Monday, March 18, 2013

Christo's Big Air Package

Christo unveiling Big Air Package

Christo, the world famous environmental artist, unveiled his latest large-scale installation work "Big Air Package" last Friday.  It is the largest indoor sculpture ever erected.  It will be on display at the Gasometer Oberhausen in Germany from March 16 to December 30, 2013. 
Big Air Package: on top, inside and concept drawing 
The sculpture is made from 20,350 square meters of semitransparent polyester fabric and 4,500 meters of rope.  Encased inside a 117 meter high industrial complex (Gasometer), the inflated balloon-like piece has a total weight of 5.3 tons and a volume of 177,000 cubic meters.
Erecting Big Air Package
The balloon fills the enclosed space of the Gasometer, leaving a small passage around the sculpture to walk around in.  Air fans create a constant pressure of 0.27 millbar to keep the sculture inflated, with airlocks at the base to allow guests to come in and experience the art piece from the inside.  Light coming in from the skylights on top and 60 additional projectors create an otherworldly atmosphere and ambiance for the visitors.
At the opening of Big Air Package, March 15, 2013
Acting like a gigantic tent diffuser, the viewer is transported into an experience with pure light.  In Christo's own words, "you are virtually swimming in light when you are inside the Big Air Package... the inner space is probably the most unique aspect of the piece...when experienced from the inside, the space is almost like a 90 meter high cathedral."

Monday, March 4, 2013

Bolex Digital D16

It's just appropriate that my first blog for 2013 will be about the new Bolex D16.  Long awaited by die-hard Bolex fans, this camera had a long laborious journey towards its realization.

My beloved Bolexs: my motorized H16 SBM and my hand-cranked 1930s H16

I am one of those devotees aching to get my hands on one.
I bought my first Bolex 20 years ago to shoot my student films at Art Center College.  I had a choice between an Arriflex S and the Bolex SBM.  The Bolex won hands-down, because of its built-in manual-wind internal motor and its more stylish "retro" body.  I just could not get myself to like the "blowfish" like body of the Arriflex S.  At the dawn of the digital transition when I purchased the Canon XL-1s, I traded my SBM for an older all manual 1930s H16 with a turret mount -- which I thought was even better looking than the SBM.  I just had to have a Bolex, even if I got to use it rarely (just to create texture in my now mostly digital films).  I was really devastated last year when Kodak annouced its bankruptcy, which meant that my precious Bolex's days are numbered.  Well... until I found out about the new Bolex D16!
Proto-type body of the Bolex D16
The dream of creating a digital Bolex came from two Los Angeles based filmmakers, Joe Rubinstein and Elle Schneider.  After securing the blessing of Bolex, SA, they lauched a Kickstarter campaign that raised $100,000 in 24 hours.  After extensive field tests, tweaking, modifications and launch delays, the camera proto-type you see above is the finalize camera body, except for a few minor details in color.  The MSRP will be around US $3,000.