Saturday, January 31, 2009

Air - La Femme D'Argent (2008)

(video link)

A 2008 video for Air's "La Femme D'Argent", the opening track on 1998's Moon Safari - an album which shows no signs of aging. In fact, it's as strong as ever - possibly their most lasting work. I was a little shaky on the production notes at first, but they grew on me by the end.

directed by Guillaume Delaperriere



Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thomas Pynchon Age Progression


An age progression made from Thomas Pynchon's last known photograph.

Forensic Art (interesting site)

hat tip to pack-horse and carrier

Artists' Illustrated Letters

Getting the Picture is a delightful exhibition of illustrated letters selected from the collections of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. From thank you notes to love letters, travel accounts, graphic instructions and other and various missives and hello-theres, they have a lot of personality and make my letters look embarrassingly vanilla. They range in date from the early 19th century into the 1990s and are as unique and fascinating as the artists who created them.

There were so many good ones, I had a hard time choosing. Nonetheless, I managed to cobble up a few for you here.

You can click on the images to read the letters.

Edith Schloss to Philip Pearlstein, Mar. 25, 1981

Joseph Lindon Smith to Parents, June 15, 1894

Waldo Peirce to Sally Jane Davis, Apr. 25, 1943

Red Grooms and Mimi Gross Grooms to Elisse and Paul Suttman and Edward C. Flood, 1968

Max Bohm to Emilie Bohm, Sept. 14, 1899 (page 1)

Yves Saint-Laurent to Alexander Liberman, ca. 1970 June 7

Warren Chappell to Isabel Bishop, Sept. 6, 1982

Gladys Nilsson to Mimi Gross., 1969 Apr. 4

There are also a number of letters from well-known artists including, Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, Winslow Homer, Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and Andy Warhol - however, in the case of this exhibition, I found that generally, the more famous the artist, the less interesting the letter. Your mileage will likely vary on this, so have a look and see for yourself. You could certainly use up a few hours enjoying these.

thanks to the Glasgow School of Art Library (an excellent resource)


(video link)

Music is everywhere.

Electronic Beats presents "Soundscapes"
Directed by Ace Norton
Produced by Charles Spano
Editing by Isaac Hagy
Cinematography by Hiro Murai
Sound recording and track by T.K. Broderick
Partizan Berlin

Ken Nordine Tribute

“Ken Nordine, yea I know that guy, I heard his voice 1000 times, he’s the guy in the bus station that says “go ahead I’ll keep an eye on your stuff for you,” and you see him the next day walking around town wearing your clothes. He broadcasts from the boiler room of the Wilmont Hotel with 50,000 watts of power. I know that voice, he’s the guy with the pitchfork in your head saying go ahead and jump, and he’s the ambulance driver who tells you you’re going to pull thru. He’s the guy in the control tower who talked you down in a storm with a hole in your fuselage and both engines on fire. I heard him barking thru the Rose Alley Carnival strobe as samurai firemen were pulling hose. Yea he’s the dispatcher with the heart of gold, the only guy up this late on the suicide hotline. Ken Nordine is the real angel sitting on the wire in the tangled matrix of cobwebs that holds the whole attic together. Yea Ken Nordine, he’s the switchboard operator at the Taft Hotel, the only place in town you can get a drink at this hour. You know Ken Nordine, he’s the lite in the icebox, he’s the blacksmith on the anvil in your ear.”

—Tom Waits

Be sure to check out the tribute to the great Ken Nordine over at Uncertain Times v.ii. You might have to scroll down a bit to find the posts.

update: just enter "Nordine" in the search window and all of the posts will come up.

Alexander Calder performs his "Circus"

(video link)

This video excerpts scenes of Alexander Calder performing the “Circus” from a 1955 film by Jean Painleve.

Follow your artistic dreams. It’s the only job in the world where you can get paid to play like a kid and be regarded as a genius for it.

via Ordinary finds

Tempête sur la pointe de Bretagne

(video link)

Incredibly beautiful.

I’ve always thought it would be cool to be a lighthouse keeper, but this might try my nerves. I wonder what it’s like to be in there while this is going on?


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Magic Mile


A deaf girl miraculously finds that she can hear, but only within the limits.

Dir. Toby Meakins (2001) (6:41)

Ray Noble & The New Mayfair Dance Orchestra - Make Yourself A Happiness Pie (1930)

(video link)


I need to fix me one of these.

via everlasting blört

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Stressful Adventures of Boxhead & Roundhead - The Power of Flight


animation by Elliot Cowan

mama!milk - august

(video link)

mama!milk at the Honen-Inn temple in Kyoto.

via A near life experience

The BPA - He's Frank (Slight Return) Feat. Iggy Pop



Toys on Roids

Toys on Roids - a set on Flickr

thanks to AubreyAudreyAlbert.

Bar Kokhba - Jachin (1999)

(video link)

Joey Baron - drums,
Cyro Baptista - percussion,
Marc Ribot- guitar,
Greg Cohen - bass,
Erik Friedlander - cello,
Mark Feldman - violin,
John Zorn - conductor,
live at Warsaw Summer Jazz Days 1999, Poland

via YouTube Hunting

Monday, January 26, 2009


(video link)

A reclusive roommate realizes there's more to life than he imagined.

Directed by Ted Chung

The End

A Night At The Opera, 1935.

No, it's not the end of Uncertain Times, though I'd be tempted to use something like this for a farewell post. (I'd wager it has been done.) This is from The End, a collection of movie end frames on Flickr.

It seems that end frames have fallen out of fashion in the film industry. (It was kind of a redundant practice.) I haven't seen one in quite a while. Does anyone know when the last one was used?


The Island


On a wintry bay, far from home, a young child witnesses something truly unexpected.

Written and directed by Kieran Darcy-Smith.
Cast: Kieran Darcy-Smith, Remi Rebillet-Nicholls
Music by Alex Lloyd

blue-tongue films

Don't read below until you've watched the film.

Back in 1972, when I was nine years old, my father and I rode from Pittsburgh to Mexico on his BMW 750. Although I got sick on the way and came home with a bad sunburn, I'll always remember it as an amazing trip. It was a lot like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, but without all the grim philosophical bullshit.

The first day in Mexico, we stayed in an old-timey cheap hotel in the heart of Matamoros, a small town on the border near Brownsville, Texas. My recollection of that time is a bit fuzzy, but I do remember that I had long light blonde hair and people would gather around to gawk at me. I also remember drinking a lot of orange soda, as we were avoiding the water. However, the most indellible memory was from that first night in the hotel.

There were flies everywhere. I remember we were just hanging in the hotel room, quiet and tired. My father was smoking a cigarette and out of the blue, he said to me, "Watch this."

I sat there in silent anticipation. He was holding his hand up with his index and middle finger spread out like a peace sign. In a blink, he closed his fingers and asked me to look closer. He then opened them and the fly that he had caught buzzed off, unharmed. It might not sound like much to you, but for a nine year-old boy, that was totally awesome. My father was, and still is, The Man.

This film reminded me of that moment. Thanks, Dad.

Shaker Visual Poetry

Sacred roll [untitled booklet], 1840-43. Anonymous. Ink and watercolor on paper

UBUWEB - Shaker Visual Poetry (Gift Drawings & Gift Songs):

The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing — called "Shakers" — originated in England in the mid-eighteenth century and soon centered around the person of Ann Lee (Mother Ann, or Mother Wisdom, or simply Mother), who became "the reincarnation of the Christ Spirit … Ann the Word … Bride of the Lamb." The group practiced communal living and equality of the sexes, along with a reputedly complete abstention from sexual intercourse. After persecutions and jailings in England, Ann brought them to America in 1774, where for many years they thrived on conversions, reaching a maximum size of 6,000 before their demise in the twentieth century.

Between 1837 and 1850 ("known as the Era of Manifestations") the Shakers composed (or were the recipients of) "hundreds of … visionary drawings … really [spiritual] messages in pictorial form," writes Edward Deming Andrews (The Gift To Be Simple, 1940). "The designers of these symbolic documents felt their work was controlled by supernatural agencies … — gifts bestowed on some individual in the order (usually not the one who made the drawing." The same is true of the "gift songs" and other verbal works, and the invention of forms in both the songs and drawings is extraordinary, as is their resemblance to the practice of later poets and artists.

thanks to On An Overgrown Path for the reminder


Bethan Laura Wood:

Stain is a set of a teacups designed to improve through use. This project examines the assumption that use is damaging to a product (For example, scratches on an iPod).

The interior surface of the cup is treated so as to stain more in predetermined places. The more the cups are used, the more the pattern is revealed. Over time they will build up an individual pattern dependent on the users personal way of drinking tea.

These are fantastic - and available for purchase.

via everlasting blört

David Douglas Duncan's Picasso photos

Picasso, clad only in briefs and slippers, his bathrobe draped over one arm, poses with his Afghan hound Kabul on the front steps of Mas Notre-Dame-de-Vie in Mougins, 1959 or later.

David Douglas Duncan - Picasso (extensive collection of photographs of Picasso and his work)

via Nag on the Lake
by way of Dog Art Today

The Ring of Fire

photo: Dennis L. Mammana (TWAN)


Tomorrow, a few lucky people may see a "ring of fire." That's a name for the central view of an annular eclipse of the Sun by the Moon. At the peak of this eclipse, the middle of the Sun will appear to be missing and the dark Moon will appear to be surrounded by the bright Sun. This will only be visible, however, from a path that crosses the southern Indian Ocean. From more populated locations, southern Africa and parts of Australia, most of the Moon will only appear to take a bite out the Sun. Remember to never look directly at the Sun even during an eclipse. An annular eclipse occurs instead of a total eclipse when the Moon is on the far part of its elliptical orbit around the Earth. The next annular eclipse of the Sun will take place in 2010 January, although a total solar eclipse will occur this July. Pictured above, a spectacular annular eclipse was photographed behind palm trees on 1992 January.

Blown away by something new every day - I love the internet.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Terry Gilliam on the making of Brazil


In this excellent interview, Gilliam discusses a variety of issues surrounding the production of his film Brazil - from his creative process to communication, bureaucracy, science fiction, his battles with Universal, poo-poo, and much more. They cram a lot into 13 minutes.

previously: Terry Gilliam - Storytime (1968)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Frank Zappa documentary (1971)


directed by Roelof Kiers

A long play at 54:32, but a "don't miss" for fans. Frank talks about his youth, his interest in explosives, his musical influences, and the establishment of The Mothers of Invention, amongst other things - including a glimpse into the world of the Zappa family. Film-wise, this is the most up-close look into his life that I have seen to date.

via Kill Ugly Radio

Thomas Pynchon’s National Book Award acceptance speech by Professor Irwin Corey

(video link)

The story behind Thomas Pynchon’s National Book Award acceptance speech by Professor Irwin Corey.

from The Modern World:

Here’s how it is described by famous New York writer and newspaper columnist Jim Knipfel:

“One of Corey’s most notorious public appearances came on April 18, 1974, when he showed up at Alice Tully Hall to accept the National Book Award for Gravity’s Rainbow on behalf of Thomas Pynchon.

‘Thomas Guinzberg [of the Viking Press] first suggested the idea,’ he says, ‘and Pynchon approved it.’

So, after being mis-introduced (as ‘Robert Corey’), the little man with the wild hair and the rumpled suit walked to the podium and addressed some of the most esteemed figures in American publishing and literature…

…Corey’s speech was accentuated by a nude man who streaked across the stage as he spoke. The audience, needless to say, was dumbfounded by the entire spectacle.

transcript of Corey’s speech

video via rreennaann

Kevin's garden

new work from Juliana Peloso


from the archives of John H. McNulty

Friday, January 23, 2009

Painting with ice and light

New Scientist:

The image, (above), is a frizion, and it was created by NASA scientist and artist Peter Wasilewski. Rather than painting on canvas like most artists, he creates his images with polarised light and ice.

To do this, Wasilewski takes a Petri dish of ice in the process of freezing, sandwiches it between two polarising filters and passes white light through. The first filter polarises the light, causing all the rays to vibrate in the same plane. Ice crystals split polarised light into two rays which travel at different velocities through the ice, so when the rays are recombined at the second polarising filter there is a phase difference between them. This causes interference, creating the startling colours in the image. The colours are determined not only by the lattice structure of the ice, but also by its thickness. By controlling the thickness, for example by varying the temperature of the surrounding water, Wasilewski produces a wide variety of different patterns.

See this photo gallery to find out more about how Wasilewski creates them.

Gerhard Richter at the National Portrait Gallery

Gilbert and George
by Gerhard Richter, 1975

Photograph: National Portrait Gallery

In pictures: Gerhard Richter at the National Portrait Gallery

thanks to ut

Thursday, January 22, 2009


(video link)

Rival jungle tribes prepare huge robots for gladiatorial combat, but when they meet, the result is unexpected.

Dir: Alistair Graham

Suba a.k.a Rex Illusivi, born Mitar Subotić, was a Serbian-born musician, composer and up-and-coming producer immersed in the world of Brazilian music when he died tragically in 1999. His work was a pleasing fusion of styles, both contemporary and traditional. On November 2, 1999, while working on the post-production for Bebel Gilberto's Tanto Tempo, his studio caught fire. Overcome by smoke, he died trying to rescue the music they had recently recorded.

The music on this video is from his excellent album São Paulo Confessions, released just a few days before he died.

Weirdest cat ever

Tetrapod Zoology:

Apparently this animal was photographed in south-eastern Yemen where it was frequenting a building site. The photos were taken by Jim Larsen. He reported that the cat wasn't just hanging around the site, it was also chewing on cables; so much so that they had to take measures to stop the cables getting damaged further....

What is this animal? Of the cat species that occur at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, it lacks the striping characteristic of the African wild cat Felis lybica, and of course looks nothing at all like a Sand cat F. margarita. Apparently there's been some suggestion that it might be a Caracal Caracal caracal, but it doesn't look much like one at all. In fact, if its fat, rounded face and bob-tail are natural features it doesn't match any known species.

I am convinced that there are a large number of strange creatures out there that we haven't encountered yet. It's a big planet.

Mysterious Coin Operations

Chet Phillips Illustration

via LCSV4

Staring Wigs

Bless me Ladies Is this I or My Brother. Mezzotint published by H. Bryer, typical of the many prints ridiculing Staring Wigs worn by Macaroni

Legal Habits: A Brief Sartorial History of Wig, Robe and Gown (pdf):

As with all fashion trends, styles of wig-coiffure tended, during the 150 years of their vogue, to oscillate between extremes. Just as Fullbottoms had ballooned to waist-length at the end of the seventeenth century, only to be superseded by shorter, more stylised wigs in the 1710s; so in the mid-1760s, as the trimmer buckle-style of wig became standard, a group of young men took to wearing exaggeratedly large wigs, called Staring Wigs, together with tightly fitting, multi-coloured clothes and spying glasses. They became known as Macaroni after the club they formed in London in 1764 devoted to Italianate designs of food and fashion, which lasted till 1772. The powdered wigs they wore accentuated the effect of the Toupet Wigs of the 1730s, and were brushed up from the forehead into a single great peak, with an immense folded knot of hair worn behind. Within a generation, however, the fashion had once again reversed, this time terminally.


thanks to gimcrack hospital

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Kraftwerk - Ruckzuck (live) (1970)

(video link)

Kraftwerk live on WDR TV (Germany) in 1970.

Unless you're really into them, this is probably not the Kraftwerk you are accustomed to. However, you can hear their later sound peeking out now and then throughout.


via moodmat

FBI rolls out the heavy gear for Obama's inauguration

Not sparing any precautions, the FBI has deployed a small fleet of vehicles and a load of high tech to aid the security detail for the inauguration ceremonies today. This will include a mobile command post, an evidence collection unit, an armored assault vehicle, and a hardened chamber designed to contain and transport explosives. (images)

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Dead Texan - Aegina Airlines

(video link)

The Dead Texan

thanks to superfuzz

Last One Out, Please Turn On The Light

Photographer Richard Nicholson presents Last One Out, Please Turn On The Light, a survey of London's remaining professional darkrooms.

Dead media?... or will there be an emergence of cottage industries catering to an adherence - and return - to the use of film? As we meet, someone has already acquired Polaroid's old equipment factory and seeks your support. (via)

via Super Colossal

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009)

Andrew Wyeth, Painter, Dies at 91

Little Dragon - fortune

(video link)

video: Hideyuki Katsumata

Little Dragon

via dublab


Suspension Bridge Solargraph

photo: Justin Quinnell

If every picture tells a story, this one might make a novel. The six month long exposure compresses the time from December 17, 2007 to June 21, 2008 into a single point of view. Dubbed a solargraph, the remarkable image was recorded with a simple pinhole camera made from a drink can lined with a piece of photographic paper. The Clifton Suspension Bridge over the Avon River Gorge in Bristol, UK emerges from the foreground, but rising and setting each day the Sun arcs overhead, tracing a glowing path through the sky. Cloud cover causes dark gaps in the daily Sun trails. In December, the Sun trails begin lower down and are short, corresponding to a time near the northern hemisphere’s winter solstice date. They grow longer and climb higher in the sky as the June 21st summer solstice approaches.

Double Bummer

I'm Learning To Share: This week's Double Bummer; Ricardo's gone, McGoohan too.

the in crowd shares a taste of their usual excellence.



Thursday, January 15, 2009

Superuseless Superpowers

Complementary Chameleon:

The superuseless chameleon assumes the complementary color of his surroundings, thereby rendering him highly un-hard to see. This superpower was inspiration for the failed children’s book franchise titled “There’s Waldo.”

Looks like it's just getting started, but it shows promise. Some are less useless than others, with a little imagination.

Superuseless Superpowers

via @random

Test Your Brains 0000.001


Go ahead, put 'em to the test.

via Robert Popper

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Patrick McGoohan (1928-2009)

Be seeing you...

Patrick McGoohan, creator and star of the cult classic The Prisoner, has died aged 80

R.I.P. Patrick McGoohan, The Prisoner's TV Visionary

Remembering 'The Prisoner' creator/star Patrick McGoohan

Patrick McGoohan, RIP

images via AMC

Watch all 17 episodes of The Prisoner, free and legal

Ocean: An Illustrated Atlas

Underwater Discoveries:

This brown algae and its cousins love coastal waters that are cool or cold. Some form wispy clusters of filaments, while others resemble delicate ribbons or leafy, golden-brown shrubs. One of its relatives forms the kelp forests that thrive off the California coast. It can grow as much as a foot a day, producing what are considered the largest of the sea's photosynthetic organisms.

Photo: Sylvia Earle/National Geographic

Mapping the Sea and Its Mysteries


by Bastien ROGER

via Changethethought™

Karajan - Beethoven Symphony No. 6 In F Major 'Pastoral'

(video link)

Herbert Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic - Beethoven Symphony No. 6 In F Major ‘Pastoral’

directed by Hugo Niebel

I avoid using the terms "best" or "worst" about anything, but I will say that this is the most impressive film interpretation of an orchestral performance I've seen. I know it's long, but it's worth at least a lengthy sample.

via On An Overgrown Path

Most recent Roller

Naughty Betty

Donald Roller Wilson

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Donald Roller Wilson knock-offs

For some reason, there is a brisk trade in Donald Roller Wilson knock-offs. Someone in China is pumping them out in goodly numbers. A friend of mine has one. At first we thought it was a genuine Roller, but now we're nearly 100% sure it isn't.

Here are a bunch up for sale on ebay.

via PCL Linkdump

The Bran Flakes - Meadow


The Bran Flakes

Baby Walden

First Digitally Scanned Photograph, 1957

Top 10 Incredible Early Firsts In Photography:

Technically, this is the very first digital photograph - all these years later, digital cameras are only just beginning to have the full capabilities of film cameras. Russell Kirsch was a computer pioneer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the USA when he developed the system by which a camera could be fed into a computer. The photo is of Kirsch’s three month old son Walden and it measured a mere 176×176 pixels. Baby Walden now works in communications for Intel.

The Monocle (1964) - Dance Fight Sequence


...from the French Eurospy thriller The Monocle (Le Monocle rit jaune). Directed by Georges Lautner and starring Paul Meurisse. Set in Hong Kong our heroes have just been drugged while they eat and now face a ruthless bunch of gangsters...

via Funky Junk Trunk

Monday, January 12, 2009


Chrono-Shredder (working prototype)

The Chrono-Shredder is a device that reminds us of the preciousness of our lifetime. It represents the passing of time by shredding the days of the year – printed on a paper roll – at a slow constant rate. To shred one day takes 24 hours. There is no "off"-button. As the seconds pass by, the tattered remains of the past pile up under the device

via Scene 360 Illusion

All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy is nothing short of a complete rethinking of what a novel can and should be. It's true that, taken on its own, All Work is plotless. But like the best of Beckett, the lack of forward momentum is precisely the point. If it's nearly impossible to read, let us take a moment to consider how difficult it must have been to write. One is forced to consider the author, heroically pitting himself against the Sisyphusean sentence. It's that metatextual struggle of Man vs. Typewriter that gives this book its spellbinding power. Some will dismiss it as simplistic; that's like dismissing a Pollack canvas as mere splatters of paint.

Stephen King fan publishes Shining's Jack Torrance's novel

A clip from "The Making of..."

Hanna von Goeler - My Money, My Currency

Hanna von Goeler:

The interstitial quality of money as it travels from person to person is the point of departure for "My Money, My Currency". This ongoing project chronicles my struggle and relationship with money...