неділя, 17 червня 2018 р.

MFT: Chef/Jive/ValSpeak/Pig Filter

Text substitution is rather attractive technique from a creative standpoint. You can take any text and transform it into semi-comprehensible slightly deformed wraith of itself and uncover some hidden things of the text in the process. Isn't that great? What is even better is text substitution combined with some elaborate vernacular.

Chef/Jive/ValSpeak/Pig Filter is a kind of translator that makes reading of the text a little bit more complicated and in the same time very entertaining. It is a pure novelty but it can be applied in a more creative ways too. For instance, it is a viable option in terms of creating seething malapropism-riddled verses of nil. Not only the translation disjoints the original text while keeping the form, it also undermines its original meaning by deforming the very words it is expressed with. The resulting text is resembling the original but is considerably deformed and ravaged which makes it different. 

The translator uses general English vocabulary as a foundation and converts it through four sociolect filters: valleyspeak, pig latin, jive talk and swedish chef. All of them are astoundingly bizarre at first. However, without tinkering and creative approach to an input text - the joke gets old after two or three times.

Valleyspeak is the simplest of the bunch and it can be used for slight, less visible sabotaging of the text. The text is not really blasted off. You just get a couple of inserts ranging from "like" and "ya know" to "uh" and "wow!". You also get minimal distortions here there but nothing actively assaulting your perception. If used sparingly over the text, it can act as a form of textual tongue-in-cheek corpsing.

Jive talk is an extremely limited approximation of african-american urban vernacular. AIt can be used as a wham-joke fill, but not much. It doesn't change the text that much aside from chewing parts of the words and occassional inserts of "ha'" and "ah'" with exclamations like "What it is, Mama?". However, it can be useful as a raw material - you can extract chewed parts of the words and random exclamations and construct rather peculiar sound poem out of it.

Pig Latin is a classic dada verbal terrorism. If you need to make the text utterly unreadable celebration of ad lib nihil - then this is the thing to use. It can seriously improve middling text by strong-arming into it many-many much-unneeded suffixes and prefixes and also messing parts of the words around like trash. The resulting text looks like a text that will make you question the nature of comprehension. Which is always a good thing.

Swedish Chef is inspired by an eponymous characters from The Muppets and his signature manner of speak. This filter creates some elaborately ragged and rotten mutations of the common words. At times, it actually manages to make the words indistinguishable which is great. As such, it is best used for more complex words as they tend to be distorted far more deeply. The combination of such distorted words can make a good sound poem.

Translation is probably the single most creative activity one can imagine. You take a piece of text and substitute words from one language or dialect to another. You can just provide direct translation and make an utterly clumsy alienated text and you can thoroughly adapt to the nuances of the other language. In essence, translation can be anything - there are no particular rules especially if you are doing this for your own pleasure and not for some heightened goals of cultural dialogue.

середа, 13 червня 2018 р.

BSPH: US Seals 2 - Michael Worth vs Damian Chapa

This is an episode from the film "US Seals 2". It was released in 2001 and directed by modern action auteur Isaac Florentine. The episode shows a final fight between the protagonist played by Michael Worth and the antagonist played by Damian Chapa. It is a sword fight because of very tangled reasoning. There is something very inflammable and any spark can cause an explosion. Because of that everything is either hand-to-hand or fencing.

It is probably the greatest swordfight ever captured on film.  In a way, it is a film within a film.

пʼятниця, 8 червня 2018 р.

MFT: Polona Typo

Text customization is always a fun thing to do. It can add some attitude to the text, it is also a nice way of adding another layer of narrative through the texture of letters itself.

Typo.Polona is a text customizing tool developed by Huncwot for National Library of Poland. It puts to use library's vast archives of books and magazines in a more creative fashion. Instead of simply making digitized documents available online, it took an additional step further.

The logic is simple: since the texts were already digitized and recognized via optical character recognition - why not apply a creative use of such material in a manner of visual letter collage. After all, it wasn't a big deal to slice them up by the letters, segment and pack them into a database and make them ready to construct something else.

In the heart of Polona.Typo is the text. Users have 35 characters to type a text or a word and customize its appearance with a little help of library's seeming bottomless archives. (However, some of the swear words are bleeped. Not a big loss, though). There is a lot to choose from. The range of source materials goes from medieval manuscripts to sleek early 20th century typography and oldschool late 19th stuff.

Because of limitations, the best way to use Polona.Typo is to visualize pwoermds - word poems that itself are elaborate mashes if different words. It is an ideal alliance for such type of text. Text collage itself combined with visual collage.

The sequence of letters is randomized. By default you get a hodgepodge of styles. But you can manually adjust it to your taste. Hopefully, there are multiple settings that allow to narrow down the selection to a specific time periods and styles.

Big flaw is lack of diversity in punctuation images. While you get a selection of comas and dots there is not much else. You have one pair of dashes, a couple of hyphens, a bit of semicolons and colons and not much in terms of everything else. It is not very helpful if you want to make font collage with a punctuation poem.

As a side feature user can play a bit with positioning of the letters. Basically it shakes them slightly and often puts awry. It is not particularly helpful.

середа, 6 червня 2018 р.

BSPH: Adam Ant - Red Scab

"Red Scab" is a song by the great British punk performer Adam Ant. It was released in 1980 as a b-side to his biggest hit "Goody Two Shoes". However, the song itself dates back to late 70's when it was performed live with Adam and the Ants. It is a hard-edged song that bounces like a ball. On one hand, it is relatively straightforward hard rock stomper. But on the other, it is incredibly subversive borderline pathological insight into a sick mind. And doesn't stop in the middle - it manages to go far beyond to the unknown. And that's where things get really scary.

Throughout the song, Adam Ant wails like a lusty animal choking on longing and wounding himself to get through it while festering the surroundings. He is legitimately scary to listen to.

From the musical standpoint it is barebones hard rock stomp. Stylistically, it is very reminiscent of Cactus hard hitting rockers. Sound-wise, "Red Scab" is more akin to Killing Joke output than refurbished joyful new wave styling of 1980 Adam Ant.

The arrangement is impeccable in its glorious transmission of menace. The song is built around a simple chord progression augmented with a stomping stumbling beat. It is very intimidating. Slight swing in the beat adds a little bit of sticky macabre to it. This groove is eeriely intimidating - like a swinging chain of the back street fairy in the boots. Add to that incredibly hard hitting cymbals and you get sound of impending mayhem rolling out.

The riffs blast out like thunder and lightning. They slide and slash through the tense air of the song. The song picks up the tempo in second part and gradually turns into maniacal straigtened mambo with tenacious blank stare. This part is reminiscent of early The Stooges only it is stuck on the loop repeating one pattern over and over again. It plays an edge game with the void and it the very end it manages to cause it to erupts. Which ends in a whimper. The song goes faster and faster until it just falls apart.

The lyrics are strangely effective combination of blues sleazy abstractness of Willie Dixon and Arthur Rimbaud dissociated disjointed imagery that comes together in a punch when you think about it. The whole narrative is a soliloquy of a man of passions who manifests his attitude and declares his intention. It is raw and torn apart pieces of images. There is something about wanting to find a girl with a gun so that she could blow his brain off. There is constant reminder of red scabs all over the place. "Red scab" chorus comes onto the song like an invasion of grasshoppers. It covers everything with its regurgitating shade. After two verses, it completely takes over the song and drives it off the cliff.

Overall, "Red Scab" is one nasty love song covered in mercilessly grinding, ferocious beats. This song is so raw it actually bleeds sleaze. From the very first moments you realize this song is out for blood. It is one of those songs that takes no prisoners and hits you and hits you and hits you until you just pass out senseless and absolutely pummeled to the smithereens.

вівторок, 5 червня 2018 р.

BSPH: Velvet Underground - Loop

"Loop" is a composition by seminal American rock band Velvet Underground. Or if being exact it is a composition performed by John Cale of Velvet Underground that was released under the bands name because that is the way it happened.

It was released in 1966 on a flexi disc that came with the Third issue of Aspen magazine that was dedicated to Pop Art and curated by the bands then-manager Andy Warhol. "Loop" holds dubious honor of being the first official release by the band even though it has almost nothing to do with it. They had the spot and they filled it with something. Sometimes it happens that way.

"Loop" explores absolutely different aesthetic from VU catalogue, it is more interested in the texture of sound than grooves or melodies or straight up chaos. It sounds academic for the lack of a better word. "Loop" is more reminiscent of John Cale’s prior experiments with The Theater of Eternal Music then barbaric VU psych-outs. On the other hand – "Loop" can be considered as a mild-mannered precursor of Lou Reed’s seminal noise freak-out Metal Machine Music.

Anyway, it is always a bliss to listen to. There is this tongue in cheek pom pom pom hidden deep inside of it and it sneaks its way to the listeners mind and wrecks havoc with purposeful grimace and terrible sound.

"Loop" consists of a short viola pattern that gets repeated over and over again with more and more distortions until it turns into gloriously incomprehensible mush of noise. John Cale’s riff is a cheerful gleeful stroll to nowhere. It is sonic representation of a pointless smile that evoke solemn feeling of uncanniness. The riff goes in ebbs and flow. For a moment it overwhelms and then it back off and starts all over again. It never goes outside of its pattern.

Part of its might is in its lack of progression. It is stuck in a pattern on purpose. Utter repetition is evocative of apophenia, pareidolia and general overthinking. It pushes the music to the background and let the thoughts to mess around. After a while you start to wonder what could have been next in this composition. In a way you can hear what's coming next as the composition rapidly devolves and evolve into a volleys of noise but it never really goes further. And that is an ultimate annoyance that triggers creative interpretations.

понеділок, 4 червня 2018 р.

MFT: White Hell Puzzle

There is something special in putting together puzzle mosaics. It is almost like making a piece of art it depicts. I guess it is fair to drew parallels to conceptual art and appropriation aesthetics. At least it requires a significant effort to make it and adds worth to it. The whole process of gradual reconstruction of the picture, piece by piece, is exciting and frustrating in the same time. Completed puzzle mosaic is a personal achievement.

But what if things take a step further into the conceptual and in the process spur out of control into concrete block tornado? White Hell Puzzle is one of the premier examples of such turn of events. 

White Hell Puzzle is a big puzzle mosaic (which is a challenge in of itself) with a gimmick. It is one element that elevates this puzzle mosaic on a completely different level, the one beyond reason and comprehension -  there is no picture to put together. Just endless whiteness sliced into puzzle pieces.

The puzzle is all white. Every single piece of it is nothing but white. No significant details to hang on, nothing to clue you in or give any sort of direction. Just white puzzle pieces that ultimately constitute a square or rectangle picture that is actually a monochrome slab of nothing. 

It is imposing on its own and rather intimidating in the process. And this makes things even more challenging than just putting together a large scale mosaic. But it is not off putting. Far from it - cracked whiteness dares to reconstruct it.

Basic procedure remains more or less the same: you choose one piece as a starting point, look for another piece that will fit it, try one, it doesn't fit, go for another - it seems like a right stuff and so you move on, but the pieces don't fit, and you go one after another and it doesn't seem to work and then you get lost in the sea of pieces and feel a little bit bedazzled because none of the available pieces really fit and nothing makes sense and why are you doing this?

This feeling wraps you into a cocoon, makes you fall asleep, hangs in the air and then hits against the tree. And then the void erupts inside you and engulfs that particular ennui. 

The thing is - white hell puzzle is a subversion of putting together a puzzle image. Tradutionally, you have a reference image and you can match pieces with its help. That's the players crutch. By omitting that element this puzzle makes the whole process of matching pieces extremely complicated. Instead of organised methodical gradual construction you are forced into a guessing game. And this game never really gains any sort of momentum - you just meander around aimlessly in hopes of putting together mosaic. And you can actually do it. But in order to make it you have to go against an instinct.

Puzzle mosaics never get boring. Never ever. Even the simplest compositions with the most generic pictures have this strange innocuous charm. It is not exactly an achievement by any means, you don't get anything worthwhile, you just accoplish a task because you wanted so. In a way, it is more of a feat of a gut, a glorified waste of time than anything else.

But in essense - the whole getting the right pieces in a right combination is a gripping test of endurance, dedication and tenacity. "White Hell Puzzle" is one of the most glorious examples of it.

неділя, 3 червня 2018 р.

MFT: Four stills of Christie Levin in Snakewoman

These are four stills from Jesse Franco's latter "klassik" titled "Snakewoman". It was released in 2005 and stars one and only Christie Levin, who was something of a muse for Mr. Franco at that time.

The stills depict her character at her most perplexed state. It is a turning point for her character. She goes through a lot during that short episode. Her character goes from being dumbfoundead and experiencing utter embafflement in the first still to slight perplexion and solemn thoughtfullness in the second still. The shift is drastic, it is an u-turn. It goes like a "wham". Then Christie takes a deep dive into pleasant musing and also some memories and gets really sentimental for a moment in the third still. And finally, in still number four, she settles down on a vicious dreamy scheming of things to come calculating the possibilities and assessing the opportunities.

It is incredible journey told solely through expressions on the actress' face. The way they morph into one another is astounding. It tells an incredible story of its own - the one about getting knocked off feet by a nondescript foggy notion, going through the things of past, deciding to shrug them off and then gracefully moving on to the unknown of the tomorrow. All in span of just a few seconds. How Christie Levin had managed to pull this off in such masterful manner? It is a mystery. Mostly because it is nothing more than an extreme bout of severe overthinking.

In reality, these are just four random stills from a movie titled "Snakewoman". Which has absolutely nothing to do with the arcane craft of acting. And that is absolutely OK.

The thing is - "Snakewoman" is what you expect from a film titled "Snakewoman" directed by a man with an ouevre ranging from "Vampyros Lesbos",  to reconstruction of Orson Welles unfinished "Don Quixote" - it is uneven in a wild rollercoaster ride manner. In one episode it is going for something mystic and atmospheric. And then, all of a sudden, it is bizarre exploitation of predator woman tropes, and then we get a little bit of latino melodrama, and then comes a moment of horror that is actually funny and then comes a moment of horror from a realization that you are actually watching this demented piece of ferocious atrocity instead doing literally anything else.

In other words, it is a film that brings you a full spectrum of thrills. Overthinking is one of them. These four stills are perfect fodder for such manipulations. Due to actual context of the stills being extremely lacking, it is fun to come up with various explanations for the nature of the content presented in these stills. Which is more than one can ask from such kind of stuff.

MFT: Chef/Jive/ValSpeak/Pig Filter

Text substitution is rather attractive technique from a creative standpoint. You can take any text and transform it into semi-comprehensib...