The Slap, a totally fresh video by filmmaker Max Landis, is a clever response to the famous First Kiss video that went viral three months ago and has been making all of us go awwww up until now. Landis’ video features 40 randomly paired people in a fairly uncomfortable situation – the goal for them was to slap each other in the face. Even if it’s the first time they had met.
According to the author, none of the participants were pressured to do so and all of them were “hit as hard as THEY asked to be hit”. The beauty of this project lies in the contrast between a somewhat violent action of hitting other person and the intimate feeling the participants develop towards each other.
Though Landis really was aiming to mock the famous First Kiss video (which is obvious from the black and white color palette and similar upbeat music), he did go beyond just that. His explanation video called Point Of Impact explains the reasons for him to make “The Slap” in the first place.
“What is violence? It’s really just a label, isn’t it, if you let your mind go to a dark place. I decided to define violence as “non-consensual physical interference;” <…> What is trust? Do you trust someone not to hurt you? Are you even thinking about it? Do you care if they hurt you if you trust them? <…> The theory was: A slap, robbed of its violating context, is more intimate than a kiss. My theory, as it turned out, was right.”
Btw, did you notice the cherry on top? At 1:48, there’s Haley Joel Osment (yup, the kid from The Sixth Sense) being slapped straight into his lush beard.
The prevalence of any technology forever alters the way we previously understood the world before it. Photography changed painting, audio recording changed our relationship to music, and the internet changed print media such as books and magazines. What is most often lost is the human touch, a closer connection from the source to the viewer or listener. Such is the story of courtroom sketch artist Gary Myrick, the focus of a documentary produced by Ramtid Nikzad of the New York Times as part of the Op-Doc series. A compelling figure who narrates the history of the tradition, Myrick Myrick explains the difference and importance of his craft, “Illustration is story-telling. The difference between the camera in the courtroom and an artist might be the difference between just a cold, dry, factual transcript as opposed to a novel.”
Beginning with Myrick explaining his work, the documentary covers the history of the medium, the advent and fall of courtroom photography, and the eventual decline of the courtroom sketch artist. “The artist at one time was the media,” says Myrick, relaying the history of artist documentarians, from war reporting through history to multi-tasking newspaper reporters who considered their drawings as important as their words. “When you funnel the story through a human being, its got a different quality than simply doing a mechanical recording of it,” says Myrick. “A lot of things going on about me are channeled through my heart, and my soul and my brain and my fingers…I like to convey just how it feels in that moment.”
Despite his immense talent, Myrick and so many other sketch artists are no longer able to work exclusively in the dying industry. Myrick poignantly notes, speaking more indicatively of so many industries that are being lost to the ease of technology, “I’m trying to draw to communicate to those that aren’t there, what it was like to be there. And maybe some of that has been getting lost.” (via juxtapoz and newyorktimes)
World-renowned art superstar Takashi Murakami (and his production company Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd.) has always dabbled in fine art mediums with a large splash of commercial elements, but his latest venture is taking on the largest popular medium of them all. Jellyfish Eyes is the artist’s first foray into live-action, full-length films, and from the looks of the incredible trailer, it will have all of the elements of Murakami’s “superflat” mix of high and low culture.
“Jellyfish Eyes tells the story of Masashi, a young boy who moves to a sleepy town in the Japanese countryside with his mother in the wake of a natural disaster. After returning home from his new elementary school one day, Masashi discovers a flying jellyfish-like creature whom he befriends and names Kurage-bo. Masashi soon discovers that all his classmates have similarly magical pets, known as F.R.I.E.N.D.s, which are controlled by electronic devices that the children use to battle one another. Despite their playful appearances, however, these F.R.I.E.N.D.s turn out to be part of a sinister plot that will threaten the entire town.”
Seinfeld was the award-winning, best-ever show on television that broke the traditionatl situation comedy mold with producer Larry David’s emphasis on it being “the show about nothing”. Of course, it was about something, four friends and their misadventures in New York City. But a recently prominent super-edit of the series takes the program’s motto to its natural conclusion, by piecing together every cut-scene and still-shots which gave the audience scene establishing, and oddly, never showed any people. The results are disorienting, a bit existential, and completely nostalgic for fans of the show.
(A fair warning, the sound of slap bass might be a bit much at first, but if you are a fan of the show, you heard that familiar 90’s-tinge sound enough times to make finishing the video worth it).
The video is a product of LJ Frezza, whose other video edits often investigate unusual or rarely noticed characteristics or subplots of other familiar popular culture touchstones. For example, in Boldy Going, Frezza focuses on the Star Trek’s Captain Kirk bravely reading the American constitution and the Fleet’s policy of non-involvement, followed by endless, violent and direct physical confrontations with alien planets and lifeforms. Frezza points out that the show’s writers were making commentary on the then escalation of American involvement in the Vietnam war. (via vice)
When director Tatia Pilieva instructed couples to kiss, she did so with a twist. The two kissers are complete strangers, and don’t even know each other’s names. In this intriguing short film, aptly titled, First Kiss, we watch each of these people meet, realize they must smooch, and proceed to do so. Not surprisingly, it’s a little awkward for most of them, but when it happens, the moment is endearing and beautiful.
As you watch this three and a half minute video, there’s varied responses to what Pilieva asks. Some people try and make a joke out of it while others look nervous. One person introduces themselves. Finally, they all go for it, and the kisses range from a full-on make out to a shorter, more diplomatic kiss. It’s interesting to see how quickly people become comfortable with each other and are able to let go of their inhibitions to embrace the moment.
Aside from the charming concept, you might have noticed that everyone is nicely dressed and is conventionally good looking. As Jezebel and other media outlets have pointed out, this video is actually and ad for the clothing line, Wren. While it might be an inconvenient truth that no doubt puts a damper on the spontaneity of the video, it doesn’t totally detract from the pleasure we get from watching it.
If you aren’t careful, the video Milkyeyes by Donato Sansone might give you nightmares. The piece describes itself as “A slow and surreal video slideshow of nightmarish, grotesque and apparently static characters.” The video clocks in at just over 2 minutes and features 26 different characters, and is accompanied by music you’d hear in an old, abandoned warehouse or horror film. Some characters have faces that have been mutilated and warped to the point where they are nearly unrecognizable. Milkeyes is a name that conjures an unpleasant visual. So, it’s not surprising that this video is a visceral journey into a world of unfortunate humans. We see steam coming from their heads, stuff bubbling from their lips, and eyes floating of their head. While they are affected, the environment behind them remains static and untouched. The juxtaposition between calm and a surreal chaos makes this video both puzzling and trippy. (Via Artnau)
The engineering and design studio Bot & Dolly created the video Box. In it a simple flat surface is visually transformed in unbelievable ways. Projection mapping has been especially popular lately because of its extreme versatility among other things. For projection mapping a computer basically maps a surface, one often considered too irregular for traditional projection. The software’s images are then projected on precise locations on the surface. In this way projects can appear to interact with the surface or produce the illusion of depth. For the video Bot & Dolly seem to push the potential of projection mapping. Flat surfaces are attached to large robotics, thus the projection not only interacts with the nontraditional surface but also its movement. It does this so effectively that at times its difficult to remember the surface is indeed flat. Amazingly, all of the effects are in camera – that is, no special effects were applied after recording. After watching the video, its interesting to think about the potential use of such technology. Bot & Dolly go on to speak about the project saying:
“Box explores the synthesis of real and digital space through projection-mapping on moving surfaces. The short film documents a live performance, captured entirely in camera. Bot & Dolly produced this work to serve as both an artistic statement and technical demonstration. It is the culmination of multiple technologies, including large scale robotics, projection mapping, and software engineering. We believe this methodology has tremendous potential to radically transform theatrical presentations, and define new genres of expression.”
Artist and desinger Fabrizio Lamoncha works with more than a little bit of humor. His Pooprinter project statement begins with the quote “A common idiosyncratic habit in all birds is their inevitable punk nature to shit over our most precious belongings.” The project is as innovative as it is gross. Lamoncha slowly prints an alphabet on large sheets of paper by using strategically placed perches and the birds own droppings. Check out the time-lapse video of the bird poop in action above and enjoy Lamoncha’s toungue-in-cheek explanation the project:
“A group of male zebra finches underwent this experiment with rigorous commitment. The author/captor, taking the role of some kind of 1984´s Big brother, is providing the implementation guidelines for the transformation of this countercultural attitude into a marketable artsy product. The observation of this group of non-breeding birds in captivity and the experimentation with induced behaviors has been rigorously documented for this task.” (via booooooom)