30 January 2011

Black pots and magic

If there is such a thing as radical design, Ineke Hans would fit the bill. This brutally beautiful black porcelain coffee pot is from her 'Black Gold Modular' series (2002): it's all pipes and poetry.

Ineke Hans is a Dutch designer that countinues to stretched the boundaries of (industrial) design. Black porcelain held her gaze because it's difficult to produce: it behaves awkwardly during the firing process. Black is also the primeval (lack of) colour: it undefines objects and fades them out, so that they appear as mere silhouettes.
"I feel more like a magician," informs us Ineke Hans.
And a rug, she adds, can be a boat.

27 January 2011


These are intriguingly formal portraits of children the likes of which you will normally find among paintings. This is one of the reasons why these photo portraits will take you by surprise. Another reason is in the appraising gaze of the children portrayed: making a direct and conscious contact with the future viewer, the children reveal their pensive inner selves, far removed from their childhood play and naiveté. Finally, the photographs seem to hold no indicators of the day and age in which they were shot.
Nelli Palomäki, a Finnish fine art photographer, carefully constructed the photographs in order to lend timelessness to these portraits. Attention was paid to both costumes and hairstyles of children (all aged between 4 and 11).
"One hundred years ago it was something really special to be in the portrait," sighs the photographer, "I want to believe that it still is!"
The portraits featured are taken from the 'Elsa and Viola' series by Nelli Palomäki. In order of appearance, the portraits are titled: Dora (at 7), Julia (at 4), Julia (at 5), Elsa (at 10) and Viola (at 11).

25 January 2011

Silence is easy

'Silence Is Easy' by Starsailor, an indie band from Britain (this is the title track from their second album, 2003). This is one of the last songs produced by Phil Spector, before he was sentenced to 19 years to life.

24 January 2011

Stories at High Tea, And More

Jorine Oosterhoff is one of those almost-fairy sort who looked through the looking glass. Her designs are playful: she admits herself that her little porcelain pieces (like the set 'mad hatters' above) are meant to come alive on your table, ‘like soldiers in a little nation’.

Sugary soldier & Milky major

“I like to create series,” muses Jorine, “put more products together like a family. This gives me more opportunities to create...

... a story.” They really do look as if they are going to attack you, don't they?
"En garde!"

Good morning, Monday

Monday's pleasure: a pompous cupuccino!
'Café Pompose' - a coffee set consisting of
a cappuccino cup: a fat lady,
an expresso cup: a stately gentleman,
a ristretto cup: their little child.
These intriguing morning porcelain and coffee stories are by Jorine Oosterhoff,
a Dutch designer from Arnhem.

23 January 2011

Cowboys, art films and emotional landscapes

'World Cinema' is a short film about art films and cowboys by Joel and Ethan Coen (2007).
A film of three minutes commissioned by the Cannes Film Festival, 'World Cinema' for some reason fails to appear on the Chacun Son Cinéma (transl. 'to each his own cinema') anthology.
Dan (Josh Brolin) enters an art cinema that is clearly off his beaten track, or anybody else's for that matter. Forced to choose between two foreign movies, Dan enlists help from the young man selling tickets. The dialogue between Dan and the young man is curious and amusing; the true beauty of this short, however, lies in the window that lands a momentary view, for seconds only, into the emotional landscapes that Dan inhabits under his cowboy exterior.
A gem.

20 January 2011

Los Angeles, we need to talk

After he decided to move to New York City, Jonathan Jackson decided not to string L.A. along. He decided to 'firmly break it off' with L.A. through a graphic billboard series posted on the famous streets of his first love... letting it know:
"Jonathan Jackson is no longer in relationship with Los Angeles."
More endearing even than the billboards were the reactions of the L.A. inhabitants who chanced to come accross these visual declarations of love gone awry.
"I think it's negative. I don't support it," declared one of the locals, "I think we should not need to see other cities. Whatever I see in L.A. is everywhere, in every city that I have gone to. In part of L.A., there is East Africa. There are mountains. There is New York in L.A., there are tall buildings. So going to other cities is just stupid."
If interested to see more about this visual goodbye to a city, or the man behind it, go here and dig on.

Narrator: Luis

This is 'Luis', the second stop-motion film in the 'Lucia, Luis & El Lobo' series created and directed by Cristóbal León, Niles Atallah and Joaquín Cociña (2008, produced by the Diluvio Gallery, Chile).
Currently in development is the third (feature) film in the series, 'La Casa Lobo', transl. The Wolf House. According to the synopsis of the project, the last film in the series will feature Bella, a young woman waking-up inside a strange house she doesn't recognise. The house, strangely alive, shall behave as if Bella has lived in it for ages. The house will hold Bella captive, and during her futile attempts to leave Bella shall encounter, and develop complex feelings for, the Beast. According to the authors themselves, 'La Casa Lobo' is a 'confused and perverted fairytale' about the Beauty and the Beast locked in a no-escape house. The fable will be narrated by Bella, a 'compulsive liar, a protagonist who has serious deficiencies in her memory.'
Beautiful? Creepy? Mad? Sad?
Animation and fairy tales are forever removed from that feeling of safety they once invoked in us... Can you imagine that this is what you would run to at 7 p.m. when you and your friends turned from your games in haste to catch the cartoon for the day? When all you worried about was that they would show something like Tom & Jerry and nothing like La Linea?

19 January 2011

Narrator: Lucia

This is 'Lucia', an awarded short stop-motion animation film (a part of the 'Lucia, Luis & El Lobo' series) created and directed by Cristóbal León as the animator, Niles Atallah as the art director and Joaquín Cociña as the writer (2007, produced by the Diluvio Gallery, Chile).
In a unique merge of illustration and stop-motion animation, we see a sequence of digital stills with animation, charcoal drawings, puppets and other props. The film is shot frame by frame with a digital camera. Every visual element comes to life as it self-constructs, hides, re-appears, self-destructs ...
The narrative is whispered by the charcoal Lucia, appearing and vanishing from the frame. We soon realise that the narrator is not reliable, the real story is hidden behind the whispered distortions and changing frames: we may never be in position to reconstruct it.
The authors themselves describe the series as stories "of a physical and mental world that falls apart, destroys itself and reconstructs itself time and again." As the narrator changes, the space and story repeatedly dismantle and reassemble to mirror those changes.
"What makes this such an exciting project for us," the authors conclude, "is the idea of making a feature film like one creates a painting or sculpture: a film made of cardboard, charcoal and waste."

18 January 2011

A moment out of time

'Pass This On' is an old single by a mysterious Swedish duo of siblings: The Knife (the track later appeared in the 'Deep Cuts' album, 2003). The video of the track, in its fomat, is rather a short film than a music video. Directed by Bo Johan Renck, this is a tiny masterpiece in its own right.
A slow party for a local football club. It appears from the melancholic mood that the team just lost a game. Or is it just a regular hangout for the football guys? The setting appears to be a pre-Ikea Scandinavian cottage that probably acts as a hunters hangout on Wednesdays and as a venue for birthday parties on Fridays. In this particular moment, out of time, the entertainment in the venue is a drag show provided to football players by a lipsynching travestite. The tune is catchy, remeniscent of disco hits, and yet... there is this lingering feeling that something is off... It makes you feel uncomfortable. The performer, seductive and alluring, moves to that very element of the song that is off... The audience feels it, too. You can almost hear their thoughts as the camera zooms on them.
"This feels all wrong, this feels all wrong, but... Do I actually like this...?"
The viewers don't communicate among eachother. The song seems to leave no room for mobs or couplings. Once lured to dance, each spectator dances alone, toward rather than with the performer... the caster of the spell... the pied piper...
What will happen once the tune dissapears?
And why is only the girl bewildered? She seems the only person to have escaped the allure...
The bewildered girl is Karin Dreijer Andersson, the actual singer: the most we were allowed, to date, to see of this duet. The Knife hardly ever appears in public, and then wearing beaks (!) and masked.
The song of whispers, the video of spells and the band of fairies: a fairy tale.

05 January 2011


'Actor Out Of Work' by Annie Erin Clark (off-stage) aka St Vincent (on stage). The track is from her second album 'Actor' (2009). Lovely, if a bit creepy.

03 January 2011

Weary of Winter

Ella Doran's clever designs to help us get through the winter.