31 July 2012

The Pristitrope


The what? I hear you ask. The Pristitrope is a modification of the zoetrope, a pre-cinematic optical toy that shows short, looped animations. It replaces the zoetropes static illustrations with 18 tiny LCD screens, merging a digital way of showing images with an analogue way of showing their movement.

The machine knows in which direction it is turning. Therefore, basic interactivity is possible, for example in the form of simple game structures or choices within a clockwise or counterclockwise narrative.

Altogether it is something quite wonderful and what you can see here was created by Quinten Swagerman. It is currently on display at the V2 (an interdisciplinary center for art and media technology) in Rotterdam so if you happen to be in Holland, make a run for it! What remains, however, is a question. How did Swagerman and his team of technical support maestros make the Pristitrope? The answer is in the video below and it is (almost) as fascinating as seeing the Pristitrope working.

WoodNdinos


We have featured a number of projects by Bezalel students on Kuriositas but all of them till now how been showcasing the work of animation students at the Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. Here is something a little different. Although the film was created by Tal Hadar who studies animation at the academy, it is however to showcase the work of Alan Zarczynski.

The wonderful woodNdinos that you can see here are Zarczynski's graduation project, from the Department of Industrial Design at Bezalel. It’s a very clever stop motion which not only demonstrates Zarczynski's amazing designs but also very neatly enables Hadar to show off his stop motion skills too.  Did anyone else out there think I want one of them almost as soon as the video started playing?  Thought so..

London Cinema Encourages Audience Attendance During Olympics

While crowds have been heading to the various Olympic venues many businesses which expect to be full at this time of year have been left half empty. Here, the Prince Charles Cinema in London’s West End makes a plea for more custom. FCUK THE OLYMPIX might not appeal to every demographic. However,  they do quite cleverly managed to avoid being targeted by the advertising police who are busy stripping every non-official sponsor piece of Olympics related advertising down. I wonder if it worked...

Image Credit Flickr User Bahi P

Lord Nelson's New Hat

Visitors to London will be in for something of a surprise when they crane their eyes upwards to the statue atop Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square. Overnight, with the help of a crane, Lord Nelson has received new hat.  His is one of 24 of London’s most famous statues to be given the treatment, as part of a week long Hatwalk.

Romans in Chester

Chester is a 2000 year old city in the North West of England, founded by the Romans. History is taken very seriously there. Very, er, seriously. OK – not so seriously but there is a lot to be said about learning while you are having fun. With regular gladiatorial training for kids, it’s like the Romans never left!

30 July 2012

Scottish Bob


If you enjoyed Muriel’s Wedding and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert then you will most probably enjoy this. You know what it’s like with some families. One dies and then the vultures appear flying round the casket not so much in search of meat but money.  So is the case with this Australian family: when the only daughter dies in an unfortunate road accident her errant brother Bob turns up at the funeral with an old phone but a new accent.

This is a dark comedy about the absurdity of greed and how far some relatives are prepared to go, to get what they believe they are entitled. It was written and directed by Darren McFarlane of Head Space entertainment, based in Melbourne Australia.

29 July 2012

Sliding with Sharks

This is possibly not for the faint hearted! The swimming pool of the Golden Nugget hotel in Las Vegas has a water slide. So what, you might ask, before you realize that the slide runs directly through the hotel’s giant tank aquarium, which is full of tuna not to mention sharks.  It’s one way to get up close without getting bitten, I guess!

Burp


This South Korean animated short involves surely one of the most bizarre – and certainly the grossest – method of eluding abduction by aliens. A farmer is taking his prize pig to market when the close encounter begins. As he and his porcine pal are pulled inexorably towards the spaceship, desperate times call for desperate measures...

Yet what are the visitors from the stars truly after? Created by Geuntae Park, JongKi Jeon and Kyung Soo Yu and written by 7sloth, Burp even has a final, trick up its, er, sleeve.

This animated short boasts incredibly high production values and the animation really is state of the art with the spaceship, characters and the South Korean countryside all beautifully realised. Yet, you cannot for an instant imagine Pixar attempting this sort of denouement – whatever the temptation! If you aren’t grossed out by what has come before it, then you will probably laugh out loud. If not, apologies.

27 July 2012

Acroyoga – Mind, Body, Spirit

One thing you certainly will not be seeing at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London is Yoga. Although the Olympics Committee have been petitioned several times the jury is out as to whether or not yoga is really a sport – or a form of spiritual exercise – or both.

Yet over the last ten years a distinct form of yoga has evolved which may at some point in the future be truly acknowledged as a sport – and that is acroyoga. The World in Sport has a feature on this little known activity - with some mind boggling pictures to boot.

Image Credit Flickr User Megan Amber Cox

The City Is London


While we wait, here in London, for the evening to come so we might witness the mind blowing spectacular that will be (we hope!) the Olympics opening ceremony, here is something to keep us occupied in the meantime. The good people at Ithaca Audio have really outdone themselves this time, bringing together 26 London musicians, films and TV shows in this remarkable mashup.

I am going to list them all below if you want to check out who and what is in here. I have to say though, that this is simply outstanding done with panache of the highest order not to mention a great sense of humor. Plus, despite the fact he has been gone quite a while now, Freddie Mercury can still bring a tear to my eye.

OK, here they are then - how many did you spot? Eurythmics - Winston's diary (1984), Night and the City, Mary Poppins - Stay Awake (thanks Julie!), Queen - A Kind of Magic, Amy Winehouse - You know I'm No Good, The Who - Baba O'Riley, Blur - Song 2, Amy Winehouse - Stronger Than Me, Jamiroquai - Deeper Underground, Dizzee Rascal - Fix Up, Look Sharp, Quincy Jones - It's Caper Time (Self Preservations Society), Adele - Rumor Has It, John Murphy - 28 Days Later, Led Zepplin - Whole Lotta Love, Faithless – Insomnia, Florence & the Machine - You Got The love, The Clash - London Calling, Eastenders, Queen - We Are The Champions Dizzee Rascal – Bonkers, Klint - Diamond (Snatch), The Kinks - You Really Got Me, Are You Being Served (which I thought was Money by Pink Floyd!), Only Fools and Horses, Queen - Another One Bites The Dust, The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter.

Phew!

Epic Slo Mo


The above is proof positive that you do not need a Hollywood budget in order to get some fantastic, explosive effects on film. The entire budget for this epic short created by Neumann Films was around $200 (plus the rental of the camera). As you will see the crew had a huge amount of fun making it and hopefully that will be reflected in the amount of fun you have watching it!

In fact, it has so many examples of epic slow motion that you will probably not need to watch another slo mo video again for at least a week.

You may wonder who made this and how it was done. Neumann Films was started by Luke and Marika Neumann back in 2010. Their goal is to bring high quality short films and tutorials to YouTube as well as offering low cost tools to assist in Indie Productions. Go take a look at their website – if you are an aspiring filmmaker you will find it very useful (not to mention good fun too).

25 July 2012

The Tadpool


Have you ever wondered what exactly goes on in the pond at the end of the garden? Thanks to the folks over at France based La Station Animation we have an answer.

This pilot for what will hopefully become a kids’ TV series is known in French as La Mare aux Têtards which translates as The Sea of Tadpoles. However, someone has rather cleverly come up with the name The Tadpool instead.

The creatures in the pond are equally cleverly done with only the broadest nod towards realism. Having said that, you can pretty much tell what is supposed to be what! This short tale recounts what happens when one of the denizens of the pond decided they want to spend a little time above the surface.

Olympic Stadium – London 2012, Animated


If it hasn’t hit you yet that something rather large and sporty is opening in London this coming Friday then what planet have you been living on (and can I join you)?  Yes it’s the opening of the 2012 Olympics of course and its centerpiece is the new and terribly expensive (but built on time and under budget) stadium.

The news reports fail to give a proper impression of just how massive the stadium is. This rather playful film by creative designers Squintopera, launched the design to the public and was used by all major broadcasters (BBC, SKY, CNN) as the main accompanying animation for Olympic news segments.  It makes great use of animation to get the whole concept of the stadium (and its post Olympic use) across and is really rather jolly. As we inch towards the opening ceremony, basking in the first real sunshine that the UK has had since April, we can only hope the general all round jolliness continues.

24 July 2012

The Future Forms of Life


“People say that if you truly believe, if you live in your own dream, that it is written in your face.” So begins this intriguing short film by David Lance.  It is based on the kinetic sculptures by Theo Jansen, the guy with a strange knack for both physics and art. Here, thanks to Lance’s incredible use of CGI they come to life and ask us a question. What if one day our dreams go too far?

This is an extraordinary piece of film, made more so in my opinion by the fact that we are left to draw our own conclusions. Were this particular dream to become a reality over the next week or two, however, and I think those guns placed on top of London’s tower block will not be trained at the sky for long.

The Ballad of Poisonberry Pete


The western is a genre which, in my humble opinion, is sorely underused in this day and age. So, imagine my delight when I came across this – the Ballad of Poisonberry Pete. As the title suggests, it is a western with a difference – in as much as all the residents of the Wild West town of Crusty Ridge are all pies. Sounds silly? Well, yes – that’s the point.

Pete is something of a loner, an enigma who walks in to town one day and puts the fear of the baker’s in to the townsfolk. What will save the day? You had better watch to find out! This very funny animated short was created by Adam Campbell, Elizabeth McMahill and Uri Lotan for Cartoon Brew's 3rd Student Animation Festival.

23 July 2012

Doctor Who Experience: Dalek Signpost Shows the Way

There are only a handful of science fiction shows in the world that can boast that their primary alien villain is embedded so much in to the national consciousness that its image can be placed on a signpost. That is certainly the case with Doctor Who, which has been on British TV screens for an amazing 49 years (with one hiatus). If you need to find the location of the brand new permanent Doctor Who Experience exhibition dedicated to the show in the docklands of the Welsh capital Cardiff all you have to do is follow the Dalek signs.

22 July 2012

For Closure


People are angry at bankers at the moment for all sorts of reasons – and one of the ways that they get even is going and protesting in the streets. One gets the feeling though, that the clamor is often ignored by those who have caused all the grief we see around us.

This ghost story tells the story of a banker: opportunistic to the end he decides to put a bid on a house at an auction that he has recently foreclosed. However, he has not counted on the house’s dark history and the spectral presence of its previous owner.  Written and Directed by Gavin Doughtie For Closure will have any of you who have recently had a bad experience at the hands of your bank rub your hands in glee. It may not make things right, but seeing this banker get his comeuppance will surely make you a little happier!

London – An Animated Interpretation of the William Blake Poem


Would William Blake recognize the London of 2012? London was published in 1794 by Blake in his Songs of Experience collection.  It was a time of great upheaval – the French Revolution had just happened and London was feeling its repercussions. There was much social unrest, due mostly to the social inequalities of the time. It seemed that the rich were just getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

So, yes – it is quite likely that Blake would be able to identify the city and its themes – not only from the landmarks that still persist from his time but because so little has changed. This animation by Alex Robinson seamlessly transposes the poem over visions of an imagined present day London. As the city (or those in charge of it) attempts to fool the world that this is a city of shiny, happy people on shiny, happy streets in the build up to the London Olympics, this comes as a welcome relief. The city, as in Blake’s day, still has very much an underbelly.

21 July 2012

Weather in the UK Set to Improve

Within Two Worlds


This is something of real quality – being from a certain island nation I would say BBC quality (and I think that is a sufficiently global brand for you all to get that!).  A remarkable piece of time-lapse photography, this was created by Brad Goldpaint of Goldpaint Photography.  Its amazing vistas include, Tumalo Falls, Three Sisters Wilderness, Mount Shasta, Big Bend National Park, Mono Lake (with its tufa towers, my personal favorite here), Aurora Borealis over Crater Lake National Park, Texas, Painted Hills, the High Sierra, and the Aurora Borealis over Sparks Lake.

This time-lapse video is Goldpaint’s visual representation of how the night sky and landscapes co-exist within a world of contradictions. In creating this, he aimed to help inspire people to discover and create their own opportunities, to reach their rightful place within two worlds. There are also a number of limited edition prints available at his website, so please visit before they run out! Goldpaint Photography also has the prerequisite Facebook page.

Eduard Romanyuta: I’ll Never Let You Go


Don’t be deceived by the incredibly sloppy (albeit beautifully filmed) start to this video by Ukrainian singing star Eduard Romanyuta for his single I’ll Never Let You Go. Yes, it’s a case of boy having met girl, boy gets girl in to a field in the summer for a little Anakin and Padmé type fooling about. As part of the cycle of romance we have seen it all before – but then come the alien invaders! At first our naive duo thinks that the visitors must be friendly – and then tragedy strikes.

There will be a part two, which of course we will post up on Kuriositas as soon as it comes out. Directed by Chupacabra, the CGI is excellent and it is great to see another city other than New York, London or Paris getting the full alien invasion and destruction treatment.  Shame it has to be Kiev – I always thought it looked rather pretty. Anyway, here's the trailer for Invincible.

Online Now


One of the news headlines in the UK this week was that more people are now likely to text someone rather than phone them or meet up face to face. With that in mind, Online Now by Pocket Jakes (the creative partnership of directors Jake Dolgy & Jake Ross) seems prescient to say the least.

It explores the way that people conduct their relationships online through social media and the impact that living lives in this manner has on those involved.  You might expect it to be all bad news – but it isn’t – even though this very entertaining video shows a number of methods of harassment and bullying that some think they can get away with online.

It certainly gives food for thought.  This video would be an excellent starting point for a class discussion around online habits for a group of older teenagers, for example.  Can you see yourself anywhere in this video?


20 July 2012

The Great Wall of China – Diverse Perspectives

China’s Great Wall – created over centuries to protect the Chinese Empire from intrusion and invasion – is one of the world’s best know sights. Yet again and again we see the same stretch of wall, the same throngs of tourists, soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army and a stream of visiting politicians. Takes these elements away and there is a sublime change - a shift in perception. Here is the Great Wall of China from various diverse perspectives, some stretches of the wall you may not be familiar with and hardly a tourist or soldier in sight.  The Great Wall of China suddenly becomes a mystery again, inscrutable and elegant, unfathomable and incredible.

17 July 2012

New York Park


They say that New York City can be like a giant playground but there isn’t no need to take it literally, is there? This is a seriously cool piece of film.  The usual New York landmarks are all there, it’s just that now they come complete with their own fairground attractions – and a host of screaming people enjoying the ride. This makes your mind boggle and I do have to admit that I did get a little jealous too... jealous of CGI. Time to call those nice men in white suits perhaps.

This hugely enjoyable short was created by Fernando Livschitz of Black Sheep Films. As he is based in Argentina it is only appropriate that he is also responsible for this surreal take on his country’s capital, Buenos Aires. Ah, life is a roller coaster after all!


The Seven Wonders of Ukraine

What springs to mind when you think of Ukraine? Since independence in 1991 the second largest country in Europe has been somewhat demonized by elements of the Western European media. It has often been portrayed as something of a cultural backwater with little to recommend it. Here we address that issue by revealing to you the Seven Wonders of Ukraine.

16 July 2012

Sydney Opera House - Lighting The Sails


This is the Sydney Opera House as you have never seen it before. In May of this year Vivid Sydney – Lighting the Sails, premiered at the Opera House. Its intention was to be a homage to Australia’s most iconic piece of architecture, as well as to its architect Jørn Utzon. Utzon always maintained that he wanted to give architecture a human expression – I believe that the architect, who died in 2008 would have been thrilled to see this.

Fortunately for us German based Urbanscreen are around to breathe live in to this sort of project.  Large-scale projection on urban surfaces is their creative company's field of activity. They conceive and produce custom-made, site-specific media installations using high artistic standards and an interdisciplinary approach to stylistic devices. I think you will agree that this is a superlative piece of art made possible through science.

Chalkboard Philosophy

Chalkboards, by their general ubiquity, have become something that we can fail to notice – and the proprietors of some restaurants, bars and shops have taken that on board. Instead of luring people in with a simple list of what is on offer inside, some go a little further to entice us. Sometimes amusing, occasionally profound, chalkboard philosophy may not induce us to part with our money. It may, however, force a smile to our faces. And, yes, before you point it out, some of them aren't really philosophical: they're just funny or clever or both. Here are some of our favorites...

15 July 2012

Keep Calm


The current popularity of adapting the Keep Calm posters from the Second World War gets the full animated treatment here as one literally comes to life in front of our eyes. It is set just after the fall of France and a young soldier listens to Churchill’s The Battle of Britain is about to begin speech from his radar outpost. 

It isn’t long before something mysteriously emanates from the radar equipment.  Are the Nazis on their way to invade? Yet he is the only person on duty and perhaps the fate of the country rests in his hands. Action must be taken! The best think now is to KEEP CALM and… well, you will see what happens next for yourself!  Oliver Harries created this funny animated short as part of his BA at the University of Applied Sciences in Dusseldorf.

Moments in China


Moments in China is a collection of vivid sights and sounds photographer and visual artist Ryan Emond experienced while traveling around China last month. The piece flows from Hong Kong to Beijing, and visits Guilin, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Some moments are more significant than others, but he has a personal connection with each. The video was particularly special to Emond because he did have time for personal projects over the past months.

This certainly makes up for it. I don’t think the Chinese government could have gotten a better advert for the country had they paid for it. Shot on a Nikon D700 and a 5D Mark III, I particularly enjoyed the spectacle of time lapse of the city of Shanghai slipping in to that something more comfortable known generally as the evening.

Giveaway Time! Cool Neatoshop Zombie Clock Could Be Yours!

How would you like to own this unspeakably cool zombie clock? Well, it could be yours – very, very easily. Thanks to the marvellous chaps over at The Neatoshop we have one to give away. What’s more you get to choose an additional nerdy prize worth up to $25.

Created in tough urethane resin, the Sculpted mantel clock features a zombie eating a brain and is handcrafted with amazing details - a truly artisan piece created by Old Art Fabrications. The clock has quartz movement and is accurate to +/- 1 second per day and no two are exactly alike - paint details may vary as these are hand painted.

So, do you want it, need it, must have it? Here’s what you have to do!
  1. Go to the Neatoshop and choose an additional prize - priced at no more than $25. Make a note of its name and its url.
  2. Head over to the fabulous Kuriositas Facebook Page and locate the competition there (it will be at or near the top).
  3. Make a comment under the competition post, giving yourself the next consecutive number, stating the name of your desired additional prize and its Neatoshop url .
There is an example on the competition post but by the time you get there a number of people should already have made their entries so you will get it!

The draw will close at 6pm GMT on Saturday 27 August.

The prize winner will be chosen from the True Random Number Generator – starting at number 2 (number one is an example) and ending with the last number listed in the comment section by the last entry at the close of the competition. So remember to take the next number in the comment section otherwise you will not be eligible!

In the meantime, while you wait and see whether you won or not, why not see what other fantastic and unusual items there are over at The Neatoshop? Don't worry if you don't live in the US - overseas orders are welcome!

Julian Opie @ Lisson Gallery

If you are in London over the next month and you are interested in the New British Sculpture movement then one place you must visit is the Lisson Gallery. From now until 25 August you can visit the largest ever exhibition of the work of Julian Opie. What’s more, all of the work exhibited here is new.

Over the last three decades Opie has become widely recognized for his contribution to contemporary art. He is preoccupied with investigating the concept of representation- how the human face and form is presented through art. It has a striking immediacy (no one can argue that it isn’t very, very contemporary) which belies its often older roots.

14 July 2012

The Blue Escape


If you are going to learn compositing techniques then you may as well do it in a way that produces something really cool as an end product.  I am not sure whether that is what Stefano Armanini had in mind when he created this but that’s certainly how it turned out.

As well as his own animation he has used parts of three classic science fiction movies to bring everything together. See if you can guess what they are..

OK, spoilers ahead! First of all the music is One More Kiss, Dear from the Blade Runner soundtrack.  The astronauts are Keir Dullea from 1968s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Dennis Quaid from The Right Stuff, made in 1982.

Robocoq


After a series of scientific experiments in 1986 a new type of chicken is produced – the first ever with teeth.  Unfortunately the roosters are not given teeth and so the balance of power in the farmyard turns inexorably towards the hens. By 2112 the chickens have all the power and the roosters are second class citizens, soon no doubt to be consigned to history.

A group of rebel roosters decide to create a robot capable of travelling in time to rewrite history. This very amusing animated short was created by Simon Cottin, Charline Courivaud, Quentin Prigent, Guillaume Ronteix, Nicolas Poupart, David Sossah, Frederic Marzullo and Jean-Louis Marco at ESMI in Bordeaux. These students are obviously movie addicts as they throw a very decent amount of visual references in to the mix here, not least of course Terminator. You need to watch the credits too - there is a little extra for you after them...

Volcanoes in the Back Yard

Even when you know that the area in which you live is prone to earthquakes, perhaps the last thing you might expect is a volcano in the back yard. Yet these are not the volcanoes we see in Hollywood movies. Neither are they the mud volcanoes which occur near geysers. These are something quite different. These are sand volcanoes.

A sand volcano usually occurs after an earthquake. It is formed when sand is thrown up to the surface from a central position. As the sand is ejected it builds up in to a cone, taking on the appearance of a volcano as the sand comes to rest on its sides. A crater forms which can range in size from the tiny, just a few milimeters, to one which can extend to several meters.

11 July 2012

The Myth of Finn McCool and The Giant's Causeway


If you have ever wondered how the Giant’s Causeway came to be, but want the legend rather than the geology, then here you have The Myth of Finn McCool.  This animated short tells you one version of the legend (there are a number) but in a rather delightful way.  Created by The Pond Studio, this short film will be played on a giant screen in the brand new National Trust visitor center at the Giant’s Causeway.

The Pond is a creative CG Animation company with a passion for narrative, imagery and visual style. The Pond's creative team have experience in all areas of 3d and in a range of media. They have worked on projects for the BBC, Discovery Channel, ITV as well as feature films.

The Line


Regrets, I’ve had a few... What sensations do you experience when you meditate upon age? The answer will probably depend on how old you are but the unnamed lead in the enigmatic short film The Line experiences a range of emotions from regret and despair through to anger and on to hopelessness.

Much is left to your imagination – the back story of the old man is right there for you to fill in the gaps yourself. Why is he in such misery? What is driving him towards his suicidal actions?

This is the first film by Brooklyn based Joe Petrilla and as such is quite remarkable in terms of the control over both material, dialogue and storyline shown here. I think the word that I was just looking for was restraint. See what you think.

The short movie stars a very familiar face – one of those character actors who you immediately recognize but may struggle finding his name. It is James Rebhorn who has appeared in many movies including Independence Day, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Game, Scent of a Woman and My Cousin Vinny. Unsurprisingly the film did well at Festivals and won best-short at the Festivus Film Festival in Denver last year.

10 July 2012

Exoids


It is 2067 AD. The human race has obliterated itself and left the earth to its successors. They are split in to two group – the first is the exoids which are robots (but with a difference).

The other species which has survived and thrived is not as you might expect the cockroach but in this particular apocalyptic scenario it is the slug which survived the ravages of nuclear war.

We get to meet one slug in particular, the cigar chewing road warrior called Gus Nitrous. We meet our hero in his continual search for water but this inevitably leads him in to the domain of the exoids and in to trouble. This is a very entertaining chase movie made more so by the ideas behind it.

I particularly liked the idea of co-evolution, where as the slugs have progressed so have the killing machines pitted against them. With names like JetFly, Scorpolice, TankRoach and Heliwasp, someone had a lot of fun thinking up these robotic creatures! I also liked the way that Gus is not much larger than his present day ancestors - but I didn't realise that for a while! Can we have a whole series please? I felt this was the tip of the exoid iceberg, as it were.

Exoids was directed by Aristomenis (Meni) Tsirbas (left) and his team (sorry guys, too many of you to mention but outstanding work!). Tsirbas has been directing film and TV for over 10 years and works in both live action and animation.

He also has 15 years experience as a visual effects supervisor and digital artist. Born in Montreal, Canada, he majored in film production at Concordia University. In 1996 he moved to Los Angeles to work on James Cameron’s Titanic and national advertising spots for Nike, 7UP and Coca-Cola. More recently his work has been more in the sphere of science fiction.

As a visual effects supervisor Meni has worked on Miramax’s A Wrinkle in Time, Disney's My Favorite Martian and Paramount’s Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

What does the Higgs boson Look Like?


The by-line for Kuriositas is art and science and all the groovy things in-between. So, when I heard about the massive three story tall mural which had been commissioned by the ATLAS experiment at CERN I knew I had to take a look. CERN, just in case you haven’t heard about it (possibly hiding from a localized zombie apocalypse?), is the European Organization for Nuclear Research and is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva.  Painted by international artist Josef Kristofoletti this magnificent mural shows his interpretation of what the Higgs boson might actually look like.

Even in art, timing is everything. It has been a great seven days for watching people (myself including) struggling with particle physics-lite in an attempt to understand the nature of the Higgs boson.  The one question that has come up several times among my teenage students is so, what does the Higgs boson look like, then? Although it may be an irrelevance to physicists, from the perspective of the person in the street I think that is a really, really good question!

9 July 2012

The Bullfighter’s Tailor



A short while ago Kuriositas featured the awesome Castellers of Spain.  Included was a short film by Mike Randolph, which beautifully captured the essence of what the castellers do. Mike’s amazing video went viral and garnered over a million and half hits.  For his latest piece he stays in Spain and features the remarkable process of creating a new suit for a bullfighter.

I do realise that bullfighting isn’t really in the Kuriositas demographic (so please don’t swamp me with emails) but you won’t see a single bull in this video. Rather, what you will see is a fascinating insight in to the creation of a new suit for bullfighter Carlos, from the choice of materials to the moment he steps in to the ring. You can see a lot more of Mike Randolph’s photos and videos of Spain at his website.  Go visit – they really do justice to that remarkable country.

The Animals of the Eastern Zodiac


The animals of the Eastern Zodiac (often called the Chinese Zodiac) are not that easy to name – you get to about six and then begin to falter. Well, if you need to memorize them (for whatever reason) here is a short and funny animation that will serve as a moving mnemonic for you. You also get to learn the characteristics which go along with each of the animals too.

It was created by Minji Aye Hong who is currently studying Graphic Design and Motion Graphics at the School of Visual Arts in New York.  So, sit back and start memorizing the animals. After me: rat, pig, horse – oh, you get the drift!  The music is Ku- Chi-Ta-Chi by House Rulez – just in case you were wondering. Altogether this is great fun!

8 July 2012

The Mirror - Le Miroir


Do you ever look in the mirror in the morning and wonder where all the years went? If so then you can take heart – a little!  At least your life does not flash before your eyes in a few short minutes as it does in this remarkable film by Ramon and Pedro (aka Antoine Tinguely and Laurent Fauchère). The Mirror or Le Mirroir in its original French shows a young boy becoming a man and we get to witness the physical evidence of some of his rites of passage until, effectively, the lights go off.

Ramon and Pedro have been in existence as an artistic union since 2004, their alter egos for slightly longer. They were featured in Shots Magazine in the New Directors section, which led them to sign with Partizan Worldwide. Since then, R&P has directed commercials for clients such as Diesel, AOL, Panasonic, Citroën, Milky Way and many more.

Whence Come Angels

Angels are found in many religions around the world. Their purpose varies from one tradition to another, but these transcendental beings usually act as messenger from God. Whether you believe in them or not, these contemporary images of angels (as seen mostly through the Christian tradition) provoke a variety of emotions. Give some thought for the loneliness of angels! When we see them, are we simply looking in a mirror to our own hopes and dreams or is there even more to it? And whence come angels?

7 July 2012

The Walking Dead - The Marriage Proposal


This is awesome – and I rarely use that word about anything to do with weddings. I have heard that people go to some lengths to propose to their sweetheart but making your own zombie movie? That’s a new one on me! The story here is that Philadelphia based director and photographer Free The Still (real name Phillip Yi) was asked by his friend Steve to help film and document his engagement to his girlfriend Hanna.

Simple enough – but this is what then became of that simple request!  As Hanna is the biggest fan of The Walking Dead ever, it wasn’t long before they came up with an idea – a very, very cool idea. A young man wakes up one morning to discover that the world has changed forever. He resolves to find his loved one, risking life and limb in the zombie-infested suburbs to do so...

The movie was shot with the help of a number of friends as zombie extras and the scene was then set for the restaurant proposal. The groom to be placed a tablet computer under the nose of his girl-friend and played his proposal movie. As Steve (bravely allowing it to be filmed: what if she had said no?) builds up to the proposal you can see Hanna’s reactions in the bottom right corner of the screen.

Not only that we get to see the actual post-movie proposal (I won’t say whether she consented; you have to watch it to find out). Plus, there is a little bit of zombie footage you just know the cast would not have been able to resist. Please note. Anyone thinking about proposing to me should know that two of my favorite movies are Mary Poppins and Gladiator. See what you can do with them, eh?

Oh and this is what Steve Yeun (who plays Glenn in The Walking Dead) had to say to the happy couple when he heard about The Marriage Proposal.

Vow


A mother stands between a daughter and a hungry lion and makes the ultimate sacrifice. The daughter vows that when she grows up she will avenge her mother. Years later the opportunity presents itself but all is not quite as it seems.

This is a remarkable animated short, created by Bridget Underwood as her graduating senior film at the Savannah College of Art and Design. It is simply beautiful and tells a moving story in an understated manner. What I also like about Vow a lot is that Bridget chose a female protagonist for her story and didn’t give her ponytails and a twee song to sing. Bravo Briget!

6 July 2012

Common is the Sense


Fancy a groovy animation set to even groovier music? Then look no further.  I recently came across Israeli singer songwriter Ronen Kohavi (below) and was delighted when a quick search of Vimeo came up with this little gem.  It is the music video for Kohavi’s track Common is the Sense and a very pleasing and harmonious piece of work it is too – the music and animation mesh seamlessly. The animation was created by director and animator Nadav Arbel with artwork by Yoni Boaz.

If you haven’t heard of Ronen Kohavi before, then visit his myspace page for lots more information and music. He has been making music since he was a child since he discovered the guitar.  After a time with the Israeli band Mercedes Bend he visited the United Kingdom where he wrote most of the songs on his solo album Brixton Bootleg.  If you are a Spotify member, look him up - the album is there as it is on all good online music sites.
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