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Documentary

An Advocacy Campaign Spotlights the Ordinary Lives of People with Disabilities in a Lighthearted Short Film

August 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

To kick off their joint WeThe15 campaign, the International Paralympic Committee and International Disability Alliance commissioned a short film that takes a humorous and playful approach to showcasing the ordinary lives of people with disabilities. Produced by Sam Pilling of Pulse Films, the ad uses a series of vignettes to spotlight members of the disability community, who speak to their joyful, frustrating, and routine experiences alongside the discrimination and stereotypes many confront on a daily basis.

WeThe15 will help launch the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and be shown at the opening ceremony on August 24. It hopes to spur greater visibility, inclusion, and accessibility for the 1.2 billion people living with disabilities worldwide, making it the largest marginalized group at about 15 percent of the global population. We’re also enjoying “Superhuman ’21,” a similarly lighthearted film by Rina Yang.

 

 

 



Photography Science

A Dive 2,300 Feet into the Atlantic Ocean Uncovers a New Bright Red Jellyfish Species

August 12, 2021

Grace Ebert

This beautiful red jellyfish in the genus Poralia may be an undescribed species. It was seen during the third transect of Dive 20 of the 2021 North Atlantic Stepping Stones expedition, at a depth of 700 meters (2,297 feet). Image courtesy of NOAA Ocean Exploration, 2021 North Atlantic Stepping Stones: New England and Corner Rise Seamounts

Considering eighty percent of the earth’s oceans have yet to be explored, it’s not surprising that their mysterious depths continue to turn up new discoveries. A July 2021 expedition into the Hydrographer Canyon off the New England coast was no exception when a team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stumbled upon a striking red jellyfish. Spotted at 2,297 feet, the pulsing creature is presumed part of the genus Poralia, which until now, was comprised of a single species.

Scientists say the unfamiliar marine animal appears to have more tentacles than the Poralia rufescens, meaning that it’s likely an entirely new species yet to be classified. “The jellyfish also seemed to have nematocyst warts on the exumbrella (the upper part or outside of the jellyfish’s bell) that probably function both for defense but also to trap prey. The radial canals of this genus often branch randomly, which is not usual for other related jellyfish,” the NOAA said in a statement.

Using the remote-operated Deep Discoverer, the team spotted the creature in the mesopelagic zone—this area, which spans 656 to 3,281 feet, is also referred to as the twilight zone because it’s the last region sunlight can reach before giving way to total darkness—of the Atlantic Ocean around the Gulf Stream. The vehicle is equipped with 20 LED lights that illuminate the ocean depths and allow for high-definition footage like the rare video shown below.

See more discoveries from this dive, which spotted at least 650 creatures, in addition to previous expeditions on the NOAA site, YouTube, and Instagram. (via PetaPixel)

 

A total of four samples were collected during Dive 20 of the 2021 North Atlantic Stepping Stones expedition using the suction sample on remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Deep Discoverer. Here, Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration ROV pilots deftly maneuver to collect a potential new species of jellyfish during the 1200-meter (3,937-foot) dive transect. Image courtesy of NOAA Ocean Exploration, 2021 North Atlantic Stepping Stones: New England and Corner Rise Seamounts

 

 



Art Documentary Music

Through Totemic Sculptures and Sound Art, Guadalupe Maravilla Explores the Therapeutic Power of Indigenous Ritual

August 11, 2021

Grace Ebert

In 1984, eight-year-old Guadalupe Maravilla left his family and joined a group of other children fleeing their homes in El Salvador. The Central American country was in the midst of a brutal civil war, a profoundly traumatic experience that’s left an indelible impact on the artist and one that guides his broad, multi-disciplinary practice to this day.

Now based in Brooklyn, Maravilla works across painting, sculpture, and sound-based performances all veiled with autobiography, whether informed by the Mayan architecture and stone totems that surrounded him as a child or his cancer diagnosis as a young adult. His pieces are predominately therapeutic and rooted in Indigenous ritual and mythology, recurring themes the team at Art21 explores in a new documentary.

 

“Guadalupe Maravilla & the Sound of Healing” follows the artist as he prepares for his solo exhibition on view through September 6 at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City. Titled Planeta Abuelx, or Grandparent Planet—Maravilla expands on the often-used idea of Mother Nature to broaden its scope—the outdoor show is comprised of the artist’s trademark Disease Throwers, towering headdresses and shrines made of recycled aluminum. Allusions to Central American culture bolster the monumental works, with imprints of corn cobs, wooden toys, and other found objects planted throughout.

Covering the surrounding grass are chalky white markings, a signature component of the artist’s practice that delineate every space where he installs a piece. The abstract patterns evoke Tripa Chuca, one of Maravilla’s favorite childhood games that involves players drawing lines between corresponding numbers to create new intertwined motifs.

 

In Planeta Abuelx, Maravilla pairs his visual works with meditative performances that are based on the sound baths he used for pain management while undergoing chemotherapy. These healing therapies are designed to reduce anxiety and tension that often trigger stress-induced diseases. Using gongs and glass vessels, the palliative remedy has been the foundation of workshops the artist hosts for undocumented immigrants and others dealing with cancer that more deeply connect his totemic artworks to the viewers.

“Having a community that has gone through similar experiences can be really empowering,” he says. “Making these elaborate Disease Throwers is not just about telling a story from my past, but it’s also about how this healing ritual can continue in the future, long after I’m gone.”

If you’re in New York, Maravilla is hosting a sound bath to mark the close of Planeta Abuelx on September 4, and you can see more of his multivalent projects on Instagram. For a larger archive of documentaries exploring the lives and work of today’s most impactful artists, like this visit to Wangechi Mutu’s Nairobi studio, check out Art21’s site.

 

 

 



Animation

A Striking Stop-Motion Short Creates Uncanny Visual Effects Using Matches

August 10, 2021

Grace Ebert

Digital effects are no match for Tokyo-based designer Tomohiro Okazaki, whose mesmerizing new animation is a striking feat of stop-motion techniques. Using squirts of paint, strips paper, and other household objects, Okazaki deftly manipulates matchsticks into dozens of individual studies that endlessly bend and buckle their basic structure. Each analog distortion sparks a host of others that become increasingly complex and speedy, spanning from simple tricks of the hand to more elaborate clips of exploding match heads and paper morphing into fully formed sticks.

Okazaki heads the graphic design and animation studio Swimming, and you can find more clips and glimpses into his painstaking process on YouTube and Instagram. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

 

 



Documentary Photography

An Insightful Short Film Follows a 90-Year-Old Fisherman Who Clears Plastic from Bali's Coasts

August 6, 2021

Grace Ebert

Each day, 90-year-old Wayan gathers his nets and mesh sacks and sets his small boat out on the coast of Bali. The jewel-toned waters used to be a prime location for fishing, a profession Wayan practiced throughout childhood and continued for decades, but today, instead of reeling in massive catches and struggling to drag them back to shore, he’s finding an overabundance of disposable containers and garbage where the once-thriving marine populations used to live—some reports estimate that there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.

In her impactful short film “Voice Above Water,” San Francisco-based director Dana Frankoff visits Wayan at his coastal home and chronicles his adapted routine: rather than harvesting food for his family and community, he scoops up wrappers, bottles, and other refuse and carries the discarded material back to the beach for recycling. “The story is a glimpse into how one human is using his resources to make a difference and a reminder that if we all play our part we can accomplish something much greater than ourselves,” Frankoff says.

“Voice Above Water” is the director’s debut film, and you can follow her work on Vimeo. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Photography Science

Spectacular Footage Records Seven Moths as They Take Flight in Stunningly Slow Motion

August 4, 2021

Grace Ebert

Almost a year after releasing his wildly popular footage of muppet-like insects, Dr. Adrian Smith is back with another montage in incredibly slow motion. This similarly spectacular follow-up—which is shot at 6,000 frames per second with a macro lens—documents the unique flight maneuvers of seven moth species as they slowly lift into the air. Capturing both graceful wing movements and ungainly leg flailing, Smith records rare glimpses of the yellow underbelly of the Virginian tiger moth, the spiky mohawk of the white-dotted prominent, and the beautiful wood-nymph’s habit of scattering microscopic scales all with extraordinary detail. For more close-ups of moths, beetles, and other insects, head to Smith’s YouTube. (via The Kids Should See This)