I would love to find a way to see this documentary film on the oldest living tree if anyone out there knows how it is being shown…
The Curse of The Methuselah Tree
“I am not part of history. No. History is part of me.” This is the story of the oldest living thing on earth and its unique view of human civilisation. With narration and specially-commissioned poetry by Roger McGough.
This original film combines beautifully shot footage of Methuselah, the 26-foot bristlecone pine, with reconstructions of the thousands of years it has witnessed. But what if such a witness could speak? For the first time this 4,643-year-old is given his own voice.
Hear the tree’s perspective on passing of ancient civilisations, the settlement of America by Europeans and the testing of atom bombs 100 miles away in the Nevada desert.
This is one of the first altered time lapse sequences I have seen. It’s a great medium. Nicely done by the Citizen watch company for the recent Basel World Watch Expo. Clipped from William Gibson’ Twitter feed (@GreatDismal).
See Digi-Man and Blizzard duke it out over digital plans of a nuclear powerhouse!! It is good to see an effort to make digital preservation heroic, which as we saw with the Apollo tapes below, it certainly can be.
The beautifully crafted short above by Bruce Banit (via Kevin Kelly’s blog) depicts a fantastical yet believable world building interface, in a future that does not feel too far off from where Google Sketch Up is now. As if to prove that point, Stewart Brand sent over the below reference:
This virtual “Telematics City” was built by design firm Hook for a Lexus marketing campaign. The fantastic video linked above is a time lapse of the “building” of that city. I guess it’s like the man said…
“The future is here, its just not evenly distributed yet.” – William Gibson
And yet another Update: Wired is running a piece today on the physical city modeling that has taken place, and features one of the greatest treasures in the SF Bay Area, The Army Corps of Engineers Bay Model in Sausalito.
As part of SEED Magazine‘s Darwin anniversary articles here is “a video experiment in scale, condensing 4.6 billion years of history into a minute.” I thought it a worthy entry into our “Long Shorts” category.
The Evolution of Life in 60 Seconds is an experiment in scale: By condensing 4.6 billion years of history into a minute, the video is a self-contained timepiece. Like a specialized clock, it gives one a sense of perspective. Everything — from the formation of the Earth, to the Cambrian Explosion, to the evolution of mice and squirrels — is proportionate to everything else, displaying humankind as a blip, almost indiscernible in the layered course of history.
Each event in the Evolution of Life fades gradually over the course of the minute, leaving typographic traces that echo all the way to the present day. Just as our blood still bears the salt water of our most ancient evolutionary ancestors.
A multi petabyte-scale simulation of global processes, called the Global Extinction Awareness System (GEAS), has just determined that, without immediate action, humanity will survive only another 23 years before the deadly synergy of five catastrophic Superthreats does us in.
The Superthreats are:
1. Quarantine — declining health and pandemic disease, including the current Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ReDS) crisis
2. Ravenous — the imminent collapse of the global food system
3. Power Struggle — the increasingly desperate search for alternative energy solutions
4. Outlaw Planet — challenges to human security and civil rights in the midst of hypercomplex information systems
5. Generation Exile — skyrocketing numbers of refugees and migrants in the face of climate change, economic disruption, and war
Your role is to flex your foresight, creativity and collaborative skills to contribute to our collective survival.
The GEAS report is available in full here, and video briefings on each of the Superthreats can be found here. One to get you started:
The scenario described above is the premise of Superstruct, the world’s first massively multiplayer forecasting game, which kicks off in just under two weeks’ time, on 6 October 02008.
Over the six weeks of the game, long term thinkers everywhere will have the opportunity to imagine themselves in this version of 02019, bringing their real-world expertise and ideas to bear on the Superthreats. The purpose of the game is to harness our collective insights and ingenuity; to help invent the future by playing it first.
This stop-motion video of the 2008 Inakadate rice crop art is composed of still images captured daily from June 1 to July 3, 2008 via the roof webcam at the adjacent town hall. The 3.7-acre work features the images of Daikoku, god of wealth (left), and Ebisu, god of fishers and merchants (right), which were created using five different colors of rice plants. On July 4, just as the crop was beginning to mature, the organizers shut down the webcam when they removed the JAL ad portion of the artwork at the request of the rice paddy owner.
So what’s the story?
Inakadate Village started to create rice-paddy art in 1993 as a local revitalization project. No one will take credit for the idea, which seems to have just grown out of meetings of the village committee.
Divided into teams, they used four kinds of rice: two ancient varieties called ki ine (yellow rice) and murasaki ine (purple rice) that grow into yellow- and brown-leafed plants respectively, and also more modern Beni Miyako (Red Miyako) and Tsugaru Roman, an Aomori variety with a fresh-green color.
Here’s an amazing video by Italian street artist Blu: Muto, “An ambiguous animation painted on public walls”, painstakingly produced in Baden (02007) and Buenos Aires (02008), and full of astonishing transformations and lovely interplays between 2D drawn space and 3D, physical elements…
Animation plays with how we experience time by constructing an illusory continuity. However, most of the time it aspires to immerse the viewer fully in the world it posits, by allowing no trace of the artist’s process or environment to sully the frame.
A fascinating twist comes when it’s executed in the street — which I don’t recall seeing until today. Even as every image is effaced by its successor, all leave a trace. But what’s especially cool about this, from a long now perspective, is how the foregrounded timescale of these drawings-in-motion (accented by “real time” sound effects) is overlaid on accelerated shifts in traffic, light and shade of the urban backdrop. This helps make the film at once both strangely ordinary and quite surreal: beautiful.