Friday, May 30, 2008

Flashing Lights... III

Really? Another one? OK K-dawg.

While video number three is, thankfully, better than number two (if you missed number two, here's a quick recap: all photos, gratuitous "sexy," and rape). A return to the element of mystery, some fantastic camera work. But seriously, why is Kanye putting out MULTIPLE VIDEOS for this song? Yeah, it's a good song, Kanye, we get it. Nothing is going to remotely compare to the excitement that the first one generated - short, sweet, out of nowhere, slightly self-effacing/tongue-in-cheek. When that thing came out, I was glued from start to finish, and when the song ended early, I was wide-eyed with "Dang" on my lips. Now I'm just kind of bored.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tag Galaxy

From Photojojo:

"Finding photos on the internet is like being a tiny spacecraft adrift in a vast, starry galaxy. How will you ever find what you’re looking for in that cosmos of tags?

What you need, weary traveler, is a guide."

Well, I think they've found a really perfect one.

Welcome to Tag Galaxy. A beautifully, but simply animated tool to help whittle the gigantic ocean we call the Flickr Pool down into a tiny puddle with only the photos you're looking for. Navigate galaxies to specific planets and their satellites until finally you land on just the right celestial body of images. Boom! Done.

Kind of makes me want to play Katamari Damacy...

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008


There are two things I've been recently rather excited about: Sigur Rós and Ryan McGinley. And those two things just made sweet sweet love and had a baby. It's name is Gobbledigook.

In a delicious, supermarket-cheese-table-style sample of the new record, Sigur Rós has made available the audio and music video for the new single, "Gobbledigook." The song and video are VERY noteworthy for several reasons (other than the obvious, which is that they are awesome). First, this marks a distinct change in the song style of Sigur Rós, whose lackadaisical, contemplative melodies could best be described as sweet, heartrending lullabies. Where once tranquility was a dominant effect (if not a dose of melancholy), reckless, youthful abandon has taken its place. And the video follows suit. Traditionally, SR videos have been rife with slow motion, and cuts that take their sweet time. And while a lot of the green-toned color temperature remains from that style, this new video is light on its feet with rapid cuts, and motion that is never slower than a-little-faster-than-reality.

Also, of course, the video is exciting because it is inspired by Ryan McGinley's work, in particular the recent show he had at Team Gallery. These photos, and thus the video, share the same youthful abandon that this new style of song comes in. It is particularly exciting to feel as though these photos have come to life.

In a way, this marks a step in the same direction for both Sigur Rós AND McGinley. Looking at McGinley's photos, one gets the impression of watching someone at play in slow motion. The subjects in some cases are so vivacious and energetic, that even the still frame seems to beg to move. On the other side of the same coin, SR videos feel so slow and magnificent, each frame perfect, that they seem to almost freeze in time and become brilliant still images. Add to that similar color tones, and an interest in youth, and it starts to become apparent why these artists have come together to MOVE FAST together.

This song (which is available for free download at the Sigur Rós website) bears a lot of similarity to the Animal Collective, and it has indeed been drawing that comparison. True, the beat reminds one of the pseudo-tribal rhythm of "The Purple Bottle" (off of "Feels"), and the playfully almost childlike vocals seem indelibly referential as well. But what, I think, gives Sigur Rós some cred in this case is how disparate this sound is from where they've been only recently. Context is the key word here.

All in all, I'm really thrilled about this video. I'm also thrilled that the band is continuing in its path of making things exceedingly free and easy to access on the internet, and in high quality! They are helping to pave the way toward massively free and outstanding-grade media.

Enjoy the video! And, is it me, or is Jónsi channeling Ziggy Stardust with that makeup?

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Monday, May 26, 2008

2001. Brando. Neely? Awesome.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Flashing Lights... II

How do you go from this:

to this:


I mean, seriously. The first video was unbelievable. Everyone was totally surprised by it. Such an amazing concept, beautifully shot. Then, you get this second video: terrible concept (oh, yeah, it's SUCH an amazing idea to watch a girl virtually naked get dressed, go out, then get raped, while Kanye chills out with some random girl in some strange room, all touchin' her and watching her dance), not all that original to do it in stills. And what the hell is this thing saying about rape?

Here are my two specific problems with the inclusion of the rape scene: First of all, the black-and-white inserts. If you'll recall, earlier in the video these B+W cutaways were meant to glamorize - they were pinup poses, hyper-sexualized for the camera. The fact that the same style is then incorporated for the rape sequence seems to imply some kind of glamor, or at least SEXUALITY to the rape. The B+W shots during her rape compare it to her sexiness getting dressed. Uncool.

Secondly, all that happens to this girl in the video is the following: She wakes up, has a cigarette and a mimosa, makes breakfast, and then tries on clothes for a while. When she presumably picks the right outfit, she goes out dancing and getting drunk. She walks home in the dark and gets raped. There are only two significant events in this timeline: she gets dressed, she gets raped. The getting dressed is significant because we spend the most time with it. The rape is significant for obvious reasons. I can't help but think of the old adage that girls are "asking for it" because of the way they dress...

Now, is this video trying to imply that when we objectify the woman at the beginning by viewing her as a sex object, we are committing a form of rape? While this is not a horrible argument, and an absurdly old one, if it is Kanye's (or whomever directed it) intent, it is completely misguided. It includes Kanye looking cool as he likes to do, which immediately discounts any serious intent. Also, the woman hams it up for the camera, which makes her complicit (eye contact, people). In fact, there is nothing about the video that directly portrays objectification as a negative thing at all. If anything, it is heralded.

The bottom line? The new video sucks. And it's completely insensitive.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hilter going to Burning Man

This video is unglaublich (unbelievable). It's terrifying, and yet simultaneously hysterical.

I saw a LOT of photography yesterday and have a lot to say about it. That should come tomorrow or so.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008


If you've been keeping up with the 'copter in the past couple of weeks, you've noticed it's been pretty slim pickins. Things have been rather hectic for me with work and my personal life, and what few things I've wanted to post about I just haven't had the time for. I want to check in though, so here are a couple of quick check-ins from the art world.

- Olafur Eliasson / WACK! -

In order to get myself pumped up for Eliasson's New York City Waterfalls this summer, I went to see his first American retrospective at P.S. 1 in Long Island City, Queens, entitled "Take Your Time." (There is also an exhibit at MoMA that I hope to catch) It was a delight to see his photographic work in person, and partake in the joys of his early, simple models. Also, I got to see "Beauty" for the second time, this time more intimately. If you have a chance, check it out. Also, check out the WACK! exhibition if it's still up. While I found a lot of it to be contrived (ironically, most of it probably spurred the kind of feminist art that has led me to feel that it is contrived at all), there was some really good stuff in there, including a relic of Marina Abramovic's "Rhythm 0."

- Cai Guo-Qiang -

Guo-Qiang's "I Want to Believe" at the Guggenheim is a STELLAR arrangement. I went for his exciting new piece "Inopportune - Stage One," but left with a thorough appreciation for his entire body of work. This includes life-sized packs of wolves, a bamboo raft ride, and the extraordinary new method of "painting" with gunpowder. While I went on Friday evening for "pay what you want," this exhibit is well worth paying full entrance price. If you haven't yet, SEE IT.

- The Day There Was No News -

What an exciting little video. I wish this thing were twice as long as it is. It's surreal. On the one hand, it seems to point out how two-dimensional, fictitious, and superficial the television news medium is. On the other hand, when considered with the title, this video has a startling sense of calm to it, that seems to tap into what we might feel if there were actually a day where nothing bad happened and there was nothing to report.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Young American Bodies

I've just finished watching the two seasons (so far) of Young American Bodies, a short-form Internet TV show by Joe Swanberg (director of Kissing on the Mouth, LOL, and others).

I'm so excited about this show. It's engaging, it's low budget, the acting (while not decidedly dramatic) is very realistic. It is the perfect, honest show about sex. Every character has a flaw, no one is "good" or "bad." It just kind of feels like life.

While not perfect by any means, the show does a great job of proving that it is possible to make enjoyable, engaging media with virtually no money, that it is not necessary to adhere to Hollywood standards, that we have reached a point that cheap media is so ubiquitous that we accept simple sound and image recording. Our minds don't need the pristine work of Hollywood, they just go straight for the content. This is HUGE. The internet is becoming an increasingly relevant arena for burgeoning, free media, and it is a great pleasure to see that some people are taking it upon themselves to create media worth watching, not just more Television.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Bill Henson

I've just discovered the work of Australian Photographer Bill Henson. I was directed to his Paris Opera series, but have begun perusing his other works, which are positively stunning. His use of light is haunting in its expression of only the most necessary details, and in a vague sense reminds me of my personal favorite Gregory Crewdson. The difference here, though, is that Henson is incredibly tangible, visceral. Where Crewdson sculpts and toils and slaves, Henson seems to catch human beings and scenery at their most natural, their most raw. There is something unrestrained about it. His engagement in light and dark, dirty and clean, and any other binary spectres one might be wont to exhume, is spectacular.