Dukepope's blog about music, art, design and technology.

Archive for December, 2012

Zoolook: The Music Video

Here is a gem of a music video, of legendary Jean Michel Jarre’s song Zoolook. It was one of two singles on the album of the same name, released back in 1984. The plot revolves around a crazy Frankenstein-ish scientist who travels the world with his fantastic robot show, enchanting young audiences from Shanghai to Zanzibar…

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Ernst Haeckel’s Art Forms of Nature

In 1899 German biologist, philospher and artist Ernst Haeckel began publishing Art Forms of Nature (Kunstformen der Natur), a series of detailed litographic prints, depicting the fantastic diversity of life. No life form is left out in this astonishing catalogue of illustrations of everything¬† from mosses and lichens to plants and animals, on land and in water. Many of Haeckel’s theories have since his death fallen from grace, as for instance his dubious classification of human races. But Heackel’s artistic vision of nature has defenitely withstood the test of time, by merging science and art in a most beautiful way.¬† All images are from Wikimedia.


A Synth Slap Bass Bonanza: Theme Music from the Classic Amiga Game Jaguar XJ220

This is one of my favorite classic computer game tunes, composed by Martin Iveson for the Jaguar XJ220 game on Amiga back in the early nineties. I grew up playing this game on our neighbours’ Amiga 1200, in what remains an intense childhood memory. The smell of the computer, the sound of the loading floppy discs and the excitement of us promising young race car drivers tucked into a small boys room, it all feels palpable to this day.


Bodys Isek Kingelez and his Afro-Futuristic Fantasy Architecture

Bodys Isek Kingelez was born in what was then Belgian Congo back in 1948. He originally worked as a restorer of tribal masks at the National Museum of Kinshasa to support himself. But by 1985 he was able to focus on his art full time, and since then he has had big success as an artist. Bodys Isek Kingelez has become world renowned for his fantastic architectural models, made from cardboard and recycled scrap materials. He is regarded as a sculptor and artist, but why not recreate his cityscapes in full size? A city based on Kingelez’s models would be such a funky place to be, compared to the evil corporate urban environment that (literally) overshadows everything nowadays.


Incredibly Funny Cartoon From 1929: Felix the Cat Gets Drunk at the Whoopee Club

Until very recently Felix the Cat had been just a pop culture icon to me, without actually having seen him in any cartoons. I love the black and white animations from the twenties and thirties, so I decided to have a look at the original Felix. And what a great surprise – here is one of the absolutely funniest cartoons I have ever watched. Felix the Cat was created by cartoonists Otto Messmer and Pat Sullivan in 1919. He was the first animated character reaching the popularity needed to draw significant movie audiences, and continued to do so throughout the 1920s. Felix was a silent movie character, so when sound cartoons entered the stage towards the end of the decade, he gradually lost his popularity. When Sullivan’s studios finally decided to move to sound in 1929, it was allready too late, by then Mickey Mouse had become the new superstar of the cartoon world. Production of the original Felix the Cat cartoons ended the following year, in 1930.


The Ndebele Painting Style

The South Ndebele People of Southern Africa have the amazing tradition of painting their houses with brightly coloured geometric designs. The custom started after the Ndebele moved from straw huts to mud-walled houses in the mid 1800s. The loss of the 1883 war with the neighbouring Boer settlers brought hardship and repression for the Ndbele. Their symbolic art is said to have taken form during this harsh period, as a subtle language of cultural resistance which went undetected by the Boers.

Esther Mahlangu has become world famous as a master of the Ndebele painting style. Since being discovered by a team of french culture and art researchers in the mid eighties, she has done commissioned work across the world, including an art car for BMW in 1991. More recently she has also decorated the new Fiat 500.