A look at what – and who – is pushing the future in new directions

Posts Tagged ‘art’

Theater upstages fashion, but who’s complaining? The Official Ralph Lauren 4D Experience

Virtual reality is soooo last decade (aught-ish)! Now, in 2010, in the new decade we see virtual and physical experiences merge for the next phase of time-and-space bending expressions: Immersive Reality.

And the Ralph Lauren 4D shows are an early indicator of where it’s all headed. This video offers a taste, but for a more complete representation, you’ve got to go to the site: http://4d.ralphlauren.com/

The videos document major shows held last week ‘on’ Ralph Lauren’s flagship stores in NYC and London. They featured 3D holographic projections that bring the building to life, laser light shows, and a 4th dimension: scent. It’s a mash-up of ad, art installation, and fashion show.

Well, We're All in the Mood for a Melody.

piano_rgbMusic is an explosive expression of humanity. – Billy Joel

The past few years, veiled by the secrecy of night, street pianos emblazoned with the phrase “Play me, I’m yours.” have been appearing in cities across the world. Located in skate parks, industrial estates, laundromats, precincts, bus shelters and train stations, outside pubs and football grounds, the pianos are for any member of the public to enjoy and claim temporary ownership of. London was the most recent city to be hit with an influx of these mysterious musical instruments and the positive results have been overwhelming.

The 30 brightly decorated pianos scattered across the UK’s capital are part of an art installation by artist Luke Jerram, designed to act as a catalyst for strangers who regularly occupy the same space, to talk and connect with one another. Disrupting people’s negotiation of their city, the pianos are also meant to provoke citizens into engaging, activating and claiming ownership of their urban landscape. Along with creating a sense of unity and whimsy in the street, the installation serves a practical purpose by providing access to musical instruments to those who ordinarily might not have the privilege. When Play Me, I’m Yours was in São Paolo, Brazil, people traveled for hours just to play the pianos that are normally so scarce and precious that they cost a year’s income. After the 3 week installation is up, the pianos are donated to local schools and community centers.

Characteristically of the Web 2.0 world we live in, a website was created that allows people to upload videos and pictures of the various pianos in use across the city. The responses were overwhelming, ranging from a homeless man teaching the son of a street worker how to play to a duo who played 24 of the pianos in 8 hours to a massive crowd singing Hey Jude on Carnaby Street. I spent far too much time looking at these pictures  and was amazed by the impact such a simple idea had on the demeanor of complete strangers on the street. Place a few pianos on the street here and there and voila!, detached passerbys normally glued to their technological devices transform into living, breathing human beings who sing and laugh and play piano and connect with both the people and the city around them. I love the idea of the fine arts being moved from private venues such as museums and concert halls to the public space (defined by Wikipedia as an area or place that is open and accessible to all citizens, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age or socio-economic level.) where everyone reaps the benefits. What could happen to both urban landscapes and the way strangers interact with each other if there was enough funding to spread this project to hundreds of cities worldwide? Imagine.

Hipster Runoff: A Culturally Relevant, Totally Irreverent Blog


There’s something to be said about word vomit – when you say what you want to say without thinking through its consequences. In the immediate aftermath, you feel GREAT, but “telling it like it is” will get you in trouble. People rarely swallow blunt commentary in odorless, pill form, especially if its their essence that’s being attacked.  Yet that’s what makes Carles, the voice behind the wildly popular Hipster Runoff blog, such an enigma. His daily tangents – delivered in twelve year old text-speak (i.e. NE 1 4 an alt party?) and excessive use of “quotations” – are well-aimed daggers directed at the heart of the overrated, brand-exploited, so-called “hipster” scene – precisely the population that makes up the majority of his fan base.

How does he do it? Nobody knows. In fact, no one even knows who “Carles” really is. Like a Banksy for bloggers, he just sort of showed up and started mocking the world. “I think I am just kind of like a link between ‘high level ideas’ and ‘people who only have a high school education,’” Carles told the Village Voice in February during an interview that took place entirely on instant messenger. He was explaining how his tiny mp3 review blog came to represent something much bigger. “I think that the ‘music criticism economy’ has changed somewhat in ‘the Internet age,’ though I don’t even really remember life before the Internet. There are always going to be people who appreciate high-level analysis, but I don’t think the generations after Gen-Y will have the intellectual capacity or even just the ‘ability to pay attention to something for more than 30 seconds’.”

Yet despite the short attention span of many HRO readers, the blog’s fame has continued to last well over 30 seconds. Carles has now debuted his own clothing line featuring shirts that say: “I am Carles” for $30. For $3,000, you can get a t-shirt delivered by Carles himself – a ploy that no one has taken him up on yet. Ironically (and intentionally), his clothing line is serviced by American Apparel, the queen of the hipster hen house when it comes to retail, and his t-shirt, designed with the universal proclamation “I am Carles”, further  contributes to the mysterious collective identity of Hipster Runoff or Carles or whatever it/he is. It’s an identity that Carles has managed to create while trying to un-create and hate on so many other trends.

At face value, HRO is humorous, highly offensive, and assumed to be self-deprecating (i.e. you can only hate on hipsters if you’re a hipster yourself and most feel they’ve got Carles figured out in this respect). Magazine reviews have called HRO “enthralling” “terrorizing” and “bizarre”, but no one who knows him (I’m assuming someone knows him) has made the moves to out Carles yet. Enigma intact, the HRO keeps on blogrolling and its fan base keeps on growing and I have to say, that’s one brilliant marketing plan.


Village Voice requested a photo of Carles for their interview. This is what they got.

Under Stars and Gutters Debuts in Rotoscope

Here is a sweet, new rotoscope animation for the latest Under Stars and Gutters video, 3,167. These guys are all my friends from Northern Ireland: an art student and three musicians collaborating in the mediums that they love. The animation was created by Brendan McCarey, a Design and Communications student at the University of Ulster-Magee in Derry, Northern Ireland. McCarey printed out all 1,831 frames and proceeded to hand-draw them, adding additional effects in pencil as he felt inspired.

“I used this style because it is simple,” McCarey explains. “It goes back to the basics and I think that represents the band and the music best: punk music is a return to the basics…I’m not trying to make them look like Hollywood stars because I want to show that the band doesn’t take themselves too seriously. Like the drummer, I just drew his arms and his head so you could just focus on his energy.”  McCarey took about a full semester of study to complete the animation, but the drawings themselves took just over two and a half weeks. Below, I have posted the original video so that you can see what elements of the original McCarey chose to keep.

Under Stars and Gutters is a three-piece punk band from the northern coast of Ireland, comprised of Adam Carroll, Johnny Lowe, and Mark Easton. All three of them have been involved in many musical endeavors over the years and their popularity continues to grow. Like McCarey’s art, the music of Under Stars and Gutters is honest and energetic. However, bias be known: aside from their awesome creativity, the main reason why I like these videos so much is that it’s proof my boys have come a long way from the Irish drinking fiends I knew over two years ago! Cheers to that!