Wednesday, 26 September 2007

See The Light

Olivia Cheung, a student from Brighton University who studied a BA in Product design wanted to incorporate packaging into the selling of light bulbs avoiding excess waste of the earth’s resources. She managed to create these beautifully stylish and ecological lampshades (seen below).

“I began to explore the concept of 'reuse', as some objects take on other, more interesting and diverse roles. I then endeavored to make reusing packaging more appealing - due to the sheer amount that is thrown away.”
Olivia Chueng

She focused on creating packaging that had an added function, and complimented the product at hand as well as meeting standard packaging demands like protecting and keeping the product secure. With her designs, the packaging transforms on to a beautiful lampshade, not only re-suing the packaging, but also it means she no longer need to by addition products like a lampshade.

To see more images pf her work visit:

The Celebrity Race

Face Look Familiar?

While researching for my dissertation, I came across this Ad campaign from 2001 by the Commission for Racial Equality. The campaign was trying to tackle issues such as racism and prejudices within society. Using the special effects team who also worked on the film “Gladiator”, well know celebrities were transformed into someone of a different race, whilst asking viewers questions such as, would Ken Livingstone really have been elected Mayor if he was Asian – really homing in on the issue at hand. This campaign also reminded me of a more recent advertising campaign to promote awareness over the issue of domestic violence, where images of well known women in British media were seen to be bruised and hurt, making the audience really take note that it can happen to anyone. Using celebrities to promote or make social causes more aware to the public is really successful concept, allowing the viewer to symapthise with someone who they “know” from the public eye, however advertisers could run the risk of playing it safe by using the same concept, whereby it will be bound to lose its appeal if repeated too many times.

Sunday, 23 September 2007


A Short Film By Jonas Geirnaert

This animation reminded me of “Tango” by Zbigniew Rybczynski (shown below). Jonas Geirnaert wrote, animated, directed and edited this film, and for it won a ‘Prix de Jury’ at the Cannes Film Festival 2004. “Flatlife” is a cartoon, based on four characters in four separate rooms in a house. It is a sweet film, with a series of small story lines, like broken washing machines, noisy neighbours and a game of chess. Unfortunately this film lacks the ingenuity of “Tango”, for each of the characters were directly interacting with each other in “Flatlife”, whereas “Tango” has been so beautifully choreographed, so that although the characters were in the same room, they were completely oblivious to each other. Also, with Tango the characters were three dimensional, whereas I think the cartoons used in “Flatlife” give the impression of a more amateur production. However said that, the film is still lovely to watch, for the challenge of the viewer is to keep an eye on what each of the characters are doing, for they are constantly changing and moving with the storyline unlike “Tango” where each of the characters are repeating the same sequence.

To Watch "FlatLife" visit:


A Short Film By Zbigniew Rybczynski
Original Format: 35mm Colour

I originally looked at the short film “Tango” by Rybczynski when researching our Family Portrait Brief. The film was made in 1980 and is comprised of a static shot of a single room. Over a period of 8min 10secs, 36 different characters from different time periods all enter the room, performing separate actions. What is astounding about this film is that each character, or pair are completely in their own worlds, yet never acknowledge the existence of the other 35 inhabitants for that moment in time.

“I had to draw and paint about 16.000 cell-mattes, and make several hundred thousand exposures on an optical printer. It took a full seven months, sixteen hours per day, to make the piece. The miracle is that the negative got through the process with only minor damage, and I made less than one hundred mathematical mistakes out of several hundred thousand possibilities”
Zbig Rybczynski –Looking to the Future - Imagining the Truth,” in FranÐois Penz, Maureen Thomas, Cinema& Architecture. Mþliús, Mallet-Stevens, Multimedia, BFI, London, 1997

Although the quality of the film is of the highest standard, the grainy nature only adds to the more sensitive and organic feel of the film.To watch the film go to:

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

"A Girl Like Me"

A Short Film By Kiri Davis

"For my high-school literature class I was constructing an anthology with a wide range of different stories that I believed reflected the black girl’s experience. For the different chapters, I conducted interviews with a variety of black girls in my high school, and a number of issues surfaced concerning the standards of beauty imposed on today’s black girls and how this affects their self-image."

This is a really interesting and thought provoking short film. It shows teenage African American girls talking about how they feel they are represented in today’s society. In the interviews, issues such as stereotyping in the media as well as cultural ideals, such as what is seen as beautiful are discussed. What is particularly prevalent, is that although when look at media today, it would seem that those of African origin are quite well represented (at least when compared to other ethnic minorities such as South Asians (Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan etc) and Oriental Asians (Chinese, Japanese, Korean etc), it would seem that this is still not enough in terms of creating a positive image for youth today.

Within her report, Davis also conducted the “doll test”, initially done by Dr. Kenneth Clark, where children were given a series of questions based on their perceptions of a black doll and a white doll. Questions such as “Which is the bad doll” and “Which doll would you most like to play with” were posed to the children, producing some astoundingly bad results about the perception that black children had of themselves and those of the same colour.

Here is one example of the answers given by a young black girl;

Davis: "Can you show me the doll that looks bad"
Girl: [Picks up black doll]
Davis: "And why does that look bad?"
Girl: "Because he's black"
Davis: "And why do you think this [white doll] is the nice doll" (answer established from earlier question)
Girl: "Because she's white"
Davis: "Can you give me the doll that looks like you?"
Girl: [She hesitates, and passes the black doll]

By recreating this experiment, Davis managed to show that actually very little has changed since the original test done in 1947, whilst highlighting the effect society and the media have on the self perception and opinion of what’s ‘right and wrong’ for black children today.

This film was very interesting to see, due to the up and coming dissertation project. With my dissertation focusing on the lack of Asian models used within advertising and marketing today, it would be interesting to see whether this has had an adverse affect on Asian children in the UK like the children Kiri Davis interviewed in the US. To watch 'A Girl Like Me' follow this link -

Monday, 17 September 2007

Clever Bean

Looking at a small icon of this image, I wondered why, what looked like a giant rusty burger was on a poster. On closer inspection, I was amused to see the simple line "Mc Cafe", and the fact that I was not looking at a burger, but a coffee bean in the shape of one. It is a particulary clever advert, as it certainly gets your attention and due to it simplicity, once you piece the advert together you can't help but be impressed. However, the best this advert can do is make you aware that Mc Donalds now serves coffee, for it says nothings about the quality or product itself - but maybe it doesn't need to due to the nature of the establishment.

One Comment I read was, "Either looks like the ugliest coffee bean in the world, or the creppiest burger of all."

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

"Girls of Riyadah"

"Girls of Riyadh"
By Rajaa Alsanea

An anonymous writer began e-mailing those who joined her mailing list to listen to the true stories of 4 friends growing up in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. This book is the consolidation of all these e-mails that caused a national outcry in Saudi with its revelations, even causing the book to be banned.

We learn about the lives of 4 girls living in Riyadh, the real story. Women in Saudi Arabia are often seen as oppressed under the strict Islamic Law imposed, however through these memoirs we are opened up to a world, a secret world that, is not seen other that by those living in it. We see the world of boys, University, marriage, divorce – all common features of any young woman around the world, yet have such a different impact on these girls, not only based on their religion but the cultural boundaries and systems imposed on them. The book was written in third person, a format that does not particularly appeal to me, due to the way in which it inhibits getting into a persons head and the way in which you sympathise with a characters. However, this book is a way in which we can understand a culture, which is often seen as very closed to the outside world, and observe a the ways in which they deal with universal feelings such as love, and situations like divorce.

"Just say yes more."

"Yes Man"
By Danny Wallace

“Danny Wallace had been saying No. Far too much. No to his friends, colleagues, no to the pub and no to himself. And life was a little dull. Dumped by his girlfriend and on a road to nowhere, it was only when a mystery man on a late-night bus uttered three magic words that his whole worlds started to change… ‘Say yes more’”

I was recommended this book, and couldn’t help but be intrigued by the story of a man who said literally just said ‘yes’, to every single invitation, offer or demand posed in front of him. It certainly is one of my favourite books, sounding like a complete cliché when I admit is was without a doubt ‘laugh out loud funny’ and I just couldn’t put the book down. Danny takes us through the four, very long months and tells us about the crazy trails and tribulations he faced when you just say ‘yes’.

“In the months that followed, he won £25,000. He met Buddhist Monks, alien obsessives and the world’s only hypnotic dog. He became a Minister, and inventor, a minor television personality and an accidental peace activist. He ended up in Singapore, in Amsterdam and in a small mining town in South Wales. He lost £25,000.”

Hilariously written, you can almost hear him telling you the story – right from the horse’s mouth, allowing the happy, sad and most cringeful moments seem even more real. Even though Danny’s journey was ridiculously funny and really quite amazing, there was a bigger message he intended to spread, and that was the power of saying ‘yes’. Danny went from a single, lonely and negative person to a spontaneous, positive (most of the time…) and ultimately a happier person, and thus is living proof that his theory works. Overall the moral of the story is, in the most simplest terms, that everyone should just take a chance, say yes to something they usually would say no to and just see where it takes you. Whether it be winning £25,000 on a scratch card or saying yes to reading a new book that without a doubt brightened up a few slow days in your summer holidays and giving you a more that worthy topic to write about on your online blog … anything can happen when you just say, yes.

Dancing with the Devil

I just thought I'd mention this piece of Album Artwork I have always loved. I actually got this piece of art on a postcard from our student Union, only later to find out it was an album cover. The musical artist is Ray Lamontagne, as folk singer in America. I love the clever illustrative use of the popular phrase "dancing with the devil", in other words doings something you really shouldn't be doing, thus strengthening the idea of Trouble, the name of the album.

Monday, 10 September 2007

A Universal Masterpiece

"Life is Colourful"
By Gracie Rafferty

For over a year now an online project has been set up that hopes to culminate the works of 1 million artists of varying talent, from around the world. This “one million dollar masterpiece” aims to raise £3.5 million for charity by asking each artist to donate £3.5 to contribute their work. Once one million pictures have been submitted, organisers hope to print them on a giant canvas and drape it against one of London’s infamous landmarks. Each artist is given a small square in which they use the windows program ‘Paintbrush’ to create their very own piece of art. The subjects totally depend on the artists themselves, whether they prefer to use their one tiny space for the world to see to proclaim world peace, draw their very own self-portrait or do something a little more abstract. The standard of work is absolutely phenomenal; obviously the majority of work is very simple and amateurish, however there are certainly some very skilled artists out there who can create beautiful pieces of work through the paint program, which is truly amazing. This was a brilliant idea, as it not only generates money for charity, but it ultimately allows people, artists of different abilities from across the world come together in one place which can’t be a bad thing.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Personal Museum

Museum - “a place or building in which works of artistic, historical or scientific value are cared for and exhibited”.

When thinking what epitomises a museum, I concluded that it was a place in which things are exhibited for others to see varying in topics, whether the focus is a certain period of time, event, or person. When looking at my own world, I begun to realise that a lot, if not all of us have our very own ‘museum’ of our lives, through the use of social networking websites such as ‘Facebook’. When considering the elements, we have our own ‘place’ whereby our lives have been dictated. The day we were born, the school we went to our interests and social circles has all the exhibited for the public to see. Our online exhibitions are somewhat different to your average museum, not only in its medium, but also because we’re in control of what it seen, and also with its constant development and evolution due to its more autobiographical nature. A “museum” such as this allows a member to represent him or herself, (although in a somewhat bias nature) for others to see, and leaving an exhibition of evidence of their history and life was like at any given time for all to see…. until the website/museum shuts down that is.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Noah Kalina; Everyday

Noah Kalina, a Photographer in New York posted his video ‘everyday’ on youtube on 27th August 2006, where he shot to internet stardom. The video consists of a sequence of thousands of photographs of him, that he had taken every single day of his life since January 11th 2000. Keeping the same facial expression throughout, you can’t help but be amused by this video – over 5 minutes long. This is quite a comic piece with a changes in location, clothes and especially haircuts – giving the viewer a small understanding as to where changes in his life have occurred by the small details we are given in a single frame. Beyond anything else, this photographic montage clearly demonstrates above all the fact that we all age – for Kalina started this project aged 19 and as time goes on it is more than evident that his youth is slipping.
This is really worth a watch at least once on, or you can see all the images on his website

Vaseline Intensive Care; TV Adverts

As mentioned before, the focus of my dissertation for the coming year will be on the
number, or lack of Asians used in advertising in the UK. I just wanted to mention the new Vaseline adverts, which however subtle in terms of all the models participation, they have been able to create a balanced advert using hundreds of people of different ethnicities which I think is fantastic. I would love to see more adverts like this in mainstream advertising and really does standout to someone is not used to seeing it.

Army Jobs

There are currently several adverts promoting the Territorial Army. The advert consists of a video that’s been filmed by workers on duty talking about their jobs, when ‘something’ shocking happens in the environment, for example bullets are fired, or a screaming woman comes in carrying her hurt child. Immediately the video stops and you are directed to go to the website to see what happens. This is a very clever promotional advert, for people even just slightly interested in joining the TA or even just curious to see the end of the video are likely to log on and naturally find out more about how to join. The advert promotes intrigue and curiosity and has the ability to make people to take the next step and log onto their website which is the ultimate goal.