Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘animation’

05 AUGUST, 2010

Animation Spotlight: The Films of Joaquin Baldwin

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Changing the world through origami, or what voodoo has to do with windmill farms.

Joaquin Baldwin grew up in Paraguay. But, as a 19-year-old, he made his move to the US, heading first to Ohio for college, then LA for graduate school. Enrolling in The UCLA Animation Workshop, Baldwin began working on his animated films. By 2006, he released two shorts, Placenta and Alphamorphosis, which feature a signature “poetic, silent narrative.” Papiroflexia (2007) came next.

Papiroflexia (“origami” in Spanish) plays felicitously with the concept of changing the world through art, and the critics greeted it warmly. The film won 22 awards and honors overall. Even better, it was named a finalist in the Short Film Corner competition at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2008, Baldwin took another step forward with Sebastian’s Voodoo, a darker film with a more cinematic quality.

Sebastian’s Voodoo landed an even longer list of awards, despite sometimes facing competition from Pixar and Disney. Then the big coup. Baldwin re-entered the same competition at Cannes where he was a finalist the year before, and this time landed the big prize. You can watch (and even download) Baldwin’s films — including his latest one, The Windmill Farmer — at PixelNitrate.com.

Dan Colman edits Open Culture, which brings you the best free educational media available on the web — free online courses, audio books, movies and more. By day, he directs the Continuing Studies Program at Stanford University, and you can also find him on Twitter.

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04 AUGUST, 2010

One Designer, Two Designer: Vintage Australian Animation

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Tea cups, cavemen and why consumer research is doing design a disservice.

We have a soft spot for documentaries about design — from Gary Hustwit’s Objectified to the BBC’s The Genius of Design. And while industrial design may seem like a relatively newfound cultural obsession, the design of “things” has been on the minds of filmmakers for a long time.

Today, we look at an uncovered gem from the archive of the Design Council of Australia — One Designer, Two Designer, a wonderful animated short film circa 1978 comically exploring what makes good and bad design.

Style can be very easily confused with design and is very often substituted for that. A trendy hook to a product may be just that. To serve a popular style today is often to perform a disservice to the customer. The real function of the designer is to understand the function of the thing he is designing.

Despite the humorous tone, the film delves into the important misconceptions about design and designers’ role in society, emphasizing the need for developing a design sensibility to better and more critically evaluate the value of objects beyond what advertising slogans may promise.

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15 JULY, 2010

Dreaming of Lucid Living: Enchanted Entertainment

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Touching pixels, or how digital animation and analog performance converge into magic.

As we continue covering TEDGlobal 2010 for GOOD, another short-and-sweet today — Dreaming of Lucid Living, an enchanted performance-animation by California-based multimedia artist Miwa Matreyek.

Matreyek performed an excerpt from this piece at the opening of Session 6, Different by Design, of TED — which you can follow via our live Twitter stream this week.

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