Cosmogramma Fieldlines: Flying Lotus Augmented Reality App

Flying Lotus’s new album ‘Cosmogramma’ is due to drop soon so in celebration its imminent release he and a few friends have put out Cosmogramma Fieldlines, a free augmented reality application. It was developed by Aaron Meyers who describes it as entrancing motion and sound, which is a pretty accurate description. You can control it with both a webcam and a mouse. I opted for the webcam while waiting for a crowded flight which had me waving my hands at the screen and moving my head all over the place. I’m sure I looked a little nuts but that’s probably a pleasant side-effect built into the experience. The art is based on the work of Leigh J. McCloskey, a self described modern Renaissance Man, whose interest, knowledge and learning ranges from history, religion, mythology and esotericism to string theory, quantum physics and the multidimensional nature of consciousness. If this is any indication of where FlyLo took Cosmogramma it’s going to be a trip.


Life in 2050: Artists imagine 40 years into the future

Life in 2050 is an exhibition coinciding with the Sci-fi London film festival. Design studio Transmission and Proud Central Gallery have asked 22 artists to imagine how life would be in 2050, 40 years from now. When you think about it, it really isn’t that far away, but in context of the past 40 years and the exponential change that has already occured, I don’t think these are all that far fetched. I love how different the work is too. There are reinterpretations of a 1970′s past future (one of my personal favorite themes, which I even did my thesis on),  fragments of psychedelia and the obligatory Star Wars inspired driods.

I couple of my favorite pieces are Dan McPharlin’sYear One,” Tom Gallant’sdoubleplusungood.” Gallant uses the newspeak term doubleplusungood, meaning the worst, to help paint the picture of an Orwellian dystopia. According to his artist statement,”In 2050 Newspeak becomes the official language of Oceania in Orwell’s 1984.  By then, according to UN figures, the world population, estimated to be 9.3 billion, will be unsustainable leading to use of vertical farms.” Scary to think about but necessary if we’re to rise above it. I’m drawn to McPharlin’s work because it draws directly from past-future visions that obviously have not come to pass. The catalog states, “His work pays homage to mid-century modernism, 70s sci-fi and surrealism but reimagined and reorganised into a past-future that never was and never will be.” This is something I’ve always touched on in my own work.

And now for the winner as chosen by the curators… “‘Modern Romance’ by Arnold Steiner is a meditation on man kind’s quest for perfection. This post apocalyptic vision shows an extreme time where people have sacrificed their humanity and Natural resources in the ultimate quest for freedom from death. The blissful robots dancing celebrate the end of the human spirit and the biological world. Both seductive and repulsive, this image toys with our false hopes of a technologically brighter future.” Who doesn’t love a sepia toned robot dance surrounded by ancient technology? Complete with laser beams.

Food for thought.. enjoy.


Think or Smile Mixtape 0×001: Gazing Out

Lately I’ve been downloading a lot of mixtapes. I really like hearing what other people are into at the moment. So that’s essentially what these are going to be, shit I’m into to at the moment, without being too random.

A little background on my music tastes: I grew up in Detroit listening to a ton of early techno, which I still love. Over the years I’ve latched on to anything with a soul, particularly an electronic soul. My library includes everything from Kraftwerk to Brian Eno, J. Dilla to Newcleus, Matthew Dear to Luscious Jackson, Atlas Sounds to Nirvana. I’m all over the place but thats what makes a day’s soundtrack interesting.

This 40 minute mix is on the chill/pop side, with both beats and vocals, guitars and synths. I’d love to hear some feedback.. does it suck? should it be longer/shorter? tracks vs. mix? podcast vs. straight download? This is my first attempt so any/all critique will be helpful for the future.


Think or Smile Mixtape 0×001: Gazing Out | Track listing:



Alfred Hitchcock: Movie Title Stills

This coming week marks the very first TCM classic film festival in Hollywood. I’m a big fan of the station and usually even enjoy the bumps between shows, but after checking out their festival website I was disappointed to see how corporate the design was. I feel like they could have had some more fun with a classic film festival. There’s so much history to draw inspiration from. Which is why I immediately thought of Christian Annya’s Movie Title Stills Collection. He has archived hundreds upon hundreds of movie title screens from films dating back to 1903 up through the present, and he’s continually adding to the collection. I find it so easy to get lost on the site for hours browsing type treatments as they change from decade to decade.

Originally I was planning on just posting a bunch of title screens that I found interesting but realized quite quickly that it would be an overwhelming amount of images. Instead, I’ll be doing a short series starting with the work of the great Alfred Hitchcock, who passed 20 years ago this month. I’ve always loved how his thrillers made you think more than they tried to blatantly scare you, which can often be even more frightening. While looking through these images I was struck by how abruptly they changed with Vertigo. Until then he mostly utilized hand lettered serifs almost to trick you into watching an innocent piece of entertainment. Then with Vertigo it seems he realized how title frames can psychologically set you up for the ride he’s about to take you on. I’d be interested to find out just how much involvement he had in the title sequence design or if he was willing to delegate something so important.

Stay tuned for the Kubrick edition…


Mikael Kennedy: Ten years of shooting life on the road

Mikael Kennedy is an American photographer that has spent the last ten years of his life wandering the world, snapping photos with his polaroid along the way. I stumbled upon his work via an article written on Dazed Digital’s site for his most recent exhibit “Shoot the Moon” at the Chelsea Hotel in New York. Aside from loving these photos, I was particularly drawn to his ideas on why polaroids make us react differently than other photographs do. In his interview with Dazed Digital he says,

“I think we react very differently to a polaroid than we do to other kinds of photography. It’s interesting that police and insurance companies used to use them as evidence, they were considered the truth of what had happened. I think that is why this documentation of a life with polaroids somehow rings true with folks. With a Polaroid the image is just there, it is what happened, there is no option to alter the image, there are no zoom lenses, so not only was it what happened but it means that the person taking the picture was right there. It’s a small photo too, so you have to get close to see it, everything about them is intimate.”

I’ve always been drawn to the old photographs I’ve found in my grandparents albums and this seems to help me understand, at least a little, why I like them so much. I also really enjoyed his philosophy as an artist. When asked what drives him his response was “life,” particularly his. He finds beauty in every moment and these photos are simply snapshots of those little moments. They’re the visual story of his life. Proof that he didn’t waste it behind a desk or melting into a couch in front of a television. It’s pretty inspiring, not that I’m going to up and move to Serbia but I’ll certainly think twice when I start to feel like I’m wasting away my time.


Think or Smile | Nathaniel Whitcomb © 2010