Discover Harvard’s Collection of 2,500 Pigments: Preserving the World’s Rare, Wonderful Colors

If mod­ern paint com­pa­nies’ pre­ten­tious­ly-named col­or palettes gall you to the point of an exclu­sive­ly black-and-white exis­tence, the Har­vard Art Muse­ums’ Forbes pig­ment col­lec­tion will prove a wel­come balm.

The hand and type­writ­ten labels iden­ti­fy­ing the collection’s 2500+ pig­ments boast none of the flashy “cre­ativ­i­ty” that J. Crew employs to ped­dle its cash­mere Boyfriend Cardi­gans.
Pigment Collection

Images by Har­vard News

The benign, and whol­ly unex­cit­ing-sound­ing “emer­ald green” is —unsurprisingly—the exact shade legions of Oz fans have come to expect. The thrills here are chem­i­cal, not con­ferred. A mix of crys­talline pow­der cop­per ace­toarsen­ite, this emerald’s fumes sick­ened pen­ni­less artists as adroit­ly as they repelled insects.

Look how nice­ly it goes with Van Gogh’s rud­dy hair…

Van Gogh Harvard

“Mum­my” is per­haps the clos­est the Forbes col­lec­tion comes to 21st- cen­tu­ry pig­ment nam­ing. As Harvard’s Direc­tor of the Straus Cen­ter for Con­ser­va­tion and Tech­ni­cal Stud­ies, Narayan Khan­dekar, notes in the video above, its mush­room shade is no great shakes. The source—the resin used to seal mum­mies’ bandages—is what dis­tin­guish­es it.


The collection’s crown jew­el is a rich ball of mustard‑y Indi­an Yel­low. This pig­ment comes not from maize, nor earth, but from the dehy­drat­ed urine of a cow sub­sist­ing exclu­sive­ly on man­go leaves. I’m drawn to it like a moth to the liv­ing room walls. I’m sure Ben­jamin Moore had his rea­sons for dub­bing its urine-free fac­sim­i­le “Sun­ny Days.”

pigment_vault India Yellow

The images above, save the Van Gogh paint­ing, comes cour­tesy of by Har­vard News. The video above was cre­at­ed by Great Big Sto­ry.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How Ink is Made: A Volup­tuous Process Revealed in a Mouth-Water­ing Video

The Art of Col­lo­type: See a Near Extinct Print­ing Tech­nique, as Lov­ing­ly Prac­ticed by a Japan­ese Mas­ter Crafts­man

Watch the First 10 Sea­sons of Bob Ross’ The Joy of Paint­ing Free Online

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

Watch Animated Introductions to 35 Philosophers by The School of Life: From Plato to Kant and Foucault

Phi­los­o­phy as an aca­d­e­m­ic sub­ject is reg­u­lar­ly maligned in pop­u­lar dis­course. Phi­los­o­phy majors get told that their stud­ies are use­less. Phi­los­o­phy pro­fes­sors find their bud­gets cut, their cours­es scru­ti­nized, and their char­ac­ter gross­ly impeached in pro­pa­gan­dis­tic reli­gious fea­ture films. It’s enough to make one despair over the turgid air of anti-intel­lec­tu­al­ism that sti­fles con­ver­sa­tion.

But before we start pin­ing for bygone gold­en ages of rig­or­ous crit­i­cal thought, let us remem­ber that philoso­phers have been a thorn in the side of the pow­er­ful since the incep­tion of West­ern phi­los­o­phy. After all, Socrates, the ancient Greek whose name we asso­ciate with philosophy’s most basic max­ims and meth­ods, was sup­pos­ed­ly put to death for the crime of which today’s pro­fes­so­rate so often stand accused: cor­rupt­ing the youth.

We most­ly know of Socrates’ life and death through the writ­ten dia­logues of his star pupil, Pla­to, whom Alain de Bot­ton calls in the first video above, “the world’s first true, and per­haps great­est, philoso­pher.” De Bot­ton quick­ly explains in his ani­mat­ed School of Life intro­duc­tion that the core of Plato’s phi­los­o­phy con­sti­tutes a “spe­cial kind of ther­a­py” geared toward Eudai­mo­nia, or human ful­fill­ment and well-being. From Pla­to, De Bot­ton’s series of quick takes on famous philoso­phers con­tin­ues, mov­ing through the Enlight­en­ment and the 19th and 20th cen­turies.

Key to Plato’s thought is the crit­i­cal exam­i­na­tion of Doxa, or the con­ven­tion­al val­ues and “pop­u­lar opin­ions” that reveal them­selves as “rid­dled with errors, prej­u­dice, and super­sti­tion.” Plato’s most famous illus­tra­tion of the pro­found state of igno­rance in which most of us live goes by the name “The Alle­go­ry of the Cave,” and receives a retelling with com­men­tary by De Bot­ton just above. The para­ble doesn’t only illus­trate the util­i­ty of phi­los­o­phy, as De Bot­ton says; it also serves as a vivid intro­duc­tion to Plato’s the­o­ry of the Forms—an ide­al realm of which our phe­nom­e­nal real­i­ty is only a debased copy.

The dual­ism between the real and the ide­al long gov­erned philo­soph­i­cal thought, though many com­pet­ing schools like the Sto­ics expressed a healthy degree of skep­ti­cism. But we might say that it wasn’t until Immanuel Kant, whom you can learn about above, that Pla­to real­ly met his match. Along with his famous eth­i­cal dic­tum of the “cat­e­gor­i­cal imper­a­tive,” Kant also posit­ed two dis­tinct realms—the noume­nal and the phe­nom­e­nal. And yet, unlike Pla­to, Kant did not believe we can make any asser­tions about the prop­er­ties or exis­tence of the ide­al. What­ev­er lies out­side the cave, we can­not access it through our faulty sens­es.

These cen­tral ques­tions about the nature of knowl­edge and mind not only make phi­los­o­phy an imma­nent­ly fas­ci­nat­ing discipline—they also make it an increas­ing­ly nec­es­sary endeav­or, as we move fur­ther into the realm of con­struct­ing arti­fi­cial minds. Soft­ware engi­neers and video game devel­op­ers are tasked with philo­soph­i­cal prob­lems relat­ed to con­scious­ness, iden­ti­ty, and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of eth­i­cal free choice. And at the cut­ting edge of cog­ni­tive sci­ence—where evo­lu­tion­ary biol­o­gy and quan­tum mechan­ics rub elbows—we may find that Pla­to and Kant both intu­it­ed some of the most basic prob­lems of con­scious­ness: what we take for real­i­ty may be noth­ing of the kind, and we may have no way of gen­uine­ly know­ing what the world is like out­side our sens­es.

As 17th cen­tu­ry French philoso­pher and math­e­mati­cian Rene Descartes feared, but found impos­si­ble to believe, our per­cep­tion of the world may in fact be a decep­tive, if use­ful, illu­sion. Learn more about Descartes above, and see De Botton’s full School of Life phi­los­o­phy series at the top of the post. Or watch the series on Youtube.

There are 35 videos in total, which let you become acquaint­ed with, and per­haps cor­rupt­ed by, a range of thinkers who ques­tion ortho­doxy and com­mon sense, includ­ing Aris­to­tle, Epi­cu­rus, Georg Wil­helm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Niet­zsche, Michel Fou­cault, Arthur Schopen­hauer, Albert Camus, Soren Kierkegaard, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Baruch Spin­oza. Watch all of the videos in the playlist right below.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free Online Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es (140+ Free Cours­es)

6 Polit­i­cal The­o­rists Intro­duced in Ani­mat­ed “School of Life” Videos: Marx, Smith, Rawls & More

An Ani­mat­ed Intro­duc­tion to Goethe, Germany’s “Renais­sance Man”

Alain de Bot­ton Shows How Art Can Answer Life’s Big Ques­tions in Art as Ther­a­py

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

How Steely Dan Wrote “Deacon Blues,” the Song Audiophiles Use to Test High-End Stereos

Every Steely Dan fan remem­bers the first time they lis­tened to their music — not just heard it, but lis­tened to it, active­ly tak­ing notice of Wal­ter Beck­er and Don­ald Fagen’s com­plex­ly anachro­nis­tic lyrics (long scru­ti­nized by the band’s exegetes), jazz-and-rock-span­ning com­po­si­tion­al tech­nique, ultra-dis­cern­ing selec­tion of ses­sion musi­cians, and immac­u­late stu­dio craft which, by the stan­dards of the 1970s, raised pop­u­lar music’s bar through the ceil­ing.

Often, that first real lis­ten­ing ses­sion hap­pens in the neigh­bor­hood of a high-end stereo deal­er. For me, the album was Two Against Nature, their turn-of-the-21st cen­tu­ry come­back, but for many more, the album was Aja, which came out in 1977 and soon claimed the sta­tus of Steely Dan’s mas­ter­piece. At the end of side one comes “Dea­con Blues,” one of their best-loved songs as well as a pro­duc­tion that puts audio­phile lis­ten­ing equip­ment to the test. You can see a break­down of what went into it in Nerd­writer’s new video “How Steely Dan Com­pos­es a Song” above.

“There’s a rea­son why audio­philes use Steely Dan records to test the sound qual­i­ty of new speak­ers,” says host Evan Puschak. “The band is among the most son­i­cal­ly sophis­ti­cat­ed pop acts of the 20th and 21st cen­turies,” in both the tech­ni­cal and artis­tic sens­es. He goes on to iden­ti­fy some of the sig­na­ture ele­ments in the mix, includ­ing some­thing called the “mu major cord”; the record­ing meth­ods that allow “every instru­ment its own life” (espe­cial­ly those played by mas­ters like gui­tarist Lar­ry Carl­ton and drum­mer Bernard Pur­die); the strik­ing effect of “mid­dle reg­is­ter horns slid­ing against each oth­er”; and even sax­o­phone soloist Pete Christlieb, whom Beck­er and Fagen dis­cov­ered by chance on a Tonight Show broad­cast.

Puschak does­n’t ignore the lyrics, with­out a thor­ough analy­sis of which no dis­cus­sion of Steely Dan’s work would be com­plete. He men­tions the band’s typ­i­cal­ly wry, sar­don­ic tone, their detached per­spec­tive and notes of uncer­tain­ty, but in the case of this par­tic­u­lar song, it all comes with a “hid­den earnest­ness” that makes it one of the most poignant in their entire cat­a­log. “ ‘Dea­con Blues’ is about as close to auto­bi­og­ra­phy as our tunes get,” admits Fagen in the tele­vi­sion doc­u­men­tary clip just above, which puts him and Beck­er back into the stu­dio to look back at the song track by iso­lat­ed track.

“We’re both kids who grew up in the sub­urbs. We both felt fair­ly alien­at­ed. Like a lot of kids in the fifties, we were look­ing for some kind of alter­na­tive cul­ture — some kind of escape, real­ly — from where we found our­selves.” Beck­er describes the song’s epony­mous pro­tag­o­nist, who dreams of learn­ing to “work the sax­o­phone” in order to play just how he feels, “drink Scotch whiskey all night long, and die behind the wheel,” as not a musi­cian but some­one who “just sort of imag­ines that would be one of the myth­ic forms of loser­dom to which he might aspire. Who’s to say that he’s not right?”

You can learn even more about the mak­ing (and the mag­ic) of “Dea­con Blues” in Marc Myers’ inter­view with Beck­er and Fagen in the Wall Street Jour­nal last year. “It’s the only time I remem­ber mix­ing a record all day and, when the mix was done, feel­ing like I want­ed to hear it over and over again,” says Beck­er. “It was the com­pre­hen­sive sound of the thing.” Fagen acknowl­edges “one thing we did right” in the mak­ing of the song: “We nev­er tried to accom­mo­date the mass mar­ket. We worked for our­selves and still do.”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Pro­duc­er Tony Vis­con­ti Breaks Down the Mak­ing of David Bowie’s Clas­sic “Heroes,” Track by Track

The Dis­tor­tion of Sound: A Short Film on How We’ve Cre­at­ed “a McDonald’s Gen­er­a­tion of Music Con­sumers”

Neil Young on the Trav­es­ty of MP3s

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Noam Chomsky Defines What It Means to Be a Truly Educated Person

There may be no more con­tentious an issue at the lev­el of local U.S. gov­ern­ment than edu­ca­tion. All of the socioe­co­nom­ic and cul­tur­al fault lines com­mu­ni­ties would rather paper over become ful­ly exposed in debates over fund­ing, cur­ricu­lum, dis­trict­ing, etc. But we rarely hear dis­cus­sions about edu­ca­tion­al pol­i­cy at the nation­al lev­el these days.

You’ll hear no major polit­i­cal can­di­date deliv­er a speech sole­ly focused on edu­ca­tion. Debate mod­er­a­tors don’t much ask about it. The Unit­ed States’ founder’s own thoughts on the sub­ject are occa­sion­al­ly cited—but only in pass­ing, on the way to the lat­est round of talks on war and wealth. Aside from pro­pos­als dis­missed as too rad­i­cal, edu­ca­tion is most­ly con­sid­ered a low­er pri­or­i­ty for the nation’s lead­ers, or it’s roped into high­ly charged debates about polit­i­cal and social unrest on uni­ver­si­ty cam­pus­es.

This sit­u­a­tion can seem odd to the stu­dent of polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy. Every major polit­i­cal thinker—from Pla­to to John Locke to John Stu­art Mill—has writ­ten let­ters, trea­tis­es, even major works on the cen­tral role of edu­ca­tion. One con­tem­po­rary polit­i­cal thinker—linguist, anar­chist, and retired MIT pro­fes­sor Noam Chom­sky—has also devot­ed quite a lot of thought to edu­ca­tion, and has force­ful­ly cri­tiqued what he sees as a cor­po­rate attack on its insti­tu­tions.

Chom­sky, how­ev­er, has no inter­est in har­ness­ing edu­ca­tion to prop up gov­ern­ments or mar­ket economies. Nor does he see edu­ca­tion as a tool for right­ing his­tor­i­cal wrongs, secur­ing mid­dle class jobs, or meet­ing any oth­er  agen­da.

Chom­sky, whose thoughts on edu­ca­tion we’ve fea­tured before, tells us in the short video inter­view at the top of the post how he defines what it means to be tru­ly edu­cat­ed. And to do so, he reach­es back to a philoso­pher whose views you won’t hear ref­er­enced often, Wil­helm von Hum­boldt, Ger­man human­ist, friend of Goethe and Schiller, and “founder of the mod­ern high­er edu­ca­tion sys­tem.” Hum­boldt, Chom­sky says, “argued, I think, very plau­si­bly, that the core prin­ci­ple and require­ment of a ful­filled human being is the abil­i­ty to inquire and cre­ate con­struc­tive­ly, inde­pen­dent­ly, with­out exter­nal con­trols.” A true edu­ca­tion, Chom­sky sug­gests, opens a door to human intel­lec­tu­al free­dom and cre­ative auton­o­my.

To clar­i­fy, Chom­sky para­phras­es a “lead­ing physi­cist” and for­mer MIT col­league, who would tell his stu­dents, “it’s not impor­tant what we cov­er in the class; it’s impor­tant what you discov­er.” On this point of view, to be tru­ly edu­cat­ed means to be resource­ful, to be able to “for­mu­late seri­ous ques­tions” and “ques­tion stan­dard doc­trine, if that’s appro­pri­ate”…. It means to “find your own way.” This def­i­n­i­tion sounds sim­i­lar to Nietzsche’s views on the sub­ject, though Niet­zsche had lit­tle hope in very many peo­ple attain­ing a true edu­ca­tion. Chom­sky, as you might expect, pro­ceeds in a much more demo­c­ra­t­ic spir­it.

In the inter­view above from 2013 (see the sec­ond video), you can hear him dis­cuss why he has devot­ed his life to edu­cat­ing not only his pay­ing stu­dents, but also near­ly any­one who asks him a ques­tion. He also talks about his own edu­ca­tion and fur­ther elu­ci­dates his views on the rela­tion­ship between edu­ca­tion, cre­ativ­i­ty, and crit­i­cal inquiry. And, in the very first few min­utes, you’ll find out whether Chom­sky prefers George Orwell’s 1984 or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. (Hint: it’s nei­ther.)

Relat­ed Con­tent:

1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties

Noam Chom­sky Spells Out the Pur­pose of Edu­ca­tion

Niet­zsche Lays Out His Phi­los­o­phy of Edu­ca­tion and a Still-Time­ly Cri­tique of the Mod­ern Uni­ver­si­ty (1872)

Hen­ry Rollins: Edu­ca­tion is the Cure to “Dis­as­ter Cap­i­tal­ism”

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Peter Frampton Plays a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR, Featuring Acoustic Versions of His Classic Songs

Hav­ing recent­ly released a new album fea­tur­ing acoustic ver­sions of his big hits, Peter Framp­ton is now back on tour, play­ing in some small­er venues across the U.S. But no venue–not the Gillioz The­atre in Spring­field, Mis­souri, nor the Tobin Cen­ter for Per­form­ing Arts in San Anto­nio, Texas–is quite as small as the one we’re fea­tur­ing today. Above, watch Framp­ton per­form at the desk of NPR’s All Songs Con­sid­ered. The per­for­mance is part of NPR’s Tiny Desk series, and the setlist includes acoustic ver­sions of “Baby, I Love Your Way,” “Lines On My Face,” and “All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side).” Oth­er recent Tiny Desk per­for­mances include Gra­ham Nash, Wilco, Natal­ie Mer­chant, and Ben Folds. Enjoy.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Young Patti Smith Rails Against the Censorship of Her Music: An Animated, NSFW Interview from 1976

The lat­est install­ment from Blank on Blank’s series of ani­mat­ed videos drops us inside the bohemi­an Por­to­bel­lo Hotel in Lon­don. It’s May, 1976, and we hear a young Pat­ti Smith rail­ing against the cen­sor­ship of her music, using some colorful–that is to say, NSFW–words. She talks Rim­baud. The poet­ry and com­bat of rock. The dreams and hal­lu­ci­na­tions that feed her music. The stuff that would even­tu­al­ly earn her the cred to be called The God­moth­er of Punk.

The audio is part of a longer, two-hour inter­view with Mick Gold, which is avail­able through Ama­zon and iTunes. Enjoy.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Pat­ti Smith’s List of Favorite Books: From Rim­baud to Susan Son­tag

Pat­ti Smith’s Cov­er of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spir­it” Strips the Song Down to its Heart

Watch Pat­ti Smith Read from Vir­ginia Woolf, and Hear the Only Sur­viv­ing Record­ing of Woolf’s Voice

Pat­ti Smith Reads Her Final Words to Robert Map­plethor­pe

The “Brain Dictionary”: Beautiful 3D Map Shows How Different Brain Areas Respond to Hearing Different Words

We’ve all had those moments of strug­gle to come up with le mot juste, in our native lan­guage or a for­eign one. But when we look for a par­tic­u­lar word, where exact­ly do we go to find it? Neu­ro­sci­en­tists at Berke­ley have made a fas­ci­nat­ing start on answer­ing that ques­tion by going in the oth­er direc­tion, map­ping out which parts of the brain respond to the sound of cer­tain words, using func­tion­al mag­net­ic res­o­nance imag­ing (fMRI) to watch the action on the cere­bral cor­tices of peo­ple lis­ten­ing to The Moth Radio Hour — a pop­u­lar sto­ry­telling pod­cast you your­self may have spent some time with, albeit under some­what dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances.

“No sin­gle brain region holds one word or con­cept,” writes The Guardian’s Ian Sam­ple on the “brain dic­tio­nary” thus devel­oped by researcher Jack Gal­lant and his team. “A sin­gle brain spot is asso­ci­at­ed with a num­ber of relat­ed words. And each sin­gle word lights up many dif­fer­ent brain spots. Togeth­er they make up net­works that rep­re­sent the mean­ings of each word we use: life and love; death and tax­es; clouds, Flori­da and bra. All light up their own net­works.”

Sam­ple quotes Alexan­der Huth, the first author on the study: “It is pos­si­ble that this approach could be used to decode infor­ma­tion about what words a per­son is hear­ing, read­ing, or pos­si­bly even think­ing.” You can learn more about this promis­ing research in the short video from Nature above, which shows how the team mapped out how, dur­ing those Moth lis­ten­ing ses­sions, “dif­fer­ent bits of the brain respond­ed to dif­fer­ent kinds of words”: some regions lit up in response to those hav­ing to do with num­bers, for instance, oth­ers in response to “social words,” and oth­ers in response to those indi­cat­ing place.

You can also browse this brain dic­tio­nary your­self in 3D on the Gal­lant Lab’s web site, which lets you click on any part of the cor­tex and see a clus­ter of the words which gen­er­at­ed the most activ­i­ty there. The oth­er neu­ro­sci­en­tists quot­ed in the Guardian piece acknowl­edge both the thrilling (if slight­ly scary, in terms of thought-read­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties in the maybe-not-that-far-flung future) impli­ca­tions of the work as well as the huge amount of unknowns that remain. The response of the pod­cast­ing com­mu­ni­ty has so far gone unrecord­ed, but sure­ly they’d like to see the research extend­ed in the direc­tion of oth­er lin­guis­ti­cal­ly inten­sive shows — Marc Maron’s WTF, per­haps.

via The Guardian

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free Online Psy­chol­o­gy & Neu­ro­science Cours­es

Becom­ing Bilin­gual Can Give Your Brain a Boost: What Recent Research Has to Say

Steven Pinker Explains the Neu­ro­science of Swear­ing (NSFW)

This Is Your Brain on Jane Austen: The Neu­ro­science of Read­ing Great Lit­er­a­ture

Music in the Brain: Sci­en­tists Final­ly Reveal the Parts of Our Brain That Are Ded­i­cat­ed to Music

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Watch a Shot-by-Shot Remake of Kubrick’s The Shining, a 48-Minute Music Video Accompanying the New Album by Aesop Rock

In this increas­ing­ly atom­ized world of music, how does one get a new record release noticed above the hum of the inter­net? If you’re Bey­on­cé, you just drop the whole thing unan­nounced and watch the media play catch up. If you’re not Bey­on­cé you might con­sid­er rap­per Aesop Rock’s tac­tic.

This week, the word­smithi­est of hip hop artists and ani­ma­tor Rob Shaw released a shot-by-shot remake of Stan­ley Kubrick’s The Shin­ing, cre­at­ed with minia­tures and made with what looks like spare change as a bud­get. All of which plays as back­ground video to a full stream of The Impos­si­ble Kid, Aesop Rock’s sev­enth album and his first in four years.

Rob Shaw cre­at­ed the hip­ster rats skits for Port­landia as well as videos for They Might Be Giants and pre­vi­ous Aesop Rock tracks, but this Shin­ing remake is some­thing else. First you notice the glee­ful cheap­ness of the pro­duc­tion, but then as Aesop Rock’s rap lyrics flow over the visu­als, mem­o­ry starts to fill in the gaps of the images. Shaw’s hand­i­work is lit­er­al­ly in the video: we can see his hand in the bath­tub scene, or his body’s shad­ow as he moves the wood­en Jack Tor­rance down the Overlook’s halls. And the tiny cam­era repli­cates the film’s Steadicam shots well, cre­at­ing a work that is like a delir­i­um of the actu­al movie.

Now, does this have any­thing to do with The Impos­si­ble Kid, real­ly? Well, the rap­per did go to live in a Port­land barn after divorce and the death of a friend, and instead of writ­ing “All Work and No Play…” over and over wrote this album, and nobody got hurt. Either way, by the time you’ve fin­ished watch­ing you’ll have heard the album, and that’s just one way to play the new music game.

via Noisey

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Down­load & Play The Shin­ing Board Game

Stan­ley Kubrick’s Anno­tat­ed Copy of Stephen King’s The Shin­ing

Stan­ley Kubrick’s The Shin­ing Reimag­ined as Wes Ander­son and David Lynch Movies

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the artist inter­view-based FunkZone Pod­cast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at and/or watch his films here.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.