Mediated Matter – Mass Media, Organic Growth & Modified Environments

 

 

Mass Media constructs realities based on specific sets of codes and conventions determined by the nature of each Medium.  Advances in media technology combined with new approaches in physical design and manufacturing means that these constructed  realities can now manifest in the material environment.  When these constructed realities emulate organic forms and growth, a potential hybrid of virtual reality and the physical environment has the potential to come into existence.

 

 

 

The Mediated Matter group focuses on Nature-inspired Design and Design-inspired Nature. Conducting research at the intersection of computational design, digital fabrication, materials science and synthetic biology and apply that knowledge to design across scales from the micro scale to the building scale,  they create biologically inspired and engineered design fabrication tools and technologies and structures aiming to enhance the relation between natural and man-made environments. Their research field, entitled Material Ecology, integrates computational form-finding strategies with biologically inspired fabrication. This design approach enables the mediation between objects and environment; between humans and objects; and between humans and environment. Their goal is to enhance the relation between natural and man-made environments by achieving high degrees of design customization and versatility, environmental performance integration and material efficiency.


 

Seeking to establish new forms of design and novel processes of material practice at the intersection of computer science, material engineering, design and ecology, with broad applications across multiple scales, they are  breaking through the wall between Media constructed realities and  the physical environment, emulating organic growth & forms in a virtual environment and then replicating these as physical environmental elements.

 

 

Malak and the Boat: UNICEF’s Animated ‘Unfairy Tales’ Begin

Malak Title

 

UNICEF  launched a new animated series  meant to bring attention to the youngest victims of the Syrian refugee crisis, Unfairy Tales. Created by ad agency 180LA, the videos chronicle real children’s journeys from Syria by juxtaposing stunning animation with terrifying narrations of the terrible events wrought by this globally impactful humanitarian disaster. The first story, Malak and the Boat, tells seven-year-old Malak’s harrowing story of his journey across the Mediterranean seeking shelter from the Syrian conflict. Visual design company House of Colors built a custom animation algorithm for the film that gives the waves a stylized, almost autonomous behaviour as if the sea were a sentient thing.

 

 

 

 

While intended to contrast the contemporary mass media  view of fairy tales with the harsh reality of the refugee children, it actually reveals the core of fairy tales and folklore.  The power of fairy tales to convey the harsh reality through metaphor and archetype is clearly evident in this work of animation.  Childhood can be fraught with perils, both imagined and very real. Through the fairy tale these perils and the human spirit of resilience can be effectively portrayed and modelled. The real outcomes & collateral damage, rather than the Disney/Victorian happy ever afterwards, can be presented, that those with power & voice can strive to create a positive outcome for those caught up in a wave of societal conflict & extreme upheaval.

Detectives Who, How & Why

Sherlock & Poirot

 

 

I responded to Calmgrove’s post, “Locked Room Cozy is a Page-turner” , making an observation on the nature of the whodunnit. This is pure speculation, but if we keep in mind that all forms of Mass Media contain values, beliefs and ideologies,  one can see how male biasesand values could shape the characteristics of mystery stories and the development of the literary detective.  I suspect that the whodunnit almost falls into male and female categories. Obviously readers and writers of both genders can move from the one type to the other. However the evolution of the genre appears to have evolved out of a societal-cultural role pattern and expectations. Early detectives, tended  to rely on the male preference for a mechanistic approach to solving the mystery. Their knowledge and observational skills concentrated on the how of the mystery.  In effect, the whodunnit is very often a process of discovering how it was done in order to catch the perpetrator of the crime.

Lady Detectives 3twq

 The early Lady Detectives  were written in the model of the male detectives, using their skills and knowledge in the same manner as their male counterparts.  Their advantage was in how society under estimated them and in their observation of things, most men would have considered inconsequential, the emphasis was on the how in order to arrive at the who.

In 1938, Zelda Popkin introduced Mary Carner, considered the first modern female detective

Male whodunnit – How-dunnit discovers the mechanics of the mystery.

 

Female whodunnit – Why-dunnit leads to the mechanics of the mystery.

 

 

Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple demonstrates a shift as observations about human behaviour  places more significance on emotions and motivations. The one detective figures out how it was done to discover who did it. The other detective investigates motive, the why, which leads to who. The who then helps provides the means of unravelling the method . Both detectives are essentially puzzle solvers who approach the puzzle from different sides.

 

The Hard Boiled detective follows a convoluted emotional path full of ethical grey areas. Lots of physical encounters, where action & threat are a metaphor for the detective’s emotional vulnerability. The solitary male detective follows a physical trail to the emotional heart of the mystery. The puzzle/mystery is cracked open (to crack the case); the detective seeks emotional whys in a hands on manner. The mystery always involves the eternal mystery of the dangerous/unattainable woman, Femme Fatale.

 

 

Black Mask - The Maltese Falcon

 

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In the Noir world of the Hard Boiled Detective, women could be obstacles, goals,  and antagonists. Even so, the Lady Detective could play out the role of protagonist, as long as she followed the masculine path of the knight errant down the mean streets.

DLmontage

 

 

 

 

 

Peace Starts With Me: Video Art by Magali Charrier

 

Magali Charrier was commissioned by PUMAPeace, alongside 7 other artists, to create a piece around the idea of Peace for the World Peace Festival 2011. The piece was subsequently broadcast on Channel4 in October 2011 as part of Random Acts.

Artist Statement

“I use drawing as a tool for investigating the human body and its inner workings—giving sight to what is only felt, not yet seen or known. By merging animated drawings with live action, I put mark making at the centre of filmmaking. In their dialogue, body and trace question the materiality of movement and of human presence.

For films4peace, I was concerned with depicting the intimate battles that occur daily within oneself and the chaotic journey that takes place in order to reach inner peace. A simple setting: one fixed long shot, a human figure in an empty space. Stillness. Suddenly shadows flicker out of the human figure, sporadically first, then frenetically entering and extracting themselves, interfering and frantically disrupting the initial state, building up to darkness. Peace comes as a sudden breath born out of chaos.”

Charrier is an award winning director, animator and video editor whose work has been toured and broadcast throughout the world.

 

Magali Charrier – click to visit her website.

 

Click to view Le Corps en Construction series by Magali Charrier.

Her background in fine arts, animation and dance gives her a highly sought-after and distinctive style often incorporating film and animation. She is the recipient of numerous awards (VideoDansa Prize, Barcelona; NAHEMI Award at Encounters Film Festival, Bristol, Best Dance Film at CineDans Festival, Amsterdam and more) and bursaries from Channel4, BBC4 and the Arts Council.

Magali also works as a visual artist, producing animated video projections for live theatre and dance productions as well as short films and illustration. She completed a short series of animated films about contemporary dance, commissioned by The Place. The series was due to launch in summer 2014.