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Tag: Art

May 11 (Mother’s Day): 500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art

Having just completed a class in Time-Based Media, I have a much better idea of how this video was constructed, but the mechanics aren’t the point. Watch how women are represented in art as we slip quickly through five centuries of artistic representation. Notice how often the woman’s eyes are downcast, and notice how shape, color and texture changes.

Art is an idealized form. Even in photography, especially with the tools available through Photoshop and similar editors, truth is often elusive. These are the ideals of the eras, or the truths viewed through the lenses of their artists, most of whom were men.

This Mother’s Day, consider how often we try to reach for the ideal and wonder whose ideal that is. We don’t live in an ideal society. We live in the real world, and our connection to that reality is manipulated all the time.

If you’ve watched this video before, watch it again and consider the filters through which you view your own life.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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January 23: Art of Noise ~ Close (To the Edit): Versions 1 and 2

Released on May 1, 1984, this wild performance art piece directed by Zbigniew Rybczyński sums up the surreal aspects of music video. From the Wikipedia entry for the song, there’s this:

“I thought it was a fun video,” Anne Dudley said, “but some people thought it was unnecessarily violent. It was banned in New Zealand as encouraging violence towards children. Nothing could have been further from our minds.” The video later won the MTV Video Music Awards for Most Experimental Video and the Best Editing in 1985.

I love the song and the artistry of the video, so it made the cut early on. It’s one of the videos I used to wait for on MTV, back when it was still about music and not reality junk.

I didn’t realize until I started creating my Music Video playlist that there was a second version of this video, but there was. And here it is. (Actually, there are three, but I like these two the best.)

No, it doesn’t make any more sense than the first version, but that’s okay, because ART.

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January 18: Casting a Fire Ant Colony with Molten Aluminum (Cast #043)

Kids, don’t try this at home. For that matter, the same goes for adults.

For those who object to the destruction of the colony, let me just say that fire ants are an invasive species. Wikipedia has this to say about the ones infesting the southern US:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates more than US$5 billion is spent annually on medical treatment, damage, and control in RIFA-infested areas. Further, the ants cause approximately US$750 million in damage to agricultural assets, including veterinary bills and livestock loss, as well as crop loss.[44]

On the whole, I’d rather see art than poison as a result of their eradication. Considering over 23 million viewers have watched (fascinated? horrified?), there must be something to the method in this madness.

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January 17: Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase

In 1992, the film Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase won five awards for Best Animated Film, including the 1993 Oscar. The piece, animated using the blended clay technique, features highlights from the works of 35 artists, including Munch, Kahlo, Dali, Warhol, Picasso, Magritte and more.

I feel I should add a trigger warning – literal – as the Roy Lichtenstein includes a gun and I know several people on my flist are likely to need the heads up.

Art is on my mind tonight, as are the Academy Awards. It’s interesting how we define works as award-worthy, and how few of us actually receive the recognition we deserve, simply because of exposure. Sometimes it’s about luck. Sometimes it’s about quality. Occasionally, the two merge together and those who create the art get the recognition they deserve. It happens, all too infrequently.

The DAS Film Festival (which published the video) says this about its purpose:

Each month we’ll be webcasting a short film from 2-20 minutes long that relates in some way to Design, Architecture or Sustainability. And I have a feeling we’ll find common ground with art and science as well. In fact, I hope, over time, the films taken together will offer a kind of serendipity that is not always present in the on-line world. The design blog will have a similar spirit of curiosity.

Their goals aren’t that far away from mine. I just prefer a broader canvas on which to paint my portrait of the world.

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November 30: Onze helden zijn terug!

And here we are at last, 365 days after I started posting at least one video a day. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be pulling from the original online Advent Calendar, which now carries all the way through to the end of the year.

But I’m not stopping there. Starting in January, there’ll be music videos, with History Friday and liberal amounts of science and humor thrown in for good measure.

Stick around. We’re just warming up. 8)

Last of the Flash Mobs that don’t relate directly to the holiday. Enjoy and thanks!

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September 21: Imagine – From Pencils To Pixels (2003)

Dang it! Another with embedding disabled. Curse you, YouTube!


An embarrassingly long time ago, I attended a Smithsonian program highlighting John Lasseter’s role with P*I*X*A*R, The company was just starting to come into its own, with Toy Story it’s first full-length release. Since my first encounter with the art of computer animation through Animation Festivals in the early and mid 1980s, I’ve remained a staunch fan, even when the stories weren’t as good as I thought they ought to be. *cough*Cars 2*cough*

Lasseter said something during the event that has stuck with me. The stories they produce aren’t written with an audience in particular in mind. They’re written to entertain themselves. The idea is simple – if I like it, chances are, other people will like it, too. And it works. The majority of short and full-length features have a major thing going for them – they speak loudly to adults as much as kids.

In this age of reality TV, it’s a wonder movies still exist at all. Thanks to the talented folks at P*I*X*A*R, the art of animation has improved dramatically. Brave was a spectacular departure from the buddy films and gives every Disney princess a run for her money.

The full-length feature here talks about giving line character. The “pencil test” is a form of rough animation that is one level up from storyboarding – rough cut animated cells that give a sense of the action without fully fleshed out art. In a lot of ways, I prefer these to the final full-color versions.

Click the link to watch the piece.

For added information about P*I*X*A*R, see these two additional pieces. The first is an interview of P*I*X*A*R founders:

The second, made with an Apple Mac ][, includes Lasseter as “Coach.” I wonder if the original story line came from him.

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September 17: Sita Sings the Blues

This ground-breaking animated feature, not just for the material or style of the storytelling, but for the way its originator has decided to share – by instant public domain – her work with us. The website ( has a lot to say about how we reach out and share our creative works with others. Aside from the brilliant artistry, enjoy this fresh take on non-commercial art and (if you enjoy it) consider supporting the artist through the methods she suggests on her site.

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May 21: Marina Abramović e Ulay ~ MoMA 2010

Art comes in many forms. So does emotion. This transcends both.

(In the comments are Arrisa Robinson‘s explanation of the moment caught on video:

“For the people who don’t understand:

Marina and Ulay (that man) were together in the 70’s. Pretty much a beautiful romance they had. So they broke up…and in 2010 he shows up to her performance. Now this wasn’t the first time she saw him that day. He stopped by earlier. She just didn’t know he was gonna sit down with her.

I love this video. It’s just so overwhelming. It’s like all those memories just come rushing back to her and…ugh just so much to say or describe.”)

There is a full-length movie based on this event, called “The Artist Is Present” (see Netflix Streaming, I believe).

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May 20: Oren Lavie ~ Her Morning Elegance

A week of art and science in film. YouTube is a fascinating conglomeration of the surreal, the awful and the day to day miracles in life. Some things are worth taking the time out of a busy schedule because they’re artistic or they teach you something. And sometimes they do both at the same time.

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January 8: Happy Birthday, David Bowie

David Bowie ~ Where Are We Now?

Some days, it’s an obvious choice. (Happy Birthday, David Bowie. I was just wondering about you. Thanks for letting me know.)

David Bowie Through The Years

Some days, you just have to include a follow-up…

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