Darren Barefoot
Darren Barefoot


Thinking Chaos, Thinking Fences

This is for those who descend into the code
and make their room a fridge for Superman

Sunday, June 08, 2003

I love a good Fark PhotoShop contest. As such, I've written a little illustrated essay that analyzes the subject matter and techniques that Farkers use to create winning entries. It's entitled The Art of Fark: Deconstructing PhotoShop Contests. I put it on a seperate page as it runs to about 1000 words. Here's a snippet:

Generally, I think, the most creative and comedic images win. While PhotoShop skill may help, if doesn't seem to be an important factor. After following the contests for a while, I've noticed trends in the kinds of images people make, and how they make them. The following is my analysis of how people go about generating PhotoShops, and some thoughts on what commonly wins.

2:17:29 PM        Technology

I used to run a theatre company (a few sad remains are here) in Vancouver. We kicked around the idea (and, come to think of it, applied for a grant for) of having a walking Shakespeare show around False Creek.  It was to be a sort of cheap and ambulatory alternative to Bard on the Beach. I just dug up this map of the proposed route from the archives (made back in my days as a PhotoShop novice):

The New York Classical Theatre has gone one better in Central Park:

New York Classical Theatre presents, "Much Ado About Nothing", but you'll be expected to do something when the actors move every 5-7 minutes, and about 50 ft to get to the next scene.

As you watch the show, the next scene that is about to happen, happens about 50 ft away, and then they are off. The whole audience runs to where the scene is taking place! Every 5-7 minutes, so no snoozing during this show! The play moves between 97th St & 100th Street using trees, rocks, benches and even the audience as scenery!

Actually, I think running/rollerblading Shakespeare would really fly here on the west coast. Physical fitness and lightweight culture simultaneously? How could you lose?

Wow...Puck's so kitted out--do you call that BarDSM?

1:40:17 PM        Theatre Vancouver

It's a little unclear as to why they've done this (boosting Web traffic, maybe?), but the kind folks at McGraw-Hill Higher Education have posted, well, several hundred diagrams and charts about human sexuality. It's really a hodge-podge here, running from Various Types of Hymens to Cumulative Incidence Curve, Masturbation (predictably, the men's curve is a lot steeper).

Are these images safe for work? Tough call...they're hardly erotic, but they do feature terms like 'corpora cavernosa' and 'epididymis'. You decide.

Being a fan of technical illustration, I also particularly admired the best Graffenburg Spot diagram (not particularly safe for work) I've ever seen.

1:18:31 PM        Technology

25th Hour is an underappreciated Spike Lee film about a man's last twenty-four hours of freedom before he goes away from prison for seven years. Set against a post-September 11th New York, the film is salve to Keifer Sutherland's gun-fight-each-hour television, and a drop of ointment in the ocean of suffering that followed the terrorist attacks. Which is not to say that the movie is very concerned with 9-11. In fact, if anything, it works to avoid indulging in trite or manipulative references. It's to Lee's credit that he makes a film about New York despite 9-11.

Ed Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rosario Dawson and Barry Pepper star. Norton is the heir-apparent to Robert Deniro, and one of the most natural, effortless actors in Hollywood. He doesn't appear to have wells of emotion to draw upon, but he doesn't need them. He's at this best in roles like this: the straightman afloat, victim of forces beyond his control. Hoffman plays his bookish friend, and once again displays a wonderful subtlety in his work. While his peformances never seem spontaneous, he's a brilliantly thoughtful performer. Pepper struggles with a stock character and seems to lack the maturity of the other actors. Rosario Dawson should consider another line of work.

I really like Spike Lee's films. From Do the Right Thing through to He Got Game, they've always displayed a wit and creativity that is rare in Hollywood. 25th Hour is not exception. It includes the standard Lee devices--characters moving without walking, montage/monologue combos and repeated shots from different angles--but lacks the racial polemics that many (particularly Caucasian) filmgoers get turned off by. It's a mostly white cast, and, refreshingly, the subject of racism barely comes up.

Roger Ebert likes the film, but comments that 'the film is unusual for not having a plot or a payoff.' This is a little unfair, but it is a pretty contemplative piece. It takes its time with flashbacks, meandering subplots and the occasional anecdote. However, it rightfully gives the viewer plenty of time to consider how they would spend their last day of freedom.

Here, incidentally, is what the rest of the critics thought.

1:10:02 PM        Movies