Have you guys ever seen The Powers of Ten? It’s a 9 minute short Charles and Ray Eames created for IBM in 1977 that I first saw at the Boston Museum of Science with my dad sometime in the eighties. It depicts, “the relative scale of the Universe according to an order of magnitude (or logarithmic scale) based on a factor of ten, first expanding out from the Earth until the entire universe is surveyed, then reducing inward until a single atom and its quarks are observed.” (source: Wikipedia)
In the wake of that first initial viewing I was simultaneously struck with wonder by both the enormity of the universe it illustrated and the ingenuity of the filmmakers.
How do we know all this is true? And how did they DO that?
Up until that point I had never seen anything like it. The Powers of Ten was ‘educational’ but didn’t feel that way; it wasn’t stuffy or boring but exciting, the type of thing I could watch at school that wouldn’t feel like school. It turns out that learning stuff doesn’t have to be chore…in fact, it can and should be the exact opposite.
I can’t know for sure but my guess is that Takashi Ohashi has seen The Powers of Ten too and that it, in no small part, inspired the attached. It’s a music video from the same album as my previous post, Maison De Megu – so it’s no surprise that the two share a similar aesthetic – but they differ in setting, trading the former’s electrical schematic for a virtual world that ‘gels’ only when viewed from a particular viewing angle.
In fact, that point-of-view play is my favorite part. Beyond just the eye-candy thrill you get by seeing the visual plane wobble (during the wormhole-y zooms) and dramatically split (during the rotating sequences at 1:18-1:25, 1:47-2:20 and 2:52-3:11) it’s a reminder that our view of the world always ultimately depends on our perspective. In my mind that, not the zoom-in/zoom-out bits, is what provides the most significant parallel to The Powers of Ten. Is that looking into it too much? Am I extrapolating meaning where none was intended?
Maybe. Probably. But, whatever. That’s what I saw, maybe you did too?
Also: If you were diggin’ the wormhole dives through triangles you should definitely check out the super-rad music video for Slugabed’s Quantum Leap next, it’s 100% can’t-miss.
In college I was lucky enough to land a summer internship at a nuclear power plant; it paid almost double than my previous gig (at a movie theatre), gave me regular ‘office hours’ and included every-other-Friday off. I had originally been hired to do office grunt work but, after a chance conversation with someone in the simulator division, was asked to come upstairs and help them out.
All nuclear power plants are required (by the NRC) to have a simulator that is an exact replica of the control room. And I mean exact, even the color and type on the paper labels that hang from the panels must be in perfect parity with their on-site counterpart.
Our job in the simulator division was to create scenarios that would test the knowledge of each operator and team, ensuring they could handle the worst-case sequence-of-events that would, if left unchecked, result in a catastrophic total shut-down of the reactor. Safety was certainly priority one but that’s just because a meltdown would result in a non-functioning reactor and, considering a power plant’s profitability is in direct proportion to its up-time (even a one percent reduction in output could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars lost), it’s in everyone’s best interest to know their shit.
If left unchecked the reactor would safetly shut itself down so your typical Hollywood, everything-is-FUBAR storyline would be deftly dealt with. As a result, I learned it was far-more interesting to fail a minor, seemingly insignificant pump or circuit, watch its effect cascade rapidly through the system and observe how the operators would deal with it. How quickly could they define the source of the issue? Could they keep the plant operating at peak-capacity while enacting the fix?
One summer I was tasked with translating some on-paper schematics of an electrical sub-system into the codebase that had yet to be integrated into the simulator. For nearly two months I was left (mostly) undisturbed in my first-ever cubicle, discman strapped to my ears, bathed in light from a CRT monitor while I meticulously followed the diagrams, laying out and connecting each diode, capacitor and gate until a page of the circuit was faithfully reproduced.
Though what I was doing was exceedingly more interesting that any previous minimum wage job my fickle, easily distracted primate brain soon started to wander, embroidering elaborate scenarios to cope with the plodding tedium. I imagined electrons squealing with delight as they raced through the loops of an inductor or crowding together as they funneled into a diode.
Anything to pass the time.
So yeah, I get the attached. I’m there man; I’ve been there.
One of the cool things about my extended vacation from posting is that I get to catch-up on what some of my favorite artists have been up to in my absence. I’m happy to report that Takashi Ohashi has been continuing to use simple line and color to create thrilling, intuitively evolving music videos. This one is for Megu & Patron’s “pari pari par-ri-” (メグとパトロン - パリパリパーリー) and Takashi’s playful visuals are a perfect backing to the optimistic, joyful chiptune vibe of the tune. In fact, I couldn’t decide whether or not I wanted to post this or his equally-rad video for Ryusei Girl so I decided to just do both.
“A lighthearted essay on contextualized characters.
Reconstruction follows deconstruction.”
*Dusts off keyboard*
Whoa. Hey, what’s going in? It’s been a while.
The short story: I’ve been busy.
The long story:
I’m a dad and my daughter is at the age where she notices (and gets upset) when I’ve got my face stuck in a phone or laptop whilst spending time with her. I was lucky enough to have parents who paid attention to me and know how important that shit is so, quite out of the blue, my not-at-work screen time is now at a premium.
I’ve started open sourcing some of the software I’ve been writing over the last year and that’s been sucking up a lot of my time. “Sucking up” in a good way, in a “get lost in what you’re doing and end up feeling accomplished” sort of way. It’s really fun to hone in on, refine and document things I’ve been building with the express purpose of helping other people solve challenges similar to ones I’ve had to tackle. I learned how to program by using (and studying) code that was written by others and if those folks hadn’t open-sourced what they wrote I honestly wouldn’t have the skills necessary to do what I do for a living. I am seizing an opportunity to be useful to others; a state of being and action that, for me at least, yields the maximum about of bliss. If you’re curious:
I’ve been working on a project that I can’t talk a lot about right now but let me put it this way: if it happens I would post in on this web zone (even if I didn’t have a hand in making it).
Watching rad videos and talking about why I love them is one of my favorite things to do but sometimes even THAT has to take a backseat to other pursuits. Everything interesting on this website I found freely available to watch online and as compelling as it is to continually consume what others create, I also want to contribute my own drops to the internet’s vast ocean of interesting things.
All the above can be summed up with one of Ms. Tripatorium’s favorite phrases: “You can do anything but you can’t do everything.”
Over the past month or so I started to receive messages from many of you inquiring about the status of the site. Most of them included a little note of appreciation and none of them were mean or rude which was super-cool. To know that so many of you were missing these little posts I like to write in my spare time late at night or on the train to-and-from the city was tremendously gratifying.
Speaking of posts: attached above is a bizarre little treat Carl Burton introduced me to on twitter. It’s essentially improvisational animation; a minute-and-a-half riff on what gives birds their birdness. The ‘worm sequence’ is just mental and easily my favorite. Anyone have like $50,000 so we can hire ZEITGUISED (or, at least, lead animator Matt Frodsham) to make a whole bunch more of these?
Thanks, as always, for reading. Cheers!
Straight-away I was reminded of Jake Fried, but only in materials/process. It’s clear that Emanuele is also intuitively fleshing out the movement frame-by-frame as he goes but his work is unique in that there’s no figurative elements to recognize; only abstract geometry and form that, when quilted together, comes across as both familiar and foreign.
I’m reminded of the notebooks I used to fill with random scribbles while bored out of my mind in high school: I’d start with a stray line or a random shape and then try to make sense of it with the remaining paper, as if the choatic mess left by my pen was what I had intended to create from the beginning. It was a way to pass the time and entertain myself instead of blankly staring at the clock, fantasizing about the bell that would eventually set me free.
Thanks for passing this one along, Sam Lillard!
P.S. I recommend giving Jake’s work a look when you’re done here.
I’ve technically already posted the attached – it was, after all, included in Late Night Work Club’s ultra-rad first release, Ghost Stories – but, considering that it was my favorite of the bunch, I figured this magical bit of animation from Charles Huettner deserved its own entry on the site. ENJOY!
“14 teams of Austin based studios and freelancers participated in a 48 hour animation challenge in the spirit of an Exquisite Corpse presented by the Austin Motion Artists Group, Moontower VFX, Houndstooth Studio, and The Octopus Project.
On January 17th, 2014, each team received a specifically designed start frame, an end frame, an 11 second 4 bar phrase of the chosen Octopus Project song and a guiding theme “The Ecstatic Energy of Geometry.”
P.S. Didya see the one Cartoon Network commissioned last summer?
posted by respondcreate on Feb. 08, 2014 in Videos | tags: austin motion artists group, bizarre, colorful, exquisite corpse, geometry, hd, houndstooth studio, moontower vfx, music video, the octopus project, trippy
It’s pretty rare that I’ll post a video that isn’t HD. The attached is only 360p which is, like, 50% less than my typical minimum-p-quotient but the lack of resolution does little to diminish its charm.
It’s a music video is for a tune by Wagon Christ, an artist I first encountered during my post-college-single-and-searching-for-meaning-slash-purpose years. At the time I was living alone and working from home for a start-up which meant my long-simmering tendency to obsess was, for the first time, allowed to swell unfettered to a full, rolling boil. My mind has wrapped that entire era in a peculiar, wistful nostalgia; I have no desire to return to those days but will forever appreciate how they shaped me into who I am today.
My memories of that time have all bled together, lost in an impenetrable haze of code, photoshop, booze, solitary walks and music from SomaFM. The latter had a show, Groove Salad, that played ambient, downtempo instrumentals and I am forever in its debt for introducing me to artists like Leggo Beast, Bullitnuts, dZihan & Kamien, Tosca, Baby Mammoth and, of course, Wagon Christ.
The visuals – created by Celyn Brazier and Tom & Mark Perrett (of Nexus Productions) – are evocative of both Yellow Submarine and Castle in the Sky and tell a story about the transformative power of time, demonstrating how quickly the impressive giants of yesterday can become todays tourist curiosity.
“I do for sure. I don’t like going places and sitting around for twenty hours waiting for them to reset a shot. I made the conscious decision a long time ago: I’m done with live action. ‘Cause I can just sit in my agoraphobic darkened room and create worlds, and now I’m doing it with a bunch of awesome, talented animators and designers and we can go anywhere we want. Anywhere…more” – Justin Roiland in response to the question Do you find writing for animation more creatively liberating than, say, writing live action?
Last year, after reading that Dan Harmon would no longer be the showrunner for Community, I got super bummed-out. My love for the show is well documented and to confront the reality that it would no longer be nurtured with nutrients from its central, creative teat was pretty depressing.
A few weeks before Sony axed Mr. Harmon, adultswim announced it had picked up a pilot of an animated show he co-created with Justin Roiland (who you probably know best as the voice of Lemongrab on Adventure Time) and I distinctly remember feeling giddy at the news. Community, in many ways, already felt like an animated show – with its insane, truly far-out plotlines and laser-focused visual execution – and I figured that without any need for cameras, Dan Harmons creative vision could flow out, unencumered.
I’m happy to report that Rick & Morty is as bizarre as I had hoped it would be. Attached above is the
second third episode (you can watch the first two at adultswim) and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
In the weeks since sharing Masanobu Hiraoka‘s Land I’ve come back and re-watched it at least a dozen times. His ability to change composition with unbroken, constantly-evolving morphs – as opposed to the more traditionally-employed cut – consistently rewards an additional viewing; each one yields another subtle treasure I overlooked the first (or second or third or…) time.
In the attached, a music video for Yoshiharu Abe‘s ONE AND THREE FOUR, Mr. Hiraoka experiments with how his psychedelic liquid transitions appear when kaleidoscopically mirrored and/or confined to a nearly-omnipresent circular frame. It reminds me a lot of both Celyn Brazier‘s stellar animation for Chunkothy and Ori Toor’s work which is about the highest praise I can give.
Full-screen HD for sure, kiddos. ENJOY!
P.P.S. Our kaleidoscope feed is pretty rad, too.
When Ironlak discovered a large warehouse in Brisbane was marked for demolition they arranged for Sofles, Fintan Magee, Treas and Quench to have unfettered access to its interior walls. Luckily, Selina Miles was there to capture their aerosol orgy in gorgeous time lapse so we could all experience what happened. ENJOY!
Thanks for writing in to share this with us, Nathan! Cheers!!