Posts Tagged ‘cute’
One of the prototype bots for Polyangylene! This creature is a hexapod with six hips and six knees, able to navigate its environment by detecting obstacles through ultrasonic radar. For now, its walking functions are limited to forward and reverse, but I’ll be adding more interesting behaviors to Hex (hard not to give it a name)…including dancing and swarming.
The bouncy 3D labyrinth with its electrocuted fuzzy fauna continues to be built…in stereo! A prototype arch and its puzzled subject pose for the game engine camera.
Electrocuted Bunnybot Pinball, here scripted and modeled in the game engine Unity and rendered in anaglyph stereoscopy, is a multiplayer game about erratic and exuberant motion and an extreme experience of playful space.
Each player controls a bunny. The bunnies hop around in a prison-environment.
The goal of the game is to make your bunny jump into one of the many holes in the walls/floor/ ceiling of the prison (all have different shapes – you have to see if your bunny fits) and escape.
Plugs are the jail-keepers of the bunnies. Every time a bunny hits a hotspot (shaped like stars) on the floor/ceiling/walls of the prison, it causes one of the plugs to go into an outlet.
Every time a plug goes into an outlet, a random bunny gets “electrocuted” and its bounciness multiplies (10s), making it bounce erratically across the prison. Not only is it then harder for the player to control and to aim for holes, but it also makes it harder for the other players, since the bunny is likely to ricochet not only off the walls but off other bunnies, knocking them off their course.
How does the stereo work with the game mechanics?
The irregular shape of the space and the irrepressible kinetic momentum of the bunnies are the main attraction of the game. The puzzle piece-like holes in the walls of the prison as well as the walls’ irregular curvature, crannies, and recesses all participate in creating an unpredictable and graphically striking environment, where often 3D is the only reliable depth cue, since the texture of the walls is uniform, and multiple different-colored lighting sources are always roving across the environment, changing the shadows and further confusing the topology of the space.
The bouncing bunnies offer the player an extreme experience of the z-axis. They give the space a dynamic aspect and add to stereo’s aesthetic function of enhancing the physicality (shape, material qualities) of the game objects.
Wish Come True, Luminato Festival, Toronto, June 2010
FriendsWithYou is an art collective based in Miami that in addition to creating a wildly successful line of designer vinyl toys, creates large-scale inflatable toy environments. Rainbow City in Miami and Wish Come True in Toronto stand as fairy-tale epitomes of the fantastically cute and adorable, offering extreme experiences in curves and bounciness for buoyant spirits of all ages. Bringing the toy to the realm of the gargantuan, built on the social scale of the city, the art of FriendsWithYou is more than aesthetically overwhelming in its impact, it also acts as a sort of emotional and collective catharsis for the visitors, coercing them into a state of cuddliness and beatific joy. The collective dubs themselves the pioneers of a “happy movement”.
“The individual structures are simple, minimal forms that borrow aesthetics from toy- like geometry and design and tower over guests, as each element’s height ranges from ten to forty feet. By dwarfing the audience, the totemic pieces trigger a sense of reverence, similar to the visual of a monolithic monument. During interaction, the inflated sculptures “embrace” visitors, while repetitive sound elements further enhance the sensory experience.The overall installation creates a surreal landscape of psychedelic scenery intended to simultaneously provoke a religious and childlike awareness.” (friendswithyou.com)
Rainbow City, Miami, November 2010
My Umbrella Music Box on display. When you open the umbrella, a windy, tinkling, chimey tune starts to play somewhere above the umbrella holder’s ears, only faintly discernible to others.
Materials used: hacked circuit of a Saw III audio-recording toy, a salvaged speaker, LED cocktail ice-cube, synthetic fur, taffeta, netting, nylon and a common umbrella. Special thanks to Jerry Serafin for his electronics expertise!
from Sianne Ngai’s “The Cuteness of the Avant-Garde “To use an everyday, ready-at-hand object as an example of commercially produced cuteness, this small and compact knickknack, a frog-shaped bath sponge (figs. 1a and 1b), shows how much the aesthetic depends on a softness that invites physical touching—or, to use a more provocative verb, fondling. It also demonstrates the centrality of anthropomorphism to cuteness. Yet while the object has been given a face and exaggerated gaze, what is striking is how stylistically simplified and even unformed its face is, as if cuteness were a sort of primitivism in its own right. Realist verisimilitude and precision are excluded in the making of cute objects, which have simple contours and little or no ornamentation or detail. The smaller and less formally articulated or more bloblike the object, the cuter it becomes—in part because smallness and blobbishness suggest greater malleability and thus a greater capacity for being handled. The bath sponge makes this especially clear because its purpose is explicitly to be pressed against the body and squished.
From here it is only a short step to see how the formal properties associated with cuteness — smallness, compactness, softness, simplicity, and pliancy— call forth specific affects: helplessness, pitifulness, and even despondency. There is thus a sense in which the minor taste concept of cuteness might be said to get at the process by which all taste concepts are formed and thus at the aesthetic relation all of them capture. For in addition to being a minor aesthetic concept that is fundamentally about minorness (in a way that, for instance, the concept of the glamorous is not), it is crucial to cuteness that its diminutive object has some sort of imposed-upon aspect or mien—that is, that it bears the look of an object not only formed but all too easily de-formed under the pressure of the subject’s feeling or attitude towards it. Though a glamorous object must not have this mien at all (in fact, the meta-aspect of looking as if its aspect were subjectively imposed would immediately break the Schein of glamour), the subject’s awareness, as she gazes at her little object, that shemaybe willfully imposing its cuteness upon it, is more likely to augment rather than detract from the aesthetic illusion, calling attention to an unusual degree of synonymy between objectification and cutification
We can thus start to see how cuteness might provoke ugly or aggressive feelings, as well as the expected tender or maternal ones. For in its exaggerated passivity and vulnerability, the cute object is as often intended to excite a consumer’s sadistic desires for mastery and control as much as his or her desire to cuddle.
A blend of absurdist dadaist humor, a popcorn screwball low-brow low-budget aesthetic, fantasmic soiled candy-colored space design (including a spaceship moded like a glowing circus tent) and 80s synth rock, Killer Klowns from Outer Space is oxymoronic hybrid of film genres, gleefully mashing up science fiction, horror and the amusement park.
Old Skool – mid 90s
new iteration of happy
J-Pop: happy and breakbeats
Over the past six months I’ve been listening about 3 hours a day to happy hardcore, a sub-genre of “rave”, “techno”, “electronic” music considered a spin-off from early 90s U.K. hardcore techno (which also evolved into other kinds of hyper-fast specimens such as gabber/speedcore, like happy hardcore distinguished by its four to the floor beat but without the synthy melodies and jungle/drum n’ bass, whose syncopated fury is driven by breakbeats). Happy Hardcore is a product of rave culture, which approaches music from a decidedly anti-aesthetic point of view: this is not music meant to be listened to /considered/tasted (nothing is more contrary to the notion of taste than the dirty, praxis-based logic of musical fodder, meant to be digested by your dancing), but to kick you like a soccer ball into a parabolic trajectory, with usually a 7-hour interval between the going up and the coming down. Your body suffers through the DJ set of happy hardcore – crushing waves of relentless beats pound a machine rhythm into your feet while the perpetually shifting, morphing timbres of the synthesizer travel up and down your spine, stretch out your skull from the inside, creating a space (grimy and vast, like a warehouse) for the free play of endless sonic variations. Happy Hardcore is brutal in the sense that it locks you into a logic of acceleration – like driving a car with your foot spastically pressing down on the gas pedal – and that, at least within the context of a DJ set, it never stops. Not delivered in discrete packets of consumable “songs” but turned on like a tap – for a given period of time you swim in it, fight with it, ride with it, drown in it; it becomes your medium, a total texture for a parallel reality, a cognitive landscape apart. When they turn the music off and the night is over, it’s as if the air had gone out of the room – your ears, surreptitiously, have metaphorically started to function as lungs, allowing sound to bond to your bloodstream.
Why happy hardcore? If you look up happy hardcore on youtube, you’re likely to find tracks played to a still image that looks like a smiley face with angry eyebrows and a ferocious, toothy, grin – and that is exactly what it feels like. It can only be described as a mean joy, an apocalyptic celebration – the kind of happiness you would feel if you were being catapulted over a chasm, your feet treading air.