Whenever I board a train or bus during the morning or evening peak commute, I can’t help but be fascinated by the way just about everyone in my view has their head down, tapping ceaselessly on their smartphone. It leads me to wonder how commuters of decades past must have whiled away the journey to, or from, work.
I was going along Crown street, in the inner Sydney suburb of Surry Hills the other week, when I noticed that the only DVD hire shop that I was aware of in the area, was having a closing down sale. Another one bites the dust, sadly.
The odds are pretty much stacked against movie rental shops now, but I started wondering how long its stakeholders had spent trying to avert the store’s closure before finally deciding to cease trading. I suspect it would have been an uphill battle though, if the experience of former Portland DVD/video shop worker Dennis Perkins, is anything to go by:
I started a weekly blog/newsletter for the store. I intended it to be a place for customers and staff to continue the ongoing movie conversation through movie reviews, debates, and think pieces about the store and movies in general. In theory it was, apart from being a chance for me to exercise my brain and writing skills, a way to bind customers to the store by giving them a sense of ownership in the place. In practice, as the customers drifted away, it became more like a running, increasingly desperate 10-year argument as to why our video store deserved to exist, written by me.
Because there’s nothing more I enjoy than being in a state of high anxiety… watch as Théo Sanson attempts to set a world record slacklining, or walking a tightrope, over a distance of five hundred metres. I’m not sure what to say about his choice of location for the undertaking, Castle Valley, Utah, except that it is certainly scenic. Best viewed in full screen mode. If you dare.
Berlin based 3-D artist Francisco Sanchez de Cañete started thinking about how Charles Darwin might have reacted when he first encountered carnivorous plants – survival of the fittest, or what – and Zombie Flowers is the result.
Farming is an industry that is perhaps taken for granted by more than a few people. As long as food reaches the table, why have much concern for the process that helps bring this about?
While I’m no expert, here is a line of work, it seems to me, where more stands to go wrong, than right. Farmers are often at the mercy of the weather, their crops and livestock are vulnerable to all sorts of diseases, and I doubt that the hours are conducive to attaining any sort of so-called work/life balance. And that’s just for starters.
With the average age of farmers increasing, it’s sixty-five in Canada for instance, it is also an industry that is literally at risk of dying out. That’s not to say farming holds no appeal to younger people, it does, as Age of The Farmer, a short film by Spencer MacDonald shows, just not many.
He not only recorded a series of sometimes searching questions, but also a wide range of reactions, from good, to bad, to indifferent, that could be edited in, depending on the responses his older self would give to a particular question. At age fifty-six Emshwiller sat down with himself, as it were, to complete the interview.
Emshwiller had been looking to raise funds, which has since happened, so he can digitally restore the 1977 footage of himself, and complete production of the full length conversation. In the meantime, here is an excerpt, or trailer, if you like, of part of the interview.
You may not know Tokyo’s iconic Shibuya Crossing by name, but chances are you’ve seen it dozens of times in films and on TV shows. And here it features prominently in Create & Explore 009 by Braden Lee, set to the music of Perth based band HWLS.
Tokyo is this futuristic-dystopian metropolis rich in tradition and modernism. My goal was to merge these two themes. Throughout the story we follow two contemporary dancers to the famous Shibuya 5-way crossing. We also observe a mysterious masked figure. This ominous mask comes from a theatrical drama called “Noh” which the Japanese have been practicing since the 14th century. The actual mask you see here is over 400 yrs old and represents an angel – passed down through generations. Today, there’s just a handful left performing Noh as it solely depends on the disinterested youth to keep it alive
For many living in Britain and Ireland one hundred years ago, a ticket for passage on the Titanic, especially on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City, was seen by some as a ticket to untold fame and fortune.
Best you take great care of that ticket then, even if it is for a berth in steerage.
Uisce Beatha, being Gaelic for Whiskey, or Water Of Life, a short film by Shaun O Connor, retells the fateful story of one of these third class ticket holders, as he prepared from to sail from Queenstown (now Cobh), aboard the Titanic.
Sekar, a camera repairer based in the Indian city of Chennai, has spent the last ten years feeding some four thousand parakeets, plus, by the looks of it, a number of pigeons, that arrive at his house early each morning. The birds first showed up soon after the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, and since then their numbers have steadily grown.
Providing food for the parakeets is not only a labour of love for Sekar, who has become known as the “birdman”, and rises at 4:30AM to begin preparing their meals, but also comes at some financial cost, up to forty percent of his income, he thinks. That’s a sacrifice that I hope his feathered beneficiaries appreciate.