Saturday, 26 December 2009

Sculpture by the Sea 2009

Every year around the end of spring or early summer, there is a sculpture exhibition along the beaches from Bondi to Tamarama. These beaches form part of the eastern beaches coastal walk, a scenic walk that I love to go on if the weather is right. This year's Sculpture by the Sea was held from the 29th Oct to the 15th Nov 2009.

I started my walk from Tamarama Beach and worked my way up north. Sculptures of all sizes and designs littered the beach, from skulls made of used Coke bottles to petrol station pumps in the middle of the sand. Note that the two girls sunbathing in the pic above are not part of the exhibition! (It's the structure behind them, see?) But with the weather so nice, I couldn't resist slapping on some sun block and getting a bit of sun myself :)

The pics posted here show just some of the sculptures displayed. There were so many interesting (and weird) stuff to see that I went back another day to look at some of the stuff I missed the first time around.

My favourite sculpture is the one below entitled Arte de las Playas (Art of Beaches) by Alejandro Propato from Argentina. It was a collection of huge coloured flags that whipped and lashed above my head as I stood looking at them. Situated at the top of a hill, this 'sculpture' made use of the strong winds to create interesting shapes in the air. Isn't that just brilliant? :)

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Festival of the Winds

Here's an event that took place on Sunday the 13th September 2009. It was a kite flying festival held at Bondi Beach, called the Festival of the Winds. Kites of all shapes and sizes filled the skies.

There were also musicians, kite making workshops, face painting, a kite exhibition and pony rides, among other things.

The weather was also perfect, with blue skies. Too bad so few people turned up at the beach.

Kidding! The beach was unbelievably crowded! It was like sardines in a can, and it's not even summer. Finally, as the setting sun bathed the cliffs in an orange glow, I left the beach and started my walk home.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Paddington Reservoir Gardens

A couple of weekends back, I visited Paddington Reservoir Gardens, located across the street from Paddington Town Hall here in Sydney. Paddington Reservoir Gardens was officially opened on the 29th March 2009. It was originally built between 1866 and 1878, and was a crucial part of Sydney’s early water supply but was finally decommissioned in 1899.

The renewal of Paddington Reservoir Gardens won the 2009 Australian Award for Urban Design.

Paddington Reservoir Gardens is not a large place, but it's a nice little oasis of calm in the middle of a busy part of the city.

Although it covers only a small area, this is an interesting place for photography and I found myself visiting it twice at different times of the day.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Disney buys Marvel

Disney is buying Marvel for US$4 billion! Yep, that's four BILLION dollars. Images of Marvel/Disney character crossover amalgams are now popping up all over the net. So instead of doing my work as I should, I thought it'd be nice to spend my afternoon doing yet another Marvel/Disney "mash-up" to add to the many that are already on the net! I give you... X-MOUSE! :)

Friday, 4 September 2009

Quotes - Terry Pratchett

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Inception

When news came out that Christopher Nolan was going to work on a movie called Inception, people thought it was going to be a small movie. Imagine their surprise when it was revealed that the movie has a budget of more than $200 million! For months, journalists and fans have been trying to find out more about this movie but everything is being kept top-secret, so much so rumour started that Inception was actually the working title for the third Batman movie by Nolan. That was proven to be false but even after the cast was made known, nobody involved with the movie is revealing anything. A week ago, the first teaser trailer was released. All that is known is that the story has something to do with the 'architecture of the mind'. Unlike James Cameron's Avatar, Inception is certainly very hush-hush, which makes me extremely curious.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

The Crafting of Narnia / Basement Books

Before I went to England, I often went to discount book stores to buy books. Sometimes I'd find some really good bargains for film, art or design books. Unfortunately, when I came back from England, I discovered most of the discount book stores have closed. I was therefore happy to find one of my favourites is still open for business. Basement Books is located at the end of Central Station's underground pedestrian tunnel. A couple of weeks back, I bought The Crafting of Narnia (a book that retails elsewhere at AU$45.00) for AU$12.95.

If you're interested in film post-production, then this book is a bargain. Creatures, castles, weapons and other beautiful art fill the pages.

The full address for Basement Books is Shop 1, Henry Deane Plaza, 2 Lee Street, Haymarket, Sydney. If you're ever in the area, do drop by and have a look. You never know, you may find something you'll like!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

City 2 Surf 2009

City 2 Surf is a 14km run from the heart of Sydney (near Hyde Park) to the famous Bondi Beach. This year, it was held on the 9th August and 75,000 people participated. Each year, the run starts at 9am and the winners usually take about 40 to 45 minutes to complete the course. But this is also a fun-run so in addition to the serious runners, you also get families participating (complete with babies in strollers), and people with superhero costumes or goofy getups. Winter is coming to an end and people are already spending weekends at the beach.

Throw in another 75,000 people and Bondi Beach was one crowded beach last weekend! Some were there for the run, some were there to watch the Australian Idol singers performing, and others just took the opportunity to make a political statement or two!

Participants also get a participation medal... but this year, they didn't have enough for those who crossed the finish line really late (people were still strolling across the finish line a couple of hours after the start of the run).

I'm thinking this is probably because a) they didn't make medals for everyone b) more than 75,000 people participated in the end or c) 75,000 people participated but some collected more than one medal! How inconsiderate! :)

And I hope no one had an urgent need to go to the toilet because the line was really long!

When I was leaving the area, I saw another long line that streched the entire length of the street.

At first, I thought they were waiting to buy lunch at the shops, but after walking to the very end of the street, I saw that they were waiting for the bus! Good thing I live within walking distance! :)

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

I'd like you to meet Milo

During the recent E3 press conference three weeks ago in Los Angeles, a new type of computer interaction was unveiled. Meet Milo.

video
Milo is a virtual character that can recognise faces, voices and emotions! That’s almost like ‘real’ artificial intelligence. Put this algorithm into a physical metallic body and voila, you’ve got yourself a Terminator! Ok, I’m kidding... but still. The kind of interactivity shown in this video is truly groundbreaking. There have been similar technology in the past but none as seamless as this. Hard to imagine that 20 years ago, computers were giant cabinet sized machines, and now we have this? Is it real or is it just hype?

A selected number of journalists were invited to demo Milo. Wired has reported that Milo is real. During a test, when Game Informer magazine editor Andy McNamara stood in front of Milo and said his name, Milo responded ‘Hi Andy. I see you’re wearing green today’ (Source: Wired). Others have reported that it’s fake (Source: Gamer). But real or not, everyone who's into interactive gaming just can’t stop talking about it.

Milo is a part of Project Natal. No release date has been confirmed but it will probably be within the next year and a half, most probably sooner. I’m really interested to see how this will work out... it's all pretty cool, don't you think?

Monday, 22 June 2009

Sydney Vivid Festival - Part 2

I went back to the Sydney Vivid Festival on the evening of Saturday 13 June and did the entire Smart Light walk from the Opera House to Observatory Hill. Again, I took photos of the Opera House, this time from the forecourt area as well. The Opera House exhibit was titled Lighting the Sails, by artist and musician Brian Eno from the UK.

I then went to the Passenger Terminal near the Rocks and took more photos from across the water. The two photos below were taken from the same spot, one at max wide angle (27mm) and the other at max zoom (486mm). This new camera has almost double the zoom of the one I took to Amsterdam. :)

Next stop was Janus, a display of lights suspended over an alley in the Rocks which resembled a face. Janus was by Tom Barker and Hank Haeusler from Australia. Public interaction controlled the changing mood of the face each night. You could even send emails of your face to be used as a display.

Human Tiles was by Carole Purnelle and Nuno Maya from Portugal. The projection of tiles was made from the colours of people’s clothing, which were video captured in real time and projected unto the wall.

I then headed towards Observatory Hill and passed a tunnel with lighted ceiling. This was Rocklights by Ingo Bracke from Germany.

Next was a display of used plastic Coke bottles lighted from the inside to resemble Fireflies. This exhibit by Francesco Mariotti from Switzerland was the most difficult to photograph, mainly due to my stubborn refusal to buy a tripod for night photography! I dislike carrying camera equipment with me (even though I love photography) and for this exhibit, there was no place for me to rest the camera so I ended up taking hand held shots with speeds as slow as 2.5 seconds. The tiny green lights were also flickering on and off really fast (they’re fireflies, after all), making focusing difficult. This was taken hand held at 2.5 seconds but I absentmindedly started to lower the camera before the time was up, creating the streaks which I ended up liking :)

Then it was up to Observatory Hill for a final display of Weather Projection by Alex Haw from the UK, where a virtual sky was projected unto the ceiling of the Rotunda on the hill.

I also took a few photos of the Sydney skyline at night. The photo below shows the skyline of North Sydney. The Opera House is behind the Harbour Bridge on the right (outside the frame).

All in all, it was an interesting festival featuring some impressive displays (25 in total - I visited only about half of them). I hope they have this festival again next year, I’d love to go again.