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Civilization
June 18, 2009 3:36 PM   Subscribe

Civilization is a video mural created by video artist Marco Brambilla and Toronto-based studio Crush for an elevator in the Standard Hotel in New York. It depicts a journey from hell to heaven as the elevator goes up, or from heaven to hell as it goes down. [Via]
posted by homunculus (26 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
it's really very cool. whatever technical quibbles a person could make about it, the sheer amount of work (and processing power) necessary to create it helps neutralize that stuff. It's really pretty impressive and the idea is neat. I don't have a tremendous amount of time to read the text accompanying it, but does it pause when the elevator is stopped?
posted by shmegegge at 3:43 PM on June 18, 2009


Beautiful. I'm actually surprised that there aren't more elevators like this. Elevators feature a natural type of upwards/downwards movement that could be a very useful concept for art.

Also, this elevator was made for this.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:50 PM on June 18, 2009


The accompanying text suggests that it does, with the scrolling canvas being more or less tied to the motion of the elevator. Whether there is some kind of correlation between which floor you're on and which piece of the art you are seeing, that is unclear.
posted by hippybear at 3:51 PM on June 18, 2009


That was incredible. Holy hell.
posted by avoision at 3:52 PM on June 18, 2009


Wow. You could spend weeks standing in front of that and not be able to place where all those video loops came from. But... God is the flexing silhouette of Arnold Schwartzenegger?
posted by Decimask at 4:34 PM on June 18, 2009


took me a really long time, many attempts, to get this to play, but worth it - glad I kept trying.
posted by lphoenix at 4:49 PM on June 18, 2009


Is it me, or is that a very long elevator ride?
posted by davejay at 4:49 PM on June 18, 2009


First of all, this is very cool.

Second of all (and this is really, really embarassing), I've been a addictfan of the Civilization game series for years (which is only related to this by title). But reading the word "Civilization" genuinely made me feel anxious and (truth be told) a little sweaty. I had to remove all instance of Civilization from my life because I really can't stop playing it once I start. I lose sleep and, while I've never missed work over it, it effects my job performance. And my relationships with other people.

I joked that I'm an addict, but my physical and emotional reaction to reading the word "Civilization" has made me think that maybe there's something more to my joke than I thought. Egads, how humiliating.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:52 PM on June 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


Awesome. And hey..Staypuft Marshmallow Man!
posted by emjaybee at 5:27 PM on June 18, 2009


That was freakin' awesome. Thanks for posting. (I'm sensing a great trivia game here -- identify the sources of the clips. I got one: Ghostbusters!)

(ooo, on preview, beaten by emjaybee.)
posted by Bron at 5:29 PM on June 18, 2009


Drop me off in the middle with the strippers
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 5:58 PM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Bron, that's actually pretty fun. So there's definitely E.T., Sin City, Sound of Music, 300, Return of the Jedi, A Clockwork Orange, and Scarface in there.

I'm not completely sure but I think there are also ones from Gattica and Close Encounters of the Third Kind as well.
posted by the other side at 5:58 PM on June 18, 2009


took me a really long time, many attempts, to get this to play, but worth it - glad I kept trying.

It's also on Vimeo.
posted by homunculus at 6:20 PM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Joey Michaels, I had a buddy come over and play Civilization on my computer for two days straight with no showering or sleep, so don't feel too bad.

Also, what sin do you commit to get to drive the monster truck through the lowest circle of hell?
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:29 PM on June 18, 2009


Also the parking shuttle scene from the Dawn of the Dead remake.
posted by cowbellemoo at 6:34 PM on June 18, 2009


I was just having drinks with a colleague who told me about this hotel she was staying at last week that had this bizarre but really compelling video in the elevator that changed from hell to heaven as the elevator ascended and the inverse as it descended. She said the company she worked for had a contract with the hotel and she had to stay there whenever she was in New York. She also said that as fascinating as the video was, it kind of became a problem as the folks on the elevator kept missing their floors and thus the elevator was always full. So this is that video. Cool. Now I don't need to book a room in a pricey hotel or watch it in a crowded elevator. Elevators are already pretty dysfunctional spaces. I'm not sure I would amplify that with art like this but the video is pretty neat. Thank you, Internet!
posted by Toekneesan at 9:08 PM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


An elevator ride from hell to heaven is an excellent idea, but the video turned out to be nothing but kitsch. A golfer in heaven? And WTF is the Space Shuttle doing in hell?
posted by Termite at 12:17 AM on June 19, 2009


Art = Intent * Kitsch + Angst * (Ass Pain)

I'm still working on the formula.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:13 AM on June 19, 2009


As usual, Hell gets all the beautiful women. Isn't it interesting how everyone from Dante and Bosch to the creator of this wonderful collage, has a powerful, detailed vision of eternal punishment in his head, but Heaven is very hard to imagine with any precision. I mean, we all know what Hell is: some variation a surfeit of shallow sensuality. We're already there in a sense. But Heaven -- as many times as it's been imagined (from Dante to "Cabin in the Sky"), it's never very interesting.
posted by Faze at 5:02 AM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I actually thought about posting this a couple weeks back when I first saw it. I have since ripped the video to DVD and run it on my big screen TV a couple times, and I still can't identify half the video clips.

Oh, and Joey Michaels, you're not alone. I've seriously contemplated creating my very own "Just one more turn" t-shirt.
posted by JaredSeth at 6:39 AM on June 19, 2009


I mean, we all know what Hell is: some variation a surfeit of shallow sensuality. We're already there in a sense. But Heaven -- as many times as it's been imagined (from Dante to "Cabin in the Sky"), it's never very interesting.

Elevators are a hard place to sacralise, which I think you have to do to get people in the mood for heaven, you do need to add a little religious or spiritual mojo. In London we have an abridged version of the hell segment on the (appropriately enough) underground, where they've installed A3ish sized screens at tight intervals on the elevators, showing the same commercials over and over again, you can practically here the marketing people salivating over our captive eyeballs in the blank spaces between the displays.
posted by doobiedoo at 7:52 AM on June 19, 2009


Very impressive, very good.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:40 AM on June 19, 2009


That's very, very cool.
posted by flatluigi at 8:52 AM on June 19, 2009


But Heaven -- as many times as it's been imagined (from Dante to "Cabin in the Sky"), it's never very interesting.

Well the problem is that conflict and contrast are what makes life interesting, and everyone wants Heaven to be better than life. But once you remove the messy parts from life, the negatives, the striving, the nervous anticipations, you are left with nothing. It's as if you removed all the darkness from a chiaroscuro work and were left with nothing but an overexposed bland whiteness. Without the contrast of the absence of pleasure, the pain, the discontent, how can we measure the worth of our joy? The way most people imagine Heaven is just as a fancy death with ego attached. A death of stagnation and meaningless choices. I really think in some senses that the Buddhists have a better thought out "end game" than Christians.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:13 PM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm pretty sure if you came up with an interesting heaven, it'd be a bit too abstract, conceptual, and internal for video. Heaven as a state of mind rather than a place or setting.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:17 PM on June 19, 2009


I saw the Arnold pumping his muscles.
posted by hortense at 11:28 AM on June 24, 2009


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