Archive for ‘Smart Things’ Category

Rudi Diesel’s Typhoon HD4 – Slow Mo Mojo

Posted by Robert Weitz on July 30, 2011 8:02 PM

Try an experiment: Pick a road that you drive down often and walk it… slowwwwwwly. I guarantee you will notice detail and nuance that had escaped you at higher speeds. I guess at this point, I should acknowledge that there are certainly sensations and phenomena that we experience at higher speeds that are equally amazing and beautiful.

Check out the video footage captured by Rudi Diesel’s custom high-speed camera, the Typhoon HD4. Like a great telescope or microscope, the Typhoon reveals a world that, while often right in front of our eyes, is unavailable to our unaided senses. A wave becomes a cathedral, a hummingbird’s motion is unbelievably intricate, and a splash in the pool erupts like a massive volcano.

This camera does a lot to reveal a very deep truth. Slow down a bit and you might notice that there is beauty all around you.

iPhone Finger Painting Makes The New Yorker Cover

Posted by Dylan Tran on June 10, 2009 10:27 AM

A couple of weeks ago, The New Yorker debuted its first iPhone cover – a digital finger painting done on Brushes app by Jorge Colombo, an artist whose drawings have been featured in the magazine since 1994. It was a breakthrough of sorts because never before had a virtual artwork done on such a small mobile device hit the cover of a major publication, one that’s renowed for their creative illustrations. It was truly inspiring.

Watch this video on the making of The New Yorker cover:

Columbo just got his iPhone a few months ago, and like me, immediately obsessed and marveled about all the wonderful things the little device could do. As an artist, he found that it opened up new possibilities. Using Brushes, a cool iPhone application that allows one to draw and paint on the fly, he was able to express himself anywhere and without being noticed. Brushes Viewer records the step-by-step process, and as you can see from the above video, Columbo relied on the Undo feature to get the look just right.

Imagine creating your own masterpiece while waiting for the bus, or your next appointment, or even while walking down the street. I hope this technology motivates more people to get creative and free their artistic inhibitions. As for Columbo, he’s so inspired that he’s now posting a new finger painting every week on The New Yorker blog. No word yet on when his first iPhone gallery exhibition will be, but you can see what others have come up with on Flickr here.

Modifying Mecca – An Elegant Plan Revealed

Posted by Robert Weitz on June 8, 2009 11:40 AM

One of the five sacred duties (Five Pillars) for an “able-bodied” Muslim who can afford the trip is to perform the ritual pilgrimage known as the Hajj at least once in a lifetime.

Combine the fact that there are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide and the availability of relatively inexpensive easy transportation and you have a big 21st century problem – about 1.7 million pilgrims converge on Mecca every year.

Sadly, the infrastructure has been overburdened for many years and has resulted in deaths due to trampling and overcrowding. Fast Company magazine recently featured a short article revealing the existence of a YouTube video that is a fly-through of the master plan to modify Mecca. It caught our eye because it is an amazing scheme, a melding of ancient and contemporary ideas along with a state of the art digital presentation.

The video clearly demonstrates an elegant employment of the radial “parti” and a 21st century feel, echoing the shapes of Utzon’s Sidney Opera House, Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall and the structural rationalism of Nervi and Calatrava, while acting like an ancient amphitheater affording pilgrims view and access to the sacred Kaaba, which is the focal center of the plan.

In keeping with the Islamic love of mathematics, as reflected in the magnificent pattern language of Islamic architecture, this redo promises to be one of world’s wonders. We will keep you posted as we learn more.

The Annenberg Space for Photography – Not a Museum!

Posted by Robert Weitz on April 24, 2009 10:28 AM

We have a new neighborhood community center! It’s not what you are imagining—it doesn’t have basketball hoops or a pool. And while the councilman who brokered the deal, the developer and the Annenberg Foundation would probably like you to imagine that The Annenberg Space for Photography serves a wide range of citizens, it is smack dab in the middle of “the land of lawyers, CPAs and bankers” called Century City.

The Annenberg Space for Photography

That complaint out of the way, I really love the fact that I can walk over to this incredible exhibition space for photography, take in a show, snap a few pictures and be back in time for tea! I think the building is beautiful. It is sited in horizontal juxtaposition to the now almost stately twin Century Plaza Towers. (The towers are short stubby cousins of the World Trade Center designed by Minoru Yamasaki.)

Designed by AECOM Design (formerly DMJM Design) the building is, in my opinion, a “rare bird.” It is a singularly-conceived modernist building in the style of Mies at IIT, but detailed and built in a way that could only be done in the 21st century. I was stunned by the building’s grace and presence, and was really taken with its architectural integrity and brilliant siting.

Somehow the internal space is a little less successful, although I applaud the spirit of the thing. The obvious metaphor for the interior is wrapped up in the workings of the camera optics, but I think the interior team forced the issue. The point of the “parti,” I would assume, is to provide many opportunities to live with and spend time with photographic images.

The problem for many photography exhibitions and galleries is that collections most often exceed the size of available wall space. Using various digital playback devices, the “space” (not a museum) offers some wonderfully rich opportunities to see lot of digital images. The “rotunda” of the space features super high-res 14’ x 7’ 4k screens that offer an engaging way to see photography.

Beyond the amazing digital presentation in the rotunda, there are some real misses. There is precious little space for looking at actual photographs, and the entry has a west facing window wall that is cooking and bleaching out the photos during the midday. They have attempted to use a solar shade, but the result is hot and glary to say the least.

Also, we all had a good laugh over the Microsoft Surface 30-inch table monitors. It’s great for seeing how collection works in ensemble, but the resolution is awful, and what’s worse is that it is bleached out by the sun problem.

The Annenberg Space for Photography, which opened on March 27, is the brainchild of a real photography lover, Wallis Annenberg, and IMO a great idea. Maybe they will fix some of the shortcomings, and even if they don’t, it’s still a wonderful place to visit often.

I love the fact that they have created a bridge between the analog and digital worlds. Unfortunately, the analog got short-changed, which is a shame since no matter what, you can’t capture the full nature of a print digitally and there in lies the value of displaying the analog photos in a more careful and thought-out way.

Check out the inaugural exhibit “L8S ANG3LES,” featuring 11 top-notch LA photographers, through June 28, 2009. Admission is free.