Digital Harinezumi: Lo-fi video exhibition at Space 15 Twenty

I stumbled across the Digital Harinezumi via blog post from Jakub over at ISO50 back in December. It’s super lo-fi and does a decent job of mimicking an 8mm so out of boredom/intrigue I decided to try it out. Its been traveling with me ever since. It’s tiny and feels like it could break at any second but it shoots some nice footage as long as your cool with not knowing what to expect. I love it because it’s a constant experiment, I keep filming randomness just to see how the camera will record it. Which leads me to the subject of this post..

Superheadz – the makers of the Harinezumi and Space 15 Twenty have put together an exhibition of video shot with the Harinezumi titled, “Harinezumi: Where Your Heart Should Be,” which opens tonight in L.A. I submitted a few of my experiments with the camera a while back and was pleasantly surprised to find one of them had made it into the exhibition. It’s the video included above, which was one of the first pieces I put together. The camera is really sensitive to light and warps color pretty hard so I was looking for ways to test it out. I drink tons of tea and one afternoon I found myself spacing out while watching tea leaves float around a french press. A couple hours later it was time for a fresh cup, so I boiled some water, grabbed a candle, put it behind the french press and started filming while I poured water over the leaves. The camera transformed it into this erie, etherial underwater landscape. Some comments I got back from it were, “I’ll never look at tea leaves the same again,” and “I think I just lost my mind.” I’m not sure if I could ask for anything else.

Side notes:

The exhibition is on display from May 27 – 31 at Space 15 Twenty 1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028 with a live performance by Take and DJ set by Daedelus at the opening.

The soundtrack is from a mix by Astromatt who does some nice underwater ambient.

If your interested in more videos shot on the Harinezumi check out this Vimeo group. More of my video shorts are available here.


Corrected Paintings: Robots in a landscape

I love it when artists have a sense of humor, so it was refreshing to see the work of John Lytle Wilson, someone who clearly doesn’t take himself too seriously. A lot of his paintings are popped out scenes of brightly colored robots and monkeys, which are quite entertaining, but the work I’m particularly drawn to are his corrected paintings, of which he says,

“Ocassionaly, an artist will paint something, but neglect to include robots and/or monkeys. When I can, I fix that.”

He does what every artistically inclined 15 year-old boy wants to do to their grandparents Thomas Kincade knockoff, which is undoubtedly hanging on a wood paneled wall.. he adds robots to it. Robots that destroy pastoral cottages with their laser eyes or just freak the fuck out of white-tailed deer. Its such a simple idea but brilliant. It’s exactly the kind of painting I want hanging in my (wood paneled) cottage when I’m old.. or in my office now. There’s just no way not to smile when a soul-less Kincade landscape gets invaded by robots. I can’t wait to see what they destroy next.


Pacific Northwest through a Kodak Instamatic X-15

I’ve been wanting to visit the Pacific Northwest for a while and finally had the chance in late April. My wife and I rented a car and drove from Seattle to Portland and everywhere in between stopping along the way for anything that caught our eye. One of our unexpected stops brought us to a tiny Mom & Pop shop in Seattle jammed so full of antique oddities you could hardly walk through. Amid all the clutter something did, however, manage to catch my attention, a 1970′s Kodak Instamatic X-15. For some reason, which I’ll explain shortly, I’ve been drawn to retro photography, not just hipster Polaroids but anything that looks like it wasn’t taken in the last 30 years. So I gave the big plastic camera a once over and decided to go for it. I figured if I’m going to get into it why not while amidst some interesting scenery. What I didn’t realize was that the film (126) has been out of production since 2007 and is rather hard to find. After some searching I found a place in Portland that had some in stock, which happened to be our next destination. Luck. From then on I started clicking away at waterfalls, tree moss, mountains, anything, not knowing if they were even going to turn out.

It was a strange adjustment to not see exactly what the photo looked like immediately after taking it. I had to wait till the entire roll was shot then send it away to be developed and wait for prints to return. Old school. Which is precisely why I’m drawn to retro photography. It slows things down, makes the process feel more important, more special, and gives you back a physical object. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been reading 1984 lately or I’ve just grown tired of doing everything digitally but I like the idea having a connection to the past. I can’t remember the last time I had a print made of a vacation photo, which has somehow made these prints feel more important. They aren’t necessarily better, they just aren’t exclusively on a screen or a hard drive. Who knows when the .jpg will become obsolete?

On a side note I had these developed and printed at Blue Moon Camera and Machine who are definitely still connected to the past (they even repair typewriters, yea typewriters.) They also operate one of the last remaining optical printing labs in the world and it shows in the prints. The colors turned out better than I could have imagined and they were more accurate than any of our other photos we took with our digital. I highly recommend trying them out, you’ll definitely notice the difference in quality. As good as digital has gotten over the years there’s still something about dark room prints that feel better.. maybe it’s just nostalgia. Something to think about next time you head out with a camera.

If you want to see the rest of the photos they’re posted on Flickr here.


Think or Smile Mixtape 0×002

Mixtape 0×002 is essentially a handful of tracks I’ve been listening to lately.. some beats courtesy of Brainfeeder’s Lorn and Ghostly/Moodgadget’s Mux Mool whose been in the rotation for months now. The beats give way to some Avant-Pop with JDSY’s Telluride which has been stuck in my head since grabbing it via recommendation of Jakub at Moodgadget. I even used it for a short video of my recent trip to Washington/Oregon. The mix gets a tad indie with Broken Bells and Yeasayer, but its a demo version which counts for something, right? I’m still in experimentation mode with how to approach these and open to suggestions. Enjoy.


Think or Smile Mixtape 0×002 Tracklist:

  • LOVELIFE: 1994

Book Objects: Cut to reveal an inner landscape

Alexander Korzer-Robinson is a collage/construction artist whose primary medium is old discarded books. He cuts them up page by page revealing some illustrations and deleting others. Visually, they remind me a lot of Joseph Cornell’s boxes which are some of my favorite works of art of all time. Conceptually though they are quite different. Cornell also used old discarded objects (garbage usually) that were once found beautiful, but relied on Surrealist juxtaposition to give a sense of nostalgia for the objects. Korzer-Robinson is using old books that were once used as tools to learn about the world around us. Each page was carefully edited by someone before it was published to mean something very specific. Fueled by his background in psychology, Korzer-Robinson is stripping away that meaning to create something new that you then have to find your own meaning in. He explains it clearly in his artist statement,

“… we remember the books from our own past, certain fragments remain with us while others fade away over time – phrases and passages, mental images we created, the way the stories made us feel and the thoughts they inspired. In our memory we create a new narrative out of those fragments, sometimes moving far away from the original content. This is, in fact, the same way we remember our life – an ever changing narrative formed out of fragments.”

I’ve spent some time looking at these and when in the right mindset they can definitely get your mind wandering. Trying to make sense of what book would have had the need for maps of waterways, mechanical drawings, the human skeleton and a duck. It makes you appreciate the oddness of life when displayed together, something I’ve always been interested in with my own work, particularly in a recent series of motion collages. I’ve always enjoyed art that leaves you with something to think about and these book objects definitely fit the bill. I’d love to view one in person and see how the story unfolds.


Think or Smile | Nathaniel Whitcomb © 2010