Archive for the ‘london’ Tag

Where Have You Been?

This blog isn’t dead. It’s just got a limp.

I’ve been struck down by a glut of work, a flat move and the inveterate ‘no internet’ problem (which may or may not be resolved soon – I can’t tell if Virgin Media are serious or jus’ playin’).

A more important question: where are you going?

Here are some ideas if you’re in London this weekend.

Friday Night – Hayward Gallery (FREE)

According to @LDN, the Hayward Gallery‘s current exhibition – Walking In My Mind – is free tonight at the Southbank Centre (normally £10).

Walking In My Mind at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre: Exclusive on YouTube.

If you’ve been anywhere near the Southbank lately you won’t have missed a plethora of polka dots – courtesy of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.

She’s one of the exhibitors offering a glimpse into the inner workings of her imagination through “immersive, large-scale installation art”.

Walking In My Mind at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre: Tour and Interviews on YouTube.

Saturday Night – Sambatralia @ The Egg (£10 with flyer)

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I’ll be at The Egg on Saturday night – VJing all night with the Jungle Drums Sambatralia crew and Movimientos.

Beach, palm trees, a voyage through the video vaults of Latin America…? In the words of Diplo, Lesss gooooo!

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Sunday Afternoon – Dominoes 09, East London (FREE)

The highlight of the CREATE09 arts festival is happening across East London on Sunday – all the way from Mile End to Greenwich.

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Turn up at 3.30pm if you want to see the start of Dominoes 2009.

Thousands of breezeblocks tumbling across town…

Geek aside: the Dominoes 2009 website has a couple of teaser videos – the images above are screengrabs. But the organisers seem to have made a point of not letting you embed or share the clips, as the file names showed:

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So whatever you do – DON’T tell anyone about this event.

It would obviously be a disaster if people knew about it.

Craft, England and Codpieces

You need not see what someone is doing

to know if it is his vocation,

you have only to watch his eyes:

a cook mixing a sauce, a surgeon

making a primary incision,

a clerk completing a bill of lading,

wear the same rapt expression,

forgetting themselves in a function.

“Sext” (1954) by W.H. Auden.

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Tailored by England murals on Great Eastern St, London.

I think the gentlemen and gentlewomen at Umbro have hit on something. Their new England shirt has certainly garnered attention.

This little island was once a hub of craft and industry. By delivering “The right shirt at the right time”, Umbro have collared an inconvenient truth:

We stopped crafting – and started outsourcing.

That “rapt expression” of which Auden speaks disappeared from the face of the nation. And I couldn’t agree more with Umbro’s strapline – this is the right time to look back, and move forward.

New England Shirt – The Making of by umbro on YouTube.

A few weeks ago two Brits clashed in a game of Layer Tennis (massive props to Coudal Partners, the broadcasters and creators of the event).

What emerged from this riveting rally? For one thing, both Rex Crowle and Simon Cook were obsessed with… things.

We see “things” that are British every day. We use those things too. We may even keep them in our codpiece.

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Layer 6 by Rex Crowle on Layer Tennis.

Somewhere in the twilight of late capitalism, we lost sight of those items on our kitchen table. The necessaries in our chest of drawers.

Cookie does a wonderful job of reviving that joy of craft and “things” at his blog, Made in England by Gentlemen – go check it out.

It was there, to bring this little ramble to an end, that I discovered his apt fondness for the work of Hwa Young Jung.

In her words:

“…if you’re English these are things you might have grown up with & therefore you feel is insignificant. They are new and fascinating to me.”

Fingers crossed, as they say, that fascination can return for English folks too.

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Tetley by hwayoungjung on Flickr.

Where the Social Bandits Gone?

Some 70 years ago, Michael Curtiz got all the Technicolor cameras in existence to make The Adventures of Robin Hood.

The US had just been hit by a second wave of recession in its Great Depression.

Movies matter in a recession. Stories and big, bold escapes.

The Adventures of Robin Hood Trailer by hollywoodclassics on YouTube.

Whichever version of Robin Hood folklore you follow, two things seem to be broadly accepted:

1. He robbed from the rich and gave to the poor (i.e. he was an outlaw).

2. He was a common man – a regular Joe.

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Cordel literature found in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazilian folklore has its own, more recent Robin Hood.

The most legendary bandit (cangaçeiro) was Lampião. He was shot dead in 1938. The same year The Adventures of Robin Hood came out on general release.

He was not a clear-cut hero. He was often violent and perverse, as accounts in film and literature have shown:

“He used to put a man’s nuts in a drawer, lock it, throw the key out and set fire to the house. Not without first leaving a knife within reach of the wretch. The way I see it, it’s better to burn to death than to lose your nuts.”

Sergeant Getulio (1971) by João Ibaldo Ribeiro.

Lampião in Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol (1964) – Dir. Glauber Rocha.

Just as the desperate north eastern climes of Brazil spawned its own Robin Hood, national interest in the tales of Lampião peak during times of economic trouble.

Artists, writers and filmmakers of the 1960s lavished him with attention.

But today?

Today in London there will be riots outside the Bank of England. There’s growing malaise in most corners of the world.

So I ask: where’s the social bandit gone?

The Wire (Season 1): Omar – “It’s all in the game” by hoodpolitics.

You could argue that Omar Little in The Wire represents a new form of fictional Robin Hood.

He robs drug dealers in a city (Baltimore) where 10% of landowners possess 58% of the land value; and the bottom 10% own less than 1%.

Can we call that social banditry?

If not, who are the Robin Hoods in today’s global meltdown?

And who would they even loot?

How to VJ #9

Puma Lift by Droga5 on Vimeo.

I didn’t expect to include ads in this series. But I didn’t see this spot coming.

Droga5 and Puma have used projection mapping to spectacular effect for their ‘Light Injected Footwear’ – the print work is striking too.

Where set design, installation and architecture converge with live visuals, we’re getting to glimpse the future. It’s increasingly spatial.

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CAD render showing the beam traffic and early set design [image via ‘boards].

Production designer James Chinlund explains some of the thinking in interview:

“We felt like it was important that it feel at all times like these people were doing this themselves, in their own space. When you watched it that you felt like you were seeing a performance that was happening in real time.

We thought of them as a team of young artists making a piece with almost no money, you should be able to feel the “edges”. The projections weren’t mapped perfectly, there were shadows and spill-off.”

It pays off. The piece feels like a performance and that, for me, makes the creative ambition all the more impressive.

Flight of the Conchords – Carol Brown, Dir. Michel Gondry on YouTube.

That’s not to talk down the projection mapping in composed pieces. Michael Naimark’s installations were groundbreaking and Michel Gondry keeps using the technique with aplomb.

Since Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (White Stripes) he’s taken it into TV.

But how far can you take projection mapping in a club performance?

I hope to find out tonight when Etienne de Crécy and Parisian crew Exyzt bring their Cube to matter (London).

Etienne de Crécy Live 2007 by Clement bournat on Vimeo.

The 3x3x3 cube puts different demands on a VJ crew – but this crew has architects, not to mention scaffolding.

Managed to snag free tix for tonight and will report back from the field…

More on Projection Mapping:

AntiVJ: Exyzt Installation Ripped off by The Killers.

– Memo.tv: Projection mapping with VDMX.

Previous How to VJ:

#8 Interaction: keeping interface simple

#7 No laptops: 8-bit VJing

#6 Pixel-per-pixel: a history

Snow Falls, Signs ATTACK!

It’s snowing in London. With a steady drift of public safety announcements. In the main, “it’s snowing” or “remember to wear a jumper”.

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Hacked programmable road sign, Austin, Texas.

Expect tangles both over and Underground tomorrow. Confusing signage and Tannoy instructions likely?

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Misspelled road sign, London.

There’s a higher chance of chaos with dynamic messages. Even when constructed right, you can’t control the timing in context. Are trees a crime?

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Fingers crossed that Transport for London are in a playful mood this week. It’s more inspiring than “remember to wear a jumper”.

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The Choice of Machete

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Who wrote the book on jungle survival and is it a website yet?

This could be the deepest recession in 70 years. I’m 26. I’ve worked in advertising for 17 months.

Nothing was clear when I entered the jungle. Tribalism ruled. Now everyone’s desperate for daylight.

Machete by Jules Suzdaltsev on Vimeo.

Those with the new weapons vaunt them. Those with the old craft and guile still hack so precisely.

But when the machete lies still, what sounds does the jungle make? How does it feel? Light slats through the canopy and life teems between your toes.

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Vong Phaophanit, “What Falls to the Ground But Can’t Be Eaten”, Tate Britain.

I’ve never understood the debate – and the tribalism. This is a weird juncture in the history of advertising. That much was clear from the fringe.

At the same time that everyone talks about interaction and experience, tribes can barely look each other in the eye. So completely they miss those slats of light. They’d barely notice the weather.

Saxso Funny by rafaelci9 on YouTube.

The choice of machete is a pointless debate. You could hack all day – online, in print, on TV, even on the radio. You’re still hacking.

I don’t think we’ll be Amazon-deep in the jungle forever.

But we could build something while we’re there. Sit down and interact. Put the machetes away, switch the laptops off. Imagine the clearing we want then make it together.

Creativity sees connections where they didn’t previously exist.

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The Yellow Treehouse Restaurant, Auckland, New Zealand.

(What’s the connection with advertising? Take a look at their website.)

Big Smoke in A Blink

In case you’ve never been here, a chance to fill your eyes in quick:

3328 photos in under 2 minutes by David Hubert.

It’s a little unreal, but feels right at the same time. One comment on Vimeo says it all:

“I like how you made our buses feel plentiful and on time.” Quite.

And while we’re warping time in the capital, have you seen Grey London‘s new Toshiba spot?

Cuprocking in London?

Is Andy Uprock in London?

This spotted on the corner of Brick Lane, and more discovered around Commercial St last week.

Uprock is doing a world tour of his floating cup installations with the branded endorsement of VICE and Mooks.

Self-promotional cups. If anyone reading this gets commissioned to write a second series of Nathan Barley, please take note.

The Magnificent Recession

I’m not sure the sea will become the land, and the land the sea.

But the recession will inevitably lead to trading places.

“Be there when the market turns”, say the black-humoured creatives at Storåkers McCann, Stockholm for Dagens industri.

It’s a sharp thought, and a creative result.

Thanks to Hyper Island the ad world expects great digital from Sweden. So I’m pleased to see that pedigree in print, too.

Back in London, bussing through Bank and dodging the pinstriped boozehounds – I wonder. Will the City Boys sleep long and hard this Friday? How far will they go on craft and spittle in the Magnificent Recession?

A penny for the shoeshine’s thoughts.

Reversing: A White Van Story

I wish my wife was this clean. Also available in soot grey. Not phrases you’ll have seen written on a white van.

When a white van is pristine clean, no one writes “clean me” on it. It would be criminal damage without a meaning to the message (except to a postmodernist).

Written on a dirty van, it makes a lot more sense. It’s a form of reverse graffiti or dust tagging.

Two of the world’s most famous dust taggers are the UK’s Paul “Moose” Curtis and Brazil’s Alexandre Orion.

Last year, Alexandre Orion dust tagged São Paulo with hundreds of skulls. He attacked the sooted walls of the underpass between Avenida Europa and Avenida Cidade Jardim as a protest.

He wanted city authorities to recognise the level of road pollution and do something about it. They did. They spray-cleaned the walls to remove his skulls. But he kept moving, and they had to keep cleaning.

In April this year, Paul Curtis dust tagged San Francisco’s Broadway Tunnel. Using stencils of plants and wildlife indigenous to the region, he created an elaborate mural. It cleaned the surfaces it adorned.

It was a project commissioned by Clorox Green Works cleaner: a commercial product that uses plant-based ingredients for “natural cleaning”. So still makes sense, right?

I saw this advert today for Bacardi on the streets of Farringdon today (click the map for an exact location).

Now London’s got pollution. No doubt about it. But when you see how faded the stencil is, you’ll guess the soot underfoot isn’t inches thick. There’s been no need to spray it off.

So is Bacardi an organic product, guerilla-styling its green credentials? Not unless Vinnie Jones has taken to tugging on green stems since we last saw him.

These kinds of reverse graffiti ads are popping up all over the place now. Sometimes they champion an anti-pollution issue. But more often they don’t.

Companies like Street Advertising Services are offering their high-pressure steam and stencils to polish the good corporate buck.

I don’t mean to diss SAS. Their heart’s in the right place. But this advertising is not.

To my eye, it looks like a white van spray-painted “clean me”. Somehow things have got a bit back-to-front. (Thanks to Giles for the original tip-off).

More on reverse graffiti at Environmental Graffiti.

More on ads cleaning streets at Springwise.