20190107

How to shoot a video while you are riding a horse?

When you film while riding, the footage is bound to be shaky. When you ride a horse your body movements are controlled by an other being. The film industry has a lot of specialized tools and techniques to make the act of riding appear what they imagine it to be. They use cranes and drones to follow a rider, shoot footage using camera stabilization tools and even engineer fake-horses.

Working with real animals is costly. Companies often have to employ a herd to portray an individual. The pig in the movie Babe (1995) was portrayed by 48 different animals. Using multiple pigs guaranteed that a compliant, pretty and healthy animal was constantly on set. What were the rest to pigs doing, when one of them was at the set? Did they become friends? Did they think that they all look the same?

Robots are more compliant than animals. The film industry has learned to build mechanized horses. Mechanized animal hulls are designed to look convincing from a specific camera angle, but might miss the rest of their body. To can move their ears and eyes and are fitted with micro-controllers and servos under their silicone skin. I bet the inner-mechanics of these puppets get repurposed. One day the automatized servos fake the liveliness of a horse, the next week they are used to animate a partial robot cow or an alien.

There is a growing variety of camera stabilization devices available. Stabilizing components can be build inside the lens or the camera. They try to balance the frame based on the devices orientation to the ground. I guess they use gravity as a reference. This means that all footage shot with lens or with in camera stabilization is geologically orientated. This means that subjects they portray are oriented to gravity.

Another way of stabilizing video footage is to use software to read the stream of images and to re-render it frame by frame. An algorithm interprets what it sees and reframes the footage accordingly. It’s interesting to see this kind of image, because you get to see how the algorithm interprets movement. What are you portraying trough this kind of material? Speculative choreography?

Anyway you look at it the camera will get in the way and fiddling with the settings takes time from interacting with the animal. Real riders shoot it rough: Riding in the Bronx (2018)

20181230

Returning from New York City to Helsinki feels like lobotomy.

20181217

Indian restaurants in New York City make me feel like home. The interiors are decorated with art from the same sweatshops. Handmade wall ornaments painted in earthly hues, paintings of nature made in haste. Illustrations showing mythological figures, sports heroes and a distant relative. Some blinking lights, paper flowers and cityscape prints glued on walls, with peels revealing the sockets. Seeing the Brooklyn Bridge on the print makes more sense here then in Helsinki but it feels dislocated even so. The music is the same too. If I didn’t know better I would think these restaurants are designed by the same corporate stylist. This is not a complaint but a celebration. The food is good.

20180923

I really believe this city is teaching me something. It works on me, my views on independence, freedom and collaboration are being altered by this place. In New York freedom is the right to express yourself and move without interference, in Helsinki freedom is about having access to forums were futures are being decided.

A Feminist Counterapocalypse (2018) Joanna Zylinska. The text frames Judith Butler as a posthumanist (We suspected this with Pietari)! It gives a great overview to Anna Tsing’s thinking and provides a framework for further developing the happy degrowth movement or a #deathhack cult. More Anna Tsing on Landscapes (2016) Anthropod podcast. Terms to take home from the lecture: Creatures of Empire = Animals which colonizers brought with them (horses etc.), Shock-Troops = Pathogens, Camp followers (Starlings etc.) = Species brought by settlers which threaten threatening local ecology. “Landscape assemblage”.

Continue reading “20180923”

20180917

The most important text written by a person of Finnish origins in years (possibly ever).  Linux 4.19-rc4 released, an apology, and a maintainership note (2018) Linus Torvalds.

My flippant attacks in emails have been both unprofessional and uncalled for. Especially at times when I made it personal. In my quest for a better patch, this made sense to me. I know now this was not OK and I am truly sorry.

To tie this all back to the actual 4.19-rc4 release (no, really, this _is_ related!) I actually think that 4.19 is looking fairly good, things have gotten to the “calm” period of the release cycle, and I’ve talked to Greg to ask him if he’d mind finishing up 4.19 for me, so that I can take a break, and try to at least fix my own behavior.

I need to take a break to get help on how to behave differently and fix some issues in my tooling and workflow.

And yes, some of it might be “just” tooling. Maybe I can get an email filter in place so at when I send email with curse-words, they just won’t go out. Because hey, I’m a big believer in tools, and at least _some_ problems going forward might be improved with simple automation.

I know when I really look “myself in the mirror” it will be clear it’s not the only change that has to happen, but hey… You can send me suggestions in email.

We visited Magazzino and Dia: Beacon last week with the ISCP crew. Both sites were spectacular and the trip led to an observation.

At a glance the supermarkets in New York seem to have absolutely everything. The shelves are jampacked with cans, boxes and soft plastic bags – But when one investigates them closely it’s apparent that the shelves are empty. An entire isle can boast a spectacular variety of cans, dressed in different colors and ornamented with different brands but if inspected, they are all the same product. All of the cans have beans in them. Supermarkets house a phantom of variety.

Dia: Beacon exhibition felt the same. When I entered the space I was confronted with 20 meters of Dan Flavin’s fluorescent tubes. At first it felt spectacular. But I felt an eerie stab as I realized that they were all the same art piece. I tried to think of this as a form of critique, but after witnessing the same logic applied to nearly every other artist in the exhibition, it became clear that the function of the site was to celebrate abundances, masses and superstructures which facilitate the production of clones. Minimalist artworks in the Dia: Bacon setting came off as a clone army of proto-zombie formalistic stuff. This was not a disappointing experiences, on the contrary: It felt like strolling past colorful isles at Macy’s. It’s relaxing to see stuff.

Learned about David Hammons’ Pissed Off (1981). A bright sight, sabotage is the way forward. More on the performance Stop And Piss: David Hammons’ Pissed Off (2013).

I had an intensive week. I’m editing my PhD proposal, applying for additional funding for Trans-Horse and met with Lisa Le Feuvre from the Holt/Smithson foundation (concerning Land- and Environmental Art Conservation). Prepared a 4k video of our work on Up and Under (1998) from the still photos I shot in 2013.