Czech filmmaker Jan Švankmajer's Tma/Svetlo/Tma ("Darkness Light Darkness"), a stunningly surreal stop-motion animation from 1989.
Jeffrey Martin sez, "I've spentthe summer getting up to speed with quadcopters, floating above the rooftops in the early, early morning in one of Europe's most beautiful cities: here is the result." Read the rest
Czech artist Monika Horčicová makes beautiful, haunting sculptures comprised of repeated, 3D-printed human bones. They remind me of the Capela dos Ossos in Portugal, whose walls and vaults are lined with bones of 5,000 parishoners from nearby churches. There's something about Czech artists and bones, it seems -- witness Alice, Jan Svankmajer's classic taxidermy adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.
Czech artist Klára Pernicová has created a series of "unsettling" accessories, like human ear hair-clips, zit piercing jewelry and slug-and-snail headphones that are fabulously grody without being actually terrible, and manage to be playful at the same time. Those ear-clips are really something, and work as a kind of dazzle-camou for my brain, which keeps trying to redraw the face below them to make sense of them. Read the rest
Jeffrey Martin of the 360 Cities panorama site sez, "Sphericam is my new invention. It is a dedicated 360º video with GPS and live streaming capabilities. Inspired by cameras that are an order of magnitude more expensive, I wanted to build something that any enthusiast could afford. It has four cameras with fisheye lenses, connected to a device which records synchronized video from all four cameras onto a single memory card or USB stick. I want 360º video to become mainstream. Did you ever wish you could just stick your camera in the middle of the action, and capture everything at the same time? Now you can. I'm teaming up with Shaddack one of the Czech Republic's most talented electrical engineers. We're ready for you!"
The cameras start at $600 for the first 20, then 99 at $900, and up from there (assuming, always, that they make it to production -- caveat emptor!). Jeffrey and co have built an impressive team and have a good-looking roadmap on the Kickstarter page, too.
In 2010, Vice Magazine commemorated the publication of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes' "Prague Through the Lens of the Secret Police" with a set of photos taken by the Soviet-era Czech secret police. As noted, these photos, shot blindly with hidden cameras, are actually pretty good art-photography.
They were spying full-time on average citizens, hoping to catch them in a situation that could lead to a swift arrest and a lengthy incarceration in some dank, hidden cell. With their cameras secreted in a suitcase or under a coat, the agents had no idea what was being captured while they were taking these pictures. Their negatives, in which one finds brilliant snatches of street life from a time that few outsiders were able to see, are full of unexpected gems. Total art from a bunch of Communist lackeys and thugs. Who would have thunk it?