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November 7, 2009 5:40 PM   Subscribe

People Doing Stuff. Strangely compelling.
posted by flatluigi (70 comments total) 60 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is this physicist porn?
posted by pazazygeek at 5:48 PM on November 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


I liked the people doing stuff -- I was puzzled by the food, though.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 5:51 PM on November 7, 2009


This looks exactly like something made to amuse an infant. Things in high-contrast colours making sharp noises, and pictures of food. Grown-up items and grown-up food, but no more coherence or rationality.

I'm pretty sure that the fact that it's still fascinating to adults means something. It might not be something we should be proud of.
posted by mhoye at 5:51 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


This reminds me of a game my siblings play where each compete to tell the most un-dramatic anecdote.
posted by mhjb at 5:52 PM on November 7, 2009 [8 favorites]


That was great, except for the food, which struck me as obscene for some reason.
posted by farishta at 5:52 PM on November 7, 2009


I came for the people, I stayed for the stuff <3
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:54 PM on November 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


It really is astonishing how much plastic we see/touch/use every day.
posted by Western Infidels at 5:55 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Random, but cool.
posted by futureisunwritten at 5:56 PM on November 7, 2009


Actual title and author, on the author's youtube channel: "everyone and everything", by Koki Tanaka.
posted by idiopath at 5:57 PM on November 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


I lost the plot.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:58 PM on November 7, 2009


Toilet paper one around 5:40 is the best.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 5:59 PM on November 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


My high-functioning autistic sister once got an assignment from her therapist to take pictures of people in public doing normal things from a distance with a camera, and to take those pictures into her next session and to try to describe what the people in the scene were doing. I think this was to help improve her ability to interpret situations, particularly involving people doing things they won't explicitly explain (ie raking leaves, sorting files, looking at items in a store). That's what I expected this to be, as a single subject photo blog.

Considering that this is mostly inanimate objects doing various random small motions, I think this is the reverse of what my sister was asked to do. So... yeah, pretty much physicist porn.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:01 PM on November 7, 2009


how to draw a line on the road. Hell yea.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 6:03 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


After finding out the name of the author and the title of the piece from the end of the video, I have been checking out the rest of his channel. I like it. Simple concepts, bright colors, definite events. Fluxus remade for the teletubby generation.
posted by idiopath at 6:03 PM on November 7, 2009


That was great fun!

*closes laptop lid*
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:05 PM on November 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


idiopath: "Actual title and author, on the author's youtube channel: "everyone and everything", by Koki Tanaka"

Thank you, idopath.
posted by flatluigi at 6:07 PM on November 7, 2009


This looks exactly like something made to amuse an infant.

My 6 month old is sitting on my lap and thinks it was the greatest thing ever. We're going to watch it again.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:15 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


YEAHAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHAHHHHAAHHH!
posted by Baby Bartfast at 6:16 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Were there pancakes? Did I miss the pancakes being flipped in the pan?

::::consternation::::::
posted by datawrangler at 6:16 PM on November 7, 2009


This reminded me of my freshmen year of college, when my roommates and I discovered that it was extremely satisfying to hurl the water out of a glass, onto the floor.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 6:16 PM on November 7, 2009


If you liked that video, you'll like this video even more.
posted by diogenes at 6:22 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


diogenes: "If you liked that video, you'll like this video even more."

You are wrong.
posted by idiopath at 6:26 PM on November 7, 2009


So, this is basically the low point of my life.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 6:34 PM on November 7, 2009


Although, I did like the TP part at around 5:40
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 6:38 PM on November 7, 2009


The coat hanger pull had me on the edge of my seat!
posted by moonmilk at 6:40 PM on November 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


This is quite wonderful. Some top moments for me include the green rubber mat slowly unrolling, the yellow umbrella landing on the patio, the green sheet of plastic landing on the grass, the plunger inflating itself, and the red revolving mop, looking like some radar dish spinning. Brilliant! And the toilet paper placed on the electric fan is inspired.

What's with the static food shots, though? they break the mood is a really unnecessary way, IMO.

And kudos to idiopath, for pointing to Tanaka's YT. Friendly reminder to flatluigi: it's better to dig a little deeper and find the original link, IMO.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:40 PM on November 7, 2009


I just noticed that it was you, flatluigi , who thanked idiopath for the YT pointer. Sorry if it seemed like I was heavy-handed, therefore, with my friendly reminder... and thanks for the post!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:43 PM on November 7, 2009


Reminiscent of, but not as enjoyable as, The Way Things Go. (Quicktime trailer) (Usually on view at the Hirshhorn, Washington DC.)
posted by silby at 6:44 PM on November 7, 2009


diogenes' video is the American version of the one in the FPP
posted by mhjb at 6:45 PM on November 7, 2009


Also, I found the artist's home page, which shows off his work in a memorable way without being a usability nightmare: Koki Tanaka.

I like the way that the videos pass for something that some bored folks who happened to have a camera threw together. I enjoy the crossover between conceptual art and youtube randomness.

it is hard to do something that abstract without alienating most of your audience, people stop enjoying stuff sometimes when they realize it is "art", like a child who refuses to eat their pizza anymore when you tell them that the sauce and most of the toppings are vegetables.
posted by idiopath at 6:51 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


The mood of this video reminds me of that old classic Der Lauf Der Dinge (The Way Things Go) (previously). Which some kind soul has put on up youtube in three parts.
posted by moonmilk at 6:53 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


See also: Moments
posted by empath at 6:59 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Goddamnit, somebody else posted it first.

Well, watch it twice because it's that good.
posted by empath at 7:04 PM on November 7, 2009


I didn't think I would watch to the end.

I watched to the end.
posted by pahool at 7:12 PM on November 7, 2009


Long Attention Span Theater.

I failed.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 7:15 PM on November 7, 2009


silby: "Reminiscent of, but not as enjoyable as, The Way Things Go. (Quicktime trailer) (Usually on view at the Hirshhorn, Washington DC.)"

I have seen this film, and the resemblance is only superficial. And frankly, I enjoyed Tanaka's stuff more. Granted, The Way Things Go is the best example I know of a thought provoking film to inspire an interesting conversation with a seven year old (and I say this as a sincere compliment to the creators, and not as a dismissal).

And the other Moments piece people are comparing, also, while interesting in its own light, is trying to do something completely different from what Everything is Everything attempts.

Why do we need a story and / or explicit human emotions smeared on top of everything? I would say that these videos are as much comparable to Everything is Everything as a Rachel Ray episode is to Each and Every. Yes, both a cooking show episode and Each and Every present someone cooking a meal, and arguably the narrative and explanatory touches make an episode of Rachel Ray more enjoyable for some, but this completely misses the point.
posted by idiopath at 7:15 PM on November 7, 2009


Moments seems like the GM "We're so screwed the government had to buy us!" ad.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:18 PM on November 7, 2009


flapjax at midnite: "What's with the static food shots, though? they break the mood is a really unnecessary way, IMO."

The static food shots were used to break up the rhythm created by the steady montage of decontextualized, innocuous physical occurrences. The film defined its own language where static food shots were used to bust the cycle of Stuff Being Done. The repetition was an ironic gag; each time a static food shot appeared, you felt you got it more—there was nothing to get.
posted by defenestration at 7:18 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was surprised by how rapt I was. I think it's because the video is all about confounding your expectations.

* Nothing is used in its intended fashion. If it cuts to a plastic cup, you have NO idea what is going to be done with the cup.

* Many actions seem to make a loud noise out of proportion to what you'd expect from the item at hand. Other actions seem like they ought to make a loud noise, but don't.

* And then there is food.

* They never take the obvious route. Like the sequence where it looks like he's going to kick over the table, but he lets it move gently to the floor instead.

Watching it is like being transported back to toddler-hood, when everything in the entire world was confusing and often startling. Not an entirely pleasant experience, but a surprising one nonetheless.
posted by ErikaB at 7:18 PM on November 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


Strangely compelling.

Mehtafilter: Neither.
posted by Revvy at 7:21 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Users posting comments.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:23 PM on November 7, 2009


mccarty.tim, I disagree, and I think the reason why is useful. (i.e. I'm not just ragging on you to be snarky.)

In the GM commercial, there are many short clips of things in motion, but that's where the resemblance ends. Two big differences:

* There's very little human agency in the GM ad. We are shown disconnected body parts (the runner's feet), and the insect-like blur of crowds. But nothing that we can relate to as a human being.

* Every clip is thoroughly predictable. If I tell you the clip has sprouts, you'd guess they will be shown sprouting - and you would be correct. Ditto for race horses, a man in running shoes, car bodies on an assembly line, a large load being suspended over the bed of a pickup truck, and so forth.
posted by ErikaB at 7:24 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, this reminded me of those demo reels for inverse kinematics physics engines.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:30 PM on November 7, 2009


I had no idea that so many Mefites trip on Saturday nights.
posted by porpoise at 7:37 PM on November 7, 2009


I would really like to know the name of whatever psychological syndrome I have that makes me love this so much.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 8:18 PM on November 7, 2009


Oddly reminds me of various parkour vids I've seen on youtube. Except the parkour dude is replaced by a chair or broom or whatever and instead of pulling off a trick, does a wicked faceplant.
posted by juv3nal at 8:28 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Reminded me a lot of Vertov's 1929 film Man With A Movie Camera (which is thankfully completely online).
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:44 PM on November 7, 2009


it's great because it reminds me of how I used to interact with the physical world before I became a person who stares at a screen and clicks with my fingertips all day...
posted by runincircles at 8:48 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


I LOLed at the toilet paper roll on the fan. This apparently was made for the Taipei Biennial art show. I think the food shots take you out of the moment of the random stuff happens, but it's a good thing. Daily life is random crap falling and making noise, punctuated by meals.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:27 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


ErikaB: "* They never take the obvious route. Like the sequence where it looks like he's going to kick over the table, but he lets it move gently to the floor instead."

In the interview on his website, Tanaka mentions that part of the composition was to interact with each object in three ways, so at the very least least two of those ways are likely to be unexpected. Also on his website, there is a gallery of pictures of the installation that went with this video (an arrangement of the various props used in the video, all purchased in one trip to a store near the museum where the installation initially occurred, arranged around the TV playing the video).
posted by idiopath at 10:34 PM on November 7, 2009


I was really cheering for the green mat about halfway through. Looks more like a demo reel for Reality, the new physics engine soon to be over-used in this season's hottest first-person shooters.
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:40 PM on November 7, 2009


Oh, yeah. That mat totally unrolled itself completely with no assistance on the finish. It was a subtle triumph.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:48 PM on November 7, 2009


I feel like I should be frightened but I don't know precisely of what.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:20 PM on November 7, 2009


I say we load this video onto every unmanned spacecraft ever going anywhere.

That way, when one of our craft is discovered by an alien civilization, they'll watch this video and realize that we're a species to be reckoned with... a species of people who do stuff.
posted by Graygorey at 11:57 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


STUFF IS HAPPENING
posted by Pronoiac at 12:47 AM on November 8, 2009


Dinner plate flung into shrubbery= the best.
posted by obloquy at 1:20 AM on November 8, 2009


Reminded me a lot of Vertov's 1929 film Man With A Movie Camera

Reminded me a lot of Moleman's 1995 film, Man Being Hit By a Football
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:33 AM on November 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


I watched it last night after a few glasses of wine... only got about 30 seconds into it.

This morning, cold, stone sober, 10 seconds.

Tonight I'll watch it on LSD, perhaps that's the key.
posted by HuronBob at 3:46 AM on November 8, 2009


This video speaks in the words/tactile images of a strongly autistic woman. I think the FPP brings out something similar in us?
posted by fcummins at 5:54 AM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's Dada for the new millennium.
posted by drlith at 5:56 AM on November 8, 2009


Go figure... I, too, came in here to suggest that we send this video into space.

THIS IS HOW PHYSICS WORKS ON OUR PLANET
ATTEMPT NO LANDINGS HERE WITHOUT PILLOWS AND FLOOR MATS

(Also, the paper and fan at 5:45 is gorgeous)
posted by ook at 7:36 AM on November 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


The static food shots were used to break up the rhythm created by the steady montage of decontextualized, innocuous physical occurrences.

I thought they were there to represent the lunch breaks in between scene sets, because hey, doing all that stuff makes a person hungry.
posted by bwg at 7:36 AM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I dig the concept of the props all being purchased on the way to the installation, but surely I'm not the only one who thought the aesthetic impact of the squarish red cooler was severely impaired by the big stickery sales label on it.
posted by Liver at 8:53 AM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought this was great. I thought of it as people doing mad chores.

"Darling, did you put the bucket back on the bollard?"
"No dear, I've just finished knocking the pillow off the table with the other pillow"

It made me feel that the chores I do are equally inane, but I'm not sure if this is strictly true.
posted by greytape at 9:15 AM on November 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


I loved this. It was so Japanese. It reminded me of the absurdity of Warioware... do a random thing! Do it now!
posted by ch1x0r at 10:21 AM on November 8, 2009


I found this very soothing. I have been watching a lot of Koki Tanaka's other videos while editing and writing.
posted by Kattullus at 11:21 AM on November 8, 2009


This is fantastic.

Looks more like a demo reel for Reality, the new physics engine soon to be over-used in this season's hottest first-person shooters.
I got a similar impression, but took away something a bit different - showing off all the little quirks of how real objects behave. How many of these things wouldn't be modeled accurately in a physics engine? How many of them would be dead-on?
posted by NMcCoy at 11:49 AM on November 8, 2009


That was lovely. Thanks.
Man, mefi is full of good stuff lately.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:03 PM on November 8, 2009


Thanks for posting a link to "The Way Things Go". In the UK, at least, viewers will probably will probably find that reminds me of the Cog advert made for Honda which ripped off the same source. Looking at Peter Fischli and David Weiss' original I could not help but think that anybody who collected such an assortment of pyrotechnics and reactive chemicals in a large shed today would run into unwanted attention from counter-terrorism.
posted by rongorongo at 3:05 PM on November 8, 2009


Oh god I loved this so. This would make a great cable channel. Can you imagine, coming home after a long day's work, kicking off the shoes, putting the dogs up and switching this on?

Well, at least I can dream...
posted by buzzv at 10:54 AM on November 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


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