Kijkers by Kessels Kramer

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I was lucky enough to speak at the Boards Magazine Creative Workshop in Amsterdam last week. It was really good event and I genuinely enjoyed all the other speakers. There were a bunch of highlights. From seeing the amazing preview of the Killzone 2 Interactive Ad through to the incredibly inspiring Dr Bob Deutsch talking about primates and brands.

But there was one thing that really stuck in my mind as being totally brilliant. And it was some work that Erik Kessels showed off amongst a selection of their bonkersness He played some extracts from a series of short films called Kijkers. They are a bunch of 3 minute films that get kids experiencing TV in different ways.

I’ve searched for them online (so that I could get hold of the DVD) – and the description that I found of them online was: 57 korte kunstfilms voor kinderen vanaf 6 jaar. Which, given my lame grasp of languages, translates as something along the lines of ’57 short art films for children under the age of 6′.

I think that this Google translated text from here describes them better than I could:

Almost everyone can see, but not everyone can see. Look, you learn. Just as you must learn to eat oysters or olives. Norbert ter Hall en Erik Kessels made for Villa Achterwerk the program Kijkers: short art films that show how different things can look. The two seasons of Kijkers are now collected on this DVD. 57 films made by artists, filmmakers, directors and a sheep. About toes, clouds, beards, butterflies, a stop sign and much more. Kijkers has a gift for your eyes. See for yourself.

I could hardly find any of them online. But here’s a couple of examples:

And.

These aren’t as good as the best ones Erik showed. There was a clip of a rubber duck in a foamy bath bobbing up and down under a running tap. And some handy cam footage of buildings that look like faces (but with someone making the noises that the faces would make if they were human). Oh bollocks, they’re almost impossible to describe and make sound good.

Anyway they all play with notions of perception in really interesting and charming ways. And I want to see them all.

And furthermore Malcolm Goldie (aka Acid Malc from ClubPub of yore) did the sonic intro. It’s amazing what you can learn off Google ;-)

The ‘Zosjm pydax’ Website

Just came through on a spam.

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I wish I had registered with the Zosjm pydax website, it sounds bloody intriguing. Unfortunately when I search for it there are no results. By writing this post it means that I will now be the first (and only) Google result for Zosjm pydax. Unless someone else copies.

Judging Books By Their Covers (and Page Edges)

I’m terrible for judging books by their covers. It’s precisely how I make my first decision about whether or not I’m going to enjoy them.

This technique may have been around for ages, but it was new to me on Saturday. It’s using coloured page edges on paperbacks. The first one I saw was this, with jet black pages:

Jet Black Pages

It looked quite lovely with the deep red and gold. And when you turn it edge on it’s such a deep powdery black that it almost removes light. It’s a really nice effect.

Jet Black Pages

Then I came across this blue one which I also liked a lot:

Beautiful Blue Pages

I wondered if it was just a thing that Canongate had done for Scarlet Thomas until I saw this:

More black pages

For Penguin in a totally different book shop.

I’m probably well behind and everyone’s been rolling out coloured pages for ages. But because I normally get books from Amazon it’s rare that I get to see books that I don’t own edge on.

I’ve been missing out.

New York Polaroids (From iPhone)

All I’m going to say is that I love Camera Bag. It’s an iPhone app that adds brilliant filters to the photos that come out of the shitty camera.

I know there’s something a bit overused and cheesy about Polaroid effects. But there’s something a bit nice about them too. I think the fact that it automatically creates a decent amount of white space around the image is not to be sniffed at.

To show the power of Camera Bag I’ve not touched them in iPhoto or Photoshop or anything. These are straight from the iPhone. It’s my favourite thing right now.

Support Earth Hour 2009

The good folk at WWF are doing Earth Hour again around the globe. It’s really simple. Turn out the lights for an hour on Saturday at 8.30pm.

Here’s a video about it:

Judging by the number of views of that video they need some help getting the word out. So please don’t leave it to someone else, blog it, twitter it, blah blah blah.

The WWF UK Earth Hour site is here: http://earthhour.wwf.org.uk/. That’s where I got the fancy light switch widget that you can see at the top of the page.

Or there’s lots more stuff over at the global site http://www.earthhour.org (wouldn’t it be nicer if everything was just in one place – for everyone?).

Including the (becoming) almost ubiquitous Augmented Reality thingy…

(Flo, I think you’re right)

And they’ve set up a 12s film challenge:


12seconds Earth Hour Commercial on 12seconds.tv

So turn the lights out for an hour on Saturday night. It’ll be a good thing to do. And here’s some other stuff you can do if you like.

Bring Back The Webmaster

Taller de empleo de "Webmaster"

I’ve no idea what the note above says. But I reckon it’s time we started thinking about Webmasters again.

I always wanted to be a Webmaster. It sounds so super powerful and cool. If a little geeky.

Anyway the more I think about what we do these days and the importance of social media (it’s amazing how much my fingers balk at having to type those two words side-by-side) the more I think that every site needs a webmaster. What I like about the term webmaster is that it implies that one person is the big boss. The master of the site. The person who speaks with the voice of the machine.

When you come across a brilliant site it so often feels like it comes through one person. Or at least there’s a very strong sense of singularity in the way it’s written and presented.

Webmasters would also, I’m sure, be good at Twitter, Facebook and all that stuff. They’re kind of like the Maitre D’ of the site. They’d know the regulars and keep them happy as well as getting new people involved. Looking after blogrolls as well as getting subscribers to an RSS feed.

Webmasters used to be the guys who knew a little about a lot. Not the deep techies but the person who could do updates and bits and pieces of code. The kinds of skills that would make your really good at customising widgets and blog bits.

Anyway next time you’re putting together a site don’t forget to think about who the webmaster is going to be :-)