I love a bit of modernist architecture and my favourite building is the Barcelona Pavilion in Barcelona. I loved it before I knew who the architect was but once I did, my eyes were opened to some of the greatest modern buildings ever constructed. And they were thanks to Mies van der Rohe.
In the documentary, Mies, a number of architects review his works alongside footage of Mies explaining his thought processes and philosophies. You can rent the documentary on Vimeo for £4.99. This gives you 48 hours to stream it on your desktop as well as iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, and Chromecast.
Ever heard of deepfaking? It’s a portmanteau of “deep learning” and “fake” and describes a technique involving the superimposition of images and videos onto other images and videos. Put another way, it’s like Face/Off but in 2019 and without surgery.
Ctrl Shift Face is a content creator who makes entertaining deepfake videos. He’s produced videos featuring Bill Murray in Full Metal Jacket, Sylvester Stallone as The Terminator, and Heath Ledger as The Joker in A Knight’s Tale. Ridiculous, right?
In this deepfake video, Ctrl Shift Face exchanges Jack Nicholson’s face for Jim Carrey’s in a scene of The Shining. It’s eerie in that we know it’s not really Carrey’s face but it kinda fits and it also doesn’t. That’s what makes deepfakes so mind-bending. It’s also The Riddler from Batman Forever swapping faces with The Joker from Batman.
At time of writing, the video has clocked just under a million so it’ll reach that milestone by tomorrow at least. Ctrl Shift Face’s videos are entertaining and it’s good to see this technology put to good use rather than scaring people in a bad way. This is just scary in a WTF way, which is fine.
If you want to help Ctrl Shift Face continue with his creative endeavours, check out his Patreon, subscribe to his YouTube channel, and find him on Twitter.
There’s something so appealing about the night. People unwind and live their second lives – for those who aren’t asleep. The darkness is brought alive by lights of varying types and colours. And Liam Wong knows how to bring that beauty out.
The photographer was born and raised in Scotland but moved to Canada after graduating from university. There, he became Ubisoft’s youngest director and taught himself photography at the same time. He bought his first DSLR (a Canon 5D III) in 2015 and released his first ever photo series entitled Tokyo Nights (TO:KY:OO). It was an acclaimed success and soon his work was being featured by the likes of BBC, Forbes, and Adobe.
“One night it rained and the city came to life. I got lost in the beauty of Tokyo at night. I was fascinated by how the city lit up and I just kept taking picture after picture. It was like being inside Gaspar Noé’s film Enter The Void, or living in the cyberpunk world that Syd Mead had created in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.”
Anyone who loves the dystopian/mecha anime or cyberpunk aesthetics will be captivated by Liam Wong’s work. Purple neon lighting is a common feature as is the sight of rain. A quick glimpse at any of his photos would give the impression it came from a video game. That’s the Ubisoft influence mixed with Blade Runner no doubt. Tokyo is already a vibrant city, day or night, but Wong injects his own beams of magical fluorescence. He manages to tell a story in pictures without a word being uttered.
Chinese culture site Goldthread made a video about Wong Ping, an animator from Hong Kong. He’s a 34.4-year-old and started out in broadcasting before founding Wong Ping Animation Lab in 2014.
According to Wong, he stumbled into animation “by chance” while retouching images in his old job. He began creating stories and animations in spurts of boredom and during his free time. He says works within the limitations of his skill and attributes his “lack of ambition” as the reason for short films.
But even if the images are ugly, I want to make sure it’s a beautiful kind of ugly.
But that hasn’t stopped his work from featuring in places such as the Guggenheim Museum, the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester, and the Arts Centre Melbourne. His work depicts the nature and behaviour of humanity in their “repressed obsessions and unfulfilled desires”. Wong’s animations are surreal in style and in the openness of the subject matter – it’s shock and flaw.
Wong says people think his cartoons are ugly because of their perception of animation. But hey, people think brutalism is ugly. He likens himself and his artistic expressionism to that of a comedian. His works are sketches in the comedic sense and finally asks “in the end, is it all just about being funny?”
One of my favourite Jamaican proverbs is “if you cannot hear, you must feel” and that’s something many Jamaican live by. Making Peace is a documentary about former gang members who probably followed that unwritten law in their former lives.
They now work as part of Jamaica’s Peace Management Initiative, a UNICEF-support non-profit aiming to end gang violence in the country. The “Violence Interrupters” as they’re known, work in some of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in Jamaica and have their own stories to tell.
Many of them started out in child gangs and spent varying time in prison and saw friends and family die. Dave Sewell is a PMI Liaison officer and got involved in crime at 17. He went onto spend 20 years in prison with 9 of them on death row. He now says he’d “rather die than go back to prison”.
Made and sold in the USA, Lil’ Nitro measures 9,000,000 on the Scoville scale, a scale used to measure the heat of chilli peppers. Put into context, that’s 900 times hotter than a jalapeño and over 5 times hotter than a Carolina Reaper. It comes with a “cool shield foil wrap” and an ice pack to ease the pain (because you’ll need it).
If you can handle the heat, you’ll be disappointed to hear there’s only one Lil’ Nitro Gummy Bear available per box but I can’t imagine there’s much demand for a packet of gummies with 9 million Scoville rating.
Lil’ Nitro is a next-level spice challenge that shows that even the sweetest things can be corrupted.
Oh, and it’s not suitable for vegans because it contains gelatine. It’s also not suitable for children despite what this questionable Amazon review says:
At work, I nearly fell down a Wikipedia rabbit hole but stopped myself at Saul Steinberg. The reason I even got there was because I was looking up Slash from Guns N’ Roses and discovered he was named after the artist (Slash’s real name is Saul Hudson and he was born in Hampstead, London if you didn’t already know).
Saul Steinberg was born in Romania in 1914. He studied architecture in Milan and started cartooning for humorist newspaper, Bertoldo, in 1936. Anti-semitic laws in Italy forced him to leave and he fled to the Dominican Republic in 1941. He stayed there for a year waiting for a US visa but his cartoons were already well known by the time he entered the country. Many of his drawings had featured in The New Yorker.
After World War II, his work cropped up in more popular publications such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. His name was included in the “Fourteen Americans” show at MoMA and he embarked on an illustrious career. In 1967, he was the subject of a documentary called Saul Steinberg Talks.
Here’s a quote from early in the documentary
I think it is very important for people to run away…from home, from the mainstream, from their family, from the culture, from the society that produced them…because the moment I have to learn something new, like new habits, new languages, I myself have something like a rebirth. I reduce myself to the lowest denominator and this is very healthy for an artist. To start all over again.
Steinberg was a deep thinker and one of the greatest artist of the 20th century. His legacy now lives on through The Saul Steinberg Foundation, in accordance with his will.