Site: Berlin, Germany.
"Good morning Berlin
You can be so ugly, so dirty and gray
You can so wonderfully terrible
You're night are devouring me
It might just be the best for me
If I go home and sleep
And while I'm walking through the streets
Black slowly turns into blue (darkness is fading)"
-Schwarz zu Blau lyrics, german-english translation
Site: Etterbeek Station, Brussels, Belgium
Describing their style as "non hip-hop street graffiti", mysterious Belgian graffiti group Bonom & Lork is created a series of skeleton animal animations in the Brussels train stations in 2006. The drawings are animated by the passing of trains, making the experience temporal and site specific. It's location in the cement thruways of the Belgian underground also comment on the speed of transportation and transmission in the present day. While the skeleton structures rest in Belgium, their siting is caught and transmitted through the Internet, and the animation is no longer restricted to the subway. It can travel anywhere.
Bonom & Lork flying bird in Luxembourg/ Brussels train station: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JNqr8EYxxU&feature=related
Wooster Collective article on Bonom & Lork street art: http://www.woostercollective.com/2007/06/fresh_stuff_from_bonom_lork.html
Blog post about Bonom & Lork on On-Point.be:
Not much information is known about "Chalk Pipe", but the tradition of creating a 3-dimensional illusion with 2-dimensional floor, sidewalk, or street drawings and a performer are not foreign to the street art world. A question can be raised about this piece, that is raised often about animation in comparison to video: Why create an animation of a skateboarder on a ramp instead of a video of the skateboarder? What is it about a two-dimensional chalk drawing that is going to evoke more about the street culture than a video of the event itself?
This animation is driven by narrative, which can only be completely understood when the entire animation is watched through. Watch, and notice how two young skateboarders draw a mock skateboard ramp. Once finished, the one boy, skateboard in hand, climbs up the ladder and pops tricks on the ramp as if he was on a 3-dimensional ramp. He performs several impressive tricks, but eventually loses control and falls off the skateboard--his friend breaks the 2-dimensional "dream" reality and walks up to his friend, makes fun of him for the mistake, and kicks the skateboard away in frusturation. The joke seems to be why did he fall off a skateboard if he was already lying on the ground?
Animator for Comparison: Robin Rhodes, an exhibition of his work at the Paul Rubenstein gallery: http://www.perryrubenstein.com/artists/robin-rhode/video/street-gym/
"Chalk Pipe" is often compared to the Nike SB Commercial with Paul Rodriguez. Nike used a green screen to make the animation. Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dCeRRU-6Tk&feature=related
Site: Ginza, Tokyo
"Fashion is architecture, it is a matter of proportions" -Coco Chanel
When building the flagship store for Ginza, Tokyo, Chanel had a standout architectural design in mind. Towering over the city, the 10 floor building houses a 3 floor art gallery and a concert hall as well as the Chanel store. Peter Marino Architect, New York, designed the building and collaborated extensively with the lighting design company, Tanteri + Assocs., New York, in realizing the 215 foot tall LED light facade, made with 1,870 LED tubes, liquid crystal glass, and woven stainless steel. The Ginza, Tokyo store either commissions or solicits animations for their facade, which can run standard 30 frame per second animation through their LED Effects Scheduler Software. The first animation was a conceptual reinterpretation of the famous Chanel tweed.
This video illustrates the simplicity and eye catching quality of this facadeal animation. The pattern is uncommercial, yet makes you curious as to the mysteries inside the building with no other distinguishable markings. There is also a sense of irony, in this animation, because as the video is being filmed you see the umbrellas of passerbys in relation to the animation of men and women floating with umbrellas. The LED light structure only turns on at night, and is very imaginative and important to the youth and ingenuity of Chanel's reputation in Ginzo. Each animation is ephemeral though and gets replaced often; the videos of the animations travel beyond Tokyo with the help of the Internet.
A video of a snowflake installation at the Chanel Ginza: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAqghQh87bs
Architectural Record article on Chanel Ginza and Peter Marino, the architect behind the design: http://archrecord.construction.com/projects/lighting/archives/0511chanel.asp
Site: FAME Festival 2009 in Grottaglie, Italy
Italian graffiti artist BLU and USA "motion painter" David Ellis paired up at the FAME festival in Summer 2009 to create "COMBO", an animation/ installation that interrogates folk culture and urban decay. While BLU is well known for his organic aesthetic and playful, fantasy imagery, Ellis stresses the performativity and liveness of animation design by always hinting at and showing the process to the viewer. Both artists play to their strengths in a perfect "combo"; their animation stresses process and animator/ animation interaction in a playful product. The FAME festival encouraged artists to create installations that commemorated the ancient artisanal ceramic history of Grottaglie and the original, architectural quarter of the city that still remains from that time. Notice how the animation not only sits on the facade of the architecture, but breaks apart walls, takes off bricks, and walks in and out of windows.
FAME festival website, 2009: http://www.famefestival.it/
Artist BLU's website: http://www.blublu.org/
Artist David Ellis' website: http://www.davidellis.org/
L.A.S.E.R. tag by Graffiti Research Lab is a digital tool designed for graffiti artists to practice their craft without repercussions of the law. L.A.S.E.R. Tag was premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 2007. Describing itself as "an open source Weapon of Mass Defacement", it is described by James Powderly, the Graffiti Research Lab's co-founder, as a tool for "graffiti writers, artists, activists and other citizens to communicate in the urban environment on the same scale as advertisers, corporations, and governments" (quoted from the MoMa gallery tag).
While the L.A.S.E.R. Tag software is open source, it must be situated and programmed to a specific interface--the laser cannot "draw" on anything at any time. A projection screen was set up in the MoMa premiere gallery, and many of the graffiti writers commented on the MoMa administration, the exclusivity of the museum, and how their artwork would never have ended up in MoMa otherwise. I argue that, while this piece is a quality example of digital art that deals with site specificity and the urban environment, it's animation definition is a bit tenuous. I argue that, because of the laser drawings' temporal quality, it's liveness and performativity makes it a "performer" or brief character on the life of the building.
"Walls are always the best media to get some essential informations
about a country"-BLU.
Italian imaginary BLU creates hand-painted murals, wall installations, and animations that enter the realm of fantasy and the grotesque. His wall murals and animations have been sited outside of Italy and gained him international celebrity for the often abstract yet poignant representations of humanity and dreams. While considered a part of urban street culture, BLU's aesthetic is much more folky and organic than his spraypainting, stencil-wielding peers. BLU performed "MORPHING" in an important port city in Poland called Gdansk. The city was home to Lech Walesa, the political activist who started the Solidarty Movement that played a major role in ending Communist Rule in Central Europe. The port was an important site of resistance for the Solidarity Movement, in 1980 it was the location of the start of a series of protests for the group, which eventually helped to end the Communist Party in 1989. BLU's animation commemorates the symbols of political entites that made the small port in Poland famous, but also destroyed it architecturally. Notice the cranes moving in the background; is the city uncovering its past, or covering it up?
Artist BLU's website: http://www.blublu.org/
A crash course in the history of Gdansk, Poland: http://www.gdansk-life.com/poland/gdansk-history