Movies In Color

Movies In Color is a website that analyses the colour palatte of cinema, which is something of a dark art IMO. Determining colours for projects was one of the trickiest aspects of graphic design for me until I discovered online colour palatte generators.

Image above comes from the film Wild At Heart, one of my all-time favourites. The palatte for Amelie, another favourite, is particularly lush.

Tony Mott

Last night I heard Tony Mott talk at the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery about his work, which is currently being exhibited.

Mott is a successful photographer who specialises in music industry portraits and concert images. The exhibition is excellent, both for his images and his unreserved comments alongside them.

The talk also contained information about artists that would fill a gossip column, as well as praise for famous and not-so-famous musicians.

One story I liked was about taking Perry Farrell's portrait, the screenshot above comes from Mott's website. The singer from Jane's Addiction and Porno For Pyros is a noted eccentric, as well as being the founder of the US Lollapolooza tour.

Mott recounted that he'd arrived at Farrell's hotel room and was asked by the singer if he trusted him. "Yeah, sure" he replied and was asked to close his eyes. After 10 seconds or so Mott opened his eyes again to find Farrell looking at him and asking "Hey! Where's the trust?"

Mott said he closed his eyes again and felt Farrell's hand on his genitals. When he opened his eyes in surprise Farrell said "Now we trust each other"!

It was great to be able to ask Tony Mott questions and learn from his experience. Afterward I introduced myself and recounted that we'd met at the front of Korn's gig in Canberra in 1997. He seemed to remember the night too.

You can see some of my concert photographs at First Three Songs, No Flash -- which refers to the instructions one usually gets before photographing a concert.


This is the 800th post.

Little ditty

Here's a track I wrote and recorded for the Disquiet Junto last weekend. I set myself a challenge to record each part as a single take and undertook no editing.

The theme was brushing teeth, although you wouldn't pick it from the track.

Shelfie for book awareness

Not to belittle the cancer fundraising by people posting self-portraits on social media, but more needs to be done to promote reading.

Kid History

These cute videos feature adults acting out events recollected by small children. A nice reminder of the perspective they offer, made humourous through the juxtaposition of seeing it happen to adults.

Griffith math graffiti

"Thumbs down to the local wags who completed the mathematical equation on my visitor's Navarro 4 by 4 by adding equals sixteen in Texta."

Yay for math nerditry in Griffith but I've seen the 4x4=16 gag before.

St Patrick's Day

Saw this image comparing St Patrick's Day in America and Ireland on my Facebook news feed this morning and remembered an interesting juxtaposition on the front page of Griffith's Area News newspaper.

Though I understand they usually put two stories on the front page, I always read it as though they are one. In this case it seemed to me St Patrick's was the cause of the horror weekend.

In fact, it seems likely that the person who did the layout for this cover last month was relishing the play on the word 'bust' under the story with the picture featuring a bra.

Optical distortion

Just noticed how stretched this woman's head looks on my bank's homepage. She looks a bit like Joseph Merrick!

The wide-angle lens used to take the photo has distorted the picture, although the image may also have been stretched to fit full-screen on my internet browser too.

Things to do on Twitter when you're dead

Find it funny that Twitter are suggesting I follow the verified account of Lou Reed, who died last October. I get that Lou's people might be maintaining his Twitter but it still seems weird if it's verified.

Reminds me of the dead people I saw on Facebook, which seems to have stopped. Wonder if they developed an algorithm for that?

I'd wondered if Facebook would be considered culturally insensitive for showing images of dead Aboriginals, based on the warnings you see on the television about the possibility of seeing an indigenous person who's since moved on.

Why invest in the arts?

There’s been a lot of discussion about Transfield Holdings' sponsorship of the Sydney Biennale and the subsequent refusal of their funds after protest and shaming.

Arts minister George Brandis is reported as having written to the Australia Council seeking policy to penalise arts organisations that refuse funding from corporate sponsors on “unreasonable grounds” and threatening to force them adopt one if he wasn’t happy with their effort.

The Greens have seized on the discussion to point out that Brandis’ Liberal party accept funding from tobacco companies, a source of sponsorship that has been discouraged in many sectors. You’ll see the image above has been authorised by Greens leader Christine Milne.

One of the things that I think has been missing from the discussion is why companies invest in the arts. The obvious answer is publicity and to associate themselves with cultural activity but I’m curious why this activity is seen as positive. Why are the arts seen as good? What do companies gain through association?

I’ve just been reading David Byrne’s book How Music Works and he discusses the idea:

Elitism is not the sole reason that the “temples of quality” are lavishly funded. There is also the undeniable glory of seeing your name on a museum or symphony hall.

Byrne quotes Alain de Botton as writing:

I met a lot of people in the property business [developers, as they are called in the United States], an asked them why they did what they did… They said it was to make money. I said, “Don’t you want to do something else? Build better buildings?” Their idea of doing something better for society was to give money to the opera.

Byrne goes on to write:

The kind of compartmentalizing — separating one’s livelihood from one’s social aspirations — is part of the reason David Koch, the hidden hand behind a lot of ultraconservatives and, reportedly, the Tea Party movement in the United States, transforms himself into a respected arts patron by funding a theater at Lincoln Centre, or why a Swiss bank that helps U.S. depositors avoid paying taxes generously supports symphony halls and the ballet. It’s almost as if there are moral scales, and by tossing some loot on one side, you can balance out the precarious situation your reputation might be getting into on the other.

Byrne quotes John Carey’s book What Good Are the Arts? on the attitude of oil magnate John Paul Getty:

In his view, artworks are superior to people. His art collection was viewed as an external or surrogate soul. These spiritual values attributed to the artworks were transferred to the owner.

Working in the arts sector I am occasionally asked what value they bring and I’ll say they hold a mirror to society. That the arts provide metaphors and emotional depths and can provide a variety of perspectives on the human condition.

Rarely am I challenged to outline their benefit beyond that but if I were I’d point to the training ground they provide, with people developing skills in the arts that are sought in commercial realms. The Australian Bureau of Statistics first study into the economic contribution of the Creative and Cultural Industries has found it added $86 billion to our national economy in 2008-09.

However, I’m rarely challenged to make this argument because most people appreciate the arts. There’s an inherent sense of goodwill towards the arts because they promote human expression and — like how the misguided belief in a right to free speech is often thought to be a good thing — this idea that philanthropists are assisting culture is what they're capitalising on.

By investing in the arts they are seen as helping artists express themselves and enrich society. Like this money is helping people reach their potential and achieve goals, much like sporting prowess, in an area where success isn't as easily quantified but imparts some sense of nobility.

Quaffing pic

The Herald Sun ran a piece about Leeton and there's a pic of me, taken at the Toorak Winery Cab-Savvy Wine-blending Workshop last year.

It says the photo was supplied but I'm sure the journalist Chanal Parratt took it, as she was sitting opposite me and taking photos on the sly.

Death of blogging

Just been clicking on the 'Next Blog' button at the top of this page and, after looking into the lives of a dozen and a half strangers from around the world, I'm led to conclude that blogging is becoming extinct.

None of the blogs I've seen have been updated in 2014. Many seemed to stop around 2011 or 2012.

I'd guess Facebook took over for many and it makes sense. If you're sharing pics of your kids or reflecting on your days, your audience is likely to be friends and family. Facebook's newsfeed makes it easier to reach those people.

It's interesting that the trajectory of online publishing has gone from building your own HTML website to WYSIWYG interfaces (like here on Blogger) to Web 2.0 platforms like MySpace (with some options to personalise your site) to Facebook (with little option to personalise). This process has gained greater audiences through reducing the skills required to publish. It's kinda hegemonic in showing the concessions required for the power of self-publishing online to reach the masses.

However, if you're like Garnet Syberg-Olsen -- whose 'Slacker' sketch I've purloined for this post -- a blog is a great way to reach an audience beyond friends and family. Garnet's work is pretty cool and I've enjoyed seeing it, which probably wouldn't have happened on Facebook.

P.S. Seems I should've clicked 'Next Blog' a few more times as I've found Captain Orange's blog, which has many beaut photos and was updated in the last week.

Her and Hoffman

"Her" trailer plus Philip Seymour Hoffman from Richard Trammell

So I was watching Spike Jonze's movie Her and remembered this trailer which had been edited to use Phillip Seymour Hoffman's voice, who died within weeks of it appearing online.

Her is a clever film and in many ways the story is about human nature. I liked the sense that meaning is created through impermanence, so it seemed all the more poignant that Hoffman's voice was used to replace Scarlett Johansson as the character Samantha.

Another aspect of the film is how we project onto people in our relationships, making the sense of loss with the tragic demise of an acting talent like Hoffman a kind of comment on relationships created through mediums -- whether it's an operating system or movies.

One thing I found kinda charming about the film was how accepting most of the characters were about the idea of having a relationship with an operating system. Dunno, I can see the film would be quite silly if this wasn't the case but it underscored for me that if someone is happy and not doing themselves harm, then loving should be like I once heard Michael Franti say:
"It's not who you love but do you love?"

More from Neve

Last week I shared my daughter's artistic talents in cursing her friends to die from poison.

This week I arrived home to find this scene reminiscent of images from the execution of Hitler's would-be assassins.

Still rising

Leeton newspaper The Irrigator ran this piece today on the last remix chain, which can be heard at the Shinobi Cuts bandcamp page.

Email art

Just add Benny

This video of ravers dancing with the Benny Hill TV show theme added has generated a few laughs in recent days but I don't think it's as good as the following version of Beyonce's 'Single ladies' clip.