matt pyke & friends: super-computer-romantics.

Any time Matt Pyke is about to release new work feels like Christmas Eve. My favourite digital artist and motion designer ever, Matt’s simply unbeatable at creating innovative, organic and jaw-dropping work for his own studio, Universal Everything, and some of the world’s biggest brands. (You may have heard of them: Nike, Chanel, Nokia, MTV and the London 2010 Olympics. Whatever. NBD.) He’s also the mastermind behind my favourite motion design project ever, the inimitable Advanced Beauty. If you haven’t seen it, get it. Buy it. Find it. Watch it. It’ll change your life.

One of my fave facets of Matt’s work is how it never seems forced or even “created” – somehow it feels like everything he does (“organic digital” is what I like to call it) just comes into being. It flows as easily as if it washed up on a shore or floated in on a breeze. Plus I’ve emailed with Matt a few times and he’s also a really stand-up guy and a class act all around.


In his first ever solo show, Matt’s taking over Paris’ La Gaîté Lyrique with Super-Computer-Romantics. Guest-curated by Charlotte Leuozon and with sound design by Matt’s brother and frequent collaborator, Simon, the exhibition features 8 separate environments covering more than 26,000 square feet. Pyke says “The approach is one of a romantic view of technology and of really kind of being optimistic about what you can do with technology and how you can create beauty with super-computers, how you can create pieces of video work and pieces of audio-visual work.”

Reading La Gaîté Lyrique’s extensive info on the event, I started to get light-headed and giddy: “Here, a 3 meters high walking monster, endlessly transforming itself. There, a monolithic block invites viewers to peek into a singular experience – witness the birth of materials at a molecular level. On the mezzanine, stands a crowd of generative living sculptures, grown from code. Facing them, a huge projection of a never-ending procession of bodies, struggling against a hurricane of sound. Each piece can be considered a supercomputing beauty seeking emotional sensations and feelings whose magic breaks with rational functionalism. Remixing primitivism, minimalism, pop culture and 19th century landscape painting, the exhibition Matt Pyke & Friends takes us to a romantic theatricality reaching a subtle and meaningful relationship between technologies and the viewer.”

Opening this Thursday and running until May 21, 2011, the show will also feature a full-sized theatre screen with a retrospective of all of Pyke’s commercial and artistic work to date as well as a public lecture, from Matt himself, on the subject of “creation.”

Getting me all hot and bothered for the upcoming show, today Nowness debuted a stunning teaser vid for “Supreme Believers”, one of the installations from Super-Computer-Romantics. The Universal Everything Vimeo channel has also released a teaser for the exhibition. Both are classic Pyke and I want more, more more.

Here’s a video of Matt himself talking about his vision for the exhibition (and giving some visual glimpses into what he’s got planned). 

I need to see this show. I NEED IT. If anyone would like to take me to Paris to see Super-Computer-Romantics, I’m not above begging. I’m a pretty decent conversationalist, I sleep well on planes and I know some French. I’ve also never met an escargot that I didn’t like. Just putting that out there.

If you want more Matt Pyke (and why wouldn’t you), here are past posts on Forever, a video installation for the Victoria & Albert Museum; the new brand identity they created for MTV International; their gorgeous 2010 reel; and here’s one of Universal Everything’s most recent works, a series of digital installations for Chanel:

+ via @universalevery

mtv + noneofusarefree: “burma viral”.

In the devastating wake of Cyclone Nargis, the benevolent givers of the world have been forced to walk a very fine line: how to offer help to individual people in dire need, but who are citizens of a government that refuses to accept it?

“Burma Viral” is a video collaboration between the Burma Arts Board and MTV, and was created by Shilo and Ogilvy & Mather Amsterdam. MTV has donated its Time Square Jumbotron to air the viral, which encourages people to head to noneofusarefree.org to donate money to the cyclone victims.

In it lies a simple, understated message. Will the hope it contains alleviate any of our own first-world, Times Square hopping, shopping-spree fueled guilt? Perhaps. But whether it will reach any of the of the injured souls in Burma that it’s intended for, we’ll probably never know…

Via Adrants

mtv switch: “3650”.

MTV’s Public Service Announcements (PSAs) are always beyond kick ass. They find the ideal blend of visual style, music, genuine emotion, and entertainment that all companies should aspire to when trying to hit home with the much sought after 16-30s. From their mind-blowing (literally) HIV/AIDS awareness ad “Shot” to the shocking realism and quiet truth of MTV Think’s “Subway” and “Family Room”, they consistently get it bang on. The mix of message, meaning, and art is unstoppable.

This spot, directed by duo Ubik for MTV’s environmental awareness campaign – MTV Switch – is pure win. The animation is sharp and eye-catching, and rather than ramming some bombastic message into our faces it’s just simple and lovely and allows us to make its emotional feeling our own emotional feeling. This is an ad you can embrace. Love love love it. Ubik won “Best Animation” at the BTAA Craft Awards for this and were just nominated for “Best Film and TV Graphics” at the British Animation Awards. They deserve it big time.

The YouTube version is right here, but to truly get the nuanced quality of the animation, I suggest watching the high-res version here.

(Agency: Ogilvy & Mather)

While you’re at it, check out these equally awesome PSAs from MTV Switch.

Via The Denver Egotist via Motionographer

mtv think: “subway” + “family room”.

MTV’s social and activist network, Think, is seriously laying it down lately. In an increasingly desensitized world, they’re doing all the right things to get a message across; they know it needs to be honest, it needs to mean something, and it needs to be relatable. Especially when it comes to the treacherous, though well-meaning, tight rope walked by Public Service Announcements. We’ve all seen PSA’s that played it so safe or, conversely, were so ridiculously over the top, that they were laughable and ineffective. Like the unintentionally hilarious and impotent WSIB spots from late last year.

These new spots, directed by Michael Franzini, are perfectly suited to their goal. Realistic and relevant. They made me feel cold and put a stone in my stomach:

mtv: “shot”.

Um… wow. Just watch this. I don’t want to ruin the perfect power of it by trying to analyze it. Then send it around to people. This shit is for real…

(Agency: Ogilvy, Lisbon)

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