Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘animation’

06 JULY, 2010

Blu is Back: The Story of Evolution, Told in Graffiti

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Lo-fi Darwinism, or why art and algorithm don’t hold hands on Buenos Aires sidewalks.

Nearly two years ago, Italian street artist Blu made waves with MUTO — arguably the most creative graffiti-driven animation of all time. Today, Blu is back with BIG BAG BIG BOOM, the latest gem in his treasure chest of stop-motion urban storytelling — an abstract exploration of the beginning and evolution of life.

What makes this so remarkable is that all of the animation effects were achieved in-camera, “animated” simply by filming the progression of painting on buildings, sidewalks and objects, with no post-production composting whatsoever. This analog, organic, lo-fi visual storytelling offers a complete paradigm shift, challenging us to think differently about a medium that is, at least today, inherently digital and software-assisted.

At least for today — Art: 1, Algorithm: 0.

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05 JULY, 2010

Versions: The Purpose and Repurposing of Images

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Originality, recycling, and why everyone is stealing from Disney.

The evolution of remix culture is something we’re quite fascinated by — from the notion of originality in creation (how similar is too similar?) to the moral tensions of sampling and borrowing. That’s exactly what occupies artist Oliver Laric in Versions, a visual essay about the re-appropriation of images, the borrowing of intellectual property and the manipulation of visual media.

Narrated with a no doubt intentionally robotic voiceover, the essay is as much an eye-opening exposé on the unabashed visual recycling in popular culture as it is a bold defense of the importance of creatively borrowing from greats of yore. From Greco-Roman sculpture to quantum physics, the essay explores the multifaceted dialogue about visual culture and the nature of authorship.

I express unlimited thanks to all the authors that have in the past, by compiling from remarkable instances of skill, provided us with abundant materials of different kinds. Drawing from them as it were water from springs and converting them to our own purposes, we find our own powers of writing rendered more fluent and easy, and relying upon such authorities we venture to release new systems of instruction.” ~ Oliver Laric

As remix culture continues to thrive in the grey areas of art and legislature, it’s fascinating to observe how different creators grapple with its complexities and interpret its blend of opprtunities and challenges.

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29 JUNE, 2010

Waiting for “Superman”: Education by the Numbers

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Why 26 seconds are enough to end up in prison, or what Superman has to do with the economy.

A couple of months ago, we raved about Waiting for “Superman” — an ambitious new documentary about the state of public education from filmmaker Davis Guggenheim of An Inconvenient Truth fame.

The film explores the human side of education statistics, following five promising, talented, intelligent kids through a system that inhibits rather than inspires academic and intellectual growth. While very much a curtain-peeler for a broken system, with all its “academic sinkholes” and “drop-out factories,” the film is also a hopeful manifesto for the transformational power of great educators, whom Guggenheim casts as the only true ushers of education reform.

This week, the film released an infographic-driven teaser in addition to standard trailer, offering a compelling visual narrative around some eye-opening education statistics.

In America right now, a kid drops out of high school every 26 seconds. These drop-outs are 8 times more likely to go to prison, 50% less likely to vote, more likely to need social welfare assistance, not eligible for 90% of jobs, are being paid 40 cents to the dollar of earned by a college graduate, and continuing the cycle of poverty.”

The film ultimately asks the most critical question: How do we ensure that talented teachers help their students succeed?

We highly, highly encourage you to see Waiting for “Superman” when it hits theaters this fall — you can even pledge to do so right now. Meanwhile, the site offers a handful of ways to take action and lend a hand in fixing a broken system from the ground up.

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