video

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Animation Music

A Mesmerizing Animation Spins Through Banknotes From 23 Countries in a Hypnotic Look at What Cultures Value

September 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

An endless loop of lines, ornate motifs, emblems, and historical figures converge in a hypnotic animation by Los Angeles-based director Lachlan Turczan. Paired with Blake Mills’s subdued track “Money Is The One True God,” the music video is comprised of high-resolution scans spliced together in a mesmerizing rotation. The compilation reveals colorful snippets of currency from 23 countries dating from the 1800s to the present day—these include a portrait of rebellion leader Samuel Sharpe on the Jamaican 50 dollar bill, an engraving of Tenochtitlan on a 100 peso, and a kaleidoscopic sunset on China’s 5 yuan—that show how notions of value have evolved over time.

Turczan writes that he used replacement animation techniques to highlight the guilloché patterns embedded within the bills. While much of the animation focuses on the abstract, it’s also indicative of cultural trends and shifts. “The age of exploration leads to industrialization, wonders of the world are replaced by office buildings, and icons of freedom stand in stark contrast to images of slavery,” he says. “The project culminates with the collective eyes of all world leaders staring back at the audience.”

Having worked with talents like Phoebe Bridgers, Sam von Horn, and Flock of Dimes, Mills’s “Money Is The One True God” is just one of Turczan’s music videos, which you can watch on Vimeo and Instagram. You also might enjoy this stop-motion short at the intersection of culture and economics. (via Booooooom)

 

 

 



Craft Design

A Whimsical Ad Uses Conductive Thread to Light Up Miniature Scenes Made of Yarn and Fabric

September 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

Simple landscapes dotted with felt trees, miniature power lines, and spool-propelled ambulances become twinkling nightscapes and whimsically glowing scenes in “Connecting Thoughts.” The advertisement, which was created to promote the Japanese infrastructure firm Kandenko’s “Everyone Lights up the Future” message, uses Smart-X conductive thread to send electric currents through figures stitched into gloves and around yarn-based architecture, illuminating each scenario with tiny bulbs. This short piece follows the company’s 2016 ad, which used a conductive marker to create a dazzling pop-up book.

 

 

 



Documentary Photography Science

A Short Film Dives into the 15-Year Process Behind the Documentary 'Fantastic Fungi'

September 1, 2021

Grace Ebert

We shared footage of the mesmerizing mycelium networks pulsing underneath our feet back in 2019 to mark the opening of Louie Schwartzberg’s Fantastic Fungi, and now the dedicated director takes viewers behind the scenes to show his painstaking process. Filmed throughout a 15-year period in his home studio, Schwartzberg’s timelapses zero in on myriad spores as they burst open, sprawl in every direction, and morph in color and texture. They’re a compelling visual representation of time and nature’s cyclical processes, which he explores in a new short film produced by WIRED.

Most of the challenges in capturing the footage center around predicting where an organism will grow to keep it within the shot and understanding the frame rates of different lifeforms. Schwartzberg explains:

For example, a mosquito on your arm, having a little drop of blood, takes a look at that hand coming towards it in ultra slow motion and has plenty of time to take off because its metabolic rate, its lifespan, is way shorter than our lifespan. And our lifespan is way shorter than a Redwood tree’s lifespan. This reality of real-time human point of view is not the only point of view, and that’s really the beauty of cameras and time-lapse cinematography. It’s actually a time machine.

Watch the full making-of above—note that it does include a clip of a mouse decomposing near the end—and find Fantastic Fungi on Netflix. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

 

 



Design

Zen Gardens by Yuki Kawae Interrupt Doomscrolling with Meditative Patterns

August 30, 2021

Grace Ebert

A welcome disruption to doomscrolling, the patterned zen gardens composed by Yuki Kawae are an antidote to today’s seemingly endless anxieties. The Bay Area designer records meditative footage of wide-toothed prongs and dense rakes that scrape across beds of white sand, creating intersecting loops, fractals, and other organic shapes. Each clip is evidence of Kawae’s steady hand and penchant for precision as he meticulously plows the otherwise smooth grains to form clean lines.

His practice dates back to 2019 when gardening served as an escape from life pressures and the anxiety-provoking nature of social media. “I was quite overwhelmed with day-to-day tasks and what are the ‘expected’ next steps in life…One day, I realized all of those thoughts were completely gone when I was gardening, pruning, watering, and re-potting the soil. That process let me be clear-minded somehow, and it was very calming and refreshing,” he writes. Because he didn’t have space for a larger outdoor plot, he shifted to a coffee-table-sized zen garden, an initial design that’s now provided a similar reprieve when it pops into the feeds of Kawae’s massive followings on
YouTube and Instagram.

 

Today, the designer focuses on pattern and precise movement, creating visuals that are minimal and deliberate in their execution. Each video requires hours of work consisting of conceptual vision, rake design and production, pattern practice, revisions, filming, and editing. “You may have some idea of the end product but with trial and error, you end up with a completely different end pattern,” he says. “All the zen garden patterns are not permanent, and they get erased to start a new one. It is temporary like many things in life. It taught me about what not to overthink as what I am stressing about may also be temporary.”

Although Kawae’s works have been limited to digital platforms so far, he envisions a large-scale botanical space with greenery, zen gardens, and his abstract paintings, some of which form the backdrop for his videos. He also has a background in woodworking and shares detailed instructions for creating your own sand space, from building the enclosure to choosing rakes.

 

 

 



Amazing

An Absurd Mockumentary Follows a Disheveled Robot that Mooches Off His Ornery Creator

August 26, 2021

Grace Ebert

Brian and Charles are just like any other roommates. They enjoy bedroom dance parties and competitive games of Scrabble, pull dated clothes from each others’ closets, and even argue over whose food is whose—Charles is notorious for sneaking bites of Brian’s vegetables when he’s not around. In most senses, the bond between the perpetually disheveled pair is typical of other friendships, but one thing sets them apart: Charles is a bumbling, redundant robot Brian built during an intense depression one winter, and now they’re stuck together.

Similarly brash and awkward, the quirky duo stars in a brilliant short film written and directed by Jim Archer. The mockumentary-style production follows their shared routines of eating berries and wandering their bucolic cottage property, before capturing the cabbage-fueled fight that threatens their bond.

Archer shared some behind-the-scenes details on the low-budget production with Short of the Week, and you can find an extensive archive of his short films on his site.

 

 

 



Design

An Engineer Creates Images Hidden Inside Translucent Windows Exposed Only by Light

August 25, 2021

Grace Ebert

What appears to be a smooth acrylic tile suddenly reveals a 2- or 3D figure when illuminated by the sun or an artificial light source. The magical window, which is the inventive design of aerospace and software engineer Matt Ferraro, relies on caustic patterns, the physical phenomenon that casts shadows and bright spots when light filters through a glass or other transparent object. By slightly altering the curvature of the acrylic surface by no more than two millimeters at any spot, Ferraro transformed the seemingly blank square into an extraordinary light-activated device that produces a holographic cat.

The San Francisco-based engineer details the physics behind the two-dimensional aspects of the design in a post on his site, although he hasn’t yet elucidated how the hologram functions. Follow him on Twitter to keep an eye out for that explanation.