31 July 2014

Valencia – Astonishing City of Arts and Sciences

There are not many places you can visit on Earth that enable you to imagine that you have been transported to a city of the future or, indeed, to an alien culture many light years away from our third rock from the sun. However, the City of Arts and Sciences is just that sort of place.

The City of Arts and Sciences is something of a Phoenix in nature. Its home is the old bed of the river Turia. In 1957 the city of Valencia suffered a great flood and the river was diverted, which enabled the area where the City of Arts and Sciences now stands to become a park in 1980. The city itself started construction in 1994 and the last finished great project there was opened in 2005.

30 July 2014

How to Do Visual Comedy


If you love visual comedy, then let Tony Zhou introduce you to the work of Edgar Wright, one of the few filmmakers who is consistently finding humor through framing, camera movement, editing, goofy sound effects and music. This is an analysis and an appreciation of a director so awesome that Marvel had to fire him on a holiday and it may make you think: yes, visual comedy in the movies has got very sloppy recently.

Buy Buy Baby


It's the roaring twenties and things are looking great for Frederick Frinklesworth II and the rest of the New York Stock Exchange, but when his daughter Betty is left in his care for the day can Fredrick and Wall Street survive the mayhem that ensues?.  This is the graduate film of Gervais Merryweather, the climax of his studies at the National Film and Television School. It’s both a homage to animation of the past and very modern at the same time.

New York Looks Amazing This Summer


Colby Moore has created something very special here – he has captured the sights and sounds of New York in this visually amazing and truly cinematic short film.  It is almost as if, amongst all the humanity and the never ending movement, that the city is waiting for something to happen.  The music, Black Vortex from Kevin MacLeod adds to this sense of expectation.  If you aren’t going to be in New York this summer, this is the next best thing.

28 July 2014

Find Out How Movie Executives Dreams Up the Next Big Franchise


Have you ever wondered how movie executives come up with their ideas (usually as you are sitting in a theater wondering why you just paid to watch the digital car crash taking place in front of your eyes? Look no further – here is a sneak peak in to the manoeuvrings of those wonderful people as they discuss the next big movie franchise – Boats.  This (sadly, probably very true but very funny) short was written, Directed, and Edited by Justin Dec.

27 July 2014

Binairy Talk: Can Smoke Signals Transmit Digital Data?


Professors at the Köln International School of Design in Germany wanted to see if they could transmit digital data using smoke signals - because.  The result was this installation which they dubbed Binairy Talk. Air serves as the communication medium for binary code, as a carrier of data and information across a distance.  And the message they chose to transmit? In a cheeky nod to the history of programming it was Hello World!

26 July 2014

Take a Quad-Copter Ride Over Downtown Los Angeles


Filmmaker Ian Wood used a lightweight remote controlled quad-copter and camera system to take these remarkable shots of Downtown Los Angeles.  Above the hustle and bustle of the streets it is easier to get a real feel for the sheer visual detail of the architecture and art in the downtown area.   Plus using this sort of technology it gets us the kind of view that we can ordinarily never hope for – and the results are stunning.

Watch This Toddler Have Her First Paragliding Adventure


Luisa is a very lucky little girl if you ask me, even though I am not quite sure how I would have reacted being hundreds of feet above the ground when I was her age.  I probably would have screamed my head off for the duration but Luisa takes it in her stride and with such easiness that it looks as if she has done it a hundred times before  In fact I would probably scream my head off for the duration even now.

25 July 2014

The Blind Photographer


Brenden Borrellini is both deaf and blind so photography might not be a hobby one would imagine him taking up.  So how does that work? This question led the group to research devices that would enable a two dimensional photograph to become a three dimensional photograph so that Brendan could also be able to interpret the textures in the photograph.  Human determination and compassion: when the two come together it can be sublime.

The Adobe Illustrator Story


When Adobe Illustrator first shipped in 1987, it was the first software application for a young company that had, until then, focused solely on Adobe PostScript. The new product not only altered Adobe’s course, it changed drawing and graphic design forever. Watch the Illustrator story unfold, from its beginning as Adobe’s first software product, to its role in the digital publishing revolution, to becoming an essential tool for designers worldwide.

The Collector’s Gift


A young girl stumbles across a chest left behind by the mysterious collector many years before. What she has discovered may change her world forever.  This is a story with a simple premise (and let’s face it, that’s always the way with the best ones).  Created by Ryan Kravetz during his time at the University of Southern California it will come as no surprise that this has been included in over 25 festivals and screenings around the world.  It’s just lovely.

23 July 2014

Godzilla Gets Legless in Tokyo

Something monstrous is stirring in the heart of Tokyo.  Godzilla!  However, you don’t have to worry too much about the future of this great Asian metropolis.  Even if this very cool twenty five foot replica of the movie monster were to spring to life, he wouldn’t get very far.  Someone forgot to give him legs.

Not that it detracts from the general awesomeness of this temporary installation (well, OK, it does a bit) which celebrates both Godzilla’s sixtieth birthday and also the release of the new(ish) Godzilla movie in Japan (a bit tardy…).

It still took the best part of a day to get the monster positioned in the park.

As much as I would like to, I will resist the temptation to crack a joke or two about rampaging nuclear-age monsters getting legless – I think the title of the post is best as the first and last attempt at humor for today. Godzilla will be in Tokyo Midtown until the end of August.

First Image Credit Hector Garcia

Bless You


You may have had a moment or two like this: you spend an age working on a project only to get bored with it.  This is the case with the architect in this animated short by Philip Watts.  He decides to spice things up a little with his creation by introducing something that will set the (not quite proverbial) cat amongst the pigeons.

Philip Watts is a film and television editor, but since the early 90's he has been producing animated motion graphics for the television industry. He has also worked as a freelance cartoonist on a few occasions, and recently he started combining these two interests and making my own animated short films, hence Bless You which is a very cunning mix of traditional animation, tilt shift photography and something pretty much like Flash (that’s a guess by the way).  Who cares how it was made, ultimately – it’s great fun and executed with great panache.

Godzilla Rocks

Do you see what I see? Utoro is a minor working fishing port on Japan’s second largest island, Hokkaido. It attracts a number of a tourists in its own right but for travellers it is best known as the principle access point for the beautiful Shiretoko Peninsula National Park.  However, as you can see from these pictures there is a rather large rock formation in the town which bears a close resemblance to an even larger creature of modern Japanese mythology – Godzilla.

Over time the elements have weathered away this natural sandstone outcrop so that it forms the shape and form of the legendary monster.  If this proves only one thing (other than I like gawping at big rocks that look like something else) it is this – Godzilla rocks!

First Image Credit Flickr User Yuichi Sakuraba

That’s Not Supposed to Happen


This is as strange but as engaging as it gets.  Two aliens manipulate life on earth, fighting over control of the planet, resulting in destruction.  Unsurprisingly this was shortlisted for a Royal Television student award in the animation category. It is directed by Rory Kerr, the almost namesake of Roy, best known for discovering the Kerr vacuum, an exact solution to the Einstein field equation of general relativity. What an amazing almost coincidence.

If You Have Never Wanted to Visit Turkey, You Will After Watching This


Take a trip to Istanbul, passing the Black Sea Coast, to the vastness of Eastern Anatolia, then returning over otherworldly Cappadocia and enjoying the sun at the Turquoise Coast. It’s all here in this amazing video by Vincent Urban who should really be paid by the Turkish Tourist Board!  Three of our favorite Turkish destinations are here: Love Valley, Mount Nemrut and the unforgettable Pamukkale (follow the links to read our features on these amazing places).

Take a Glimpse in to the Future with The Nuclear Winter Olympics


There’s nothing quite like a good dystopia to start off the day so if wake up worrying about the future of the planet under our so far must do better stewardship you may wish to avoid this.  However, this video created by Duncan Elms for topical satirists A Rational Fear keeps its tongue firmly in its cheek even if most of what it envisages is certainly not without the realm of the imagination (wouldn’t be in the video otherwise, I guess!).

21 July 2014

Flower Beards: Sorry, Boys, But the Green Man Got There First

Flower Beards. The internet has recently been festooned with pictures of young, hirsute men who have chosen to decorate their facial hair with a variety of blooms.

The flower beard trend has blossomed with little warning even though it remains to be seen how a beard decorated with daisies, violets and rosebuds might survive a Friday night pub crawl let alone the opprobrium it might receive from peers who simply don’t get it. If you drink in one of the many pubs named after our subject (see below) then you might just get away with it.

However, perhaps flower beards represent more than a passing fad: maybe these young men are channelling something rather more ancient than urban fashionistas might suspect.

It could be that this fashion is guided by a spirit of primal fecundity, the Green Man.

Before I move on I should say that perhaps the flower beard fad is just that – something a tad tongue in cheek, something a little silly, something that will inevitably pass.

Yet it would be heartening to believe that these men, in their search for a male self-identity of the twenty first century (and let’s face it the last few decades of the twentieth saw a little ambling from whatever the true path may be) have, however unconsciously, tapped in to this ancient symbol of rebirth and the cycle of growth and replenishment.

Whatever the reason, it presents a fine opportunity to delve in to the history of the green man.

19 July 2014

This Ice Cream Time-Lapse will Melt Your Heart


Ice creams and lollies are meant to be eaten – that is the sole reason for their existence. So when they are left to melt it is nothing short of tragic. Perhaps that was what Mateo Cabeza was thinking when he created this time-lapse, Creamlapse, set to the heart-breaking tones of Bobby Vinton’s Mr Lonely.  Were I clever enough to make something like this, as all those delicious desserts melted away to nothing I dare say I would have been thinking what am I doing?!

18 July 2014

Engrenage: Gears

In a race to survive when do reality and the imagination merge? I cannot say but it  is difficult to imagine that this is a student piece, it is so professionally done.  Yet it is – created by Swann Chesnel, Léonard Mercier and Etienne Gaulupeau, Fabien Rosier at their time at ArtFX.  If you think you have seen all the beat the clock movies, then think again.  The clock in this short film slows down after it hits 1.

Old Lady Luck


This old girl has lived a fruitful life – at least in terms of her enormous number of descendants. She believes they should all receive a card on their birthday with a little cash inside for a present.  However, one day the money runs out – and what is old lady luck to do? I will virtually guarantee that this short film directed by Bradley J Conomy of Ninja Milk gives you two huge laugh out loud moments – the last one at the very end.

One of a Kind


If I tried to give you a short synopsis of this I would probably fail or I would completely do the spoiler thing and give the game away.  What I will say is I think you will find this latest piece by Trunk Animation, directed by Rok Predin a peculiarly satisfying if enigmatic experience.  Plus if you are wondering why you recognize the voice it is provided by Jim Carter, best known for his portrayal of Mr Carson the head butler in Downton Abbey.

17 July 2014

Extreme Crest Feathers: 10 Reasons Why Crest is Best

Many species of birds possess crest feathers and this feature dates back to the age of the dinosaur: the fossil record indicates that a number of species had feathers on their heads. You might think that they are for display purposes – and you would not be wrong although their function is sometimes more complex than that. However, some birds take this avian attribute to the extreme. The results are striking and beautiful. Take a look at the Ark in Space’s Top Ten Crest Feathered Birds.

Monty Python’s Dead Parrot Returns (and This Time it’s 50-Foot-Tall)

For Londoners yesterday it was time for something completely different.  Along the banks of the River Thames which runs through the heart of the city a rather large dead parrot, fifty foot in height (or length depending on the time of day and the bird’s recumbence), had been deposited.  Although it may have bemused any number of tourists for most British people a dead parrot is an immediately recognizable cultural icon. It can mean only one thing – Monty Python.

The (in)famous dead parrot sketch was recently voted number one by the British public (in terms of Python sketches and it would without doubt get in to any top ten comedy poll undertaken in the UK).  So when it comes to promoting the live stage show (it should have been called Pension Plan Python) the troupe are currently performing at the city’s 02 Arena, what better than the dead parrot?

16 July 2014

Credence: Challenging LGBT Portrayal in Film through Sci-Fi


Film should challenge as well as entertain.  So it is good to see that young filmmakers like Mike Buonaiuto is making the first Sci¬Fi short film of its kind to challenge the way gay characters are portrayed.  Credence looks like a very interesting concept if the trailer above is anything to go by. You can learn more about the movie (and how you can support it as well as Mike’s previous projects, some of which we have featured on Kuriositas) at its Indiegogo page.

Sci-fi Fantasy Mashup Tattoo Design Supreme!

A friend of artist Larry Wentzel (aka Wild Guru Larry) commissioned him to mash up his favorite science fiction and fantasy icons into a single design. This will serve as the source of inspiration for a forthcoming tattoo. I would quite like to see the finished tattoo - I imagine that this is to go on his friend's back?

If you want to work out who is who and what is what in the design for yourself, don’t read on! However, on the top half we have: (clockwise) Tardis (Doctor Who), Millenium Falcon (Star Wars), Planet Express spaceship (Futurama), Tesla coil, U.S.S. Enterprise (Star Trek: reboot), Serenity (Firefly) over the Neil DeGrasse Tyson's Cosmos nebula.

Midway is the Creation of Adam (thank you Michelangelo) but with Adam as an android, both of them reaching for the Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything (The Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy) entwined by the One Ring (Lord of the Rings).

The Lower half depicts the following: on the left, two sparrows tow a coconut (Monty Python and the Holy Grail) with tractor beams to English shores while a cyclopean pyramid (Steve Jackson Games) looks on in bemusement. In the center, Vault boy (Fallout) gives his approval atop Cthulhu (Call of Cthulhu) scowling in a highly disapproving manner. On the right, Targaryan dragon and Lannister lion claw at each other while the Stark direwolf and the Night's Watch crow square off (Game of Thrones).

Please visit Wild Guru Larry's Flickr Photostream to enjoy more of his amazing work.

It’s a Plastic World


It was hailed as the miracle material but plastic – and the places it ends up thanks to our inability to clean up after ourselves – is one of the biggest threats to life on the planet. It's a Plastic World, an animated short film lifts the lid on our consumption of plastic, shows various problems associated with plastic (including how sea mammals try to eat tons of it each year) and looks at possible solutions.

Paris, Archi'llusion


Imagine Paris as a city where buildings can only be one or two storeys tall and you get the concept.

Claire&Max, the creators of this amazing video wanted to play with your perception of architecture by leveling Paris out and then rebuilding it in front of your eyes.  The result is a magnetic  experience- I couldn’t take my eyes off this.

Star Trek: The Human Lens Flare


If you think your job sucks then spare a thought for Lorenzo Flarius, the human lens flare.  You may not be aware of this but Lorenzo made a massive contribution to Star Trek Into Darkness and I for one am really happy that filmmaker Luke Knezevic has given us the opportunity to learn more about this supremely talented young man.

Ahem.

14 July 2014

Zombie Survival Guide


We have seen, so often, survival guides showing us how to get through the zombie apocalypse.  Here at last is a short instructional video made by zombies for zombies.  It’s not easy being the undead and if you can escape its pitfalls then you certainly have a bright (and meat filled) future to look forward to.  Aided and abetted by human sympathizers Bettina Gericke and Chris Meyer, this has everything you need to know if you have recently joined the ranks of the undead.

A Walk Around The Block by Bill Harley


This song by Bill Harley became so popular on one kids’ satellite radio station that, on the request of parents, it was taken off air for a week.  That is altogether appropriate for a song which celebrates the uncanny ability of almost every child to infuriate and exasperate its parent to the point of weeping.  Laura Downling, a freelance motion graphics artist currently based in Dublin, has animated the song in a rather lovely way, but be warned: do not share this with your child(ren).

13 July 2014

Naptime!


If you have children who are about to start their summer holiday then you might appreciate this – as long as you keep in mind that its creator, Chris Capel, has his tongue so firmly in his cheek it’s probably a surprise that he can talk.  If you are easily offended then, again, don’t press that play button.  If you dread what the summer will bring with your enfants terribles, get your credit card ready….

8 July 2014

Innuendo


The wonderfully barmy English philosopher Jeremy Bentham once wrote: Stretching his hand up to reach the stars, too often man forgets the flowers at his feet.  It is so true. Life on earth is about so much more than the birds and the bees – it’s also about the ‘shrooms.  Under our feet the amatory ballet of reproduction goes on and without it our own cycle of birth, love and death would not exist.  This vital component of life on earth is here brought to life in a larger than life way by five students of the Utrecht School of the Arts in the Netherlands.  It is visually stunning and it’s obvious that a whole lot of work – and love – has gone in to this wonderful project.

The Innuendo team consist of (right to left in this wonderful mugshot from the animation's Facebook page) Tim de Haan. Louise van Putten, Kjeld Slingerland, Niels Bosch and Dieuwer Feldbrugge.  I have to say that this is probably my favorite student animation of the year so far (a prize which more often than not goes to Supinfocom and not just because France is where I learned about the birds and the bees. Honestly).

7 July 2014

Verdi Vs Wagner


Verdi and Wagner were born in the same year – 1813 – and last year was their bicentennial.  Although the two never met they didn’t much like each other's work.  For Wagner, Verdi’s work was too populist: for Verdi, Wagner’s work often strayed off path which is a nice way to say way too long and a bit bombastic.  Here, animator Pablo Morales de los Ríos imagines that the two did meet – and they sort each other out through five Acts (or should that be rounds?).

Ain’t No Money


John Keynes once said: Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone. We may perhaps be even more jaded than Keynes these days but at least we occasionally get to see the most wickedest get their comeuppance as in this thought-provoking piece made by Mark Jenkinson to accompany Daniel James’ Ain’t No Money.

If You Love Barcelona, You Must Watch This!


You may have seen Barcelona’s stunning city-scape as a time-lapse or in slow-motion. Yet have you seen it in flow-motion? The brilliance of this gave me one of those rare jaw on floor moments – watch it and you will see why. Whether or not you know and love the city as I do this short tour, appropriately named Barcelona Go! will take your breath away.

Created by prominent urban filmmaker Rob Whitworth (so talented I hope he doesn’t need slapping too often), this captures the life of this glorious city perfectly.  This makes me want to make a dash for the airport right now...

Hunger


Have you ever felt even slightly sorry for a carnivorous plant? If not then you may after watching Hunger.  This short animation from 4bit from an idea by Flavia Minnone and Lorenzo Giol (directed, too, by the latter) shows us that there are some, whatever the tools they have been given in this life, almost always feel overshadowed by another.

Yet one-upmanship may not always be the answer…
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