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ART ATTACK: Giant robotic spider conquors all… with beer!

25 Jan

Two Saturdays ago… I witnessed something heretofore unseen.

“What was it?” you ask innocently?

It was something the likes of which you would never believe. And even though the answer may give you night terrors, you should really pay attention and stop asking so many questions.

As I was saying, Two Saturdays ago… I attended a party thrown by the hip folks at eatART (short for Energy Awareness Through Art), in a warehouse on Great Northern Way Campus.

And just as those hedonistic vices known as “drinks and dancing” started to take hold… a giant robotic spider the size of a Honda Civic took over everyone’s brains!

Well, maybe just their iPhone screens.

Dubbed “The world’s first and only zero-emissions walking vehicle,” the Mondo Spider was created in August 2006 by a group of young engineers who participated in the Vancouver Junkyard Wars the year prior.

Through their passion for developing the 1600 lb walking beast, the group created a registered charity foundation called eatART and have since created several amazing large-scale art pieces.

In fact, in a few short weeks the Mondo Spider will participate in CODE Live as part of the Vancouver Olympic Games. Impressive!

So who are these people, and what exactly are they doing?

In their own words:

“eatART fosters new media art research with a focus on large-scale, kinetic and robotic sculpture. Our projects use art to educate people about the role energy plays in our lives and to raise questions about the social and environmental impact of energy use.”

Basically, they’re a bunch of engineering nerds that loves to party, build robots, and promote green energy use. Totally awesome.

Interestingly enough, the Games actually commissioned the Mondo Spider’s switch from a gregarious, gas-guzzling machine to a skulking, green-powered walking vehicle. It’s pretty incredible how little noise the thing makes. It’s now got the stealth of an actual spider! Très creepy… and très cool.

Check out this video of the Mondo Spider in action on Vancouver is Awesome.

FYI – That’s the very same night LR was present! (Though the video was of the earlier unveiling…)

I should mention that these guys really do know how to throw a party. Great tunes, stocked bar, interesting people, and a walking spider to boot. What more could your favourite girl-about-town ask for?

If you’d like to learn more, read this delightful post on the Mondo Spider on The Daily Gumboot. Also keep your eyes peeled for the machine walking about during the Olympics; you may not notice it until it has you in its technical grasp!

Creep-score.

Photo courtesy of the lovely and talented Michael S. Joyce.

NOW HEAR THIS: The Knife’s new opera track “Colouring of Pigeons”

13 Jan

OMG.

The Knife!

Charles Darwin-based opera soundtrack!

If you haven’t heard this yet, you are in for one crazy auditory ride.

If you’d rather not listen to an opera lady’s haunting vocals interspersed with male “oohs and ahhs” to the beat of tribal drums followed by the hyper-female vocals of my idol Karin Dreijer Andersson, you might not like it.

However, if you dig the sound of some of the most experimental pop artists out there, you should listen to this 11-minute track called “Colouring of Pigeons” RIGHT NOW.

It’s easy. It’s even streaming on The Knife’s website (click link above).

It’s waiting just for you!

Back in ’09, the Swedish electro-pop duo recorded a soundtrack to an experimental opera based on Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species called Tomorrow, In a Year.

Berlin dance-rock artists Mt. Sims, Danish performance art group Hotel Pro Forma, and experimentalist act Planningtorock also added their special touch to the sounds.

The soundtrack will hit the web on February 2. It will be available in hard copy internationally on March 1, and in the U.S. on March 9. Performances of this “avant-electro-opera” are available for those alternative-art fans in Greece, Sweden, and Budapest. More information here.

You can also check out part of the opera below:

I gotta be honest, I’m not the hugest opera fan. Something about the brazen theatricality of it all. It just seems so… put on, and based on the clip above, Tomorrow, In a Year is no exception.

But anything involving The Knife strikes the deepest chords of obsession from within.

Their sound was in my head before I’d ever heard it, tinkering and clanging against the growing threads of my early twenties emotions. (Speaking of brazen theatricality, I’m just now understanding the apt pairing of opera and The Knife: it all begins with love!)

“Dear The Knife,

To hear you is so dear to me.

I would compose an ode were it not so onerous…

…but I would do it for a simple fee.

To see you is my dime spent three.

I lively live for lovely thee!”

Introspective dreams tonight!

Photo courtesy of seattleweekly.com.

HAHAHA: Knitwear guru Mark Fast rejects Lady Gaga

8 Jan

Delightful fashion designer and fellow Canuck Mark Fast — known for his supertight dresses dubbed “hosiery for the body” — refused to lend his sexy knitwear to the vileness that is Lady Gaga (heretofore referred to as “Gag”).

Finally! What I’ve been saying for months is validated by The Cut!

Now, I can die peacefully.

Apparently, the 29-year-old Canadian-born, London-based designer “politely” turned Gag down when approached by her stylist.

“My work is about a lifestyle. It’s not fast-food fashion. It’s not about trends, it’s about classic, it’s about the body, it’s about beauty. Maybe that gets lost in the picture with certain celebrities,” he said.

Haha, “fast-food fashion.” Couldn’t have said it better myself! (Well, lemme think about it…)

But honestly, you can ask my buds. I’ve sputtering for MONTHS about the irritating publicity Gag gets for her “spooky,” “fearless” and “original” style sense.

She simply employs a team of stylists that pick through abstract, art-house designs made by incredibly creative people. They then slap them on her before an awards show, thus taking them completely out of context. SHE is not creative. She simply chews up and spits out the originality of others, and calls upon the general public to view her art-house choices as “crazy” and “weird” (see her on the left).

Honestly, what kind of statement is she making? I’ll bet the designer was making a statement, perhaps on the way women tend to hide themselves within the gigantic trend machine.

But Gag? She IS the trend machine. It makes me want to breathe fire.

For all you fashion neophytes out there, I’ll put it like this:

It’s like taking a beautiful painting by Joseph Guinta, ripping it out of the frame, stapling it to your t-shirt, eating a hotdog over it and marvelling at how the mustard stains “don’t even stick!” while you gyrate to Lady Gaga.

There you go, fast-food fashion.

According to his website (link at top), Fast designs everything by hand on a domestic knitting machine. He forms his work on to the body as he knits, and he has concocted innovative stitching techniques, blending lycra with wool, Angora or viscose.

Click here to view Mark Fast’s Spring RTW collection, and see below for my three favourite looks from him, ever:

Fast grew up outside Winnipeg, and spent his youth frolicking in the countryside “along a highway next to a forest.” Then he moved to London and achieved international recognition for being wonderfully talented.

Hey, wow! That’s the story of MY life!

(Hopefully. One day.)

For now, I’ll just contend with nibbling biscuits dipped in tea as I delicately try not to spill on myself.

Photos courtesy of markfast.net, mtv.com and bougies.files.wordpress.com.