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John Butler: Changing the world one animation at a time
10.23.2014
10:37 am

Topics:
Animation
Politics

Tags:
Marxism
John Butler

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Award-winning speculative fiction animator John Butler, one half of the Butler Brothers, will be making a rare appearance at the Exchange Rates Expo in Brooklyn, New York from October 23rd to 26th. John will be exhibiting alongside artist and filmmaker Patrick Jameson and artist Ellis Luxemburg, as part of the Glasgow’s Queen’s Park Railway Club at the Fuchs Projects, 56 Bogart Street.

Exchange Rates is an international expo of art and art galleries in around the Bushwick area of Brooklyn presenting work by exchange artists from around the world:

Conceived and produced by arts organizations helmed by artists and curators in Bushwick, Brooklyn and London, England, Exchange Rates—known also in this inaugural iteration as The Bushwick Expo—is an international exposition of artworks and curatorial programs in which host spaces in one art community open their doors and share their walls with kindred spaces on visit from elsewhere.

Some exhibits will be integrated, some collaborative yet autonomous, some even spontaneous or virtual.

The rates of exchange, as such, will fluctuate, while the currencies of exchange—ideas and culture—remain fixed.

 
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As regular readers to Dangerous MInds know, I am a big fan of John Butler’s work and have been banging the drum for his speculative animations for some considerable time. For those who don’t know his work, Butler, to give a snapshot, is a hybrid of J. G. Ballard, John Carpenter via Stanley Kubrick—an imaginative and intelligent dystopian, who has an exacting and precise style to his animated films.

Today, Butler will be premiering his recently completed speculative science fiction animation, the so-called Amazon cycle of four films (a reference to working practices of the company rather than the South American river) contained in Descention along with The Terminal Node. Butler’s recent work examines the processes by which capitalism uses technology to dehumanize a workforce.
 
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As Butler explained via email:

Descention draws a straight line from military robotics to retail cybernetics, from DARPA to Amazon.

Refusnik, G.O.L.E.M., M.O.N.A.D. and Mutator are all episodes in an adaptive odyssey that evaluates human utility in the age of artificial indifference.

Through a series of mutations, the human candidate is gradually purged of all non-essential attributes in an attempt to meet the imperatives of growth.

This process of adaptive degradation eventually leads to the distillation of human demand into an intelligent algorithm, fully able to realise it’s own destiny.

It is similar to The Incredible Shrinking Man except that his mutation is driven by the market rather than radiation.

 
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Below the Butler Brothers Descention which will be screened at Exchange Rates. More information here.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Beatboxing classic album covers come to life
10.20.2014
02:03 pm

Topics:
Animation
Music

Tags:
album covers


 
Israeli artist and director Vania Heymann started creating videos when he was a student at Bezalal Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. He has been praised by the likes of evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and atheist author Sam Harris. His latest video (made with his frequent collaborator Israeli musician Roy Kafri who provides the beatboxing with his song “Mayokero”) has a series of classic albums covers from bands like The Smiths, ABBA, David Bowie and Prince move their “mouths” and sing along.
 

Posted by Cherrybomb | Discussion
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The Fleshtones rock out in ‘Soul City’ (co-written by a young Lou Reed)


 
Animator and all around 3-D mad scientist/genius M. Henry Jones has long been a fixture of the East Village. With his street level art studio allowing passersby to see his fantastic creations since 1992 (he’s recently had to move) the friendly Jones is one of the last bohemian artists still left in the neighborhood. Jones has also helped keep the work of his friend Harry Smith alive with “magic lantern” screenings of Smith’s animated films utilizing multiple projectors, mounted the world over with DJ Spooky.

During the late 1970s, while both were students at the School of Visual Arts, Jones became friends with Peter Zaremba, leader of garage rockers The Fleshtones (and later the host of MTV’s The Cutting Edge series) and they teamed up to make a music video marrying Jones’ strobelight animation technique to a number titled “Soul City” (a song originally recorded by the Hi Lifes and co-written by a young Lou Reed).
 

 
Marc H. Miller’s Gallery 98 is currently exhibiting ten hand-colored cutout photographs that M. Henry Jones created for the film:

The emergence of digital photography during the last decade has provided a new perspective on photographs from the pre-digital era. The photographs that M. Henry Jones created in the late 1970s for the animated film “Soul City” have a special place in this story of technological change.

Sometimes the urge to create precedes the technology that makes it practical. That was certainly true for Jones’ 2 ½-minute photo animation of a performance by the rock group Fleshtones, enhanced with stroboscopic effects. Created before the widespread use of computers, digitization, and tools like Photoshop (1988), Jones’ special effects were created solely through tedious analog techniques. It took nearly two years but there was an unexpected bonus: 1700 individually printed photographs, each hand-cut with an X-acto knife and then hand-colored. This was the raw material for the film, re-shot frame-by-frame with changing backgrounds. Today these photographs stand on their own both as beautiful objects and as an artistic record of the creative toils that preceded the digital revolution.

 

 
The making of this elaborate, time-consuming piece was apparently quite legendary at S.V.A. The exhibit also makes a bit clearer the connections between that school and not only the nascent East Village art scene, but also the punk and New Wave era in New York City as well. After all it was artists and art students who were the ones making the scene (man). Aside from Jones and Zaremba, S.V.A. counted among its students Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, John Sex, and for a short while, the great painter Joe Coleman, who left in disgust when one of the instructors told him that he was painting “wrong.”
 

 
As someone who has made my own share of work and time intensive low budget East Village music videos, I doff my hat to the maniac workaholic who put this puppy together…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘South Park’ hilariously rips on today’s music in last night’s episode
10.09.2014
08:54 am

Topics:
Amusing
Animation
Television

Tags:
South Park


 
Here’s a little cut from last night’s South Park—episode 3 of season 18 titled “The Cissy”—where Randy shows his son Stan how it’s really done in the music world today.

Matt Stone and Trey Parker nail it as usual. Nail it.

 
h/t Peter Serafinowicz

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘I am being followed by a Moonshadow’: Cat Stevens cartoon with Spike Milligan’s voice
09.17.2014
12:03 pm

Topics:
Animation
Music

Tags:
Spike Milligan
Cat Stevens


 
Although there will always be people who will want to bitch and moan about Cat Stevens and some very regrettable remarks he made (more than once), these comments were uttered a very long time ago, he’s apologized (convincingly) a gazillion times for them since and it’s not like anyone died, so kindly move along if you are one of them. On point, the man has done a whole lot more good for the world than bad with his music, who is going to deny this?

For me, the news yesterday that Cat Stevens/Yusuf would be releasing a new R&B influenced album, Tell ‘Em I’m Gone and making an unexpected US tour sent me immediately to the website to buy tickets (but they weren’t on sale yet).

No surprise that the North American tour includes no southern states, the brief sprint will include five American dates in Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles and one Canadian stop at Toronto’s Massey Hall that kicks the tour off on December 1.

It also reminded me that I wanted to post the animated “Moonshadow” short based on Stevens’ own drawings and voiced by British comedian Spike Milligan. The film was made in 1972 by an animator named Charles Jenkins (who had also worked on Yellow Submarine) from Stevens’ original drawings to promote the Teaser and the Firecat album. It was not widely seen however until it was made part of the Fantastic Animation Festival feature film in 1977. Cat Stevens also put out a Teaser and the Firecat book in 1972, which is where these illustrations are from. It’s the story of tophat-wearing Teaser and his pet, the Firecat and their adventures trying to put the moon back in the sky after it plops onto the roof of a barn one night.
 

 

 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Where Are They Now?’: Bleak animation about the current lives of 80s cartoon characters
09.16.2014
08:25 am

Topics:
Amusing
Animation

Tags:
80s cartoons


 
Being an aging rockstar is bad enough, but there are always the “oldies” package tours that play state fairs and casinos. Ever wonder what happened to your favorite 80s cartoon characters once the cartoon work dried up? Animator Steve Cutts gives you a bleak look into the current lives of Roger and Jessica Rabbit, He-Man, The Thunder Cats, ALF, Garfield, The Smurfs and so on. It ain’t pretty.

He-Man’s life is pretty rockin’, tho. He seems to have been smart with his money, something that cannot be said of most cartoon characters. I saw Underdog in a Starbucks recently, he looked like shit. Hasn’t worked steadily since 1967. I overheard him bitching about how Lorne Michaels had ruined his career…

 
via Laughing Squid

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Lemmy’s mole sings ‘Ace of Spades’
09.16.2014
06:03 am

Topics:
Animation
Music

Tags:
Lemmy

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As Lemmy will tell you himself, those facial bumps are not warts they’re moles. He did have warts once, on his hands, nineteen of them with one going round his finger like a snake. But they all disappeared, one night, after he had a bath though his hands never went in the water. Or, so he claims.

Lemmy’s moles are famous. They even have their own Facebook page, with an ambition to “conquer every woman who gaze upon them.” Who knew they could be such aphrodisiacs?

They have also been the focus of much speculation from music journalists, who seem unable to resist asking why the LA-based legend has never had plastic surgery to have them removed? Usually, Lemmy just points to his mutton-chopped face and says:

What can you make out of this? What are you going to do? I think I look all right for my age, anyway.

Apart from being conversational ice-breakers, Lemmy’s moles have recently inspired one fan to make this little animation of Lemmy’s mole performing “Ace of Spades.”
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Rock snob comedy: In the studio with David Bowie, Brian Eno and Tony Visconti, 1976
09.15.2014
02:21 pm

Topics:
Animation
Music

Tags:
David Bowie
Brian Eno
Tony Visconti


 
“Don’t you wonder sometimes…”

This latest animated installment of a “behind the scenes” moment in the life of David Bowie from British comic Adam Buxton is very fucking amusing. What really went on with the recording of Low‘s “Warszawa”? This fly-on-the-wall speculation of what transpired at the Château d’Hérouville studio during those sessions is probably, what, 90% accurate? 95%?

All voices by Adam Buxton (damn his Bowie is good!). The animation was produced by The Brothers McLeod. More Bowie animations (and more) at Adam Buxton’s YouTube channel.
 

 
Thank you kindly to the original rock snob himself, Steven Daly!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Plastic Surgery Disaster: Powerful animation about trying to obtain ‘female perfection’
09.12.2014
08:39 am

Topics:
Animation
Current Events
Hysteria

Tags:
plastic surgery


 
This disturbing, powerful and eye-opening animation, “Supervenus” by Frédéric Doazan doesn’t mince… meat with getting its message across, does it?

In it, a female anatomical drawing goes for plastic surgery. She is cut up, given botox and liposuction, and is finally transformed into a blonde bombshell. The procedures do not stop there, however, and take on nightmarish proportions.

This animation is painful to watch—it documents the pressure that women face as they feel like they have to look a certain way, as well as their love-hate relationship with their bodies.

Living in Los Angeles this is something you’re faced with every single day in the most mundane places. Supermarkets, the car wash. There’s a Jocelyn Wildenstein in every yoga class in town. The only minor quibble I have with the piece is that’s is not just women who are feeling the pressures of “unattainable beauty”—due to all the photoshop nonsense in magazines—but men are too. I mean, look (try not to gawk) at Bruce Jenner, Mickey Rourke, Sylvester Stallone and so forth. Clearly they’ve also been “infected” with the body dysmorphic virus.
 

 
Thank you Alice Lowe, of London, England!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Trippy ‘Fantasia’ parody shows evolution of life from a germy alien soda bottle


 
Bruno Bozzetto’s Allegro Non Troppo (“Fast, not too fast”) is a full-length animated parody of Fantasia made in Italy in 1976, so you should probably let that sink in for a minute. Debussy, Vivaldi, Stravinsky and others are the soundtrack for a series of snarky cartoon vignettes that frankly, give Disney a run for its (vast sums of) money. My personal favorite segment however is Ravel’s Boléro, which chronicles the birth of life from the primordial stew of a Coca-Cola bottle, tossed out by a careless spaceman.

What follows is a perfect compliment to the rich swell of Boléro. Creatures grow and change and shift into multitudes, marching across a shifting landscape with a graceful sense of purpose. Eventually of course, man is born, and the vast diversity of life is crushed by the vulgar descendants of apes and their brutal cities. There’s a tragicomic fatalism to the whole parade that is never observed by the progenitor astronauts, who are probably off somewhere else, casually littering ultimately doomed cradles of life onto other faraway planets like intergalactic Johnny Appleseeds.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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