Art Works Design . . . . . Brain & Eye Guzzles

A review of what's visually/mentally stimulating

They Might Be Giants celebrate the NOW with old film cameras

John Linnell and John Flansburgh with Brobee

Those of you of a certain age (say the Gen X-ers particularly) may have fond memories of—or rabid committments to—the band They Might Be Giants. I am one of the frothing fans; that adoration was cemented not with their quirky ironic and mesmerizing music, but by the band’s experiments in constructing a social pact with their audiences through art, music and all things creative. Their unexpected, silly-visionary projects like the early Don’t Lets Start video and the now legendary daily dial-a-song (free songs posted on an analog phone answering machine for listeners aural pleasure) to their mid-career experiments with web-based tom-foolery with the chopping block design firm that led to the orange & presidential world of interactive fantasy in the kid-themed No! CD.

Performing at The Egg, an amphitheater in Albany, NY

Their continuing collaboration with a bevy of visual and creative artists like Marcel Dzama, not only enhance their stage show, albums and merchandise, but also—most essentially—keep their inquisitive outlook fresh, challenged and stimulated by surrounding themselves with other visionary thinkers and makers.


They Might Be Giants have (figuratively) a million creative projects happening at once, but one of their latest is an on-tour documentation via photographic exploration with a variety of old cameras. See John Linnell’s blog at Spinner which includes a look at the present through the history and lenses of old film-based cameras. 

To get a flavor of the blog, here is John’s opening salutation:

“All hail the old and crappy! From what I can gather here in the remote, leaf-shrouded They Might Be Giants treehouse, there continues to be a growing interest in obsolete technology to meet contemporary tastes. Some consumers of the rock music have turned back to vinyl LPs as a more visceral listening experience. Some recording artists have renounced computer based recording and digital gear altogether and are sweating over 40-year-old tape recorders.
I, for one, am sticking with my computer for music-making purposes, not because it sounds better, but because I’m too lazy to deal with all the clunky, fussy audio gear of the past.

However, after ten years of documenting life on the road with a digital point-and-shoot camera, I have turned back to taking pictures with cheap, post-war gear on old-timey film. Maybe the lo-tech cameras I like to use help to conceal my crappy technique, or maybe I’m clinging desperately to an imaginary, better past, but I find I just love old cameras to pieces….”

Interested? Want to see more samples of the photos? Heres the blog…and Marty, the drummer, taken with a 1960s Canon Dial-35.

Note: All photos from TMBG via the Spinner Blogsite

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