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Photography Science

Millions of Monarchs Swarm Fake Hummingbird As It Captures Spectacular Footage of Their Flight

April 30, 2020

Anna Marks

With its clementine-colored wings bordered with black lines and white spots, the monarch, also known as Danaus Plexippus, is a widely recognizable insect. As the weather changes and gets cooler, the monarchs migrate from their breeding grounds in Canada and the northern United States and fly to central Mexico, where they form clustered colonies on oyamel fir trees to conserve heat until the days grow longer and they migrate north once again. 

In this spectacular clip filmed by the PBS series Spy in the Wild, a mechanical “spy hummingbird” flies over a swarm of resting monarchs. Creators chose the flying creature because it feeds on nectar and thus isn’t seen as a threat. As the sun warms the butterflies’ wings to 50 degrees, the insects wake and start to flutter and move. The hummingbird spy finds itself within the very heart of the swarm and captures a spectacular scene in which millions of butterflies take to the sky once more in a mesmerizing confetti-like cloud. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Animation Photography

Artist François Vogel Turns His Unaware Cat into a Wriggling Jellyfish

April 28, 2020

Grace Ebert

Based on a recent cameo, François Vogel ’s cat actually might enjoy a dip in the ocean despite his feline instincts to avoid it. The Abyssinian has been stretched and distorted in a series of humorous clips made by his French owner, including one that lengthens and spirals the cat’s legs like flowing jellyfish tendrils. The unsuspecting pet also is stretched across the dining room and launched into an expanding sea of fish that he slowly swims through.

Vogel, who lives and works in the Parisian suburb Meudon, used slit-scan photography and time displacement in After Effects to twist and warp his cat’s figure. Head to Instagram to see his extensive backlog of comical distortions that includes turning his daughter into a seagull. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

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Music Photography

A Touching Film Compiles Quarantine Dispatches from Around the Globe

April 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

Echoing each others’ sentiments of hope and optimism during uncertain times, the folks who contributed to a new short film have joined together despite being thousands of miles apart. “A Social Distance” is a collective look at global life during COVID-19 featuring dozens of people, ranging from a 93-year old Malayan grandmother to a 19-year old Slovenian man, from the 30 most-affected countries.

Directed by Ivan Cash and Jacob Jonas, the crowd-sourced project compiles clips of people’s hand-washing practices, their stocked and bare fridges, and emotional messages about their worries. Some dance to the original score played by various musicians from their respective homes. Despite its anxiety-producing subject matter, though, the compilation is surprisingly hopeful.

Find more work from Cash and Jonas on Vimeo. You also might like this wildly choreographed music video filmed entirely on Zoom.

 

 



Design Food

A Ridiculously Long Chain Reaction Brings Social Distancing to the Dinner Table

April 16, 2020

Grace Ebert

The latest humorous invention by Joseph Herscher designed to maintain social distancing practices during a meal might abide by the six-foot rule, but it definitely requires a little bit of patience, especially for those who are super hungry. The Rube Goldberg-esque sequence in “Pass The Pepper: Social Distancing is Nothing to Sneeze At” spans about five minutes in a ridiculous series of reactions that include balls rolling down shoots, spaghetti cooking half-way, and a horrifying coffee spill on an open laptop.

Herscher bills the comical system as a “fool-proof method for completely safe, germ-free passing of condiments across the table.” To see more of the New York-based creator’s eccentric machines, head to Instagram and YouTube. Check out his salt sequence, too.

 

 



Art Documentary History

A New Hilma af Klint Documentary Explores the Abstract Artist’s Historical Legacy

April 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Kino Lorber

An effort to rewrite art historical timelines predominately shaped around men, a new documentary spotlights inventive Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (1862–1944). Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint considers her colorful, abstract artworks that predate those of widely recognized male artists, like Vasily KandinskyKazimir MalevichPiet Mondrian, Paul Klee, and Josef Albers. Directed by Halina Dyrschka, the corrective documentary follows the Guggenheim’s 2018 retrospective of the artist’s spiritual work that since has secured af Klint’s position as a pioneer of 20th-century art.

Dyrschka discovered the revolutionary artist’s work in 2013, quickly realizing that “here was a woman who consequently followed her own path in life that led to a unique oeuvre. A strong character and despite all restrictions Hilma af Klint explored the possibilities that go beyond the visible.” In addition to art history’s tendency to ignore women, the artist’s groundbreaking projects have been absent from historical discourse in part because she asked that her work not be shown until 20 years after her death.

Having interviewed af Klint’s relatives, historians, artists, and critics for the documentary, the German director is hoping to offer a comprehensive and amended version of af Klint’s legacy that transcends her bold paintings. Her “oeuvre goes even beyond art because she was looking for the whole picture of life,” Dyrschka said. “And with that she comes close to the one question: What are we doing here?”

Beyond the Visible will be available for streaming starting April 17. (via Artnet)

“Altarpiece No. 1” (1915), Altarpieces: Group X

“The Dove No. 2” (1914-1915), from Group IX

 

 



Photography

Naps: A Sleepy Compilation Captures an Array of Animals and Humans Mid-Slumber

April 14, 2020

Grace Ebert

From drowsy ducklings to kids fast asleep in the backseat, a short compilation by New York-based filmmaker Daniel Mercadante (previously) gathers an adorable mix of animals and humans who are too tired to keep their eyes open. “Naps” catches tiny kittens nodding off and babies in the midst of dreamy slumbers and is a follow-up to “Yawns,” a similarly soporific compilation. Mercadante said his motivation for assembling the clips is simply “because we could all use a good nap from time to time.” Head to Vimeo and Instagram for more of the filmmaker’s collection-based projects.

 

 



Music

Beatbox Like a World Champion with This 13-Step Tutorial by Butterscotch

April 12, 2020

Grace Ebert

Sure, you can spend your time during quarantine reading a dozen books or scrubbing your cabinets, but what about learning to beatbox from a world champion? Vocal percussionist Butterscotch recently released a 13-step tutorial that guides novices through various beatboxing techniques, from the basic baseline and snare—or what she calls Boots and Cats—all the way to singing and live looping. And for those who have a hard time keeping a beat, the musician even outlines a breathing technique that makes it easier to stay steady. Check out Butterscotch’s Instagram to keep up with her impressive musical projects. (via Kottke)