This video on Vox does a great job of explaining so-called “white” paintings by artists like Robert Ryman, Agnes Martin, Cy Twombly, and so on, as examples of Minimalism and where these fit in the story of modern and contemporary art. Some of these paintings — including one that was essentially a blank white canvas — has sold for tens of millions of dollars at auction in recent years. It sparks the never-ending debate about what is and isn’t “art” and brings up the the often expressed sentiment of “I could do that” among the skeptical art-viewing public.
Documentary filmmaker and producer Gary Hustwit has a new film about German designer Dieter Rams coming out in 2018, and we can’t wait to see it. The director of the doc films “Helvetica,” “Objectified and “Urbanized” has released some teaser video clip online for this new documentary, which is titled “Rams.” Brian Eno has reportedly created the original soundtrack music for the film. Rams’s always has something interesting to say, but one quote that struck us is when he said: “If I had to do it over again, I would not want to be a designer … There are too many unnecessary products in this world.”
In case you missed it, one of the best — if not the best — TV commercial from the broadcast of last weekend’s 2018 Super Bowl was this ad for Tide laundry detergent. It’s already being talked about as one of the best ever and an “instant classic.” There are a few more companion ads for this Tide spot that aired throughout the Super Bowl. For example this Old Spice hijack by Tide and these too. All brilliantly conceived and executed.
The answer, savvy reader, is “No, no it won’t.” Whatever level of individual street cred one has will not be intrinsically changed by watching an awesome, super cool, retro-style surf video. But if there is a surf video that might move the needle slightly to and fro for a hot nano-second before it goes back to its original compass position, it would be this one. “Free Jazz Vein” is the second feature surf film by Argentine filmmaker-surfer Tin Ojeda. (His first was titled “Expencive Porno Movie” (sic), and it’s a classic for the ages.) It’s as beautiful as his first film. We love it.
The MoMA (that’s the Museum of Modern Art in the New York-fucking-City) has recently launched a web video series on YouTube called “At the Museum,” and we, savvy reader, are L-O-V-I-N-G it. (See video below!)
It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the innermost workings of one of the world’s greatest art museums as it prepares to mount a major exhibition. It’s documentary-like, but only to a point. The tone is more cinema-verite in a reality-TV-show way, but produced in ultra-understated, high-minimalist style. There’s no narration. No explanation. No formal sit-down interviews. When staff do talk to the camera, it’s while they’re working, doing the mundane daily tasks of their jobs, like the way witnesses in an episode of “Law and Order” always answer detectives’ questions at their place of work while continuing to do whatever it was they were doing (unloading a truck, wiping down a bar, butchering meat, etc.).
“At the Museum” may have documentary and reality TV bones in its basic visual-narrative architecture, but its manner is the polar opposite of the chaos, Real-Housewivery or Kardashian-Jennerisms we’ve become accustomed to from contemporary reality TV. And it’s far away from anything by Ken Burns or Werner Herzog. No pans, no scans, no slow zooms, no German accents, no depressive anecdotes.
Each episode of “At the Museum” is about ten-minutes long and focuses on some aspect of the museum from the mundane to the important, e.g., shipping and receiving of the artwork. There’s high drama, too, but it’s not obvious and it’s largely confined to the nuances of the art world and its culture and codes. There’s much being said and interpreted in the raised eyebrow or long pause in speech by one of the many MoMA staff, some of whom seem like walking-talking art-world cliches straight outta Central Casting.
But these are real people. The type of people who live, breathe, eat, drink, fuck and poop art, and the type who love their jobs, for whom displaying a small Max Ernst sculpture a quarter centimeter higher on a platform makes all the difference. And we love it! Watch this series.
Question: Have you ever had a dream where you were in your favorite fast-food dining establishment and suddenly it starts flooding?
Have you ever entertained the thought “Wouldn’t it be cool if Burger King got flooded?”
Is it — or has it ever been — your burning desire to see a KFC deluged to the rafters?
Have you wondered aloud (or in private, for that matter) what it would be like if McDonalds was overrun with a rushing torrent of H20?
You have? (Uh, really, you have?). Ok.
Well, guess what, kids, the short film “Flooded McDonalds” is for YOU!
Created by artist collective Superflex, “Flooded McDonalds” documents the flooding of what appears to be an actual, operational McDonalds restaurant.
At first the restaurant is shown as totally ghosted, dry and in its ordinary state but devoid of customers and staff, as if everyone who was there suddenly rushed off in a panic. There are still trays of food on tables and just-prepared burgers in wrappers in the kitchen.
Then slowly we see a little bit of water seeping through under a door. Over the next ten minutes or so the water rises, as we anticipate and bear witness to the various affects of the water on the restaurant’s interior.
Chairs get moved around, a ubiquitous Ronald McDonald statue is lifted by the tide and eventually gets toppled and ends up floating aimlessly. Some things sink, some things float. A pot of coffee still filled to the brim moves like a bouncy submarine through the flood waters. Cash registers and backlit signs short circuit.
The film is mesmerizing, strangely compelling, and positively droll. At times, it is laugh-out-loud funny, though there there are no jokes.
In fact, the film has no dramatic music, no dialogue, no explanation, nothing but the arrival of more water into what is actually a faithful and convincing reproduction of a working McDonalds restaurant.
“Flooded McDonalds” is entertaining with a nod and a wink. And it is absolutely and truly, to use a favored expression of critics everywhere, “thought-provoking.”
It forces the viewer to ask questions, and not just the kinds of “They call that ‘art’?”- or “What the hell is that?”-type questions that the non-art-appreciating rubes from the sticks would ask.
No, no, you, savvy reader, are pondering thoughtful questions like What the fuck does this say about globalization or the impacts of massive corporations on the environment? Or something like that.
The film draws viewers in with the familiar. The “golden arches” of the McDonalds logo are among the few graphic symbols easily grasped by almost every living human on the planet.
This locks in your attention and forces you the viewer to consider the impending disaster. You know what’s coming, but how exactly it’s going to unfold is the burning question on everybody’s mind.
Eventually, the McDonalds is submerged and destroyed by the deluge, which has now become a filthy stew of flotsam and half-sunken debris. The film captures the event from various camera angles, including from under the water.
This may be art and as such a fiction, but we can only imagine that what we see in the film is how it recently must have played out in real-life in places like Houston, Texas, which experienced massive flooding as a result of Hurricane Harvey and where no doubt there are many McDonalds.
“Flooded McDonalds” was first exhibited in London in 2010, but the film is now showing on a loop at the Hammer Museum of Art in Los Angeles and you can watch an edited behind-the-scenes version online below. GO SEE IT!
Hey, Everybody! Regular readers of GlobalGraphica (GG) will have noticed that we haven’t posted to this site in a few weeks. And if you sent us an email recently, you probably haven’t heard from us (as it was, we were already way behind on replying to readers’ emails — we suck at responding to email, and apologize for that).
So where have we been?
In mid-June, we got brought onto a cool new commercial project at the last minute for the Japanese car brand Acura. Working with the brand’s ad agency, Mullen Lowe and a couple of production companies, we helped produce the world first-ever live augmented reality (AR) race, as well as some commercial spots for it. You can see the live-event video below or read more about it on CNET or AdWeek or in a bunch of other publications.
The project required a ton of work to pull off and kept us ridiculously busy for the better part of a month. Finally, now that the project is wrapped up, we can catch our breath, relax and get back to our passion that is GG.
When you aim a video camera at a live video projection generated from the same camera in real time, the results are fascinating and in the right circumstances can created biological-like patterns akin to “brain coal,” as seen in the above screenshot and video below, which was made by Ethan Turpin. Awesome.
Acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh (“Ocean’s 11,” “Solaris,” “Sex, Lies & Videotape”) has released a full-length black-and-white version of Steven Spielberg’s action-adventure classic “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in HD. Soderbergh also removed the original soundtrack and dialogue and matched the film to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s soundtrack music from the film “The Social Network.” The effect is mesmerizing. “Raiders” looks magnificent in black-and-white. It’s interesting how B&W makes the film feel like a product of the era in which story itself is set, i.e., the 1930s. Soderbergh mentioned several years ago his habit of watching the movies with sound and color removed as a method to better understanding staging and cinematography.
From the earliest days of film, this fascinating archival footage shows traffic scenes from 1890s London and other places in the age before cars. What’s striking is just how much traffic there was — a lot — and how much horses were a part of the densely populated urban landscape and how vital their role was the city’s public transportation of the day.
This short video shows two men painting the words “Bus Stop” on the asphalt surface of a street. The clip, which has been sped for time, reveals the art, skill and craft of perfectly painting this street typography that most of us see everyday and probably take for granted.
This short video titled “This is a Generic Brand Video” was created entirely from stock video to go with the words of Kendra Eash’s clever and funny McSweeney’s Internet Tendency piece of the same title. It’s an amusing, masterful break down of advertising semiotics and visual style.
The Apple Macintosh computer turned 30-years old this past week. Apple has produced a website and short video that looks at some famous Mac users and talks with them about their first Macs and how the machines have changed the way they work. Check it.