The Future and Modernity's White

(0)

When conjuring up a reason why white is the dominant shade of Modernity one might think of the soon to be retired space shuttle Atlantis or the seminal architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (also known as Le Corbusier). Depending on your preference of medium you can view it as an additive or subtractive color, but the question remains: why is the color white linked to "hi-tech" gadgets, architecture, and visions of the future?

John Powers, a Brooklyn-based sculptor recently ruminated on this question and discovered it has an intriguing and complicated history and relationship with technology. Powers maps the trends of the color against various historical events, revealing along the way that Jacob Riis' 1890 flash photographs of lower Manhattan's tenements and Platex bra construction played surprisingly important roles. According to Powers' research, Modern white's psychological associations and aesthetic perceptions are driven by a mix of technological advancements in electric lights, the garment industry, and space travel.

Original Edison light bulb; Weissenhofsiedlung (1927) via Star Wars Modern

Seamstress Jane Butchin, Delma Domegy, Inspector Mary Todd, and others at ILC Plant (1967); Astronauts Charles Conrad and Alen Bean (1969) via Star Wars Modern

John Powers' ten-part essay titled White Walls:

 

MORE »


Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Science Fiction TV Film World on a Wire

(1)

Released shortly before Ali: Fear Eats Soul Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 1973 sci-fi tv movie World on a Wire is newly restored and playing around the country:

A dystopic science-fiction epic, World on a Wire is German wunderkind Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s gloriously cracked, boundlessly inventive take on future paranoia. With dashes of Kubrick, Vonnegut, and Dick, but a flavor entirely his own, Fassbinder tells the noir-spiked tale of reluctant action hero Fred Stiller (Klaus Lowitsch), a cybernetics engineer who uncovers a massive corporate and governmental conspiracy. At risk? Our entire (virtual) reality as we know it. This long unseen three-and-a-half-hour labyrinth is a satiric and surreal look at the weird world of tomorrow from one of cinema’s kinkiest geniuses.

 

 


LINK »


An Illustrated History of Afrofuturism

(0)

Adrienne Crew is writing a series on Afrofuturism for HiLobrow, with special consideration of Pedro Bell's cover designs. From her third post on alien iconography:

 

Parliament was also one of the first creators to introduce into mainstream pop culture the narrative that aliens jump-started Egyptian, and by extension African, civilization. Many had been captivated by Erich von Däniken’s 1968 book, Chariot of the Gods, but P-Funk took the idea further and pushed a more Afrocentric agenda than Däniken.

Aliens and alienation are key features of Afrofuturism. [Pedro] Bell’s aliens were not alienated from their place in the world. Funk offered the promise of feeling at peace with the universe; a condition that often eludes African Americans.

Her second post considers "transportation—especially ships—as both a danger, and a vehicle for escape from danger."

 

[Bell's] Dali-esque cover for Standing on the Verge of Getting On features an actual chariot, manned by a Greek hero ready to fight space aliens. There’s even a detailed rendering of a Space Needle on the cover of Tales of Kidd Funkedelic.

 

LINK »


In Praise of the Sci-Fi Corridor

(1)

Corridors make science-fiction believable, because they're so utilitarian by nature - really they're just a conduit to get from one (often overblown) set to another. So if any thought or love is put into one, if the production designer is smart enough to realise that corridors are the foundation on which larger sets are 'sold' to viewers - Martin Anderson





via Autodespair

READ ON »


Harely Cokliss - The Atrocity Exhibition (1970)

(0)

Duration: 17 minutes

Directed by Harely Cokliss (no imdb page exists) and features Ballard talking about some of the ideas which would coalesce into his novel Crash, published in 1973. Intercut with footage of test motor crashes and Ballard himself are semi-dramatised scenes with actress Gabrielle Drake. Remarkably effective and disturbing. - UbuWeb

Gabrielle Drake in the TV series UFO

More on Gabrielle Drake from Ballardian.

LINK »


Pre-Tron Triple-I CGI in Michael Crichton's "Looker"

(0)

Directed by Michael Crichton, Looker (1981) features CGI from Triple-I (Information International Inc.) The studio was among the four companies selected to work on Tron's visual effects. (1982 Demo Reel.)

LINK »


Samuel R. Delany's Dhalgren on Stage

(0)

Bellona, a once illustrious city, has been decimated by a mysterious cataclysmic event, leaving it all but forgotten. Its people try to understand why buildings repeatedly burst into flames and city streets appear to rearrange themselves, citing race-related violence and a social experiment gone wrong. A parable of the dangers facing the modern American city, Bellona, Destroyer of Cities explores the shaping of space to express complex issues of race, gender, and sexuality. The production combines passages from Delaney’s novel with original material and video and photography by [Jay] Scheib and artist Carrie Mae Weems. LINK
Friday, May 13 and Saturday May 14, 7:30 pm Sunday, May 15, 2:00 pm Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

READ ON »


Banks of Beautiful Buttons

(0)

2010: The Year We Make Contact isn't quite as memorable as the Stanley Kubrick film that preceded it, still Russell Davies brings to our attention these "banks of beautiful buttons":





MORE »