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.
“Box explores the synthesis of real and digital space through projection-mapping onto moving surfaces. The short film documents a live performance, captured entirely in camera…It is the culmination of multiple technologies, including large scale robotics, projection mapping, and software engineering.”
Projection mapping is sufficiently magical when displayed on static surfaces but to see it like this takes the medium to a whole new level. Cheers to Bot & Dolly for some absolutely stellar watchables.
Thanks for sending this our way, Garrett!
“The animation work was made in Adobe After Effects. Each frame was then printed and the print was subsequently scanned back into the computer. The scanned frames were then assembled back into the original animation, now with a new rugged look, created by the visit in the physical analogue world. No effects added after scanning.”
I’ve always been rather partial to the craggy, mechanical warmth of halftone patterns and this minimal-and-mysterious music video by Steffen Bygebjerg for Troels Abrahamsen puts them center stage. ENJOY!
The Who’s and What’s don’t really matter though cause the visuals in the attached are off-the-chain great and super-trippy; if you’re a regular visitor here I’m confident you’ll love it. My only gripe is that it’s far too short, I can watch stuff like this for hours.
P.S. If you’re interested in process then definitely give the ‘making of’ a watch, too.
I often implore y’all to watch the videos I post here ‘full screen with the lights down’. I think properly ‘setting the scene’ for any worthwhile experience is well, worth it, but in the case of the attached it’s an absolute necessity.
All the sounds in this film by Takashi Ohashi are syllables in the Japanese language but aren’t joined together with any formal syntax; there’s no meaning to discern whatsoever. The same goes for the animation, it’s just bright shape and form on a black field, a visual representation of how your eyes might interpret what your ears are experiencing.
I had a strange realization as I watched it. My initial reaction was “Yeah, that looks about right” but then, in the very next moment, I wondered why it looked right. What in my instinctual thought process is validating the authenticity of how these moving forms relate to the sounds my ears are hearing? Where is that process taking place in my grey matter?
Stranger still, I never had any doubts that you would have the same experience. The human mind is a deliciously strange and delightful thing to both observe and observe with. So yeah, maximize your wonder quotient by clearing out the distractions before clicking play, the extra effort is well worth it.
P.S. When you’re done here, be sure to give With My Umbrella – a music video by Takashi Ohashi we posted last August – a watch next.
It appears Dimitri Stankowicz has been hard at work honing his solid-color-fill vector animation style since we first posted his entry into Björk’s Innocence video contest two years ago. The visuals in the attached sync up beautifully (both in timing and spirit) with Rone‘s deep, synth-driven, spaced-out sound. The net-effect is pure, distilled atmosphere so get it loaded in 1080p and strap your headphones on.
This one’s a treat and we owe Brandon Michael Azzarella a big thanks for sharing it with us on Facebook. Cheers, Brandon!
P.S. If you find that your taste in music tends to line-up with my mine then don’t hesitate to pick up the full-length album ‘Bye Bye Macadam’ is from, Tohu Bohu. It’s packed to the brim with the type of soaring, emotive electronica that’s pitch-perfect for late-night drives and contemplative lazy afternoon seshes.
posted by respondcreate on Jan. 07, 2013 in Videos | tags: animation, astronomy, atmospheric, black and white, dimitri stankowicz, electronic music, fantasy, hd, magic, monochromatic, music video, rone, trippy, vector, wormhole
Absolutely loving the spartan, monochromatic and tight-as-fuck animation in this Mathieu Bétard-directed music video for Kris Menace. It’s a delicate mix of mirrored-and-repeating geometric ‘morphables’, rotoscoped figures and bizarre transitional touches where everything besides line, form and movement is swept aside. Just absolutely gorgeous stuff.
If you enjoyed the attached then definitely give Chunkothy a watch next, I’m 100% positive you’ll dig it. Cheers!
posted by respondcreate on Nov. 21, 2012 in Videos | tags: animation, bizarre, black and white, electronic music, geometric, hd, kris menace, mathieu bétard, mirror, miss kittin, monochromatic, music video, rotoscoping, trippy, wizz
“My approach to illustration is about paring things down as much as possible.
I try and get to the essence of my subject by using as few lines and colours
as it needs to convey the core of the idea.”
Malika Favre, who wrote the above, has a distinctly minimal and dignified hard-edged style that’s reminiscent (to me at least) of Paul Rand‘s iconic logos, René Gruau’s figures and those muted-future illustrations you might see hanging faded in a dated hair salon’s street-facing window. That last bit of the preceding sentence might seem insulting but honestly, it wasn’t my intention.
Picasso famously said that ‘good artists copy; great artists steal’ which, like most hyperbolic statements, makes sense on the surface but doesn’t hold up to honest, measured scrutiny. Insecure assholes steal; a great artist internalizes the images that inexplicably resonate, leveraging them as a catalyst for iterative exploration until something entirely their own arises from the grind. And, though Ms. Favre’s work might remind me of something else – it is, make no mistake, wholly unique.
Strangely enough, the attached wasn’t made by her but was commissioned by Kemistry Gallery to advertise her upcoming exhibition, Hide and Seek. Maki Yoshikura did the animation while Luke Carpenter and Natural Self handled the compositing and music, respectively.
Credits aside, I like to see such tight, precise illustrations move and Maki did a stellar job bringing Malika’s work to life without compromising it’s rigid spirit. Oh, and the transition from one vignette to the next in stark black-and-white makes the eyes a bit dizzy (in a good way) so get this loaded full screen for sure. Enjoy!
NSFW Warning: If you (or your employer) are offended at line-drawings of naughty bits you might want to pass on this one.
Berlin-based motion artist Alexander Gellner expertly condenses the confusing cacophony of changes that define puberty into a single minute of tight animation. Music and sound design comes courtesy of Niklas A Kröger.
“People say, ‘I’ve never been in a fight’ and what that really means is that they’ve never really risked themselves beyond a comfortable existence physically…[Being] somewhere where you [can] have an ultimate loss [or] where you can be killed or maimed is [to have] an experience that builds courage.”
From the documentary series ‘California is a place.’ by Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari.
I love how none of the shadows (or birds for that matter) are touching in this photograph by Alexei Bednij.