You can’t get much further from a slice-of-life artist than Takashi Murakami, whose children’s film Jellyfish Eyes (which the New York Times called “very bad”) was released at the IFC Center in NY (and will soon get a national run), after having been stuck in museums for the previous two years. But most of this feature film is actually live-action, and doesn’t give way to the known Murakami aesthetic until it nears its conclusion. In an interview with Hyperallergic, the artist explains the initially subdued look, and discusses how he wove the Fukushima disaster into a story about a boy adapting to a new school, while in Vogue he discusses why he ventured into narrative filmmaking at this time, saying:
After the great earthquake and tsunami disaster [in 2011, that spurred the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster], I kind of grasped the opportunity to create a narrative when I watched the TV documentaries interviewing the victims of the disaster. I understood that people were needing and wanting stories and narrative. Before that I was not able to bring myself to tell stories. But after seeing the interview and understanding the need for the narrative, I was able to move into filmmaking.
Murakami’s art has few equals in visual alienness, but the early designs of some of the most commonly used websites provide good competition. Paper Mag features screen caps of early versions of Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc. that make them all look far from the imposingly powerful cultural and economic forces that they are now.
And, while we’re in the habit of making comparisons, few forces can parallel the power of the aforementioned companies — perhaps with the exception of Taylor Swift. Recently, Ian McKellen dramatically recited the lyrics of “Bad Blood” and Patrick Stewart recited “Blank Space” (on separate platforms), and, after this display of devotion, Stewart asked Taylor Swift on Twitter whether they could join [her] squad, to which she responded: