Category: Art


Hello, readers. If I still have any. My last post here was in 2016 and it was not a happy one. Apologies might be in order. Here are the main reasons why I have not been posting:

  1. I’ve been writing my dissertation. It’s been the focus of my life, period. Good progress is being made, I just drafted the third chapter. For my academic interests, you can read my other blog,
  2. Twitter. Damn you, 140 characters! It’s much easier to tell you about something fascinating just dropping a note or retweeting and article. You can follow me @thiliel.
  3. I’ve been writing fan fiction. In March 2014, I started writing an epic whopper of a story which might very well shape up to be the first work of fiction that I actually finish. It’s a story set in the BBC Sherlock universe. Sherlock, John and (Greg) Lestrade have to solve a case and figure out their love lives. I adore these characters and I wear them like a second skin. The story is up to 30,000 words now and it’s not that bad, so I’m sharing it.

So, you see, I’ve written like half of two books and tweeted 2,000 x 140 characters. Will you forgive me?

Anyway, I’m back here, and I’ve been gaming a lot, so expect a review of ‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’ to magically appear in the next days. In the meantime, go read my other stuff to keep you busy.

 

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Live VJing

Here is some live VJing I did for the International Orchestra of the United Kingdom of Goats @ Waldeck Freakquenz 2014. I used Avenue.

http://bit.ly/29Mgzi0

Sorry for the poor sound quality, there are some things a GoPro can’t do.

 

Hey, we finally edited some of the GoPro material we filmed on our festival, Waldeck Freakquenz.

See our retro gaming café, our Kinect sandbox, bands, enthusiastic Tetris chanting and further awesomeness.

 

JPL Visions of the Future

NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory made a bunch of free propaganda posters for a bright future! If I had to decorate a restaurant or something, I’d choose some of those.You can download the whole thing, about 600 MB, here.

 

Apparently, coloring books for adults are a thing now. We anticipated the trend years ago, when we (the organization crew of our festival Waldeck-Freakquenz) produced a stack of slightly NSFW and silly art, which we wanted to offer for free at our next festival. It’s gotten lost in someone’s files now, but I swear, this year is the year it gets printed.

Anyway, there are all sorts of coloring books now, from animals and gardens to Game of Thrones to Dr Who (expensive) and even magazines like Flow.

This morning I stumbled over a hashtag on twitter, it’s called #ColorOurCollections. Libraries all around the world offer coloring pages, prints and sketches from their archives for free! Special collections libraries and archives around the world are teaming up to provide coloring pages scanned from historic materials all week.  Here are just some highlights:

The New York Academy of Medicine

Bodleian Library

Europeana

Ellis Library

… and lots more. Peruse the hashtags this week, there’s a ton of participants. Have fun!

 

Neil Gaiman’s inspiring speech about making art

Found this on Boingboing. All the best to you in the new year!

Robert Yang makes weird games (or are they?)

You are a man alone in a fitsness studio shower. Two guys walk in, talking, ignoring you. You just stand under the spray wondering what the hell it is this game is all about. Then with a great flourish enters this naked dude with sunglasses, walking up to you, asking you to give him a hand… washing his back. By this time, I have giggled and flushed a bit. Is this some kind of sex sim? You do as well as you can, and then he’s just like “Well, ‘ta for that, see you next time.” The game tells you that you have to wait for a few hours until you can have a go at it again… What the hell just happened?

You just had a game experience created by Robert Yang. It’s called Rinse and repeat. He has made all these other short weird indie games that make profound statements about sex, BDSM and denial like Cobra Club, Hurt me plenty and Stick Shift.

Each is an intricately crafted work full of deliberate detail. Each has a meaning deeper (yet entirely dependent on) its surface, in-your-face interactions. Each packs more significance into its five or so minutes of playing than you will find spread across many an eighty-hour blockbuster game and, taken together, the games present a fascinating oeuvre (a word video game critics rarely have an opportunity to use).

(Brenden Keogh from reverseshot.org)

It questions your expectations as a gamer, influenced by instant gratification the internet has to offer, and you end up weirded out by yourself more than by the actual game. I haven’t looked at all the other games yet (though they sound pretty great:Intimate, Infinite: literary murder / chess / garden simulator!) but if I find myself with five minutes downtime before the Fallout 4 frenzy starts, I’ll definitely check them out.

This list has been on my wall for a year and a half. It’s almost finished.

2015-07-20 21.45.24

I’m sort of embarrassed about it. But since I went through all the trouble I might as well share the results. I’m not even sure what my rating is based on here. Some works I still enjoyed even if they were a little rough around the edges, like “The last enemy” or “Wreckers”. Some were better productions but offended me nonetheless (“The fifth Estate”, blech). So here it is: The best and worst of Cumberbatch, rated by me.* Your mileage may, of course, vary.

Best

1. Parade’s End

Episode 5. Scenes 618

(Pre-)WWI love triangle drama. That was a moving role, sufficient drama for me. Poor Tietjens. If you’re looking for a Downton Abbey replacement, this might be your thing!

2. Star Trek: Into Darkness

khan

Science fiction with a twist. The new Star Trek movies work for me, and Khan kicks ass.

3. Atonement

atonement-bite

Romance/drama. Creepy as hell, plays a rapist. Moustache! Good movie based on a great novel.

Fun fact: This is the performance that got him the (only) audition for ‘Sherlock’ with Moffat and Vertue.

4. August Osage County

august

Oklahoma family drama. What a production, there is major acting mojo here. Feels like a theatre stage the whole time, intense performances. Kind of an unusual role for him (shy guy).

5. To the ends of the Earth

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Based on a Golding novel, it’s a coming of age story. Period piece, on a ship, with sexy times. Need I say more? Mildly funny at times!

6. The last enemy

TheLastEnemyLogo

Total surveillance London middle east love triangle thingie. This could have been a decent series. But it’s still rough around the edges, plot jumps and whatnot. And why does TIA have an accent? It’s a computer. Overall okay! Anyway, you shouldn’t skip this one, because nudity.

7. Wreckers

WRECKERS

Dark British countryside drama. Sort of a bland movie, but interesting atmosphere and actors. Wasn’t too bad!

8. Third Star

third star

James has cancer and his last wish is to visit a particular beach. Bring tissues. Lots of tissues. Erm, for tears.

9. The Imitation Game

imitation game

Alan Turing biopic. Why has this movie not achieved a better ranking with me? All the components are there! I have ambiguous feelings about this movie, kind of like ‘The Fifth Estate’ because I know too much about Turing to sit back and enjoy the ride. But the performance is heartbreaking nonetheless.

10. Starter for 10

Starter-For-10-benedict-cumberbatch-15390979-640-352

Romcom feel good stuff with quizzes. Cute nerdy role!

Still noteworthy for reasons

Stuart: A Life backwards

Journalist writes homeless person’s story. Predictable tear jerker, but again, cute nerdy role. Also, Tom Hardy kills.

alexander-and-stuart-2

Dr. Slippery / Fortysomething

Awkward off-key British comedy. But you get Dr House, the Doctor and Cumberbatch for your troubles. And he looks so young.

latest

Worst (in order of awfulness)

1. The Fifth Estate

the-fifth-estate-poster-poster-1738645030

Supposedly biographical drama of Julian Assange and Wikileaks. I couldn’t watch it to the end because it sucked so much. I’m too well informed about Assange to be able to watch this without going “grr noo” all the time. Sorry.

2. Warhorse

benny-with-mustache

Boy meets horse, horse goes to war, many people die, boy meets horse again. It’s so tacky. Relatively short appearance. Do not recommend unless you’re into soppy Spielberg. Ridiculous moustache.

3. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

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I’ve tried to watch this twice and I still don’t get it. It’s not a bad movie, in fact it may be quite the opposite, but maybe I’m just too stupid or I have to read the novel by John le Carré first. I’ll probably do that and try again sometime. Also, hair.

Update:

It is now 2016 and I have read the 400-page novel. Let me tell you this: Easily accessible is something else. It’s a highly intricate story and le Carré is not being kind to his readers. You have to possess certain spy skillsets  to grasp what’s going on. Spreadsheets for jargon in the “Circus” (MI6) are highly advised.  It’s very subtle.

After I read the book I could appreciate the film more insofar as I could understand what the heck was going on and who was who. But without that, you are lost in the movie. I liked this adaptation insofar as it tries to convey things in a similar style to the book: hardly ever stating anything obvious, and the big reveal is very understated, the waiting and the watching is what it’s all about.

Cumberbatch’s character Peter Guillam stealing the files from the archives was one of my favorite scenes in the book and they adapted it well to the movie. It’s really hard to portray a character screaming internally while trying to act all smooth and cool to the outside. A lot of feelings and fears aren’t explicitly stated but conveyed through internal monologue in the book; so in the movie, there is a lot of silence. Having read the book, I could fill in those gaps and appreciate the (also very much understated) acting. But I stand by my point: As a viewer who has no clue what’s going on, you’re probably not going to enjoy this very much, all these blokes in trench coats staring at each other.

Interesting side fact: In the book, Guillam is hung up on his flute-playing girlfriend Camilla and gets more and more suspicious of her cheating on him, as he gets suspicious of everything he believed in at the Circus potentially being compromised. In the movie, they made him gay. When Smiley tells him that he should assume he is being watched, he breaks up with his S.O. pre-emptively, possibly to protect him? Anyway, it’s heartbreaking.

Spoiler! The secret star of the book is a homosexual love affair between two spies. The ending is not quite so subtle in the movie, though: I thought they could have done without the dramatic gesture of P. shooting H., but hey, what do I know.

___________________

I’m still missing some big ones like ‘Hawking’, ’12 years a slave’ or  ‘Amazing Grace’. If I like them I might change the ranking accordingly. I’ve definitely gone out of my comfort zone and watched movies I would not have watched otherwise. It’s been a fun ride despite cringing through really awkward movies like ‘Four Lions’ or that horrible ‘Van Gogh’ documentary (jeez, I mean, blimey).

I hope this helps with prioritizing!

____

*’Sherlock’ is non-competitive. Obviously.

Mad Max: Fury Road

It’s been a while since I left a cinema grinning. A good movie! It’s gritty and it will set the tone for Burning Man for years to come. The pace is always just right. As with the first Mad Max movie, the emotional impulse is survive, save the innocent, revenge. Nothing new there but at the same time the movie and the way it tells the old plot in the old setting just feels surprisingly fresh.

Also, it’s so feminist it’s got its own set of memes now.

Hey-Girl-Mad-Max-1

But without being annoying about it. I really like the symbolism (bullets in her crotch, carrying seeds, the older women dealing out death but looking for a place to put the seeds…) You coud easily analyse this in a gender seminar and get interesting results.

IMDB trivia: “The film editor, Margaret Sixel, is director George Miller‘s wife. When she asked her husband why he thought she should do it as she had never edited an action film before, Miller replied, “Because if a guy did it, it would look like every other action movie.” It was shot in sequence, not a lot of CGI (well at least not much as compared to other movies out there).

Yesterday, I saw “Jupiter Ascending” and … oh god, what a train wreck of a movie. Seriously, if you just look at it without sound you might appreciate the concept art but that’s about it. So seeing Mad Max really made me happy and had me at the edge of my seat. Go see it on the big screen … but it will probably age well, and I already look forward to seeing it again in a few years.

“A Shoggoth on the roof. Sounds scrazy, no, certifiably insane, but here in our little village of Arkham, Massaschusetts you might say everyone of us has a Shoggoth on the roof. And I’m not speaking metaphorically.” (opening lines)

“Good heavens, are these human cadavers?” Wait, you didn’t know there is a musical inspired by H.P. Lovecraft? Yes, there is. It’s parody of ‘Fiddler on the roof’ and it’s hilarious. If you are not in a place where you can listen, bookmark it for later. Now.

It was created by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society. It’s credited to “He Who (for legal reasons) Must Not Be Named”, see this link to excerpt of the script.

Its performance is apparently cursed (no surprise there), not only due to legal issues.

There are some things that man was not meant to adapt to musical theatre, and A Shoggoth on the Roof has long been regarded as a musical that cannot and must not be produced. The original 1979 attempt to stage it ended in mysterious failure. (cthululives.org)

Do I need to mention I would give my firstborn to see it live? Since that is not going to happen soon, you can get the whole starter combo (CD, libretto, DVD of the Shoggoth on the Roof documentary) here. It’s what I want for Christmas. Now sing along with me: Tentacles! Tentacles!

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