If the success of Avatar and other theatrical spectacles don’t signal that 3D has crossed an important line in the public consciousness, this upcoming HDTV setup from Panasonic, debuted at the recent CES 2010, seems to certify it. As noted on Designboom, the VT25 series, above, out this spring
comes with a set of 3D glasses that create three dimensional images using the LC shutter system. This technology works by darkening and lightening the left and right lenses on the glasses in synch to the display, which correspondingly shows the right and left eye images. these flashes are so quick that the human eye cannot perceive them and instead creates the illusion of three dimensions. Panasonic also debuted an accompanying 3D blu-ray player and a 3D video camera.
Of course, fifty bucks says the killer app in home 3D will be porn.
Do you like a good sword? Now available on DVD, the documentary Reclaiming the Bladegeeks out on the history and power of “the Medieval and Renaissance blade, a profound and beautiful object hand-crafted by master artisans of old.” Indeed, the weapon is
an object of great complexity, yet one with a singular use in mind – it is designed to kill. The truth of the sword has been shrouded in antiquity, and the Renaissance martial arts that brought it to being are long forgotten. The ancient practitioners lent us all they knew through their manuscripts. As gunslingers of the Renaissance they were western heroes with swords, and they lived and died by them. Yet today their history remains cloaked under a shadow of legend.
For years, conceptual designer Syd Mead has been the man to whom companies go when they need to advance an audacious vision of the impending future.
Sydney Jay Mead was born in 1933, in Saint Paul, MN, to a Baptist minister and his wife. After graduating from the Art Center in Los Angeles in 1959, he worked at Ford Motor Company’s Advanced Styling Center in Dearborn, MI for two years. He then spent part of the next decade rendering now legendary concept illustration for U.S. Steel, above. “He painted,” one Mead fan site notes, “using a slick, detailed method that made the future seem fresh, clean, and thrilling.” He started Syd Mead, Inc. in 1970.
Soon, Hollywood came calling with movies that required his ultra-hard, visually authentic and tactile designs. (Mead lists his favorite metal as “chrome,” and his favorite color is, gulp, “Cherenkov radiation blue.”) His indelible technological notions were then emblazoned on sci-fi like Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Aliens, and Tron. (Indeed, some would argue that his US Steel snow walker, above right, obviously influenced another one in a galaxy far, far away, below right.)
But it was Blade Runner, right, Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic, on which Mead’s dystopic gigalopolis, both below right, most sears every frame. “In essence,” says author Paul Sammon (Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner), “what you’re seeing in many shots are almost three-dimensional representations of Syd Mead’s art.”
Sammon, Mead, director Steven Lisberger (Tron) and other industry vets testify in director Joaquin Montalvan’s 2005 documentary, Visual Futurist: The Art & Life of Syd Mead. The film tells Mead’s story from his own perspective, as well as from that of the people with whom he’s worked. It’s a rich document about a little-known man, but one whose whose ideas are deeply and widely embedded in American popular culture.
Joaquin Montalvan is a guest today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, August 21, at 2 pm ET.
• Change the rhetoric and you change the communication.
• Change the communication and you change the experience.
• Change the experience and you change a person’s orientation to the world.
• Change that orientation and you create conditions for profound social change.
You can hear Jason Del Gandio’s and Joaquin Montalvan’s ideas by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.
I may have finally cleared up for you what Q-Tip was actually saying (he told me himself) on the chorus of A Tribe Called Quest’s hit 1993 single, whose title I’ve also lifted for today’s post. But that track’s hook also summarizes the sentiment which drove the development of a medical implement that, today, is a common sexual aid: The vibrator.
In the 19th century, doctors were commonly diagnosing “hysteria” in female patients, a condition marked, according to historian Rachel P. Maines, in her book, The Technology of Orgasm, as characterized by ”anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability, nervousness, erotic fantasy, sensations of heaviness in the abdomen, lower pelvic edema and vaginal lubrication.” Hysteria was treated by inducing “paroxysm” in the patient, massaging her genitals until this state was reached. Manual methods, like the water massage technique, illustrated above, were applied. The development of early steam- or manually-powered vibrators, though, enabled doctors to stop using their hands and fingers for this task, while electric vibrators, such as this jackhammer-looking model, above right, made the process even more efficient.
If you’ve just read the previous paragraph in semi-disbelief, then said to yourself, “Hold up: In the 1800s, people were going to the doctor so he could get you off?”, you’re halfway there. Most people today would recognize “hysteria” as feminine sexual arousal. By categorizing it as an illness, however, Victorians avoided messy and uncomfortable discussions about the complexity of female sexuality and desire, relegating those discussions to the physician’s office, where they were, subsequently muted through categorization of the woman’s horniness as an illness. (There was no male equivalent of hysteria.) Argue producer/directors Wendy Slick and Emiko Omori, in their documentary PASSION & POWER: The Technology of Orgasm (a lot of title-borrowing today), hysteria “was a disease manufactured by doctors creating a lucrative clientele and a mutually camouflaged procedure that satisfied both” doctors and their patients.
Wendy Slick is a guest today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, March 20, at 2 pm ET.
But first, we’ll also talk with author Clive Young, whose new book, Homemade Hollywood: Fans Behind The Camera, right, traces another history: That of the so-called “Fan Film revolution—an underground movement where backyard filmmakers are breaking the law to create unauthorized movies starring Batman, James Bond, Captain Kirk, Harry Potter and other classic characters,” ones “which copyrights and common sense would never allow.” I wrote about Star Wars fan films for the much-lamented PREMIERE magazine, back in 2001, so I’m looking forward to the conversation.
You can hear Wendy Slick’s and Clive Young’s ideas by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.
Reclusive wunderkinds Kraftwerk (“power plant,” in German) have been making ill, steely beats since 1970, when Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider, above, founded the concept group in Düsseldorf. (They’d met as students in the conservatory there, during the late ’60s.)
What a feeling: Carlton Draught’s “Kevin Kavendish” gets footloose
Here’s the safest bet you can possibly make in your life: When director Adrian Lyne releasedFlashdance, on April 15, 1983, dollars-to-donuts that neither he nor the movie’s distributor, Paramount, was counting on anyone talking about it a quarter of a century later.
Here’s more proof, as if you needed it, that you can make anything look like anything else with a skilled-enough editor. On this trailer, a 22-year-old film student named Breanne (YouTube member name: forensicator8) decapitates director Brad Bird’s 2004 Oscar-winning masterpiece, The Incredibles, changing it from a high-spirited romp into a fever dream of dread.
Think of it as a meta-reversal on Rob Ryang’s 2005 Shining trailer, which reframed the terror of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, giving it back as a cheesy-but-tender father-son dramedy. Now, I’m just waiting to see if some Gandalf out there can turn Last Year at Marienbad into a high-speed action movie. Impress me.