Very clever fingertip tattoo. (more…)
Year after year, artist and designer Diana Beltran Herrera (previously) continues to astound with her near perfectly accurate reproductions of birds using paper. The fragile sculptures shown here are a mix of private commissions and pieces for several luxury brands who use her work in displays and advertising. Originally from Columbia, Herrera studied in Bogota before spending time in Finland to study ceramic sculpture. She is now currently working on an M.A. in fine art at UWE Bristol and creates paper birds in her spare time. She most recently spoke at Pictoplasma in Berlin and had work at Centrespace in Bristol. You can see many more paper creations over on Flickr. (via Yatzer)
Seinfeld, which turned 25 Saturday, is self-evidently one of the most influential television programs ever made. It entered a sitcom landscape that was still shaking off the last cobwebs of the 1970s sitcom revolution, and it suggested, boldly, that sitcoms didn't need to be about important issues or even traditional storytelling to be great. Instead, they could just be about the minutiae of life, the little bits and pieces of larger things that add up to our points of view. It was a show that reveled in detritus.
Easy to miss in all of that, however, were all of the ways that Seinfeld influenced TV via its underpinnings. Jerry Seinfeld's observational humor affected many other shows of the era (and long after the series had ended). The "single people living in the big city" premise became the centerpiece of seemingly every other sitcom. But Seinfeld was so huge that it influenced television in many smaller ways, too. Here are five of them.
It's not terribly exciting to think about television in terms of its story structure — the storylines, scenes, and raw dramatic beats that make up any given episode of TV — but Seinfeld's influence on television comedy is actually most pronounced in this arena. The famous "show about nothing" pitch obscured just how much structural work was going on underneath the show's hood. Prior to Seinfeld, most sitcoms broke down into an A-story and a B-story, and the supporting story could take the form of a so-called "runner," jokes that continued throughout the episode and told a very loose story but didn't do much more than that.
The best Seinfeld episodes are marvels of story structure.
Particularly in its best episodes, Seinfeld blew all of that up. Even in an episode like the famous "The Contest" (the one with the competition to see which of the central foursome can go the longest without masturbating), each of the four characters is handed their own storyline, all four of which tie together in the final moments to create a whole larger than its parts. The best Seinfeld episodes are marvels of story structure, with jokes and storylines dovetailing and tucking into each other in ways that can be as thrilling as any twist in a plot-heavy drama.
This sort of story structure has become incredibly common since the show left the air. In particular, it's useful to look at Arrested Development, one of the show's most obvious heirs and one where individual episodes could have up to nine stories (one for each regular character) that collided with each other by the time the episode ended. Not every show uses the Seinfeld structure (and some, like Everybody Loves Raymond, used structures that were deliberately as little like Seinfeld as possible), but the series gave other shows the option of pursuing far more than the typical two stories per episode.
Matt Zoller Seitz made this point ably over at Vulture last week: while much of the credit for the age of antiheroes — which TV is just exiting — often gets placed at the feet of The Sopranos, Seinfeld was just as much of an influence. Writes Seitz:
Seinfeld's impact resonated beyond comedy. Its serene belief that characters did not have to be likable as long as they were interesting foreshadowed a change in TV drama that wouldn't settle until the late '90s, when HBO turned a show about violent gangsters into an award-winning hit. We tend to forget that the first coldly expedient hero to anchor an influential, long-running series named after him wasn't Tony Soprano. It was Jerry Seinfeld.
Yet look beyond just Jerry, and you see that Seinfeld is filled with the sorts of self-involved jerks who would drive many of the best TV shows of the last decade. Seinfeld is perhaps the earliest series to essentially dare the audience to identify with its characters by seeing their own worst traits reflected in those characters. It believed it could do this simply by making those characters as interesting and funny as possible. It was mostly right.
Take, for instance, the character of George, perhaps the show's most compelling, most loathsome figure. We empathize with George because we recognize in his character all of the times we've been unable to escape our own limitations and weaknesses. But look at him from another perspective, and he's a ‘90s riff on what we might now call "nice guy syndrome." And the show endlessly mocks him for it!
George essentially believes he deserves to have sex with a beautiful woman because he's a white guy living in modern America, and when he doesn't succeed (but Jerry or Kramer do), he grows ever more petulant. He doesn't particularly want to strive to succeed. He just wants life handed to him on a silver platter. That was the kind of character TV hadn't really seen before Seinfeld hit the air, but it's also the kind of character who's everywhere now, and often on shows that don't realize Seinfeld worked because the joke was much more often on George (or Jerry or Kramer or Elaine) than it was on anybody else.
That was the kind of character tV hadn't really seen before Seinfeld hit the air, but it's also the kind of character who's everywhere now.
There were funny women in control of their own destinies on television before Elaine, but Elaine was the first who was simply allowed to unapologetically be whatever she wanted to be. Even a short year before Seinfeld debuted, a show like Murphy Brown had to essentially center everything on the fact that its protagonist was a single woman making her way through her life and work. Also worth considering is the Jamie Lee Curtis and Richard Lewis vehicle Anything But Love, which debuted a few short months before Seinfeld and had much in common with it (including a large number of scenes set in diners in which Curtis and Lewis talked over the oddities of modern life) but constantly felt the need to make Curtis's character's life largely about her romantic prospects or lack thereof.
Elaine was different. Many of her stories were about her love life, but she also had weird jobs and got just as involved in the shenanigans of the main cast as any of the male characters. Thanks to the work of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, one of the great comedic actresses of American television, Elaine could be both deeply weird and deeply feminine. There hadn't been a character like her before, and she paved the way for everyone from Leslie Knope to Hannah Horvath.
Little of this is Seinfeld's fault. It has far more to do with the Clinton-era repeal of the Financial Interest and Syndication Rules (a subject for another time). But it's worth pointing out that the centerpiece of NBC's very diverse 1980s Thursday night sitcom lineup was The Cosby Show, while Seinfeld was the centerpiece of its very white 1990s Thursday night sitcom lineup. It more or less made sense for Seinfeld to be as white as it was. It was, after all, famously rejected by audience testers, and NBC's Brandon Tartikoff worried it was "too New York, too Jewish." It was, to a real degree, about four people who were incredibly limited in their perceptions and worldviews, so a certain amount of tunnel vision made sense.
But the show was also the unlikely beneficiary of the fact that the television landscape was changing underneath it. By its final season, Seinfeld was a mega-hit, watched by large numbers of people in all demographics, but in its early years, it struggled in the ratings, kept alive by critical acclaim and awards attention, sure, but also because the people who were watching it were more demographically desirable to advertisers. And what that usually means is young white people with lots of money living in cities.
What felt revolutionary on Seinfeld quickly curdled into something harder and harder to stomach on the many shows it inspired.
As that demographic was targeted with more and more focus in years to come, it would lead to shows with fewer and fewer people of color, shows that could be good (Friends or Girls) or bad (the many, many Seinfeld clones of the mid-90s) but still shows that were overwhelmingly about a bunch of white, affluent people who never had to worry about anything but the trivial details of life. What felt revolutionary on Seinfeld quickly curdled into something harder and harder to stomach on the many shows it inspired.
When television experts talk about a "multi-camera" sitcom, what they mean is a sitcom that functions almost as a filmed play, with multiple cameras (usually four) in fixed positions capturing the action of a sitcom taping, usually in front of a live audience. Think of the difference in presentation between Cheers (a very classical multi-camera sitcom) and Modern Family (which is what is usually called a "single-camera" sitcom and is presented much more cinematically than theatrically). The history of the format can be split in two, with Seinfeld as a rough dividing line.
NBC actually forced creators Seinfeld and Larry David to make the show a multi-camera, but once the two were committed to doing so, they essentially broke all of the established rules of how multi-camera sitcoms worked, twisting and bending them so far that the multi-camera sitcom had essentially nowhere else to go if writers wanted to continue to innovate.
The longer the show ran, the more single-camera sequences it inserted into the action. (Think, for instance, of all of those scenes of characters walking down city streets, which were pre-taped and showed to the audience, instead of presented live on stage.) And the longer it ran, the more it broke those stories up into smaller and smaller pieces, presaging the joke-a-second pace most single-camera sitcoms run at today.
And yet Seinfeld stands as a testament to how good multi-camera sitcoms could be at their best. Several sequences in the show would only work in the more theatrical trappings of the multi-cam, and the performers' broadness was also given greater latitude by the format.
Think, for instance, of the famous story George tells about removing a golf ball from a whale's blowhole. On a single-camera sitcom, that might be presented to the audience as it happened. On Seinfeld, limited in how much location filming it could do, it becomes a story for Jason Alexander to tell, and that makes all the difference in terms of humor.
Seinfeld left big shoes for the sitcom to fill. Some (Raymond again) might have returned to a more deliberately classical vibe. But others pushed past it and found the only places left to go involved finding new ways to film these sorts of shows. Seinfeld might have been something of an endpoint for lots of different sitcom techniques, but it was also the beginning of many, many others.
sometimes you see a pun so artfully constructed you just have to stand back in awe.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development -- a pro-establishment, rock-ribbed bastion of pro-market thinking -- has released a report predicting a collapse in global economic growth rates, a rise in feudal wealth disparity, collapsing tax revenue and huge, migrating bands of migrant laborers roaming from country to country, seeking crumbs of work. They prescribe "flexible" workforces, austerity, and mass privatization. Read the rest
A horse walks into a bar. The bartender says “Why the long face?” The horse says “I’ve just realized I’m a metaphysical concept within a fictional narrative, and will cease to exist at the end of this sentence.”
I don’t think that people generally realise what motion picture industry has done to the American Indian, as a matter of fact, all ethnic groups, all minorities, all non-whites. And people just simply don’t realise, just take it for granted that that’s the way people are going to be presented and these clichés are just, I mean on this network every night, well perhaps not every night, but you can see silly renditions of human behaviour, the leering Filipino houseboy, the wily Japanese, the kook or the gook, black man, stupid Indian. It just goes on and on and on. And people actually don’t realise how deeply people are injured by seeing themselves represented, not so much the adults, who are already inured to that kind of pain and pressure, but children. Indian children seeing Indians represented as savage, as ugly, as nasty, vicious, treacherous, drunken. They grow up only with a negative image of themselves and it lasts a lifetime.
Marlon Brando on why Sacheen Littlefeather presented a speech on his behalf during his Best Actor win for The Godfather at the 1973 Academy Awards
مجسمههای زیبای زیادی در دنیا وجود دارند، اما بعضی از آنها از نظر اسخت و مفهومی که تداعی میکنند، تفاوت زیادی با بقیه دارند.
در این پست مجسمههایی را با هم مرور میکنیم که خلاقیت سازندگان آنها، بسیار آشکار است.
- اسبهای وحشی، کاری از رابرت گلن – مکان نصب: لاس کولنیاس تگزاس:
- مجسمه عابران در ورشوی لهستان:
- مجسمه ماهی آزاد در پورتلند ایالت اورِگان:
- مردم کنار رودخانه، کاری از ونگ فاه چئونگ – نصب شده در سنگاپور:
- کفشهای کنار رود دانوب، بوداپست مجارستان. این مجسمه ویژه به احترام یهودیانی که در جنگ جهانی دوم کشته شدند، ساخته شده است. از قربانیها خواسته شده بود که کفشهای خود را در کنار رود دانوب دربیاورند و بعد به آنها شلیک شده بود. (+)
- اسلحه گرهزده شده – تورتل بی – نیویورک:
- از قالبت برو آ! یا مجسمهای که میشود از آن تعبیر به «رهایی» و «آزادی» کرد. این مجسمه را زنوس فروداکیس ساخته و در فیلادلفیا نصب شده است:
- روح سیاه، لیتوانی:
- مجسمه مسافر در مارسی:
- مجسمه نلسون ماندلا، آفریقای جنوبی:
- مجسمه بامزه پلیس در حال سقوط در بروکسل بلژیک:
- گله گاو، دالاس تگزاس:
- عنکبوت، لندن:
- اسب آبی- تایپه، تایوان:
- ساختمان در حال غرق شدن، ملبورن:
- پارک ایگوانا در آمستردام:
- براتیسلاوا، اسلواکی:
- مجسمه شاعر معروف رومانی -میهای امینسکو- در «اونستی» رومانی:
- صحنهای از جنگ جهانی در Eceabat ترکیه:
- مرد آویزان، پراگ:
- مجسمه روح اسب، در Grangemouth بریتانیا:
- خوکها در بازار – نصب شده در آدلاید استرالیا:
- مرد ناشناس ایسلند:
- کوسه، آکسفورد بریتانیا:
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EXCERPTS >|Journey to the Center of a Triangle (1976)
A series of Animated GIFs excerpted from Journey to the Center of a Triangle (1977): another fabulous film by the Cornwells, created on the Tektronics 4051 Graphics Terminal. Presents a series of animated constructions that determine the center of a variety of triangles, including such centers as circumcenter, incenter, centroid and orthocenter. More on the Cornwells at http://www.afana.org/cornwell.htm
According to son Eric Cornwell, here’s how the film was made: The 4051 produced only black and green vector images, not even grey scale. The film’s scenes were divided into layers in the programming, one layer for each of the colors in the scene, and each was shot separately onto high-contrast fine-grained b&w film stock. The final scene in “Journey” had 5 layers: one for each of the four colored dots, plus one for the white triangle and line.
These five clips were then multiple-exposed onto color film on an optical printer, using colored filters to add the desired color to each black&white layer as it was copied. The resulting color was much better than a film of an RGB display would have been because the color filters on the optical printer allowed access to the full range of the color negative film, allowing much more saturated colors. All of that color is pretty much lost now, between prints fading and/or transfers to the VHS, and then viewing them on a computer screen which has a much more limited color gamut. Please imagine it all in bright, brilliant colors. (from Internet Archive)
We invite you to watch the full video HERE.
EXCERPTS by OKKULT Motion Pictures: a collection of GIFs excerpted from out-of-copyright/historical/rare/controversial moving images.
A digital curation project for the diffusion of open knowledge.