Tag Archives: Bjork!

DIY TILL YOU DIE: Vancouver Mini Maker Faire

24 Jun

I love performance and technology, particularly when they intersect with fashion and design.

Luckily, I’m not alone…

Because Vancouver’s first Mini Maker Faire is happening this weekend!

From 10 am to 5 pm on June 25 and 26, Great Northern Way Campus will be turned into a veritable feast for the eyes, ears and hands of novelty-hungry Vancouverites. For the first time ever in our fair city, we will be able to interact with a community of local crafters, builders, tinkerers, engineers and hobbyists who will gather to show off their skills and enthusiasm under the umbrella term of “Maker.”

Vancouver Mini Maker Faire (VMMF) is a two-day celebration of making and creating. It’s an all-ages family festival promoting the ethos of DIY on a large scale. Some of the features include pyrotechnics, kinetic sculptures, interactive musical installations, and 3d printers that can print themselves.

Interactive booths stationed throughout will both educate and entertain: teaching people how to complete a circuit, spin wool, or even smoke bacon!

Awesome.

Something really cute and creative that’s been garnering a lot of attention in on blogs and such these past few weeks is yarnbombing (aka yarnstorming or yarngraffiting), whereby a group of knit-savvy crafters gather together to shroud a public space in cozy, knitted coverings.

One such group, led by VMMF organizer Emily Smith, yarnbombed the Dunsmuir bike lanes the weekend of June 11 to promote the faire, and the results couldn’t have been more charming.

I love it!

Check out the VMMF blog for more info.

Something else I plan to take in is a talk by Vincent van Haaff, who will be discussing what music, video/installation art, hackspaces, and the maker movement all have in common. Van Haaff will explore the parallels between connecting software libraries and hardware, and connecting people and communities, taking into account how these points can benefit and accelerate every piece involved.

Originally from Southern California, van Haaff went from a record label co-founder and audio hacker in Los Angeles, to a rock climbing/chard-growing hippie in Santa Barbara, before moving to Vancouver to become a video game software developer and media artist. His expertise spans from data and music visualization to computer vision and user-centred design.

Definitely someone I want to learn more about.

Read more about Vancouver Mini Maker Faire in the Vancouver Courier and the Georgia Straight, and listen in on CBC Radio.

To pique your interest even more, I’ll leave you with one of my favourite music vids by Bjork, which I think really captures the Maker mindset:

See you all at the Faire!

First photo courtesy of xyberlog.com. Yarnbombing photos courtesy the VMMF blog.

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INSPIRED AND DISALLUSIONED: 7.5-hour movie experience

5 Dec

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of witnessing American visual artist and filmmaker Matthew Barney‘s epic Cremaster Cycle — a project consisting of five feature-length films made over an eight-year period (1994-2002).

Screening at Pacific Cinémathèque for the first time in Vancouver in five years, these films were named for the male muscle that raises and lowers the testes in response to external stimuli.

(Hm!)

I freely admit to having a hard time putting my thoughts on The Cremaster Cycle into words. It was the most all-encompassing, sensory, confusing, overwhelming, inspiring and deflating film-going experience ever.

And it lasted for 7.5 hours.

There, I guess that about does it.

Don’t get me wrong, it was worth the effort it took to sit still for  that long. I particularly liked Cremaster 2. The costumes oozed high fashion and the deep organ music composed by Jonthan Bepler only enhanced the experience.

One can see elements of Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch and David Cronenberg in Barney’s haunting, dream-like masculine style.

Oh, and Barney is married to Björk. How awe-inspiring is that? (Love, love that adorable Icelandic divinity.)

Cremaster 2 is a hazy blend of striking scenes that don’t quite connect. We witness a strange, mechanical sex scene in which male and female torsos do it amidst a swarm of bees; the unfolding of the story of American murderer Gary Gilmore (played by Barney himself); an appearance by novelist Norman Mailer who plays Harri Houdini; an amazing aerial view of  a couple of Canadian Mounties backed by the organ-grinding Mormon Tabernacle Choir; cowboy line dancing; and a scene with two famous death metal musicians playing embodiments of Johnny Cash (with, again, a swarm of bees).

Woah.

And check the guy on the bottom right. Cute right? Ya, he dies.

According to Barney’s website, the life of bees is meant to “metaphorically describe the potential of moving backward in order to escape one’s destiny.

Ooooooooooh.

Wait, bees can do that? How d’you mean, exactly? I tried to research this and got distracted because I have no idea what this means.

Moving along, there’s also this gorgeous sculpture of a mirrored saddle! Amazing.

Suffice it to say, Barney’s interpretation of the facts of nature made me feel like I don’t know anything about anything.

(Read: It’s exhausting being deep when you can’t even comprehend the bottom.)

According to Wikipedia, the full series was released in a limited series of 20 sets of DVDs, each sold for at least $100,000. They are screened mainly as gallery exhibits and will never be made available on mass-market DVD.

I feel cool now that I’ve seen them all. (I sat there for 7.5 hours, you guys. This is dedication to being cool!)

Anyone seen The Cremaster Cycle? What did you think? I need input to strengthen my critique.

All photos courtesy of cremaster.net

NEW: Björk pops out track for bizarre kids’ movie

19 Nov

Not sure if this is predictable, but Björk has a new obsession with “Moomins.”

For those of you not impish enough to know, Moomins are small, white hippopotamus-like things that have no mouths, yet they can project eerie, pesky, perky voices. Sorta like Ferris Bueller.

They were created by quirky Finnish author/illustrator Tove Jansson, and they are really floating Björk’s boat right now.

So much so that she wrote “The Comet Song” with author and frequent collaborator Sjón (“Bachelorette”, “Wanderlust”) for the upcoming children’s film, Moomins and the Comet Chase, due out in August or September 2010.

I dunno, this could be a little… dumb. Watch the trailer for another Moomins movie (or visit Pitchfork) and tell me what you think.

Photo courtesy of electrocasts.net