Ahh, finally an alphabet book for today’s cynical adult. The Dictionary of Unhappiness is an 80-page book that mirrors the colorful alphabet books of our youth, but instead of C is for Cat, C stands for “Child: Proof of disposable income.” Written by Situationist Isaac Cronin, and with visuals by graphic designer Tyler Spangler, the tongue-in-cheek bleak descriptions and their accompanying pop art might give the impression that this is all for shits and giggles. But underneath the humor is commentary on human consumption and our shifting attitudes on communication–the kind of topics you don’t seem to notice until you’re a pessimistic adult with no hope for the future. Hey, no one said getting older was easier.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Monday, November 30th, 2015||No Comments »|
Art director/photographer Stephen McMennamy fell in love with photography through Instagram. So it feels appropriate that his successful account is home to his unique photo series that combines two different type of photos into quirky new creations. It sounds contrived in words, but once you see his work it’s obvious how extensive his creativity is. From people skiing on ice cream cones to jets morphing into birds, his photos are imaginative, fun, and a mischievous time sucker. For more of his creations, he also keeps a second Instagram of his no-so great combo photos appropriately titled @combophotofail.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Wednesday, November 25th, 2015||No Comments »|
If you follow the animation world you’ve probably already heard of Sarina Nihei’s short Small People With Hats, a 2014 graduation film that won the top prize at this year’s Ottawa International Animation Festival — a huge honor for a student film. Nihei’s strange short will most likely baffle most, and I understand that not everyone will like it, but her world of shocking weirdness speaks so deeply to me even though it’s both a truth and a lie. And if you’re wondering what that means, that’s the weird allure of Small People With Hats. It’s contradictory in its oddness.
But let me attempt to explain it anyway. Nihei illustrates a world where there are only two types of people: giant “normal” sized people and small people with large hats. The giants constantly mistreat the small people, but the small people have their own mission that delves into sporadic devilishness. “The story is based on ideas of despair and absurdity in a society,” Nihei tells Vice. “People are killed for irrational reasons, which always makes me feel despair. But when it comes to filmmaking, I make much of it entertaining and don’t want to make it too serious. That’s how the story ended up.”
I watched the short about three times and still came away feeling slightly different each time. However, my favorite thing about it is that it doesn’t preach. You know it’s saying something, but at the same time it’s saying nothing at all — that weird juxtaposition of meaning and absurdity is something you don’t see every day. If you have seven minutes to kill today, I highly recommend having your brain punched and stretched to this delightfully weird short film.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Tuesday, November 24th, 2015||No Comments »|
Unlike the cheesy Young Adult novels that revolve around a love triangle, Conspiracy of Angels starts off with a bang. The main character, Zack Westland, wakes up on the shores of Lake Erie with amnesia. As the story progresses, he discovers that he’s part of a tribe of angels and it is up to him to stop another war between the clans from starting.
Although all of this sounds very cliché, Belanger makes it work. She deftly avoids stereotypes and peppers her novel with characters that will keep you glued to the pages. For example, Zack Westland is more concerned about discovering his past and trying to decipher his psychic experiences than falling in love. There’s also a fascinating twist about how immortal angels are able to inhabit human bodies while retaining their ability for living eternally.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Monday, November 23rd, 2015||No Comments »|
We haven’t played Genesis Noir yet because, well, it hasn’t been made yet. Currently in the blueprint stages, creators Evan Anthony and Jeremy Abel were inspired by literary stories and, of course, film noir to create a game that’s as much about science as it is about romance. Taking place before and after The Big Bang, the game puts you in the middle of a love triangle. After a shot rings out, it’s up to you to stop the universe from expanding and to save the one you love. Presented in non-linear format, the players will be able to click and explore the story at their own pace.
What caught our eye about this game is the concept art. Using a pristine, minimalist design, the art captures the noir aesthetic without feeling too familiar. You can keep track of the project here, but in the meantime, enjoy these stunning screenshots of the concept art, which should satiate you until the real thing comes out. (H/t: Video Game Art Styles)
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Friday, November 20th, 2015||No Comments »|
When one thinks of an author’s magnum opus they usually picture a novel that runs the length of an epic, a novel in volumes, a novel with more characters and experiences than there are in actual towns across the world. But then there is Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Paramo — short, by all means a novella, but a story of dizzying density and scope with such a reverberating influence on Latin American literature that Gabriel Garcia Marquez claimed to have memorized its entirely by heart.
An eerie story of a son venturing to find his father in the simultaneously populated and deserted town of Comala, Pedro Paramo represented a break from the Latin American literary realist movement of the early 20th century, and to many, sowed the first seeds of magic realism, a literary genre now all too common among native authors.
|Recommended by Rhys Dipshan||Thursday, November 19th, 2015||No Comments »|
I’ll be honest, I originally only checked out The fin. because of a remix done by Petite Noir. However, the original track surprised me and was far better than Petite Noir’s choppy reinvention. From Japan, The fin. is an indie rock quartet that straddles that area of Euro-shoegaze and dream pop. The lead track off their upcoming EP of the same name, “Night Time,” is a song that proudly stands by its title. Written at night during band member’s Yuto Uchino long, lonely walk from the train station, the song is a chilly reminder of the quaintness of silence. It’s the kind of track that doesn’t entice you on first listen, but it gradually warms you up by the second and third. If you like this, remember to check out their full EP when it drops December 4.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Wednesday, November 18th, 2015||No Comments »|