“Apocalypse Animated”

I’ve been watching a lot of short animation these past several years, and there are a lot of interesting animators out there. Nina Paley is one that I check on regularly and this is a trailer for one of her latest projects: a study, of sorts, of mandalas… based on “the Book of Revelation with animated GIF loops, in the tradition of Medieval and post-Medieval Apocalypses”:

“Maximum Man: The God of Cigarettes and Beer”

Evan Hadfield’s Rare Earth channel was on a combined vacation / COVID break / existential reassessment but is now back and this 9 minute video is the second of the newest episodes. It examines one particular aspect of the fusion of Mayan and European cultures in Guatemala, about which I know absolutely nothing, so Hadfield could be handing us a load of hooey yet what would I know? But Hadfield’s presentation is interesting if not colorful and now I can pretend that I know something about Central America beyond anything B. Traven wrote. Furthermore, as Hadfield put it: “Maximon was a wild thing to stumble across. Who knew that God could be so unassuming?”

“Chado”

If I were to say the Child’s day began well enough but then everything just fell apart, further complicated by serious Mother — Daughter issues… Well! The video wouldn’t sound like much fun. But this short video from Dominica Harrison has some amazing, demented animation. The screen full of awards is absolutely no surprise. Judge for yourself:

“Fifty Lost Earths”

I visit Professor David Kipping’s Cool Worlds Lab YouTube channel regularly, despite the clouds of commercials that swarm like mosquitoes or maybe midges. The channel satisfies a slightly geeky fascination with exoplanet research.

This particular video is a retrospective on the data returned by the Kepler space telescope. It’s political in the sense that what Kepler has found, or hasn’t found, has implications for the design of any follow-on missions, one of which is already in the planning stages.

“Twelve years ago, NASA predicted around 50 Earth-like planets would be discovered by the Kepler telescope. And yet, we’re left essentially none. What happened? Why did those predictions not match reality? And what can we learn from these 50 lost dreams…”

Written & presented by Prof David Kipping

“Hand in Hand”

“Only a formal handshake separates two politicians from a sealed contract. But as both stubbornly try to gain the upper hand within the gesture, their grim intransigence takes on a monstrous life of its own.”

The above from the Swiss Das alte Lager Vimeo channel. It was written and directed by Ennio Ruschetti while at the Zurich University of Arts.

I’m especially fond of this brief video as it is a surreal and succinct and funny performance of what I call “pecking order politics”. It’s a label that tends to trivialize something that is present in all human society and every bit as powerful as more emergent characteristics like class, ethnicity, etc. Though we don’t everywhere deal with it the same way… There are situational “pecking orders” for example… But I won’t go on about it; boring! and my ideas about it probably only half baked. Check out the video instead; it’s a trip.

“Sororal”

I’ll admit that what got my attention was that the video was produced by Papy3D Productions (co-produced by JPL Films…), a French production house that has produced some really great animation. This video has really great stop motion animation and all its elements work together to evoke particular moods… though as a short story, it reminds me of stuff I used to read before the turn of the century, though if I were to go on about that, it would be a spoiler. I’ll just say that I admire this video more than I like it. Judge for yourself:

Written and directed by Frédéric Even and Louise Mercadier.

The Internet Is Dead

the first one is always free

I ran across the Masyanya Kuvaeva YouTube channel through The Russian Reader blog, a site of interest, political or cultural, to anyone interested in whatever is going down in Eurasia. In fact, it’s interesting even if you’re not much interested in whatever…

The CC should have an English translation for this episode; other episodes, you’ll rely on Google.

“Shadows in the Sky”

This is incredible. This is stunning. Or at least I think so! This is work that Mike Olbinski posted back in April of 2021, but if you’ve not yet seen it… It’s powerful. Lyrically, the music really has nothing to do with the weather; as best as I understood them, the lyrics were ominous and seriously creepy. But Olbinski’s great weather videography is superbly edited into the melody for a profoundly beautiful and unsettling affect and effect. Within seconds, I was prepared to head for the basement. Full screen and headphones recommended and — heads up: strobing lightning. See for yourself:

The music is the song “The Last Goodbye” by Eric Kinny, featuring Danica Dora.

On the video’s web page, Olbinski explains:

“Sometimes it takes you months to find the correct song for your next project and other times you find it in about three minutes. When I heard The Last Goodbye, the haunting melody and gorgeous vocals, not to mention the cinematic feel leading to a pulse-pounding finale, I knew instantly I wanted to use this for a black and white film.

“Interestingly enough, while I love making these monochrome films, I’ve had this newfound love of color in storms, the variety, the stunning tones of greens, blues, oranges, reds and everything in-between. So as I was making this film entirely in black and white, I kept getting this unsatisfied feeling. I decided to try something new about halfway through, when the song’s pace slowly increases, and I hope it’s something you enjoy!

“I love this song, I love these clips and I love chasing storms. The scenes in this film have appeared before, and I cannot wait to get out and get some new stuff to share down the road. It may be two years of collecting footage again before I create something new, so I had to put something out now to tide me over until then and also to fire me up for storm season! Hope you enjoy!”