album of photos of the event:

And Scott Burnham has some interesting ideas on the role of urban art and the need for it:

If we were to consider the dialogue of design in the same way we do the linguistic development of a culture’s language, then just as informal street-level vernacular has innovated and filled in the gaps of a culture’s formal language, the street has as well developed its own vernacular to fill the gaps in the city’s formal design. This new street-level language of design – non-commissioned, non-invited interventions in the urban landscape – transforms the fixed landscape of the city into a platform for a design dialogue.

Ideas supported by photos of works of urban art which, as Burnham puts it, "are more than simply creative play in the streets – they signal a new aesthetic correspondence between the individual and the physical city":

In descending order: work by Roadsworth (Montreal), Gualicho (San Jose), TR853-1 (Singapore).

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New discoveries


Posted: 2010-02-25 16:21   |  More posts about architecture computers design internet oddities

This was posted on reddit today. I agree entirely with the poster's sentiment: interesting links on reddit are, more often than not, not links to the gateway of a whole website of interesting stuff. When they are links to a website's front page, it's generally a very narrow, single-purpose website that is quickly forgotten about. Hopefully, the poster's subreddit -- apparently yet to be made -- will be a success.

In any event, having gone through the blog-post he had linked I decided to share some of my new discoveries here myself:

  • Building Maker: A Google app I was unaware of, which lets you add the 3D element to Google Maps. For all bored architects out there (since this is just what they want to be doing in their time off.)
  • Ikea Hacker: Neat stuff done with bog-standard Ikea furniture.
  • Strange Maps: A blog of, well, old and interesting maps. I don't know if I'd go as far as to say strange...
  • Newseum: The front pages of newspapers from 78 countries around the world.
  • Cooking For Engineers: This one reminded me of my father, a pragmatist who insists on weighing pasta before cooking it, in order to make sure he'll be doling out the correct amount. Nothing wrong with approaching cooking as a science, as opposed to an art!
  • GetHuman.com: An excellent idea for a website. This one tells you which keys you need to press in order to get an actual human operator on the line when calling a large company, saving you the time of listening to and trying to interact with a computerised system.
  • PDFGeni.com: Another great idea -- a repository of PDF documents such as old technical manuals, academic texts, and so on.

I feel I must write a disclaimer, saying I haven't used or read these sites extensively, having just discovered them a few hours ago, but from first impressions they do look like they deserve a bookmark.

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Clearing the backlog


Posted: 2010-02-22 18:49   |  More posts about architecture art design music oddities photography

Some of these links have been sitting in my Gmail Notes a year now, and I've become sick of looking at them. A few of them I'd planned on leaving for when I had time to adequately address their theme and topic in a proper blog-post, but I've realised that's not going to happen any time soon. So:

Read more...

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Rette deine Freiheit


Posted: 2010-01-05 22:19   |  More posts about art censorship computers design digital rights germany internet politics words

At the moment in Germany, there is fierce opposition growing against plans by the CDU to implement internet censorship under the guise of attacking the spread of child pornography. A movement championed by the German Piratenpartei has dubbed ex-minister for family affairs Ursula von der Leyen "Zensursula", a portmandeau of Zensur (Censor) and Ursula, and is referring to the CDU's plans as Stasi 2.0, a nod to the brutal secret police which operated in former East Germany.

Not only is there to be a secret list of blocked websites, such as exists in Australia, but the government is pushing for more data to be collected from citizens and retained for a long period of time.

A video which caught my attention a while back was entitled Du bist Terrorist (You are a terrorist). With soft ambient music playing, and deceptively pleasantly designed imagery, the two-minute video parodies the Du bist Deutschland ad-campaign with a soft, reassuring voice informing you of what the German government has in store for you, in terms of heavier and more invasive surveillance -- because You are a terrorist.

Earlier this week I found that the same people had created a new video in the same vein, entitled Rette deine Freiheit (Save your freedom). The video focuses much more on the coming internet censorship in Germany than just data retention and physical surveillance.

Since there was no English translation available, I decided to translate it and re-upload to Youtube. The result is below:

The translation is by no means perfect, but at least it's something. There were a few tricky problems with it:

  • Einfach wegschauen: Literally "simply look away", the video describes this as the method tried-and-tested by members of families with a history of domestic abuse. I was going to translate it as "simply look the other way" in its first instance, since this is the closest phrase in English that pertains to such a situation. However, this doesn't exactly capture the double-meaning employed in the video, since it implies wilful ignorance which isn't quite applicable to what the government is doing, so I decided to settle on "simply block it out". I'm not sure I'm happy with this, however. Suggestions?
  • In the sentence, "In Prävention, Therapie und Personal investiert hätte dies vielen Opfern helfen können: Reinste Verschwendung", the meaning that is sarcastically implied is that the money that could be invested in preventative measures, therapy and personelle is much better spent on building an internet block. I don't think I captured this very well.

In any event, there's likely to be an official translation soon (I just saw an "Englisch (bald verfügbar)" notice at the top of the official page now -- perhaps my emailing asking for a transcript of the video got them in a rush) and these issues will cease to be.

One last thing -- if you are interested in learning more about the situation in Germany regarding internet freedom and the child pornography scare, I'd not only urge you to visit the links above, but also this shocking, but morbidly fascinating account of one techie's work in the murkiest of subcultures. Thankfully, he doesn't go into detail about actual child abuse, but instead details exactly how child pornography rings work, using the internet and computers.

Put simply, it proves what anyone with a clue already knows: current proposals for internet censorship will have absolutely no impact whatsoever on paedophiles and child pornographers and will only serve to infringe the rights of normal, law-abiding internet users.

Thanks to Áine and Patricia for help with one or two minor parts of the translation.

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Album covers, Penguin style


Posted: 2009-05-17 17:10   |  More posts about art design internet music oddities

Littlepixel has created a lovely picture album on flickr of classic album covers, re-done in design and style as Penguin books.  An example:

Click here for the full flickr album.

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