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09 JANUARY 2013

Samsara: a visual meditation on modern living

"Expanding on the themes they developed in BARAKA (1992) and CHRONOS (1985), SAMSARA explores the wonders of our world from the mundane to the miraculous, looking into the unfathomable reaches of man's spirituality and the human experience. Neither a traditional documentary nor a travelogue, SAMSARA takes the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation. Through powerful images, the film illuminates the links between humanity and the rest of nature, showing how our life cycle mirrors the rhythm of the planet.

The filmmakers approach non verbal filmmaking with an understanding that it must live up to the standard of great still photography, revealing the essence of a subject, not just its physical presence. SAMSARA was photographed entirely in 70mm film utilizing both standard frame rates and with a motion control time–lapse camera designed specifically for this project. This camera system allows perspective shifts to reveal extraordinary views of ordinary scenes. The images were then transferred through the highest resolution scanning process available to the new 4K digital projection format that allows for mesmerizing images of unprecedented clarity. SAMSARA will be a showpiece for the new, high–resolution 4K digital projection, the HD format, as well as standard digital and film projection."

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2011 • 4K digital projection • 70mm film • assembly line • Baraka (1992) • cabinet of curiosities • Chronos (1985) • desertdocumentary filmethnographic film • ever turning wheel of life • factoryfactory workerfood productiongrotesquely beautiful imagery • guided meditation • human experience • human robotics • humanityindustrial ageindustrialisationintensive agricultureintensive farminginterconnectedness • life-cycle • Lisa Gerrard • manufactoriesmanufacturing processes • Marcello De Francisci • Mark Magidson • mesmerising images • Michael Stearns • modern centres • modern living • modern technology • motion control time-lapse • natural world • non verbal filmmaking • production linerhythm of the planet • Ron Fricke • rubbish • Samsara (2011) • spirituality • Super Panavision 70 • sweeping landscapes • tableau vivanttimelapse • timelapse photography • traffic congestiontravelogue • visual meditation • visual patternwordless

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
06 JANUARY 2013

Machines replace humans: heavy metal robot 3-piece

"I'm impressed with Compressorhead – the three–piece robot band (three and a half if you count the little robot who drives one of the cymbals). I went to their website to see if I could discern the origins of the project, DIY, corporate, academic, or whatever and couldn't really find anything on the makers. Then I tracked down the drummer. Stickboy was created by Robocross Machines and a whimsical roboticist named Frank Barnes. ... Reminds me of the Survival Research Labs robot machines, built for public performance and disturbance."

(Maxwell Schnurer, 5 January 2013, Life of refinement)

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3-piece band • AC/DC • Ace of Spades • androidautomateautomationband • Compressorhead • computer controlled musical instrumentcybernetic artcymbals • disturbance • drummereffigyengineering • Frank Barnes • futuristic machinesGermanheavy metalhi-hathumanoid automatonindustrialisationkinetic automatonmachineman machinemechanism • metal band • MIDI • mohawke • Motorhead • musical instrumentplay • public performance • Robocross Machines • robot • robot band • robot machinesroboticrobotic artroboticistsimulationspeculative design • Stickboy • Survival Research Labs • TNT • whimsicalwhimsical interactions

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
15 FEBRUARY 2011

19th century design education funding central to the establishment of the UK creative industries

"The Industrial Revolution had established the United Kingdom as a world leader in manufacturing technology which had allowed British products to gain sizeable markets both at home and abroad. The early nineteenth century was to see those markets starting to be threatened by the establishment of free trade agreements between the UK and mainland Europe which allowed tariff concessions on the exchange of goods. European products began to compete alongside British products with increasing success which was attributed to their superiority in 'design' a feature it was felt that British products lacked.

The age of the 'foreign competitor' had arrived and British manufacturers seeing their livelihoods threatened became a powerful political lobby with the matter soon receiving Parliamentary attention. In 1835 Parliament called for a Select Committee to, 'Enquire into the best means of extending a knowledge of the Arts and the principles of Design among the people, especially the manufacturing population of the country.'(1835–6 Select Committee title)

The Committee investigated the situation taking evidence over a two year period 1835–6 with witnesses representing Art, Design, Industry and Education from both the UK and abroad. In 1836 it was to conclude that the successful continental countries were funding Design Education for their manufacturing industries while the UK was not. The Committee were to recommend that Parliament vote £10,000 to establish a Government School of Design in London with further annual funding to establish a network of provincial Schools in the major industrial centres of the country. It was hoped that as the Schools of Design as they became established would encourage the Applied Arts and Design and improve the aesthetic quality of British products thus influencing trade."

(Edward Bird, 2000)

Bird, E. (2000). "Research in Art and Design: the first decade", Working Papers in Art and Design Vol 1 Retrieved 15/02/2011 from http://sitem.herts.ac.uk/artdes_research/papers/wpades/vol1/bird2full.html ISSN 1466–4917

Fig.1 Roberts' Self–Acting Mule: sixty years later, the machine achieves the triumph of the factory system.

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1835 • 1836 • 19th century • aesthetic quality • applied artsart and designcommoditycreative economycreative industriesdesigndesign educationdesign schoolseducation • Edward Bird • enterpriseEuropefactory • foreign competitor • free trade • Government School of Designindustrial centresindustrial educationindustrial revolutionindustrialisationindustryinnovationLondonmanufacturingmanufacturing industriesmanufacturing technologymass productionmechanisationpioneering • provincial schools • Select Committee • tradeUKWorking Papers in Art and Design

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
19 APRIL 2010

The Jacquard loom: automation through stored programmes

"In consequence of the Industrial Revolution, the late 18th century had witnessed a considerable expansion in the automation of processes that had once been the preserve of small groups of highly skilled workers employed in so–called 'cottage industries'. The textile industry was one sphere were industrialisation had rendered obsolete such skills. Whereas, prior to the development of mechanical looms and weaving machines, lengths of fabric had to be woven slowly by hand, the advent of powered tools for carrying out this task meant that quantities of fabric could be mass–produced at a far quicker rate than previously, thereby reducing its expense. There was one area, however, where the new machines could not compete with skilled manual workers: in the generation of cloth containing anything other than a plain (or at best extremely simple) woven pattern. The Jacquard Loom provided a solution to this problem so that, with it in use, extremely intricate patterns and pictures could be automatically woven into cloth at much the same rate as a plain length of fabric could be generated. The key idea behind Jacquard's loom was to control the action of the weaving process by interfacing the behaviour of the loom to an encoding of the pattern to be reproduced. In order to do this Jacquard arranged for the pattern to be depicted as a groups of holes 'punched' into a sequence of pasteboard card. Each card contained the same number of rows and columns, the presence or absence of a hole was detected mechanically and used to determine the actions of the loom. By combining a 'tape' of cards together the Jacquard loom was able to weave (and reproduce) patterns of great complexity, e.g. a surviving example is a black and white silk portrait of Jacquard woven under the control of a 10,000 card 'program'."

(Paul E. Dunne, University of Liverpool)

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1801 • 18th centuryanalogue correspondenceautomation • cottage industries • devicefabrichistoryindustrial heritageindustrial revolutionindustrialisationJacquard loom • Joseph Marie Jacquard • loompatternpioneerprogrammable deviceprogrammepunch cardspunched-card systemreproductionsequencesolutiontechnologytextile industrytextilesweave • weaving machine

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
19 FEBRUARY 2010

Industrial and Social Heritage Accessible Through AHRC Pilot Project

"More than 75,000 intricate lace samples, considered to be of national and international importance, have been placed in a new archive at Nottingham Trent University. The collection – acquired by the university and its forerunners over many years through bequests from lace manufacturers and the lace federation – features many significant items, including some which date back to the 1600s. ...

A new steering group has been formed to support the collection, featuring a range of key academic experts as well as leading figures in lace and museology from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and The Bowes Museum in County Durham. The group will work to link the archive to other significant collections and will be responsible for future exhibitions, research opportunities and promoting and maintaining the relationship between Nottingham and the lace industry.

The majority of donations to the university's collection were made from the late 19th to the mid–20th Centuries and include single pieces, such as cuffs, bonnets and collars; garments and garment panels. There are items in manufacturers' sample books, photographs of lace from a breadth of sources and collections, and portfolios of machine–made lace. The collection not only includes British designs but also portfolios of lace from Italy, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Holland, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Russia.

The collection is regularly studied and researched by representatives from The Lace Guild, various lace and textile organisations, academic experts and undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Dr Amanda Briggs–Goode, programme leader for Textile Design in Nottingham Trent University's School of Art and Design, said: 'It is important for us to conserve and understand the industrial, social and design heritage that this collection brings, and having an official archive space is the ideal way to achieve this. To date, access to the collection has been limited, but this will help us to form the basis of a professional archive which charts the history of Nottingham lace. ...

A project to pilot a database and make key parts of the lace collection web–accessible has also been recently completed, following funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council."

(Katy Cowan, 4 February 2010, Creative Boom magazine)

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1600s • 17th centuryAHRC • Amanda Briggs-Goode • archiveArts and Humanities Research CouncilBelgium • Bowes Museum • collectionconservationcraftcreative industriesdatabasedecorationdesign • design heritage • fabricFrancegarmentGermanyheritagehistoryHollandindustrial heritageindustrialisationlace • lace collection • lace federation • lace industry • lace manufacturinglace-makingmachine-madematerialmuseologyNottinghamNottingham Trent UniversityNTUpatternPortugalRussia • sample books • School of Art and DesignsearchSpainSwitzerlandtechnologytextile designtextilesUK • Venetian • Victoria and Albert Museumvintagevisual design

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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