Sunday, November 16, 2008

Science vs Art, and Shadows Saying Hello

There's an interesting series of lectures underway in Bristol at the moment:

The Creative Brain: Conversations between Art and Science

Essentially a dialogue about the interaction of science and art and how there are overlaps and elements of the other in both disciplines - my favourite example is the book on my bookshelf called Beautiful Equations, covering such delights as Euler's e^iπ + 1 = 0 (sorry no superscript!). Ok, may have lost some artists at this point. Well another oft-praised equation, stemming from its simplicity, is 1 + 1 = 2. You have to admit it is quite lovely!

Anyway, I've got a bit off-topic - titled of upcoming lectures include Neuroesthetics, Love and Literature and Art inspired by Science. The lecture series runs for the next few weeks - if you have a chance, get down to Bristol!


Went to see this yesterday at the BFI as part of the onedotzero festival. No idea what the festival was about (despite the creative director explaining before the film), but Tokyo was a film that got away from me at the London Film Festival - this was just another chance to catch it. The film's concept is simple - three directors - two French and one Korean, are let loose on the city with the remit to capture some aspect of it as they see fit.

First up, and arguably the best of the three, Gondry's Interior Design, about a wacky film maker and his supportive girlfriend arriving in Tokyo looking for a jobs and somewhere to live. As this task frustrates their efforts, the film takes a surreal twist related to people defining themselves by whay they do. Charming and engaging.

Following this, monster-film parody Merde features a Gollum-like character emerging from the sewers under Tokyo to cause havoc in Tokyo. Finally caught, he is represented in court by a French lawyer who, being part of some sort of red-bearded one-eyed conspiracy, has to translate the creatures mutterings. Most bizarre!

Finally, Tokyo Shaking from Bong Joon-ho, a film about hikikomoris, the Japanese social recluses who stay in their bedrooms for years at a time. The idea behind the film revolves around two of them falling in love - how do they meet?! Only when earthquakes happen and everyone is driven from their homes into the otherwise empty Japanese streets!

I liked the concept, but it felt under-developed, and the lead character was clearly not suitable as a hikikomori. Still, as the bumph handed out finished off, this was a "lovely sorbet with which to end a piquant three-course meal". Indeed!

Under Scan

This appeared in the papers a few days ago and I was delighted to catch it yesterday (hadn't realised it was still on..)

Essentially Under Scan is an installation in Trafalgar Square whereby sophisticated projection systems are used to show people trapped in the pavement in your shadow, actually interacting with you and your shadow.

Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer has filmed figures that start sleeping on the ground. As you cast your shadow over them, the come alive, looking up at you, waving, etc. One holds a dog!

As you move away, they look dejected, and lie back down, go to sleep, or turn away. Such an interesting concept!

Under Scan is on in Trafalgar Square until November 23rd.

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