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Daily Archives: October 20, 2020
Cryonics Technology Market Key Trends, Drivers, Challenges and Standardization To 2020-2026 – PRnews Leader
Posted: October 20, 2020 at 6:41 pm
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New Movies to Watch This Week: Honest Thief, American Utopia and Venice Fest Winner Martin Eden – Variety
Posted: at 6:40 pm
The sheer range of genres represented by this weeks new releases from Liam Neeson thriller Honest Thief to romantic weepie 2 Hearts suggests that distributors of all kinds are doing their best to give audiences the kind of selection they enjoyed before the lockdown.
Well, nearly all kinds of distributors.
The major studios are still playing it safe and holding their tentpoles for a time when they can pack the megaplexes, although Paramount has stepped in with a fun post-apocalyptic adventure, Love and Monsters, which goes straight to PVOD, and Sony picked up an unconventional neo-noir called The Kid Detective out of the Toronto Film Festival that sneaks into theaters today. Pre-Halloween horror offerings continue, asAmazon Prime releases two more titles in its Welcome to the Blumhouse series: Evil Eye and Nocturne.
Art-houses land a major title in 2019 Venice Film Festival winner Martin Eden, an Italian adaptation of the Jack London novel. Comedy fans can laugh along with Jimmy O. Yang in The Opening Act, in which the Silicon Valley star plays a standup struggling to find his feet. And Edward James Olmos makes his directorial debut an ambitious if wildly overreaching satire about oil-company malfeasance with The Devil Has a Name.
As much as some audiences miss the cinema experience, the feelings even more acute for live theater. Broadway has gone entirely dark during the shutdown, so its a special kind of thrill that this week brings filmed versions of two hit shows. Debuting on HBO Saturday night, Spike Lee directs David Byrnes American Utopia, an ebullient, immersive concert in the vein of the Talking Heads Stop Making Sense, while A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood helmer Marielle Heller brings Heidi Schrecks Tony-nominated What the Constitution Means to Me to Amazon.
The latter seems perfectly timed to the looming election, which continues to motivate various doc makers to weigh in with politically engaged offerings such as The Atlantics White Noise, which profiles three alt-right influencers, and White Riot, about Eric Claptons late-70s Rock Against Racism initiative, a music-driven response to National Front marches and anti-immigrant sentiment. Its a concert movie with conscience. Likewise, musical bio Harry Chapin: When In Doubt celebrates the late folk singers career, as well as his dedication to ending world hunger.
On the less serious musical front, Netflix offers some cotton-candy diversion in the form of K-pop doc Blackpink: Light Up the Sky, while Disney Plus delivers Clouds, an emotional tribute to the late Zach Sobiech, adapted from his moms memoir, Fly a Little Higher: How God Answered a Moms Small Prayer in a Big Way.
Heres a rundown of those films opening this week that Variety has covered, along with links to where you can watch them. Find more movies and TV shows to stream here.
The Kid DetectiveCourtesy of Stage 6 Films
2 Hearts (Lance Hool)Distributor: Freestyle ReleasingWhere to Find It: In theaters now2 Hearst is a softheaded piece of morbid romantic treacle two parallel cloying love stories for the price of one. But it all builds to them merging together, and the film tips its hand within 10 minutes that its spiritual linchpin will be a cataclysmic medical trauma. It takes no great deduction to look at these couples, put two and two together, and realize that what were watching is going to turn into a faith-based organ-transplant movie. 2 Hearts is based on a true story, but what its selling is sanctimonious charity disaster porn. The big message is: Even the most devastating trauma is all part of Gods plan. Owen GleibermanRead the full review
Honest Thief (Mark Williams)Distributor: Open RoadWhere to Find It: In theaters nowDirected by the co-creator of Ozark, this is a serviceably energized and routine action crime movie, with a few slammin fistfights and gun battles, and it proves once again that Liam Neeson is an actor who will take a paycheck gig without treating it like one. The idea of a super-criminal turning himself in is intriguing, but once the plan gets blown apart, Honest Thief becomes a glumly standard piece of B-movie Tinkertoy, with no surprises. And yet the corniest thing about it Toms drive to save his love for Annie (Kate Walsh) is also the most convincing. Owen GleibermanRead the full review
The Kid Detective (Evan Morgan)Distributor: Sony Pictures, Stage 6 FilmsWhere to Find It: In theaters nowDont be fooled by the cheery ring of the Disney-esque title The Kid Detective. Splendidly summoning film noir-esque vibes, classically ghastly bad guys and femme fatale types out of a whimsical small town full of grotesque mysteries, this bold and often surprisingly humorous film think of it as a more mainstream version of Rian Johnsons Brick grapples with themes related to murder and abuse, as well as the existential dread of its central recluse, who fell grossly short of the promising life he thought he was meant to have in his younger days. Tomris LafflyRead the full review
Martin EdenVenice Film Festival
The Devil Has a Name (Edward James Olmos)Distributor: Momentum PicturesWhere to Find It: In theaters, on demand and through digital providersRob McEveety overwrites the heck out of this dark comedy, cramming it full of fancy language and over-the-top caricatures, like Shore Oil regional director Gigi Cutler (a wicked Kate Bosworth), who saunters into a board room, slams back a few whiskey shots and explains, in a cockeyed Texas drawl, There are 53 different types of nuts in the world. He was one of them. Shes referring to Fred Stern, whose almond crop has been compromised by radioactive microparticles, but a line like that tells you weve left planet earth and are operating in the carnival-like realm of the imagination. Peter DebrugeRead the full review
Love and Monsters (Michael Matthews)Distributor: Paramount PicturesWhere to Find It: Available for $19.99 via premium video on demandIts the end of the world as Joel (Dylan OBrien) knows it and, despite living in an underground bunker for seven years to evade the gigantic mutant reptiles, insects and amphibians that now roam the earths surface, he feels surprisingly fine. Michael Matthews cheerfully PG-13 adventure comedy quickly dispenses with any notional topicality threatened by its premise, but thats all for the best. It leaves Love and Monsters free to get on with its splattery creature effects and silly but satisfying heros journey entirely unencumbered by importance. Jessica KiangRead the full review
Martin Eden (Pietro Marcello)Distributor: Kino LorberWhere to Find It: In select theaters and virtual cinemasThough best known in the States for his wilderness novels, Jack Londons key novel is Martin Eden, a semi-autobiographical work tracing his background from unschooled sailor to celebrated writer, encompassing all his class anger, political musings and intense dissatisfaction with the life he created. Now Marcello (The Mouth of the Wolf) has made it the subject of his sprawling first full-fiction film, sticking close to the narrative while setting it in an undefinable 20th-century moment to make his own statements about the creative process, class hypocrisy and the disappointment of most political theories. Jay WeissbergRead the full review
The Opening Act (Steve Byrne)Distributor: RJLEWhere to Find It: In theaters, on demand and through digital providersImagine, for a moment, that a stand-up comic is just like a superhero. On stage, hes a master of the universe, armored and impervious, slinging jokes like lightning bolts. He defeats all adversaries, from hecklers to the potential indifference of the audience; laughter, of course, is his way of killing. If thats what a stand-up comic is, then The Opening Act, Steve Byrnes wryly likable shoestring indie comedy about a young man trying to make it in the world of stand-up, might be described as a stand-up-comedy origin story. Owen GleibermanRead the full review
S---house (Cooper Raiff)Distributor: IFC FilmsWhere to Find It: In select theaters and on demandRaiff plays Alex Malmquist, an college freshman whos been having trouble adjusting to the idea of being a self-sufficient 19-year-old so far away from his family back in Texas. Alex cant stand his roommate (Logan Miller), isnt serious about classes and has no idea where to find the parties or the girls, for that matter. Then he meets Maggie (Dylan Gelula), a sophomore with a much more casual idea of hooking up. Cooper brings enough honesty to this different-pages dynamic she rushes into sex, hes looking for romance that one can easily imagine him going on to write projects that connect with his generation. Peter DebrugeRead the full review
White Noise (Daniel Lombroso)Distributor: The AtlanticWhere to Find It: Available via Laemmle virtual cinemas, expanding to VOD on Oct. 23The subject of White Noise is racist white nationalism and the people in America who believe in it, but the characters at the films center arent neo-Klan knuckle-draggers from the heartland. Theyre hip, attractive, relatively young social-media-friendly self-promoters who have turned their hate into a brand. They are also, as the film reveals, deeply shallow and self-deluded hypocrites. In addition to Richard Spencer, this lively and disturbing documentary portrait also follows the activities of Lauren Southern and Mike Cernovich. Owen GleibermanRead the full review
What the Constitution Means to MeJoan Marcus
What the Constitution Means to Me (Marielle Heller)Where to Find It: Amazon PrimeIn high school, 15-year-old Heidi Schreck won enough prize money giving Constitution-themed speeches at American Legion halls to pay her way through college. A quarter-century later, Schreck spun her memories of all that youthful idealism into a hit Broadway show. No doubt, in planning to release a filmed version of her show on Oct. 16, she hoped that her words might impact the 2020 presidential election. What Schreck couldnt have imagined is that the same week the special dropped on Amazon Prime, Senate lawmakers would be posing that very question to Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Peter DebrugeRead the full review
Evil Eye (Elan Dassani, Rajeev Dassani)Where to Find It: Amazon Prime
Nocturne (Zu Quirke)Where to Find It: Amazon Prime
Clouds (Justin Baldoni)Where to Find It: Disney PlusAs likably played by actor-musician Fin Argus in his first credited feature role, Zach Sobiech is stoic but not dour, headlining this sweet, smoothed-over biopic of the teenage singer-songwriter, who died aged 18 of cancer, shortly after scoring the viral folk-pop hit that lends the film its title. Christianity is a neutral background presence in Baldonis and screenwriter Kara Holdens interpretation of the Sobiechs story. Instead, Clouds pushes a less specific, more inclusive faith in the human spirit not to achieve miracles but, in the words of its hero, to make people happy, as much as I can for as long as I can. Guy LodgeRead the full review
David Byrnes American UtopiaDavid Lee/HBO
David Byrnes American Utopia (Spike Lee) CRITICS PICKWhere to Find It: Available Oct. 17 on HBO MaxByrnes spiky and exuberant 21st-century rock-concert-on-Broadway jamboree consisted of the former Talking Head and 11 fellow musicians, all barefoot and dressed in silver-blue suits, dancing and marching and prancing and bopping around a bare stage as they performed 21 songs. Any screen version of a Broadway show will take you closer to the action than most theater seats do. But in American Utopia, Lee turns the stage into a diorama he keeps breaking apart and pushing back together. Its just us, and you, says Byrne, speaking to the audience, and the movie nudges that you into a place beyond the fourth wall. Owen GleibermanRead the full review
A Babysitters Guide to Monster HuntingCourtesy of Netflix
A Babysitters Guide to Monster Hunting(Rachel Talalay)Where to Find It: NetflixIts either an in-joke or an irony that the not-terribly-terrifying villain is named The Grand Guignol, for this perky, clean-cut kiddie-horror steers as far clear as possible of the macabre gore that moniker implies. In this tale of an underground babysitter syndicate dedicated to fighting the things that go bump in the night, even the monsters are cute. Yet cuteness supplants genuine charm in this Netflix-released adaptation of screenwriter Joe Ballarinis YA book series, which may adequately distract very young ones on a socially distanced Halloween night, but offers ample room for improvement in the franchise it seeks to start. Guy LodgeRead the full review
Blackpink: Light Up the Sky(Caroline Suh)Where to Find It: Netflix
The rest is here:
Posted: at 6:40 pm
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended American cities. Downtowns have become ghost towns thanks to new work-from-anywhere policies. Food delivery and e-commerce are booming (though supply chains are being pushed to the max). Now that their residents no longer need to commute to work or to the mall, how are cities reinventing themselves? Some have taken this opportunity to close streets to car traffic in favor of outdoor dining, recreation, and retaila new urban model hailed as the 15-minute city. Others are exploring how to build much-needed new housing through relaxed zoning and new technology, and still others are developing plans to convert office towers into a new generation of live-work-play buildings. Cities have survived all manner of unexpected challenges, only to rise again using a mix of creativity and innovation. What will cities of the future look like? Fast Company and Honeywell took a fascinating look at the new urban landscape at the 2020 Fast Company Innovation Festival.
See the rest here:
Posted: at 6:40 pm
HBO's David Byrne's American Utopia captures a live performance of Byrne's acclaimed Broadway show. David Lee/HBO hide caption
HBO's David Byrne's American Utopia captures a live performance of Byrne's acclaimed Broadway show.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
2 Broadway Stars Grapple With COVID And ALS: 'We're Adapting To A New Reality': Married Broadway stars Danny Burstein and Rebecca Luker both contracted COVID in the spring. Burstein was hospitalized. Luker's case was less severe, but it came soon after she was diagnosed with ALS.
David Byrne And Spike Lee Conjure Up A Joyous Vision Of 'American Utopia': Lee's new film for HBO captures a live performance of Byrne's acclaimed Broadway show. David Byrne's American Utopia is a rousing blend of song, dance and revival meeting.
Podcast Examines How 'Nice White Parents' Become Obstacles In Integrated Schools: Serial reporter Chana Joffe-Walt says progressive white parents may say they want their kids to go to diverse schools but the reality tells a different story. Her new podcast is Nice White Parents.
You can listen to the original interviews and review here:
2 Broadway Stars Grapple With COVID And ALS: 'We're Adapting To A New Reality'
David Byrne And Spike Lee Conjure Up A Joyous Vision Of 'American Utopia'
Podcast Examines How 'Nice White Parents' Become Obstacles In Integrated Schools
Read the rest here:
Posted: at 6:40 pm
The episode Hartsfields Landing, from the third season of The West Wing, first aired in February 2002, which was approximately 200 years ago.
Donald Trump was still two years from joining The West Wing on NBC with The Apprentice his main TV gig at the time was co-starring with Grimace in a commercial for the McDonalds Big N Tasty burger. Mark Zuckerberg had yet to start classes at Harvard. Elections played out at the relatively staid tempo of network TV news. And an idealistic network drama about politics could still be a Top 10 show, averaging over 17 million viewers an episode.
On Thursday, HBO Max premiered a stage performance of Hartsfields Landing. Its ostensible purpose was to benefit the nonprofit group When We All Vote. But it couldnt help seeming like the prying open of a time capsule.
Its not alone, however, in trying to fit in one last civics lesson before the polls close. It joins several stage works arriving on TV a hip-hop musical, a furious feminist read of the constitution, a quirkily political theatrical concert that are framing the anxieties of 2020 within the pop culture of the last two decades.
As TV series go, The West Wing was a relative no-brainer to adapt for the stage. Its creator, Aaron Sorkin (To Kill a Mockingbird), always sounds as if he were writing for the theater even when he isnt.
Recorded under coronavirus protocols at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles, the performance instantly recalls why the series was such an intoxicating entertainment and seductive ideal. The original cast members are grayer, but their interactions still sparkle. (Sterling K. Brown fills in for John Spencer, who died in 2005.)
But the format also underscores the distance between then and now, as if the politics and cultural tempo of the early aughts themselves were now period-piece revival material.
Premiering in 1999 after a run of relative 20th-century institutional stability, The West Wing believed that the system worked, even if the people in it could always be better.
President Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen) was an aspirational Gallant to realitys Goofuses. In the late Bill Clinton era, he was a fantasy of morally upstanding, unapologetic liberalism. In the Bush years, he was a fantasy of a proudly intellectual president. Today well, take your pick. Wanting better leaders never goes out of style, but the seriess reverent institutionalism now seems much more remote.
Hartsfields Landing takes its title from a subplot in which the aide Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) frets over the results from the first small town to vote in the New Hampshire primary. Its an odd story because Bartlet is running for renomination essentially unopposed. But for a show enamored with retail democracy in all its absurdity, its too much to resist. (One does wonder, if the episode had been written in 2020, whether someone might at least note the inordinate power that the quaint tradition gives a handful of white voters.)
This affection for civic ritual, in norms-trampling Trumpian times, now seems star-crossed and nave. As the actor Samuel L. Jackson put it during an act break, Our politics today are a far cry from the romantic notion of The West Wing. Even the central metaphor of the episode, Bartlets playing his advisers at chess, seems sadly nostalgic in an era dominated by players who prefer to kick over the board.
The West Wing was always a palliative fantasy. The election arc eventually led Bartlet to run against the Republican governor of Florida, Robert Ritchie (James Brolin), a proud anti-intellectual who shared political DNA with George W. Bush. Bartlet decided to own his erudition rather than run from it, sarcastically shredded his opponent in a debate and won re-election in a landslide.
Two years later, George W. Bush became what is now the only Republican since his father won in 1988 to earn a majority of the popular vote.
Well, fantasy is part of what TV is for. And fantasy can be a strong motivator: Arguably, part of what fuels Joseph R. Biden Jr.s campaign against the Twitter president today is the promise, however improbable, of returning to a time of relative comity, reverence and quiet.
But the show fed a lot of fantasies that have smashed hard and ugly against reality. The West Wing was smitten with the power of words. But in the real world, there is no speech so masterly that it stuns your rivals into awed silence, no debate argument so irrefutable that your opponent cant just bark Wrong! over it a hundred times.
Its nice to think that going high always beats going low, but we know now what The West Wing learned as it steadily lost audience to the likes of The Bachelor. What works in scripted drama does not necessarily fly in a reality-TV world.
Connoisseurs of a different form of political idealism got it in July when Disney+ streamed the filmed performance of Lin-Manuel Mirandas founding-father musical, Hamilton.
If The West Wing was the progressive pop-cultural fantasy of the Clinton-Bush years, Hamilton was its Obama-era answer. (Miranda previewed a snippet at a White House poetry jam in 2009.) Its hip-hop score and its pointed casting of actors of color to play white dollar-bill figures embodied an America resolved to expand its political and cultural range of portraiture.
At its Broadway premiere in 2015, and through the campaign of 2016, there was a kind of triumphalism in the discourse around it. Americas first Black president was finishing his second term; his female former secretary of state was, surely, about to replace him. Inclusion had won.
There were still people outside the Hamilton spirit, of course. But a candidate who ran on building walls and demonizing immigrants they get the job done! would surely fail. The day after the Access Hollywood tape came out in October 2016, Miranda hosted Saturday Night Live and sang Donald Trumps epitaph with his own lyrics: Hes never gonna be president now.
But hubris was never really the spirit of Mirandas musical. Its music and casting spoke backward in time to a country that talked the talk of liberty and equality but would take centuries to attempt to walk the walk. It was a story of leaders compromising their ideals, of setback and backlash; of planting seeds of hope that you would never live to see grow.
It took the shock of 2016 the world turned upside down to bring that aspect of Hamilton to the fore. The film premiered on Disney+ the same Independence Day weekend that the president gave a vicious speech at Mount Rushmore that accused antiracism protesters of attacking American history itself.
Watched in that moment, the musical suddenly felt more defiant, combative and urgent. (As it did after the 2016 election, when the cast called out the Vice President-Elect, Mike Pence, in the audience of a performance.)
It was engaged in an argument, not in the past but right now, over whose faces get carved into stone and whom history belongs to. Fittingly for a show about underdogs, it was playing from the standpoint not of the regime but of the rebellion.
The Hamilton that came to Disney+ was the same one that played on Broadway in June 2016, when the film was shot. And it was entirely different. Not a single line had changed. Reality provided the rewrite.
A celebration and a requiem
Two more politically minded stage shows airing on TV this weekend originated during the current administration, yet they already find themselves reframed by current events. Amazons What the Constitution Means to Me, Heidi Schrecks fact-filled feminist lament of how womens bodies have been left out of this document from the beginning, is more plangent and vivid after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has an audio cameo in the show.
One of the seasons most stirring statements comes from a concert movie. David Byrnes American Utopia, on HBO and HBO Max starting Saturday, looks superficially like a sequel to the art-pop of Stop Making Sense, the Jonathan Demme film of Byrnes heyday with Talking Heads. (Even the natty gray outfits he and his band wear recall his absurdist 80s big suit.) And the film, directed by Spike Lee, is kinetic, visually playful fun.
But a message slips in elliptically, the only way Byrne knows how to travel. He begins alone onstage, serenading a model of a brain. Were born, he says, with more neural connections than we end life with. Does that make us dumber as we age, or better?
Utopia dances to the answer by skipping through Byrnes catalog, synthesizing a worldview. Hes always had a fascination with homes and houses (burning down the, this is not my beautiful, etc.). Now he builds those blocks into an argument: that a full life means starting from your brain your first, hermetic home and then building connections with other people and inviting them in.
This might be a cornball message coming from someone other Byrne, who, as he describes himself, has always been skittish of guests and gregariousness. (That big suit looked like a kind of armor.) Nor has he been politically didactic, preferring the approach of Dadaists like Hugo Ball, who provided the lyrics for I Zimbra, using nonsense to make sense of a world that didnt make sense.
But time changes everyone. As American Utopia goes on, its politics become more explicit, addressing voting and immigration, building to Janelle Mones racial-justice anthem Hell You Talmbout which, Byrne adds self-consciously, he called Mone about to make sure she was OK with having a white man of a certain age perform it.
Finally, Byrne and company bike the streets of Manhattan to the tune of his Everybodys Coming to My House. It feels like a light ending until you recall that the stage production of Utopia closed in February, just before the pandemic shut down Broadway and nobody was coming to anybodys house anymore.
Viewed today, the shows quirky communitarianism its idea of America as a polymorphous, all-welcoming dance party feels like both celebration and requiem for the irreplaceable delight dancing together on a stage. (In all these staged-film productions, the shut-ins medium of TV is filling in now for the community of Broadway and the multiplex.)
But it also plays like a call to action. Weve had to close up our houses for now. We might as well take advantage of the pause, American Utopia says, to think about what kind of home we want to live in once we get to open up again.
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Posted: at 6:40 pm
Nearly 50 years ago, Sbastien Cuveliers late uncle travelled from Namur in Belgium to visit Persepolis, located in Iran a journey he documented through diary entries and photographs he gathered while there. Inspired by his uncles manuscript, Luxembourg-based Cuvelier traced his steps by making the journey all these years later, and discovered a stark contrast between the pre-revolution Iran his uncle detailed, and the present-day Iran that he himself encountered.
Cuvelier likewise documented his time in Iran, and the resulting photographs have been incorporated into a new photo book, Paradise City, published by Gost Books. The series taps into the resistance, particularly among young people, to restrictions in Iran that range from social media censorship to surveillance of artistic expression.
Iran as described in my uncles journal sounded like a country in the midst of change, with the economy picking up and young people influenced by Western fashion, Cuvelier tells us. My uncle was a history buff, so the journal he wrote also had a lot of historical references to the Persian Empire and the remains from that era that were visible then (and still are). The photographs he took focused mostly either on those historical elements or on the various landscapes he and his friends encountered during their journey to Persepolis.
These historical connections are brought to the fore by the book design: extracts from his uncles journal are used as a base layer to illustrate how this quest for an elusive paradise is a universal, timeless pursuit. Even though my uncles journal is written in French and will not be understood by everyone, I felt that its sheer visual value was interesting in how I wanted the images to be seen, the photographer explains.
Cuvelier created the photo series across three trips to Iran, where he couch-surfed his way through the country. He mostly stayed with young Iranians who responded positively to the idea behind the trip and his undertaking of the project.
Overall, these many encounters helped me define the scope of the project, as it was obvious that most of the youth I met felt that they could not accomplish their dreams in a restricted country like Iran, he explains. He aimed to reflect this in the photographs through particular colours, symbols and metaphors as a way of showing glimpses of what goes through their minds.
The series contains somewhat fantastical elements as a way of channelling nostalgic, romanticised, and even utopian perspectives. Some images use subtle tools like framing and lighting to hint at the tension between could-be paradise and present-day reality. Others are more obviously dreamlike, such as an enclosed outdoor space bathed in dramatic pink, which nods to the old Persian roots of word paradise denoting a walled garden.
Scattered throughout Paradise City are floral references, which Cuvelier feels evoke the garden connotations tied to the idea of paradise, while also reinforcing a sense of romanticism. Yet the flowers also feature organically, since they are simply what he encountered while in Iran, whether in peoples clothes or in the sights he saw. I was fascinated by how much flowers were part of the landscape, either as real flowers or representations, be it drawings on walls, carpets, peoples clothes, headscarves, he says. Most graffiti I saw had the same recurring themes, mostly revolving around war martyrs and floral motifs.
Based on his visits, Cuvelier describes Iran as a country where history is full of nostalgia, people are deeply romantic and flowers are everywhere. Contemporary Iranian youth have also developed their own notions of paradise, and for most it is anchored in Persia. Its existence is linked to hope, the quest for change, the desire for a new beginning. These feelings bring with them an ever-present hint of nostalgia, seen in family tales, photo albums or through the fading memory of distant cousins who emigrated to find their own paradise city.
Paradise City by Sbastien Cuvelier is published by Gost Books; gostbooks.com
Originally posted here:
[Herald Design Forum 2020] Finding balanced symbiosis by connecting art, natural sciences – The Korea Herald
Posted: at 6:40 pm
Sometimes you have nightmares and sometimes you have dreams. It means you can think about dystopia and utopia as a nightmare or a dream, he said in an interview.
Saraceno, who will join the Herald Design Forum 2020 slated for Thursday as one of keynote speakers, said that utopia, though as changeable as a dream, is something that is supposed to be better.
Saraceno said he wants to dream with other people because he believes people need to better understand habitat and non-human life in order to fully grasp and think about a whole utopia.
When we think about the utopia of a certain society, or for humans, it might really be a dystopia for others, he said.
Saraceno seeks a way to embrace a larger way of thinking so that people do not destroy the utopia of other species as a means to achieve a certain utopia for human society. For instance, he tries to stay aware of the other forms of life he shares his house with, such as bacteria and spiders.
Saraceno studied and majored in architecture at Stadel Institute of Art in Frankfurt, Germany. He freely explores in the fields of art, architecture and natural sciences to create artwork depicting the idea of utopia. He dreams of a utopia that encompasses the well-being of various species, including the humans, where they can coexist and prosper.
Tomas Saraceno, Our Interplanetary Bodies (2017) on display at the Asia Culture Center in South Korea (Herald DB)
He shone light on spiders which reacted to the frequencies. The webs they made while doing this caught dust particles, which turned those webs into three-dimensional sculptures.
These sculptures were then put on display. Saraceno incorporates the works of other organisms as a part of art and thus captures the value of his interpretation of symbiosis through these projects.
He emphasized the importance of solidarity during the pandemic period. When you are in an airplane flying and there is a message that tells you, in the case of an accident, first help yourself and put the mask on you and then help the kid next to you, he said, connecting this idea with dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. But for me its always first I need to help the person who is next to me because it is my responsibility. But if you cannot breathe, you will not be able to help the other. Saraceno believes that this view can help us survive together through the pandemic era.
The Aerocene Pacha project expresses his value of solidarity. It was launched in January this year and took place in a salt desert near Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Twenty-two contemporary artists and curators from five different cities around the world -- London, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Seoul and New York -- came together to express the philosophy that BTS pursues. The philosophy revolves around diversity, connection and communication through modern art.
Saraceno portrayed Aerocene Pacha in the form of giant hot-air balloons that functioned solely on solar and wind power, without the use of any fossil fuel or helium gas.
The name of the project Aerocene Pacha is derived from the concept Pacha that comes from the worldview of the Inca Empire. This concept combines the idea of time and space from the depths of the earth and to the furthest reaches of the universe. Saraceno shared the message that life on earth not only consists of humans but it also interacts and connects with the universe. The flight records of Aerocene Pacha was livestreamed for a month via satellite broadcasting.
On the Connect, BTS project, Saraceno said, Connect, BTS allowed me to connect with other people. Im happy to connect and extend and to have more friends around the world, which is very simple but at the same time its very important.
He found it fascinating that such a young generation could be so politically engaged and said that it provided an opportunity to break out of comfort zones and provide to those who would have never been to a museum to see artworks by displaying projects in fields rather than inside museums.
Saraceno said that If we manage to have 7 billion people, each of us, to have one friend more, and each of us are connected to a circle of friends, circle of animals, circle of plants and if each of us extend and connect a little bit more we can better tackle the challenges such as the climate change and global warming through what he calls a higher connection for the world.
Tomas Saraceno, On the Disappearance of Clouds (2019) shown at the Venice Biennale (Herald DB)
By Song Donna (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Posted: at 6:39 pm
If ever there were a year to try games that can drop you into an alternate reality, 2020 would be it. As the coronavirus pandemic restricts our travel and the never-ending news cycle weighs on our minds, a virtual reality headset can provide some relief, escape and distraction (at least for a little bit) from actual reality. Its one of the best ways to leave home from the comfort of your home.
The goggle-like gadgets, which float a screen in front of your eyes to create a virtual 360-degree landscape, offer an immersive way to play increasingly powerful video games, make art, exercise, and even spend time with friends. And its a good time to get in on the action: In the past, VR headsets were attached to a computer and were, for most people, prohibitively expensive. But the new generation is surprisingly approachable. Facebook recently launched the Oculus Quest 2, a $300 headset that Wirecutter named its top pick because it doesnt require cords or a computer you can slip it on and start playing just about anywhere, though it does require a Facebook account to use. An alternative is Playstations PSVR, but with outdated specs and a new PlayStation due in November, the PSVR will soon be obsolete. Other VR headsets, like the Vive and Valve Index, are pricier and require PCs.
The rapidly expanding VR universe, which is accessible from an app store within the headset, will please beginners of all tastes and ages, from an experienced PC gamer to your 8-year-old niece. Here are some tips on where to begin.
For the Matrix Superfan
SUPERHOT ($25), a stylish first-person shooter game, challenges players to kill faceless red enemies with weapons like guns and ninja stars. Originally made for PC, the game translates perfectly to VR gameplay relies on moving to avoid bullets and punches. If the player stops moving, so does everything else. Not only does it feel like being in The Matrix, but its also a nice touch for beginners who can stand still and pause the action when they begin to get overwhelmed.
If a slow-paced puzzle is more your pace, I Expect You to Die ($25) is one of the best examples for VR. Each level is like an escape room, where players must use the items around them to complete challenges such as starting a car before driving it out of an airplane or destroying a villain-developed machine. When players mess up, they die and start the level over again. The game is single-player, but its still fun to pass the headset back and forth with a friend to work through roadblocks together.
Angry Birds helped to hook the world on mobile gaming more than a decade ago, and the game works well in VR, too, where flinging feathered avians at green pigs and their flimsy dwellings in a tropical island setting has a surprisingly relaxing effect. Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs ($15) also has the option to build custom levels, adding the ability to choose your own pigs, block materials, and use as much TNT as you want, for players who are into that sort of thing.
If you download just one VR game, make it Beat Saber ($30). Its reminiscent of the arcade hit Dance Dance Revolution, only instead of stomping their feet in rhythm with the music, players move while swinging two light sabers to cut through flying boxes. Break this game out at a party and guests of all ages can immediately play or laugh at the headset wearers as they swing their arms wildly and hop from side to side. It also makes for a great workout for family members missing their days at the gym.
Deep with story, puzzles and action, Half-Life: Alyx ($60) is a critically acclaimed game that links the stories of the beloved Half-Life and Half-Life 2. Players collect resources, fight enemies and, most impressively, explore a virtual landscape that feels rich in detail and opportunities for interaction. This feels like the full-featured game that many of VRs earliest adopters have been waiting for. The catch? Its a PC VR game, meaning it utilizes the power of a high-end computer to render its full effects. It also requires an Oculus Link cable ($80) to run it on a Quest 2 (owning both a PC and a Link cable will put many more VR games within your reach).
POPULATION: ONE (set to launch Oct. 22) might not stand out among the increasingly crowded field of battle royale games available for Xbox or PlayStation, but its the first worthy option for VR. Parachute into town with a squad and then gather weapons, ammo and medical supplies to survive the coming battle. A constantly shrinking play area pushes players closer and closer to enemies, forcing them to fight to see which team is the last to survive, making it an adrenaline-filled bonding experience.
Who else dreamed of being Ender Wiggin as a kid? Echo Arena, part of Echo VR (free) transports players to a zero-gravity battle room that looks like its straight out of Enders Game. Competitors fling themselves off walls and obstacles in hopes of tossing a disc through the opposing teams goal but watch out for opponents trying to land a punch. This is a great game to try with a friend who also has a headset, and shows a promising future for sports games reinvented for VR. Players should be sure to clear out a room before playing so they dont go careening into any furniture.
Interested in learning more about the best things to buy and how to use them? Visit Wirecutter, where you can read the latest reviews and find daily deals.
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Posted: at 6:39 pm
For all of the investors preaching that augmented reality technology will likely be the successor to the modern smartphone, today, most venture capitalists are still quite wary to back AR plays.
The reasons are plentiful, but all tend to circle around the idea that its too early for software and too expensive to try to take on Apple or Facebook on the hardware front.
Meanwhile, few spaces were frothier in 2016 than virtual reality, but most VCs who gambled on VR following Facebooks Oculus acquisition failed to strike it rich. In 2020, VR did not get the shelter-in-place usage bump many had hoped for largely due to supply chain issues at Facebook, but VCs hope their new cheaper device will spell good things for the startup ecosystem.
To get a better sense of how VCs are looking at augmented reality and virtual reality in 2020, I reached out to a handful of investors who are keeping a close watch on the industry:
Some investors who are bullish on AR have opted to focus on virtual reality for now, believing that theres a good amount of crossover between AR and VR software, and that they can make safer bets on VR startups today that will be able to take advantage of AR hardware when its introduced.
Besides Pokmon Go I dont think we have seen the engagement numbers needed for AR, Boost VC investor Brayton Williams tells TechCrunch. We believe VR is still the largest long-term opportunity of the two. AR complements the real world, VR creates endless new worlds.
Most of the investors I got in contact with were still fairly active in the AR/VR world, but many still disagreed whether the time was right for VR startups. For Jacob Mullins of Shasta Ventures, Its still early, but its no longer too early. While Gigi Levy-Weiss of NFX says that the market is sadly not happening yet, Facebooks Quest headsets have shown promise.
On the hardware side, the ghost of Magic Leaps formerly hyped glory still looms large. Few investors are interested in making a hardware play in the AR/VR world, noting that startups dont have the resources to compete with Facebook or Microsoft on a large-scale rollout. Hardware is so capital intensive and this entire industry is dependent on the big players continuing to invest in hardware innovation, General Catalysts Niko Bonatsos tells us.
Even those that are still bullish on startups making hardware plays for more niche audiences acknowledge that life had gotten harder for ambitious founders in these spaces, the spectacular flare-outs do make it harder for companies to raise large amounts with long product release horizons, investor Tipatat Chennavasin notes.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
What are your general impressions on the health of the AR/VR market today?
Were seeing some progress in VR and some of that is happening because of the Oculus ecosystem. They continue to improve the hardware and have a growing catalog of content. I think their onboarding and consumption experience is very consumer-friendly and thats going to continue to help with adoption. On the consumer side, were seeing some companies across gaming, fitness and productivity that are earning and retaining their audiences at a respectable rate. That wasnt happening even a year ago so it may be partially a COVID lift but habits are forming.
The VR bets of several years ago have largely struggled to pan out, if you were to make a startup investment in this space today what would you need to see?
Companies to watch are the ones that are creating cool experiences with mobile as the first entry point. Wave VR, Rec Room, VRChat are making it really easy for consumers to get a taste of VR with devices they already own. Theyre not treating VR as just another gaming peripheral but as a way to create very cool, often celebrity-driven, content. These are the kinds of innovations that makes me optimistic about the VR category in general.
Most investors I chat with seem to be long-term bullish on AR, but are reticent to invest in an explicitly AR-focused startup today. What do you want to see before you make a play here?
In both AR/VR, a founder needs to be both super ambitious but patient. Theyll need to be flexible in thinking and open to pivoting a few times along the way. Product-market fit is always important but I want to see that they have a plan for customer retention. Fun to try is great, habit-forming is much better. Gaming continues to do pretty well as a category for VC dollars but itd be interesting to see more founders look at making IRL sports experiences more immersive or figuring out how to enhance remote meeting experiences with VR to fix Zoom fatigue.
There have been a few spectacular flare-outs when it comes to AR/VR hardware investments, is there still a startup opportunity in AR/VR hardware?
Hardware is so capital intensive and this entire industry is dependent on the big players continuing to invest in hardware innovation. Facebook and Microsoft seem to be the main companies willing to spend here while others have backed away. If we expand our thinking for a minute, maybe the first real mainstream breakthrough AR/VR consumer experience isnt visual. For VR, it might be the mobile experiences. For AR maybe AirPods or AirPod-like devices are the right entry point for consumers. Theyre in millions of peoples ears already and who doesnt want their own special-agent-like earpiece? Thats where founders might find some opportunity.
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Posted: at 6:39 pm
Three Roaring Fork Valley arts nonprofits are teaming up to present a foray into the ever-expanding world of virtual reality in direct correlation with art-making.
The Launchpad in Carbondale, Art Base in Basalt and Red Brick Center in Aspen will host demonstrations and deep-dives from Tuesday through Friday on the latest technology and applications.
Learn the basics of creating art in virtual reality in two-hour presentations at three locations. Each program will focus on Tilt Brush (by Google) and Medium (by Oculus) and how these can be used to bring your virtual creations into actual reality with 3D printing.
Participation for each session is limited and registration must be completed by contacting the arts organization of choice.
The schedule is:
Tuesday: Free Demo at The Art Base, 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday: Deep Dive at The Art Base, 10 a.m.; Free Demo at Carbondale Arts, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday: Free Demo at The Red Brick Center, 3 p.m.
Friday: Deep Dive at Carbondale Arts, noon
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