Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘Temujin Doran’

11 MARCH, 2014

The Life and Death of Mountains

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The humility of understanding how Earth’s most monumental creations crumble to the bottom of the sea.

Some years ago, I discovered and fell in love with the work of filmmaker, illustrator, and composer Temujin Doran, who makes incredibly thoughtful and poetic documentary-style cinematic meditations on everything from the rise of mass media to the beauty of the vowels to the joy of illustration to the art of protest. Now comes The Weight of Mountains — a magnificent short film about the life-cycle of mountains and the interlaced processes by which they are born and eventually laid to rest. Inspired by the work of legendary British geographer prolific author L. Dudley Stamp, the film was shot in Iceland and features animation from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio.

Best experienced in full-screen.

Despite their great size and age, their lives pan out in much the same way that a living creature’s does: They have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and as such, the life of a mountain mimics our own — it is a life that carries the weight of being and anticipation of sadness that one day things will change.

For another poetic take on Earth’s cycles of life, see the breathtaking animation Whale Fall.

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06 FEBRUARY, 2013

Obey: How the Rise of Mass Propaganda Killed Populism

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“A populace that can no longer find the words to articulate what is happening to it is cut off from rational discourse.”

British filmmaker and illustrator Temujin Doran has previously delighted and stimulated us with his visual love letters to language and illustration, his opinionated meditations on democracy and the art of protest, and his poetic documentaries about a small Arctic town and a dying occupation. His latest film, made entirely out of footage found on the web, is based on the book The Death of the Liberal Class (public library; UK) by cultural critic and foreign correspondent Chris Hedges and explores how the rise of the Corporate State precipitated everything from income inequality to environmental collapse to the mainstream media’s metamorphosis from a tool of public service into a weapon of private interest.

We unite behind brands, behind celebrities, rather than behind nations. We have become more than nation states — we are corporation states.

The opening of the film comes from the epigraph to The Death of the Liberal Class, in which George Orwell reminds us:

At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is ‘not done’ to say it, just as in mid-Victorian times it was ‘not done’ to mention trousers in the presence of a lady. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.

Complement with Adam Curtis’s excellent BBC chronicle of consumerism, The Century of the Self.

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27 JULY, 2012

Illustration (The Finest Occupation): An Animated Short Film

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A charming tongue-in-cheek testament to the art of taking joy in one’s work.

I recently had the delight of moderating an AIGA conversation on the future of illustration with all-star illustrators Christoph Niemann, Nicholas Blechman, and Jennifer Daniel, in which two things became immediately clear: The borders of what illustration actually is are ever-shifting, and the finest illustrators take enormous pride and pleasure in their work, despite its creative frustrations.

From Temujin Dorandocumentarian, illustrator, language-lover, provocateur — comes Illustration (The Finest Occupation), a lovely short film about illustration based on a poem he wrote in his last year of (illustration) school, “a fictitious congratulatory letter written by a proud tutor to a recent graduate.” Doran’s drawings reminiscent of Edward Gorey and tongue-in-cheek rhymes, despite their irreverent tone, deliver the same tremendously important message Ray Bradbury so passionately articulated: Work with joy, always.

The greatest illustration
is not mere decoration
but succinct accumulation
of creative demonstration
and ratifying observation
of the intended subjectation
with alarming innovation
and shining punctuation
of all relevant information
done with stoic consideration
for its intended situation
exceeding all expectation
with regard to the examination
of images domination
to that of textual affectation
that commands generation upon generation
to convey without hesitation
their continued exultation
at its supreme imagination
within the realms of communication.

Thus it delights be beyond all anticipation
to relay my admiration
and relentless adoration
at your unbridled determination
towards your education
and after serious meditation
in the height of contemplation
it becomes my acclimation
to give you confirmation
after just deliberation
and close interrogation
of your startling illumination
variation
adaptation
and exemplification
accomplished in the field of illustration.

And so after such examination
it is my proud pronunciation
of your swift galvanization
a first rate qualification
you may receive with due humiliation
despite its floccinaucinihilipilification
(worthless accreditation)
so it becomes my recommendation
without prevarication
for celebration
and recreation
to be your obligation

Yours truly
Professor Toby Flosotation
B.A. M.A. Ph. D. Illustration

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