Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"Zero Triptych" by Girls Names

Cathal, Claire, Phil, and Gib are Girls Names. This Belfast band have just released a STUNNING 10+ minute song that marries electronic and traditional rock, epic in scope, elevating and grand in spirit, and dark and thick in texture. It is called "Zero Triptcyh" and I am a bit blown away by the swirling, driving sound and relentless energy of it all...

The band say:
"A zone of silence and of pure possibilities for a new beginning."
- Otto Piene, Group Zero

Burn the past. Reset the clocks.

A symphony in three parts.


Monday, March 30, 2015

BEAUTY: Clothing--Kunihiko Morinaga/Anrealage

Kunihiko Morinaga, the creative director of Japanese label Anrealage, showed his second collection at Paris Fashion Week recently. Regular readers know that I normally only cover men's fashion, but this Fall-Winter '15-'16 collection, entitled "Light" is so innovative, so artistic, so imaginative, and so startling, I feel compelled to share.

Based on the idea of a beam of light in darkness, the black color palette showed off luminous white circles in the center of each look. This brought to mind the idea of the moon, of planets, of the sun. Models were blacked out as well--they also wore black helmet-like hats that resembled the rocky cratered surface of the moon (our moon or perhaps another) but also brought to mind the helmets the space shuttle attendants wore in "2001: A Space Odyssey." I am sure this is on purpose to reinforce this other-worldly, inter-planetary theme. Even the silhouette of the garments are in a circle, suggesting a planet, a spiral galaxy...

But even more startling was the introduction, half way through the show, of a special all-black fabric that shows wild colorful prints only when seen under ultraviolet light! Phenomenal!

Watch the video to see the clothes in motion, to hear the astounding classical/electronic score, and to witness the amazing black/print fabric for yourself.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Saturday, March 28, 2015

BEAUTY: Installation--"Floating Flower Garden – Flowers and I are of the same root, the Garden and I are one"

An art collective in Japan calling themselves teamLab have mounted a very magical installation called "Floating Flower Garden – Flowers and I are of the same root, the Garden and I are one," which consists of a room full of suspended, motion controlled living blossoms that raise and lower according to where visitors are moving.

"A floating flower garden filled with living flowers that float up and down in relation to the movement of people in the space.

When a viewer gets close to this flower-filled space, the flowers close to the viewer rise upwards all at once, creating a hemispherical space with the viewer at its center. In other words, although the whole space is filled with flowers, a hemispherical space is constantly being created with the viewer at its center and the viewer is free to move around wherever they want. If many viewers get close to one another, the dome spaces link up to form one single space.
In this interactive floating flower garden viewers are immersed in flowers, and become completely one with the garden itself.

Over 2,300 floating flowers bloom in the space. These flowers are alive and growing with each passing day.

Each flower has a partner insect and the scent of the flowers becomes stronger at the time that the insect is most active, as a result the scent of the air in the garden space changes according to the time of day, morning, noon, and evening.

Japanese Zen gardens are said to have been born as a place for Zen priests to carry out training so that they can become one with nature, the garden is a microcosm of the vastness of the surrounding natural mountain areas where they gathered to train.

There is a Zen kōan (a question or story that is part of a Zen priests theological training) called, “Nansen’s Flower”. A man named Rikukô Taifu, while talking with Nansen, said, “Jô Hoshi says, ‘Heaven and I are of the same root. All things and I are of the same substance.’ How wonderful this is!”. Nansen, pointing at a flower in the garden said, “People of these days see this flower as if they were in a dream.”

A person will become integrated with a flower when they look at a flower and the flower looks at them, possibly at this time the person will truly see the flower for the first time."

I love teamLab's "About" page from their website:
"teamLab is an Ultra-technologists group made up of specialists in the information society such as; Programmers (User Interface Engineers, Database Engineers, Network Engineers, Hardware engineers, Computer Vision Engineers, Software Architects), Mathematicians, Architects, CG Animators, Web Designers, Graphic Designers, Artists, Editors and more. We create works through “experimentation and innovation” making the borders between Art, Science, and Technology, more Ambiguous."


Friday, March 27, 2015

Dark Matter: Now Even Stranger Than Before!

Fascinating, important science news from BBC:

Dark matter 'ghosts' through galactic smash-ups
By Jonathan Webb
Science reporter, BBC News

By observing multiple collisions between huge clusters of galaxies, scientists have witnessed dark matter coasting straight through the turmoil.

Dark matter is the mysterious, invisible stuff that makes up 85% of the matter in the cosmos - and these results rule out several theoretical models put forward to explain it.

This is because it barely interacts with anything at all, including the dark matter in the oncoming galaxies.

The work appears in Science magazine.

To conduct their study, astrophysicists looked at 72 smash-ups between galactic clusters, using two space telescopes: visible light was recorded by the Hubble Space Telescope, and X-rays by the Chandra Observatory.

Scouring multiple views of the collisions, the researchers tracked the movement of the three main components of galaxies: stars, clouds of gas, and dark matter.
The violently swirling clouds of gas are hot enough to glow with X-rays, which Chandra detects. And stars can be seen in regular, visible-light images from Hubble.
Dark matter is more difficult to "see" - but not impossible. Although it does not emit or absorb light, it does have gravity, and so it bends the path of light passing nearby. This warps our view of anything on the other side of it, in an effect called "gravitational lensing".

"Looking through dark matter is like looking through a bathroom window," said Dr Richard Massey from Durham University, one of the study's authors. "All the objects that you can see in the distance appear slightly distorted and warped."

Using this distortion allowed Dr Massey, with colleagues from the University of Edinburgh, University College London and Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), to "map" the dark matter in the clusters as they collided.

Galaxy clusters are vast and contain huge amounts of dark matter, so when they collide - over billions of years - it offers a unique glimpse of how the stuff behaves.
"We like these collisions because it's exactly what we'd do in the lab," Dr Massey told BBC News.

"If you want to figure out what something is made out of, you knock it, or you throw it across the room and see where the bits go."
In this case, the bits went straight through each other.

Unlike the gas clouds, which grind to a turbulent halt, and the stars, which mostly glide past each other, the ubiquitous dark matter passes through everything and emerges unscathed, like a ghost.

"It seems not to interact with anything at all," Dr Massey said.

Earlier observations of the "Bullet Cluster" - a bust-up between two particularly big groups of galaxies, now in its final stages - had already demonstrated dark matter's weird lack of interactions, including with itself.

But this new, major survey was able to deliver much more precision, concluding that there was even less interaction than the previous work allowed for.
"If you bang your head against the wall, the electrostatic force between the molecules in your head and the ones in the wall cause a collision. This is what dark matter doesn't seem to feel," Dr Massey explained.

Dark matter does "feel" gravity; those interactions are the reason we know it is there, and the reason it is bound up in the galactic collisions to begin with. But the lack of almost any other interaction makes it even more mysterious than before.

Link to the original BBC article:

The original article in Science Magazine:

BEAUTY: Painting--Lisa Ericson

For her most recent project, Lisa Ericson created sweet little field mice with moth or butterfly wings. The hybrid is tender, endearing, and unexpected. And I have a soft spot for mice...I had a few when I was a little boy...

Top to bottom: Artista; Bliss; Gatherer I; Gatherer II; Hover; Perch


"Invisible Heartbeat" by Helado Negro

I've just discovered the experimental, electronic music of Helado Negro (Roberto Carlos Lange) and I am so glad I did. He is on the Asthmatic Kitty label along with such acts as My Brightest Diamond and Sufjan Stevens. Lange, based in Brooklyn, is the son of Ecuadorean immigrants and sings in both English and Spanish. I love this peculiar video for his song "Invisible Heartbeat" which is so dreamlike, a great accompaniment to the floaty but subtly rhythmic music.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

BEAUTY: Men in Antique Paintings

Portraits of sexy men in antiquarian art...

Top to bottom: Desnudo recostado by Adolfo Lozano Sidro; by Albert Edelfelt; Mars, God of War by Diego Velazquez; Half Nude Model (1871) by Garnier Arsene Jules; Portrait de l’athlète Maurice Deriaz by Gustave Courtois(1907); Man With Staff by Hugh Ramsay; Self Portrait by Ivor Henry Thomas; Half Nude Model (1872) by Léon François Comerre; by Manuel Benedito; by Nino Cesarini; Der Sieger by Ottilie Roederstein; Male Nude by William Adolphe Bouguereau

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Subconscious Cinema" by Dreamscience Films

"Hey, are you a dreamer?
They say dreaming's dead. No one does it anymore.
It’s not dead, it's just it's been forgotten.
I’m trying to change all that and I hope you are too."
--from "Waking Life" by Richard Linklater

This is a marvelous supercut of dream sequences from both classic and recent cinema by Dreamscience Films (owned and operated by Gabriel Adelman).


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Savage Beauty at the V&A, March 14 - August 2, 2015

After its record-breaking run at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011, "Savage Beauty," the retrospective of the work of the late Alexander McQueen (previously here), is once again mounted, this time at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It is quite appropriate that the show has returned to London, McQueen's hometown.

The show is now open and is set to close on August 2, 2015. But if the phenomenal response to the New York show is any indication (it was extended and the museum stayed open until midnight on regular operating days and opened its doors for special Monday viewings, a day most museums are closed) the V&A show might be around a little longer as well. If you are in London, do go... it's a spectacular chance to revisit McQueen's staggering genius.


Monday, March 23, 2015

BEAUTY: Photography--Kristoffer Axén

The eerie images in Kristoffer Axén's Events In Nature series convey a narrative of foreboding. Axén says,"My main interest is basically to make aesthetically interesting images based on what is underlying and hidden in things – an undefined fear in an otherwise ordinary scene, something off and slightly surreal creeping into the atmosphere. I wanted to make these filmic scenes in which the story itself is quite ordinary, but the mood, the strangeness lies in what is not completely visible – in the light and atmosphere, or in certain details. A feeling of something approaching, both a calmness and a general fear, in a world where the people becomes objects of nature like any other thing, and where the landscape becomes the main focus."

Top to bottom: A Procession; It Will Come From The Shadows; New Nature; Onward We Trudge; Practicing Being At Home; Trail