What Heaven Looks Like

James Elkins has a thing for artists who have a thing about heaven, it seems. After several years’ neglect of the world of words-on-visual-art, I’ve gone back to see what he’s been up to, to discover that not only are some of his books now available for free download, but …

Anubis and Other Automata

Since the 80s, Paul Spooner, Matt Smith and a few like-minded craftspeople have been turning out hand-cranked wooden automata which are in varying degrees witty, dark, twee and incredibly intricate. Once upon a time, their work lived at the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre in Covent Garden, now long-gone. Since then I had lost track of the whole scene, but according to the Observer last weekend, this stuff is now considered very collectable. There’s a retrospective starting at Gallery 27 in Cork Street on September 20th. Evidently Spooner’s intricate mechanisms are inspired by the four-volume Ingenious Mechanisms for Designers and Inventors, edited …

Court of Hours

Walking from home to lunch and the Helen Chadwick retrospective at the Barbican the other day, discovered, down a sliproad of London Wall, the Worshipful Company of Barber-Surgeons’ herb garden, in a little park in the shadow of a fragment of the wall. Perfect place for a picnic ala Jeffrey Smart, in the shadow of some of London’s ugliest buildings.

The Stanford Bunny (and Hummingbird)

Linked to from A Critical History of Computer Graphics and Animation (which has both good history and some hard-to-find early CG videos, including Chuck Csuri’s Hummingbird (parts 1 and 2) and Tim Van Hook’s Pong Man) is a site dedicated to the Stanford Bunny dataset and the indignities to which it has been subjected through the years (fur, fracture and much else). I want to see the full Animating Fracture video…

A Changed World

Last night we went to the private view of A Changed World, an exhibition of work by second year students in an experimental printmaking course, at the Bankside Gallery. Some nice things, including this pig in a poke [2013: image lost], and a video by Sara Yaghubi, which features some good hair. Lots of people taking pictures, with all manner of devices, of the art and each other in equal measure… wonder if the moblogging thing is really happening, or if not, where all those images end up … (photo by Anne-Fay).

But The Big Fast Things Are Perfect: Appleseed

We were at the ‘World Sneak Preview’ of Masamune Shirow’s Appleseed at the ICA tonight. Complimentary sake and sushi, a lovingly-prepared but very silly flipchart presentation from the producer about the politics of the world in which it is set, then the film. The technique is impressive — the city of Olympus is beautifully rendered, the battle set-pieces are fluidly choreographed and edited, the whole nicely balancing genre conventions and virtuoso hyper-realism. Although the first few minutes owe too much to The Matrix-meets-Avalon, and in parts (to my eye) the human characters suffer somewhat from traditional anime styling, Appleseed is …