Archive for November, 2008


Power to the Posters!

November 30, 2008

The past year saw international activism and an explosion of social media combine to dethrone an ailing, evil empire and create staggering global support for long-time underdog, Barack Obama. It’s easy to forget now that the transition is well underway just how unlikely a candidate Obama was when he started his presidential campaign almost two years ago.

I’m not going to get into American race relations, save to say how happy I am that the wheel of progress continues to turn.

The other major, defining issue of the campaign was the internet and how astutely the Obama campaign used it to take grassroots support to unthinkable new highs. The Obama team harnessed the blogosphere to collect record-breaking amounts in donations, debunk a steady barrage of lies and keep the world informed of every highlight along the campaign trail. They also inadvertently inspired a global community of designers to take up arms and create hundreds of iconic images of the young senator. The creative side of the official and unofficial campaigns must not be overlooked as a major factor in bringing in so many young people.

It didn’t hurt that his speeches were sending typographers on a field day and that he’s much better looking than your average politician, especially say, a maniacal septuagenarian.

What a wonderful time it was to be interested in politics. There’s no question a large portion of the blogosphere is suffering from activism withdrawal. A daily sense of additional purpose has been satisfied for many of us. Fortunately, a small vestige of design activism still exists to help fill the void. Power to the Posters is the perfect fix for those of you still feeling the urge to express important messages about social change. The concept is wonderfully simple and will appeal to newbies and seasoned professionals; create and submit a high-quality B&W poster (or just download one from the gallery). Print out a bunch of copies. Post it and wait for the world to change.

Not only is it comforting to see these trends in new media proliferating, but in a more important way, now that Obama has been rightly elected, our focus is free to shift to the abundance of other ills plaguing the planet. What would you like to see different?

Head on over to get involved and check out their amazing posters!

I couldn’t resist. There’s no such thing as ‘honour killings’.

(Submitted earlier today, Justin from PTTP says it should be up soon. You guys get the exclusive!)


Profile – Gotye

November 28, 2008

The Artist: Wally de Backer aka Gotye

The Art: lush sonic landscapes/pop music/fringe festivals

The Medium: 60s samples, Apple laptops, and a treasure trove of instruments

Though you may not know his name (or how to pronounce it), Gotye (Gore-Tea-Ay) has been amassing a small army of followers in Australia since 2006 where his second independent release Like Drawing Blood was a left-field hit. Recorded on home computers in bedrooms around Melbourne, the tracks were built using over 700 samples gathered from old 80s vinyls and instructional videos. Dark, complex electronic beats are offset by Gotye’s emotive voice, especially on the agonizing breakout track “Hearts A Mess”. The result is a challenging, playful blend of familiar sounds arranged and sampled in a way that squeezes every bit of life out them. If the album veers towards overindulgence occasionally, it makes up for it by setting a new standard for sampled creations and a handful of songs such as “Thanks for Your Time” which can take a stock emotion like indignation and twist it into something else all together – a smile.

Like Drawing Blood received much support in Australia, garnering the then 26-year-old former librarian several accolades including an ARIA for Best Male Performer. The doo-wop inspired track “Learnalilgivinandlovin” even managed to snag a spot on Rolling Stone’s Best Songs of 2006 year-end list.

We haven’t heard much from Gotye since. There was Back to Basics – an album of remixes in 2007; a cabaret show as part of Australia’s Feasting on Flesh fringe festival, several awesome music videos and lots of touring. No sign of any new material yet. The irony in producing independent works is that it barely leaves time for the artist to create art. There’s a wonderful, if old interview, with Gotye to this effect at

One can only hope that Gotye finds himself a cozy bedroom and another milk crate full of LPs soon.

Video for Gotye’s track Hearts A Mess. Directed and animated by Brendan Cook at PictureDRIFT.

Vodpod videos no longer available.



November 28, 2008

Hello and welcome to Filmpunk! This is a blog I will be filling with random observations about modern media; everything from film, TV, music, print, websites, you name it…

The goal is to go beyond simple reviews (though there will be plenty of those) in order to address how media creation and consumption are constantly evolving. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be inviting other artists to join the blog, as well as developing stories for the site.

So who am I? Well, the name’s Dennis Ryan. I’m a freelance video editor and media junkie. Since childhood, I’ve dreamed of recording music and making movies. I was fascinated with photography and animation. Growing up in the 80s and 90s meant such endeavors were prohibitively costly. However, in recent years I began to feel the tides changing. Today there is no question. I believe we are in the midst of a prolonged artistic revolution which is seeing the barrier for entry all but removed as countless free open source programs, stock libraries and video tutorials will provide just about anyone with the tools and education they need to create professional digital art. And while other more traditional mediums might not see as much direct influence, in a growing multimedia culture, what’s good for one medium will benefit them all.

Of course, the technological advancements are only the half of it, we mustn’t forget the work nor the artists themselves! While Filmpunk can only hope to bring you the tiniest sample of what exists out there, it’s an endeavor worth pursuing. Plus, if we find it interesting, hopefully you will too!

And it’s with this newfound empowerment and continuing admiration for the arts that I bring you Filmpunk…enjoy!