I was introduced to this today and if you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, I hope you realize that if I could mainline this video, I would have already done so.
Considering the direction David Cronenberg's films have taken lately – dark, moody epics revolving around excellent character acting by a dark, moody Viggo Mortensen – it's always nice to see someone step up to fill the surreal-body-horror niche Cronenberg left behind in his ever-evolving career as a filmmaker. Don't get me wrong, an artist needs to evolve and that evolution will, occasionally, force them to pick up a new instrument while doing variations on the same theme. However, I'm glad someone is there to pick up where Cronenberg left off. And not just pick up, but wholly transcend the medium of fiction.
27-year-old Japanese installation artist I-zawa Mio has plucked Cronenberg's visions of animated mounds of flesh from the screen and plunked them at our feet. Here is, for instance, an iPhone charger that is more than obviously influenced by the game pods in eXistenZ:
The umbilical cord, the inhuman squeaking and frog-leg motions are all there. Plugged into an iPhone, it takes a ubiquitous device and makes it strange. It's plugged in, but why does it look like it's sucking something out? Our relationship with the device and the power supplied to it is completely turned around.
Another project, mechanical tumor is plugged into an open PC case. It grows and shrinks based on the amount of load the processor is undergoing – a figure usually represented by a simply line graph to anyone who cares about this sort of thing. The open case, an environment of wonder and dread for those who do not know their way around a computer's innards, is merged with the disabling horror of an amateur facing an open human body. Mio strips the triteness away from the “we are our machines” meme, converting it from a futurist's fantasy into a double-nightmare where we must simultaneously face our fear of the evolving incomprehensibility of powerful computers and the failures of our own bodies.
So, today is this blog's one-year anniversary. One year ago, after a couple incessant weeks of bothering Andrew about the specifics of blogsmanship, I bit the bullet, Photoshopped myself a logo, asked my admin to run WordPress for me and, well, here we are. I have to say that this is the most responsible I have ever been with a personal project. Four updates a week – originally five but Friday Night Blogging didn't take – rain or shine and, barring some personal issues, I kept to it. When I didn't, friends stood up for me. Andrew, CJ and Josh were always there when I needed them to be. And not just, you know, posting a music video with a few lines of commentary.
Anyway, it's been a rough year for me (the roughest yet, honestly) and having this blog has made it just a shred easier. I had a thing to do, and I did it, and every day I went to sleep knowing that I accomplished something today. It didn't matter if it was an a prolix writeup of my first Velvet Underground record or a compilation of Perfect Strangers clips set to Offenbach's Galop.
So, in honor of the anniversary … I'm giving myself the day off. Considering this is more text than I've put into most entries lately that seems a bit weird, but it works for me. See you next week, everyone!
For those of you going to New York Comic Con this weekend, Nikki Cook (who just so happens to be my special lady) has written up a fantastic con etiquette guide. It's mostly aimed at her fellow artists, but you get enough geeks together in a convention hall and there are some clear and present rules everyone needs to follow.
She'll be at the Comic News Insiders booth on Friday from 4-5 and then on Sunday from 12-1, so drop by, say hi, and pick yourself up one of her awesome ashcans.
I have no idea how to explain this video. I don't even remember how I stumbled on it. However, a Small Wonder fanvid with a synth-punk tribute song is one of those things the internet is expected to spontaneously generate. The song is by a group called Servotron, which and shares a members with both Man or Astro-man? and the Polyphonic Spree.
I was recently turned on to ArcAttack's latest video. For those unaware of ArcAttack's electric glory, they are an Austin-based “high-tech musical collaborative” who play a number of instruments, with the Singing Tesla Coil – invented by the group – at the forefront. They've even been featured on television, getting to the fifth season semifinals of America's Got Talent. Their latest video is either a reprise or practice performance of their final song on the show, but there's something very different about it. Rather than on a stage complete with audience, polished effects, &c, it's more much more intimate. It feels like the equivalent of MTV's old “Unplugged” series. Anyway, here it is:
Now compare that to one of their first videos, from February of last year:
Here's hoping they only get better.
So, this is Come On, Let’s Go’s first anniversary week. Unlike what I stated on Thursday, the actual anniversary is this Thursday, putting an inordinate amount of pressure on me to compose something both heartwarming, edifying and mindblowingly awesome for you beautiful people out there in Internet-land.
So, obviously, today you will be treated to the tall, tall tale of this morning’s commute to school. My campus is situated on an adjacent block to Midwood High School. As my first class starts at 9:30 -- roughly the same time as Midwood -- I get to share my bus ride with teenagers, who slowly turn the B6 into a hot north Brooklyn bar at midnight on a Friday …unfortunately lacking both the watered-down liquor and overdriven music to dull the grate of two dozen horrible conversations. However, today hit a level far past “inane.” Today, for at least twenty minutes, I was entirely convinced that I was being gaslit by a pair of teenage girls who plunked down on the pair of seats directly behind me.
I had my headphones in, but I wasn’t listening to music. By the time Morning Vagueness started to give way to Morning Annoyance, the bus had already began to resemble a sardine can and none of me was in a position to easily retrieve my iPod without repeatedly thwacking, elbowing and groping my fellow travelers. Of course, I regretted not going through that effort when I was unwillingly thrust into the avant garde comedy stylings of the two girls behind me. I didn’t notice their features, but by their intonation I could tell that they were both ethnically Chinese, raised in Brooklyn, and about 14 years old. So, if you wanted to construct a more concrete mental image of their hellish vaudeville act, there you go.
I first noticed them when one kept repeating the same word. I didn’t catch the context; however I’m pretty sure the word was ‘moo’ so any sort of context would probably have raised more questions. Left – I will refer to them as Left and Right, lacking any other way to the distinguish the two – shut Right up and began to tell jokes. The first one was bad, told worse, but relatively innocuous:
“Okay, so there's this guy right. And there's three girls and one has blond highlights and one has red highlights and one has green highlights. And he comes up to the girl with the blond highlights and says 'how did you get your highlights?' and she says 'they're natural.' So he comes up to the girl with the red highlights and says 'how did you get your highlights?' and she says 'they're natural.' So then he comes up to the girl with the green highlights and asks 'how did you get your highlights?' and she says 'they're natural.”
(Pause) “Oh. I get it! She was lying.”
There's an episode of Seinfeld where Elaine tries to figure out the joke in a New Yorker cartoon, eventually making it up to the magazine's cartoon editor. Rather than giving her an explanation, he states that “you don't dissect gossamer.” Sitting there, reeling from that punchline, I considered the idea and how, rather than the rending of fabric, that one sentence contained within itself an entire Eli Roth movie. I didn't have time to think about this any more because Left had dropped the big one. The I-Am-Become-Death of shitty jokes told inside an uncomfortably cramped bus on a rainy Monday morning.
“Orange. Knock knock.”
“Orange. Knock knock.”
“You already said that.”
“Fine. Who's there?”
“Orange you glad I didn't say 'orange'?”
I woke up about twenty minutes later when the B6 did its famous morning clown-car act and extruded us all out into the rain.