Posts Tagged ‘blog: things you should check out’.

Check out: Swedes face the “Ten Meter Tower”

Good observation

The Swedish short film “Ten Meter Tower” is really simple: what do people look like when they’re facing a high dive for the first time?

The film played at Sundance this year in the Documentary Shorts category, and the NY Times is currently featuring it in its rotating collection of “op-ed videos”. The filmmakers describe the project this way:

Our objective in making this film was something of a psychology experiment: We sought to capture people facing a difficult situation, to make a portrait of humans in doubt. We’ve all seen actors playing doubt in fiction films, but we have few true images of the feeling in documentaries. To make them, we decided to put people in a situation powerful enough not to need any classic narrative framework. A high dive seemed like the perfect scenario…

It’s fun without being entirely frivolous, and dramatic without being distressing. There’s no politics in it and there’s nothing complicated about it. I think it’s well worth 16 minutes of your time!

[ TEN METER TOWER at the NY Times ]

Here Is The Little Mermaid ‘Kiss the Girl’ Minor Key Cover You Didn’t Know You Wanted

Here it is. (by Chase Holfelder)

Previously: Here Is The Soulful Acoustic Smash Mouth Cover You Didn’t Know You Wanted

Check out: The artwork of Dominic Wilcox

I really enjoyed this short film, The Reinvention of Normal, about the artist Dominic Wilcox.

Wilcox makes strange objects, such as a soccer ball that you can put fruit inside so it becomes a smoothie as you kick it around.

He makes a lot of things like that, and he describes in the film how making a lot of things quickly has helped him tap into his creative instincts in a clarifying way.

As a person who derives an immense amount of joy from puttering around in my own workshop, making a lot of stupid things that occasionally end up not always being stupid, I am quite drawn to this line of thinking.

“I enjoy the playfulness,” he says, over footage of a car he designed covered completely in stained glass. “and just doing things — even though they’re completely ridiculous sometimes. So what? Let’s do the ridiculous. And by doing the ridiculous, something else might come of it!”

Here’s another video, as well, of him giving a talk at a conference… The first seven minutes are the same video above, and then there’s another bit with him explaining and demonstrating some of the strangers things he’s made, like the stained-glass car, or a set of GPS-enabled bespoke-leather shoes.

“It’s always difficult to describe what I am,” he says in the talk. “I work between art, design, invention, technology, craft… Really, I’m just a person who’s trying to be as creative as I possibly can be.”

Check out: GeoGuessr, the Google Maps game

My newest obsession is GeoGuessr, a game that places you at a random point in the world (via Google Maps Street View) and makes you guess where you are.

let's do!!

You can navigate around as much as you like, looking for identifying clues (such as signs or landmarks) before making your guess. You can play specific maps (restricted to a country or even a city), or let it plop you down anywhere that Google has mapped. You can also play specific challenges created by other people.

This is basically the perfect game for me. I don’t really want to fight bosses or solve reflex-based challenges; I just want to wander around and explore and discover things. And the fact that you’re exploring the real, actual world is so much fun, for someone like me who’s into geography: you start looking at billboards and bus signs and pieces of trash on the side of the road as if they are clues placed for you in a video game, freighting it all with a larger meaning that’s barely outside your grasp, believing that you can unravel the puzzle with the clues you were meant to find.

Siberia.

There are a lot of roads in the world, so when set to random, I’ve found that GeoGuessr often lands me on some lonesome highway in the middle of nowhere. To me, that first moment feels just as quest-like as the start of any video game (except the NPCs are very unhelpful).

Mexico.

These are challenging rounds, to be sure. Yesterday I clicked through a windy, backwoods Australian road for ten or fifteen minutes before finding any sort of signage that I could read. It’s not fun, for most definitions of fun, but it was absolutely interesting.

Texas.

You can navigate around in Street View, and you can also explore the world map in as much detail as you like. (But the game never shows you where you are, of course, and you can’t search on the map.)

Much of the time, I end up poring over the map in eye-watering close-up, scanning unknown regions for an Argentine or Turkish town name that matches one I’ve found in Street View.

It’s a game that you can always win, if you’re patient and nitpicky enough. I’m not, every time. But when I can figure it out, it’s extremely satisfying.

ahhhh, relaxing

No video game designed by a human (except maybe Desert Bus) would make you click through a Mexican desert for twenty minutes before you got to anything useful, or reward the player who’s able to look through a map of Brazil for the longest time.

But I accept it in GeoGuessr, because the game world is the real world. If I don’t know enough about the real world to identify a name, or a landmark, or a type of terrain quickly, then it becomes a chance to figure it out. I am pretty good at recognizing languages on signs, and yesterday I learned all about how the Japanese organize their highway numbering systems vs. how the French do it.

It’s not all desolate roads, of course. You often land in cities, or once, the game spawned me inside an enclosed Tunisian parking lot with no route back out to the main road. (I got a very poor score on that round.) The game navigation is limited to what Google has mapped, so some areas are poorly photographed, or the navigation is incomplete. That, I think, is all part of the fun.

That said, let’s be clear: clicking around through a map of France or Wales or Texas looking for a specific road number or town name — on a map that hides small towns and roads when you’re zoomed out — is tedious.

But doing so has the effect of showing me how big the world really is, which I think we sometimes forget. I love it for that.

Play GeoGuessr in your browser, for free.

Loads of people play GeoGuessr on YouTube, too.

Hand-painted flapper girl workouts

flap them wings baby

The Fashion Institute of Technology blog recently posted a series of pages from a 1920s fitness club manual:

The publication La Culture Physique de la Femme Elégante is an exquisitely rare and beautiful testament to these early days of the widespread promotion of fitness for women.  It was issued as a folio containing twelve pochoir plates on board depicting women in a variety of calisthenic poses.

The illustrations, by fashion illustration icon Germaine-Paule Joumard, are absolutely gorgeous.

Pochoir was a pre-lithography printmaking technique involving the hand-application of gouache paint in stenciled patterns. It was often used as a high-end way to reproduce (and was a perfect fit for) the bold shapes that were the hallmark of Art Deco illustration.

Check out the entire set — a full dozen of these full-color windows into a cheery, bright, pre-Pilates world — at the FIT blog or on the Slate Vault.