Growing is Forever

It’s 2011, and for my first post of the year I can’t imagine a more wonderful thing to share with you. Growing is Forever is a short film by Jesse Rosten with words written by Kallie Markle. The film, in the most poetic of forms, manages to encapsulate everything I want the coming year to be, one of growth and beauty, collaboration and peace. A year to focus on growing, both personally and as a community. Whose with me?

Here’s to much living ahead.

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Wanderlust: Get out there and live

Inspired by Stefan Sagmeister’s TED talk, Wanderlust, is four minutes of beauty captured by a couple as they traveled through South America, Europe, and New Zealand. I must admit I’m entirely jealous of their experience yet grateful they shared it with the world in such a beautifully edited way. I know I’ve been severely slacking on the posts here lately and I wish I could say its because I’ve been off exploring the world. While I have done a little traveling, much of my time has been spent in front of a computer screen either working or living vicariously through others. However, I think the latter needs to change.

I’ve recently begun reading Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature on a complete whim and to my delight, it’s absolutely amazing. I find myself in awe of nearly every passage and have to constantly set it aside to process his well composed thoughts. The quotation below is from the introduction and I happened to read it around the same day as viewing Wanderlust. Both seem to be poignant reminders that I/we shouldn’t allow life to simply pass by. There are too many beautiful things to experience.

Our age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchres of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs? Embosomed for a season in nature, whose floods of life stream around and through us, and invite us by the powers they supply, to action proportioned to nature, why should we grope among the dry bones of the past, or put the living generation into masquerade out of its faded wardrobe? The sun shines to-day also. There is more wool and flax in the fields. There are new lands, new men, new thoughts. Let us demand our own works and laws and worship.

-Introduction to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature

While I realize that reading Emerson now is contradictory to his own ideas, I still find it inspiring. So I think I’ll consider it supplemental to my own life and not seeing it through his eyes. That’s my rationale, but you’re of course entitled to your own.

The sun shines to-day also, so get out there and live.

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Malcolm Sutherland’s “Umbra” confronts the emptiness

Malcolm Sutherland is my new hero. He’s a filmmaker, animator and illustrator based out of Montreal with scores of short films to his name. I’ve always been drawn to shorts.. films, stories, work days, and I’m continually fascinated by what you can convey within a limited amount of time. The question of How can I create something that last only moments yet lingers in someone’s mind is always running through my head. Sutherland’s Umbra achieves everything I want out of five and a half minutes of my time.. visual appeal, a proper soundtrack and a thought provoking story.

In an interview with Motionographer, he explains the concept behind his otherworldly exploration as this,

There is an idea in Buddhism which is that everything in existence is empty – this isn’t nihilistic, it just says that at the core everything is empty of a concrete, fixed, self; and the truth behind the form is that everything is transient and interconnected. For me contact with this “emptiness” can be both wonderfully liberating and a terrifying thing! So in my mind this is basically what the character in the film is confronting.

I’ve watched it a few times now and each time I feel my body tensing up when the character realizes he’s been transferred into another being, reliving a moment he’s already experienced. It hurts my brain to think about, but the good kind of hurt. The kind that means something is growing.

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TELEPHONEME: Alphabet Conspiracy Theory

TELEPHONEME is a short film done by MK12 about language working as a double-agent, carrying hidden meanings, although I think it’s mainly a way of showcasing their motion/ design capabilities, which it does effectively. The film combines live action and animation seamlessly while maintaing a retro feel that’s distinctly contemporary. Every frame is carefully constructed. They even went so far as to design a font and press kit for it which you can download on TELEPHONEME.tv. Apparently, they set out to write their own short story about an alphabet conspiracy and while doing research stumbled across the 1959 educational film “The Alphabet Conspiracy,” part of the Bell Science series, from which they borrowed the voice over. When you have a free hour I’d recommend watching the ’59 version. It’s a little girls journey through human language as guided by the opposing views of The Mad Hatter and Doctor Linguistics. It’s about as confusing/amusing as you might expect, a combination I rather enjoy.

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The Genius of Design: BBC documentary series exploring the history of design

Back in early May BBC began airing a five part documentary series on the history of design. Luckily, for those of us outside of the UK, episodes one and two have been posted to vimeo (with hopefully the rest to come.) The Genius of Design sets out to answer the question, what makes a designer, through analysis of the world of stuff designers have created for us to live in. I’ve just had the pleasure of watching episode one, “Ghosts in the Machine” which explores the origins of industrial design as we know it today – the time when man discovered that machines could be made to produce more, faster. A time that marked the beginning of the removal of soul from objects, yet put an even greater emphasis on the need for well thought out design.

BBC, as always, does a nice job of entertaining and giving you something to think about so I’m looking forward to watching the rest of the series. I’m still digesting some of the ideas presented and highly recommend you check it out if your even remotely interested in design or are in any creative field, music, photography, research, a lot of the principles carry over and you’ll come away with a new perspective of the stuff that surrounds your life.

UPDATE: All episodes are now posted for a limited time. You can link to them all here.

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Think or Smile | Nathaniel Whitcomb © 2010