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Design History Illustration Music

Inside Information: Cross-Sections of Retro Technology Reveal Historical Moments of Iconic Objects

October 2, 2020

Christopher Jobson

The distinctive Arriflex 35 IIC is one of the most significant motion picture cameras of all time, and a favourite of the Hollywood new wave of cinematographers of the 60’s ad 70’s. The hand held camera was famously beloved by Stanley Kubrick whose 1971 cult classic, A Clockwork Orange, was shot almost entirely on the Arri 35 IIC.

As part of an ongoing series titled Inside Information, UK-based design studio Dorothy explores some of the most iconic designs in the areas of film, music, personal computing, and fashion through clever “cutaway” infographics. Each illustration reveals a miniature isometric world packed with historical moments from famous concerts that used the Vox AC30 amplifier to films that utilized the Arriflex 35 IIC handheld camera, which transformed movies forever. All five of the Inside Information graphics are available as three-color litho prints on its website. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

Released in 1959 to meet the demand for louder amplifiers, the Vox AC30 was quickly adopted as the amp of choice for bands like The Beatles, The Kinks and The Stones, helping to define the sound of the ‘British Invasion’ when the popularity of British rock ’n’ roll bands spread to the States. Its appeal has continued through the decades with bands like Queen, U2, The Smiths, Oasis, Blur, Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys all counted as loyal Vox fans.

The Nike Air Max is a bona fide design classic. Designed by Tinker Hatfield and released in 1987 it has, in its 30 plus years of existence, established a cult following. Inspired by the architecture of the Centre Pompidou, it was the first trainer to offer a window to the sole, kickstarting a revolution in sneaker design.

The Minimoog was the world’s first portable (and affordable) synthesiser. Billed as ’The Moog for the road’, it revolutionized music, acquired a cult-like following (which it still enjoys to this day) and quickly became the most popular synth of its time.

The Apple Macintosh (later know as the Macintosh 128k) was launched with an Orwell inspired commercial directed by Ridley Scott, and introduced to the world by Steve Jobs on 24th January 1984. It blew our tiny little minds and for many heralded the beginning of a lifelong love affair with all things Apple.

 

 



Animation

An Intimate Short Film Highlights 2020's Crises through Exquisitely Surreal Scenes

September 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

Set to subdued music, Nicolas Lichtle’s short film titled “à la fin…” is an unusually ethereal depiction of the crises climaxing in 2020. The delicate animation flows through a series of lightly-hued scenes that explore reactions to COVID-19, the wildfires raging across the planet, and the endless distractions of technology. “It’s a moment of introspection, very intimate, staged through a succession of small moments imbued with poetry, absurdity, and sometimes surrealism…” Lichtle writes.

Many of the anonymous characters’ faces are obscured by a plant, digital device, or cloth mask, and they undertake both mundane and bizarre tasks that critique contemporary life: An unassuming man runs on a treadmill while someone stands nearby to douse him with disinfectant, a figure with a bowling ball head shouts through a megaphone at upright pins, and two women happily wave at a distant earth set ablaze.

Lichtle is based in Paris and has an extensive collection of films on his site. Follow his critically-minded projects on Vimeo. (via swissmiss)

 

 

 



Animation

The Attention Economy: An Animation Visualizes the Endless Onslaught of Digital Distractions

September 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

If you’ve scrolled through Twitter while reading Jenny Odell’s How to Do Nothing or Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism, you understand the wide-reaching grip technology has on our attention. A new project by London-based animator Olga Makarchuk visualizes the daily abundance of digital distractions, from texts to social media pings to neverending email. Through quirky illustrations that are constantly in motion, “The Attention Economy” captures the modern desire to scroll endlessly and grab a device when there’s a moment of downtime. It’s based on research from James Williams, a former Google employee, who’s critical of the ways companies capitalize on distraction and have turned attention into a commodity.

Makarchuk has worked with a variety of media organizations and brands to tell a diverse array of stories ranging from the effects of anthropocentrism to the life of an Olympian. To watch more of her work, head to Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Katsumi Hayakawa's Congested Cities Are Constructed with Scrupulously Cut Paper Buildings

August 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Bonsai City” (2014), paper, inkjet printing, fake grass, acrylic elements, 8 x 118 x 21 1/2 inches. All images © Katsumi Hayakawa, courtesy of the artist and McClain Gallery, shared with permission

Meticulously cutting each piece by hand, Katsumi Hayakawa crafts dense cityscapes and urban districts from white paper. The Japanese artist assembles towers and various cube-like structures that are positioned in lengthy rows, resembling congested streets. Dotted with primary colors and metallic elements, the sculptures evoke electronic equipment like microchips and motherboards, which references the relationship between modern cities and technology. Hayakawa’s use of an ephemeral, organic material further contrasts the manufactured nature of both urban areas and technological inventions.

To explore more of the artist’s projects that are concerned with the complexity of modern life, head to Artsy.

 

“Fata Morgana” (2014), paper, inkjet printing, glitter, 25 1/2 x 119 1/2 x 51 1/2 inches

“Bonsai City” (2014), paper, inkjet printing, fake grass, acrylic elements, 8 x 118 x 21 1/2 inches

“Bonsai City” (2014), paper, inkjet printing, fake grass, acrylic elements, 8 x 118 x 21 1/2 inches

“Intersection” (2017), watercolor paper and mixed media, 29 7/16 x 59 1/16 x 5 1/2 inches

“Intersection” (2017), watercolor paper and mixed media, 29 7/16 x 59 1/16 x 5 1/2 inches

“Fata Morgana” (2014), paper, inkjet printing, glitter, 25 1/2 x 119 1/2 x 51 1/2 inches

“See from the side 3” (2014), paper, wood, acrylic reflective sheet, acrylic mirror with blue film, 8 3/4 x 50 1/4 x 11 inches

 

 



Art Design

Utilizing Modern 3D Printing, Artistic Duo Rael San Fratello Constructs Coiled Earthen Architecture

August 18, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Rael San Fratello, shared with permission

Modern architectural building methods and Indigenous materials converge in the latest endeavor by Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, titled “Casa Covida.” The earthen structure is part of a MUD Frontiers/Zoquetes Fronterizos that centers on Pueblo de Los Ángeles and the ways technological advances can work in unison with historic mud-based designs. “Casa Covida” contains a bathing pool, sleeping areas, and fireplace seats for two.

To create the three-room home, the duo employs a custom, portable robot that they transport to various sites, allowing them to dig soil and other materials and immediately shape it into the necessary structures. Utilizing clay and mud, the building process is informed by the practices of Ancestral Pueblo peoples and Indo-Hispano cultures of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. When wet, the natural materials are layered in zigzag-like coils. The undulating, textured facades generally are made with a few rows to provide insulation from the nighttime cold.

MUD Frontiers was a recent recipient of a 2020 Art + Technology grant from LACMA. It strives to consider “traditional clay craft at the scale of architecture and pottery. The end goal of this endeavor is to demonstrate that low-cost and low-labor construction that is accessible, economical, and safe is possible,” a statement says.

Based in La Florida, Colorado, and Oakland, respectively, Rael and San Fratello are known for subversive projects at the intersection of art and architecture, like the neon pink teetertotters slotted through the U.S.-Mexico border wall. Follow their latest sustainable works on Instagram. (via Hyperallergic)

 

 

 



Photography Science

An Astronaut and Photographer Collaboratively Document the Vast International Space Station in a New Book

August 13, 2020

Grace Ebert

Cupola with Clouds and Ocean, International Space Station – ISS, Low Earth Orbit, Space. By Roland Miller and Paolo Nespoli. All images © Roland Miller and Paolo Nespoli, ISS interior images courtesy of NASA and ASI, shared with permission

In what is believed to be the first collaboration between an Earth-bound artist and an astronaut in space, photographer Roland Miller and engineer Paolo Nespoli have recorded the momentous journey of NASA’s International Space Station (ISS). The two have been working together during the last few years to document the current technologies and sights of modern space travel. They’ve shot extraordinary photographs of an ocean blanketed with clouds, the wire labyrinths lining the vehicle, and astronaut’s bulging suits and helmets.  “If you were to stand there and look at (the spacecraft), I’m hoping that this is how you would see it,” Miller shares with Colossal.

The project began after the photographer spoke with astronaut and chemist Cady Coleman, who encouraged him to share his vision and approach to the medium with those on the space station. While researching the possibilities for such an endeavor, he discovered that Coleman is an avid flutist and would carry several of the instruments with her during missions. She even performed a duet with Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, while he was in Russia and she far above the earth, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s first human launch. “And I thought, what if I did something like that? Maybe I could somehow work with an astronaut directly,” Miller says.

 

Longitudinal View, from ISS Forward to ISS Aft, US Laboratory – Destiny, International Space Station – ISS, Low Earth Orbit, Space. By Roland Miller and Paolo Nespoli

While a similar process executed simultaneously proved too complicated, the photographer decided on a unique collaboration utilizing Google Street View, which shows both the views inside and outside the ISS. “Not only could I use it to see what the station really looked like, but I could do screenshots of parts of it,” he says, a process that he ultimately used. Miller would capture different portions within the station or views out its windows and share them with Nespoli, who would then recreate the image during a mission.

Because the ISS was in a weightless environment with fluctuating light, many of the images astronauts typically capture utilize a flash, which Miller, who generally photographs using a very low shutter speed, wanted to avoid. “The first problem you run into is you can’t use a tripod in space because it just floats away, and the station itself is going 17,500 miles an hour. Just because of the size and the speed, there’s a harmonic vibration to it,” he notes. To combat the constant quivering, Nespoli constructed a stabilizing bipod and shot about 135 images with a high shutter speed, before sending the shots to Miller for aesthetic editing.

Now, the photographs have culminated in a 200-page, full-color book titled Interior Space: A Visual Exploration of the International Space Station, which already has passed its fundraising goal on Kickstarter and still has 17 days to go. Included in the forthcoming tome are essays by four experts, the celestial photographs, and some Earth-based shots, which Miller took separately at the Kennedy and Johnson space centers. These images range from scaffolding obscuring a Pressurized Mating Adapter to up-close frames of a potable water cooler that position the dials and buttons side-by-side with stickers chronicling previous missions. With a publish date of November 2, 2020, Interior Space will launch the 20-year anniversary of uninterrupted human habitation on the ISS.

 

Potable Water Dispenser, Galley, Node 1 – Unity Mockup, Space Vehicle Mockup Facility – SVMF, NASA Johnson Space Center, Texas. By Roland Miller

Preferring an abstract, documentarian approach, Miller strives to tell a broader story that integrates design, art, and science. “It makes it more visually interesting than just topographic recording of things,” he says, noting that he always layers his photographs with distinct elements. Miller explains his particular fascination with space artifacts and the ISS:

This is a very good subject for that because they’re really amazing, beautiful things and are very complex modules… If you look at Star Trek and people walk down these spacious, pristine, white-walled hallways with carpeting and nice lights, and then you look at what a real spacecraft is, and you look at that hallway with wires and cables and computers hanging out, and it’s just crazy, chaotic, a mess of stuff. I think it’s really good to show this is what it really looks like… This is the reality of space travel right now.

An ardent photographer for more than 30 years, Miller’s foray into the field began with a visit to an old launchpad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. He previously shot the NASA, Air Force, and Army facilities across the United States for his 2016 book, Abandoned in Place: Preserving America’s Space History. The collection contains a glimpse into the stations, launchpads, and other vehicles that have been deactivated, repurposed, and even demolished in recent years.

Until Interior Spaces is released, you can pick up a copy of Abandoned in Place from Bookshop and follow Miller’s work on Instagram.

 

Starboard View through Port Hatch of Equipment Lock and Crew Lock with Extravehicular Activity Hardware
Quest Joint Airlock, International Space Station – ISS, Low Earth Orbit, Space. By Roland Miller and Paolo Nespoli

Scaffolding and Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 – PMA 3, High Bay, Space Station Processing Facility – SSPF, NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida. By Roland Miller

Combined Operational Load-Bearing External Resistance Treadmill – C.O.L.B.E.R.T., Node 3 – Tranquility
International Space Station – ISS, Low Earth Orbit, Space. By Roland Miller and Paolo Nespoli

View Port-Aft, with Pressurized Mating Adapter 1 (on left) and Node 3 (on right), Node 1 – Unity, International Space Station – ISS, Low Earth Orbit, Space. By Roland Miller and Paolo Nespoli

Node 1 Equipped with Mating Systems (left) and Pressurized Mating Adapter (right) Ground Fit-Check Test, High Bay
Space Station Processing Facility – SSPF, NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida. By Roland Miller