Sunday, April 29, 2012

Maneki Neko

Two days ago I had an honor of listening to one great man - a science fiction author, Bruce Sterling. He talked about the future, how his generation imagined the future 30 years ago, how it turned out and how we imagine the future today. This made me go through his work again and as a result of my digging, I came across his story which I haven't read before and which inspired this post.

The story is called "Maneki Neko" . You can read it here.

Maneki Neko is a Japanese figurine, very famous in Asian countries, but also in Western pop culture, which is believed  to bring luck and happiness to its owner. Maneki Neko is actually a cat made usually out of ceramics or plastic,  whose one paw is lifted in the air ( it looks like it's waving but it's actually beckoning) and in the other paw the cat holds a golden coin. The sculpture can often be seen at the entrances of shops, restaurants and other businesses. To me, it is quite interesting that Maneki Neko and what it stands for, associates luck and happiness to money, wealth and prosperity.

Boris Petrovsky, a German media artist, has already wandered off in the direction of my thoughts and produced a genius installation which includes 520 Maneki Neko's. His artwork is called "The global pursuit for happiness" or "The army of luck".

All images © Boris Petrovsky

Petrovsky's Lucky Cats are pre-programmed for different ways of saluting and signalizing gestures but can also interact with the audience by being given a word or sentence by a visitor which is then displayed through moving paws. All this is accompanied by sound samples of  mass or group events such as: political speeches, tv shows, demonstrations, sports events etc.

"The lined up, gold-reflecting mass of the Lucky Cats in the matrix appears almost as an insubstantially copy-paste-animation. The Lucky Cats in the matrix as an industrial made product become an »ornament of the masses« for repetetive-stererotype and globalized-industrialized ideals. Do we need more and more Lucky Cats to generate more and more prosperity for more and more people?" , Boris Petrovsky
And do we need more and more Lucky Cats to generate happiness? 
Oh, and one fun fact for the end of the post: Will Wright, the famous game designer, the creator of The Sims, is currently developing a game based on Bruce Sterling's story Maneki Neko.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Enter the noise.

photo by Xavier Voirol

This is Cycloïd-E.

A fascinating sound sculpture comes from the Cod.Act duo. It consists of five motor-driven horizontal tubes which swing like pendulums where each of the tubes is equipped with sound sources and measuring instruments which make them resonate according to their rotations. Cycloïd-E performs a truly hypnotic dance accompanied by equally hypnotic sound. Its overwhelming effect makes you transcend beyond this universe.

Cycloïd-E puts me in a mood for browsing through Kim Høltermand's photographs.

Kim Høltermand

Høltermand is a Danish photographer whose work is simply breathtaking. Very minimalistic approach, very little color, stunning angles and perspectives. One can feel the silence in his photos or a hypnotic noise just like the one that Cycloïd-E produces.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Back to the future.

Justin Mezzell's illustrations have that power to create an illusion of space and time travel. I adore the vintage feel that Justin's illustrations have, the wonderful combinations of colors and of course the SF touch.

Justin Mezzell

While on space and time travel topic, "Back to the future" movie trilogy was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid. Now you all remember the mighty Marty McFly's hoverboard which was probably every geek kid's dream product of the future. 

French artist Nils Guadagnin has created just that: a real hoverboard. 

In cooperation with Crealav, a company which invents, designs and makes prototypes of levitation technology and levitation products, Nils Guadagnin has reconstructed Marty McFly's hoverboard which actually works. Well you can't really stand on it but it really does levitate. 


Now I need to finish this post with one great tune :