Jared Leto Stars in a New Prequel to Blade Runner 2049: Watch It Free Online

Blade Run­ner, as any­one who’s seen so much as its first shot knows, takes place in the Los Ange­les of Novem­ber 2019. Though the film flopped when it came out in 1982, the acclaim and fans it has drawn with each of the 35 years that have passed since did­n’t take long to reach the kind of crit­i­cal mass that demands a sequel. After numer­ous rumors and false starts, the Octo­ber release of Blade Run­ner 2049, pro­duced by Blade Run­ner direc­tor Rid­ley Scott and direct­ed by Arrival direc­tor Denis Vil­leneuve, now fast approach­es. The new movie’s pro­mo­tion­al push, which has so far includ­ed trail­ers and mak­ing-of fea­turettes, has now begun to tell us what hap­pened between 2019 and 2049.

“I decid­ed to ask a cou­ple of artists that I respect to cre­ate three short sto­ries that dra­ma­tize some key events that occurred after 2019, when the first Blade Run­ner takes place, but before 2049, when my new Blade Run­ner sto­ry begins,” says Vil­leneuve in his intro­duc­tion to the brand new short above.

Tak­ing place in the Los Ange­les of 2036, the Luke Scott-direct­ed piece “revolves around Jared Leto’s char­ac­ter, Nian­der Wal­lace,” writes Col­lid­er’s Adam Chit­wood, who “intro­duces a new line of ‘per­fect­ed’ repli­cants called the Nexus 9, seek­ing to get the pro­hi­bi­tion on repli­cants repealed,” the gov­ern­ment hav­ing shut repli­cant pro­duc­tion down thir­teen years before due to a dev­as­tat­ing elec­tro­mag­net­ic pulse attack for which repli­cants took the blame.

A time­line appeared at Com­ic-Con this past sum­mer cov­er­ing the events of the thir­ty years between Blade Run­ner and Blade Run­ner 2049, though in very broad strokes: in 2020 “the Tyrell Cor­po­ra­tion intro­duces a new repli­cant mod­el, the Nexus 8S, which has extend­ed lifes­pans,” in 2025 “a new com­pa­ny, Wal­lace Corp., solves the glob­al food short­age and becomes a mas­sive super pow­er,” in 2049 “life on Earth has reached its lim­it and soci­ety divides between Repli­cant and human.” The two oth­er short films to come should just about tide over fans until the release of Blade Run­ner 2049 — not that those who’ve been wait­ing for a new Blade Run­ner movie since the 1980s can’t han­dle anoth­er month.

The short Blade Run­ner 2049 pre­quel, enti­tled “Nexus: 2036,” will be added to our list, 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Blade Run­ner 2049’s New Mak­ing-Of Fea­turette Gives You a Sneak Peek Inside the Long-Await­ed Sequel

The Offi­cial Trail­er for Rid­ley Scott’s Long-Await­ed Blade Run­ner Sequel Is Final­ly Out

Philip K. Dick Pre­views Blade Run­ner: “The Impact of the Film is Going to be Over­whelm­ing” (1981)

The Blade Run­ner Pro­mo­tion­al Film

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les, 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.

The Periodic Table of Elements Presented as Interactive Haikus

British poet and spec­u­la­tive fic­tion writer recent­ly got a lit­tle cre­ative with the Peri­od­ic Table, writ­ing one haiku for each ele­ment.


Show-steal­ing diva,
throw your­self at any­one,
decked out in dia­monds.


Locked in rock and sand,
age upon age
await­ing the dig­i­tal dawn.


Dead­ly bone seek­er
released by Fukushi­ma;
your sweet days long gone.

You can access the com­plete Ele­men­tal haiku here.

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!

via Men­tal Floss

Relat­ed Con­tent

Inter­ac­tive Peri­od­ic Table of Ele­ments Shows How the Ele­ments Actu­al­ly Get Used in Mak­ing Every­day Things

The Peri­od­ic Table of Ele­ments Scaled to Show The Ele­ments’ Actu­al Abun­dance on Earth

Peri­od­ic Table Bat­tle­ship!: A Fun Way To Learn the Ele­ments

“The Peri­od­ic Table Table” — All The Ele­ments in Hand-Carved Wood

World’s Small­est Peri­od­ic Table on a Human Hair

“The Peri­od­ic Table of Sto­ry­telling” Reveals the Ele­ments of Telling a Good Sto­ry

Chem­istry on YouTube: “Peri­od­ic Table of Videos” Wins SPORE Prize

Free Online Chem­istry Cours­es

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Man Ray and the Cinéma Pur: Watch Four Groundbreaking Surrealist Films From the 1920s

Man Ray was one of the lead­ing artists of the avant garde of 1920s and 1930s Paris. A key fig­ure in the Dada and Sur­re­al­ist move­ments, his works spanned var­i­ous media, includ­ing film. He was a lead­ing expo­nent of the Ciné­ma Pur, or “Pure Cin­e­ma,” which reject­ed such “bour­geois” con­ceits as char­ac­ter, set­ting and plot. Today we present Man Ray’s four influ­en­tial films of the 1920s.

Le Retour à la Rai­son (above) was com­plet­ed in 1923. The title means “Return to Rea­son,” and it’s basi­cal­ly a kinet­ic exten­sion of Man Ray’s still pho­tog­ra­phy. Many of the images in Le Retour are ani­mat­ed pho­tograms, a tech­nique in which opaque, or par­tial­ly opaque, objects are arranged direct­ly on top of a sheet of pho­to­graph­ic paper and exposed to light. The tech­nique is as old as pho­tog­ra­phy itself, but Man Ray had a gift for self-pro­mo­tion, so he called them “rayo­graphs.” For Le Retour, Man Ray sprin­kled objects like salt and pep­per and pins onto the pho­to­graph­ic paper. He also filmed live-action sequences of an amuse­ment park carousel and oth­er sub­jects, includ­ing the nude tor­so of his mod­el and lover, Kiki of Mont­par­nasse.

Emak-Bakia (1926):

The 16-minute Emak-Bakia con­tains some of the same images and visu­al tech­niques as Le Retour à la Rai­son, includ­ing rayo­graphs, dou­ble images and neg­a­tive images. But the live-action sequences are more inven­tive, with dream-like dis­tor­tions and tilt­ed cam­era angles. The effect is sur­re­al. “In reply to crit­ics who would like to linger on the mer­its or defects of the film,” wrote Man Ray in the pro­gram notes, “one can reply sim­ply by trans­lat­ing the title ‘Emak Bakia,’ an old Basque expres­sion, which was cho­sen because it sounds pret­ti­ly and means: ‘Give us a rest.’ ”

L’E­toile de Mer (1928):

L’E­toile de Mer (“The Sea Star”) was a col­lab­o­ra­tion between Man Ray and the sur­re­al­ist poet Robert Desnos. It fea­tures Kiki de Mont­par­nasse (Alice Prin) and André de la Riv­ière. The dis­tort­ed, out-of focus images were made by shoot­ing into mir­rors and through rough glass. The film is more sen­su­al than Man Ray’s ear­li­er works. As Don­ald Faulkn­er writes:

In the mod­ernist high tide of 1920s exper­i­men­tal film­mak­ing, L’E­toile de Mer is a per­verse moment of grace, a demon­stra­tion that the cin­e­ma went far­ther in its great silent decade than most film­mak­ers today could ever imag­ine. Sur­re­al­ist pho­tog­ra­ph­er Man Ray’s film col­lides words with images (the inter­ti­tles are from an oth­er­wise lost work by poet Robert Desnos) to make us psy­cho­log­i­cal wit­ness­es, voyeurs of a kind, to a sex­u­al encounter. A char­ac­ter picks up a woman who is sell­ing news­pa­pers. She undress­es for him, but then he seems to leave her. Less inter­est­ed in her than in the weight she uses to keep her news­pa­pers from blow­ing away, the man lov­ing­ly explores the per­cep­tions gen­er­at­ed by her paper­weight, a starfish in a glass tube. As the man looks at the starfish, we become aware through his gaze of metaphors for cin­e­ma, and for vision itself, in lyri­cal shots of dis­tort­ed per­cep­tion that imply hal­lu­ci­na­to­ry, almost mas­tur­ba­to­ry sex­u­al­i­ty.

Les Mys­tères du Château de Dé (1929):

The longest of Man Ray’s films, Les Mys­tères du Château de Dé (the ver­sion above has apparenl­ty been short­ened by sev­en min­utes) fol­lows a pair of trav­el­ers on a jour­ney from Paris to the Vil­la Noailles in Hyères, which fea­tures a tri­an­gu­lar Cubist gar­den designed by Gabriel Geu­vrikain. “Made as an archi­tec­tur­al doc­u­ment and inspired by the poet­ry of Mal­lar­mé,” writes Kim Knowles in A Cin­e­mat­ic Artist: The Films of Man Ray, “Les Mys­tères du Château de Dé is the film in which Man Ray most clear­ly demon­strates his inter­dis­ci­pli­nary atti­tude, par­tic­u­lar­ly in its ref­er­ence to Stéphane Mal­lar­mé’s poem Un coup de dés jamais n’aboli­ra le hasard.”

The films will be list­ed in our col­lec­tion, 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

Note: An ear­li­er ver­sion of this post appeared on our site in April, 2012.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Man Ray Designs a Supreme­ly Ele­gant, Geo­met­ric Chess Set in 1920 (and It’s Now Re-Issued for the Rest of Us)

Man Ray Cre­ates a “Sur­re­al­ist Chess­board,” Fea­tur­ing Por­traits of Sur­re­al­ist Icons: Dalí, Bre­ton, Picas­so, Magritte, Miró & Oth­ers (1934)

Man Ray’s Por­traits of Ernest Hem­ing­way, Ezra Pound, Mar­cel Duchamp & Many Oth­er 1920s Icons

Four Sur­re­al­ist Films From the 1920Watch Dreams That Mon­ey Can Buy, a Sur­re­al­ist Film by Man Ray, Mar­cel Duchamp, Alexan­der Calder, Fer­nand Léger & Hans Richter

An Animated Introduction to Ludwig Wittgenstein & His Philosophical Insights on the Problems of Human Communication

In the record­ed his­to­ry of phi­los­o­phy, there may be no sharp­er a mind than Lud­wig Wittgen­stein. A bête noire, enfant ter­ri­ble, and all oth­er such phras­es used to describe affronts to order and deco­rum, Wittgen­stein also rep­re­sent­ed an anar­chic force that dis­turbed the staid dis­ci­pline. His teacher Bertrand Rus­sell rec­og­nized the exis­ten­tial threat Wittgen­stein posed to his pro­fes­sion (though not right away). When Wittgen­stein hand­ed Rus­sell the com­pact, cryp­tic Trac­ta­tus Logi­co-Philo­soph­i­cus, he admit­ted his stu­dent had gone beyond his own ana­lyt­ic insights in the pur­suit of absolute clar­i­ty. Wittgenstein’s long­time men­tor and friend, famed logi­cian and math­e­mati­cian Got­t­lob Frege, expressed crit­i­cism. Some have sug­gest­ed he did so in part because he saw that Wittgen­stein had ren­dered much of his work irrel­e­vant.

Alain de Bot­ton gives a brief but fas­ci­nat­ing sketch of Wittgen­stein’s ideas and incred­i­bly odd biog­ra­phy in the School of Life video above. The eccen­tric Aus­tri­an savant, he asserts, “can help us with our com­mu­ni­ca­tion prob­lems” through his pen­e­trat­ing, though often impen­e­tra­ble, claims about lan­guage. That may be so. But we may need to rede­fine what we mean by “com­mu­ni­ca­tion.” Accord­ing to Wittgen­stein in the Trac­ta­tus, an over­whelm­ing per­cent­age of what we obsess about on a dai­ly basis—political and reli­gious abstrac­tions, for example—is so total­ly inco­her­ent and mud­dled that it means noth­ing at all. He revised this opin­ion dra­mat­i­cal­ly in his lat­er thought.

Though he pub­lished noth­ing after the Trac­ta­tus and soon became a near-recluse after his star­tling entry into ana­lyt­ic phi­los­o­phy, notes from his stu­dents were col­lect­ed and pub­lished as well as a posthu­mous book called Philo­soph­i­cal Inves­ti­ga­tions. This ver­sion of Wittgenstein’s approach to the prob­lems of com­mu­ni­ca­tion involves a devel­op­ment of the “ostensive”—or demonstrative—role of lan­guage. Wittgen­stein made an argu­ment that lan­guage can only serve a social, rather than a per­son­al, sub­jec­tive, func­tion. To make the point, he intro­duced his “Bee­tle in a Box” anal­o­gy, which you can see explained above in an ani­mat­ed BBC video writ­ten by Nigel War­bur­ton and nar­rat­ed by Aidan Turn­er.

The anal­o­gy uses the idea of each of us claim­ing to have a bee­tle in a box as a stand in for our indi­vid­ual, pri­vate expe­ri­ences. We all claim to have them (we can even observe brain states), but no one can ever see inside the the­ater of our minds to ver­i­fy. We sim­ply have to take each oth­er’s word for it. We play “lan­guage games,” which only have mean­ing in respect to their con­text. That such games can be mutu­al­ly intel­li­gi­ble among indi­vid­u­als who are oth­er­wise  opaque to each oth­er has to do with our shared envi­ron­ment, abil­i­ties, and lim­i­ta­tions. Should we, how­ev­er, meet a lion who could speak—in per­fect­ly intel­li­gi­ble English—we would not, Wittgen­stein assert­ed, be able to under­stand a sin­gle word. The vast­ly dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ences of human ver­sus lion would not trans­late through any medi­um.

Just above, we have an expla­na­tion of this thought exper­i­ment from an unlike­ly source, Ricky Ger­vais, in an attempt­ed expla­na­tion to his com­ic foil Karl Pilk­ing­ton, who takes things in his own pecu­liar direc­tion. Though Wittgen­stein used the idea for a dif­fer­ent pur­pose, his obser­va­tion about the unbridge­able chasm between humans and lions antic­i­pates Thomas Nagel’s provoca­tive claims in the 1974 essay “What is it like to be a bat?” We can­not inhab­it the sub­jec­tive states of beings so dif­fer­ent from us, and there­fore can­not say much of any­thing about their con­scious­ness. Maybe it isn’t like any­thing to be a bat. Luck­i­ly for humans, we do have the abil­i­ty to imag­ine each other’s expe­ri­ences, in indi­rect, imper­fect, round­about, ways, and we all have enough shared con­text that we can, at least the­o­ret­i­cal­ly, use lan­guage to pro­duce more clar­i­ty of thought and greater social har­mo­ny.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hear Wittgenstein’s Trac­ta­tus Logi­co-Philo­soph­i­cus Sung as a One-Woman Opera

In Search of Lud­wig Wittgenstein’s Seclud­ed Hut in Nor­way: A Short Trav­el Film

Lud­wig Wittgenstein’s Short, Strange & Bru­tal Stint as an Ele­men­tary School Teacher

Wittgen­stein and Hitler Attend­ed the Same School in Aus­tria, at the Same Time (1904)

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

Margaret Hamilton, Lead Software Engineer of the Apollo Project, Stands Next to Her Code That Took Us to the Moon (1969)

Pho­to cour­tesy of MIT Muse­um

When I first read news of the now-infa­mous Google memo writer who claimed with a straight face that women are bio­log­i­cal­ly unsuit­ed to work in sci­ence and tech, I near­ly choked on my cere­al. A dozen exam­ples instant­ly crowd­ed to mind of women who have pio­neered the very basis of our cur­rent tech­nol­o­gy while oper­at­ing at an extreme dis­ad­van­tage in a cul­ture that explic­it­ly believed they shouldn’t be there, this shouldn’t be hap­pen­ing, women shouldn’t be able to do a “man’s job!”

The memo, as Megan Molteni and Adam Rogers write at Wired, “is a species of dis­course pecu­liar to polit­i­cal­ly polar­ized times: cher­ry-pick­ing sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence to sup­port a pre-exist­ing point of view.” Its spe­cious evo­lu­tion­ary psy­chol­o­gy pre­tends to objec­tiv­i­ty even as it ignores real­i­ty. As Mul­der would say, the truth is out there, if you care to look, and you don’t need to dig through clas­si­fied FBI files. Just, well, Google it. No, not the pseu­do­science, but the careers of women in STEM with­out whom we might not have such a thing as Google.

Women like Mar­garet Hamil­ton, who, begin­ning in 1961, helped NASA “devel­op the Apol­lo program’s guid­ance sys­tem” that took U.S. astro­nauts to the moon, as Maia Wein­stock reports at MIT News. “For her work dur­ing this peri­od, Hamil­ton has been cred­it­ed with pop­u­lar­iz­ing the con­cept of soft­ware engi­neer­ing.” Robert McMil­lan put it best in a 2015 pro­file of Hamil­ton:

It might sur­prise today’s soft­ware mak­ers that one of the found­ing fathers of their boys’ club was, in fact, a mother—and that should give them pause as they con­sid­er why the gen­der inequal­i­ty of the Mad Men era per­sists to this day.

Hamil­ton was indeed a moth­er in her twen­ties with a degree in math­e­mat­ics, work­ing as a pro­gram­mer at MIT and sup­port­ing her hus­band through Har­vard Law, after which she planned to go to grad­u­ate school. “But the Apol­lo space pro­gram came along” and con­tract­ed with NASA to ful­fill John F. Kennedy’s famous promise made that same year to land on the moon before the decade’s end—and before the Sovi­ets did. NASA accom­plished that goal thanks to Hamil­ton and her team.

Pho­to cour­tesy of MIT Muse­um

Like many women cru­cial to the U.S. space pro­gram (many dou­bly mar­gin­al­ized by race and gen­der), Hamil­ton might have been lost to pub­lic con­scious­ness were it not for a pop­u­lar redis­cov­ery. “In recent years,” notes Wein­stock, “a strik­ing pho­to of Hamil­ton and her team’s Apol­lo code has made the rounds on social media.” You can see that pho­to at the top of the post, tak­en in 1969 by a pho­tog­ra­ph­er for the MIT Instru­men­ta­tion Lab­o­ra­to­ry. Used to pro­mote the lab’s work on Apol­lo, the orig­i­nal cap­tion read, in part, “Here, Mar­garet is shown stand­ing beside list­ings of the soft­ware devel­oped by her and the team she was in charge of, the LM [lunar mod­ule] and CM [com­mand mod­ule] on-board flight soft­ware team.”

As Hank Green tells it in his con­densed his­to­ry above, Hamil­ton “rose through the ranks to become head of the Apol­lo Soft­ware devel­op­ment team.” Her focus on errors—how to pre­vent them and course cor­rect when they arise—“saved Apol­lo 11 from hav­ing to abort the mis­sion” of land­ing Neil Arm­strong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon’s sur­face. McMil­lan explains that “as Hamil­ton and her col­leagues were pro­gram­ming the Apol­lo space­craft, they were also hatch­ing what would become a $400 bil­lion indus­try.” At Futur­ism, you can read a fas­ci­nat­ing inter­view with Hamil­ton, in which she describes how she first learned to code, what her work for NASA was like, and what exact­ly was in those books stacked as high as she was tall. As a woman, she may have been an out­lier in her field, but that fact is much bet­ter explained by the Occam’s razor of prej­u­dice than by any­thing hav­ing to do with evo­lu­tion­ary deter­min­ism.

Note: You can now find Hamil­ton’s code on Github.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How 1940s Film Star Hedy Lamarr Helped Invent the Tech­nol­o­gy Behind Wi-Fi & Blue­tooth Dur­ing WWII

Meet Grace Hop­per, the Pio­neer­ing Com­put­er Sci­en­tist Who Helped Invent COBOL and Build the His­toric Mark I Com­put­er (1906–1992)

How Ada Lovelace, Daugh­ter of Lord Byron, Wrote the First Com­put­er Pro­gram in 1842–a Cen­tu­ry Before the First Com­put­er

NASA Puts Its Soft­ware Online & Makes It Free to Down­load

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

How to Listen to Music: A Free Course from Yale University

Taught by Yale pro­fes­sor Craig Wright, this course, Lis­ten­ing to Music, oper­ates on the assump­tion that lis­ten­ing to music is “not sim­ply a pas­sive activ­i­ty one can use to relax, but rather, an active and reward­ing process.” When we under­stand the basic ele­ments of West­ern music (e.g., rhythm, melody, and form), we can appre­ci­ate music in entire­ly new ways. That includes every­thing from clas­si­cal music, rock and tech­no, to Gre­go­ri­an chant and the blues.

You can watch the 23 lec­tures above, on YouTube, or Yale’s web­site, where you’ll also find a syl­labus and infor­ma­tion on each class ses­sion. The main text used in the course is Lis­ten­ing to Music, writ­ten by the pro­fes­sor him­self.

Lis­ten­ing to Music will be added to the Music sec­tion of our ever-grow­ing col­lec­tion, 1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties.

It’s also worth not­ing that Prof. Wright has cre­at­ed an inter­ac­tive MOOC called Intro­duc­tion to Clas­si­cal Music. You might want to check it out.

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:

Eve­lyn Glen­nie (a Musi­cian Who Hap­pens to Be Deaf) Shows How We Can Lis­ten to Music with Our Entire Bod­ies

Down­load 400,000 Free Clas­si­cal Musi­cal Scores & 46,000 Free Clas­si­cal Record­ings from the Inter­na­tion­al Music Score Library Project

Play­ing an Instru­ment Is a Great Work­out For Your Brain: New Ani­ma­tion Explains Why

1200 Years of Women Com­posers: A Free 78-Hour Music Playlist That Takes You From Medieval Times to Now

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Alice in Wonderland Gets Re-Envisioned by a Neural Network in the Style of Paintings By Picasso, van Gogh, Kahlo, O’Keeffe & More

An artist just start­ing out might first imi­tate the styles of oth­ers, and if all goes well, the process of learn­ing those styles will lead them to a style of their own. But how does one learn some­thing like an artis­tic style in a way that isn’t sim­ply imi­ta­tive? Arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, and espe­cial­ly the cur­rent devel­op­ments in mak­ing com­put­ers not just think but learn, will cer­tain­ly shed some light in the process — and pro­duce, along the way, such fas­ci­nat­ing projects as the video above, a re-envi­sion­ing of Dis­ney’s Alice in Won­der­land in the styles of famous artists: Pablo Picas­so, Geor­gia O’Ke­effe, Kat­sushi­ka Hoku­saiFri­da Kahlo, Vin­cent van Gogh and oth­ers.

The idea behind this tech­no­log­i­cal process, known as “style trans­fer,” is “to take two images, say, a pho­to of a per­son and a paint­ing, and use these to cre­ate a third image that com­bines the con­tent of the for­mer with the style of the lat­er,” says an explana­to­ry post at the Paper­space Blog.

“The cen­tral prob­lem of style trans­fer revolves around our abil­i­ty to come up with a clear way of com­put­ing the ‘con­tent’ of an image as dis­tinct from com­put­ing the ‘style’ of an image. Before deep learn­ing arrived at the scene, researchers had been hand­craft­ing meth­ods to extract the con­tent and tex­ture of images, merge them and see if the results were inter­est­ing or garbage.”

Deep learn­ing, the fam­i­ly of meth­ods that enable com­put­ers to teach them­selves, involves pro­vid­ing an arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence sys­tem called a “neur­al net­work” with huge amounts of data and let­ting it draw infer­ences. In exper­i­ments like these, the sys­tems take in visu­al data and make infer­ences about how one set of data, like the con­tent of frames of Alice in Won­der­land, might look when ren­dered in the col­ors and con­tours of anoth­er, such as some of the most famous paint­ings in all of art his­to­ry. (Oth­ers have tried it, as we’ve pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured, with 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Run­ner.) If the tech­nol­o­gy at work here piques your curios­i­ty, have a look at Google’s free online course on deep learn­ing or this new set of cours­es from Cours­era— it prob­a­bly won’t improve your art skills, but it will cer­tain­ly increase your under­stand­ing of a devel­op­ment that will play an ever larg­er role in the cul­ture and econ­o­my ahead.

Here’s a full list of painters used in the neur­al net­worked ver­sion of Alice:

Pablo Picas­so
Geor­gia O’Ke­effe
S.H. Raza
Fri­da Kahlo
Vin­cent van Gogh
Saloua Raou­da Chou­cair
Lee Kras­ner
Sol Lewitt
Wu Guanzhong
Elaine de Koon­ing
Ibrahim el-Salahi
Min­nie Pwer­le
Jean-Michel Basquiat
Edvard Munch
Natalia Gon­charo­va

via Kot­tke

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey Ren­dered in the Style of Picas­so; Blade Run­ner in the Style of Van Gogh

What Hap­pens When Blade Run­ner & A Scan­ner Dark­ly Get Remade with an Arti­fi­cial Neur­al Net­work

Google Launch­es Free Course on Deep Learn­ing: The Sci­ence of Teach­ing Com­put­ers How to Teach Them­selves

New Deep Learn­ing Cours­es Released on Cours­era, with Hope of Teach­ing Mil­lions the Basics of Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence

The First Film Adap­ta­tion of Alice in Won­der­land (1903)

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les, 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.

“The Art of David Lynch”— How Rene Magritte, Edward Hopper & Francis Bacon Influenced David Lynch’s Cinematic Vision

When an artist becomes an adjective—think Orwellian, Kafkaesque, or Joycean—one of two things can hap­pen: their work can be super­fi­cial­ly appro­pri­at­ed, reduced to a col­lec­tion of obvi­ous ges­tures clum­si­ly com­bined in bad pas­tiche. Or their dis­tinc­tive style can inspire artists with more skill and depth to make orig­i­nal cre­ations that may them­selves become touch­stones for the future. What might dis­tin­guish one from the oth­er is the degree to which we under­stand not only the work of Orwell, Kaf­ka, or Joyce, but also the work that influ­enced them.

When it comes to David Lynch, there’s no doubt that the “Lynchi­an” stands as a mod­el for so much con­tem­po­rary film and tele­vi­sion. But while some direc­tors make excel­lent use of Lynch’s influ­ence, oth­ers strive for Lynchi­an atmos­phere only to reach a kind of unin­spired, unin­ten­tion­al par­o­dy. The sub­lime bal­ance of humor and hor­ror Lynch has achieved over the course of his extra­or­di­nary career seems like the kind of thing one shouldn’t attempt with­out seri­ous study and prepa­ra­tion.

With­out Lynch’s sur­re­al­ist vision, odd­ball char­ac­ter­i­za­tion and dia­logue fall flat—as in Twin Peaks’ sec­ond sea­son, which Lynch him­self says “sucked.” So what defines the Lynchi­an? A very dis­tinc­tive use of music, for one thing. And as the video essay above by Men­no Koois­tra demon­strates, the sig­nif­i­cant influ­ence of paint­ing. Lynch him­self began paint­ing and draw­ing at a young age and stud­ied art at the School of the Muse­um of Fine Arts in Boston in the six­ties. While he found his call­ing in film, his art edu­ca­tion pre­pared him to dream up the unfor­get­table com­po­si­tions of the Lynchi­an world.

Rene Magritte, Edward Hop­per, Arnold Böck­lin, and the mas­ter of psy­cho­log­i­cal hor­ror, Fran­cis Bacon—all of these painters have direct­ly informed Lynch’s night­mar­ish mise-en-scène. As you’ll see in Kooistra’s video, in side by side com­par­isons, Lynch adapts the work of his favorite artists for his own pur­pos­es. In an inter­view clip, he says he dis­cov­ered Bacon at a gallery in 1966 and found the expe­ri­ence “thrilling”—later using the painter’s work as inspi­ra­tion for The Ele­phant Man and Twin Peak’s dis­ori­ent­ing Red Room.

We see Lynch’s homage to his favorite painters in Eraser­head and Blue Vel­vet, as well as the cur­rent, third sea­son of Twin Peaks, over which he has (as he well should) com­plete cre­ative con­trol. You may not find Fran­cis Bacon’s dis­turb­ing por­traits quite as thrilling as Lynch does, or draw on Edward Hop­per for a warped ver­sion of 1950’s Amer­i­cana. These are Lynch’s ref­er­ences; they res­onate on his par­tic­u­lar fre­quen­cy, and hence pro­vide him with visu­al frames for his own per­son­al dream log­ic.

But what we might take away from “The Art of David Lynch” is that the Lynchi­an is nec­es­sar­i­ly tied to a painter­ly sen­si­bil­i­ty, and that with­out the influ­ence of fine art on com­po­si­tion, col­or, and fram­ing, a Lynchi­an pro­duc­tion may be in dan­ger of looking—as he says of that dis­ap­point­ing Twin Peaks’ sec­ond season—“stupid and goofy.”

via IndieWire

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Sur­re­al Film­mak­ing of David Lynch Explained in 9 Video Essays

Ange­lo Badala­men­ti Reveals How He and David Lynch Com­posed the Twin Peaks‘ “Love Theme”

Hear the Music of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks Played by the Dan­ish Nation­al Sym­pho­ny Orches­tra

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

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