Taking Off

Famous first Amer­i­can film of Czech direc­tor Milos For­man. It tells the story of a group of par­ents whose chil­dren have run away from home. The par­ents take the oppor­tu­nity to redis­cover their youth.

It fea­tures a num­ber of mem­o­rable set pieces, includ­ing an open-mic record label audi­tion which is weaved through­out the film, fea­tur­ing a num­ber of female singers (includ­ing a young Carly Simon and a haunt­ing acoustic bal­lad by a then-unknown Kathy Bates) per­form­ing old stan­dards, folk bal­lads, and rock songs; a meet­ing in which a group of gen­er­ally middle-class con­ser­v­a­tive par­ents are taught how to smoke mar­i­juana; and a rau­cu­ous but sweet game of strip poker played by the adults.

Whether Tak­ing Off is car­i­ca­ture or dead-on is, pre­sum­ably, all a mat­ter of per­spec­tive and dis­tance. But it’s def­i­nitely hilar­i­ous: A dead­pan Buck Henry effort­lessly dom­i­nates as a mil­que­toast, and the sup­port­ing weirdos are all aces. (In his first on-screen appear­ance, Vin­cent Schi­avelli leads a pot-smoking tuto­r­ial for con­cerned par­ents want­ing to under­stand their run­aways bet­ter: “That’s called ‘bog­a­rt­ing’ the joint, and it’s very rude.”) It’s also a true New York movie.


Isabel M. Martinez’s Quantum Blink

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Per­cep­tion is a recur­ring theme within my prac­tice, and has become a foun­da­tion for me to explore ideas that reflect on notions of time, space, simul­tane­ity and dura­tion. As an artist, I am inter­ested in the aspects of expe­ri­ence where the real, the known, and the imag­ined col­lide. Spatio-temporal rela­tions, and visu­al­iz­ing the invis­i­ble are pre­dom­i­nant sub­jects. My inter­pre­ta­tions are informed in part by sci­ence, phi­los­o­phy and fic­tion. Exper­i­men­ta­tion and process are at the fore­front of much of my work, at times result­ing in ambigu­ous nar­ra­tives and hybrid exercises.

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In my work I attempt to artic­u­late some­thing in between the freez­ing of time—that so often char­ac­ter­izes photography—and its con­stant pass­ing. I allude to tem­po­ral­i­ties that are fluid, hypo­thet­i­cal, and impre­cise. The pho­tographs in Quan­tum Blink are com­posed of two expo­sures taken instants apart. Each pho­to­graph in the series holds a brief sense of con­ti­nu­ity, almost like an ani­ma­tion, slightly cin­e­mato­graphic. How­ever, though they pro­vide a notion of move­ment and pro­gres­sion, their begin­ning and end is ambigu­ous and indistinguishable.

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Finding Vivian Maier

The story of this nanny who has now wowed the world with her pho­tog­ra­phy, and who inci­den­tally recorded some of the most inter­est­ing mar­vels and pecu­liar­i­ties of Urban Amer­ica in the sec­ond half of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury is seem­ingly beyond belief.

An Amer­i­can of French and Austro-Hungarian extrac­tion, Vivian bounced between Europe and the United States before com­ing back to New York City in 1951.

Hav­ing picked up pho­tog­ra­phy just two years ear­lier, she would comb the streets of the Big Apple refin­ing her artis­tic craft. By 1956 Vivian left the East Coast for Chicago, where she’d spend most of the rest of her life work­ing as a caregiver.

In her leisure Vivian would shoot pho­tos that she zeal­ously hid from the eyes of oth­ers. Tak­ing snap­shots into the late 1990′s, Maier would leave behind a body of work com­pris­ing over 100,000 negatives.

Addi­tion­ally Vivian’s pas­sion for doc­u­ment­ing extended to a series of home­made doc­u­men­tary films and audio recordings.

Inter­est­ing bits of Amer­i­cana, the demo­li­tion of his­toric land­marks for new devel­op­ment, the unseen lives of eth­nics and the des­ti­tute, as well as some of Chicago’s most cher­ished sites were all metic­u­lously cat­a­logued by Vivian Maier.

A free spirit but also a proud soul, Vivian became poor and was ulti­mately saved by three of the chil­dren she had nan­nied ear­lier in her life.

Fondly remem­ber­ing Maier as a sec­ond mother, they pooled together to pay for an apart­ment and took the best of care for her.

Unbe­knownst to them, one of Vivian’s stor­age lock­ers was auc­tioned off due to delin­quent pay­ments. In those stor­age lock­ers lay the mas­sive hoard of neg­a­tives Maier secretly stashed through­out her lifetime.

Maier’s mas­sive body of work would come to light when in 2007 her work was dis­cov­ered at a local thrift auc­tion house on Chicago’s North­west Side.

From there, it would even­tu­ally impact the world over and change the life of the man who cham­pi­oned her work and brought it to the pub­lic eye, John Mal­oof. Cur­rently, Vivian Maier’s body of work is being archived and cat­a­loged for the enjoy­ment of oth­ers and for future generations.

John Mal­oof is at the core of this project after recon­struct­ing most of the archive, hav­ing been pre­vi­ously dis­persed to the var­i­ous buy­ers attend­ing that auction.

Now, with roughly 90% of her archive recon­structed, Vivian’s work is part of a renais­sance in inter­est in the art of Street Photography.


Max Capacity: Net Necromancer

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Glitch video/GIF artist Max Capac­ity work pushes the grainy VHS cut-ups and early home com­puter bit con­straints of 1980s cyber­punk into the dig­i­tal realm. Net­work Awe­some and Radosaur Pro­duc­tions inter­viewed him for Tumblr’s Sto­ry­board effort. “Max Capac­ity: Net Necro­mancer

We love the work of artist Max Capac­ity. I will ven­ture here to say that his ani­mated GIFs are post­mod­ern, com­bin­ing in them glitch artpixel art, movies and stuff I can­not even start to describe. The fact that he uses the name Max Capac­ity is prob­a­bly not a coin­ci­dence as he has a lot of work to show up for. I can spend hours jump­ing from his Flickr site to his Tum­blr site to his YouTube chan­nel check­ing out his uni­verse of pro­lific cre­ation. You have to visit Max Capacity’s sites.

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The Art of Sleevefacing

Sleeve­face is an inter­net phe­nom­e­non wherein one or more per­sons cover body parts with record sleeve(s), caus­ing an illu­sion and tak­ing pic­tures of it. Though the pre­cise ori­gin of the con­cept is unknown the term ‘Sleeve­face’ was coined in April 2007 by Cardiff res­i­dent Carl Mor­ris after pic­tures were taken of him and his friends hold­ing record sleeves to their faces whilst Djing in a Cardiff Bar.

His friend John Ros­tron posted them on the inter­net and cre­ated a group on Face­book. From here the craze became more widely known and it has fast become an inter­net phenomenon.

All it requires is a record sleeve, a cam­era and big imag­i­na­tion. There is a huge pool of exam­ples on Flickr. John Ros­tron and Carl Mor­ris authored the book ‘Sleeve­face : Be The Vinyl’ pub­lished in 2008 by Artisan/Workman which com­piles sleeve­faces from the world­wide sub­mis­sions to their web­site.

Put the sleeve in front of your face, strike the pose of the rock god you’ve cho­sen, and get your­self pho­tographed. See the video below for more detailed instruc­tions on how to do your own.


Dany Peschl’s Disturbation

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Prague-based Dany Peschl’s pho­tographs are cut to the bone with social commentary.

These pho­togra­phies are only frag­ment of a long time project called “disturbation”:

In the recent series I retell in pic­tures sev­eral sto­ries that should never be seen. The pho­tos cap­ture dif­fer­ent peo­ple dur­ing var­i­ous inti­mate sit­u­a­tions in a “caught in the act” way. It made us unwanted spec­ta­tors of strange rit­u­als and obscure moments as sim­ply every­day rou­tine. Because it is. But “dis­tur­ba­tion” is not art­less open­ing of locked or semi-closed doors to children’s rooms, toi­lets or mas­sage salons. For­get voyeurism and fetishism cliché. These pho­tos aspire to reflect not just actual social issues. Pol­i­tics, pop icons, pope… There­fore to speak only about inti­macy as an act is defi­cient. It is also about what peo­ple hide inside them­selves. In their inner space full of opin­ions, atti­tudes, thoughts, dreams and taste.’

Although most of the visual sto­ries are mock­u­men­tary or recon­struc­tion of true and some­times false mem­o­ries, the rest remains truly authentic.

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Satán se divierte

Satan s’amuse or (Satán se divierte in Spain) is a 1907 French — Span­ish silent film directed by pio­neer Segundo de Chomón.

In an unnamed place, Satan is bored. Despite his ser­vants’ exer­tions, noth­ing can be found to cheer him up.

Segundo Víc­tor Aure­lio Chomón y Ruiz was a pio­neer­ing Aragonese film direc­tor. He pro­duced many short films in France while work­ing for Pathé Frères and has been com­pared to Georges Méliès, due to his fre­quent cam­era tricks and opti­cal illu­sions. He is regarded as the most sig­nif­i­cant Span­ish silent film direc­tor in an inter­na­tional context.


Segundo De Chomon — Satan s’amuse (1907)


Falling Self-Portraits by Kerry Skarbakka

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Pho­tog­ra­pher Kerry Skar­bakka cre­ates fright­en­ing self-portraits in which he appears to be falling. The pho­tos are cre­ated with the use of safety rig­ging, how­ever the process is clearly not for the faint of heart. For more pho­tos see his series “The Strug­gle to Right One­self” and “Life Goes On.”

The images stand as omi­nous mes­sages and reminders that we are all vul­ner­a­ble to los­ing our foot­ing and grasp. More­over, they con­vey the pri­mal qual­i­ties of the human con­di­tion as a pre­car­i­ous bal­anc­ing act between the strug­gle against our desire to sur­vive and our fan­tasy to tran­scend our humanness.

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Stereo | Cronenberg’s first feature-length effort

Stereo pur­ports to be part of a “mosaic” of edu­ca­tional resources by the Cana­dian Acad­emy of Erotic Enquiry. It doc­u­ments an exper­i­ment by the unseen Dr. Luther Stringfel­low. A young man (Ronald Mlodzik) in a black cloak is seen arriv­ing at the Acad­emy, where he joins a group of young vol­un­teers who are being endowed with tele­pathic abil­i­ties which they are encour­aged to develop through sex­ual explo­ration. It is hoped that tele­pathic groups, bonded in poly­mor­phous sex­ual rela­tion­ships, will form a socially sta­bi­liz­ing replace­ment for the “obso­les­cent fam­ily unit”.

One girl devel­ops a sec­ondary per­son­al­ity in order to cope with her new state of con­scious­ness, which grad­u­ally ousts her orig­i­nal per­son­al­ity. As the vol­un­teers’ abil­i­ties develop, the exper­i­menters find them­selves increas­ingly unable to con­trol the progress of the exper­i­ment. They decide to sep­a­rate the telepaths, which results in two sui­cides. The final sequence shows the young woman who devel­oped an extra per­son­al­ity wear­ing the black cloak.

Stereo is more self-consciously avant-garde, and less vis­ceral, than his later work. Nev­er­the­less, many of the usual Cro­nen­berg con­cerns are present: a futur­is­tic set­ting, bizarre sci­en­tific exper­i­men­ta­tion, and an obses­sive explo­ration of per­verse forms of sexuality.