Category Archives: Design talk

Bruce Lee Rises Again in Johnnie Walker Ad, but He’s Not All There

It seems the legendary dead are making a comeback promoting brands and products. There was undead Audrey Hepburn promoting Mars-owned Galaxy chocolate, while Bob Monkhouse was resurrected to highlight the plight of prostate cancer. Revival effects were also used in the commercial for Dior J’Adore, which brought back to life yesteryear’s beauties alongside Charlize Theron. Even earlier than that, Volkswagen and DDB London recreated Gene Kelly’s “Singing in the Rain” for a commercial. And now “The Big Boss” himself is expounding on his philosophy about how to be a game changer.

The campaign was created by ad agency BBH China for Johnnie Walker in the newest iteration of its “Keep Walking” campaign. Celebrating the people he dubs “Gamechangers,” Mr. Lee spouts gems of wisdom, and according to the marketer, himself embodies a gamechanger, way before his time.

The Mill worked on the visual effects to bring Lee back to life, and Joseph Kahn shot the film, which was created in collaboration with the legendary martial artist’s daughter, Shannon. Video footage was initially filmed with Bruce Lee lookalike Danny Chan in Hong Kong. That footage was later blended with a 3D CGI model of Lee based on interviews, films and photographs with the late star. Every shot of Lee’s face was painstakingly created using CGI, a process that took over nine months, due to the level of detail required.

Director Joseph Kahn says that his team tried their best to honor Lee’s spirit by consulting his family. “We got Shannon Lee, Bruce Lee’s daughter, to come aboard and we really picked her brain to make sure that everything was accurate from look to soul,” he says. “We wanted to be as respectful to the man and legend as we could.”

David Gianatasio points out what’s the real problem with this spot.

“Re-enter the dragon? Johnnie Walker and BBH resurrect Bruce Lee via CGI technology (and footage of lookalike actor Danny Chan) for this boring Chinese commercial. The spot, approved by Lee’s daughter Shannon, has proven predictably polarizing. Some critics trot out the old objection that showing dead stars in ads is in poor taste, while others claim the memory of Lee—a paragon of physical fitness and athleticism before his death 40 years ago this month, at age 32—is somehow tarnished by his doppelgänger pitching whisky.

The bigger problem is that the ad is dull, something its inspiration never was. Fake Lee walks around a Hong Kong balcony, runs a hand through some water in a pool and mouths lines like, “Dragons never die, because dragons draw power from water. Water. It’s like instincts … You cannot grasp hold of it. But let it flow and it has the power to change the world.” Dude, drop-kick the faux-losophy … you’re supposed to be Bruce Freakin’ Lee! The guy was a human CGI machine who routinely defied gravity with furiously elegant fighting moves he choreographed himself. How can you bring him back and not put him in motion—shirtless, freaky, fists-and-feet-flying motion!?

Heck, they should have shown CGI Bruce battling barehanded against Undead Audrey Hepburn – or at least something more groovy than what’s on display here. Far from being disrespectful, I believe a highly physical, even frenetic approach would have honored Lee and captured the essence of the man. Bruce Lee was a mischievous badass who reveled in his sensational stunts and brought a transcendent sense of subversive fun to his movies. His violent yet controlled release of kinetic energy forged his connection with audiences around the world. Flying through the air while screaming at the top of his lungs was his defining spiritual statement. Instead, the spirits brand pours us prattle about being a … “game changer”?! Bruce would have demanded such jargon expunged from his film scripts and employed his unshod feet to smack the silly screenwriters upside their heads.

Sadly, the ad fails because Lee is present in body—sort of—but not in spirit.”


Absolutely Absolut

 

The old maxim “If it ain’t broke, don’t change it” holds true for Absolut vodka. Since 1980, the vodka manufacturer has been running essentially the same print advertising campaign where the ads in the campaign make sly reference to Absolut’s distinctive stubby neck and see-through label bottle with tongue-in-cheek variations to the two word tagline.

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Virtual Supermarketing in Korea

 


Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower seeds – One year since…

Ai Weiwei and his sunflower seeds. credit: guardian.co.uk

All the ceramic sunflower seeds were weighed in before the installation and must be weighed out again once the exhibition is over.

Autumn 2010 saw the Tate Modern unveiling the latest commission in The Unilever Series, Sunflower Seeds, by the renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Born in 1957 in Beijing, China, where he lives and works, Ai has exhibited internationally, including recent solo shows at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Haus der Kunst, Munich; and has contributed to many group exhibitions around the world, including at the São Paulo Biennial; Documenta 12, Kassel, Germany and Tate Liverpool, UK. Ai also founded the design company Fake Design and co-founded the China Art Archives and Warehouse in Beijing. His work is held in many major collections, including Tate Collection (Table and Pillar 2002).

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Channeling Ai Weiwei in Korea: Brendan McGetrick on Curating the Artist’s Democratic Vision at the Gwangju Design Biennale

Courtesy of Gwangju Design Biennale. "Athletic Body Design" - a mural by photographers Howard Schartz and Beverly Ornstein, is included in Gawngju's "Unnamed" category.

The Gwangju Biennale Foundation appointed Seung H-Sang, a Korean architect, and Ai Weiwei, a Chinese artist and architectural designer, as co-directors of the 4th Gwangju Design Biennale. Eight curators and two designers have also been appointed for six major sections of the thematic exhibition. The 4th Gwangju Design Biennale is held at the Biennale Exhibition Hall and throughout the metropolitan city of Gwangju from September 2nd to October 23rd 2011.

Seung H-Sang completed Paju Book City project in Korea, and has gained international recognitions through projects like Guggenheim Pavilion in Abu Dhabi, Chao-Wei SOHO project in Beijing as well as Korea DMZ Peace-Life Valley, the graveyard of late former President Roh Moo-hyun and Commune by the Great Wall. He served as a commissioner of Korean Pavilion for Venice Architecture Biennale in 2008. He operates the architectural firm, Iroje, which he established in 1989.

Ai Weiwei is influential artist, curator, social commentator and activist. His ground-breaking work Sunflower Seeds was recently presented at the Tate Modern Turbine Hall. The work consisted of 100 million porcelain seeds, each individually hand painted by 1,600 Chinese artisans. Ai’s work has been exhibited in the Venice Biennale, Documenta, the Guangzhou Triennial, the Biennale of Sydney among others. He served as creative consultant with the Swiss architectural firm Herzog & De Meuron for their “bird’s nest” Beijing Olympic Stadium project.

The theme of 4th Gwangju Design Biennale is Design is Design is not Design, and is divided into 6 different sections. The theme reinterpret the boundaries between design and non-design, and looks back and explain a variety of design concepts that determine the value of civilized society or are recognized as absolute accessories.

The exhibition theme, inspired by the first words in Tao Te Ching, 道德經 of Lao Tzu, 老子- ‘The way 道 that is the way is not always the way. The name 名 that is the name is not always the name.’, throws a complex question to the viewers with the interpretation of ‘design is design is not always design and non-design is non-design is not always non-design’.

Via ARTINFO, Janelle Zara sat down with writer, editor and curator Brendan McGetrick to discuss putting together the event without Ai Weiwei, the definition of design, and why this festival could only happen in the East.

“The beauty of being in Asia is that a concept like design is much less claustrophobic than in the West, where everyone has an idea of what design is.” Brendan McGetrick

GWANGJU, South Korea— “Svetlana Khorkina, Gymnast, 5’5″, 105 pounds.” This is a label written underneath a life-sized photo of the Russian Olympic gold-medalist, presented in a line of dozens of other athletes along the wall of a gallery at theGwangju Biennale exhibition hall in the city South Korea. Their bodies, all clad in generic black underwear, are short, tall, slender, and bulky, tailored specifically to their respective sports, with their daily exercise and diet regimens listed underneath. Read more…


Infographic: Animated video of the iPhone

From CNET UK comes this animated, infographic video charting the history of the iPhone. Spanning the technological bridge, the infographic video charts how the technological and design developments of the past few decades have influenced the look, feel and features of the different models of iPhone so far. If you want to know what connects the Walkman to Tim Berners-Lee to the NeXTcube, you’ve come to the right place.

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WorldSkills London 2011 – Singapore Visual Merchandising


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