the bastard-child of functionality

vans and the places they were” may be the only website I’ve ever seen that makes good, intentional use of horizontal scrolling.  What could have been one-trick, internet gag fare (that is, shots of custom vans) is tied together in an engaging way by its sideways-sliding gallery.  Though the shots portray stillness, the scrolling imparts on them a semblance of their natural motion, and invites the viewer to dwell in the differences between the images–not just differences of space and design, but of color and feeling.

BoingBoing makes an interesting argument about these shots as ephemeral art–that is, the placement of the vans in their respective environments is inherently fleeting (none of these fellas are up on blocks, rotting away), making the appreciation of their juxtaposition keyed to a limited period of time.  One might argue, of course, that photography–especially photography posted on the internet–is the opposite of ephemeral, in that it takes a passing moment and makes it (relatively) permanent.  The artist himself adds another dimension to the conversation:

Over the course of the project the vans themselves have become more and more of a rarity. The reasons are as simple as rust and changing tastes; and as complex as government “cash for clunkers” initiatives encouraging more fuel-efficient transportation. Notably, at the same time these vans have been disappearing from our roads – film photography as a visual medium has also begun it’s slow death. Consequently the goal of the project is to one day shoot the last remaining van on the final frame of photographic film in existence. Then the project will be finished.

What, then, of horizontal scrolling, the bastard-child of functionality?  If the conversion van and the film camera are technologies that are fading away to make room for the new, horizontal scrolling is a technology which, despite its irritating near-uselessness, is unavoidably here to stay, necessary in order to preserve the integrity of web-design, but never (well, almost never) used with artistry or intention.  Is this a sad tale of neglected dimensions?  Or a heartwarming yarn about the potential of the underdog?  Scroll to the right to find out.

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tin roof: rusted.

I am not even kidding when I tell you that I am watching this for research for a writing project:

big man sings Journey (uh, thursday sumo? sure.)

Yes, that’s yokozuna Akebono in this ad for the Japanese release of Glee. (via Neatorama)

move my little bristles

Ladies and gentlemen, after fifteen years, Music Television has finally made an honest woman of The State, releasing a DVD compendium of the series just this month.  In honor of this decision, The Elephant proudly presents “Porcupine Racetrack”:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Also, Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter on Fresh Air, and a video archive at MTV.

lepidoptera, baby

Guys…  Guys, I’m sorry for being such a blog slacker.  Here’s Jon Stewart and Peter Laufer talking about butterflies:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

… and while we’re on the subject, I’d like to mention a neat book of poetry:  Lost Alphabet by Lisa Olstein.  I haven’t had the chance to pick it up yet, but I heard her read several of the fascinating prose poems–all told from the perspective of a lepidopterist studying specimens in a remote town–a couple years ago, before the book was published, and have been eagerly awaiting it ever since.  The poetry is a wonderful mix of focused, scientific enchantment and stark human isolation.  Here’s a sample, “White Spring“.

(Apologies again for the lack of bloggery, I will endeavour to do better going forth.)

Democra-Cola

One more interesting spinoff, I promise I’ll make this one quick.

New Deomcratic Donkey Logo:


New Pepsi Logo:

new-pepsi-logo

 

I smell a conspiracy.

republican values OR how to use web design to look like a jerk

While doing research for my previous post, I happened to visit the websites of our nation’s two dominant political parties.  I took a couple snapshots, so that we could compare them.  I think what we’ll see will reveal something about the state of American politics right now:

demsite2

Democratic site: clean, simple, dignified.  Not sure I’d want my head put up real big on my website, but I guess if you’ve only got one popular kid at your table, you play the hand you’re dealt.

repsite1

Republican site:  Well, let’s see here, we’re ridiculing a respected colleague and elected official, we’re trying to swell our friend list, we’re being sassy about voter fraud…  Oh and look!  We’re hiring!  Wonder why?

Also, here’s some samples from that Welcome Memo Generator:

This is change that makes sense. Welcome to the Democrats. I look forward to working together to borrow more money from China and the Middle East. Worry not, the next generation won’t even miss college.

(from “The White House Teleprompter”)

Now that you have officially joined the spend, tax and borrow Democrats, I can get you some sweet, free flights on military planes!

(from “Speaker Nancy”)

Senator Specter: Too bad you won’t be on the GOP ballot in Pennsylvania. I know you didn’t want Republican voters determining your future in the Senate. Enjoy the Democrats.

(from “You”)

Hm.  I can’t imagine why Specter wouldn’t want to ally himself with the keen intellects and razor wits that came up with this crap.  I wouldn’t want those people determining my future, either.  Not only is it pure snark, it’s Grade D Industrial Snark, the kind of stuff they’ll be scraping off the bottom of Jon Stewart’s chair six hundred years in the future, when planetary catastrophe has reduced the human race to a humorless assemblage of nomads who use the remnants of our civilization’s comedy to power their jury-rigged roadsters.  Maybe once the Republican leadership graduates from the ninth grade, they’ll have some time and attention to devote to building a decent platform and giving the Democrats a run for their money.