Saturday, 13 September 2014

Noct by c3sk

Generally I subscribe to The Oatmeal's view of Kickstarter, but I must admit that there are some cool concepts appearing now and again. Noct is a videogame being developed by c3sk studio and it looks awesome.

The concept is top-down survival horror in a vaguely Lovecraft-ian post-apocalyptic setting, as viewed through thermal imaging cameras. I love the lo-fi graininess of the screenshots which perfectly capture the kind of despondent, hallucinogenic atmosphere that would (probably) be pervasive if weird-ass ancient deities arose from their slumer and sent the whole world mad. Probably.

Alas I am increasingly suffering from nausea when I play 3D games, so anything 2D is a much safer bet. Oh, wait, I just equated a Lovecraft-ian doomsday scenario with 'safe'. Welcome to my world...


Sunday, 7 September 2014

And Now It's Dark

This is the first post in a few weeks as things have been busy at the ToE headquarters. Not only have I begun to renovate the secret bunker in which I now live, there was a trip to Ancient Greece a few weeks ago (during which I got to fire arrows at hoplites, which was awesome).

Now I'm back, I have just been to an amazing show at Nottingham's Lakeside Gallery. And Now It's Dark; American night photography profiles the work of several predominantly late 20th century photographers and includes a section of much older images. The work of these artists reveals a very different side to The American Dream. The long-exposure images are often flooded with eerie and sickly light revealing the delapidation of American cities. Black-red pools of blood run down cracked sidewalks, hooded figures hide in corners, and candid, blurred pictures of blurry women with late-night-blurry makeup stare out from the prints. By day the United States is filled with the self confidence and optimism for which it is renowned, by night a very different picture emerges as those who have fallen through the cracks come out to play.

The section of early-to-md 20th century images was amazing - vintage images of cities New York and Boston. Many of the landscapes looked just how I imagine Gotham city to be. Robbed of the technicolor which saturates most of the other rooms, these older photographs emphasize fog, light blooms and the heavy chiroscuro shadows on the faces of those terrified New Yorkers trapped on the subway in the blackout in 1965.

"Now it's dark" is a phrase often used by David Lynch - it is repeatedly uttered by Frank in Blue Velvet and Julee Cruise whispers it into the Twin Peaks soundtrack. This show perfectly captures the real-life nocturnal hinterlands which have clearly inspired Lynch.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

KIN by Seb and Ben McKinnon

KIN by Seb and Ben McKinnon is a beautiful short film inspired by Scottish folk history.

Although influenced by their trip to Scotland, it was actually shot around Montreal. I love the desaturated shots of bleak landscape and the epic proportions with which they imbue the knight. The latter is acheiveed with some wonderful slow motion and some great natural lighting.

A month ago the pair uploaded a teaser for the sequel to KIN called Salvage.


KIN from KIN on Vimeo.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Back to The Smoke

Here are some snaps of bits of London I have been to over the past couple of months...

The Olympic park is a rather awesome development. I had just left the city by the time the London Olympics kicked-off, so never saw it 'in action'. Now the stadia are open to the public they tend to dwarf the reduced crowds. The elegantly landscaped park has a slightly Ballardian quality. If feels somehow over-designed next to the more higgledy piggledy spaces of the old city.

This is a view up one of the waterways on the South Bank, near to Tower Bridge. These buildings were derelict right up until the 90s and the flats now cost in excess of £400k. Good evidence for their previous state can be found in films like Jubilee by Derek Jarman and Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. Both directors shot in the disused, decaying waterfront of the 80s. I think I prefer it that way.

I went to the London ComiCon last month, and had to escape after less than an hour due to my brain overloading. I discovered that Brompton Cemetery is right next to Earl's Court and had a wander through the Victorian burial ground. I realised I had seen the long, colonnaded walk in various films, including the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes movie. The place has an amazing collection of 19th century funerary architecture.

I've been reading a bit about Chinese migration to UK cities so I visited the London Chinatown. I was really fascinated by the fusion of Asian design with the Victorian and Georgian architecture of the neighborhood. I particularly wanted to wander down the back alleys, where the application of design is far less considered. There were some wonderful little Victorian barred windows and bricked up alcoves in the surfaces, while the Chinese influence was far less bombastic.

This is the Paolozzi bronze of Newton outside the British Library. He is probably the best bit of the campus, which I otherwise don't care for much.

I usually do edits in Photoshop, but used Picasa this time as it's just quicker. The 'Holga' filter is a one-button click and produces OK results I think. Alas there still appears to be no control over the watermark text settings, hence the rather clunky results here.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Comics Unmasked at the British Library

This weekend I went to Comics Unmasked at the British Library. Since the institution's move to its new premises from its old location at the British Museum it has put on some great 'blockbuster' public shows bringing it well-deserved acclaim. Unmasked is no exception, and, despite some faults, is a great exhibition fit for fans of the genre and art historians alike.

Unmasked charts the history of British comics and the preoccupations of their authors and artists. Like many shows these days, it's arranged thematically rather than chronologically and tackles a number of subjects which are at the forefront of comic culture in this country. Antecedents like medival pamplets, political posters and satires, Punch and Victorial penny dreadfulls are presented as progentiors to the nation's twentieth century comics dealing with polictics, race, sexuality and the British obsession with the anti-hero. Highlights include original drawings and paste-ups of V for Vendetta, the actual models made by Dave McKean for The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch and samples of Alan Moore's original notes. The final section explores the connection between comics and mysticism and I was transfixed by the hand-written notebooks belonging to Aliester Crowley and John Dee.

Alas the show is marred by a couple of things. Its physical design is slightly grim as visitors are forced to 'conveyor-belt' around the walls at the pace of the slowest soldier. The tactility of the medium is completely ignored with tokenistic gestures of some iPads for actual browsing. While there is a flicking projection screen overhead, much the wallspace is left blank and leads to a rather sterile atmosphere. I understand the need not to distract from the originals on show, but it would have been so much more engaging had they enlgarged at least a few prints or character sketches. Plus it was bloody freezing!

These gripes aside, its an amazing show and I urge anyone interested to visit before it closes later this month. And remember to bring a jacket to keep you warm.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Mad Max: Road Fury ComiCon trailer

This looks utterly awesome.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Beacon by Monothetic

A quick post to say I am loving the WIP images coming from developer Monothetic for their new 'Roguelike' game Beacon. The concept art has a wonderful early-80s vibe and I definitely want a copy of Freja's jacket.