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kottke.org posts about mesmerizing

Charlie Chaplin’s time traveller

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 26, 2010

Mesmerizing Zapruder-esque footage that seems to show a woman talking on a mobile phone at the 1928 premiere of a Charlie Chaplin film at Mann’s Chinese Theatre.

According to this guy, the simplest explanation is that the woman is a time traveller. Stick that in your Occam’s razor and shave it! (via geekologie)

The art of sitting

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 22, 2010

Abramovic sitter

At the behest of MoMA, photographer Marco Anelli has been taking photographs of all the people participating in Marina Abramović’s performance in the main atrium of the museum and posting them to Flickr. To review:

Abramović is seated in [the atrium] for the duration of the exhibition, performing her new work The Artist Is Present for seven hours, five days a week, and ten hours on Fridays. Visitors are invited to sit silently with the artist for a duration of their choosing.

The photographs are mesmerizing…face after face of intense concentration. A few of the participants even appear to be crying (this person and this one too) and several show up multiple times (the fellow pictured above sat across from Abramović at least half-a-dozen times). The photos are annotated with the duration of each seating. Most stay only a few minutes but this woman sat there for six and a half hours. This woman sat almost as long as was also dressed as the artist. (It would be neat to see graphs of the durations, both per day and as a distribution.)

Has anyone out there sat across from Abramović? Care to share your experience? (via year in pictures)

Update: On the night of the opening exhibition, the third person to sit across from Abramović was her ex-boyfriend and collaborator of many years, Ulay (pictured here on Flickr). James Wescott reports on the scene:

When she looked up again, sitting opposite her was none other than Ulay. A rapturous silence descended on the atrium. Abramović immediately dissolved into tears, and for the first few seconds had trouble meeting Ulay’s calm gaze. She turned from superhero to little girl — smiling meekly; painfully vulnerable. When they did finally lock eyes, tears streaked down Abramović’s cheeks; after a few minutes, she violated the conditions of her own performance and reached across the table to take his hands. It was a moving reconciliation scene — as Abramović, of course, was well aware.

Here’s a description of one of the projects they did together in the 70s:

To create this “Death self,” the two performers devised a piece in which they connected their mouths and took in each other’s exhaled breaths until they had used up all of the available oxygen. Seventeen minutes after the beginning of the performance they both fell to the floor unconscious, their lungs having filled with carbon dioxide. This personal piece explored the idea of an individual’s ability to absorb the life of another person, exchanging and destroying it.

Wescott also sat across from the artist:

I was immediately stunned. Not by the strength of her gaze, but the weakness of it. She offered a Mona Lisa half-smile and started to cry, but somehow this served to strengthen my gaze; I had to be the mountain.

Carolina Miranda sat down across from Abramović:

When I finally sat down before Abramovic, the bright lights blocked out the crowd, the hall’s boisterous chatter seemed to recede into the background, and time became elastic. (I have no idea how long I was there.)

Amir Baradaran turned the exhibition into a venue for a performance of his own…he even made Abramović laugh. Joe Holmes got a photo of the photographer in action. (thx, yasna & patrick)

Update: The look-alike who sat with Abramović all day did an interview with BOMBLog.

At certain times I thought that we were really in sync. Other times I didn’t. Other times I was totally hallucinating. She looked like a childhood friend I once had. Then she looked like a baby. […] I thought time was flying by. Then time stopped. I lost track of everything. No hunger. No itching. No pain. I couldn’t feel my hands.

Update: Author Colm Tóibín sat opposite Abramović recently (here he is on Flickr) and wrote about it for The New York Review of Books. (thx, andy)

Update: Singer Lou Reed sat. (thx, bob)

Update: Rufus Wainwright sat. And perhaps Sharon Stone? (via mefi)

Update: More first-hand accounts from the NY Times.

Update: And CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. (thx, ian)

Spin spin mesmerizing

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 23, 2010

From Cory Arcangel, two dancing display stands that spin at slightly different speeds. I actually watched the whole thing.

These sculptures are made from 2 over the counter ‘Dancing Stands’ (the tacky kinetic product display stands you can often see in down market stores) which have been modified to spin at slightly different speeds. When my modified stands are placed next to each other they go in and out of phase slowly.

A perpetual loop of seduction

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 12, 2009

The landing page for Natalie Daoust’s Tokyo Girls project (sorry no direct link because of Flash) presents you with a grid of 45 small animated photos of women performing stripteases.

Natalie Daoust

It is kinda mesmerizing. NSFW. (via swissmiss)

Khaaan!

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 02, 2009

Artist Daniel Martinico took William Shatner’s finest moment as an actor and stretched it out into a 15-minute video.

You’ll notice the crowd gets quiet after the first few seconds. It draws you in, forces you to pay attention, even if it’s just staring at the back and forth eye tics on Shatner’s face for a minute at a time. “In that moment everyone responds to it,” Martinico says. There’s laughing at first, but then people get into the rhythm of it and study the various little muscles as they pull and twitch on Kirk’s face. “It’s a phenomenal range in just a few seconds.”

Here’s the first two minutes of the video.

It’s pretty mesmerizing, even small and at poor quality. (via greg)

Waves in slow motion

posted by Jason Kottke   May 08, 2009

Absolutely gorgeous slow motion HD video of a large wave from under the water…you can clearly see the intricate and powerful architecture of the wave.

Nice surfing shot too…but the wave is mesmerizing.

Coloring without the lines

posted by Ainsley Drew   Mar 26, 2009

Brooke Inman’s Everything Color Circle is mesmerizing. As somebody with limited organizational skills, I find it mind-boggling that she was able to put this together. And to think that it could be destroyed in a nanosecond if a sugar-addled kindergartner armed with construction paper wandered into the room. (via design milk)

Evolving walking shapes

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 02, 2008

A mesmerizing video that shows computer generated geometric shapes that have evolved to walk in all sorts of crazy ways. The shapes are generated using the Darwin@Home software. Some of them resemble young children just learning to walk or crawl. The final “beast” is particularly elegant.

Watch politicians age

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 29, 2008

Video compilations of several months of photos of John McCain, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush. Completely mesmerizing, especially the Bush one. See also: Noah Kalina Everyday and Paris Hilton doesn’t change facial expressions on YTMND.

Konstfack

posted by Cliff Kuang   May 30, 2008

Konstfack is a great design school in Sweden, turning out that slightly chilly, vaguely swiss, simple design that US designers envy. Here, they get a nice, simple, mesmerizing spot. (via Coudal)

Homer Rembrandt

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 19, 2008

Homer Rembrandt

This portrait of Homer Simpson painted in the style of Rembrandt is strangely mesmerizing. Can’t look away from those giant eyes.

Time merge media

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 05, 2008

Someone made a video overlay of the 134 times it took him to get through one level of hacked version of Mario World. (Note: the original video was taken down so the embed is a similar video.)

Oh, and how that relates to quantum mechanics:

But, we can kind of think of the multi-playthrough Kaizo Mario World video as a silly, sci-fi style demonstration of the Quantum Suicide experiment. At each moment of the playthrough there’s a lot of different things Mario could have done, and almost all of them lead to horrible death. The anthropic principle, in the form of the emulator’s save/restore feature, postselects for the possibilities where Mario actually survives and ensures that although a lot of possible paths have to get discarded, the camera remains fixed on the one path where after one minute and fifty-six seconds some observer still exists.

Some of my favorite art and media deals with the display of multiple time periods at once. Here are some other examples, many of which I’ve featured on kottke.org in the past.

Averaging Gradius predates the Mario World video by a couple years; it’s 15 games of Gradius layered over one another.

Averaging Gradius

I found even the more pointless things incredibly interesting (and telling), like seeing when each person pressed the start button to skip the title screen from scrolling in, or watching as each Vic Viper, in sequence, would take out the red ships flying in a wave pattern, to leave behind power-ups in an almost perfect sine wave sequence. I love how the little mech-like gunpods together emerge from off screen, as a bright, white mass, and slowly break apart into a rainbow of mech clones.

According to the start screen, Cursor*10 invites the you to “cooperate by oneself”. The game applies the lessons of Averaging Gradius and multiple-playthrough Kaizo Mario World to create a playable game. The first time through, you’re on your own. On subsequent plays, the game overlays your previous attempts on the screen to help you avoid mistakes, get through faster, and collaborate on the tougher puzzles.

Moving away from games, several artists are experimenting with the compression of multiple photographs made over time into one view. Jason Salavon’s averaged Playboy centerfolds and other amalgamations, Atta Kim’s long exposures, Michael Wesley’s Open Shutter Projekt and others. I’m quite sure there are many more.

Dozens of frames of Run Lola Run racing across the giant video screen in the lobby of the IAC building.

The same kind of thing happens in this Call and Response video; 9 frames display at the same time (with audio), each a moment ahead of the previous frame.

Related, but not exactly in the same spirit, are projects like Noah Kalina’s Noah K. Everyday in which several photos of the same person (or persons) taken over time are displayed on one page, like frames of a very slow moving film. More examples: JK Keller’s The Adaption to my Generation, Nicholas Nixon’s portraits of the Brown sisters, John Stone’s fitness progress, Diego Golberg’s 32 years of family portraits, and many more.

Update: Another video game one: 1000 cars racing at the same time. (thx, matt)

Update: More games: Super Earth Defense Game, Time Raider, and Timebot. (thx, jon)

Update: Recreating Movement is a method for making time merge photos (thx, boris):

With the help of various filters and settings Recreating Movement makes it possible to extract single frames of any given film sequence and arranges them behind each other in a three-dimensional space. This creates a tube-like set of frames that “freezes” a particular time span in a film.

How You See It overlays three TV news programs covering the same story. (via waxy)

Update: James Seo’s White Glove Tracking visualizations. The Slinky one is mesmerizing once you figure out what to look for. Seo also keeps a blog on spilt-screen media.

Mesmerizing video of basketball dribbling drills (with

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 27, 2007

Mesmerizing video of basketball dribbling drills (with two balls at a time). Be sure to keep the volume on…the sound of 12 basketballs intensely bouncing is an odd one. (via truehoop)

Closeup videos of the sun. The bottom

posted by Jason Kottke   May 29, 2007

Closeup videos of the sun. The bottom one is especially mesmerizing.

Breathing Earth is a map of the

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 12, 2006

Breathing Earth is a map of the earth that shows, in realtime, births, deaths, and carbon dioxide consumption of the world’s countries. Mesmerizing to watch. (via snarkmarket)

Noah Kalina Everyday

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 29, 2006

Photographer Noah Kalina has taken a daily photo of himself for more than 6 years and recently made a movie of the results.

Completely mesmerizing. Best viewed large. (via kdunk)

Mesmerizing clip-art movie

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 29, 2006

(via waxy)

Mesmerizing blue ball contraption.

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 17, 2006

Mesmerizing blue ball contraption.

Mesmerizing movie of Paris Hilton’s unchanging facial

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 18, 2006

Mesmerizing movie of Paris Hilton’s unchanging facial expression. I can’t stop watching this. I especially like that her hair looks like it’s chasing itself around the top of her head.

Update: The Lindsey Lohan one is pretty good as well. (thx, patrick)

I think I have a new favorite

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 05, 2005

I think I have a new favorite liquid: ferrofluid. Apply a magnetic field to it and you get some pretty and pretty weird patterns. Watch the videos…the formation of a rotating “H” mongram in the first linked movie is mesmerizing (almost literally). (thx, alex)