The God Delusion

The Root of All Evil?, later retitled The God Delusion, is a television documentary written and presented by Richard Dawkins in which he argues that humanity would be better off without religion or belief in God.

The documentary was first broadcast in January 2006, in the form of two 45-minute episodes (excluding advertisement breaks), on Channel 4 in the UK.

Dawkins has said that the title The Root of All Evil? was not his preferred choice, but that Channel 4 had insisted on it to create controversy. The sole concession from the producers on the title was the addition of the question mark. Dawkins has stated that the notion of anything being the root of all evil is ridiculous. Dawkins' book The God Delusion, released in September 2006, goes on to examine the topics raised in the documentary in greater detail. The documentary was rebroadcast on the More4 channel on the 25th August 2010 under the title of The God Delusion.

Sam Harris simply destroys catholicism

Ryan Merkley: Online video -- annotated, remixed and popped


Tabula Rasa

This is rather beautiful and thought provoking. An android, alone on a desert planet, comes across a piece of vegetation which has, somehow, rooted in the arid wasteland. Determined to secure the plant’s future the android goes to great lengths to assist its success.

I can’t quite believe that this sophisticated and beautiful looking piece of animation is a student film.  It was created by the very talentedArnoldas Vitkus, who describes himself as a one man CGI army, for his final graduation piece at high school (which he does not name).

In computer science, tabula rasa refers to the development of autonomous agents which are provided with a mechanism to reason and plan toward their goal, but no built-in knowledge-base of their environment. They are thus truly a blank slate.

Stephen Fry on Language

Paper Age

This is such a great visual idea yet as far but what makes it truly remarkable is that as far as I can make out it is a piece of research in to character rigging, polygon reduction, depth of field and motion blur in Cinema 4D.  A dinosaur made from a thin, pliable material, once considered highly versatile and with many uses, roams its territory, the king of its paper jungle.  Yet it inevitably comes in to contact with a new and different kind of beast altogether….

This short by Ken Ottman may prove perhaps a little contentious, particularly with committed bibliophiles such as myself! When an ereader is invented that gives people the same sensuous thrill as a real book, perhaps I may agree that the paper age is over. Until then, people like me are just going to carry on sniffing the pages (as it were. No, as it really is!).

H.U.D. Heads Up Display

So, what comes after Facebook? What does the world of social networking hold in store for us in the near future?  Perhaps unsurprisingly filmmakers are veering towards the dystopic (partly because if you make a movie where social networking has cured the world’s ills – full stop – then you don’t have a movie).   I wouldn’t mind a future where we all travel around on imaginary pink unicorns but I imagine it might get a little boring.

Yet the protagonist of Evan Jarvi’s HUD – Heads Up Display – has not found happiness, let alone pink unicorns.  In fact HudNet seems to have made his life about as bleak and meaningless as it could get.  He wakes up alone, travels alone, works alone – his only company is the all-pervasive presence of the automated iris recognition living nightmare that is the HudNet software.

Can he escape the awful monotony? With shades of Orwell and a dash of early Lynch, HUD will reward your patience with an answer, almost. Yet that still makes it a lot more satisfactory than a lot of science fiction shorts these days! Oh and I really, really liked the depiction of the futuristic biometric interface - very imaginable.

Stephen Fry - All about I - What I wish I knew when I was 18

Interesting interview with Stephen Fry. Done for Splash Life.
Turn on the captions to read along with Mr. Fry.
Talk about kindness, social media, human-beings and technology.

Lux Aeterna

You may remember Nature By Numbers which went viral a few years ago. It was created byCristóbal Vila. The Zaragoza based graphic designer and 3D artisan has just released this online – Lux Aeterna, with wonderful accompanying music by Jóhann Jóhannsson.  If you have had a classical education (or have access to one of the many translation tools on the interweb) then you will know that means eternal light. Watch the animation (no, really, it is) above and you will get it.

I can’t even begin to express the admiration I have for Vila’s sporadic personal projects, but I will give it a go nevertheless.  There seems to be an almost seamless combination of the artist and the scientist in his work, a deep reverence for nature blended with an intimate knowledge of the science behind it which merges to produce some of the most visually stunning, technically arresting moving images you will see this side of REM sleep. Yet perhaps, after all, all that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream (thanks Mr Poe).

Stille Post

Stille Post is a German children’s game very similar to Chinese Whispers where a message or word is corrupted by being shared multiple times through a murmur. So, how do animators play the game? Simple!

The folks at BUILT., an office for visual communication and a creative partner for commercials, film, print and interaction, were given a simple brief. They would be given only the last frame of the previous participant’s contribution on the subject of pause. Then every participant would provide their own clip which could vary in length from 5 to a maximum of 30 seconds. Their offering could be stop motion, graphic animation, typo animation, 3D or even still images. Likewise they would then pass on their last frame to the next contributor – and so on....

And so on until you have a five minute animation from this group of accomplices in animation. It’s great fun to watch and must have been even more fun to create! My own particular favorite is the crab orchestra pictured above but I am sure you will find your own too!

The Smoke Seller

Life must be tough if you travel from village to village selling your one and only product, especially if that product is, simply, smoke.  Yet although our traveling salesman in The Smoke Seller (or in the Spanish El Vendedor de Humo) has a slow start in his latest pit stop, and has a moment of despondency, it isn’t long before he has the villagers eating out his hand…

This is a very handsome animated short which has the kind of moral twist in the tale that you might expect from a traditional fairy tale but I am afraid I have to admit I have no idea if this is an old story or not – perhaps you could let me know!  What I do know, however, is that it was created at the PrimerFrame School of Animation in Valencia, Spain and it has received a stack of awards. Bravo!