Archive for April, 2008

Wii FuckU

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

I’ve spotted this ad in today’s newspaper which instantly reminded of an art piece from the good ol’ days of net.art (pictured below, but unfortunately the original Alexei Shulgin’s FuckU-FuckMe site is not available anymore).

Placing very lifelike (but fake) FuckU-FuckMe alongside the just-as-much lifelike (but fake looking) Wii fit only makes one wonder how long before Nintendo decides to launch a new product line for mature audience. Games would naturally need to be accompanied by appropriate controllers, you know, for seamless gameplay and natural suspension of disbelief.

Whoever decides first to transform FuckU-FuckMe from bits to atoms will probably have to polish the usability aspect a tad. However, if I’d have my pick, I’d want to see Nintendo do it rather than Microsoft.

Mladen

Posted in Consumerism, Leisure | No Comments »

Hamburger oddity

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

Helsinki offers a rich palette of fine restaurants, delis and cafés. Of course, there are also uncountable quasi-food on-the-go vendors. That’s not the type of chow I have in mind today–not the kind you’d eat only when drunk on a Friday night and the kind that leaves that unmistakable aftertaste at least until Monday afternoon for even greater embarrassement not only in front of your spouse, but nosy colleagues too. Not of that ilk.

If you swear by Michelin stars, you’ll find such eating places too. But that again is not what I’m aiming at. Some time last week I spoted a tad odd ad in the newspapers that pierced my brain. It was an advertisement for a café in Helsinki offering a house hamburger for an unfathomable price of 21€. I had to rub my eyes twice before I could be sure those numbers were written in that order.

I cut out the ad and was on a mission to find out what does it feel like, both in the mouth and in the mind, to eat a 21€ hamburger.

I walked past the Kämp café umpteen times, but was never drawn to it enough to cross their doorstep. Although the café seems to be a rather insignificant part within the Kämp imperium spanning from luxurious hotels, and restaurants to bars, spa and what not, it is not at all timorous in this company. Quite the contrary, the café shines in its neoclassical interior decoration and bourgeoisie clientele. Not exactly my kind of thing, but all I have on my mind right now is the burger.

It was Saturday afternoon and the place was packed. I was stunned. But there I was, at the mercy of a waitress trying to find an available table. I couldn’t have ever imagined that I’d need to make a table reservation for a hamburger meal. After I was seated, she handed me the menu, which I did not really need, since I’ve known for days what exactly I came for: Garçon, bring me the Kämp hamburger. What would I like to drink? Bring me whatever goes well with your burger. I got Coke. Surprised? A bit, but when I come to think of it, what else could I have expected. A glass of 2000 Château Cheval Blanc?

The burger arrives. Chef de cuisine even branded the thing; it sports a large K burnt right on top of the bun. It didn’t come from McDonald’s, that’s for sure. I take a couple of snapshots and dig in.

Ground beef replaced with thin slices of marbled fillet of beef, lettuce upgraded to fresh rucola, undisclosed sauce promoted to horseradish mayonnaise. And besides laying these ingredients between two pieces of bread, they actually cared to tell me what I’m eating. Not to mention the fries made out of real potatoes.

The verdict? It tasted alright, it landed in the stomach with a loud thump, but I managed alright. However, I wonder if my friends from the land of the burger would still consider it to be a burger with all these peculiar ingredients.

Bon appétit.

Mladen

Posted in Consumerism, Finland, Food | No Comments »

Twenty years of Pixar

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Pixar’s 20 Years of Animation exhibition is currently on display at the Tennispalatsi art museum in Helsinki. I went to see it and all I can say is, if you’re anywhere close to Helsinki, you can’t afford to miss it (and hurry up, because exhibition’s next stopover is in Seoul).

Although most of us might not have been as radically inspired by Pixar’s animated movies as those kids who flushed their fish down the toilets after seeing Fining Nemo (to save them, of course), characters and stories created at Pixar are quite impressive when it comes to suspending our disbelief. Sure, cars and fish usually don’t talk humanese, but great characters and their believable expressions make us forget we’re watching cars and fish.

Anyway, I can imagine that most see a movie, either like it or not, but don’t give much thought to how it was made. This exhibition, however, provides such introspective opportunity; you get to see how Pixar’s characters and stories are conceived, developed, re-developed many times before they are polished, even sculpted and only then modeled and rendered. I was stupefied when I found out that three quarters of production time is spent just developing the characters and story, and only a quarter turning those ideas into a movie.

From what Pixar shows us in the exhibition, it definitely must be a dream job to work on their projects. They travel all over the place, some even had to learn how to scuba dive to be able to envision more realistic imaginary worlds. It must be a dream job most can only aspire to.

Besides abundance of quick sketches, conceptual drawings, detailed character sculptures and even some high art-like framed paintings, exhibition offers two brilliant gems: a superb four-projector wide journey through two decades of Pixar’s work and a large mesmerizing zoetrope full of Toy Story characters. The zoetrope itself is an unbelievably dazzling display of magic of bringing static figures into motion. I’d never get tired of it even if I had one at home.

For those who can’t make it to the exhibition, get a glimpse of the spinning marvel here.

Mladen

Posted in Art, Culture, Finland, Movies | No Comments »

Consumerism onslaught

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Just spotted this traffic sign mashup in Otaniemi, a self-proclaimed Nordic technology hub, but locally better known for its high density of geeky student population. Is that a sign of onslaught on consumerism? Or is it of consumerism? Hard to tell, but I sincerely hope dedicated shopping cart roads are not someone’s true vision or everything this technology hub can contribute to the world.

Mladen

Posted in Consumerism, Environment, Finland, Politics | No Comments »