modern inventions

A visit to the technical museum in 1937 …    Today is the 80th birthday of ↑Donald Duck!—he first appeared in the animated short ‘↑The wise little hen‘ (Jackson 1934), which was released on 09 June 1934. Celebrating Donald’s birthday I above embedded the animated short ‘↑Modern inventions‘ (King 1937—the story was written by ↑Carl Barks) showing Donald visiting a technical museum … and of course trying out the inventions, all of them of a robotic kind. JACKSON, WILFRED. 1934. The wise little hen [animated short]. Beverly Hills: United Artists. KING, [JAMES PATTON] ‘JACK’. 1937. Modern inventions [animated short]. Beverly … Continue reading

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artificial paradise inc

Artificial Paradise, Inc is an experimental film anticipating a future where a major corporation has developed an unique software, based on organic virtual reality, which holds all the lost memories of humankind. A user connects to this database of the forgotten…what is he searching for? ↑FRENAY, JEAN-PAUL. 2009. ↑Artificial Paradise, Inc. [short film]. Brussels: Condor, Jean-Paul Frenay. via ↑entry at ↑posthuman blues … Continue reading

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queen of cyberpunk

That juxtaposition of technology and humanity is a key theme of the cyberpunk movement [...] (Brown 2011) When Synners [Cadigan 1991] was published, the World Wide Web didn’t exist; few people had access to computers for leisure use; virtual reality hadn’t made it out of the labs. Yet Cadigan wrote, with typical assurance, of a noisy, noirish, dystopian future, of characters overwhelmed by sheer noise (physical and mental), of a plethora of information conveyed in media old and new, of the breakdown of the body/technology boundary. The world of Synners feels (un)comfortably familiar from the vantage point of the present … Continue reading

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omni collection online

This is a detail of page 72 of the July 1982 issue of the magazine ↑Omni. Depicted is the beginning of ↑William Gibson‘s short story ‘↑Burning Chrome.’ It is a bit of linguistic history, because here the word ‘cyberspace’ saw print for the very first time.     Fittingly enough in the same issue, right after the first part of Gibson’s short story, there is an article (Manna 1982) on ‘↑Tron‘ (Lisberger 1982) featuring double-paged stills, illustrating the subheading ‘A science-fiction film leaps inside a bizarre computer world’:  This picture spreads over pages 82 and 83 of Omni July 1982, … Continue reading

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futuristic user interfaces

An interface from ‘Prometheus’ (Scott 2012) The head-up display (↑HUD) of ‘The Terminator’ (Cameron 1984) VisualPunker has amassed a ↑nice collection [containing a lot of animated gifs] of futuristic and retrofuturistic interfaces and HUDs from anime, other motion pictures, and computer games. In this respect I fullheartedly recommend ‘↑Make it so: Interaction design lessons from science fiction‘ (Shedroff & Noessel 2012): Many designers enjoy the interfaces seen in science fiction films and television shows. Freed from the rigorous constraints of designing for real users, sci-fi production designers develop blue-sky interfaces that are inspiring, humorous, and even instructive. By carefully studying … Continue reading

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xirdalium at wikipedia

No, not my humble blog here, rather the fictional element from which my humble blog here derives its name. It always bothered me, that Xirdalium—most likely an invention by Jules Verne’s son Michel—didn’t shine up in Wikipedia’s ↑list of fictional elements, materials, isotopes and atomic particles. Today I thought ‘enough is enough,’ or ‘there’s only so much a man can take,’ and created the following entry in said list: Xirdalium. An element ‘a hundred times more radio-active than radium.’ (Verne 1909 [1908]: 125) Most probably it was invented by ↑Jules Verne‘s son ↑Michel, who introduced it to the novel ‘↑The … Continue reading

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slowing down light

↑A Slower Speed of Light is a first-person game prototype in which players navigate a 3D space while picking up orbs that reduce the speed of light in increments. Custom-built, open-source relativistic graphics code allows the speed of light in the game to approach the player’s own maximum walking speed. Visual effects of special relativity gradually become apparent to the player, increasing the challenge of gameplay. These effects, rendered in realtime to vertex accuracy, include the Doppler effect (red- and blue-shifting of visible light, and the shifting of infrared and ultraviolet light into the visible spectrum); the searchlight effect (increased … Continue reading

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star wars origami

Martin Hunt invents great origami models depicting things out of the star wars universe and shows them off at ↑starwarigami. Unfortunately he withholds most of his diagrams as he wants to publish a book in which all of them are collected. But there are countless links to ↑diagrams by others at a subpage of starwarigami. If all those are too complex for you at the moment, try Chris Alexander’s simpler designs at ↑star wars origami. Chris already has published a book, hence at the moment, as far as I can see, ↑only the diagrams for his rendition of the Millenium … Continue reading

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early near futures

Many of the films discussed so far [films made from 1895 to 1910 and featuring science-fictional elements or qualities] could be said to be cinematic predictions of the future: from future warfare and advanced automatons to trips to the moon and visitors from another planet. Yet most of these narratives (or the film’s mise en scène more generally) suggested that events were taking place in an undefined present, the result of a recent technological breakthrough. This initial absence of futurity can also be found in much of the literature from which these early film narratives were drawing inspiration: Frankenstein, Twenty … Continue reading

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