The Popular Edge, Pop-Up and Book Arts News

June 11, 2013

Nikola Tesla, A Pop-Up Documentation

Filed under: books, performace art, pop-up books — Tags: , , , — popularkinetics @ 9:11 am

Nikola Tesla documentary performance piece

Marco Tempest’s documentary video of Nikola Tesla’s life is as unique as his subject. Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was a brilliant mathematician and innovator who experimented with alternating current, radio waves, X-rays, wireless telegraphy and remote control devices. He was issued numerous patents for his inventions, but tragically felt he was never properly recognized for his achievements during his lifetime. In Tempest’s performance, a pop-up book serves to relate Tesla’s story, and videos projected onto the book’s pages are accompanied by Tempest’s narration. If this documentary intrigues you, learn more about this fascinating man, starting with his Wikipedia page.


May 8, 2013

A Bit of Levity

Filed under: performace art — Tags: , — popularkinetics @ 1:05 am

Black & White Tights Dance

We think this little number by a black-and-white clad chorus line will brighten everyone’s day. The dance is called the Strumpfhosentanz, which roughly translates from the German as “the sock trousers dance.” It’s often performed by a male lineup, with members literally linked together by shared pairs of tights. You can watch a number of versions on Youtube, but we think this video really nails the optical illusion created by the dance. Thanks to Raya Bodnarchuk for sending us this link when it went viral last month. Music is by the folk-rock polka band Hess.

March 27, 2013

LandFill Harmonic, The Sweet Sound of Trash

Filed under: performace art, teaching kids — Tags: , , , , — popularkinetics @ 10:42 pm

Landfill-Harmonic, recycled violinsLandfill Harmonic, bass player

There is more and more stuff being recycled these days, but in Paraguay it’s taking a particularly interesting form at the Cateura landfill. Here parents support their families by picking through the trash, looking for materials that can be resold. Favio Chavez, a social worker and music teacher, was working for an environmental group teaching the trash-pickers about safety issues. At the same time he opened a small music school for the trash-pickers’ children, but they only had five instruments among them and the kids grew bored. Nicolas Gomez, a carpenter and one of the trash-pickers, was asked by Chavez if he could devise some instruments from recycled materials. He started by building a drum, then moved on to making other instruments. X-ray film became drum heads, cans became violins and flutes, bottle caps became saxophone keys. Now the LandFill Harmonic is on tour and coming to Arizona’s Musical Instrument Museum this year. It’s such a creative way to educate, inspire, and provide skills that will change these children’s lives. Watch a video of the Orchestra of Instruments Recycled From Cateura.

Landfill Harmonic

March 18, 2013

Emergency Preparedness Paper Animation

Filed under: animation, paper engineering, pop-up books — Tags: , , — popularkinetics @ 10:37 pm

Metropolitan Borough of Kirlees, UK

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

Early Animations

Filed under: animation — Tags: , , — popularkinetics @ 10:45 pm
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.



February 6, 2013

Chalk Board Animation

Filed under: animation — Tags: , , , — popularkinetics @ 3:57 am

Yanni Kronenberg chalk animation

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.

December 6, 2012

Paper Quilling

Filed under: crafts, paper crafts, scrapbooking — Tags: , , — popularkinetics @ 12:03 am

Quilled paper B by Sabeena Karnick

Graphic designer and calligrapher Sabeena Karnick, working in Mumbai India, has created a beautiful paper alphabet using a technique called “quilling.” Paper quilling has been around since the Renaissance when French and Italian nuns and monks used strips cut from the edges of guilded books to decorate book covers and other objects. These paper strips were rolled into shapes and glued together to create complex images and patterns. Later in the 18th-century European “ladies of leisure” practiced quilling when it was considered one of the few arts not too taxing on their delicate minds. Quilling was also practiced in America during colonial times. To learn more about the process of quilling visit these web sites: and

December 2, 2012

Metamorphosis Books

Filed under: books, paper crafts — Tags: , , — popularkinetics @ 7:13 pm

   Metamorphosis Book  
The metamorphosis book, also referred to as the “harlequinade,” was a simple movable book format that first appeared in the mid 1600’s. Later in the 1770’s, inexpensive harlequinades were printed in England featuring the adventures of a harlequin character popularized in pantomime  theater plays at that time. The books featured a full-page image overlayed with two half-page pictures that lined up with the image underneath. By turning up and down the half-page flaps, four versions of the illustration would appear and the storyline would be advanced. Werner Nekes has created a delightful little YouTube video of these books in action. Today we are inundated with moving images of all types, so it’s often hard for us to image how exciting this simple device must have been in a time when “movies” did not exist.

November 3, 2012

High Heel Race in Washington, DC

Filed under: art classes, performace art — Tags: , — popularkinetics @ 4:23 am

2012 High Heel Race, Washington, DC

It may surprise some, but Washington, DC, has a funky, alternative side, and yesterday it was on grand display at the 26th annual Halloween High Heel Race. Guys in drag (and some women in costume, too) vamped their way down 17th Street in the Dupont Circle neighborhood for two hours before the race was run, posing for photos with spectators and giving news interviews to the press. Most wore heels of varying heights, many spiked and VERY high. The race itself included runners, walkers, and those who casually sashayed  to the finish line. Usually held on the Tuesday before Halloween, the race was postponed this year due to Hurricane Sandy, but thankfully not cancelled.

2012 High Heel Race, Washington, DC2012 High Heel Race, Washington, DC

2012 High Heel Race, Washington, DC2012 High Heel Race, Washington, DC

October 30, 2012

Lavatory Self Portraits in the Flemish Style

Filed under: art classes, paper crafts, performace art — Tags: , , — popularkinetics @ 8:38 pm

Here’s a novel approach to developing an alternate persona: Nina Katchadourian’s extemporaneous “Flemish” portraits created with materials typically found in  public restrooms: paper towels, toilet paper and seat covers. Katchadourian frequently works with simple found materials, improvising them into artworks around a specific theme which she then photographs. For the 2012 election she has created a piece called Monument to the Unelected with campaign signs she’s designed to commemorate those who failed in their election bids. A version of this piece is now on display at the Washington Post offices here in Washington, DC. To see more of Katchadourian’s work, visit her web site.

 Monument to the Unelected

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