Dinnerware, Eggs, and Wine Shatter and Seamlessly Repair in Dramatic Digital Animation by Optical Arts
July 1, 2020


A new CGI animation by Optical Arts depicts what would be a dinner-party nightmare: ceramic plates and bowls shatter, red wine cascades from long-stemmed glasses, and sharp knives dive to the floor. Despite its explosive scenes, “Tocatta” subsequently shows the same dinnerware, drinks, and plates of boiled eggs seamlessly repair and float upward as whole objects.
A multivalent consideration of physical contact, the word “tocatta” both originates from an Italian form of “to touch” and refers to a musical composition designed to showcase the performer’s refined techniques. More Continue reading

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An Open Pipeline Echoes This Inventive Saxophonist’s Notes in Perfectly Tuned Accompaniment
June 30, 2020


Saxophonist Armin Küpper has mastered the effects of live looping without the necessary equipment to record and replay tracks. Instead, the musician heads to a nearby site storing a lengthy pipeline and positions his bell near the opening. As he plays, the delayed notes echo back in perfect pitch, creating an polyphony as he blares out the next line. Check out more of Küpper’s tunes below, and head to YouTube to keep up with his inventive performances.  More Continue reading

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Hand-Tufted Patches of Color Form Lush Fiber Portraits by Artist Simone Saunders
June 18, 2020

Alberta-based artist Simone Saunders hand-tufts bold, colorful portraits with themes of identity and Black history woven throughout. Crafting vibrant patches of fibers that form eyes, lips, and garments, Saunders casts her earnest subjects against austere backgrounds, which sometimes are marked with “Black Lives Matter.”
The textured artworks serve as a site for conversation, prompting questions about race relations and societal injustices. “Textiles engage upon a search for belonging: studying the Black female body, personal identities, and a connection to Black history,” the artist tells Colossal. More Continue reading

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Globes and Astronaut Helmets Form Heads of Figurative Sculptures by Artist Yinka Shonibare CBE
June 4, 2020

Through life-sized sculptures, artist Yinka Shonibare CBE considers the grasp of colonialism and its lasting effects on modern conceptions of identity. Each faceless figure is in the midst of an action, presented shooting a mass of cherry blossoms from a rifle, lumbering forward with a hefty mesh sack, or balancing a towering stack of cakes. Evocatively posed, the figures are topped with globes and astronaut helmets, which simultaneously gestures toward movement in the form of travel and exploration while obscuring individual identities. More Continue reading

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Thao & the Get Down Stay Down Films a Synchronized Music Video on a Zoom Call
April 18, 2020

Zoom has been having its moment as many companies’ platform of choice for virtual meetings and conference calls, but Thao & the Get Down Stay Down recently found a more creative and amusing use for the digital communication tool. With its tour paused and everyone stuck at home, the Oakland-based band decided to shoot a music video for its new single, “Phenom,” that begins with Thao Nguyen, who leads the indie group, starting a Zoom call. More Continue reading

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Beatbox Like a World Champion with This 13-Step Tutorial by Butterscotch
April 12, 2020


Sure, you can spend your time during quarantine reading a dozen books or scrubbing your cabinets, but what about learning to beatbox from a world champion? Vocal percussionist Butterscotch recently released a 13-step tutorial that guides novices through various beatboxing techniques, from the basic baseline and snare—or what she calls Boots and Cats—all the way to singing and live looping. And for those who have a hard time keeping a beat, the musician even outlines a breathing technique that makes it easier to stay steady. More Continue reading

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The Enchanting Echoes of the Cristal Baschet, a Rare Organ Made of Glass Rods, Metal, and Wood

Invented in 1952 by Bernard and François Baschet, the Cristal Baschet (also called a Crystal Organ) is a unique instrument that outputs an even more unique and artful sound. In the video above, multi-instrumentalist and film composer Marc Chouarain explains how it works and demonstrates techniques for turning finger rubs and drags into deep melodic echoes.
According to musician and rare instrument performer Thomas Bloch, models of the crystal organs range from 3.5 to 6 octaves and are made of 56 chromatically tuned glass rods. More Continue reading

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A New Short Film Demonstrates the Difficulty of Escaping City Life
January 23, 2020

Breaking free from urban life is no easy feat for the main figure in “Le Silence de la rue,” or “The Silence of the street.” The monochromatic film produced by Miyu Productions, which is led by Emmanuel-Alain Raynal and Pierre Baussaron, details the stark dichotomy of spending time in unaltered natural spaces and in a dirty, bustling neighborhood. Opening with a blooming flower, the gloomy film turns to a black being who struggles to stay afoot in the dense streets as a horde of anonymous figures push by. More Continue reading

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