‘The year is 2001.’ That was the future back then…
Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet is a very 1960s idea of space exploration — a few male astronauts plus one robot on a mission in search of intelligent life on the Planet Venus: ‘Will we find women — or monsters?’ With props wrapped in foil, costumes with ripples, bulges and silver coils, it is very amusing to us now, but was extremely high tech back then.
As the saying goes, ‘the movie is never as good as the book’. There is just something about the written word that allows such personal interpretation and makes it so powerfully evocative. Not surprisingly, the film Fahrenheit 451 is not as good as the dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury upon which it is based. Ironically, there is something quite apt about this. The movie presents a future where a literate populace poses a threat to the prevailing order and Firemen are employed to burn all books. Montag, the main protagonist, is one such Fireman, and his encounter with a condemned book hoarder, an old lady who would rather burn with her books than live without them, leads him to question the idea of book burning. Interestingly, the title refers to the supposed temperature at which books burn.
I have quite a penchant for text and the written word, and this is often reflected in my work. Needless to say, I thought this film was a rather appropriate choice.
When a humble scientist (played by Claude Rains) aspires to grandeur, he develops a potion that enables him to become the Invisible Man. The ability to be undetectable becomes his motivation to destroy with disregard for the consequences. The public responds with disbelief, countered by adamant claims by witnesses, eventuating in hysteria. When the community bands together, they are able to defeat this poltergeist with cunning and logic. However, when the enemy is not so clearly defined, is this possible?
The subtext to this story relates to the common link between themes of superstition, propaganda and our inner demons. It is the all-consuming terror that turns these elusive devices into hard reality. Most threatening is the subtle and creeping pervasiveness of the invisible, as control is heightened when the source cannot be identified.
I have created a series of four pieces that depict the gradual domination of a dark force. Using the colour palette of the silver screen, my work is composed of basic squares mirroring the distinctive shades worn, as I find it interesting that garments, generally used for concealment, become necessary to reveal form. The solid silver represents our morality, menaced by an intangible force that is symbolised by a black, viscous substance tethered to the frame.
I have not given my series the moral conclusion of the film, as a struggle with the indefinable is interminably human, something we have not conquered by following footprints in the snow. Generally the invisible is not Claude Rains overcome by his conscience. ‘Things that man must leave alone’ will continue to permeate our reality.
Moving house has always been fun. I’ve done it enough times to say I am a relocater extraordinaire. I can tessellate a packing box and arrange furniture so efficiently I would win gold if moving house was an Olympic event.
Four states and about 15 houses later, I find myself in Sydney and floating in an undefined limbo of ‘home’. Is it where I was born? Where my family is? Is it where I have lived the longest? Or is it simply the roof over my head? Is home where the heart is? Maybe I have many homes.
Moving from Adelaide to Sydney was the hardest move of all. I felt like I had been left on another planet — much like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial when his family left him behind on Earth. For a long time I too tried to ‘phone home’, as the yearning to be with my friends and family drew me back and forth, until eventually I found some Elliots and Gerties. In time my glowing finger dulled.
This body of work, Phone Home, uses recycled phone pieces to rebuild times of my life as I reconnect with my past and validate my present.
My love of Japanese culture is what led me to select the movie Godzilla. Japan is a country that has seen much destruction and this is why the plot of the original Godzilla movie resonated with Japanese audiences. In the movie, nuclear testing disturbs Godzilla, a 164-foot reptile monster with radioactive breath. After some time out at sea sinking ships, Godzilla destroys Tokyo city while on a mad rampage.
Viewed from a pop culture perspective, it is a fun monster movie, but it can also be seen as a metaphor for the 1945 nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The original movie was created just nine years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed. I see it as a means for the creators to acknowledge and confront the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, inviting the audience to collectively become whole again after having defeated the monster.
Monsters and their attributes are represented and passed on in the stories of of fable, myth and legend. Jung theorises that monsters are part of the Shadow archetype, which all humans possess. Events that are chaotic, destructive and unpredictable are what we describe and attribute to the monstrous.
On a lighter note, Godzilla is the most recognisable Japanese pop culture icon. This status of pop culture darling is primarily due to the 27 subsequent movies that featured Godzilla.
When considering a wearable piece based on this movie, I looked at Godzilla’s indestructible skin as a pattern to develop into a design. I experimented with folding paper into large, geometric shapes to convey a scale-like pattern, with the aim of creating something that describes the monstrous in a single circular structure.
I have chosen the film THX 1138 as inspiration for my jewellery pieces.
George Lucas’ classic 1971 film was based on his award-winning student short. His debut feature celebrates individual freedom against all odds. Set In an Orwellian, whitewashed future, the world as we know it is a controlled underground dystopia. Sexuality is banned, plain monotone outfits are donned by the masses and workers go about their day in a mandated state of sedation. A constant voice over tells us to “Buy and Be Happy “, while black-clad metal-faced robot cops chant a mantra to their victims that “everything will be all right”. Ultimately, life is controlled by the state and no one seems to mind.
The white backgrounds seen throughout evoke a sense of purity and clarity, of modernity and vacancy. The silver metal faces of the police contrast with their black outfits. These elements and the use of headphones and earpieces are motifs in the film that have visually inspired my designs.
‘The space age adventuress whose sex-ploits are among the most bizarre ever seen.’
The year is 40,000. Barbarella, peacefully floating in zero gravity, is interrupted by Earth’s president; scientist Durand Durand (yep, that’s where the band got their name), is threatening the ancient universal peace and Barbarella has been chosen to find him and save the world.
Looking back to sci-fi cinema before the moon had been explored and before contemporary jewellery had been considered, it is remarkable to note the giant leaps technology has made since. What I love about this era is the great measures the designers took to transport us into this fictional reality without the aid of high tech equipment. A contrast to today’s extravagant film oeuvres, which are largely compiled with computer generated imagery. I think they did a pretty good job, considering.
The innocence of this film is admirable; aloof yet eager cosmic babes out to conquer the universe with love, adorned with ray guns and ‘laser’ devices, romping stark grey landscapes; angels, tyrants, queens and professors awkwardly roaming the unknown regions in search of cosmic wonders out to save the world from evil unknown forces. Seductive, astral smoke and sound effects not quite as convincing as they should be, yet equally transporting, if only you can let go and believe.
My Cosmic Kitsch neckpiece is based, not so much around the plot of Barbarella, but the kitsch-ness of the colourful sets, and the over-the-top adornment of the larger than life characters portrayed in the film in an attempt to conquer the final frontier.
Yes, yes. Of course the film influenced me. How could it not? It was 1968 I was sixteen years old and NASA’s Project Apollo captivated me. The experience of Kubrick’s film on a huge screen filled with fabulous images and music, especially a teen whose brain seemed tuned to stories and images and the music that sloshed over us during those exciting changing times was overpowering. It put me on the pathway to a career in design which has been a blast- and still is.
The story is of the cyclical evolution from ape to man to spaceman to angel-starchild-superman touching on a variety of universal themes ranging from human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, extraterrestrial life and the mystery beyond the infinite, told with deliberate realism, limited dialogue andavoidance of intellectual verbalization resulting in ambiguity. These elements combined to make an intensely subjective experience that reaches the viewer at an inner level of consciousness, just as music does. You’re free to speculate as you wish about the philosophical and allegorical meaning of the film — and such speculation is one indication that it has succeeded in gripping the audience at a deep level.
“Orion, a constellation often referred to as The Hunter, is a prominent constellation and one of the largest and most conspicuous in the sky. Its brilliant stars are found on the celestial equator and are visible throughout the world. Its three prominent “belt” stars are of medium brightness and are located in the mid-section of the entire constellation” - www.scientific-web.com
Will Smith was looking fine, Tommy Lee was looking serious. I don’t really do science fiction films, but for some reason I very much enjoyed Men In Black.
I was about ten years old. I remember schools of cockroaches, over the top artillery, and a very unattractive (and extremely frightening) Vincent D’onofrio. The set was perfectly nineties; stark white rooms filled with silver chairs, silver computers, silver weapons. There were good aliens, bad aliens, a talking pug named Frank, and a very special cat with a very special collar.
It was the “Scum of the Universe” verses the “MIB”, and the mission for both sides was to seek an object known as “The Galaxy”. They searched, they fought, they found and it is “The Galaxy” from the film (and that from the night sky) that will serve as inspiration for my science fiction making mission.