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Photography

Take an Eerie Walk Through the Empty Streets of Amsterdam, San Francisco, and New York City

March 31, 2020

Grace Ebert

With one-third of the world’s population currently under some level of quarantine, the streets of major cities like Amsterdam, New York City, and San Francisco are an unusual and unsettling sight. Film director and cinematographer Jean Counet, who shot “Meanwhile in Amsterdam,” shows the capital city almost entirely deserted. Public transit is empty and a four-minute walk reveals less than a dozen passersby.

Counet tells Colossal that “Meanwhile in Amsterdam” came together like any other film, except that “this time there was no director, and no plan,” he says. “We walked through the old city centre of Amsterdam between 8:30 (and) 13:30 which is normally teemed by walking people and bicycles. What we witnessed felt like a dream. Sometimes beautiful and mesmerizing, sometimes scary and worrying.”

In a similarly bizarre look at San Francisco, stop lights cycle from green to red with no cars passing through and businesses are boarded up. One with a psychedelic facade even has signs that read “We will survive” and “We will get by,” a hopeful gesture derived from the city’s musical legends that directly contrasts the nailed plywood covering the windows.

To see how the global pandemic is affecting public life in New York City and Rotterdam, check out the videos below. (via Kottke)

 

 



Photography

A Collage of Overlapping Videos Creates a Wild Rube Goldberg-esque Motion Sequence

March 30, 2020

Grace Ebert

Beginning with a man blowing his lips, an impressive compilation by Donato Sansone merges short clips of car crashes, fiery explosions, and punches thrown during a boxing match into a believable series of consequences. Ranging from nature to sports to destructive events, each seconds-long bit appears to lead right into the next in “Concatenation“—seemingly, a rocket launches straight into a pool ball that then causes a diver to jump into the water. A bullet impales a board, prompting two fiery masses in another section.

Head to Vimeo and Tumblr to check out more of Sansone’s sequence-based projects.

 

 



Animation

A Horse Struggles to Exist in a Ridiculous New Animation by AJ Jeffries

March 29, 2020

Grace Ebert

Norwich-based 3D illustrator and animator AJ Jeffries released a new animation that feels particularly relevant to modern life. Simply described as a story about “a horse, struggling to exist,” the short film chronicles the evolution of a pink animal as it morphs from a blob into a fully realized mare. Its body bends and contorts—at one point, its neck even shoots up to the sky, killing a purple bird—before it gets some encouragement from nearby plants and happily dances away. To check out more of Jeffries’s relatable projects, head to Instagram, Vimeo, or Behance.

 

 



Animation Art

In a New Stop-Motion Film, Swoon Explores Trauma, Memory, and the Body

March 25, 2020

Grace Ebert

Caledonia Curry, aka Swoon, is known for her street art utilizing paper that’s pasted onto building walls, but the Brooklyn-based artist has made a recent pivot that transfers her mythical style to stop-motion animations. Part of her solo exhibition Cicada, Curry’s short film “Sofia and Storm” is centered on a human-arachnid hybrid. After emerging from a dense mass, the gold-faced feminine figure opens up her chest cavity to reveal dark, hanging matter that eventually is absorbed.

Similar to her previous projects, the fantastical animation is linked directly to Curry’s family history and to her parents, who struggled with addiction and substance abuse. “Swoon’s stop-motion films emphasize the body’s ability to serve as a vessel carrying memories and traditions. A house, a ship, and human figures split and open to liberate a cast of imaginative and mythological creatures trapped inside,” a statement said.

So far, Curry has released three other animated projects on YouTube. You can also find her work that explores the relationship between the body and trauma on Instagram. (via Juxtapoz)


 

 



Animation Documentary

Bloomers: An Animated Documentary Recounts the History Behind an Undergarment Business

March 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

Consumers are paying closer attention to the ethics and business practices behind the products they buy, and animated documentarian Samantha Moore is shining a light on one company creating everyday essentials. Last year, the Shropshire-based creator released “Bloomers,” a short film that chronicles the history of the Manchester-based lingerie company Ella and Me, which began production in the United Kingdom before moving abroad and back again.

From flowing silk to lace-trimmed underwear strung up only to be snipped apart, the detailed project colors mostly the garments, swaths of fabric, and spindles of string. The workers and machines remain black-and-white line drawings throughout the film as it walks through the manufacturing cycle from design to consumer purchases.

Moore helps illuminate the impacts rising production costs had on Ella and Me since its beginning as a mom-and-pop business. She documents its inception and even the employees’s familial connections to the textile industry. The animation is set to a diverse soundtrack that includes interviews with the company’s team, in addition to noises commonly found on the production room floor, like scissors slicing through soft cotton and the repetitive tick of sewing machines.

Since its release, “Bloomers” was nominated for the Best Short Film at the British Animation Awards 2020, was the winner of the Best British Film at London International Animation Festival 2019, and took home the top prize as the Best Documentary at ReAnima International Film Festival 2019. Keep up with Moore’s animated documentaries on Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 



Science

Watch the Aquatic Animals at Monterey Bay Aquarium via These Free Live Streams

March 18, 2020

Grace Ebert

You may have had to cancel your spring vacation, but you still can (virtually) visit the aquatic animals housed at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Peek at the groups of jellyfish and sharks, do some bird watching in the Aviary, follow the African penguins as they waddle around, and catch a glimpse at the pulsing moon jellies all through the institutions’ free live streams. And for close-ups of the species, head to Instagram. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Animation Science

Fantastical Video Imagines the Crystalized Intricacies of Mineral Deposits

March 16, 2020

Grace Ebert

In an enchanting new video titled “Waiting to Be Found,” Dan Hoopert dives into the details within Earth’s minerals. The United Kingdom-based designer highlights the sprawling crystallization process as it expands within each deposit and alters its colors. One piece even grows a sparkling mass off its left side.

Hoopert’s project is based on a 2019 article in Earth, which states that the International Mineralogical Association recognizes more than 5,000 distinct minerals, including well-known silicates and carbonates that are frequently found in masses around the world. “Most are documented based on just a few known occurrences. It’s unlikely that scientists will stumble across many new finds of singularly abundant minerals on Earth, but numerous rare minerals are probably yet to be discovered,” the article says. In the last decade, about 1,000 new species were added to the association’s growing list.

The designer brought the project to life using 3D special effects software Houdini and Redshift. For more of his imaginary explorations of natural processes, follow him on Instagram and Behance.

All images © Dan Hoopert