With stunning cinematography (and no CGI), director Oscar Hudson pays homage to Japan’s social phenomenon of ‘Hikikomori’.
A dreamy, disconnected electronic beat plays as a Japanese teenager wakes up in his bedroom, visibly troubled at the thought of facing the day ahead of him. But there are tricks at play, as he walks through the door, only to find a replica of his bedroom ahead, and of him too, staring into the mirror. And then there is another, and another, till we see a series of bedrooms and the boy in it – only the room appears to be becoming smaller and more crowded as the boy gets bigger.
This linking of the psychological and the physical space plays as the perfect foil to British music producer Bonobo’s inspired number No Reason. Director Oscar Hudson mines the Japanese phenomenon of Hikikomori – when young people find themselves overwhelmed and end up as housebound recluses. According to the government, the number of hikikomori between the ages of 15 to 30 in Japan in 2015 numbered some 540,000.
The cinematography No Reason is inspired by the 2014 Oscar-winner Birdman. The vocals by Nick Murphy (also known as Chet Faker) contribute to the dream-like sequence and the feeling of overwhelming monotony. “We achieved the film using only in-camera physical effects and we designed an entirely new way of moving our miniature camera to get it to fit through the tiny doorways. Doing this film with CGI would have been a thousand times easier, but for me, it’s physicality and imperfections are what make it different, and, I hope better,” said Hudson.
Miles Johnson works primarily in pencil drawing. His surreal art explores psychological transformation in portraits and figurative images of female subjects.
Captivating. Mindbending. Recursive. Face melting. Gorgeous.
Johnston’s art is our psyche staring back from the void. Beyond the threshold of strange changes; he illustrates not a calculus infinite worlds, but the infinite selves it is possible to become.
Deform. Divide. Attract. Recur.
Each picture below is a story of transformation the subject is undergoing.
Pencil Drawing Timelapse by Miles Johnston
Miles Johnston is a lover of pencils & Instructor at SARA.
Electric Sheep Introduction
Electric Sheep is a distributed computing project for animating and evolving fractal flames, which are in turn distributed to the networked computers, which display them as a screensaver.
First created in 1999 by Scott Draves, the Electric Sheep is a form of artificial life, which is to say it is software that recreates the biological phenomena of evolution and reproduction through mathematics. The system is made up of man and machine, a cyborg mind with 450,000 participant computers and people all over the Internet.
This is a distributed system, with all participating computers working together to form a supercomputer that renders animations, called “sheep”, that everyone sees. The human participants guide the survival of the fittest by voting for their favorite animations in the flock. You can join this project by downloading the Electric Sheep Screensaver.
Each participating computer follows mathematical instructions, Draves’ Flame algorithm, to render its own piece of the larger work, as seen in the table at left. The images are sent back to a central server which compresses them into animations which are sent back out to the viewers. The electricsheep.org website shows the family tree for each sheep, including its parents and offspring, and viewers can track family resemblance. The artist’s Clade series shows a selection of family members in high resolution.
Like Draves’ other software art, the Electric Sheep code is open source, which has allowed it to benefit from code contributions from many enthusiastic programmers. Now Draves serves as head Shepherd on a project with many participants.
The most popular sheep from the current flock can be viewed on the live server, or you can browse the archive.
– via scottdraves.com
Scott Draves Interview with Surrealism Today
Surrealism Today: You have designed this technology, company & ecosystem. Electric Sheep has taken on a life of its own. In a sense, from a systems perspective, you have developed your own game rules rather than just being another player in someone else’s game. What in your thinking has made that possible?
Scott Draves: That’s right, I definitely think of the Sheep as generative world design. My approach is based on languages and metaprogramming, as a way to cross from finite to infinite. It was made possible by exposure to books like Gödel, Escher, Bach and SICP and my friends and colleagues at Brown and CMU SCS who taught me so much about computers and programming.
ST: In previous interviews, you mention Pollock, Gysin, and Burroughs as artists who inspire you. (Related: Cut-up Technique) Art has changed more in the past hundred years than it ever has, and likely will even more in the next hundred years, where would you like to see it go? Rather than create the content of art, will next-gen artists create algorithms that allows for infinite works of art? If that’s the future, you’ve actually been doing it for some time…
SD: I am loving the Cambrian explosion of software art going on. What are my wishes for art? The more the merrier. Algorithms and coding and infinite art are definitely growing and that’s great. But are they growing popularity in the art world? Maybe? I can’t imagine 100 years in the future. I will admit I’ve been doing this forever, I am old, and got an early start, releasing the first open source art in 1992.
Surrealism Today: Many of the Electric Sheep are reminiscent of mandalas in various religious traditions in both East and West as well as psychedelic and visionary art. These movements seem to have goals in common. Do you have an affinity with any spiritual traditions or movements?
Scott Draves: The Sheep have a meditative aspect for me and a spiritual aspect. Yes, there are goals in common, and affinities. Yoga. Zen. Negentropy. Positivism. Science.
ST: You’ve created this ecosystem of beautiful living mandalas that change over time and breed and evolve and die. Each sheep had DNA (code), its form, not to mention the memetic (conceptual) & cultural level. In what senses are the sheep alive?
SD: Thank you. They are alive because they have emergent complexity, at both the breeding, DNA, evolution level and also in the Flame algorithm, where the image emerges from the DNA. The memetic level kicks in with the open source and allowing others to create their own flames and sheep.
Surrealism Today: What non-intuitive things do you do, think or avoid that may have helped contribute to what you have created?
Scott Draves: When I started doing Open Source it was considered unamerican and anti-capitalist, and literally compared to “cancer”. It turns out sharing code has merit. Actually, that was always intuitive to me but most people just didn’t get it. These days it seems open source has taken over in some domains and is thriving.
On the other hand sharing everything may not be advisable. That was not obvious to me. It took me a long time to learn.
ST: William Gibson mentioned in one of his sci-fi books that instead of writing music, musicians wrote algorithms and the code would generate infinite, unique songs that never repeated themselves. Recently the iPhone app “H__r” got me excited… it loops sounds from the environment into a surreal listening experience. What being created today (that I can perhaps link to) has gotten you excited recently?
SD: Joshue Ott has a bunch of amazing av apps: https://intervalstudios.com/. A bit further afield: Alpha Go, https://deepmind.com/research/alphago/. This is an enormous breakthrough that promises so much to come.
Surrealism Today: I’m super excited about this recent high-resolution release of the sheep, and the subscription. What’s next?
Scott Draves: Thank you.
Dots! The real-time audio interactive version, which premiered last year at Creative Tech Week and is going to be in it again this year: http://creativetechweek.nyc/. The mixed reality party was on the 17th of April, 2017.
ST: Where can we find you on the internet?
The Dream Logic Tarot is a collaboration between artist Jay Gidwitz and occultist Anthony Teth. Each tarot card is a combination of photography and mixed media. The artist use the traditional tarot card symbolism as it’s starting point. Using photography and digital techniques, the tarot deck contains images that range from surrealist, to painterly, to dark, to “visionary art” styled imagery using fractal imagery. The book that Teth is writing will contain musings ranging from traditional tarot divination as well as theory from chaos magic, NLP and general semantics. Learn more about the project here.
The visually paradoxical “droste effect” is absolutely hypnotic.
Below are examples and resources pulled from the web.
Clap Your Brains Off
The Droste Effect is a Dutch term for a specific type of recursive picture.
An image exhibiting the Droste effect depicts a smaller version of the image within itself in a recursive manner.
In theory, the picture in picture effect continues deeper into the picture ad infinitum, but it really only goes as far as the image resolution will allow while still being visible, but it still has the feeling of being never ending.
The advent of the digital age has taken the old Droste effect to a whole new level.
The effect is named after a particular image that appeared in various forms on the tins and boxes of Droste cocoa powder, one of the main Dutch brands.
It displays a nurse carrying a serving tray with a cup of hot chocolate and a box of Droste cocoa depicting the same image (shown on the right).
The brand’s effect, maintained for decades, became a household notion. Reportedly, poet and columnist Nico Scheepmaker introduced wider usage of the term in the late 1970’s
In the 1950’s, one of the famous graphic artists Maurits Cornelis Escher. took the Droste effect to another level with his incredible drawings, and mapped images to a spiral.
In the series of images below you can see how Escher starts the image with a man looking at a photo and as you look further, this image will take you deeper into a never ending loop of the same image.
Today the creations of the Droste effect are mostly done using digital images and there are some helpful solutions to make it easy to create your own piece. Are are some amazging examples and videos:
Further Resources and Tutorials:
Creative Cow After Effects Tutorial:
Because you can never have too much of that kind of art that goes into your mind and gobbles it up.