fla + the freaks: the loner.

I’ve been waiting for this. A short while ago I posted about the trailer for this little gem. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but something about it resonated with me. I’m more than happy to report that the full-length video is just as exquisitely realized and heart-achingly simple as I’d hoped.

Directed and animated by FLA, I was blown away by the use of variety of perspectives and the amount of detail. I’ve watched again and again,  each time seeing new things and each time feeling a little more filled with a wonderful yearning.  At the end of the day, what a truly remarkable thing it would be to have someone (or some small pink monster-dog thing) fight to love you despite all your faults. To me, The Loner is about the power of realizing you need something when you want it the least and the possibility inside us all to turn around one day and decide to become, in small steps, a better version of yourself. I actually gasped at one point, which is how you know it’s damn good. When it was over I realized how much I didn’t want it to end, which I think it some of the highest praise I can give.

everynone: losers.

It’s no secret how much I love Everynone. They have an amazing knack at cutting together visceral, universally human moments into montages that almost everyone can immediately understand and identify with. Their vids are amazingly shareable (the term “viral” should be banned from the internet lexicon, btw…) because they strike a chord that’s direct and true. From the exquisite balances cast in their last vid “Symmetry” to their gorgeous type-based series “Words”, they exemplify the power of a quick, well-shot visual to tell incredibly vibrant tales.

As of this writing, their latest video “Losers” is at 7,000 views on Vimeo in only 5 hours. I guarantee you that it will be all over the internet in the upcoming days…as it should be. With the growing awareness of the true impact of bullying, I think this type of raw, insightful and connected portrayal of the slices that bullying cuts out from all of us is exactly the type of thing we need to see, and continue to see, until we do something tangible and real to stop it. I know what it feels like to be called a “faggot” in my high school highway. I also know what it feels like to call someone else a name because I was weak and want to feel stronger. As with any type of bullying – no matter which side of it you were on – it’s something you get over, but not something you forget.

I particularly love the shift in meaning from the beginning of the video to the end. Humourously unassuming at first, I laughed while not knowing where I was being lead yet. Then I realized I was slowly being shown that the losers are everyone. Each of us has the power both to bully and the responsibility to to learn we must end bullying. The true impact came at the very end when I realized that, only two minutes before at the beginning of the video, I was being the unwitting bully myself. It’s that kind of immediate emotional impact, and psychological realization just afterward, that lets you know you’ve just watched something very special.

everynone: symmetry.

In the middle of watching Everynone’s lovely Symmetry, the thought that overwhelmed me was “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” That Newton, he was a smart cookie. I love the philosophy of science; that is, that Newton’s Law of Motion is much more than a scientific truth (though it definitely is that). It’s also karma. It’s kindness. It’s what goes around comes around. It’s how the transference of love and respect is a psychological action that, like ripples in a pond, created a tangible, physical reaction in those who experience it from you.

In a whiplash, purely visual style that reminds me a lot of one of my fave short vids, Chris Milk’s Last Day Dream, the vid starts out light-hearted, but further in I realized that was just part of its elegant ploy. Start with simplicity, entice us to watch, and then the symmetries become harder and more thought-provoking.

Symmetry is filled with a deep ease, a contemplative review of questions asked but not answered. Because each of these truths – the steak-eater or the cow, the light bulb or the sunshine  – will be different for each of us. The power is not in that we agree, but that we recognize and understand what they mean to us. Are you a consumer or a creator? A destroyer or a deliverer? For everything you do, each of your action, what reactions are you sending back into the world?

+ via kateoplis

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

efterklang + kristian leth: modern drift.

I first discovered Danish experimental pop collective Efterklang when some of their music was featured in Jeremiah Zagar’s brilliant family autobiographical film “In A Dream.” Both the film and the music were some of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

Efterklang’s sound is ethereal and dreamy and huge. Luckily, it leaves itself so open to visual interpretation. Not a blank canvas, but a launching pad, ready to propel the song into whatever video the lucky director gets to imagine.

For “Modern Drift”, that director is Danish multi-media artist Kristian Leth. The song is gorgeous, and for it Leth has sewn together a stunning and simple vision of nature and life that is achingly lovely.

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universal everything: reel 2010.

Universal Everything is my favourite motion design shop in the world. Hands down. I’ve written (and raved) about them on shape+colour more than any other agency or artist in the world. Each time they release new work it reinforces my belief that there is always undiscovered art and beauty in the world. I love them and I’ve run out of superlatives.

Now, luckily for me, they’ve just released their new reel for 2010 and I can finally post some of the beautiful work from past projects that I hadn’t because it was older and I was worried I was turning into a stalker. This reel is a magnum opus of awesome. Behold:

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If you really want to get into it (and why wouldn’t you?) here are some of my favourite past posts on Universal Everything:

MTV International Brand Identity

Advanced Beauty

6 Billion People, 6 Billion Colours


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delphic + andy huang: doubt.

I love the artistic study of the collision between the digital and organic, and the idea of a point where our physical evolution meets mutation and takes a shocking genetic leap forward. I’m drawn to depictions of that intersection where our microchips merge with our bodies, and how we’re forced to consider how the rest of us may react when the first of us transcend the boundary of the human and the mechanical and transform into an unimaginable new hybrid.

The new video for amazing alt-electronic outfit Delphic’s “Doubt” is a stunning physical metaphor for emotional mutation. Their faces and bodies crystalize, galvanize, and alchemize themselves against their emotional trauma and manifest into a physical protection for, and even aggression against, their new emotional world. Like second skins, metallic armours and cellular defenses slowly spread across their bodies.

Reminding me of the amazing genetic mutational imaginings of Lucyandbart, the vid is directed by another artist with experience in visualizing the future.I first discovered Andy Huang over two years ago with his spectacular short film “Doll Face”, a story of robotic narcissism that has to be seen to be believed, which he followed up with his sinister and disturbing “The Gloaming.

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Via No Zap

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alex roman: the third and the seventh.

It’s still messing with my head, but this entire gem of a video is CGI. Like a vision brought into a reality so startlingly real that it almost can’t be believed… yet, there it is. The amount of detailed work that director Alex Roman would have had to put into “The Third and The Seventh” boggles me. His dedication and deft eye is matched only by his extraordinary vision.

An examination of the way we visually record the physical world we live in, chronicling our 3-dimensional reality through a 2-dimensional visual, “The Third and The Seventh” is  a fantastic glimpse into a future world of impossible beauty. Or, rather, hopefully through the inspiration of his vision, a world of possible beauty.

Unlike a grand fantasy, impressive but unattainable, Roman’s detailed, modern, sparse film seems dreamy, yet so close to the truth as to almost be real. It’s like an understandable improvement, an attainable evolution into a world of architectural, environmental, intellectual, elemental, and ecological fusion. A place where all of our potential has been realized.

To me, it feels like fleeting second immediately after you’ve woken from a dream, where for a moment that dream is your entire, thrilling truth.

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Now that you’ve seen it, can you believe that none of that is real footage? This isn’t VFX, it’s fully (painstakingly, amazingly) created with a mix of 3dsmax, Vray, After Effects, and Premiere.

For proof, watch Roman’s compositing vid, where he’s show us his process.

Via Feed

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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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martin böttger: foliage shoal.

Staccato leaves and angry chlorophyll. Like plants calling out through static: “Foliage Shoal” is stunning, jarring work from Berlin-based animator and artist Martin Böttger.

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Via Ventilate.