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res magazine Top Ten to Watch in 2006

Friday night, res magazine hosted a screening at the Drake Hotel underground with work from their '10 to watch' creative peeps featured in this month's issue.

Having never been to the illustrious Drake before, I was curious to see if it lived up to all the so-hip-it-hurts hype. And I was curious to see what kind of work the res-ers deemed new and noteworthy.

The lighting was dim and flattering, in an I-can't-really-see kind of way, the clientele were young and hip (not trendy), and there were three screens used, which I thought was dashed clever of them, given the size of the room and the location of the all important bar.

The crowd was a decent size, too, 50-75 people.

After a short intro to the screening (plugging the resfest - late entries accepted until May 12, by the way), we were introduced to

the res top ten:

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1. First up, Dougal Wilson, director of a music video from Hard-Fi - their single Cash Machine. (You can watch it on the first link). It shows the band (mainly the hot frontman) sweaty and grimy "working for the cash machine" - making ten pound notes in a mine under an ATM. Wilson makes use of models rather than CGI, which suits the working class, 'damn I'm broke' -ishness of the song.

2. Montrealers Fluorescent Hill and their video for the Heavy Blinkers Try Telling That to My Baby. I'm a fan of anything that involves animated dancing snackcakes - especially when it's like some trippy seventies version of an early Hollywood musical.

3. Eclectic Method remixes Snake Worship Island and Kill Bill. Watching those made me want to remix every movie I love - who doesn't want me to make a mash-up of Princess Bride and Sin City?

4. After all that easy stimulation, I was a little bored with Impactist. The Ranch (a canoe floating forwards with added digital bits and bobs along the way) and Camp Adair (mirrored black and white footage of an eerie old wooden building) were pretty, but I just wasn't as interested in them as the other pieces in the screening.

5. Marina Zurkow's piece, Space Invaders, is black and white footage from and of the urban landscape with animated block-y orange dudes who pop in and around the space. It was an interesting way of redefining a bland, blocky colourless world and adding an element of the quirky and bizarre.

6. The title alone of Ghislain Poirier's music/dance vid Don't Laugh It's Post-Modern gave me a chuckle. (Click video on his page from the above link and download it). It features him walking into a men's room and dancin' dancin' dancin'. (The res people really dig that whole 'redefining space' thing).

7. If you like a nice, tense stunt scene, Ozzie Nash Edgerton is your new favourite thing ever. Lucky is a flat out wordless adrenaline rush. Man tied in trunk of driverless speeding car. Wicked.

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8. Keita Takahashi's colourful, blocky, rainbow-y Katamari Damacy looked so familiar. Then I realized I'd watched a friend of mine play the video game. The vid we saw was the opening sequence. So bizarrely cute, so strangely compelling.

9. The Royksopp video for What Else is There? is directed by Martin de Thurah. The ethereal lead singer floats over a dark, near-empty street, houses start floating away in a kind of slo-mo homage to the opening of Wizard of Oz.The images and mood are creepy and powerful. But I wanted more dancing cupcakes.

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10. Takagima Sakatsu's Bloomy Girls is video art I can get behind - like a moving abstract painting. Far more meditative than most of the other pieces, the video consists of swirling watercolours that ebb and flow and through which we see the essence of the titular girls. The images appear and change to what sounds like a kind of xylophone music.

We were also treated to the Hot Chip Over and Over music video. Director Nima Nourizadeh shows the lads rockin' out in front of a green screen, and has some folk in those green suits, boppin' around; showing the building of a effects-laden music vid matches the electronic repetition of the Hot Chip song.

And 90 degrees (which I can't find a link for), which was really quite strong and startling. The seemingly simple images - blocks scratching and sketching themselves onto the screen, building until a blocky human figure bursts out of the cubes - and this individual is suddenly overwhelmed by its environment - the ever-more rapidly moving blocks clang and crash into it. The simplicity of the idea - someone trying to stay together (literally, the blocks smash its face off) in a hostile environment, is suspenseful and gripping.

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And and - the spectacular Never Like the First Time from director Jonas Odell, which uses various styles of animation to, well, animate, a series of interviews where people talk about their first time having sex. Each story is a different slant, a different mood (unsurprising, there are as many first time stories as there are people), all treated with subtlety, maturity and humour in the portrayal.

Lastly, we were treated to the video for DFA 1979's Sexy Results from Jaron "boobs are good to stabilize" Albertin. Yes, boobs. The odd video's main image is some topless blond chick jumping up and down with animated mouths where one expects to see nipples. Albertin (said in a short q&a following the screening) is working on a couple other music vids and a short. More singing boobs to come? (A cupcake makes an appearance in this one, too, but it kind of creeped me out).

Want to know more about these crazy kids? Pick up an issue of res. or wait for resfest - there should be some content crossover.

Images courtesy of artists' websites, links as above.


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