Wednesday, June 25, 2008
video #59: Architecture in Helsinki - Do the Whirlwind
Of all the annoying trends in online weaboo culture, few have gotten under my skin like the proliferation of bad digital sprite art that's saturated the domains of Livejournal, Deviantart, and Gaia, and splattered itself across the rest of the Internet. From NES character-inspired webcomics to customizable chibi avatars as means of authentic expression of the adolescent inner-self, it's a crude and persistent reminder of how far the Internet has fallen as a once-unique medium for geeks to congregate and share their once-unique interests. Ten years ago, the Internet was still largely text-based, and of course it still is, but the up-and-coming legions of illiterate, overmedicated, Naruto-addicted, 1337-speaking nymphochildren have proven that you can establish a vast social network despite having a vocabulary of 500 words or less, not to mention the peer-enforced title of ARTIST by simply by shifting a few pixels here and there. But why should I care at all? I don't know. I just lament the further (but inevitable) dumbing-down of a culture that means something to me, or would if I felt like I was really a part of it.
This aesthetic, if you want to call it that, is pushed to its absolute limit in the work of Paul Robertson. What I've seen of his short films and the artwork posted on his journal is nothing short of astounding in its excessive pileup of meticulously-detailed chibis coupled with seizure-inducing effects. The level of detail he puts into each frame of this work is amazing, from the backgrounds to the characters themselves. Its simple 8-bit-charm makes it all feel so familiar, maybe even evoking a little nostalgia for anyone who grew up with videogames like Double Dragon, River City Ransom, or Final Fight, but there's nothing retro about Robertson's take on the genre. In works like "Pirate Baby's Cabana Battle" and "Kings of Power 4 Billion%" (best watched almost anywhere outside of Youtube's image-compressing viewer), the epileptic-levels of violence is beyond the precedent of almost any anime or videogame.
"Do the Whirlwind," on the other hand, is just clean fun, and even made me love a song that I'd already shrugged off as MOR twee-indie hype when I first heard it. It's probably the best place to start with Robertson's work. Yeah, I'm taking it seriously enough to call it "work." But didn't I say I hate this stuff? Maybe I'm just getting old and it's the kids that I hate. I checked Robertson's birthday on his Livejournal. Born only three weeks after me but creatively indulging his ecchi, ultraviolent id and even getting paid for it. Sounds good to me.