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Adventures In Time And Space 11: The One Moment and OK Go

The One Moment is a 2016 music video by OK Go. OK Go is an American rock band made up of Damian Kulash (lead vocals, guitar), Tim Nordwind (bass guitar, vocals), Dan Konopka (drums, percussion), and Andy Ross (guitar, keyboards, vocals).

The One Moment contains 4.2 seconds of real-time footage that is then shown in slow motion and played over the length of the 4-minute video. The footage records 325 events that were initiated either by the band members or by timers and were slowed down to times up to 20,000 percent from real-time speed to match the beat of the song. Such visualizations of fast events are a favorite topic of mine and have been mentioned in a previous post.

OK Go’s music videos have long been a favorite of educators for their awesome blend of creativity, science, and technology. So, not surprisingly, the band has taken the next step by collaborating with director Geoff Shelton and AnneMarie Thomas of the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas to develop an online resource for educators.

The OK Go Sandbox provides teachers and students with a way to use the band’s music videos to play with concepts in unexpected ways and to inspire students in science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). OK Go’s music videos serve as starting points for integrated guided inquiry challenges that allow students to explore various STEAM concepts.

Director Geoff Shelton is planning to create new videos specifically designed to inspire classroom discussions and projects. Google and Morton Salt, along with anonymous donors, have generously brought to life the launch of this online resource.

Big Data’s Other Dangerous Video

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Source: Big Data

Big Data is an American electropop music project of Brooklyn-based producer Alan Wilkis and friends. Big Data explores contemporary themes involving humans and their growing dependence on and general distrust of technology, especially the Internet.

Big Data is best known for its single “Dangerous”, from the debut 2013 EP 1.0 and the debut 2015 studio album 2.0. The single features Rochester, New York indie band Joywave, with vocals being performed by the band’s lead singer Daniel Armbruster.

Watching the music video below reminded me of Kansas State University professor Michael Wesch’s video from eight years ago. My previous post mentions Dr. Wesch and his ideas about emergent Web 2.0 technologies. Now, here was a music video that illustrated just how far our use of those technologies has progressed in a timeframe of less than a decade!

While it’s not the most famous version of the “Dangerous” single, the Internet is the subject of the music video below. It is a lyric video created by SCANTRON and Greg Yagolnitzer. It’s vaguely NSFW because of blurry bits.

Eminemium (Parody of Choose Yourself)

Tim Blais montage

Tim Blais of A Capella Science Source: YouTube

Eminemium is a parody of Eminem’s Choose Yourself by Tim Blais on his A Capella Science video project. You can watch the video below.

Tim Blais captures the scene of the Manhattan Project on that fateful day, July 16, 1945:

They’ve armed the weapon
Countdown clock is set and
J. Robert Oppenheimer is sweatin’.
Eyes are red and he’s nervous
‘Cause on the surface this is Armageddon.
The shock bomb, but we’re set upon and threatened
And with no sound, the whole Alamogordo ground
Is glowing and cowed under one smoldering cloud.
He’s choked and wowed, everybody’s open-mouthed,
And over the ground the shock front blows, kapow!

Blais is a physics master’s student and musician who resolved the tension between his creative and academic side by allowing these two aspects of himself to work together. His musical creations result from unaltered sounds from his mouth, throat, and vocal cords.

He continues:

Snap back to the alchemy,
Hope before tragedy,
Showed with bold math that we broke the whole atom.
We choked; controlled action with poles of cold cadmium coat
To go capture neutrons and slow fracture
We broke, postponed that and we chose to go fashion
A most radioactive plutonium gadget then
Fat Man and Boy and Enola goes laughin’
As Nagasaki is blown and Hiroshima’s blasted…

The rest of the song is a historical distillation of the Cold War with the admonition “You gotta choose yourself how to use it / The knowledge you hold” because “So here we go, it’s our shot / Feel frail or not / This is the only world and humanity that we got.” Tim Blais manages to take a brilliant work by a brilliant artist and transform it into a clever piece about the social responsibilities of scientific discovery. Brilliant!

If you like him as much as I do, all of Blais’ tracks are available for download at Apple Music.


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Paul Simon’s The Boy In The Bubble

This is the opening track on Paul Simon’s Graceland album. He immersed himself in the music of South Africa before his 1985 trip, and came across a song by the Lesotho group Tau Ea Matsekha. Simon wanted to meet them, especially the songwriter and leader Forere Motloheloa, who played the piano accordion. When Simon arrived at Ovation Studios in Johannesburg, he started recording with the group, reworking their song.

In the song, Simon seems to be exploring the dual nature of science and of humanity. We live in a world where we are doing amazing things with medicine and technology, but we are also creating sophisticated weapons at the same time. The developed world is in a bubble of comfort and self-absorption, while the developing world ekes by in the dry wind and dead sand. It is almost impossible for modern global society to make sense of it all: “these are the days of miracle and wonder”.

Genki Sudo’s World Order

World Order

World Order “World Order”

World Order is a Japanese music group produced and directed by retired mixed martial arts fighter Genki Sudo (Sudō Genki, 須藤 元気). Genki Sudo is also the lead vocalist as well as a member of the group along with six other dancers.

World Order

World Order “Boy Meets Girl”

World Order is known for their synchronized choreography that reminds me of clockwork or an assembly line (see my post on the Algorithm March).

World Order

World Order “Machine Civilization”

When you watch the music videos, notice how the people around them react to the group and to the camera. Apparently, World Order will choose a public space to film their performance with no control of the surroundings. People will go about their business around them. Most will ignore the group, but some will try to avoid disrupting the filming, take their own pictures of the performance, or even try to participate with the group!

World Order

Boy Meets Girl

Machine Civilization