Wednesday 06th July 2016Artist Spotlight: Wolfgang Buttress' Hive
Bees have been in the news quite a lot lately thanks to the trials and tribulations that they've been forced to undergo lately at the hands of pesticides and other issues that cause colony collapse disorder. They rarely tend to get mentioned in the art world news, however, regardless of their complicated language of dancing and their sommelier-like honey-making abilities.
That's all changed now, thanks to the British installation artist Wolfgang Buttress and his latest piece, entitled Hive (shown above, courtesy of Jeff Eden/RBG Kew).
The piece is located in London, in the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, close to where it's bee masters are. The piece is a whopping 17 meters tall and was constructed out of 170,000 pieces of aluminum that are suspended in a massive framework. Dotted throughout the framework are speakers and LED lights which respond to the movements and communications of the bees located in the control hive, elsewhere in the Royal Botanical Gardens.
“My approach to a sculpture seeks to frame nature so one can experience it more intimately. I want visitors to feel enveloped, wrapped-up and involved in the experience, rather than adopting the position of an external observer," explains Buttress.
Visitors can walk into the center of the structure and gain a sense of the tremendous complexity of what's happening inside the control hive, although perhaps 'control' isn't exactly the right word for what's happening. It's more of a reactive sculpture, but it also has an interesting scientific component that catapaults it from the cool to the useful, thanks to the pioneering work in the field of honeybee communication by Martin Bencsik at Nottingham Trent University.
“I opened a bee hive for the first time two years ago and it gave me a different outlook on life and how humans are connected to nature. We are in danger of losing that vitally important connection, especially in cities.”
An admirable sentiment, and one that will hopefully be echoed in other public works that seek to rebuild our connection to the natural world. We've isolated ourselves from the natural world quite thoroughly in the center of a city, and in some ways that's a wise choice, but in many profound ways it can be more damaging than it's worth.
Posted on July 06th 2016 on 07:57pm
Friday 08th April 2016Secret Animation Software Made Free
There may be those among you who feel that animation cannot be art. You may regard yourselves as purists, and feel morally and aesthetically superior. Hopefully, you will enjoy that - over there, in the corner, where you won't bother anyone else. For the rest of you who have open minds and are willing to explore the possibilities of a medium, you may be extremely interested to know that one of the most famous pieces of (secret!) animation software has just been released to the public.
The software, which has been used to create the hit comedy series Futurama as well as almost all of the anime hits produced by Studio Ghibli such as Princess Mononoke, Ponyo and Howl's Moving Castle, is somewhat unfortunately named 'Toonz'. It has been released as an open source package, which means that the code for the entire piece of software is visible and editable by anyone with the skills to do so, and will be entirely free forever.
The new free version is named OpenToonz, displaying the open source community's unfortunate lack of nomenclature creativity, despite their incredible technical creativity. The version is subtitled the 'Ghibli Edition', because of the numerous improvements and adjustments that were made by the Studio Ghibli animators and programmers over the years since they purchased the original software from Italian developers Digital Video.
According to Claudio Mattei, “This deal will be also the starting point of a new exciting plan to endorse the open source business model, by supporting training and customizing Toonz for the old and new users.” Digital Video, the original developers, hope to make money off the need for training, support and installation services in a market that will develop thanks to the increasingly widespread adoption of the software worldwide.
Hopefully, this is exciting news for any of you who are interested in motion graphics, film and animation! Despite the move to the internet, animation and video is hotter than ever and this software combined with new media delivery platforms like YouTube and Vimeo offer a whole new method for artists and animators to get their work in front of the general public. OpenToonz should revolutionize the whole animation world, and here's hoping that it inspires you to create something truly beautiful!
Posted on April 08th 2016 on 01:45am