American Cinema’s White Supremacy Problem

City Absurdia: A video essay on how American cinema uses the hero–villain–damsel dynamic as a propaganda tool since The Birth of a Nation.

“To look at the Vietnam war through the lens of American cinema, you would have to believe that the war was one inflicted upon young white men by older white men, not one inflicted on a poor nation of farmers by a militarised superpower.”

Other City Absurdia video essays

(Side note: The City Absurdia channel had 69 subscribers when I discovered it. Now it has 70. I predict it will get a lot more very quickly!)

See also: Why every Hollywood movie feels the same & How Jurassic Park’s digital dinosaurs changed the movies.

Shape of things to come

Build your own Amazon Echo with a Raspberry Pi for $60

The Next Web: Amazon’s Echo is a nifty little gadget that’s powered by the company’s Alexa voice assistant and listens for voice commands to do things like order your groceries, update you on the weather and play your favorite tunes. The only problem is, it costs a pretty penny — $180 to be precise.

Thankfully, you can build your own for about $60.

Raspberry Pi + Alexa Voice Service

Project: Raspberry Pi + Alexa Voice Service

This guide provides step-by-step instructions for obtaining the sample code, the dependencies, and the hardware you need to get the reference implementation running on your Pi.

The hardware you need

  1. Raspberry Pi 2 (Model B)Buy at Amazon
  2. Micro-USB power cable for Raspberry Pi (included with Raspberry Pi)
  3. Micro SD Card – To get started with Raspberry Pi you need an operating system. NOOBS (New Out Of the Box Software) is an easy-to-use operating system install manager for the Raspberry Pi. The simplest way to get NOOBS is to buy an SD card with NOOBS preinstalled – Raspberry Pi 8GB Preloaded (NOOBS) Micro SD Card
  4. An Ethernet cable
  5. USB 2.0 Mini Microphone – Raspberry Pi does not have a built-in microphone; to interact with Alexa you’ll need an external one to plug in – Buy at Amazon
  6. A USB Keyboard & Mouse, and an external HDMI Monitor – we also recommend having a USB keyboard and mouse as well as an HDMI monitor handy if for some reason you can’t “SSH” into your Raspberry Pi. More on “SSH” later.
  7. WiFi Wireless Adapter (Optional) Buy at Amazon

More Raspberry Pi projects

…and other posts tagged ‘Raspberry Pi’.

Standard

Primitive Technology: Bow and Arrow

I made a bow and arrows in the wild using only natural materials and primitive tools I’d made previously from scratch (as usual). The tools used were a celt stone hatchet, a stone chisel, various stone blades and fire sticks.

Filmed in the wilds of Far North Queensland, Australia, our silent craftsman ventures out into the bush to camp and make these videos. Self taught from books, the internet and trial and error, this is a hobby and not a way of life: “I live in a modern house and eat modern food. I just like to see how people in ancient times built and made things.”

“Primitive technology is a hobby where you make things in the wild completely from scratch using no modern tools or materials. This is the strict rule. If you want a fire- use fire sticks, an axe- pick up a stone and shape it, a hut- build one from trees, mud, rocks etc. The challenge is seeing how far you can go without modern technology. If this hobby interests you then this blog might be what you are looking for.”

See also

Printer's mark
Craft and creativity

Design facts

Design Facts is a platform for sharing the inspiring, shocking, passionate, brilliant, revolutionary, carefully crafted and relatively young history of our craft, all in bite-sized servings.

Some of my favourites…


21. Printers of the Italian Renaissance designed printers’ marks to identify and protect their work.

36. In 1981, Fisher-Price released a movable type Printer’s Kit, designed for children ages 5 years and older.

It was discontinued after 1984. (via)

48. From 1947 to 1949 Jan Tschichold developed a set of design guidelines to help standardize Penguin Books.

(via)

56. In 1974, Saul Bass directed his only feature length film, a science fiction piece called, “Phase IV.”

62. International Typeface Corporation (ITC) was one of the first type foundries to have no connection to metal type.

78. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament symbol (peace symbol) is based on semaphore flag-signalling letters.

CND logo

97. The logo for Spanish lollipop company, Chupa Chups, was designed by Salvador Dali in 1969.

Chupa Chups logo

127. Type designer and illustrator William Addison Dwiggins is credited with coining the term, “graphic design” in 1922.


See also

Standard

Hans Conrad Gyger

Hans Conrad Gyger (1599–1674) was a painter, mathematician, surveyor and cartographer in Zurich. Gyger was the first to systematically survey a larger area in Switzerland. This resulted in the map “Grosse Landtafel des Kantons Zürich“ (Great Land Board of the Canton of Zurich; 1664–67).

Der Gygerplan

With his map Gyger reached a fundamental progress by displaying mountains – until then drawn in template-like side views – as elevations of mass. Thus continuous mountain ranges and valleys seen from oblique forward became apparent, not unlike today’s bird’s-eye-view-maps.

His map of the Zurich area took 38 years to survey and paint, and is considered as one of the most beautiful cartographic works of that time. Because of its high military importance the map was kept secret, and, unfortunately, had no influence on contemporary cartography. Not until 200 years later were shaded relief maps of comparable quality and beauty produced.

(via Mapzen)

See also

Craft and creativity

The first relief map

“In 1668, Hans Conrad Gyger submitted an outstanding cartographic masterpiece to the government of Zurich. […] Gyger depicted the topography in a naturalistic manner with illumination emanating from the southwest. The map is east-oriented. It was drawn and painted with gouache and pen.” — reliefshading.com

Gallery
BB8 concept sketch

BB8 concept sketch

Industrial Light and Magic’s visual development portfolio for The Force Awakens has some fascinating pre-production artwork I hadn’t seen yet.

Some of the images are quite familiar while others show variations of events we saw in the finished film.

Some of the most interesting images are of places or events that I can’t quite identify…

“Each artist began to explore his individual response, and collectively, we began to answer, with our words and art. Out of our brainstorming sessions emerged visual imagery of where we might want to go and what it would look like when we got there. We were not merely illustrating scenes that already existed: we were initiating storytelling concepts through the visual images themselves.” Rick Carter, co-production designer, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Portraits of our old heroes, and new villains…

Early concept art for Kylo Ren, and a dramatic artist’s impression of his finished design as it would appear in the first trailer.

Kylo Ren’s ship, the Finalizer.

While there are undeniable similarities to Tatooine, Jakku is a world with its own history and industry, explored in these location concepts.

Various other scenes from The Force Awakens, as imagined by the art department.

See also

Light-based media

ILM’s concept art for ‘The Force Awakens’

“The ILM Art Department continues to revolutionize film design today, coupling classical technique with the very bleeding edge of technology. Acclaimed directors like Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and J.J. Abrams work hand-in-hand with the best art directors and artists in the film industry, exploring ideas and iterating on those ideas until their vision is realized, making the unreal real and the impossible possible.”

Gallery
Light-based media

A visit to Kim Jong-il’s North Korean film studio

In this three-part documentary from 2010, VICE founder Shane Smith visits North Korea to try and penetrate the Korean Feature Film Studio, the state-run film production facility west of Pyongyang: a sprawling lot that at its height produced around 40 films a year.

VICE: North Korean Film Madness: You could say that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il has two primary obsessions: maintaining nuclear weapons capability as a means of protecting his “hermit kingdom,” and thwarting pressure from outside forces like America and the rest of the industrialized world to open his country to modern things like electricity… and he’s obsessed with film. He loves movies. It’s rumored that he has one of the largest private film collections in the world. His favorite film is Gone with the Wind and his favorite actress is Elizabeth Taylor.

He’s a film collector and bona fide cinephile, but he’s much more. He’s everything really. He’s a director, a producer, a financier, a costume maker, set designer, screenwriter, cameraman, sound engineer… and he’s also a film theorist. His masterwork on aesthetics and practice is “On the Art of Cinema” (written and published in the early 1970s). In it he gives himself the humble title, “Genius of the Cinema.” He built an extensive film studio in Pyongyang and when he couldn’t find someone to make his film he did what any self-respecting eternal leader and great president would do… he kidnapped one.

Pyongyang Film Studio mural

Pyongyang Film Studio mural

See also

Standard
Mapping the Online Worldan atlas redrawn according to the number of registrations within each country’s internet domain* — whether .uk for the UK, .de for Germany, .cn for China, and so on.

Nominet: Map of the Online World

On a map of the world scaled to the most popular top-level domains, the Pacific island of Tokelau reigns supreme.

Wired: With more than 31 million .tk websites, the tiny New Zealand territory has more domain registrations than any other nation or territory in the world. It might measure just four square miles and have little over 1,400 residents, but Tokelau’s .tk dwarfs the rest of the world.

‘Online Europe’ is so much larger than geographic Europe because of the high rates of internet adoption by countries in this region. The UK, for example, is only the 21st largest country in the world by population, and the 78th by area. But in terms of internet use, it’s right at the top of the table.

The USA, on the other hand, is an anomaly. Despite having high levels of internet use, e-commerce and online innovation, there are comparatively few registrations under .us, its official country-code domain. Americans and American businesses tend to prefer .com, which at around 123 million registrations is the world’s most common domain.

See also

Life on the Internet

If web domains were countries…

…an atlas redrawn according to the number of registrations within each country’s internet domain* — whether .uk for the UK, .de for Germany, .cn for China, and so on.

Image

Creative Spaces TV: Becky Simpson

A series by Sara Dietschy, a YouTuber who I became aware of after she was featured on Casey Neistat’s vlog and her subscriber count shot up from 4,000 to 40,000 (and at the time of writing she is close to 10k subs!).

See also: Casey Neistat’s amazing workplace of which I am not at all jealous other posts tagged ‘YouTube’ and ‘workspaces’.

The Chart of Cosmic Exploration

Probe the solar system from Mercury to Pluto with this stellar schematic of space exploration! From the Luna 2 in 1959 to the DSCOVR in 2015, this color-coded chart traces the trajectories of every orbiter, lander, rover, flyby, and impactor to ever slip the surly bonds of Earth’s orbit and successfully complete its mission—a truly astronomical array of over 100 exploratory instruments in all.

Available as a 39″ × 27″ poster from Pop Chart Lab.

(via Mental Floss)

See also

Miscellany

Chart of human space exploration

“Featuring hand-illustrated renderings of each spacecraft juxtaposed against the serried giants of our solar system, this galactic survey is a testament to man’s forays into the grand cosmic ballet.”

Image

RocketJump Film School: Cuts & Transitions 101

This is great!

Director/Editor Joey Scoma is here to talk to you about something simple: cuts and transitions. Except… there are so many different kinds!! In this video essay, Joey lists and defines the different cuts and transitions available to you as an editor, with examples from classic and modern films. It’s up to you to decide when and why you’d use them!

(via A.V. Club)

See also