Spoiler alert. One of the most jaw-dropping moments of Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film Interstellar is the climactic moment when Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) enters a visually stunning environment that allows him to physically communicate through time using gravity. In the movie, the scene is manifested as a small library in his home that appears to infinitely repeat with versions of every moment that has ever occurred there. Essentially it’s a cube in four dimensions. Here’s a pretty good explanation of how it works:
The Tesseract is a means of communication for the bulk beings to express action through gravity with NASA. The bulk beings can perceive five dimensions as opposed to four, able to see every moment in the past, present, and future as well as influence gravity within any of those time frames. […] The tesseract allowed Cooper to communicate with Murphy Cooper [his daughter] in various time periods, presenting time itself as a dimension rather than linear. Everything is linked by the strings of time, which Cooper can manipulate. The beings made this comprehensible to Cooper by allowing him to physically interact with the Tesseract.
The idea of the tesseract scene alone was so daunting to the filmmakers, Nolan and his special effects team procrastinated for months before trying to tackle how it might work. After months of concepting and model building the team opted for the unusual approach of using minimal digital effects in favor of fabricating a massive set which the actors could physically manipulate. A remarkable feat considering not only the complexity of the concepts depicted, but the cost and labor of building something so large.
Included here are some shots of the set, a behind-the-scenes interview with Nolan and a number of people from the visual effects team explaining how it was done, and lastly the scene itself. You can watch even more of it here. (via Fubiz)
With a keen sense of humor and superb control of a spray can, Swiss artist Remo Lienhard (aka Wes21) covers both walls and canvases with his playful sythesis of science fiction and the natural world. The artist imagines a hybrid spaceship ladybug as it blasts into the sky and pair of airborne lighthouses are revealed to be the bodies of ominous looking squid. Lienhard works in a variety of mediums from smaller acrylic and spray pieces on canvas to larger murals that often make use of surrounding objects.
Lienhard is a member of a collective of graffiti artists and illustrators called Schwarzmaler and is represented by SOON, and you can see more recent work on his Facebook.
Across the backdrop of an expansive retro-Scandinavian landscape, Swedish illustrator Simon Stålenhag has spent the last few years imagining a world of science fiction inhabited by roaming mech robots, dinosaurs, and other technological innovations plopped right onto the Swedish countryside. The digitally painted images spread far and wide across the internet over the last few years, capturing the imagination of legions of fantasy and sci-fi fans who clamoured for comic books and even a feature film. For now, we’ll have to make do with old-fashioned art books.
Stålenhag and Free League Publishing just announced a Kickstarter project for two new books featuring Stålenhag’s dystopian vision of the future that will pair illustrations with short stories written in English. You can explore many more illustrations on his website (just start scrolling), and some are available as individual prints.
For his ongoing series Flying Cars, French designer Sylvain Viau digitally edits photographs of cars into sleek, wheel-less hover cars that appear to float just above the ground. Viau not only uses his own photography to create these sci-fi cars, but is fortunate to claim many of the actual cars among his own collection. He originally worked only with 80s Citroën vehicles because of their classic space-age design, but has continued to branch out over the last few months to include cars from Peugeot, Toyota, and Renault. You can see many more here. (via Designboom)
Update: Photographer Renaud Marion created a similar series of works in 2013.
Early last year motion graphics artist and Alexandra Khitrova decided to utilize some of the digital tools she had acquired in her profession to explore concept illustration. While she did study art in school, this was an entirely new creative realm, a pet project to explore realms of science fiction and fantasy where flying dragons mingled with terrifying storms and otherworldly beings were brought to life on the screen.
The reaction online and off was swift, and Khitrova soon found herself working on increasingly complex drawings as she suddenly began to get commissions. Now, only a year later, she is already working with a team of writers and artists on a feature film. You can see more of her work over on DeviantArt.
Just announced today, The Sand Storm is a short film directed by New York filmmaker Jason Wishnow that was shot completely under the radar in China, starring none other than dissident artist Ai Weiwei in his acting debut. How such an audacious and risky endeavor came into being is pretty mind-blowing given the heavy amount of surveillance surrounding the artist. The movie takes place in a dystopian future where Ai Weiwei plays the role of a smuggler in a world without water.
The existence of The Sand Storm was kept heavily under wraps while shooting in Beijing. Ai Weiwei has been closely watched by the government since his 2011 imprisonment and authorities still have yet to return his passport. While the short film has already been shot beginning to end, the filmmakers are raising a bit of money on Kickstarter to finish the movie and recoup some costs as crowdfunding beforehand was too risky. Had this been announced yesterday I would have assumed it was a hoax.
Update: At the moment it appears the Kickstarter has been halted due to a dispute.
While visiting ArtPrize this weekend I was captivated by this amazing graphite and ink drawing by New York artist Samuel Gomez. The surreal triptych titled Deadpan Comedy measures 18 x 5 feet and is meant as commentary on the negative effects of corporations and capitalism. Even standing in front of it I found it nearly impossible to identify every single detail as the piece is so dense with imagery and symbolism. You can see more of Gomez’s work over on Behance or Facebook.