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Food Music

Dinnerware, Eggs, and Wine Shatter and Seamlessly Repair in Dramatic Film by Optical Arts

July 1, 2020

Grace Ebert

A new short film by Optical Arts depicts what would be a dinner-party nightmare: ceramic plates and bowls shatter, red wine cascades from long-stemmed glasses, and sharp knives dive to the floor. Despite its explosive scenes, “Tocatta” subsequently shows the same dinnerware, drinks, and plates of boiled eggs seamlessly repair and float upward as whole objects.

A multivalent consideration of physical contact, the word “tocatta” both originates from an Italian form of “to touch” and refers to a musical composition designed to showcase the performer’s refined techniques. The reparative film is set to the opening section of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Toccata and Fuge in D Minor, one of the German composer’s most recognized works. Because of its discordant runs, the musical piece historically has been used in horror films, like Rouben Mamoulian’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), Terence Fischer’s The Phantom of the Opera (1962), and Norman Jewison’s dystopic Rollerball (1975).

Written for organ, the eerie composition adds a foreboding element to the film. The dramatic piece explores “the nature of time, the relentless violence of entropy and creative energy and its relationship to music itself,” the London-based creative studio writes in a statement. Another nod to the iconic composer, the dark, opening scenes are shots from Eisenach, Germany, where Bach was born and lived for the first few years of his life.

To dive further into Optical Arts’ productions, head to Vimeo and Instagram. (via The Morning News)

Update: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the film as a CGI animation.

 

 

 



Music

An Open Pipeline Echoes This Inventive Saxophonist’s Notes in Perfectly Tuned Accompaniment

June 30, 2020

Grace Ebert

Saxophonist Armin Küpper has mastered the effects of live looping without the necessary equipment to record and replay tracks. Instead, the musician heads to a nearby site storing a lengthy pipeline and positions his bell near the opening. As he plays, the delayed notes echo back in perfect pitch, creating an polyphony as he blares out the next line. Check out more of Küpper’s tunes below, and head to YouTube to keep up with his inventive performances. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Science

A Decade of Sun: A New Timelapse Chronicles Ten Years of the Enormous Star

June 29, 2020

Grace Ebert

Most experts advise against staring at the sun for more than a few seconds, and yet, a new timelapse from NASA lets viewers peer into the fiery mass for an entire decade. During the course of ten years, the Solar Dynamics Observatory took more than 425 million images of the massive star that were captured .75 seconds apart. Aggregated into an hour-long compilation titled “A Decade of Sun,” the photographs provide visual evidence of how the giant orb functions and its influence on the rest of the solar system. Each image was captured at a wavelength of 17.1 nanometers, or one-billionth of a meter, to show the exterior atmospheric layer that’s called the corona.

NASA has shared on YouTube a list of notable moments, including an appearance by Venus and an iconic interruption in 2012. Most of the dark spots in the video are a result of the earth or moon passing in between the Solar Dynamics Observatory and blocking its view, although there was a longer lapse in 2016 due to an equipment malfunction. When the spacecraft was recalibrating its tools, the sun shifts to one side of the screen.

Head to YouTube to dive into more of NASA’s explorations into outer space.

 

 

 



Design

Drive Through Indonesia with Rebel Riders, A Group That Modifies Vespas with Idiosyncratic Designs

June 28, 2020

Grace Ebert

“One Vespa, a million brothers,” says Nando Anjasmara Azani. The Vespa enthusiast is part of Rebel Riders, a community in Indonesia dedicated to modifying the Italian scooters. In a recent video by Great Big Story, Azani and his compatriots share a glimpse into their pastime that includes altering the body with extra wheels and adorning the exterior with tree branches, animal skulls, and other finds. Every year, the group meets up to tinker with each others’ rides in multiple celebrations that occur on each island in Indonesia.

Check out the tricked-out scooters and dive into more of Great Big Story’s adventures around the world on YouTube. (via Uncrate)

 

 

 



Music

2,292 Plants Fill the Audience in Opening Performance at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu

June 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Gran Teatre del Liceu, shared with permission

This week, Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu held its first performance with a live audience post-coronavirus, but it’s unclear whether the attendees were too green to appreciate Puccini’s “Crisantemi.” Seated in the red, velvet seats and among the gold balconies, 2,292 palms, ficus trees, and Swish cheese plants filled the iconic opera house to listen to the string quartet’s rendition.

A collaboration with Madrid-based artist Eugenio Ampudia and the Max Estrella gallery, the concert was meant to reflect on humans’ relationship with nature. “I thought why don’t we go into the Liceu like weeds, take it over and let nature start growing everywhere and turn it into something alive even when there are no people,” Ampudia said in an interview. After the performance, the leafy audience members were donated to healthcare workers who have been battling the virus during the last few months.

 

 

 



Photography

An Aerial Timelapse Captures One Million Begonias as They’re Woven Into an Ephemeral Tapestry

June 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

Every other August, dozens of volunteers gather near the Grand Place in Brussels to compose a 19,000-square-foot, floral rug that blankets the central square. The massive installation is woven with one million begonias—a hearty flower that Belgium is the largest producer of worldwide—that last just four days before wilting.

Although the 2020 edition of the “Flower Carpet” event has been postponed, Berlin-based Joerg Daiber, of Spoon Film, captured the 2018 iteration in a short timelapse that shows how the vibrant tapestry is fabricated. Daiber adds a bit of whimsy to his film, though, with a tilt-shift effect, which makes all the volunteers, spectators, and surrounding architecture appear as miniatures. “The film was shot from three buildings around the Grand Place in Brussels, but most of the shots were taken from the 90-meter-high tower of the Brussels Town Hall,” the filmmaker told PetaPixel.

If you’re hoping to satisfy more of your wanderlust, check out Daiber’s similarly tiny dives into Montenegro, Burma, and Mallorca, among dozens of other locales, on YouTube.

 

 

 



Animation

A Transfixing Animation Utilizes the Optical Illusions of Pareidolia to Parallel Two Narratives About Birth

June 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

Created by London-based animator and artist Vier Nev, “A Mind Sang” plunges into an entrancing journey of life’s stages. The short film is centered on themes of transformation as it hypnotically shifts perspectives scene-by-scene. “It began with twenty drawings I had created about different cultural representations of birth and identity. I find that in my drawings I often come back to the same characters: queer couples, mothers, and, for some inexplicable reason, cats,” Nev said in a Vimeo interview.

Relying on pareidolia—the tendency to see objects or patterns where they physically don’t exist—each frame simultaneously depicts two different narratives. “I wondered if I could create a film that merged the stories of these characters into the same shapes and shadows,” Nev said. The characters seamlessly change from fully realized figures into amorphous shapes, animals, and single body parts throughout the illusory project.

Although Nev originally planned for the entire film to be black and white, he instead infused bits of crimson and shades of violet. “The two red moments are particularly special to me as they signal moments where blood (sangue) fills the frame,” he said. “First as fire and then as water, blood represents death or birth.”

“A Mind Sang” recently won a Staff Pick Award at the 2020 Annecy International Animation Film Festival. Check out stills of the transformative project on Nev’s Instagram, and follow his upcoming animations on Vimeo.