Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

ICE CUBE on the Eames

This has been a while in the coming and now it is circulating around the web pretty quickly. I could not help myself though.

"going green 1949 style bitch" -IC

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bestmade Axes - Beauty in Wood and Steel

I have Eastwing hammers in my tool box, an Eastwing hatchet in my camping gear.  I have a collapsible bucksaw, I use a splitting maul to ready wood for the wood stove every year.  I take pride in my tools, not only the physical ones, but mental ones and digital ones too.  They are how I get the job done.  These axes are so beautiful, and the marketing for them might as well just be putting a target on my forehead.  Check these Bestmade Axes out.

Not only is the logo beautiful...

Not only is the web design and product photography beautiful....

But to add to it they had to go and make these videos, which are all worth watching.

CHOP (preview) from BEST MADE on Vimeo.

CHOP No. 1 from BEST MADE on Vimeo.

CHOP No. 2 from BEST MADE on Vimeo.

CHOP No. 4 from BEST MADE on Vimeo.

"It's wood... and a piece of steel... put together.  Sitting there as this capsule of stored energy."

I think it is getting to be that time where the operable window needs to get its hands on a phantom.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Highlining, I Believe I Can fly

Beautifully shot trailer for an upcoming film about a crew who are pushing the sport of "highlining" a combination of climbing, slackline and tightrope walking.

I Believe I can Fly ( flight of the frenchies). Trailer from sebastien montaz-rosset on Vimeo.

Super Sexy CPR or, the best CPR education you'll ever get.

Super Sexy CPR, a top of the line advertisement for Fortnight Lingerie.

Super Sexy CPR from Super Sexy CPR on Vimeo.

Don't forget the abdominal thrust... for next time your date starts choking.

Super Sexy Abdominal Thrust from Super Sexy CPR on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

3. 2. 1. Mars Science Lab

Never seizes to amaze. Can't wait until next August.

I apologize for the slow down in posts. Focusing on grad school at the moment.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Eames on Film

Getting excited?!

def a date night movie...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mobile Blogging

With a new phone comes new blogging capabilities. 

I have recently purchased the new htc design, and am so far loving it.

Hopefully this will mean more blogging worked into my very busy architecture school schedule.

Cheers for now!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Quantum Levitation

From Tel Aviv University

I am not going to try and explain this.  Watch the video and visit the site.

Gotta love Superconductors.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dancing About Architecture

Always refreshing to see something a bit different.

Continuous from adriene hughes on Vimeo.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Around the World in Sixty... Seconds?

Below is a pretty amazing time lapse of a satellite cutting diagonally across the western hemisphere, starting over the Pacific ocean and ending near Antarctica. Watch for lightning storms during the night and for the beautiful glow of the ozone layer.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Spotlight on Iceland

Being that the contributors to the Operable Window seem to pick up and post a disproportionally large amount of work coming out of Iceland it is time to compile a post of strictly work from the cold island in the North Atlantic:

Starting with this new, and stunning, time lapse video of the Icelandic Aurora by August Ingvarsson:

Followed by this work, previously featured here in a post about geographic branding, that had our hearts beating like a jungle drum:

An bit of Unbuilt Architecture for an Icelandic Pylon Design Competition creates a new typology of high voltage power lines and pylons:

This design work was done by Jin Choi and Thomas Shine of Choi+Shine in 2008.

Plan - Grzeszykowska & Smaga

and we're back...

Recently I was exposed to, perhaps, one of the most interesting examples of contemporary photography that I have ever scene.  Strikingly beautiful and disturbingly surreal, the work of Aneta Grzeszykowska and Jan Smaga, of Poland,  explores the world of neighbors.  Shot over a two year period (2003-2004), Plan, are compositions of hundreds of detailed images stitched together to achieve an intimate view of living spaces.

There is so much of this that is interesting for so many reasons.  Outside of the works themselves, one aspect that I find incredibly fascinating is the fact that these works use digital photography, and editing tools, to achieve something that was in no way possible even a few years before the project was started.

Though it can be argued that many of the edited images we see today (especially the crappy photo-manipulations so often in print ads) were not possible without Photoshop, but they are still basically similar techniques as were used with film.  It is just easier and perhaps more realistic.

Plan is different though.  It is documenting reality in a new way.  By utilizing the medium,  Grzeszykowska and Smaga, have pushed a boundary.  See for yourself.

The artists in their natural habitat.

Detail of above image.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The RED Epic hits the scene.

The RED Epic has been out for a few months now, and at a third the size of the RED One, it's showing up in some places that filming with a larger camera has been tough in the past.  The new RED Epic has 5 times the resolution of an HD video camera, as did the RED One, but this one has another half stop of dynamic range, can process HDR footage up to 18+ stops of dynamic range, and can shoot 60 fps at all resolutions.

What does this all mean?

Take a look and see for yourself.

Red Epic Skateboard Movie "1:02 to 1:06" 300fps, 120fps from Red Point Digital on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Danny MacAskill Goes Home

Often a journey home is a quite reflection of where one has been.  In the case of Danny MacAskill a journey home is truly an adventure of exploring our world and the built environment.

On top of helping Architecture students pull all-nighters, Redbull is notorious for there sponsership of awesome things.  Wingwalking, snowboarding, Parkour, Flugtag and now this beautiful video...

"Way Back Home" is the incredible new riding clip from Danny MacAskill, it follows him on a journey from Edinburgh back to his hometown Dunvegan, in the Isle of Skye.

Kind of reminds me of these older posts.  (Seriously read that very cool post by Tom on Kilien Marten and why this sort of content belongs on The Operable Window.) 
Enjoy, and sorry for the lack of posts later.  So much more to come. Soon.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Guess in Sicily

This short is not particularly new, but it was recently brought to my attention.

This short film was made as a behind the scenes look at the Guess spring Collection in 2010.  The reason I am featuring it here is somewhat personal.  The location of the shoot is the small village that my mother is from and much of my family still lives.  Needless to say some of the faces are familiar and all of the places I know well and love.

It is hard to explain, let alone capture, the beauty of this small village, but Photographer Vincent Peters seems to have done quit well.  It does not hurt that there are beautiful models in every scene.

This is not the first time I have written about fashion videography.  See these older posts.

In the end I just thought I would share this fun and very beautiful look at were my family calls home.

Guesses write up...

GUESS by Marciano Debuts Spring 2010 Campaign Images

The Spring / Summer 2010 campaign for GUESS by Marciano captures the true essence of beauty. Shot in a small fishing port outside of Cefalu called Porticello, Italy, the artful images create a perfect balance of the natural environment and the old Hollywood glamour of models Alyssa Miller and Klara Wester along with Werner Schreyer.

Guided by the creative direction of Paul Marciano, the campaign features a seductive yet realistic look at the GUESS by Marciano woman, captured and brought to reality by renowned photographer, Vincent Peters, whose work has appeared in LUomo Vogue, French Vogue, Numero and Ten Magazine. The images are captured in unforgettable black & white photos, showcasing the seasons must-have fashion pieces including high-waisted shorts, sheer, feminine blouses and off the shoulder dresses.

The campaign is shot indoors and outdoors, giving a glimpse into the leading ladies private world. Whether sunbathing or emerging from the water, the images highlight the GUESS by Marciano girl in a Goddess like state. The indoor shots are more intimate, capturing a certain level of vulnerability, making them equally revealing.

I am truly inspired by the Spring/ Summer 2010 campaign for GUESS by Marciano, says Paul Marciano, Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for GUESS, Inc., Each of these images is a work of art, but together they tell a story of old Hollywood glamour and the European influences that our brand is built upon.

Look for these GUESS by Marciano images in upcoming issues of top international fashion and lifestyle magazines, in GUESS by Marciano retail stores, and on collateral materials.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Jack Delano, Chicago Photographer

During the late 1930's and early 1940's Jack Delano worked for the Farm Security Administration Photography Program.  He made some amazing imagery mainly focused around the train scene in Chicago.  I'd love to write a bit more about what these photographs mean to this fine city but unfortunately I'm between air planes and road trips right now and the car isn't going to pack it's self!

I will do my best to come back and caption these photographs at a later time!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Phillis Wheatley School

The Phillis Wheatley School in New Orleans sustained minor damage in Hurricane Katrina, but it will be neglect and a bulldozer that will be its most dangerous disaster.  This short film is a plea to save the building before it is demolished this summer.  Check it out.  Looks about like the coolest elementary school I have ever seen.

"You mean to tell me the state of Louisiana can preserve plantations, and we can't preserve schools for children to go and learn in their own neighborhood?"

A Plea For Modernism from Evan Mather on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Chicago Street Art: ROA's Animal Murals

Photo: Tom Harris 
Photo: Tom Harris
This week my studio flew street artist ROA into Chicago to paint anything he wanted on our blank 22' high west wall. We had been having a problem with bad taggers and gang members tagging up our wall.  We appreciate a fine piece of street art as much as the next guy but between the poorly sprayed on names of taggers and the city battling them with coat after coat of brown paint... it was time for action.  ROA painted two rams on our wall and stopped by a little out of the way spot in Logan Square to make a beautiful mural incorporating some of the architecture of the street.

Make your way to the intersection of N. Morgan Street and W. Kinzie Street here in Chicago's West Loop to see these two giant rams by ROA.

The wall of our studio.  Photo: Tom Harris

Photo: Tom Harris

Pawn Works coordinated ROA's visit to the city with our studio here in Chicago.

Photo: Brock Brake

Lego Maniacs

This 1960 commercial has been floating around the blogs as of late. Besides the fact that it is absolutely awesome it is very telling of the times.

I find it interesting that Legos have always been perfect for building Modernist architecture. I swear that there is a Mies tower in the last shot of the commercial. Also look at the awesome bomber that the boy makes. Perfect for going Dr.Strangelove on some Commies. And of course the girl builds a house, not as cool as the boys, because girls can't be architects. haha

Priceless, or should I say worth every $1.95-$25.00

Friday, May 20, 2011

Blockhead - The Music Scene

I was pleasantly reminded of this fantastic animation last week by Anthony F. Schepperd


Friday, May 13, 2011

The "War on Terror"

Picture this. It is April 30th, 1945. You just overheard on the radio that Adolf Hitler was dead. What do you do? You go out and throw a kegger in front of the White House of course! Who cares that you have friends, family, and fellow citizens overseas, still fighting and dieing for you, he's dead!

I'm proud to say that on that actual day, their was no celebration, no rejoicing in the streets, just private relief. For our ancestors, the real celebration came six days later when it was announced that the war in Europe was over. That's what everyone wanted to hear, that's when the celebrating began. There was finally an end to all the killing. When America dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, people didn't go bounding through the streets celebrating, they waited until August 14th, 1945 when the Japanese surrendered, ending the war, ending the killing.

I've been trying to figure out why a large majority of American's felt the need to celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden. Of course they had every right to be happy about this announcement, but why the difference in 'celebrations?' I've been told that our country is a different place than it once was, which is certainly true, but only to a point. Was there a celebration when Timothy McVeigh was executed? The DC snipers? (One was executed the other is in jail for life, and of course 9/11 was a much more severe attack than the aforementioned). But from what I recall, I don't think anyone was out partying in the streets for the deaths of these individuals. So why the difference?

We were told by the President himself that "The War on Terror must continue!" America will not get its victory day anytime soon. There will be no sailors kissing nurses in time square, no parades, no celebrations. Terrorists could still be afoot and we must "stay the course." So it makes sense for American's to celebrate this small, almost insignificant murder, because frankly, I think we all know we are not getting another chance to 'celebrate,' at least, not anytime soon. We still have ten's of thousands of troops in Afghanistan fighting a "few dozen al Qaeda" as the CIA puts it. When will it ever be determined that the war is over? The Taliban is virtually a collection of Afghan citizens, they have no means to actually invade a country, what real threat do they serve if we leave there country?

I understand that fighting the Taliban isn't something you can really do. I guess it is similar to Al Capone declaring war on another country. You know your figure heads, but the rest are just average citizens by day and then whatever you want to deem them by night. Wouldn't it make sense to capture the leaders instead of slaying them? What better of an intelligence source than the leader himself?

But instead, he was killed. There was no interrogation. No trial, just death. Some people may see it as "an eye for an eye," but we all know you can't really compare such crimes and equate them. For those who were thirsty for blood, why couldn't you wait for a trial to be held? We all know what the end outcome would have been, right?

The way I see it, storming into his home and killing him isn't far away from what the SS did before WWII. That method of 'justice' is exactly what the Taliban/ al Qaeda/ Nazi's would do and I don't particularly like that system, I prefer ours. Capturing bin Laden would show the world that America isn't a collection of brutes. We are supposed to be a free country that believes in justice and granting everyone a fair, free trial, or at least we used to be.

Not only that, a trial would serve as a permanent, public, documented record of all of his crimes he committed. That is why there were trials in Nuremberg for the Nazi's, why Hideki Tojo was stabilized after attempting to kill himself when troops went to arrest him. These were people who killed millions and millions of innocent human beings. They were all were forced to stand trial, and all were eventually executed, giving those seeking blood what they wanted in the end.

Now maybe it wasn't possible to take him alive. But after reading the white house's release of what happened, it seems highly unlikely that was the case. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/05/goal-was-never-to-capture-bin-laden/238330/

I've heard stories of how the siege took place ranging from Osama using his wife and kids as meat shields as he shot back at navy seals to him being unarmed with his hands up when he was shot. Whatever actually happened, I find it hard to believe the most elite fighters the U.S. military has to offer couldn't maim and capture him. These guys had to be the absolute definition of professionals who follow orders to a 'T.' So why kill him? If you really want to fight the War on Terror, you don't just obliterate the mastermind behind it all without asking a few questions first, that's common knowledge.

But, here we are, in that exact predicament. Instead of more and more of my fellow citizens being outraged by this cluster-fuck, they decide to celebrate. The youth of any culture is what keeps countries progressive and moving forward, and I'm not seeing that with my generation. Not many people ask questions anymore, they blindly follow what they are told. They hear an address from Osama, hear him mention Islam and assume he's acting in what he see's as "God's will." What is never said though is how while he may be Islamic, nothing he is doing is actually preached in Islam. He could be compared to Hitler with respect to both using religion as a device to motivate a group of people to do radical things. But, no matter what, he was still called a Muslim by everyone in our government and in the media. If someone was parading around mass-killing while wearing a McDonalds smock, praising McDonalds, we wouldn't assume he was a leader of all McDonald's employees or that was the philosophy behind his killings. That's absurd.

But, at our airports, train stations, on the streets, we profile people who appear to be Muslim. Why not profile people who are multimillionaire's instead? Osama was indeed one, but labeling him in such a way didn't look right in the media I guess. "Millionaire Responsible for 9/11" sounds more like something you would see in the tabloids, but, ironically enough, they would be 100% correct in this respect. You can't keep any organized group of that caliber afloat without a lot of financial backing, Al Qaeda was no different.

And when I'm told by anyone that we are at war with Al Qaeda, (you can't go to war against a country-less group, the definition of war is "a formal declaration issued by a national government indicating that a state of war exists between that nation and another." but I guess that's aside the point) and that is the reason he wasn't captured, was because you don't do trials during war is an absurd position. Saddam Husain received a trial while we were still in Iraq, why was Osama so different?

But it is backwards logic like that, that makes me think, maybe Osama did win the bigger war here. He was one of the only people to stand up to both Russia and the United States (Oh the irony of giving massive amounts of funds and supplies to a man who then turns on his 'supporters')

Osama lured us to do exactly what he wanted us to do, whether he intended it or not. He brought a war of attrition against us by using fighters who have no way of being identified. Because of this war, we now have less freedoms (thank you patriot act, and I guess now you don't need to always stand trial so we'll stick an asterisk next to Habeas Corpus). We engaged our military in Muslim countries, promoting more hatred of ourselves throughout the Muslim world, and have completely crippled ourselves financially in these wars. Our country now is having to give up constitutional rights and is becoming more like the authoritarian state Osama himself wanted to see. We somehow managed to accumulate more debt in eight years than we have in the past 200 combined. And yet, we are still fighting this pointless 'War on Terror.'

No one can deny that this War on Terror has generated a multi-billion dollar industry through these wars and has virtually created "homeland security." The war profiteers behind these companies will not want to give up their new-found fortunes so quickly. They have all the reasons in the world to keep our country in fear so they can continue to benefit from it all.

But what do we actually have to fear anymore? I saw on the news recently how some of the intelligence taken from bin Laden's home indicated that he was targeting "small towns and cities." Really, small towns and cities? What actual damage can something like that do? If you really want to hurt a country, you don't attack farmers with no political and financial ties, you go after the leaders, the intelligence agencies, the economic infrastructures. But interestingly enough, this 'threat' is strongly effective in promoting more fear throughout America. Now you can't be safe in big cities or little cities, there is nowhere to run anymore. All this is doing is leading America down the path that bin Laden wanted us to march down, and we are doing it with incredible discipline and grace. A country in fear has no one to turn to but its government who are exploiting the situation by slashing our liberties. How will we know when there is no threat against us anymore? How can we tell the difference between a real threat and a fake one? What's stopping our world from turning into George Orwell's '1984?'

Something I can truly get behind to celebrate, that would actually defeat bin Laden, would be to reverse all this chaos, and to reverse it now. End the wars, bring those troops home. Make the rich pay for this debacle, and restore our constitutional rights, our privacy, our due process rights that used to be what distinguished us from the rest of the world. America is supposed to be the land of the free, let's go back to what we once were. Please?

I thank you for reading this. Feel free to respond in anyway. I'm very interested in other peoples opinions on this matter.

Dali ala Disney

Found this on at the Wooster Collective.

Started in 1945 as a collaboration between Disney and Salvidor Dali, Destino is a surreal look at the love between Chronos and his mortal interest.

Left unfinished until 2003, most of the animation is traditional with some digital work augmenting.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Fresh Meat: The How-To Issue

Just released.
School of Architecture @ UIC's student run journal.
I shot the cover
buy it 
it is amazing.

"After our earlier celebrations of architecture’s mystique and particular fetishes—the inside of the Black Box, as we put it in Issue 3—FM decided to explore a more transparent or user-friendly aspect of the field, a side we’ll call the “How-To.” A deceptively simple tool, the How-To offers opportunities well beyond checking off boxes or getting things done. For us, it taps into architecture’s unique power to coordinate: to embed cultural ideas into formal operations or to distill a complex project into a set of directives. Harnessing this power—to make what’s hard look easy, and vice versa—is key if we want to organize the world around us as designers, critics, or in whatever role we take on after graduation."

Buy it here.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Japanese Xylophone

This short is a commercial for a japanese phone company, Domoco.  Just watch it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Architectural Photographic Animation

This piece really falls into a larger conversation that I have been having with some peers about the representation of architecture through photography, video, rendering and animation.  Some of my thoughts about the photography part of that conversation can be found here.  I have a feeling that conversation will start to make it's way to this blog more and more in the next few months.

For now, we can have a look at this animated short about an Abby turned prison turned cultural center in France.  Directed by Francis Cutter and Vincent Nguyen, Welcome to Fontevraud, shows a UNESCO heritage in a interesting way through the use of animated stills and dance.  Yep dance.  Though the graphics are not perfect the idea is interesting and it does give a feel for the building quickly and entertainingly. 

Welcome to Fontevraud from Francis Cutter & Vincent Nguyen on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mike Giant- Neighbors

The Neighbors project was (is?) a project out of San Francisco in which a handful of personalities are interviewed in a candid manor doing what they do.

"The working title for the project is Neighbors, a series of short stories about six individuals (DJ Brown Amy, Mike Giant, Elgy Gillespie, Dick Vivian, Fran Martin, and Dylan Bigby) from various neighborhoods in San Francisco. Part conversational interview, part documentary – we get to know the individual in the context of their work and home environments, in order to gain a deeper understanding of their influences on the community.

The format combines an interview with environmental documentation. The concept for this film was to capture moments within the constraints of a two (to three) hour conversation." from their site.   

Very interesting!

Well to go along with the Operable Windows apparent recent theme here is the short on Mike Giant.  Mike is an artist who got his start with Sharpies and a note book.  He later moved on to graffiti, larger scale illustration, and tattooing.  As Sharpie is one of my favorite mediums, I love what he has to say about those cheap little sticks of wonderful ink.  

The informal nature of the interview seems very fitting and it is always enjoyable to watch an artist work.

Pascal Campion's Process

Here is another short about process from a very talented illustrator.  A bit sappy at points, he has some interesting points of view on art in general.  I don't agree with everything that he says, but it is interesting none the less.

Inspirational Artists: Pascal Campion from Onyx Cinema, Inc. on Vimeo.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Picture Called Death - Peter Dean Rickards

As Matt put it in a chat we had tonight after we watched this video, "Photography is an art that happens even when times are hard".    The earthquake in Japan showed us that, when something happens some people run, others grab their camera and get to work.  Have a watch.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Process of Illustration

Here at the Operable Window we love anything that has to do with process, hence all of the behind the scenes videos and discussion of how things are produced.

This short video has been going around in the last few days and it is simply mesmerizing.  If you think you have a handle on Adobe Illustrator, watch this. (unfortunately the final product is not as impressive as the line work)

Wake Up Mr Singh – 'Rachel' from Karan Singh on Vimeo.

Tronic Studio

The work of Tronic Studio first came to my attention when someone showed me the work they recently did for Herzog & De Meuron.  That video was actually produced a few years ago, but it was only recently that I was made aware of it.  Tronic has been very busy since that time creating new digital worlds for the likes of Adidas, Microsoft, Sony, Target, Diesel, GE, Nike, Sharp and Hitachi.

Most recently they did a spot for the very cool "The Cool Hunter" blog.

This post is not about those shorts as much as I wanted to show an interview of the firms two principles as they discuss their inspiration and background.  I personally found the interview interesting as it is focused on the line between architecture and the digital arts.  (more on that another time)

Interview with Tronic from TronicStudio on Vimeo.

56_Leonard_Herzog_and_Demeuron from TronicStudio on Vimeo.

Cool Hunter from TronicStudio on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Virtues of a Well Designed Buildings When the Earth Shakes

I am not sure what exactly I have to say about this entire situation yet.  This post is more of a conversation starter about the importance of the quality of our built environment.

The events of March 11th in Japan are one the minds of much of the world at this moment.  The visual understanding of the events has been discussed on this blog as well as the instant accessibility of those visuals via modern technology.

Most of what we see and hear about in situations of this nature and magnitude revolve around the loss of life and the destruction of the livelihoods of those that survive.  Architecture as built artifact has direct affect and is directly affected by these issues.  Architecture is entrusted with our lives at nearly all moments.  It is the shelter part of "Food, Water, Shelter."  More specifically in the case of Haiti, the idea that structures, that were designed by someone calling themselves an Architect, directly lead to the loss of life is sickening.

These are simply some of my thoughts on this subject as of late.

Below is a terrifying video taken from inside of Toyo Ito's Mediatheque in Sendai.  Those that occupy this building are fortunate enough to be in a building designed and constructed with great care.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Explosive Vhils

What do you get when you mix street art, Mt.Rushmore style material removal, and indie soul music?

The Portugese street artist Vhils, is no stranger to Operable Window posts.  Recently this inspiring artist has teamed up with band Orelha Negra to make an interesting video.

Vhils ussually works by drilling an hammering away at walls to produce emotive portraits of common people.  For the  Orelha Negra video for M.I.R.I.A.M. he did much the same, except he refilled the works with plaster (with the addition of small explosive charges).  With the help of a slow motion camera, the result is a beautiful video of seemingly instant art.

Orelha Negra - M.I.R.I.A.M. X Vhils from elToro Visual Dealers on Vimeo.

The process of art is always an interesting subject.  The beauty of this video is that the art in it is not simply the resultant images as much as it is the "how did they do that?" effect.  Considering the work was not actually produced using explosives, the use of video to animate the revealing of the works is an interesting tactic.  Without the slow motion video the work would simply be short (possibly dangerous to witness) performative pieces.  In an interveiw to Wired UK, Vhils speaks of his interest in materiality and unwrapping the layers of the built word.  He explains that the use of explosives exaggerates this exploration.

Check out this interview about process with Vhils, Wired UK

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Branding a Country : Geographic Advertising

After seeing the great video, "Inspired by Iceland" that shows off Iceland and it's people I started thinking about those "Pure Michigan" signs, and billboards on the highway that say "at this very moment in Manitowoc". Country, State, and City Branding.

The pure Michigan video has under 25,000 views (other Pure Michigan ones had even less), while Inspired by Iceland has over 100,00 onYoutube, and 30,000 on Vimeo. Maybe that's a statement to uploading video in high quality instead of poor low definition. Though I'm pretty sure it has something to do with Emiliana Torrini's song Jungle Drum, which will be happily on repeat in my mind for the rest of the weekend.

Branding a location an interesting concept. Think of the Maple Leaf, or how New Zealand pushed it's landscape after it showed up in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy as Middle Earth.

I've been to Manitowoc, it's great, I can vouch for it. This billboard however, makes me never want to go there again. If that's what's "happening" in Manitowoc... I'll pass thanks. It is a historic port city, there is a huge Budwiser brewery there... Come on guys.

Tom Harris

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mapping the 2011 Japan Tsunami with NOAA Data

Any major event that creates a data set is likely to be graphically displayed by people across the globe. How that data is handled and translated to a visual system varies. Some are visually pleasing, some are easily understood, and some try to be more visually pleasing by neglecting visual legibility. Below are examples of maps that display just when you can expect your beach to feel the surge coming at 500 mph from across the ocean.

Notice in the last one above there are 3 distinct shades of blue, each presumably separating a single hour of time, along with dashed half hour lines and solid three hour increments.  A bit confusing.

The top map uses mostly warm colors to display intensity, but the delineation between hues is not great enough for the eye to discern the exact strength of the wave at any given location.

The middle map, by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration displays it in a traditional way, but it may be the most easily understood, while not being the most eye catching or visually stimulating.

Here is the data set I would guess most of these came from.

The data also has already been used in video form to show just how the ocean is churning.

Tom Harris

Video of the 8.9 Magnitude Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan

Recently I had a talk with a couple of the contributors to this blog, we discussed the Internet and what easily accessible video has brought to the game. This is being made evident right now, though the 8.9 magnitude earthquake happened only hours ago in the ocean off Sendai Japan which is viewable by you or me here in the United States now.  Not all of the video was shot by journalists and news reporters, some was shot by any citizen with a camera or cell phone capable of shooting video;  meaning we can see what it looks like when you are in a grocery store during an earthquake of that magnitude:

Or when the Tsunami rolls ashore near the airport.

Or footage of the oil refinery blazing away from the quake, shot by syndicated news cameras yes, but still imediate:

Or this really amazing footage of the Tsunami sweeping cars and homes away.

I am astonished by how accessible the world has become.

Tom Harris

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Power of the Internet and Frank Lloyd Wright

This is kind of a side note.

As some may know, I am a blogger for the Archinect School Blog Project (check it out).  Recently I posted an update of the classes that I am taking at the University of Illinois Chicago.  The post included an quick rundown of a project I am working on for an Architectural Theory class. (I will probably post the whole project on here when it is done.)

The research project is about structures that were never built in Chicago.  My portion of the project focuses on the National Life Insurance Building by Frank Lloyd Wright.

While doing some follow up research, and searching for information online I came upon a slough of new blog articles on the building.  What was funny, they all quoted my post on Archinect!  My research is accurate, but I find this amazing.  What is perhaps funnier is that there is a great deal of conversation on these other blogs regarding the merits of the building, but people actually know very little about it.

These bloggers were kind enough to link to where they were reblogging from so I will give them a little shout out.  It is very clear that they did not all get the post directly from my Original post but rather through each other, but the idea of proliferation in this way is so interesting.

Some real information about the building based on graduate level research.

National Life Insurance Building (1923-25)
Architect- Frank Lloyd Wright
Client- A.M.Johnson/National Life Insurance Co
Material-Cantilevered reinforced concrete floors, reinforced concrete pylons, insulated extruded sheet copper curtain wall “Suspended sheet copper screens”

Project Description:

When commissioned by an eccentric money man, Frank Lloyd Wright set out to design a new type of skyscraper. It was to be an “Architecture of Democracy.” Claiming that the building would be earthquake-proof (most likely a gimmick for the insurance company it was to house), the National Life Insurance Building would stand 25 stories tall at the North end of the Magnificent Mile. A set of four main transepts, the floors would be cantilevered off of groups of reinforced concrete pylons. With the load of the building taken away from the exterior FLLW was attempting to have the walls “cease to exist as either weight or thickness” with what we would now refer to as a curtain wall, and what he referred to as “suspended sheet copper screens.” These “screens” were to be per-fabricated off site. A concept that would also become the norm of skyscraper construction. Wright is also quick to point out that “there is no unsalable floor space in this building created 'for effect', and no features manufactured 'for effect'.” This was to be a tower of rationalism at a time when less then a mile away two Gothic revivalist towers where being erected (Wriggly and Tribune). Many believe that, had this building been constructed, it would have turn Wright's career around at a time when he was facing many tribulations in his personal and professional life.

There is more but we will save it...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Women's Day

In honor of Women's Day

an image by Modernist Photographer,  Imogen Cunningham

Nude, 1939

Happy Women's Day

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Georges Rousse and the Durham Project

With the post from 2010 about Perspective Localized Paintings being such a hit I couldn't resist posting this video showing another artist and his team of volunteers doing some similar work.  The video segments toward the end really show what it's like to walk through one of these beautiful paintings.

The installation artist/photographer's name is Georges Rousse and the subject of the film is the Durham Project.  Please have a look at the website of the project to get a better feel for it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Adrien Broom and Time With Guests

Tableaux has certainly never been my strong suit as far as the photographic arts go.  That does now, however, mean that I can't recognize beautiful work in that manner when I see it, and Time With Guests by Adrien Broom is just that.

The work on her websites spans several different traditional photographic avenues, but all has the feel of a single photographer, a clear vision.

She lists Gregory Crewdson as an influence in her work, along with a painter or two.  Elements of Crewdson can clearly be seen in this series, but in a fresh light.

The tradition of shooting stills that are cinematic has always fascinated me, the act of carrying out such an elaborately staged moment all for just that, a single moment.  Implying a plot and drama and depth of characters and situation all in a single frame.