Looking to pass the time until the weekend? What better way than to catch up on some great new music videos – here are six of our recent faves.
First up is a comedy crime caper for Duke Dumont's new track Won't Look Back, directed by Tim Main, which features a gang of masked arm robbers making a getaway on pogo sticks, while being chased by cops on segways. Lovely stuff.
Director: Tim Main; Production company: Friend.
For those of you growing tired of twerking, I'm afraid the dance style shows no sign of disappearing just yet. Two of our videos this week are centred on the shaking derrière – first up is this promo for Basement Jaxx track Never Say Never, directed by Saman Kesh. Set in a Japanese factory, the film envisions a world where humans no longer dance. Their remedy? The 'twerk-bot'. Production company: Skunk.
Our second twerk-based vid is this film from director and animator Maxime Bruneel for Diplo + Swick's track Dat A Freak, which features a series of animated dancers getting on down. Production company: Chez Eddy. UK/US rep: Not To Scale.
A change of pace with our next promo, which is a beautiful stop motion animation created by Simon Roberts for the song Sirens by Flight Brigade.
We return to the dance in this promo, directed by Oliver Hadlee Pearch, which features a slightly unlikely couple busting out moves to Jungle's track Time. The video is the latest in a series by Pearch for Jungle. Production company: Colonel Blimp.
Our last video is an intense one: a beautifully shot film by Martin de Thurah, it is created for the new Röyksopp and Robyn track Do It Again. The film, which is all black-and-white, is a dream-like piece featuring scenes of violence, political revolution, and sex, as well as Robyn throwing her arms around. Production company: The Lift.
Stefan Sagmeister has vehemently dismissed the current vogue among creative types to label themselves ‘storytellers' as ‘bullshit'.
In an uncharacteristically irascible interview for FITC, the organisers of the Camp festival in Calgary, Sagmeister attacks the urge for those in the communications industry to rush to re-assign themselves as storytellers, the theme of the conference. "Now everybody's a storyteller," he says, before dismissing the trend as "bullshit"
Some commenters on Vimeo, where the film was posted, disagreed, particularly with his definition of storytellers as only those who write novels or make movies.
Here, they have a point. Of course storytelling exists beyond those narrow confines, it always has. But I think Sagmeister's thrust was directed more at the way that ‘storytelling' has been latched onto by the advertising and marketing worlds to the extent that every corporate drone in chinos and a polo shirt is now spouting about it in their conference Powerpoint presentations.
At Cannes this year it seemed as though almost every session had a ‘storytelling' theme as if this were some amazing new discovery. People like stories you say? Wow, amazing insight!
Perhaps some of these ‘thought leaders' need to get their, er, stories straight. Here's Mainardo De Nardis of OMD telling us that "Storytelling is the capacity to create and distribute content which is relevant for audiences across whatever platform" - it is? Wasn't that 'integrated', or is that just what we were calling it two years ago? He also says that "without storytelling we go back to 30 second spots which is not the way our brains need to be communicated with to create real engagement"
And yet, at the same event, his peers on the jury were busy handing out award after award to this, a commercial (remember them?) that, in its form and content, could have been made at any time in the last 40 years (Solvite anyone?)
‘Storytelling' has been at the heart of some of the greatest advertising campaigns. What's this if it's not telling a great story, for example
And the famous BBH Levi's ads were all about telling stories around some of the unique features of the product
Now we have online films with longer narratives about brands, their users and their community
And we have new, powerful tools to tell stories in multifaceted ways, such as some of the brilliant pieces currently coming out of the National Film Board of Canada
Storytelling is universal and as old as the human race. But that doesn't mean we are all storytellers in everything we do.
In the film, Sagmeister rages about a rollercoaster designer who referred to himself as a storyteller: "No fuckhead, you are not a storyteller, you're a rollercoaster designer!" Being a rollercoaster designer sounds a pretty cool job - surely that's enough? Why the need to dress it up as something else?
This, I think, is the crux of the matter. The ad industry is searching for a role for itself in a communications world that has become very complex. The old certainties no longer apply. It has leaped on ‘Storytelling' as a means of defining what it offers that none of the data geeks or algorithms can.
So thank goodness for Sagmeister for puncturing this particular bullshit bubble with such alacrity. Of course it helps if you've got something interesting to say about your product or organisation, of course telling a powerful story will stick in people's minds and make them feel positive toward you. Yes, we now have lots of different ways to tell such stories. Didn't we know all this already?
Oh, and while we're on the subject of conference bollocks, can we please all stop saying "learnings'?
CR's pick of current and upcoming exhibitions, design events and creative activities including Graphic Advocacy poster show in New York, Divine Violence from Broomberg & Chanarin in Llandudno, Gibert & George in London, Barbara Kruger in Oxford, street artist Sickboy in London, Summer Screen Prints at Somerset House, The Power of Baked Rolls! poster ad show in Helsinki...
Graphic Advocacy: International Posters for the Digital Age 2001-2012 ADC Gallery, New York Until 15 Aug
Touring showcase of 122 posters demonstrating the medium's crucial role in social change - recording struggles for peace, social injustice, environmental defence, liberation from oppression, as tools for education, politics, and promotion - in this digital age, when multiple audiences can consume media through multiple sources and multiple channels.
After the New York show, it travels to Florida, Maryland, Indiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma, with more dates to be announced.
Broomberg & Chanarin: Divine Violence Mostyn, Llandudno Until 2 Nov
New exhibition from artists Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin (winners of the Deutsch Borse Photo Prize 2013). Inspired by Bertolt Brecht's annotated bible, which Broomberg and Chanarin discovered in the Brecht Archive in Berlin, the duo annotated their own (entitled Holy Bible) - highlighting images of violence and destruction with photographs sourced from the Archive of Modern Conflict.
After initially publishing this in book form, it now goes on show as a full-scale exhibition, exploring visual representations of conflict and the connection between biblical catastrophe and modern governance. Other key works by the pair will also be on show, including Afterlife, a series offering a re-reading of the controversial Pulitzer Prize-winning 1979 photograph of the execution of blindfolded Kurdish prisoners; and The Day Nobody Died, a series of non-figurative, action-photographs taken without a camera in Afghanistan.
Get CR August on the iPad (out next week) for a closer look at the work from this exhibition. More info on the app and subscribing here.
Gilbert & George: Scapegoating Pictures for London White Cube, London Until 28 Sep
New show from the iconic duo, featuring giant photomontage work exploring urban existence, with a look at the changing face of London (their home for many decades), religious fundamentalism, drug abuse, and youth culture in the capital.
East London landmarks sit alongside burkas, buses, sinister bomb shaped nitrous oxide canisters, and of course depictions of the pair themselves in vivid blocks of red black and white. These are said to be some of their most outrageous works to date.
Solo show of new and recent work from the acclaimed conceptual artist, whose work combines bold colours, slogans and jarring juxtapositions of text and image, and explores and questions the strategies and manipulative nature of mass communication and consumer culture.
The exhibition includes a text based site-specific architectural wrap of the upper gallery space, alongside a series of classic 1980s paste-up works, and two films - Plenty LA (2008) capturing the gaze of the phone-obsessed consumer, and a four screen installation presenting a rare look at her film Twelve (2004).
Sickboy: Make It Last Forever Until 30 August The Outsiders gallery, London
Multi-disciplinary exhibition from UK street artist Sickboy, one of the leading artists to have emerged from the Bristol graffiti scene, presenting "a unique multimedia diary that seeks to outlive its creator, a rare opportunity to delve inside the chaotic existence of a nomadic talent".
His surreal, playful visual language appearing on large abstract canvases and other sculptures and interactive installations including temple shrines, a superman sculpture and a coffin, alongside ephemera from the artist's personal collection.
Summer Screen Prints Somerset House, London 31 Jul - 25 Aug
Film poster exhibition in association with Print Club London, with limited edition prints inspired by each film shown at Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House, marking the event series' tenth anniversary. Print Club has selected an assortment of styles and artists including Rose Blake, Hattie Stewart, Kate Moross, Steve Wilson, Kate Gibb and HelloVon.
The Power of Baked Rolls! - Co-op advertising in 1950s Virka Gallery, Helsinki Until 31 Aug
Nostalgic show of '50s Finnish Co-op Union ad posters from the Labour Archives collections, featuring local food, eco-values, family life, pastimes and DIY, alongside seasonal window displays built in to the gallery space.
Kingston graphic design graduate Marianne Hanoun has spent the last three years collecting every star from every Disney and Pixar animated feature-length film, to create The Disney Universe, a beautiful 4m long print, also available online to view in all its painstaking detail here (full screen viewing and zooming advised).
We asked Hanoun to tell us more about how this ambitious project was created...
Where did the idea for the project come from?
I actually had the idea in my first year after watching the 'When You Wish Upon A Star' clip from Pinocchio (1940) on YouTube. It struck me just how much emphasis Disney place on stars and wishing on them. I posted it on my then-blog as a 'side-project'. It's funny how such a small thought ended up being something so big. (Literally).
The idea continued to grow and develop throughout my second year. But when it came to my final year at Kingston, I knew it was now or never. On the verge of graduating, I wondered whether I could try and make my childhood dream to work at Disney come true. Ultimately, however, it's really more of a love-letter to a company who has continued to inspire me, and a celebration of their history and legacy.
When did your obsession with Disney begin?
Probably the same time as it did for a lot of people - Disney is one of those things that has been a part of most people's childhoods, whether it's a favourite song, or a character we empathise with.
My Dad would always return home every week or so with a new Disney VHS, magazine, or a read-a-long book that came with a cassette tape. I'd spend hours trying to draw Disney characters from the magazine and the VHS covers and wouldn't settle for anything but perfection. It sparked a continued interest in animation history and Americana generally that I've maintained to this day.
Can you tell me more about the creative process?
The process was always a work in development in itself. I spent much of my summer in my second year in darkness, testing to find a technique that could give me the result I wanted.
It can be split up into three main 'phases': collecting, cutting and blending. I first had to watch all of the films, and collect the stars. Every time a star came into frame I would pause, and save the film still. This ultimately amounted to over 3000 individual images.
I then had to cut the stars out from each still, erasing characters, buildings and so forth. Finally, it came down to merging and blending the images together, done mainly by colour. Some films clicked beautifully into place with others, some were more challenging and needed more editing.
The project had a life of its own from day one. There was no way of knowing what the finished thing would look like - it changed from month to month as more stars were added. The question I got asked the most (apart from 'how are you doing this?') was 'is it finished yet?' and in a way, finishing it was like seeing it for the first time.
How did the work for this project fit around your degree?
Before going into third year I knew it would be a challenge to balance such a huge project whilst putting together a portfolio and writing a dissertation alongside. This was the biggest project I had ever undertaken, and I spent countless weekends inside in pitch-black darkness, and many days in the studio hunched underneath my coat to avoid screen glare. I set myself tasks and challenges on my blog, telling myself I would have X number of films done by the end of each week.
Half-way through the process my laptop couldn't cope with how big the file size was getting, so I had to use my friend Luke's mega-fast laptop to complete the project, which also meant having to work around whenever he was free as well!
What would your dream design or animation commission involve?
Of course I would love to work with Disney on something, I'm not sure what that would be but it would be a wonderful opportunity to work with a brand I know and love so much. I think the piece could work really well as an addition to their Disney Animated app, so it would be great to work with them on developing something. But as long as great ideas are the backbone of whatever I do, I'll be happy.
(Above: work in progress images)
Are you working on anything at the moment?
I have a few things in the pipeline. I've just started working on a project based on American bleachers (the tiered rows of benches on sports fields). Their architectural structure and cultural connotations really intrigue me. I'm also starting to put together a book about McDonald's 'Happy Meal' toys, based on research conducted during my dissertation.
(Above: full print, actual length is 4m)
(Above: installation image)
How has graduate life been so far, and what's next?
Graduate life has been pretty exciting so far! Disney actually got in contact recently and asked if they could hang a copy of the print up in their Studios in Burbank, California, so I'll be heading Stateside soon for that. Receiving that email was probably one of the best moments of my life.
Other than that, I've been freelancing and interning at studios. In September I'll be off to the Royal College of Art, to start the Critical Writing in Art and Design MA. I hope to maintain my design practice alongside my new studies - I have a feeling the two worlds will be colliding more often than not.
David Cronenberg's 1981 film Scanners is about to be released on Blu-ray and DVD as part of the Criterion Collection, the packaging for which features a series of explosive character portraits by Canadian artist Connor Willumsen...
Those of you of a nervous disposition, or indeed a mild headache, should probably look away now, as Willumsen's artwork for the new Criterion edition of Cronenberg's sci-fi horror classic doesn't hold back. As DVD covers go, it's been a while since we've seen such a perfect match-up of film and artwork.
Shown above is the DVD cover, while below is the slipcase cover and DVD back.
In his portraits of several of the characters from the film, which follows a small group of telekinetically advanced people known as 'scanners', Willumsen manages to illustrate the moment just before the worst happens. Visceral stuff for a visceral film.
Below are the images created for the accompanying booklet – a special mention goes to the wonderful piece made up of twenty fractured images: a whole film sequence distilled into a single illustration.
The original trailer for Scanners can be viewed here.
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The Barbican's new Digital Revolution exhibition opens today, tracing the history of digital technology, with a nostalgic trip through the early years of videogames, synth music and computing, through to a look at contemporary interactive arts, film VFX, creative coding and even wearable tech.
This new show is a genre-bending playground of digital creativity; a sensory-overloading amusement arcade of sound and vision that looks back to the 1970s and right through into the future.
Packed with infomation, including extensive interpretive texts, but widely interactive overall, it's an accessible exhibition for all levels of digital love, from tech-heads, to retro gamers, to MTV kids to anyone who enjoys a gallery show that you can touch. Here's some of our highlights...
To begin, they have presented a tech-y archive of delights. Early computers including the Commodore PET, and the Apple II (both 1977), sit with games and other familiar favorites like Pong (1972, above right), Speak & Spell (1978, above, top left), and Nintendo's Game & Watch series (1980, above, bottom left), many of which invite interaction from visitors.
Other hardware highlights from this section - Digital Archaeology - include Photoshop and Wacom tablet predecessor, the Quantel Paintbox (1981, above left), used for title sequences, weather maps and Dire Straits' Money for Nothing video; and the Fairlight CMI (1979, above right), the first synthesizer that could sample sounds, which due to its small memory meant short repetitive samples were common - sounds which came to define much of the music of the era.
Through to the We Create section - exploring the shift from content consumers to content producers - work includes Pinokio (2012, above) by Adam Ben-Dror and Shanshan Zhou, a robotic lamp reacting to his environment (with the most obvious reference point being Pixar's Luxo Jr), and online collectively-created, ever-changing music video The Johnny Cash Project, by Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin (2010).
Creative Spaces looks at how conventional notions of time, space and narrative can be re-imagined using digital tools. This section begins with a look at the world of visual effects in film, including with the Paris street fold-over sequence from Christopher Nolan's Inception (2010, VFX supervisor Paul Frankin, Double Negative) projecting in multiple layers controlled through leap motion by visitors, and Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity (2013, VFX supervisor Tim Webber, Framestore) in a sequence of screens (above) showing the effects process from pre-visualisation animation, to in-studio live filming, to CGI, to the final results.
Outside of Hollywood, other work in this section includes digital storytelling projects from artist's such as James Bridle, with Dronestagram (2012-ongoing, above), in which he uses publically available imaging and information tools available online, including The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Google Earth Satellite View, to post images of the locations of American combat drones, surveying and attacking areas of Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia
Sound & Vision explores how imaging technologies have changed the way we experience music. Here you'll find a 6ft tall 3D animated head of will.i.am, created using projection mapping that follows you around the room, alongside three robot instruments performing his newly commissioned song 'Dreamin' About the Future', in collaborative project created with Yuri Suzuki called Pyramidi (2014, above). Plus a selection of interactive and computer generated music videos, including Radiohead's House of Cards (2008), Bjork's Biophila app (2011), and Arcade Fire's The Wilderness Downtown (2010).
Gesture control and camera technologies are explored in the State of Play section, which calls for visitors to use their whole body in Chris Milk's The Treachery of Sanctuary (2012, above and lead image), a monumental installation with interactive shadow play controlled by participants limbs, which become birds in flight and reactive wings. Using built in computerised tracking, plumes of smoke rise out of viewers' eyes in Rafael Loranzo-Hemmer's The Year's Midnight (2011), and Daniel Rozin's real-time sketchy Mirror No. 10 (2009, below) shows how many artists are harnessing technology to involve the viewer in the work itself.
There's further fun to be found in the DevArt section, with artwork made through code, commissioned in collaboration with Google. Wishing Wall (2014, above) from Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet, turns spoken wishes into cocoons of words which transform into unique butterflies. And Zach Lieberman's Play The World (2014) creates a global soundscape of live radio stations through using code to match them to musical notes, played through the corresponding keys of a piano, which due to the changing nature of live radio, creates a new piece of music every time.
And what might the future look like? The Our Digital Futures section presents some intriguing experimental work, including Not Impossible Foundation's BrainWriter (2014, above right), which tracks the eye movements and brain activity allowing them to communicate, originally designed for paralyzed graffiti artist TemptOne, but is exhibited here in game form for visitors to try out.
And the wearble animated iMiniskirt (2013, above left) from CuteCircuit (whose clients include Katie Perry and Nicole Scherzinger), who also recently launched the Hug Shirt, allowing people to send (vibrating) hugs to other wearers through sensors that feel strength of touch, temperature and heart rate, (transmitted from your shirt to your phone to their phone to their shirt).
The exhibition continues around the Barbican, with other installations including the Indie Games Space; Minimaforms' Petting Zoo of interactive robotic snakes (2012, above); and Assemblance from Umbrellium (Usman Haque and Nitipak 'Dot' Samsen, 2014, below) in the Pit, an atmospheric 3D interactive laser room, with secret elements unlocked by particular movements from visitors.
Digital technology, as with the exhibition itself, is all about inquisitiveness, and although there is a vast amount to take in at the exhibition, it begins to reflect just a taste of the endless realm of possibility for the future of creative activity.
Read more about this exhibition in next month's Creative Review, a VFX special issue.
Digital Revolution runs at the Barbican in London until 14 September. An catalogue for the show is available from the exhibtion shop (published by Praline, £24.99).
Don't forget the July 2014 issue of CR - the trends special - is also available on the iPad, where you'll find all the print mag content and monograph alongside additional videos and exclusive images. Plus, there's a lot more to be found in Hi Res, our showcase gallery section, and CRTV, with video profiles of creative people and other moving image work from around the world....
This month we analyse the latest trends in visual communication, including photography, type, illustration, commercials, music, tech, web-design, colour and logo design.
In the Features section Diane Smyth of BJP looks at current trends in photography, from acid-bright still lifes to shooting the new feminism. While Antonia Wilson asks why California's Salton Sea is such a fascinating location for photogrphers.
Eliza Wiiliams talks to the experts about the latest trends in music for ads, including the Guilty Pleasure and Going Epic, and Paul Domenet of Johnny Fearless bemoans the blandness of 'mood reel' ads. While Bill Gardner of Logo Lounge presents his annual Trends Report.
Gareth Hague of Alias to picks out type trends, while Rachael Steven asks why IK Blue has become so popular in graphic design. Gavin Lucas talks zigzags, postmodern references and other current illustration trends.
B-Reel London's Liam Viney talks us through the potential of emerging tech trends such as Oculus Rift, while Rachael Steven asks why so many retailers' websites look so similar. And Mark Sinclair investigates the world of the trend forecaster.
Plus Sarah Snaith meets designer Wolfgang Weingart at a new Zurich show, Eliza Williams reports from the Photo España, and Nick Asbury looks at the copywriting craft of the late, great David Abbott. And not fogetting the results of the Bridgeman Studio Award, and regular columns from Michael Evamy, Daniel Benneworth-Gray and Paul Belford.
In Hi Res you'll find Tour de France t-shirt project Yorkshire in Yellow (below right); East London Swimmers from photographer Madeleine Waller (above left); work from Dean Chalkley's new photo show Return of the Rudeboy; graphic art celebrating Brazilian football culture from Kemistry Gallery (below left); Europe's largest skatepark Port Land captured by photographer Éric Antoine; and Julia Calverley's beautiful camera photo landscape shots from his new book #IPHONEONLY (above right).
CRTV includes a profile of poster designer James Victore from Like Knows Like (below right); Alasdair + Jock's new animation Day of the Seafarer; Shit Showreels Say animation from Peter Quinn looking at showreel clichés; a preview of new book on 3D printing by designers Claire Warnier and Dries Verbruggen; the making of mixed media animation Caveirao by Guilherme Marcondes; Fredrik Kasperi's conceptual short VFX film Take on an Idea; and a documentary about Salvation Mountain folk artist Leonard Knight (below left).
We've all been there – trawling through YouTube late at night, randomly scanning snatches of videos from the bands we once loved performing on half-remembered TV shows. Scott King and collaborators are attempting to recreate that experience next month in Berlin in The Festival of Stuff, including songs, videos and 30 Ian Curtises all dancing at once
The idea, King says, "is me saying that this 'stuff' - some of the pop and rock debris that floats around YouTube - is Art, is much better than what 'they' call Art. So it's really just a celebration of that."
The evening will include King's pick of his YouTube favourites, including this Russell Harty interview with David Bowie from 1975, and this Dr Feelgood clip featuring the wonderful Wilko Johnson, a recent guest star, bizarrely, in Game of Thrones
As an attempt to fully "re-create the late night YouTube experience" the evening will include various live performance from King and collaborators. "I often drift off on tangents, trawling my own youth," King says of his post-pub YouTube habits. "I often start to have lots of 'art' ideas regarding pop music, so The Festival of Stuff is also about bringing these ideas to life in front of an audience. Live the footage will be interspersed with 5 live performances - all of which I've had a hand in - all of which stem from 'late night you tubing'."
Adventures in Dementia, a 15 minute 'rock opera' that King has written with Luke Haines, one of which tells the fictionalised story of Skrewdriver's lead singer crashing his car into the back of Mark E Smith's caravan – with actors playing both parts.
A pop video by Jeremy Deller in which footage of bats has been edited to fit Killed By Death by Motorhead.
A troupe of transvestite men performing in a Legs and Co style to the Earl Brutus song Eas'.
And, which sounds something of a highlght, An Ian Curtis Dance Contest. "Which will be the finale and in which we are expecting 30 Ian Curtis dancers to dance all at the same time," King promises.
The whole thing lasts 80 minutes and is on for two nights, the 10 and 11 July, at Haus der Berliner Festspiele in Berlin
Those of you who are in Berlin at that time can buy tickets here
Currently making the rounds online is this super cool new video for the track Kodama by 20syl. Shot from above, it features the musician's disembodied hands playing instruments, drawing a picture and even making a cup of tea. We talked to Mathieu Renoult (aka Mathieu Le Dude), who directed the video alongside 20syl, about how it was made...
"The video was made in a garage, just like George Lucas would have wanted us to do," says Renoult. "It's a 100% home made video. Everything has been done by me and 20syl. He first came to me with an idea, and we discussed it together to bring magic and poetry to something that could have been very 'technic' – 20syl and I really wanted to have the perfect mix between the 'technic' and the 'story'.
"We tried to find as many instruments and cool items as we could to tell our story, bring some colours, shapes and a graphic touch. It had to be a rollercoaster between reality and magic."
Photos from the video shoot
The video was shot over four days and every set of hands in the film, bar one, belongs to 20syl. "We had to make a lot of takes and make sure all of them were perfect and that the light and the camera would not move," continues Renoult. "Just like it would be for a stop motion film, for example. We had to climb on a ladder to change the batteries, and be very careful not to move the camera. Basically if the camera had moved by a centimetre, everything would have been ruined. So we had to find a way to make it steady for four days and nights – I can't tell you how, we had to build our own system, so it's a secret."
The video was a totally collaborative work. "We did everything together," says Renoult. "I would work more on the editing while 20syl would work on the After Effects stuff. That way we kept shaping our story and our video at every step of the making. But that's what's great about it – we talked so much together about whether or not we should do this or that action, we had a lot of great stuff to edit. Even some scenes that are not in the final cut. We would start every sentence with, 'if we really want it to be great, we should...', and we'd do that."