Summer tends fuel omnivorous thinking. Two seemingly disconnected things came together for me as thought that I would love to see come to life. The main thought comes from my involvement over the last year in the Community Board 2's Omnibus Committee related to the demolition and redevelopment of St. Vincent's Hospital - a huge and highly politically charged redevelopment project of Greenwich Village that has many people fearing the end of the city they remember and love.
Second thought came from watching a rerun of Knocked Up. In the movie the brotherhood of burnouts scheme to start there own online version of MrSkin.com. The site gives users access to a comprehensive archive of nude scenes search-able by actor names.
OK....how are these connected? It is all about how we rebuild and how we see our relationship to time and place. Our quickness to tear down and start over comes because we forget the stories that live in the buildings and environment around us. How they have shaped what we do and believe. We are losing a sense of the narrative of urban (and suburban) environments because we don't remember and have disconnected to what the architecture means to us. It is easier to bulldoze instead of reuse if we don't connect to the historical narrative inherent in these structures. Perhaps the intersection of analog and digital can help to keep the connection going and help inform better how we grow the story going forward.
These buildings and locations live on film in the history of cinema. Thousands and thousands of locations that were chosen and immortalized in the history of film. Perhaps geo-tagging (a la Mr. Skin) the hundreds/thousands of scenes to the geographic map would grow this perception of this relationship between place and identity in the minds of people. The mundane locations that we walk by day after day have been the context and backdrop for so many films. Slices of time and evolving narrative.
The problem with maps is that we tend to think of them as simply tied only to the present. The reality is that they are obsolete the moment they are published. The broader idea of maps as a series of layers by which we experience place - past, present, future - virtual is far more powerful in plotting the relationship between space and identity. The evolution of technology seems ripe to bridge this gap.
According to W Magazine, Diane Von Furstenberg has been carrying a picture of Wonder Woman around in her diary for years. Who knew? It came up in an article about the capsule Wonder Woman collection she developed in tandem with Warner Bros. and DC Comics. Joel Silver's movie is still in the works for 2009, while everyone laments the team's loss of Buffy Vampire Slayer's Joss Whedon over creative visions.
(excerpt from Time Magazine) Times weren't always so flush in Toontown. In 1997, "George Clooney killed comic-book movies," says Mark Millar, (a Scottish writer who consults for Marvel Comics on more mainstream fare, like Iron Man) Joel Schumacher's joyless Batman & Robin, in which Clooney legendarily donned a bat suit complete with rubber nipples, left fans feeling abused.
Graphic novels--long comic books for grownups--have always had mostly cult appeal. Last year's most successful, the 13th volume in a Japanese manga adventure series--Naruto, by Masashi Kishimoto--sold 80,000 copies, far short of 2007's hottest novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini, which sold more than 1.5 million copies. The point of the comics was largely their transgressiveness. "They're the last pirate medium," says Mark Millar. "They're the last medium for a mass audience where you can do anything you want."
At first, it was the family-friendly superheroes who made the leap to multiplexes, with the help of directors like Bryan Singer and Chris Nolan. Slowly, lesser-known comic books got a shot. Some, like Sin City and Hellboy, became modest box-office successes by adhering to the distinctive spirit of their creators. Others, like Road to Perdition and A History of Violence, attracted audiences with sophisticated stories that few people knew were derived from graphic novels.
Great post on Stuff That is Relevant....
"His way of making a film was to concentrate on seven or eight, as he called them, "non-submersible units." And what this meant was you had a very good chunk, and you had another, and when you had six good chunks, you were almost home with a movie. It would be easy to connect them, and you can see this principle operating in particular in 2001 (A Space Odyssey) where I believe that the bits don't quite fit on. And this is why there's a mystery about it that still interests people." read the whole post
We've come a long way from HAL, the machine in Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey that rebels at the plan to disconnect him. The fear of machines in these films is rooted in the fear of them as a separated and uncontrollable force. They are not us. But now it seems that we are clearly transitioning into a new period in which machine and human mesh. The machine is us now. We mod and mash-up the real and the virtual. The challenge going forward is to balance the relationship. To understand and negotiate the layers of real and hyperreal. This is the new narrative that defines us.
An article in Time Magazine this week discusses this fusing of man and machine as seen in new releases like Iron Man and Speed Racer. "We live in an age of sophisticated machines. They do much of our work for us; we spend most of our playtime with them. So let's recognize our symbiosis with machines--and celebrate our mastery of them--in movies that couldn't be made without them." Read more
I am constantly integrating a cinema perspective to the way I plan brands. In speaking on the topic of brand placement and integration in consumer experience, I described the process of managing these new strategies as similar in how one manages the career/brand of a good character actor. The example I have used in the past was Christian Bale, but an interview with Alec Baldwin on 60 minutes this Sunday made the connection for me again. It was something he said. Good character acting is.. "learning to listen to the other actors". I think this says a lot. How often do brands imagine themselves as the leading man - only to realize that this position leaves them looking like a hollow talking head and disconnected from the scenes they wish to live in. Brands need to channel the authenticity that comes from listening - the art of character acting - and cultivate a meaningful position in the mise-en-scene. That is the formula for better experiences.
Young & Restless in China tracks the lives of nine Chinese Gen X'ers over four years as they scramble to keep pace with a society changing faster than any in history. Raised under communism they are now making their way in China's blazing capitalist economy. Their stories of ambition, exuberance, crime and corruption are interwoven with moments of love, heartbreak and passion. Together they capture the changing values, hopes and dreams of a pivotal generation.