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Documentary

Ai Weiwei’s Film ‘Human Flow’ Documents the Staggering Scale of the Global Refugee Crisis

March 23, 2018

Christopher Jobson

To create his new documentary film Human Flow, Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei spent a full year traveling through 23 countries, following the journeys of some of the 65 million people forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change, and protracted wars. Crossing oceans and visiting refugee camps in precarious border cities in Afghanistan, Greece, Iraq, Kenya, Mexico, Turkey and beyond, Ai documented the stories of fellow humans of all ages and nationalities who currently have no place to call home.

The individual stories of several refugees and their journeys—or near perpetual state of limbo—are interwoven throughout the film, though Ai focuses mostly on a macro view that illustrates the unimaginable scope of the unfolding crisis that has enveloped entire nations. By its nature, Human Flow recognizes that there are no easy solutions to these monumental catastrophes that impacts all of us directly or indirectly, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. A healthy dose of compassion and a recognition of a shared humanity would be a good start.

On a personal note, I felt deeply impacted by the film and strongly urge you to watch it.

On Sunday, April 29, 2018, Human Flow will be screened simultaneously across the United States. Immediately following, Ai will participate in a livestream Q&A with audiences around the country. If you are interested in hosting a public screening in a school, library, community center or elsewhere, you can find out more from ro*co films.

 

 



Science

A Short Film Captures the Reactions of LA Residents to Viewing the Moon Through a Traveling Telescope

March 13, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Directors Alex Gorosh and Wylie Overstreet have released another film about the moon after their previous educational short outlining why the 2017 eclipse should not be missed. A New View of The Moon features Overstreet parking his telescope at the cross-section of various LA sidewalks to give spontaneous glimpses of the moon to interested passersby.

Over the course of 18 months the pair brought the telescope to as many diverse locations across the city as possible, making sure not to focus on any specific neighborhood or landmark. Despite the range of individuals that snuck a peek at the orbiting astronomical body, each had the same reaction— complete awe.

“To be able to see it up close and feel like you could almost reach out and touch it, that’s what makes it real to us,” said Overstreet in the short film. “It makes you realize that we are all on this small little planet, and we all have the same reaction to the universe we live in. I think there is something special about that, something unifying. It’s a great reminder that we should look up more often.”

If you are interested in getting your own look at the moon, check your local library. Many across the US and UK rent out telescopes free of charge. For more videos by Gorosh (including this piece where he attempts to view every single piece of art in London in one day) check out his website. You can also view more short films by Overstreet on his website.

 

 



Photography

Go Behind the Scenes with Photographer William Wegman and his Famous Weimaraner Dog Portraits

February 27, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Photographer William Wegman began photographing his Weimaraner dog in the 1970s, and hasn’t looked back. Though his original pup, named Man Ray, has long since passed away, Wegman has continued his well-known series of anthropomorphic dog portraits with his more recent canine companions. Wegman has also created videos, children’s books, fashion campaigns, and even regularly occurring Sesame Street segments, all based around his dressed-up dogs. In this short video by Great Big Story, you can see behind-the-scenes of Wegman’s photo shoots, and his process of developing characters with costumes from his enormous prop room.

 

 

 



Art Photography

An Experimental Short Film Captures the Dramatic Dance of the Seasons

February 22, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

French film director Thomas Blanchard (previously) is known for his video work with oils and inks. In his most recent video, DANCE DANCE, Blanchard uses flowers as the contextual framework for his signature coils and swirls of color. Flowers have long been used as symbols of vitality and mortality, and the fire and ice these blooms are subjected to suggests a literal interpretation of those concepts. In the dramatically scored video, flowers and foliage light on fire, freeze and melt in icy pools, and are consumed by billowing clouds of colorful smoke. You can see more of Blanchard’s work on Vimeo, Behance, and Facebook. (via We and the Color)

 

 



Art

Complex Moiré Patterns Created by Mechanical Drawings Machines by James Nolan Gandy

February 22, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Artist and metalworker James Nolan Gandy creates elaborate drawing machines that easily put your childhood spirograph to shame. The machines are engineered from relatively simple mechanisms that when combined, produce mind-boggling shapes and interconnected moiré patterns.

Although the gears and pulleys are crafted in a way to make some of the work on their own, Gandy has not yet manufactured a system to lift the pen at specific intervals. Therefore many of his works are collaborative studies, equally created from the talents of man and machine. Some of my favorites are those created with a high contrast between paper and ink, such as the brilliant blue form seen in his drawing below.

You can view more of Gandy’s drawing machines in action on his Instagram. (via The Awesomer)

A post shared by James Nolan Gandy (@gandyworks) on

A post shared by James Nolan Gandy (@gandyworks) on

 

 



Art Craft

A Studio Interview with Embroidery Portrait Artist Cayce Zavaglia

February 12, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Embroidery artist Cayce Zavaglia (previously) creates mesmerizing portraits of everyday people using cotton thread and wool. In this thoughtful video profile, Jesse Brass (previously) takes a closer look at Zavaglia’s process and speaks with the artist about her work. In their conversation, Zavaglia emphasizes the importance of seeing the beauty in ordinary life, and explains the symbolic significance of each portrait’s verso. She has a show of new works coming up in May 2018 at Lyons Wier Gallery in New York. Brass shares many more artist profiles on Vimeo.

 

 

 

 



Animation Art

One Minute Art History: A Hand-Drawn Animation in Myriad Historical Art Styles

February 9, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Filmmaker and educator Cao Shu captures the history of art in an experimental short film that lasts for less than one minute. Throughout the film, the central character goes through the small motions of everyday movements like checking the time and having a drink, with each frame rendered in a different art historical style. The film starts in ancient Egypt and progresses through Chinese ink paintings and Japanese block prints to Modigliani and Basquiat-style portraits. Cao renders a vast array of art styles in a manner that is evocative without being overworked. He lives and works in Hangzhou, where he teaches at the China Academy of Art.

 

 

A Colossal

Highlight

Animal Multi-Tool