quasi-objects: lorenzo oggiano.

I’ve always loved the intersection of the digital and the organic, and how the hyper-depiction of seemingly natural subjects can be rendered so realistic that they border on seeming fake. Working in both video and 3D-generated visuals, Lorenzo Oggiano works inside a high-def macro world where his images play with polarity. Beginning his study in 2003 and still on-going, his “Quasi-Objects” series is obviously beautiful, but glistening grotesque; informed by the laws and evolutions of nature but not actually formed by them. Up-close, I can see flower stamens that resemble insect eggs and, with a blink of the eye, smooth skin that becomes scales and water drops mirror light like multi-faceted eyes. There’s a line where attraction and disgust run almost parallel, and he’s walking along it a spine-tingling way.

From Oggiano’s site: “Quasi-Objects” is an art project consisting of 3d generated videos and prints, a practice of “organic re-design” – started in 2003 and still in progress – that aims to stimulate thought and dialogue on the progressive relativisation of natural forms of life as a result of techno-biological evolution. “Quasi-Objects” regards data actualization, the production of biologically non-functional organisms and ecosystems as transient output of an operative practice: aesthetics of process.

Life is a real and autonomous process independent from any specific material manifestation.”

Via But Does It Float

friendly fires + david lewandowski: hurting.

Friendly Fires are a reliable go-to, a steady member of a stable of cherished artists who I know will deliver how I like it each and every time. “Kiss of Life” is one of my have tracks ever, and it’s Chris Cottam-directed video makes me want to dance. While waving palm fronds around. I knew the Fires and I were on the same wavelength when they chose an image from Sølve Sundsbø’s Perroquet series as the cover for their 2011 album Pala (which, not to brag, but I totally blogged about back in 2008), so I knew we had the same taste in photography. Having the same taste in photography is like taking the carpool lane right into my heart. Click here to once again ogle its gorgeousness.

Today’s video for “Hurting” – the third single from Pala – is no visual disappointment. Sure, we’ve got a hot hipster broad/love interest with a disturbingly elastic neck, but the real draw here is lead singer Ed Macfarlane limping through his love and throwing his boogie down in an attempt (much like the mating dance of birds, which leads us back to parrots – I’m seeing a synergy here!) too woo her. And by “woo”, I mean “prove cool enough for,” because she kinda looks like a bitch. Which is really to say, if Ed Macfarlane wanted to dance with me, I wouldn’t say no.

There’s an easy urban whimsy going on here; it’s sunset-lit, street-wise and dance-y. And if you’re wondering why that cube is so next level good, look no further that director David Lewandowski, who, in case you don’t know, worked on a little piece of mind-altering, visual magnum opus/digital genius I like to call Tron: Legacy. (Say what you want about the plot, the 3D animation was without peer.) Click here to see some highly-detailed posts and videos about his work for that film.

+ via Antville

sticky monster lab: the loner teaser.

As Mrs. Peacock said during the dinner party in Clue, “I mean, I have absolutely no idea what we’re doing here. Or what I’m doing here, or what this place is about, but I am determined to enjoy myself. And I’m very intrigued, and, oh my, this soup’s delicious, isn’t it?”

So, soup aside, we find ourselves watching Sticky Monster Lab’s trailer for a “new animation and compilation album” called The Loaner. Much like Mrs. Peacock (and you’d be surprised how often I find myself genuinely thinking that), I’m very intrigued.

I’ve been a fan of designer toys and monster for as long as I can remember, and here they are: animated, in a digital world, living their lives. The ultra-digitized animation style is one of my favourites, and when it’s done as well as this I get giddy. These monsters are on point.

Alright, The Longe, I’m not sure what’s happening yet, but your teaser is triumphant. Consider me teased! I anxiously await the end of November 2011, when all will be revealed.

Also, I’m not sure who the loner’s little pink animal friend is, but it reminds me of that episode of Futurama where Fry finds out the dog he thought forgot about him spent the rest of his life waiting for him to come get him. It’s called “Jurassic Bark,” and if you want to weep until all your innocence is lost, I suggest you go watch it.

matt pyke & friends: super-computer-romantics.

Any time Matt Pyke is about to release new work feels like Christmas Eve. My favourite digital artist and motion designer ever, Matt’s simply unbeatable at creating innovative, organic and jaw-dropping work for his own studio, Universal Everything, and some of the world’s biggest brands. (You may have heard of them: Nike, Chanel, Nokia, MTV and the London 2010 Olympics. Whatever. NBD.) He’s also the mastermind behind my favourite motion design project ever, the inimitable Advanced Beauty. If you haven’t seen it, get it. Buy it. Find it. Watch it. It’ll change your life.

One of my fave facets of Matt’s work is how it never seems forced or even “created” – somehow it feels like everything he does (“organic digital” is what I like to call it) just comes into being. It flows as easily as if it washed up on a shore or floated in on a breeze. Plus I’ve emailed with Matt a few times and he’s also a really stand-up guy and a class act all around.

In his first ever solo show, Matt’s taking over Paris’ La Gaîté Lyrique with Super-Computer-Romantics. Guest-curated by Charlotte Leuozon and with sound design by Matt’s brother and frequent collaborator, Simon, the exhibition features 8 separate environments covering more than 26,000 square feet. Pyke says “The approach is one of a romantic view of technology and of really kind of being optimistic about what you can do with technology and how you can create beauty with super-computers, how you can create pieces of video work and pieces of audio-visual work.”

Reading La Gaîté Lyrique’s extensive info on the event, I started to get light-headed and giddy: “Here, a 3 meters high walking monster, endlessly transforming itself. There, a monolithic block invites viewers to peek into a singular experience – witness the birth of materials at a molecular level. On the mezzanine, stands a crowd of generative living sculptures, grown from code. Facing them, a huge projection of a never-ending procession of bodies, struggling against a hurricane of sound. Each piece can be considered a supercomputing beauty seeking emotional sensations and feelings whose magic breaks with rational functionalism. Remixing primitivism, minimalism, pop culture and 19th century landscape painting, the exhibition Matt Pyke & Friends takes us to a romantic theatricality reaching a subtle and meaningful relationship between technologies and the viewer.”

Opening this Thursday and running until May 21, 2011, the show will also feature a full-sized theatre screen with a retrospective of all of Pyke’s commercial and artistic work to date as well as a public lecture, from Matt himself, on the subject of “creation.”

Getting me all hot and bothered for the upcoming show, today Nowness debuted a stunning teaser vid for “Supreme Believers”, one of the installations from Super-Computer-Romantics. The Universal Everything Vimeo channel has also released a teaser for the exhibition. Both are classic Pyke and I want more, more more.

Here’s a video of Matt himself talking about his vision for the exhibition (and giving some visual glimpses into what he’s got planned). 

I need to see this show. I NEED IT. If anyone would like to take me to Paris to see Super-Computer-Romantics, I’m not above begging. I’m a pretty decent conversationalist, I sleep well on planes and I know some French. I’ve also never met an escargot that I didn’t like. Just putting that out there.

If you want more Matt Pyke (and why wouldn’t you), here are past posts on Forever, a video installation for the Victoria & Albert Museum; the new brand identity they created for MTV International; their gorgeous 2010 reel; and here’s one of Universal Everything’s most recent works, a series of digital installations for Chanel:

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+ via @universalevery

zoltán lányi: i’ll have the waldorf salad.

Not only did Zoltán Lányi create this futuristic, fragmented, jolting experimental work to a track by Amon Tobin featuring Bonobo, but he did it while still in school at the Eszterházy Károly College in Eger, Hungary.

To me, the twitching, glitchy POV reminds me of a sort of post-apocalyptic, burned world being studied and leading to the discovery of a whole new level of mechanical life underneath the ruin.

Plus, it’s just really fucking cool.

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Via Ventilate

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mirrorshade + holy fuck: royal gregory.

I hate to think of my music video tastes as a foregone conclusion, but this vid has the hallmarks of everything I love: retro, colour, pixellation, Cubism, profanity, electro, a hint of Bauhaus, and video game references. I can’t stop myself and nor would I want to.

Directed late in ’09 by London-based shop Mirrorshade for Toronto’s own (Polaris Prize nominees) Holy Fuck’s ’08 track “Royal Gregory.”

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Via Motionographer

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eb hu: lucky.

I’m like a kid in a candy store today. Scanning through my usual go-to sites is turning up a treasure trove of new work from some of my favourite directors from right before the holidays.

I’m going to start sounding really superlative, but after Robert Seidel’s “_Grau” yesterday, here we have another work from the creator of one of my favourite pieces of motion design ever. Works like these are the reasons I started blogging, so this is emotional stuff for me here.

I first discovered director and animator EB Hu with his breathtaking “Josie’s Lalaland.” Quite simply, it’s one of the most simple, sincere, and exquisite works of art I’ve ever seen.

Like “Josie’s Lalaland”, “Lucky” is noble and compassionate. Hu is not afraid to confront our fears, demons, and ugliest deeds, but does so in such a delicate but impacting way. Clean lines, emotive visuals, sharp edges, and everything in perfect balance to let the emotion of what we’re seeing take focus. It’s the vigour of his subtle touch that strikes me. His work compels us, in dignified and glorious tones, to remember that all life is to be cherished, and, without scolding, reminds us that it is our own lives that are without value if we allow ourselves to forget this.

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And if, for some reason, though I can’t imagine what it would be, you didn’t click on “Josie’s Lalaland” earlier, here it is as well, because it’s simply too beautiful for you to not see. I will not forgive myself if you don’t watch this video, right here, right now.

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Via Motionographer

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robert seidel: _grau hd.

Prepare to have your mind blown. I couldn’t be any more thrilled about this. My first post of 2010 kicks off the year in epic style with the HD re-release of Robert Seidel’s 2004 masterpiece “_Grau.”

Seidel is one of my absolute favourite digital artists in the entire world. I’ve posted before, with my adoration, about his groundbreaking video for Zero 7’s “Futures”, his amazing large-scale outdoor projection “Processes: Living Paintings”, and his gorgeous video installation “Vellum.”

Posted publicly for the first time in HD, “_Grau” has only been seen before at this level of quality and detail at galleries and festivals. To me it’s a trailblazing work, that perfectly personifies Seidel’s digital/organic style clash and attention to detail that first made me fall in love with his work.

Seidel describes it himself as “… a personal reflection on memories coming up during a car accident, where past events emerge, fuse, erode and finally vanish ethereally… various real sources were distorted, filtered and fitted into a sculptural structure to create not a plain abstract, but a very private snapshot of a whole life within its last seconds…”

“Grau” roughly translates into English as “greyish – an achromatic color of any lightness between the extremes of black and white.” Here we have Seidel’s vision of the human spirit in limbo, not between extremes of the afterlife but the unknown moment between life and death. In it he structures the human soul into the most beautiful and terrifying embodiments of its own emotions: prismatic light, splintering bone, gnarled despair, silent torrents of hope, and silky liquid lightness that fades away within itself. It magnifies all of our greatest fears and yearnings and is something I’ve never forgotten. Seeing it again now, in its intended detail and nuance, is nothing less than incredible.

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Via Motionographer.

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david o’reilly + u2: i’ll go crazy if i don’t go crazy tonight.

Irish-born, Berlin-based animator and film-maker David O’Reilly is a full out genius. He’s one of my favourite animators; his work is fully next level and it forces your brain to adjust to his sense of scale and dimension. You could fight it and convince yourself that it’s simplistic, or you can work to understand it and then fully realize the scope of his genius. Like the highest forms of art, he relentlessly pushes his medium forward.

For proof check out his brilliant “Please Say Something”, which deservedly was just chosen as one of the 5 finalists for the Cartoon d’Or 2009 competition from the European Assosciation of Animation Film.

This kind of surprised me, but his latest release is a video for U2’s “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight.” This is a definite collision of the avante-garde and the mainstream. I’m not really into U2, but, and I’ll admit I’m totally biased here, I think O’Reilly’s animation raises a fairly banal song into something far greater that it would be on its own.

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