31 January 2012

How to Blow Up a Ship

When the HMNZS Wellington had come to the end of its life the decision was made to scuttle the frigate. Yet this was no act of environmental vandalism on a grand scale. The controlled explosion, off the south east coast of Wellington, New Zealand, had a much more munificent objective. The aim was to blow up the ship in order for it to become a new reef on the ocean’s floor. It was quite an explosion, too!


Artificial reefs are being created in order to give a new habitat to coral and other small organisms. This in turn attracts larger animals and before too long you have provided local underwater wildlife with a great new home not to mention a cool new diving destination. The explosion is enough to bring out the excitable young kid in all of us too!

Down she goes!

As the frigate sinks only a cloud is left to show where it once was. Yet it is about to become home to a new set of inhabitants.


Image Credits
First Image Credit - Flickr User Philip C
Explosion images - Flickr User Pieter Pieterse
Last 4 pictures - Flickr User Phillip C

29 January 2012

Playing with Humans

Damon had to admit that playing with humans was much more fun than he had thought at first when Darrell had suggested it this morning.

Image Credit Flickr User David Blackwell - and plenty more in this ilk to be found at his Photostream!

Discobot


When the lights go off each evening in a factory the robot workers are left in the dark. Unbeknown to their human masters the machines have something of a life of their own and very soon the factory is bumping and grinding as the sometime obedient automatons become discobots!

They even have a very clever way of ensuring that the slow song necking can go ahead…

This is an amusing and engaging animation by Michel Doidic. It is amazing how something like a factory robot can acquire a personality when animated by someone who knows what they are doing!

I Watch You Paint


As a painting is painstakingly created a relationship is slowly being destroyed. This almost elegiac piece watches the man as he watches the woman, watches the woman as she extricates herself from the man.

It is almost painfully sad.

An animated short shot and rotoscoped based on the poem 'I Watch You Paint' by Albert Garcia (published by Prairie Schooner, a US national literary quarterly). It was created by Timothy Guthrie who you may also have heard about as artsyfartsytim.

28 January 2012

Introducing Skynet

The Cursor's Curse


It is a truth universally acknowledged that an animator has the power of life, death or anything over his creations. So toons must often keep their fingers (paws, claws, et cetera) crossed and hope that the person who breathed (or sometimes clicked) life in to them is not a wicked sort – a little like Jafar the genie with a keyboard. Unfortunately, in this industry, so many animators go a little, well, mad (not to put too fine a point on it) that often their characters find themselves in a far from nurturing atmosphere. Sometimes giving an animator a computer is like giving a teenage Marilyn Manson fan a gun and asking him to polish it.

So, this poor chap doesn’t stand a chance under the gentle care of his maker, Richard Gillies, who created this animation while at the Vancouver Film School. I am sure his tutors remonstrated with him about cruelty to toons, but he obviously didn’t listen...! Now he has graduated - world (and toons particularly!) beware!

27 January 2012

Don't Believe the Pipe

Hiking the Northern Hills of Chiang Mai, Thailand:

By Guest Writer Matthew Nunn
Chiang Mai is a vital and popular node in the tourist network for Thailand and the greater South East region. Travellers come here to escape the tourist centric and crowded Bangkok as well as the picturesque and often lively Southern Thai Islands. Here you can expect to find a more culture rich atmosphere, whereby Chiang Mai trades on the traditional notions of Thai culture, the hustle and bustle of its markets and the historic nature of the ancient City’s walls and moat.

A heavily visited location, it doesn’t necessarily flaunt the jet setter scene of other popular destinations the world over, but thrives on the traveler atmosphere of those looking for a more authentic travel experience. Many enjoy being part of this transient community. For those who feel that Thailand has been pounded a little too much by the tourist footprint in the last 2 decades, the hills that surround Chiang Mai effectively combat this notion. Trekking this area will, aside from your guide, the host village, and your small group, remove you from civilization and any tourist influences.


The Northern Hills offer plenty of isolation for travellers looking to escape the crowd
The hills are well accessed by road, but this consists more of steep, solid solitary access roads rather than a sprawling road network. Consequently, once removed from transportation and heading into the jungle you are entering a stunning, isolated and remote region. This is hiking in its purest form; trails are minimal, there isn’t a sign post in existence and a willingness to clamber, slide, swim and grapple with the environment is required.

This is not to say the trek is unforgiving, but instead fairly challenging for anyone in reasonable condition. Although travel to here is easy, the ensuing time that you spend in the hills is not so effortless. Trekkers pack minimal provisions, focusing on essentials such as; a spare set of suitable clothing, insect repellant, sun screen and plenty of bottled water.

The Hill Region
There are 5 main hill tribes populating the area all with their own unique history and traditions. The Tribes are; the Lahu, the Akha, the Karen, the Lisu and the Hmong. Traditional art, dress and song will vary by each tribe, however they are not alone. There are many other villages and huts dotted around the hills that, due to the vast and remote nature of the location, manage to preserve their isolation. It can be a startling yet welcoming site to clamber over a rock or stumble through a bush and find a wooden hut nestled into the landscape, complete with pigs, dogs and sometimes agricultural land.

Periodically you will stumble across isolated settlements
The inhabitants of these dwellings are also known for having skilled Elephant herders. This is sometimes a contentious issue as degrees of animal cruelty occur in some people’s eyes, but the herders are dedicated to their trade, living and sleeping 24 hours with their animals. In the lower regions of the hills these elephants are often ridden by tourists on trails nimbly navigated by the animals. 

Scaling to the tops of these hills opens up breath taking views of dense lush jungle, allowing you to peek out of the canopy that envelops you at lower altitudes on the hills. If your trek takes you in the right direction you also have the opportunity to see the Thai-Burma border in the distance.

The Thai-Burma Border in the distance
Walking down from these heights will often involve slippery muddy slopes, rushing streams and may require grabbing onto the thin tall trees. Wildlife is pretty adept at concealing itself, but there are several large species of spider present which can often be seen around the villages when you stop to rest. The locals populate the area with their dogs and pigs, as well as the aforementioned elephants.

The environment is dominated by dense, lush vegetation that is only accessible on foot
Following the hills downwards takes you past conveniently located waterfalls for a cool down and as the landscape levels out more and agricultural farms start to pop up, many trekkers then head for a bamboo rafting session. The vastness of the region means you can venture around for an extensive period of time, but there is still the accessibility in place for a brief trip. Heading back to the city of Chiang Mai offers plenty, from tracking down the rich history of this region which has seen many a contest between Burma and Thailand over the centuries, to reveling in the modern Thai culture, something the city sells itself on as the unofficial second city of Thailand.

Author Bio – Matthew completed his first RTW trip in 2011 and has been travel blogging since. He plans to explore the Indian subcontinent in 2012. He is also a regular contributor to Top Travel Blogs.

Discover affordable Thailand by using Orbitz coupon codes.

22 January 2012

The Elephant in the Room

The elephant in the room. If you speak English as a second language you may not have come across this metaphorical idiom before. What does elephant in the room mean? It is when an obvious truth is almost studiously ignored, or indeed a problem exists which everyone denies by silence.  If you have an elephant in a room, let’s face it, the prodigious pachyderm is impossible to ignore. Yet if you do then you choose to ignore a problem or issue which is looming over you like, well, you know!

Although it makes its first appearance in the Oxford English Dictionary as late as 1959 it was used in a British journal n 1915. Mark Twain also conceptually used the metaphor in The Stolen White Elephant. I recently came across this marvelous homage to the art of Max Ernst, created by Flickr User Seriykotik1970. You can find a number more at his extremely groovy photostream.

No Escape

21 January 2012

Ex E.T.


Life on this distant planet is sedate and ordered – everything is orchestrated for the maximum harmony.  And boy is it dull. Yet one small child seems more than a little different from the rest. Curious, mischievous and playful he just doesn’t fit in with the others.  Time to get him to the doctors!

This is the degree work of four students, Benoit Bargeton, Rémy Froment, Nicolas Gracia et Yannick Lasfas who attended ESMA Montpelier in France.  It is quite something for a student film – I laughed out loud a number of times and the denouement of this great animation, although a little anticipated, is more than satisfactory (and explains a legend of our own quite nicely!).

Star Wars Uncut: Director's Cut


There are times when even the words labor of love do not give justice to something. So it is with Star Wars Uncut: Director’s Cut.  Put simply it is Star Wars Episode IV in hundreds of fifteen second segments, each created by a fan or group of fans. They could re-film their claimed segment in any way that they wished – and so was unleashed a veritable death star of creativity. The various clips were available to watch on the Star Wars Uncut website.

Now, the director, Casey Pugh, has hand-picked his favorites and put them together in the first feature length movie of its kind – a complete reproduction of an original film for fans and by fans.  I simply cannot imagine the amount of hours that must have been put in to this project and fortunately Casey had help at hand in the shape of video editor Aaron Valdez and sound designer and mixed Bryan Pugh.  The result is something of an internet phenomenon – and just goes to show what might not be created in the future should certain laws come to pass.

Order a pizza, gather round you everything you will need for two hours of empirical wallowing and enjoy this in all its hand-made glory!

18 January 2012

Warm Wool Cycle

Hello


If you  remember the video for Lionel Ritchie’s Hello then you might wince a little at the memory – a deliberate and unapologetic attempt to pull the heartstrings and sell records. This puts the record straight a little – just over a minute of clever cutting gives you a new visual interpretation of the song which will hopefully vanquish the memory of the blind girl at home with all the lights on!

The fun is provided courtesy of ant1mat3rie.

15 January 2012

Sospiro


Here’s a great example of art for art’s sake. This was created by Colin Rozee, who creates motion graphics for TV, theater, live events and is based in Bristol in the UK. He works almost exclusively in After Effects but here combines it with Optical Flares with Plexus (plus there’s a dash of Toonlt in the mix).  He created it simply because he enjoys working in Plexus. You would have to hate him if this wasn’t so brilliant!

There is no plot other than that which you may wish to imagine. What we do get, however, is just over two minutes of enigmatic coolness not to mention cleverness (which I am reliably told is the new sexy).  Sit back, full screen this – and enjoy!

..and before you ask, the ballerina is called Amber and the music is Sospiro by Bardo State.

14 January 2012

The Scream - Animated


I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.

These are the words of Edvard Munch in 1893, after he had created one of the world’s best loved pieces of art, The Scream. Now Sebastian Cosor has taken the words of the artist and created this animation.  It may not be quite what you were expecting (replete with Pink Floyd soundtrack) but it is certainly a new take on the work.  Tell us what you think!

13 January 2012

Bike Earrings Made Out of Paper Clips

Back in April last year we hosted a feature called Things to do with Paper Clips when you’re bored – and it has proved surprisingly popular, and has attracted people ever since (usually through Google searches). So, we were absolutely delighted recently to receive an email from Kuriositas reader Mantas Narbutis who wanted to share with you their own creation.  Thanks Mantas – this really is something else! We are not sure that we have ever seen an earring of a bike made from paper clips before!

Can you do as well as Mantas?  Send us your pictures of your paper clip creations (or in fact anything unusual you have made and of which you are proud!) and we will feature it on our pages!

New Media


Looks like the earth has been invaded again! Yet, hold on – this time it may just be our fault! We created New Media and now it is eating us. I always expected it would eat itself but this dystopic view of our future by Motionlights was so atmospheric I just had to include it on Kuriositas! Don't go looking for a story, here - just soak up the visuals and create one with your own imagination!

It's Friday the 13th!

OK, wrong year but fun anyway. Is that bad luck?

8 January 2012

Matatoro


This animation peers in to the hermetic world of bullfighting and its public, the reinvents and reinterprets it through a series of highly visual metaphors.  Whatever you thing of bullfighting itself, this animation is quite extraordinary – it is very, very different.  Surreal and lovely looking both matador and bull become real and vibrant characters as the animation progresses.

The 3d feel is so organic, and the frame rate helps with the hand done aesthetic of the piece. Altogether this is a stunning reflection of a part of Spanish culture of which it must be said many disapprove.  Yet there is no opprobrium here – you are left to judge for yourself. A huge well done to the matatoro team.

Raindrops Keep Falling

Here in London the weather is just miserable at the moment with very little respite from the drizzle and the grey sky. So when I came across this photograph by Brandon Christopher Warren it seemed an appropriate choice for today’s picture - although the discrete caption says nothing seems to fit the photograph, with the rain and the umbrella with the inclusion of the balloon just fit my mood exactly!  Brandon’s photostream over at Flickr is full of interesting shots so go get a coffee and visit it!

Operation White Widow


Operation White Widow is something awesome: unexpected, extremely visual and an animation that you really have to wait until the end to get it.  So hold on to your seat - the plot is simple (and wordless) but it is action all the way.  A group of alien soldiers prepare to go in to battle from above against our little world.  As they leap out of their ships in to mid air they chute down and form their battle formations. Yet not everything is as it seems.

The script, direction, modeling, texturing and animation for this complete trip is Jacek Mazur with music, sound and design by Tommy Zee.

6 January 2012

Rib Cage

The Discovery of Fire - Tadufeu


If you have ever wondered the circumstances in which fire was first discovered, then you need look no further (unless you want the truth, of course).

However, Tadufeu, a very funny animated short from a group of students at the ESMA School of Arts in France gives you one possibility at least.

A group of Cromags accidentally discover fire and, of course, are not willing to let their little secret fall in to the wrong hands. So, when a cold Neandert wanders their way they fob him off with various useless items. Then, one day, it rains.

This is certainly not quite what the history books will tell you but it is nonetheless great fun if you don’t mind a little violence!). Plus if you would like to find out more about this animated short then why not pop over to the Tadufeu website (in French).

3 January 2012

Next


How often do we follow each other blindly? This question – and any number more – is posed in this very funny but somewhat startling animation by Ukrainian animator, graphic artist and web designer Anatoliy Lavrenishyn or just toll for short.

You might say that this is a rather bleak view of humanity but with our history it is sometimes difficult to be optimistic. This animation, however, is quite deliciously dark with an upbeat soundtrack and more than a little humor thrown in for good measure.

If this wets your appetite, toll has a number of other animations on his Vimeo page or you can visit his website to learn more about his work.

Road Rage


This is simple but very, very effective. Any drivers out there, please keep this in mind next time you are caught up in traffic! It could set off a chain of events similar to the ones you are just about to see here!

This very funny animated short comes to you courtesy of Nick Khoo who dedicates it to all those jerks who cut me off on the road. It was animated in After Effect and just goes to show that you don’t have to have the budget of Pixar to make a very funny and very knowing animation.

Q Confucius

This giant head and shoulders, representing the famous thinker and social philosopher of the 5th century BC is part of a new exhibition at the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai. Created by world renowned artist Zhang Huan, Q Confucius is part of a series of the artist’s thoughts on art and society.

The enormous sculpture has been planned by the artist and museum for over two years.  It is Huan’s response to a series of question he posed himself, such as China’s place in the modern world and the responsibilities with its emergence as a global superpower, economically, socially, militarily and scientifically. Is there room for a sense of Chinese spirituality in the twenty first century?

The museum is now in its second year and the RAM as it is known has previously hosted three major exhibitions with Q Confucius and its associated works making the fourth.  Made especially for the museum, Q Confucius almost reaches the ceiling of the spacious room in which it is housed.

It was created from carbon fiber and acrylic over a steel frame and is hyper realistic to say the very least.  You can see each and every detail of Confucius’ face and upper body down to the pores and wrinkles of age. Huan lives in both Shanghai and New York and it is expected that the latter city will be the next port of call for this immense sculpture – sometime in 2013.



All other images courtesy of Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai

Location of Bat Cave Revealed

Perhaps Julian Assange is at it again. Maybe The Joker decided to play one last prank. Whatever the case, we can reveal today that the location of the Bat Cave has finally been revealed to the world.

Contrary to what many people believe, it is not on the outskirts of Gotham City. It is located in Henderson County, North Carolina.

Now, either the Batmobile goes a lot faster than we ever suspected or someone is telling porkies...

Either way, Batman is not happy about it.

Image Credit Wikimedia
Amung Feedjit
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