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Photography Science

Exceptionally Slow-Motion Footage Documents Tropical Butterflies Bursting from Their Chrysalises and Taking Flight

December 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

In an extravagant display of evolutionary tricks and mating rituals, new footage by Adrian Smith of the wildly popular Ant Lab YouTube channel focuses on six tropical butterflies. The extremely slow-motion montage zeroes in on a trio of tropical creatures as they crack open and emerge from their chrysalises and others like the striking Blue Morpho as they take flight. Smith paired the spectacular clips with behind-the-scenes footage of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Living Conservatory, which fosters a climate-controlled environment that hundreds of butterflies hatch from every few weeks. If you haven’t seen his previous footage yet, make sure you watch these moths and an unusual muppet-esque troupe as they lift off the ground. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

 

 



Animation Documentary

Absurd Office Etiquette and Sincere Storytelling: Colossal's Top Short Films of 2021

December 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

Suffice to say, 2021 has been an emotional rollercoaster, so it’s no surprise that the short films topping Colossal’s list span the gamut: there are uncomfortable situations of poor (and relatable) office etiquette, heartwrenching indictments of the injustices around us, and purely fun works of animation. We’ve listed the most-watched shorts here and included a few extras in case you need to escape from end-of-year work projects or family gatherings.

 

“Moonwalk” by Nalle Sjoblad

Nalle Sjoblad’s “Moonwalk” uses brutal Home Alone-esque sequences of poor planning, office rage, and failure to appreciate even basic spatial relationships in order to remind us that the most uncomfortable, humiliating scenarios only last for a moment.

 

“Career Limiting” by Anna Mantzaris

Swedish director Anna Mantzaris follows a mischievous character through a series of wildly inappropriate misdeeds and poor office etiquette. Created collaboratively by Passion Pictures and Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand, the lighthearted-turned-sincere short film compares snipping off a coworker’s tie or wreaking workplace havoc to the unfair penalties of being a mother.

 

“Voice Above Water” by Dana Frankoff

Each day, 90-year-old Wayan gathers his nets and mesh sacks and sets his small boat out on the coast of Bali, although he’s adapted his routine in recent years: rather than harvesting food for his family and community, he scoops up wrappers, bottles, and other refuse and carries the discarded material back to the beach for recycling. San Francisco-based director Dana Frankoff visits Wayan at his coastal home in her impactful debut “Voice Above Water.”

 

“Save Ralph” by Arch Model Studio

Created for the Humane Society of the United States, “Save Ralph” is a poignant and heartbreaking critique of animal testing. It follows a modest rabbit whose life revolves around his role as a product tester and chronicles his struggles to brush his teeth, back pain, and a harsh round of trials for various beauty-related goods.

 

“Dead Meat” by Adnan Peer Mohamed

Selfish, hungry, and more cunning than he appears, the zany seagull in Adnan Peer Mohamed’s “Dead Meat” sends feathers flying. The animated short opens with the creature scouring a boardwalk for food, and after mistaking a bolt for a snack, he snatches an entire hotdog only to find a fellow bird is after the same sausage.

 

We also enjoyed: Pascal Schelbli’s poignant animation that reimagines plastic waste as ocean life, Roman De Giuli’s mesmerizing timelapse of ink gushing across the earth like water, and Patrick Smith’s hypnotic short film that rhythmically spins through 3,745 masks from around the world.

 

 



Art

Butterflies and Moths Flutter Through J.C. Fontanive's Automated Flipbooks

December 13, 2021

Grace Ebert

Illustrations of the elegant atlas moth and paper kite and orange-barred sulphur butterflies fly through a new trio of analog animations by J.C. Fontanive. The Cleveland-born artist created a sleek flipbook machine while he was a student at the Royal College of Art back in 2004 and has since crafted myriad designs featuring birds and insects that fly around the small, metallic frame. His most recent works bring the 2D Lepidoptera to life as they burst into a flurry of quick movements, and the individual paper cards emit a subtle whirring, similar to that of fluttering wings. “Flipping pages make these handmade sculptures live in real sound and space. Creatures flit and flicker by to awaken the poetry of movement and inspire through nature and invention,” Fontanive says in a statement.

You can see the trio in action on Vimeo and shop available sculptures on the Flipbook Machine site. Follow the artist’s projects on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Documentary Photography

Paper & Glue: A New Documentary Follows JR Through Some of His Most Iconic Projects

December 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

A new feature-length documentary goes behind the scenes with French artist JR to capture some of his most significant projects to date, including his poignant photographic work of a child peering over the U.S./Mexico border wall and pair of installations at a maximum-security prison in Tehachapi, California. Paper & Glue follows the renowned artist through the evolution of his practice from early graffiti days to his current undertakings—his anamorphic work at Florence’s Palazzo Strozzi earlier this year and his illusory transformation of the Louvre courtyard in 2019 are both evidence of his growth—that are increasingly massive in scope and impact and often shine a light on humanitarian issues.

“The film is the culmination of years of my work and includes an archive of photography and videos
that span back to my adolescence. At the time of many of these recordings, I had no intention or awareness they could be used in this way,” JR says. “
I hope this film further uplifts the essentiality of art and the potential it holds to reshape even our most ingrained beliefs.

Paper & Glue is currently in theaters around the U.S. and premieres on December 10 on MSNBC.

 

 

 



Photography Science

A Rare Encounter with the Elusive Giant Phantom Jellyfish Captures Its 33-Foot Billowing Limbs

December 7, 2021

Grace Ebert

Back in August, we shared news of a previously undiscovered jellyfish so vibrant that its brilliant red body was a stark contrast to its deepwater environment. Now thanks to researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, we can add another similarly spectacular sighting to this year’s collection of rare deepsea finds. A remote-operated vehicle spotted the elusive giant phantom jellyfish in the midnight zone, an area of the ocean about 3,200 feet below the surface, in one of just nine of the team’s encounters with the species since it was discovered in 1899.

Footage and photos from the expedition unveil the crimson animal’s bulbous body and its four billowing, blanket-like arms (these function as mouths) that have the capability to stretch 33 feet out into the water and uncannily resemble a hat and scarf flying in the wind. Because sightings are so uncommon, researchers suspect that the huge jellyfish eats plankton and small fishes, although they haven’t been able to study it enough to know for sure. (via Peta Pixel)

 

 

 



Animation

Two Curious Rats Endure the Disastrous Effects of an Experiment Gone Haywire in an Animated Short

December 1, 2021

Grace Ebert

What happens when a pair of curious (and hungry) rats find themselves in a kitchen of potions, tonics, and jars of strange preservatives? “Experiment” is a short film by Zoé Berton-Bojko and Susana Covo Perez—they produced the piece as part of their graduation project at the School of New Images—that follows two dueling rodents as they spar over a single dried mushroom. Once they each finally take a bite of the magical fungi, glass-shattering, fiery chaos ensues in a manner that’s as graceful as it is humorously bizarre.

Watch the full animation above, and find more student projects on the Avignon-based school’s Vimeo.

 

 

 

A Colossal

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Sailing Ship Kite