A Short Film For Saturday

Sep 20 2014 @ 9:03pm

Beckett Mufson introduces Jeff Frost’s mesmerizing short film Circle of Abstract Ritual:

Jeff Frost has been filming Circle of Abstract Ritual since he spontaneously decided to capture a timelapse of the Anaheim riots in 2012. Since then—with help from a very successful Kickstarter—he’s been gathering strange and surreal timelapse footage of abandoned buildings, deserted deserts, fiery hillsides, and open roads. The result is a beautifully shot, highly atmospheric glimpse into the underbelly of California, composed of 300,000 still photos. Frost’s stellar cinematography characterizes the city as a dark, mysterious place, where the seemingly familiar streets and avenues harbor a sense of foreboding—under his meticulous lens, even the white, puffy clouds seem to be harbingers of an oncoming storm.

Frost elaborates on his inspiration for the film, explaining that it “began as an exploration of the idea that creation and destruction might be the same thing”:

The destruction end of that thought began in earnest when riots broke out in my neighborhood in Anaheim, California, 2012. I immediately climbed onto my landlord’s roof without asking and began recording the unfolding events. The news agencies I contacted had no idea what to do with time lapse footage of riots, which was okay with me because I had been thinking about recontextualizing news as art for some time. After that I got the bug. I chased down wildfires, walked down storm drains on the L.A. River and found abandoned houses where I could set up elaborate optical illusion paintings. The illusion part of the paintings are not an end in themselves in my work. They’re an intimation of things we can’t physically detect; a way to get an ever so slight edge on the unknowable.

A Macho Macho Woman

Sep 20 2014 @ 8:19pm

Daniel Larkin raves over Eisa Jocson‘s recent performance at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, titled “Macho Dancer,” calling it “gender-bending cognitive dissonance at its artistic best”:

Jocson learnt a specialized form of male dancing from Manila’s red light district to develop this piece. “Macho Dancing” is unlike go-go boys in New York. It is its own genre best revealed in its own terms by a quick surf on YouTube. Like any dance form, it spans a spectrum but its core elements consist of a man dancing to music, striking several masculine poses, flaunting his physique, and proceeding to strip his clothes. Some of the Filipino macho dancers don’t stand stationary like the go-go boys in US bars. It’s can often resemble a drag show on a stage, where a man is performing a form of hyper-masculinity. …

But the performance was more than mind tricks for gender studies acolytes.

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Chivalry Is Stubborn

Sep 20 2014 @ 7:41pm

Joe Pinsker asks why the tradition of men paying on first dates with women persists:

A [new] survey … found that about 77 percent of people in straight relationships believe men should pay the bill on a first date. The survey, put together by the financial website NerdWallet, polled roughly 1,000 people who had been dating their partners for six months or more.

The company’s survey indicates that, in the early stages of courting, the pressure to pay falls primarily on men, but this imbalance hardly dissolves as the relationship progresses. Fifty-six percent of men foot the bill in full once they’re in an established relationship, and, even further down the line, 36 percent of men pay all of household bills, versus 14 percent of women. There’s not much in the way of historical data on the question of who pays for dates, but the findings of a 1985 poll suggest that very little has changed in the past 30 years. …

Who’s expected to pay for a date may seem trivial—some would even argue that covering the tab is a form of respecting women—but there’s reason to believe that this minor, “benevolent” form of sexism can lead to a fraught question of what the man is then owed.

Alice Robb presents new findings on why some disabled men pay for sex:

[Sociologist Kirsty] Liddiard interviewed 25 physically disabled men and women, recruited through ads on websites and in publications for people with disabilities. (The ads didn’t mention that she was studying sex work.) Of the 16 men included in the study, seven said they had at some point purchased sex from a female sex worker. (None of the women had ever paid for sex.) This is consistent with other research that suggests disabled men seek out prostitutes or “sex surrogates” at higher rates than non-disabled men.

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The View From Your Window

Sep 20 2014 @ 6:39pm


Torrance Beach, California, 4.35 pm

Go Ahead, Let Netflix Autoplay

Sep 20 2014 @ 6:08pm

New research suggests there are real benefits to vegging out – so long as you don’t guilt yourself out of them:

Participants were recruited via a gaming website and through psychology and communication classes. Specifically, the participants answered questions about the previous day, including how much work or study they’d done (answers ranged from half an hour to 16 hours), how depleted they felt after work or college, how much TV they’d watched or video-gaming they’d played (this averaged around two hours), whether they viewed it as procrastination, whether they felt guilty, and how recharged they felt afterwards.

The key finding is that the more depleted people felt after work (agreeing with statements like “I felt like my willpower was gone”), the more they tended to view their TV or gaming as procrastination, the more guilt they felt, and the less likely they were to say they felt restored afterwards. The same findings applied for TV or video games.

“Rather than diminishing the beneficial potential of entertaining media,” the researchers said, “we believe that the results of this study may ultimately help to optimise the well-being outcomes of entertaining media use by extending our knowledge of … media-induced recovery and general well-being.” If the researchers are correct, then if you cut yourself some slack when you watch TV after a hard day, you’re more likely feel rejuvenated afterwards.

Cool Ad Watch

Sep 20 2014 @ 5:17pm

A stock footage company puts their archive to clever cinematic use:

The Varieties Of Stoner Experience

Sep 20 2014 @ 4:58pm

Benjamin Breen prefers the 19th-century literature of laughing gas to the druggy musings of 1960s writers like Timothy Leary. He cites the “exuberant, experimental, playful, funny, honest, and intellectually curious” trip-lit of William James:

After huffing a large amount of nitrous oxide, James set out to tackle a prominent bugbear of 1880s intellectual life: Hegelian dialectics. He came up with a stream of consciousness that centered on a kind of ecstatic binary thinking:

Don’t you see the difference, don’t you see the identity?
Constantly opposites united!
The same me telling you to write and not to write!
Extreme—extreme, extreme! Within the extensity that “extreme” contains is contained the “extreme” of intensity
Something, and other than that thing!
By George, nothing but othing!
That sounds like nonsense, but it’s pure onsense!
Thought much deeper than speech … !
Medical school; divinity school, school! SCHOOL!
Oh my God, oh God; oh God!

James acknowledged to his readers that these ravings were the product of a mental state that, like alcohol intoxication, “seems silly to lookers-on.” But he came away from the experience with a remarkably positive take on nitrous oxide. James had argued that drunkenness produced a kind of “subjective rapture” occasioned by its ability to make “the centre and periphery of things seem to come together.” Nitrous oxide, he believed, produced a similar effect, “only a thousandfold enhanced.” On the gas, his mind was “seized … by logical forceps” and jolted into a new order of consciousness which, he thought, made the logic of Hegelian dialectics perfectly obvious to him.

Mental Health Break

Sep 20 2014 @ 4:20pm

Tearin’ it up:

Smartphone Sex

Sep 20 2014 @ 3:31pm

Megan Patterson interviews Kara Stone about Sext Adventure, a game she designed to be played on smartphones:

You mentioned to me a couple of weeks ago that a lot of women that hear the title Sext Adventure, and they just hear the word “sext” and assume that it’s made to appeal to guys, and not women. When that’s not remotely true at all!

Yes, totally! I think partly it’s the assumption that video games are for men, and I think if I heard about a sexting game, I’d be like, “Ugh, it’s gonna be dish_sexting hetero, it’s gonna be for men, and it’s gonna be by a bunch of white dudes who think they’re funny.” So I recognize that.

It has been funny seeing guys who play it, expecting one thing, and then they end up getting random dick pics, or not being able to get the exact kind of body type they want, or the gender they want. I’ve gotten a few emails being like, “Um, how do I make sext bot a woman?” I can imagine them having played a few times, like, “I can’t get the right narrative!” I didn’t make this game to troll dudes, but it’s a very funny consequence.

I was thinking more about making a game everybody could play, and also explore sexuality in a cyborg light, to get people thinking about the roles of gender and technology. We often gender technology, and sentient technology might not have gender. What would that mean? How would it express desire? How would it understand humans?

In other sex-and-tech news, Kottke points to amusing erotic poetry formed exclusively from snippets of iPhone 6 reviews:

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