May 12, 2006
We Make Money Not Miniatures
Artist Xing Danwen didn't build these architectural models, but she did take photos of them. What's more, she retouched little miniature versions of herself into the miniatures. She says,
The figures act out totally imaginative roles as part of different plots and in different spaces that I visualize when I look at these models. For example, “I” am sometimes a white-collar office worker brought to despair by job pressures and spiritual emptiness. Sometimes “I” am a materialistic woman enjoying a life of pleasure and dissipation. Or “I” am a young girl who has accidentally killed her lover in a mood of anger. Together the resulting pictures compose the episodes of the urban fiction.
If you're a fan of miniatures, like me, I recommend visiting her site, where you can take a look at all her photos so far. Or if you find yourself in Toronto, you can see her large prints in person at the Gallery TPW.
(via: we make money not art)
Mount St. Tinsel
On this beautiful, flowering, spring day, loyal Republic of Tinselman minister Adam Wilmer has volunteered to do the extraordinary: design and build our very first Republic of Tinselman city. We are awed. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Minister Wilmer.
I remind you, this Wilmer fellow is one talented son of a bitch. He's the very same guy that designed and created the Republic's fabulosio flag.
The details are thus: The city will be constructed out of toilet paper rolls because that is Minister Wilmer's medium of choice. The city will be constructed in miniature because the citizens of the Republic enjoy miniature stuff. And yeah, the city will be mayored by Brad Pitt.
Let me explain. The blogoshere has felt a tremor; oceans of tears at Bryan William Jones' Transvestic Draculina story. Just minutes after I posted it, Brad Pitt himself called me. He was weeping, which I really didn't get. He's got a really stupid sounding weep... it's almost funny. But then Angelina got on and it was just so damn real. The tears. The shared emotion. "Angelina," I said, "it's like this. When you're up there, on the silver screen, you and Brad, especially together, you both are so gorgeous, my God, it's not just acting, it's angelic."
And she wept and I wept. And Brad, he wept too. It was beautiful. "Robyn," he said, "I want to be a part of this... this tinselman thing. It's time for me to be more involved."
"No Brad." And that was difficult to say, but it was the right thing to say: "No, it's not time yet. You're not prepared. You need to clear your mind, to break the never-ending cycle of your self imposed fears. Consider this, just consider this one word because, in a manner of speaking, you've become trapped in the well of yourself. And I know this because I am the Khan of Tinselman. And the proclaimer of all things that are right and correct and true (and beautiful)." They had to agree with me there and they laughed, uncomfortably. I didn't laugh.
They wanted to know the one word. "Don't rush the Khan. He can sense your fears," but I think they were getting tired of the whole Khan thing so I dropped it and said the word... "Africa".
For about five minutes we all sat there in perfect silence. It was one of those moments where no one knows what to say, one of those processing moments. I kept waiting and waiting. I read a few blogs. I read a newspaper article. And I finally realized they had hung up on me.
Wow, I couldn't believe how completely rude they were! Little did I know, they had immediately called their agents and practically set up a mini sabatical to Africa. They left almost immediately and have since said it was the perfect thing and it was exactly what they needed but it's not what I meant at all! And... they cut off all communication to the outside world. So I had no way to contact them and say, "Hey! Angelina. Brad... really dumb idea. Especially being pregnant and all. I was only talking about renting the movie... Out of Africa.
But get this... turns out they recently, and quite "coincidentally", watched it while in Africa. It changed their lives (of course). And this is so beautiful... Angelina's water broke in the middle of the film but she couldn't stop watching. So they watched it again and again, nine times, throughout her labor and during the birthing! She said, and I quote (because I recorded the conversation), "because me and Brad, you know, we're so much like the two of them, I mean Meryl and Robert... oh, they were just so damn gorgeous! Just like us, you know! Like, and it's all there in Africa and, like... we're in Africa. And thank you, Khan. Thank you for giving all this to us. What did you think of the film?"
I had to admit I hadn't seen the film... it just sort of came to me. A Khanlian Word of Knowledge, so to speak. But I was overjoyed to hear her call me Khan. They had come around. They were ready to enter the fold.
And this is where we come back to our main subject: Minister Wilmer's toilet paper Republic of Tinselman city. We will need a mayor for this city and now that Brad and Angelina are obvious tinselistic loyalists (unlike William Shatner, who was a pig and a scoundrel) and because Brad Pitt was such an inspiration to our own Bryan William Jones, I have chosen Brad Pitt as the new Mayor of The Metropolis of Tinselman.
In addition, because Minister Wilmer is building the city, he says he deserves to be sub-Mayor under Mayor Pitt. Fine, fine, so be it... whatever you like, Adam.
He also wants permission to make out with Angelina Jolie.
This is preposterous! She's a new mother, for god's sakes! And more importantly, she's your sister in the Republic! Your sister, Adam! You want to make out with your sister?! Have you frickin' lost your mind?!
To inspire Minsiter Wilmer in his most bodacious task, the Khan (me) has constructed a miniature mountain. Since my post yesterday, I have been chewing bubble gum like a madman and now I think I've completed my masterpiece. Because what's a city without a mountain? And so... the Khan will live at the top of this mountain (in his palace, which I have yet to invent, but it will be spectacular). All officials and Ministers live on the hillside in their funkturos. Down below all the citizens go about their hustle and bustle in the spectacular city of toilet paper rolls.
Don't be fooled by these by these miniature representations! The Republic of Tinselman is as real as your own skin and bones! Just believe it... and it becomes real. The Khan says it. It is true.
Note: I didn't really make the bubble gum mountain. It was made over a period of two years by a number of choral students at West High School, Corning, NY. An attempt to sale it on ebay as a "must have for any serious Bubble Gum art collector" failed. I can't imagine why.
(Mount B.G. via: geisha asobi)
May 11, 2006
For the Sake of Small
What happens when one of the world's most famous architects, Frank Gehry, is given 22 acres of Brooklyn to turn into his personal playland? Two things. Firstly, a lot of New Yorkers get very upset. Secondly, we get a couple of fabulistic miniatures out of the deal.
Here at the Republic of Tinselman, we're crazy about miniatures of almost any kind. About the buildings themselves, I can only leave you to comment.
These early "sketch" miniatures of the project may help you form your delicate opinion...
click photos to enlarge
February 27, 2006
I've been hard at work on my scale model of early Disneyland and I'm now finally ready to reveal it. You will most definetely be impressed!... until you learn that my scale model is only a quick photoshop cheat. But it sure is fun!
(click photos to enlarge)
February 03, 2006
Futurama Returns (again)
Isn't that auditorium just a bit imposing? So brave? So new? So crazy-humungous? It's Futurama, GM's brilliant propagandistic tool, used to convince a 1939 American public (and leadership) that the future should be full of lovely things like conquering nature and replacing everything that's old with things that are powerful and massively overwhelming (see above lovely building).
In reality, Futurama was about selling cars. The masses (that's us) were larely not going to buy cars until there were sprawling (multi-billion dollar) roads built from one side of country to the other. But who was going to build those sprawling highways? These mega-modern freeways of tomorrow. General Motors? No frickin' way! And so they sold the masses (us) on a bright big beautiful vision of a perfect tomorrow. Futurama was one of these sales tools. Next thing you know, the government was tearing up the train and trolley tracks and making Futurama a reality.
Who can be blamed for all of this? Some may argue we're better off. Regardless, the exhibit itself must have been a monumental feat. And an impressive ride! I found this video of the ride online but you may want to start a little less than halfway through (the beginning is boring).
Images from the Futurama movie
January 04, 2006
So Splendidly Small
This was the real little China if there ever was one. Spendid China opened next door to Disney World (Orlando, FL) in 1993 but was unfortunately beset with problems and closed on December 31, 2003. From what I can tell, the original Splendid China in Shenzhen, China, is still operational.
Don't wait for anyone to post photos of the abandoned park. After the closure, the detailed miniatures were sold to the highest bidder. So... I provide for your tinsel-enjoyment these photos of the pre-2003 park.
December 21, 2005
Down, down, down we shrink, 165 billion times into the fascinating world of the atom. We're either exploring a single iron crystal or we're visiting Atomium in Brussels, a colossal molocular model, designed for Belgium's 1958 Expo by engineer Andre Waterkeyn. The Atomium was planned to be disassembled within six months. Now it's considered by some (like the ultra-reliable wikipedia) to be the Eiffel Tower of Brussels.
If you visit Atomium, you'll get a suprise treat: the atomic structure is so big that all of Europe beneath it has been sucked into a time/space vortex and become oddly miniaturize. In scientific terms, we call this phenomenon "Mini-Europe" and the sensation is strongest directly at the crystal's base.
Or it may just be a little park of miniatures. Unfortunately, they forgot to make a miniature of the Atomium itself, which would have been somehow perfect. What a disapointment! For that, you'll have to travel to Minimundus in Austria.
September 14, 2005
This is not a real Messerschmitt Me262. It's a scale model created by Fine Art Models, recognized by some to be the makers of the finest scale models on the planet. Vehicles are their speciality, but for the price (the above airplane will probably end up running anywhere from 7-12 k), you may want to pick up a plastic model kit from your local hobby shop and just try very hard to make it look good.
If you visit their website, don't forget to take a look at their oxymoronic Titanic miniature.
July 05, 2005
More Diminutive Domains
Don't worry... this gigantic man-shaped creature is not attacking New York. He's just restoring it. Rather, he's restoring a scale model of New York, located at the Queens Museum of Art, called The Panorama. With over 895,000 tiny buildings, the model represents the 320 sprawling square miles of the great city. Planes take off from its mini-LaGuardia and the city even lights up during a simulated night. Take a look...
July 04, 2005
Miniatures of a Great Miniature
In the early 1950s, Walt Disney began toying around with model trains and miniatures. It wasn't long before his miniatures began to grow; soon he needed more and more space to hold them. Eventually Disney accomplished his largest miniature of all by scaling up his beloved model trains to almost (but not quite) human size. Hence, Disneyland was born: Walt's very large scale model of no place in particular which, because of its stunted size, manages to feel oddly close... and cozy. The lampposts are shorter. The windows are shrunken. Even the castles and mountains are dwarfishly snug.
We, the public, have been enamored with Walt Disney's gigantic miniature since it opened in 1955. So what do we do to display our adoration for the park? We built miniatures of it! Here are loads of links to Disneyland miniatures (and other related links).
• Disney Train Model
• Carousel of Progress Scale Model (via boing boing)
• Mosato House Scale Model (see previous link on Monsato House)
• Shuco 1:90 Scale Disney Monorail
• Disney 50th Anniversary Monorail Model
• Disney 50th Anniversary Models
• Walt Disney with scale model of Sleeping Beauty's Castle
• Main Street USA Collection (Connect them all for a complete scale model of main street.)
• Walt Disney: One Man's Dream photos
• Blueprint of Walt Disney's backyard 1/8th scale railroad
(Russ Ullner's photos via The Disney Blog)