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Animation

The Endearing 'Marcel the Shell with Shoes On' Returns with a Feature-Length Mockumentary

April 6, 2022

Grace Ebert

An adorable little shell with one googly eye, pink shoes, and a charming sense of humor is back in the limelight this summer. Announced this week, a feature-length mockumentary from A24 will follow the iconic “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” whose debut stop-motion short directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp was a viral sensation a decade ago when it garnered myriad awards, prompted two sequels, and spurred an illustrated book.

Once again voiced by actress Jenny Slate, the quirky character is found living with his grandmother Connie and pet lint Alan. Their life involves watching hours of 60 Minutes, gardening a tiny window box, occupying tiny treehouses designed by Jedediah Corwyn Voltz (previously), and now, searching for their long-lost family following a mysterious tragedy. Watch the heartwarming trailer above, and find “Marcel the Shell with the Shoes On” in theaters on June 24. (via Uncrate)

 

 

 



Art

Responsive Sculptures by Daniel Rozin Echo Human Movement Through Undulating Objects

March 28, 2022

Grace Ebert

A solo exhibition at bitforms gallery highlights the fleeting nature of interaction in a series of responsive sculptures by artist Daniel Rozin (previously). Titled Shades, the show is comprised of multiple imitative works that reflect viewers’ movements through an embedded camera. “Take Out-Chopsticks Mirror,” for example, attaches the wooden utensils to a motorized base, and as someone passes in front of the piece, the components lift upward at a wider angle. In addition to the echoed motion, the undulating works rely on light and shadow to create intriguing, abstract renditions of human gesture.

Also included in the exhibition are two inverse sculptures, “CMY Shadows Mirror” and “RGB Peg Mirror.” Both works reproduce full-color reflections, although the former uses the subtractive color model and the latter additive. Whether animated by human presence or a pre-programmed algorithm, the resulting forms become dynamic displays of kaleidoscopic color.

If you’re in New York City, you can see Shades at bitforms gallery through April 23, and see more of Rozin’s works on his site and Instagram.

 

“RGB Peg Mirror” (2019), anodized aluminum knobs, motors, 3D camera, control electronics, computer, custom software, 72 inches in diameter and 4 inches in depth

“Take Out-Chopsticks Mirror” (2021), chopsticks, motors, wood, custom software, computer, camera, 66 x 34 x 17 inches

Detail of “Take Out-Chopsticks Mirror” (2021), chopsticks, motors, wood, custom software, computer, camera, 66 x 34 x 17 inches

 

 



Science

Underwater Footage Captures a Graceful Whale Shark Swimming Through the Gulf of Thailand

March 25, 2022

Grace Ebert

Underwater footage from a dive off the coast of KoTao opens on the spotted body of a whale shark. Documented by a small team from Aquatic Images on two excursions, the giant, slow-moving creature is shown gliding gracefully through the Gulf of Thailand with what appears to be dozens of remora, or suckerfish, tagging along for the ride—these smaller swimmers tend to clean bacteria and parasites from their host in exchange for food and easy travel.

Whale sharks are currently the largest living fish species, and similar to flamingos, they’re filter-feeders, although they utilize a cross-flow method that involves water passing by the filter toward the back of the throat rather than through it. Their distinctive spots are also unique to each specimen, meaning that like human fingerprints, no two patterns are the same.

This is the second time in recent years that Aquatic Images has encountered the “gentle giant,” and you can find more of its undersea footage on YouTube. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

 

 



Art Design

'Real Time' Uses Amusing Manual Techniques To Track the Passage of Each Minute

March 18, 2022

Grace Ebert

Part of a series of performances centered on cumbersome and surreal timekeeping devices, Maarten Baas’s “Sweeper’s Clock” chronicles two men as they track each passing moment with heaps of garbage. The aerially shot film follows the pair as they push lines of trash representative of the minute and hour hands around a large circle faintly defined in the landscape, keeping time as they go.

Released in 2009, the video piece parallels other clever works in Baas’s Real Time series, including a painter manually unveiling a digital display and another showing the Dutch artist trapped inside a grandfather clock. Visitors to the international terminal of the Amsterdam airport in 2016 were also greeted with “Schiphol Clock,” an analog device suspended from the ceiling in which a man adjusted the time by hand. “The worker’s blue overalls, yellow rag, and red bucket pay homage to the famous Dutch artist, Mondrian,” Baas writes.

Watch more of the artist’s works at the intersection of art, film, and design on Vimeo. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Animation

After Her Brain Short-Circuits, A Young Girl Tries on a Second Head in a Lighthearted Stop-Motion Animation

March 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

The saying goes that two heads are better than one, except in the case of a young girl named Matilda. The titular character of a playful stop-motion short by Lithuanian animator Ignas Meilunas, Matilda is on track to be the smartest girl in the world when suddenly, mid-study session, her mind goes haywire. She recognizes that she can’t stuff a single fact more into her already packed brain and to remedy the issue, her mother decides to order her daughter a second head from a department store. Of course, this quick fix is really no solution at all, and Matilda soon realizes that there’s more to life.

According to Short of the Week, Meilunas hadn’t worked with puppets prior to “Matilda and the Second Head,” which retains all of the charm and detail of his previous pieces—you might remember him from “Mr. Night Has a Day Off.” The character-driven short already has been shown at a variety of festivals including Annecy and helped him win the Best Animation for Young Audiences award from the 2020 Ottawa International Film Festival. Meilunas recently shared an in-depth look behind-the-scenes of the project, and you can watch more of his short comedies on Vimeo.

 

 

 



Art

In 'Turn Off the Plastic Tap,' Three Tons of Waste Pour From a Spigot Floating 30 Feet Above Ground

March 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Benjamin Von Wong, shared with permission

Last week, representatives from 175 nations formally agreed to curb plastic pollution in a momentous move. Plastic has become an increasingly urgent part of the climate crisis, and recent estimates approximate that the total amount of the material produced throughout history exceeds the combined weight of all animals on land and sea. Each year, we collectively generate 300 million tons more waste from single-use containers and similar products, a staggering number in comparison to the 9 percent we’ve recycled and a testament to the harsh reality that the planet is engulfed with plastic.

To coincide with the United Nations Environment Assembly meeting, photographer and artist Benjamin Von Wong (previously) erected a towering, 30-foot installation outside U.N. headquarters in Kenya. With the help of the Human Needs Project, an NGO providing basic services to slums around the world, Vong Wong collaborated with more than 100 residents of the large, poverty-stricken region of Nairobi known as Kibera. Together, they gathered, sanitized, and strung up three tons of water bottles, condiment containers, and other unwanted items that were then suspended from the oversized silver spigot.

Although it shows a minuscule portion of the waste produced worldwide, the resulting installation, titled “Turn Off the Plastic Tap,” is a powerful indictment of consumerism and the lack of environmental protections. “Too much of the plastic conversation revolves around recycling and cleanups, but those only deal with the consequences, and not the root cause,” Von Wong writes. “The real solution and opportunity is getting plastic production back under control by making sure we turn off the plastic tap.”

Watch the video below and check out Von Wong’s Instagram to see how the massive spout was constructed—thanks to a Web 3.0 community called the Degenerate Trash Pandas, which funded the installation, an additional $100,000 was raised for charity, as well—and find more of his projects concerned with plastic waste, like this installation of 168,000 straws, on his site.

 

Photo by Atieno Muyuyi

Photo by Atieno Muyuyi

Photo by Ziggy

Photo by Atieno Muyuyi

Photo by Ziggy