Our libraries are one of our most valuable resources, centers for education, entertainment, community interaction and outreach. Like many public libraries, Toronto’s library budget has been drastically cut, but citizens are fighting back. They have produced a wonderful little video about the importance of libraries, appropriately in the form of a book with moving parts and pop-ups! Watch it here….
March 8, 2015
Many videos have used the concept of the pop-up book as a motif for animation, but this video by paper engineer Helen Friel, photographer Chris Turner, and animator Jess Deacon uses an actual custom-made pop-up book as its subject. Done as a two-minute stop-action film, the video traces the path of a single paper water droplet across the book’s pages, from cloud through water pipes and faucets, and back to the earth. Titled Revolution, it was created from over 1,000 separate images and has won several awards for its production.
January 27, 2015
Robots that arrive flat, fold themselves into three dimensions, then walk away–it sounds like the future, but this future is already here in the engineering labs at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. The robots are based on folding techniques practiced for centuries by origami artists who create paper sculptures from single pieces of paper. For this robot project, supervised by Sam Felton, a doctoral candidate at Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the paper has been lined with Shrinky Dink, a children’s toy plastic that shrinks when heated. Tiny circuits in the flat robot heat and bend the paper into position without the help of human hands. Batteries and a small motor enable the robot to walk, and although these are not currently flat components, eventually two-dimensional versions will be available. Jesse Silverberg, a graduate student in physics at Cornell, says, “Imagine this: A building collapses, and you have a snakelike robot that can go into debris. And as it unfolds, it goes from a soft robot to a rigid barrier that could protect people. It folds one way to crawl into tight spaces and another way to become a protective barrier. It can transform its function on the fly.” To see this robot in action, visit the Bloomberg News article on the subject.
December 16, 2013
A recent visit to the Smithsonian’s Museum of African Art introduced us to the work of South African photographer Roger Ballen. Ballen combines rendered line drawings and black-and-white photography into visual still lives which often surprise and shock. One series titled “The Asylum” features collages of strange figures, snakes, skins, and wire hangers that present awkward relationships and absurd complexities .
The exhibit ends with a showing of the video I Fink U Freeky, a 2012 collaboration between Ballen and the South African rap-rave group Die Antwoord (Afrikaans for “The Answer.” ) It brings to mind the work of Diane Arbus, Joel Peter Witkin, and John Waters in its unabashed appropriation of trashy and bizarre images to question social and political mores and taboos. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but there is something haunting and strangely beautiful in Die Antwoord’s dance moves and raw lyrics. We commend the museum for showing this uncensored piece which some visitors will find offensive, but that will introduce others to a vigorous counterculture movement in a country with one of Africa’s most complex histories. Here’s the video link.
September 25, 2013
We at Popular Kinetics are big proponents of Art as a part of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education (the acronym is STEAM). After all, discovery involves the art of observation, and design is integral to the process of making things. In celebrating the new school year, we’re dedicating the next two posts to paper engineering as it relates to math and science. Combining these disciplines makes them less intimidating and much more fun, and can lead to an integrated understanding of surface, form and function. So here’s a clever little stop action video featuring some engaging paper forms.
March 18, 2013
We’re always impressed when a bureaucratic office does something edgy and out of the ordinary, so we were delighted by the emergency preparedness video that the Metropolitan Borough of Kirkless in the United Kingdom produced. Created by Argentinian animator and videographer Joaquin Ferronato, the video advises Kirkless citizens on procedures to follow in emergency weather situations, from not sheltering under trees to not wading in dirty water. To watch the video, click here.
February 19, 2013
|1833 “McLean’s Optical Illusions; or, Magic Panorama” (early animations)|
Chalk board animations bring to mind earlier forms of “motion pictures” such as phenakistiscopes and zoetropes. The phenakistiscope had two spinning disks on a handle that spun in the same direction. A circular card with a series of sequential pictures was attached to one disk and viewed through slots in the second disk while reflected in a mirror. Persistance of motion made the images appear to move. A few years later, the phenakistiscope was replaced by the zoetrope, which more than one person could view at a time and which didn’t require a mirror.
|EARLY DAYS OF ANIMATION|
February 6, 2013
Photographer Yanni Kronenberg and animator Lucinda Schreiber have collaborated on this magical stop-action video of chalk board drawings set to the song Autumn Story by Firekites. A lyrical series of images drawn and then erased to make way for each subsequent picture, the animation’s elegant simplicity belies the complexity of its production. Kronenberg is an award-winning photographer and videographer living in Sydney, while fellow Australian Schreiber first became known for her short film done as a graduate animation student, titled The Goat That Ate Me. Visit their web sites to see more of their work.
May 29, 2012
The early 20th century was a time of great innovation and mechanization. Artists, designers and architects were fascinated with this new industrialization. (Recall Le Corbusier’s declaration that “The house is a machine for living). In 1927, German writer and artist Fritz Kahn designed an illustration titled “Der Mensch als Industrieplast” or “Man as Industrial Palace.” It related the complexities of the human body to those of working machines.
Henning Lederer, a young German communications student, discovered this image in 2006 and set about to update and automate it in video format. The result is a wonderful mix of science and creative interpretation. You can watch the video here.
April 22, 2012
We drove into downtown Washington, D.C., late last night to see artist Doug Aitken’s media piece, Song 1, projected in the round on the Hirshhorn Museum. It’s a very impressive production, including a running soundtrack of various people singing I Only Have Eyes for You and a visual dialogue of moving text and images. Eleven projectors are employed to create what the artist refers to as a work of “liquid architecture.” Even at 11 pm, there was a large audience of people walking around the museum’s exterior to experience the 360-degree video performance. The work will be up until May 13th, but if you can’t get to Washington in time to visit the museum, you can get a feel for the work by watching this YouTube video.