Sunday, July 31, 2005

Fluid Mechanics & Art

Splash of a drop of milkI have a fascination for fluid mechanics. For my video art projects, I've been filming phenomena that could be said to illustrate fluid mechanics, such as water splashes, water waves forming interference patterns, turbulent mixtures of liquids with different colors (milk, fluorescent inks, tempera) and different refraction factors (water, cooking oil, ethanol, dichloromethane), vortices of water and smoke, etc.

Cigarette positively bouyant jetI've been also searching the web for similar ideas, and I found the Gallery Of Fluid Mechanics. Also, several videos and pictures are available from T. T. Lim's page, including the video of two water vortex rings colliding. And the University of Colorado has a course in Flow Visualization (Physics & Art of Fluid Flow); take a look at the amazing class galleries.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Jim Woodring

Jim Woodring is one of my favorite comic-book artists. His work depicts incredibly beautiful worlds inhabited by bizarre creatures. I've heard that many of his comics were inspired by dreams and hallucinations (Jim was one of the speakers in the 2005 Mind States conference). The cat-like character in the picture is Frank. Japanese artist Fuyama Taruto has made a short animation based on Frank. You can find more art work in Jim's web site, or in many of his books available from Fantagraphics. I'm very happy with my copy of The Frank Book. And I bet Seeing Things is wonderful too, I'll include it in my next Amazon order.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Lessons Of Darkness

In 1992, Werner Herzog travaled to Kuwait to document the aftermath of the Gulf War. The end result is Lessons of Darkness.
Herzog's voice narrates the invasion without going into details about who the invaders are. The infrared images of the bombings transmited by CNN evoke flying saucers. "The war lasted just a few hours." Herzog reads fragments of the Book of Revelation while flying over the infernal landscape on a helicopter.
Lakes of hydrocarbons, giant columns of fire, black toxic clouds. The beauty is overwhelming, but Herzog doesn't forget that it came from destruction. When he shows a torture chamber, a room full of torture tools, words are unnecesary. There is a Kuwaiti woman with her son; she explains that the kid won't speak, he refuses to speak since the invasion started. We are left with the ecstatic images of devastation.

Monday, July 18, 2005


I love the work of Stan Brakhage, especially the hand-painted films. For him, film is about seeing, pure visual awarness dissociated from narrative, perspective or compositional logic. His work explores all forms of vision, not just the open-eye vision of ordinary experience, but also peripheral and hypnagogic vision, visual thinking, dream, hallucination and entoptic imagery. Like Dziga Vertov, he was interested in that which is unique to film and could not be translated to other arts such as theatre or literature.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Ici et ailleurs

Last weekend I watched Ici et ailleurs by the Groupe Dziga Vertov (Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin and Anne-Marie MiƩville).

The film began in 1970, when Al Fatah contacted Godard to film a documentary about the palestinian revolution. Godard and Gorin traveled to Palestine and recorded the lives of palestinians training for the imminent revolution. The film was going to be named Victory. But soon most of the people in the film had been killed, and then film production was halted.

In 1974 Godard and MiƩville reconstructed the film transforming it into a multimedia essay about the recording of history and the political use of the image, combining film, videotape, photography, on-screen text and television. The new film was named Ici et ailleurs (Here and Elsewhere).

Monday, July 04, 2005


Let's remember today all the people whose lives have changed due to US military action, especially the victims of torture and the people murdered by US bullets. And let's have some fun with those fucking fireworks too!