Adam Frank’s Slightly Sinister Shadowplay

I can’t quite figure out whether this piece is as creepy as it looks, or if it’s much much scarier than that. You’d have to experience it directly I guess.

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Shadow is an interactive installation that projects a disembodied, autonomous, human shadow on the ground. This apparently living shadow attempts to merge itself with the viewer’s real shadow. When this occurs, the invisible figure, implied by the virtual shadow, inhabits the viewer’s own personal space.

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Click here to see a large version Shadows

Check out his Reveal projector lamp when you visit his intriguing website.


BBC Collective Finally Lowers The Blinds

I should have guessed that corporate bean counters were at work the day I was presented with a user feedback survey to fill out during my weekly visit to Collective. I got a distinct whiff that someone, somewhere was trying to cut some of the more fringe activities and services that the BBC is so good at providing.

The weekly BBC e-arts magazine, Collective, has introduced me to an amazing array of artists, musicians and writers over the last couple of years of my subscription, and I’m sorry to learn that it is now closing down. Have a look at their last front page, to get a flavour of their highly eclectic cultural offering:

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The outgoing editor sent me a few Collective badges for me to display (below) as a sort of web based memorial to the now defunct project.

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Here’s the valedictory:

We’re sorry to announce that Collective is closing.

We would like to thank everyone who has supported the site since it launched. From 2002 – 2008, Collective brought coverage of the most exciting new music, art, film, books and games to people in search of fresh culture in Britain. We aimed to celebrate genuine creativity and bring underground talent to the BBC’s audience. We’ve been privileged to host intelligent comment about popular arts, culture and society in general for almost six years, and occasionally been able to help our community of users in creative collaborative projects. At its height Collective had around 250,000 dedicated users.

I wish everyone on the Collective team the best of luck in their brilliant careers.

Here’s another part of the BBC you probably never knew existed: Blast! Not to mention the bizarre world of H2G2

Art & Design in The British Film # 16: Alfred Junge

Continuing a series about Art Directors in the British film industry up to 1948, when the book containing these articles was published.

This chapter deals with Alfred Junge (1886 – 1964)

‘Asked by friends or relations: “What will you be when you grow up?” my answer was invariably: “I’ll be an artist or a Kaiser.” When the time came there was no great future or demand for
Kaisers and I had to stick to becoming an artist. How wise I must have been in those early days!’

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Jew Seuss 1934 (Click the small pictures to enlarge them, please)
On IMDB, simonstudios from London, England said: This is actually a very sympathetic adaptation of the original novel by Leon Feuchtwanger (who was himself Jewish), and should not be confused with the Nazi travesty of 1940, which was a crude, anti-semitic propaganda vehicle.

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Jew Seuss 1934

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Life & Death of Colonel Blimp 1942

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Contraband 1940

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A Matter of Life And Death

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A Matter of Life And Death

Here’s the full text of the entry for Alfred Junge: Continue reading Art & Design in The British Film # 16: Alfred Junge

Chinese New Year – Pictures

Last Sunday found our family in London’s Chinatown, celebrating Chinese New Year. The new camera was put through its paces in the brilliant low angle sunshine; quite challenging conditions for this small but versatile camera.
(Click the thumbnails to enlarge them, please)

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This shot is a bit extreme in its contrasts. The little Panasonic has had to do a quick Levels scan to determine the lightest and darkest portions of the picture, and it’s led to this completely unnatural rendering of the upper lanterns. Needless to say, I love it, especially the gradation from red to black seen in the elongated lantern hanging from the red rope on the right of frame.

Click this link to see more pictures >> Continue reading Chinese New Year – Pictures

Virtual Lay Figures From

Should you ever be stuck while trying to recall how to draw a tricky pose, or even a walk cycle, and you haven’t got a lay figure handy, then might be just the right online tool for you.

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(As usual, click on these thumbnails to enlarge them)

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You can rotate all the models clockwise or widdershins. Just put your cursor on the model and drag it in the desired direction. It might be a tad slow to react (The server is in Japan, I believe) but you can quickly turn your chosen model into the pose you desire.

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Twist ’em and turn ’em!

And there are even some simple walk and run cycles available, if you’re feeling lazy!
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Zamzar File Conversion Site

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(Click the pic to enbiggen it)

If you work in a mixed software environment, the chances are that someone will soon send you a file that none of your programs can open. Allow me to introduce you to Zamzar.
You can upload a wide variety of file types to their site, you fill out a very simple e-mail address form, specify your preferred output format and after ruminating for a few minutes, it bungs you an e-mail telling you that your file (or files) is ready for download. (See the simple 4 step process by clicking the picture above)

This has been a godsend to me recently. Although the students are under strict orders to only submit their essays in Word .doc format, some of them (the ones who never read their e-mails and whose Daddies have bought them spanking new multicore laptops loaded with the execrable but shiny Windows Vista, and a fresh copy of Microsoft Office 2007 that saves file in a format that no other machine on earth can read) insist on saving their work as Microsoft .docx files.

I send the student a tiny pocket sized rant, and then I submit the file to ZamZar.
They also convert many other file types, without you having to own the original software. Sorted.

Bookmark this one!

The Perils of Practising Perfect Perspective

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(Click to enlarge)

Of course the more perspicacious among you readers of Articles and Texticles will have immediately spotted what the artist is doing wrong in this picture.
That’s right, he’s wearing completely the wrong footwear for the job. He should be wearing very heavy boots so that he can keep his knees down, and support his drawing pad properly. Rest assured however, that he is at least using a lead pencil that won’t float away easily.

The next picture offers an explanation of what might have led to this soggy situation…
(Click it to make it bigger, please)

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It’s quite obvious that someone has seen the eye level marked on the wall, and confused it with a swimming pool that needed filling. It could easily happen to any of us.

The genius at work behind these wonderful illustrations is, or was, Ernest Norling (1892 – 1974), who brought a splendidly irreverent approach to the slightly plodding subject of perspective in the Walter Foster book, Perspective Drawing. (Cover below)

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Look through this search of Alibris listings to find a copy of the original edition, which was probably around 1960, maybe a year or two earlier. Walter Foster still sell the title, but I can’t glean from their site whether the illustrations are the originals or a later edition. Maybe you will get lucky on eBay, if you really like this wacko style.

I found these images on Chris Mullen’s wonderful site, (Link to article) – I’ve cleaned them up a bit to eliminate the scanner strikethrough that happens with flimsy paper.

Chris Mullen‘s notes read:

Ernest Norling (1892 -1974) was a stalwart of the New Deal Mural Projects whose two publications on Perspective are models of the way training manuals should be for artists. The illustrations and examples are innovative in that they stress modern objects and scenes. From his cover to the Foster publication, Perspective Drawing, it is sure he has a keen sense of the absurd, and few artists after Hogarth find Perpsective and its aberrations funny.

Have a look at a different approach to the business of explaining perspective drawing, this time from a whimsical British 1950’s angle –

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Gwen White, A Book of Pictorial Perspective, 1954

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Gwen White, A Book of Pictorial Perspective, 1954

You will love Chris Mullen’s website, but a little word of caution: save your visit for a quiet day. There is so much to see and discover, but it is not laid out in a way that is completely predictable, which in my view constitutes a large part of its charm.

100 years of Russian Cinema

The Russian Archive Cinema Season (1908 -1925) will be showing in London on the 3rd, 10th & 24th February 2008 at the Curzon Mayfair, 38 Curzon St, London W1
Tickets: 0871 703 3989

The highlight for animation fans will be The Cameraman´s Revenge, showing at noon on the 24th Feb. Directed by Wladyslaw Starewicz, this 12 minute long animation dates from 1912.
It’s the earliest Russian animated film, and is a deliberation over the rôle of cinema.

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It will be followed by the first Soviet Sci-Fi film, Aelita, Queen of Mars. (click the thumbnail image above to see a bigger picture of Aelita)

Aelita, Queen of Mars will be accompanied by a special score composed and performed by S.Letov and A.Borisov. They will be joined by Lydia Kavine playing Theremin-vox, a unique musical instrument invented in Soviet Russia.

There are many other rare gems in the programme here