Russia

Friday Inspiration, “Glaz”.

This is a short film about Vladimir Kurashov, a young photographer from Moscow. It tells the story of how photography helped him recover from a serious injury that almost cost him his left eye. It was shot on 16mm Film, in Moscow in 2013. Hat tip to Director, Cinematographer, and Editor Maxim Tomash for shooting on film, and producing such a great little piece.

Clouds Over Cuba, A Multi-Platform Documentary.

This morning while watching the news there were a number of items on the 12th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, and Pentagon. Over the last 12 years the United Staes has been in a state of war that was spawned from the events that took place that day. I am not going to go on about the war, or the current crisis in Syria. I’m not going to make any political comments, or reflections. I am going to say that 50 years ago this October, all of what we have might have been blown away. 50 years ago next month marks the anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and if you don’t realize just how close we came to all out nuclear war with Russia you need to take a look at the “Clouds over Cuba” website.

Clouds

Produced by the JFK Presidential Library, Clouds over Cuba is a multi-platform immersive interactive documentary that shows how the Cuban missile crisis played out over 13 days. There are 15 in depth chapters that feature more than 200 recordings, videos, images, and interviews. Each item can be synced with iCal on your iPhone and iPad so you can play back the events in realtime. The entire crisis plays out to a final chapter that shows what would have happened if nuclear war had prevailed. The video below is a synopsis of the event, website, and multi-platform experience that was built using HTML5, Java Script, and Webhooks to complete the experience. This really is a great piece of interactive work that exposes the history to a whole new generation of individuals that don’t realize just how close we came to losing it all.

The Parking Douche App.

I want this app for the good old US of A. Why? Not because parking is an issue so much (even though there are plenty of jackwagons here that have no clue how to park their gas guzzling planet killing SUV’s and giant trucks). I want an app like this for all the other things I see like “Lets exit the freeway from the far left lane”, or “Yellow doesn’t mean get ready to stop, it means stomp on the gas and run that light”, or “I don’t need to stay in my lane while I’m texting and driving”. It would appear that this app had some effect on Russian drivers. Perhaps a similar app would have an effect on driving in America. Here is a quick fact for you. Less than 40% of American drivers use their turn signal, and it jumps to more than 60% when changing lanes. Yes we need an app like this.

The app was developed by the Russian newspaper “The Village”, and it works by using image recognition to identify the car, and social media like Facebook to shame the bad driver. All of this happens in real-time, and is proximity limited so you don’t end up spamming your Facebook friends in far away places. The image recognition component reads the plate number to find the driver,then allows you to shame them across banners and media placements on popular websites in Russia. What a  great example of how user created content is integrated into paid online media locations in real time.I really love the fact that the way you remove the annoying popup is to share the offender via social networking. It is a viral loop with hooks to the newspaper, and it is creating positive social action at the same time.

Graphical Japanese Postcards From the Russo-Japanese War.

While I was looking for some images of handmade Japanese papers, I came across this series of postcards from MIT’s Visualizing Cultures collections. The subject matter deals with the Russo-Japanese War from 1904 to 1905, but that isn’t what caught my eye. What I love is the imagery, and the way the cards are printed. Bright, colorful, and in many cases abstracted images, that while visualizing the romanticized view of war which was common before WWI, are really quite beautiful. One of my favorites features ships at sea with harbor mines floating beneath them. The mines look like alien cow utters floating in a sea of pink and blue. Another is a water-color wash of a ship’s mast emerging from a slash of red. The ship flies the flag of surrender, but if you had to historical reference to the Russo-Japanese War, the image could be taken entirely differently.

It’s interesting in the fact that these postcards were specifically propaganda for the Japanese people, and the Japanese victory over the Russians. The postcards themselves were distributed and collected on a global level due to international postal conventions and the low expense of printing and mailing them. In addition, not only did Japan produce postcards but the Europeans, americans, and Russians did as well. Because of this, we have a visual reference to the modern war as seen from a multi-national perspective.

“We can literally “see,” through thousands of fixed-format images (postcards have remained the same size to the present day), what people throughout the world were being offered as a mirror to the war and all that it portended.” -John W. Dower, MIT’s Visualizing Cultures