Archive for May, 2007

Otters and wobbly heads

May 28, 2007

Not worth embedding, but there is something compelling about animal movement. I know, I know, stop the presses. But still, I was so struck when I first got the pandacam dashboard widget at how affecting it is to watch animals go about their day. I had a moment (I know, stop rolling your eyes) when it was like: brainwave! Animals are SO ZEN! It came together for me that yoga poses are often named after animals, and without (again! will I ever learn?) doing any research, I imagine that these poses were created through animal observation. It was when the pandas were just…being pandas that I had the naive fantasy of “I wish I was a panda. Y’know, just, being a panda.” But then I thought “I could just be a human. Just be in the moment, and still be human, without anxiety, anger, attachment.” Which I guess it pretty Zen-yoga-tastic, no? So that’s my excuse to impart the massively viewed Otters Holding Hands video (6,720,126 views at last count, compared to the mere 6,532 of this embarrassing remix with music and sunset).

I like the song, but the animation sort of bores/annoys me. Still, this Peter, Bjorn & John video does have a certain appeal: a simple concept, still evocative, still contemporary feeling (with massive retro styling, nonetheless), but very simple wobble-head concept. I’d like to know how this type of animation is done (c’mon Jaya, do your reading!)–do you think it’s very manual? Like they just wobble the graphic on the computer? Or even more so? Hand-done? Seems impossible…

Simulated Movement

May 23, 2007

One of the Physical Theatre-related ideas I’ve long been interested in is the idea of simulated movement in computer games and CG, but also the (urg, correct my terminology if I’m off here) algorithms of human movement. Things that appear in Aesthetic Theory as well, like that we can spot perfect symmetry easily (i.e. a simulated image stands out because it’s too perfect). But the same goes for movement. Computer images appear false in part because they are too precise, because they calculate for every minute part of the movement and place it along a certain line of logic, but when you examine human movement it’s not that perfect, there are little anomalous moments in the way that we move that are difficult to isolate. I just wanted to log here a film that spoke to these qualities in a unique context: Marc de Guerre’s “A Perfect Fake.”

It Showed at HotDocs in 2005 and they had this short review online: Enter the strange and disturbing world of men who reject women to share their lives with life-sized “love dolls.” The new world of virtual pornography merges with the age-old fascination with inanimate replicas in this intelligent, fascinating look at the mutation of desire.

Interactive Pong Performance and Bluemouth

May 22, 2007

I am sick with the strep and am in the lovely stage two which equals mucus mania so I think I might have to miss
How Soon Is Now by BlueMouth Inc. which just so incredibly up my alley. You show up at 8pm at Dupont and Lansdowne and go from there! Social Conscience! Interactive! Urban! Go see it and report back, soldier!
My brother Jacob sent me this great little video of someone interacting with a Pong-type game. I’ve never embedded gametrailers streaming so I hope this works:

Beirut “Elephant Gun”

May 19, 2007

This* borrows more directly from a modern dance tradition but I just LOVE the filmic things that are a stage impossibility like pulling down a wall to the ocean. I will always have a soft spot for men who thrash and punch at their chests, I guess it’s just the Jane in me. Then things like pushing the camera through lines of cloth, that make up waves, and showing the cloth being unfurled! It’s both behind-the-scenes AND intensifying the illusion AND impossible (have you ever been on a set when they so unromantically have to do such a shot? Lots of easily-tripped crew pushing dancers away away away real rough almost). Sexiest moment is of course when the lady is almost stumbling towards you, and then you widen to see she is riding two men’s backs! Quel horreur!

Quel…there just aren’t words

*I’ve decided to, when I remember, include both the link and embedded video. I’ll mark the link w/asterisk if it’s the same as the embedded video so you don’t double your pleasure without wanting to.

OK Go Preliminary Research

May 19, 2007

This is what I get for not poking around a little before posting. I guess the 17M+ viewers should have been a slight indicator. Nay, I never would have guessed they are so committed to The Dance Video! I love it!
Here you can see them rehearse in the back yard, here you can see their videos on an MTV site, in their news we learn they were (almost) on Jay Leno two nights in a row, they won the youtube awards (who knew there was such a thing?), and opened a SoHo Apple store in March, the video of which will be available on iTunes. They even have a game. Now, again, I am speaking before checking out my sources, but would it seem to anyone else that a band is a ZILLION times more blessed if they are able to youtube, have a website with an online community, update Top Ten OK Go Forum Contributors, create graphics, logos and merch? Seriously, it’s too sad that drummers aren’t always auditioned with a CV for online promotions skills too (I did not just say that).

Always Friday

May 19, 2007

What dance can do? Save the world! Because it makes you so happy! And makes you believe in the Goodness of Everything! A friend posted this to my Vanity Myspace and it just made me tickle with happiness! I showed it to a couple friends (Jon notoriously resists getting excited about exuberantly-presented interests) and they were a-hoppin’! What I love about this video is that these guys don’t appear to be professional dancers. They may be musicians, may have some theatre training or somesuch, but the *bliss* in watching them is that their simple moves are exuberant! They’re “into it.” They may not technically be “dancing like nobody’s watching” but the level of enjoyment is on par. I also love that it’s been so frequently viewed (at posting time it said here 17,380,254 had viewed it!). So let’s be happy!

Peter Fischli & David Weiss’s Kinetic Installations

May 15, 2007

This is the car commercial:

And this is 4 and a half minutes of what is an incredible half hour of machine chain reactions. This is really one of the thinngs I connect with SO MUCH as a dancer/physical theatre enthusiast. How is it that the simple movement-interactions of objects can be so pleasing? I found the first video in this posting when I entered “car commercial” in youtube because I wanted to find another commercial Starring Inanimate Objects, but the one above reminded me of “The Way Things Go” so I decided to go with that instead…

Blind eyes

May 12, 2007

Okay, the next tidbit I really want to find to post here is the projection that I saw at the Bjork concert on Toronto Island several summers ago. It was this incredible animation that shifted your whole perception of scale. You’d be watching what you think are just stars, then you zoom in to see that they’re actually what look like manatees or some unearthly swimming creature. But the motion is so distinct, the way they swim is so unlike any other creature. And there’s something that happens, something that is so pleasing to watch things move like that…”naturally.” But these were invented images. Still, they referenced movement that is familiar, and were tehreby calming. This iTunes vizualizer (I’m not sure that’s actually what it is, but that’s what they sort of call it) reminds me of the projections at the Bjork concert. It was so beautiful…mystical even. It’s so amazing the way something so abstract can actually change the way you think about the world (I know, I know, what a revolutionary idea. I guess that’s the whole idea of abstract art…). Where does one study and create such things? Is this studied in psychology faculties? Dance and film? Advertising and graphic design? All of the above? Where are the words for what these things can do to your mind? What are the rules for how it works?

I titled this entry “Blind Eyes” because I am also reminded of the kids I worked with when I was a classroom volunteer for a class of blind children when I was in junior highschool. The kids would close their eyes and push on their eyelids. Although their eyes couldn’t receive light and data from the surrounding world, their eye nerves could take physical stimulation and would let them “see” the same thing we see when we push on our closed eyes: stars.

Coca-Cola Redhead in Multiple

May 12, 2007

I would say this employs physicality in a unique and transparent way–even though it’s mostly still! C’est le magique! I would very much like to learn what the effect used here is called…

Zach Klein wears SILF shirt; Best Friday Ever

May 12, 2007

I KNOW I’m downgrading the quality of this whole thing by indulging what’s essentially fanvideos. I dunno if there’s a word for it, but I would put this video in the category of “It Makes Me Feel Like A Rockstar.” But… is there anything wrong with that? Now, whether it’s enlightening to the Discipline of Physical Theatre may be a better question. I put this in the category of Simple Things I Can Learn From. Using a familiar concept and execution, this video paints the perfect picture of Friday at Work.
Dang–why can’t I put vimeo vids in here?? ARgh. Even though it’s cited below in the YouTube “Know Your Meme” series I can’t find it on YouTube. Boo.

Lip Dub – Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger from amandalynferri on Vimeo.