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Animation

Mesas Shoot Through Cloud-Filled Skies in ‘American Totem’

January 28, 2020

Grace Ebert

Panning the expansive desert, “American Totem” captures the mesas scattered across the beige- and rust-colored landscape but with an unearthly twist. Pillars ascend from their flat tops, reaching up through the clouds toward a pale blue sky in the short film, which combines real footage and digital effects. Created by London-based artist Theodore John, aka mustardcuffins, the moving columns shoot through dissipating clouds as the sun rises and sets, casting shadows across the sand and rocks. As night sets in, the film speeds up, morphing the dark sky into one filled with shooting stars. Find more multi-media projects from the artist and motion graphics designer on Instagram and Behance.

 

 



Science

Striped Eel Catfish Traverse the Ocean Floor as a Strategically Rotating Mass

January 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

For young striped eel catfish, there really is safety in numbers. A recent Instagram post shares a video by Marie-Laure Vergne of about one hundred juvenile fish moving across the bottom of the ocean. The Abyss Dive Center, a scuba diving school located in Amed, Bali, explains in the post that until the fish are fully grown and gain all of their deadly capabilities, they protect themselves by swimming in dense groups. Similar to other catfish, this species has four pairs of barbels on the upper and lower jaws. In their pectoral and first dorsal fins, though, the fish have a highly venomous, and sometimes fatal, spine.

As suggested by The Kids Should See This, the aquatic animals appear to take turns as they move, diving toward the bottom before appearing back at the top only to repeat the cycle. If you focus on one of the fish’s movements, you’ll spot the undulating pattern. The dive center does have a cautionary tip for anyone who encounters the phenomenon: “The young ones can only produce a mild version of the venom, tingling the fingers of the people putting their hands in the school (which we don’t recommend you do! ).”

 

 



Animation

A New Short Film Demonstrates the Difficulty of Escaping City Life

January 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

Breaking free from urban life is no easy feat for the main figure in “Le Silence de la rue,” or “The Silence of the street.” The monochromatic film produced by Miyu Productions, which is led by Emmanuel-Alain Raynal and Pierre Baussaron, details the stark dichotomy of spending time in unaltered natural spaces and in a dirty, bustling neighborhood. Opening with a blooming flower, the gloomy film turns to a black being who struggles to stay afoot in the dense streets as a horde of anonymous figures push by. Wave-like elements envelop him until he’s transported to a tiny boat at sea, where he momentarily finds peace. But soon enough, he’s hurled back into the crowd before finally losing his dark hue and joining others as they pile onto the public bus, proving his inability to escape city life.

The 2D digital animation was directed by Marie Opron in 2019 and is set to music by composer Francois Poitou. Find more of the company’s illustrated projects on Vimeo.

 

 



Photography

Snails Paint the Town in Miniature Scenes Crafted by Aleia Murawski and Sam Copeland

January 17, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Aleia Murawski and Sam Copeland, shared with permission

Illinois-based Aleia Murawski and Sam Copeland have a knack for creating miniature—and slimy—worlds just big enough for their tiny acquaintances to glide through. The creative duo is known for constructing realistic domestic settings featuring plastic covered furniture and a messy painting studio occupied by snails for its stills and short films. Now, though, the artists are pushing the critters beyond their comfortable homes for a fun night out. The snails are shot sliding up to a limo, basking under the glimmer of a disco ball, and gobbling up a cheeseburger in a quaint diner.

“It is a really fun challenge for us to come up with these scenes and to find different ways to execute it so it feels believable and lived in, despite its fabrication,” Murawski told Colossal. The bowling scene utilizes a ball controlled by a magnet that the creators shot frame-by-frame as it moved along the alley. That set took multiple days to get right, she says, from using coffee stir sticks to build out the floor to employing a vacuum-foaming machine to construct each chair.

Murawksi says the duo’s process is “very rooted in play and experimentation. We are always looking for new ways to construct different elements in a scene and trying varied techniques to create depth and motion in our work.” To keep up with the snails’ shenanigans, head to Murawski’s Instagram. You can even buy a print of their slippery adventures to add to your collection.

 

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Animation

A Bustling Coastline is Disguised as a Peaceful Bedroom in Short Film by Charlotte Arene

January 14, 2020

Grace Ebert

Paris-based director and animator Charlotte Arene has created an uncanny stop-motion film centered on sleep that wavers between a nightmare and a peaceful slumber. Released in December 2019, “La mer à boire,” or “Unrealizable,” is shot in a typical bedroom, although the sheets, closet doors, and slippers move similarly to an energetic coastline. The animated work is set to sounds of waves and birds calling to each other, and it features a young woman who glides up and down her bed, seemingly retreating back into the water, and under the blankets, with the ripples. Canonical sea literature, like Jules Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, occupies the bookshelf that resembles lapping waves, as well. Find more of Arene’s short animated projects on Vimeo.

 

 



Design

Shape-Shifting Figure by Frank Force Wins Best Illusion of 2019

December 16, 2019

Grace Ebert

Is it rotating vertically or horizontally? Clockwise or counterclockwise? An optical illusion created by game developer and artist Frank Force features a moving shape that seemingly shifts each way. It’s no surprise that the work won the 2019 contest for the Best Illusion of the Year. Keep up with Force’s generative art on Twitter. (via Kottke)

 

 



Art

Towering Holographic Dinosaurs Stalk the Streets of Paris in Projections by Julien Nonnon

December 5, 2019

Grace Ebert

All photographs (c) Julien Nonnon, shared with permission

A T-Rex is inhabiting the streets of Paris. Artist Julien Nonnon has given life to extinct creatures in his latest work, “Prehistoric Safari,” by using video-mapping technology to project images of the dinosaurs in the Jardin d’Acclimatation, a long-established Parisian amusement park. Nonnon says the digital art form, which is at the intersection of photography, video, architecture and scenography, has allowed him to produce 17 3D-projections of species that occupied the Cretaceous period. A T-Rex flaunting its yellow eyes and a triceratops brandishing green horns appear at nightfall on building sides in holographic form.

The artist tells Colossal that this project is centered on pop culture and “was inspired by the adventure books of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne and Michael Crichton, as well as Steven Spielberg’s movies.” In addition to the 3D-projections, Nonnon also directed a mini film titled “Dino Escape,” which depicts a dinosaur invasion of Paris’s streets and includes an interactive quest for audience members to retrieve a T-Rex egg and bring it to present day.

The show runs through January 5. Find more of Nonnon’s work on Instagram. (via Journal du Design)