Category Archives: photography

INSIDE MY BRAIN I PAY NO RENT.

BRAIN 01 ENTRANCE

THIS IS MY BRAIN, AS SEEN FROM OUTSIDE ON A SUNNY AFTERNOON.

Welcome to my brain! Or even better: welcome to an attempt to its spatial representation! You can look at the following images as a big architectural metaphor, a cognitive map or an illustrated trip.

It’s just a personal interpretation, of course, but what’s interesting in this project is that I gave my brain “carte blanche”. Yessir! Since the beginning, my project became its project. My gray matter was totally free to select the pictures that better represented itself.

It was not easy for me to step aside and let it do it but, you know, the brain can do everything in complete autonomy, being it the only subject that analyzes itself, and the only place that is entirely self-built. This circularity is so amazing to me that when I happen to think about it, I’m not sure whether it’s me – or my brain – to be more intrigued.

As you know, our mental evolution has been so fast that the brain lost its personal notes on the way. It was probably too busy in setting up all the wiring for its 100 billion neurons, and so today there’s not a map nor an instruction manual to help the brain to unveil its own secrets and understand how its wunderkammer really works. But I’m going to stop here. I don’t want to bore you to death with scientific details. All I want to do is to let you enter into my brain, have a quick look, and tell me what you think. Enjoy the journey!

BRAIN19 narrow curve

I AM SURE YOU NOTICED THE MINUSCULE DOOR AT THE BASE OF THE DOME (FIRST PICTURE).  WELL, THAT’S THE ENTRANCE, AND AS SOON AS YOU STEP IN, YOU’LL HAVE TO FOLLOW A CIRCULAR PATH WITH CURVED WALLS MADE OF CALCIFIED CONNECTIVE TISSUE. DON’T BE AFRAID: THAT’S MY SKULL.

BRAIN 06 little man

AT THE END OF THE CIRCULAR PATH YOU’LL FIND A LARGE ROOM: THIS IS THE BRAIN’S MAIN DOORWAY WHERE A FACELESS SENTINEL WILL CHECK YOU OUT. NOT SURE WHO IS HE, BUT I KNOW HE’S THERE TO FILTER REALITY AND MAKE SURE THE LIMITED CAPACITY OF MY MIND IS NOT CONTAMINATED BY UNNECESSARY GROUND NOISE.

BRAIN 04 stairs

BEYOND THE VELVET CURTAIN YOU’LL FIND A SPIRAL STAIRCASE GOING ALL THE WAY DOWN. THE INSIDE OF THE BRAIN IS DIMLY LIT AND THERE ARE NO COLORS BESIDE BLACK AND WHITE. THE LIGHT’S TREMBLING QUALITY IS DUE TO THE ELECTRIC ACTIVITY OF NEUROTRANSMITTERS WEAKLY FIRING IN THE DARK.

BRAIN 03 tunnel

AT THE END OF THE 13,263-STEP STAIRCASE, BE PREPARED TO ADJUST YOUR EYESIGHT TO DARKNESS. THE DEEPER YOU GO, THE MORE ANTIQUE EVERYTHING LOOKS. MY REPTILIAN BRAIN FEATURES A MAZE OF CREEPY TUNNELS WHERE YOU CAN EASILY GET LOST. IT’S ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA, WHILE YOU WALK, TO MARK THE WALLS WITH A PIECE OF CHALK OR BACKTRACK YOUR PATH WITH BREADCRUMBS.

BRAIN 05 corridor

PLEASE ACCEPT MY ADVICE! ONCE YOU CHOOSE A DIRECTION, STICK TO IT AND DON’T BE TEMPTED TO TURN LEFT OR RIGHT, OR YOU’LL END UP NOWHERE. IF YOU DO AS I SAY, YOU’LL ALWAYS FIND A ROOM OR AN OPEN SPACE WHERE YOU CAN REST, DRINK A CUP OF TEA AND LOCATE YOUR POSITION.

IF YOU LOOK DOWN HERE, YOU CAN HAVE AN IDEA OF WHAT YOU REALLY SEE INSIDE MY BRAIN. IT’S NOT A STATIC STATE OF MIND BUT A RATHER KINETIC ENVIRONMENT WHERE YOU ARE CARRIED AWAY BY MY OWN THOUGHTS.

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BRAIN 02 main hall

YOU SEE? EVEN A LONG AND CLAUSTROPHOBIC CORRIDOR MAY LEAD TO AN UNEXPECTED PLACE LIKE THIS ONE. THIS IS THE HYPOTHALAMUS THAT CONTROLS MY SLEEP. IT’S AMAZING TO REALIZE THIS GLAND IS THE SIZE OF AN ALMOND, YET, IT LOOKS SO SPACIOUS FROM THE INSIDE. MY BRAIN CELLS NICKNAMED THIS PLACE “THE NAP LOUNGE”.

BRAIN 20 library

MEMORY IS NOT ARRANGED, AS YOU MIGHT IMAGINE, LIKE THE LIBRARY PICTURED ABOVE, WHERE BOOKS ARE NEATLY DISPLAYED BY TOPIC OR ALPHABETICAL ORDER. THE BRAIN REQUIRES A MUCH FASTER RETRIEVAL OF INFORMATION, SO YOU’LL BE AMAZED BY THE POSSIBILITY TO FLOAT LIKE AN ASTRONAUT AND ZOOM ALONG ‘BOOK PIPELINES’ LIKE THE ONE HERE BELOW.

BRAIN 07 tunnel of books

INFORMATION IS CONSTANTLY GATHERED, COMBINED, REARRANGED AND DISCARDED, AND EACH CONTENT IS SAVED IN MANY PLACES, JUST IN CASE. MY BRAIN MAKES A BACK UP OF EVERYTHING BUT, ON THE OTHER HAND, IT’S HOPELESS TO REMEMBER WHERE THE STUFF HAS BEEN STORED.

BRAIN 08 guggescale

THIS STRANGE BUILDING IS CALLED THE ‘DILEMMAS’ HOTEL’, AND THAT’S BASICALLY WHERE ME, MYSELF AND I ARE SORTING OUT OUR MAJOR DIFFERENCES. EACH ONE OF MY SELVES SHOUTS FROM ONE OF THESE BALCONIES, WHEN TRYING TO WIN AN ARGUMENT. IF YOU HAPPEN TO PASS BY, PLEASE, MIND YOUR BUSINESS AND KEEP WALKING.

BRAIN 09 escalator

IF YOU LIKE ESCALATORS AS I DO, YOU’LL FIND PLENTY OF THESE INSIDE MY HEAD. EACH ONE WILL TAKE YOU UPSTAIRS, TO A DIFFERENT AREA OF THE CEREBRAL CORTEX. THIS FLOOR HAS BEEN TOTALLY RENOVATED TO HANDLE COMPLEX ACTIVITIES SUCH AS LANGUAGE, ABSTRACT THINKING AND VISUAL  PROCESSING.

BRAIN 17 roots

EVERY NOW AND THEN YOU’LL BUMP INTO OLD DENDRITES LIKE THESE. THEY REST IN PEACE INSIDE A SORT OF ZEN GARDEN SURMOUNTED BY A LIGHT ROOF. MY DEAD NEURONS ARE USELESS – I KNOW – BUT I KEEP THEM NO OTHER THAN FOR A SENTIMENTAL REASON.

BRAIN 10 sinapsi wilderness

SINCE THE VERY DAY I WAS BORN, I ‘VE BEEN LOSING ABOUT EIGHTY THOUSAND NEURONS PER DAY. (IF I TELL YOU I STILL HAVE 98% OF THEM YOU CAN EASILY CALCULATE MY AGE). ALL TOGETHER, MY NEURONS FORM AN EVER-CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF BRANCHES AND MUSHROOM-SHAPED UNITS THAT CREATE NEW IDEAS AND RETRIEVE OLD ONES. RABBITS ARE FREE TO GO AROUND, HERE.

BRAIN 11 exit

I COULDN’T IDENTIFY THIS SPACE. MY BRAIN SELECTED IT FOR A REASON IT DIDN’T WANT TO TELL ME. IT MIGHT BE A MAINTENANCE ROOM OR AN EMPTY SLOT. THE BRAIN, AFTER ALL, IS FILLED WITH EMPTINESS.

BRAIN 12 corpus callosus

THE CORPUS CALLOSUM PICTURED ABOVE IS CONNECTING LEFT AND RIGHT HEMISPHERES. THIS GOTHIC PLACE, WITH ITS 250 MILLIONS AXONS, GUARANTEES PROPER COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE TWO PARTS. FROM ITS WINDOWS YOU CAN ENJOY A SUPERB VIEW, ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT, WHEN DARKNESS IS ILLUMINATED BY REM’S ELECTRIC STORMS.

BRAIN 13 lost memories

THIS IS THE CLOSET OF FORGETFULNESS, WHERE IRRELEVANT MEMORIES ARE GRADUALLY ERASED. I AM NOT VERY GOOD IN ORGANIZING MY STUFF AND I END UP WITH HUNDREDS OF SCRAPPY ROOM LIKE THIS.

BRAIN 14 ambitions

THE AMBITIONS’ PALACE IS A VERTICAL, ENDLESS STRUCTURE. I NEVER MADE IT UNTIL THE TOP. THERE’S NO LIFT TO TAKE ME UP, AND THE STAIRS SPIN INTO A MIST THAT IS SPELLING ONLY TROUBLES. NOT FOR ME, THANKS.

BRAIN 18 stairs to nothing

LOOKOUT STAIRS ARE DEFINITELY MY SLICE OF PIE. FROM HERE, IN A CLEAR BRAIN-DAY, YOU CAN CONTEMPLATE THE SURROUNDING, GATHERING YOUR THOUGHTS. THIS LOOKOUT, FOR EXAMPLE, GIVES A GOOD LOOK INTO THE  PLAINS OF MY TEMPORAL LOBE.

BRAIN 15 aisle

ROOM AFTER ROOM, YOU’LL SOON DISCOVER THAT MY BRAIN IS NOT SO DIFFERENT FROM ANY RUN-DOWN HOTEL AROUND THE WORLD. EINSTEIN, AFTER ALL, SAID WE ARE USING ONLY TEN PER CENT OF OUR BRAIN’S POSSIBILITIES AND, HONESTLY, I USE ONLY A FRACTION OF THIS PERCENTAGE.

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I TOLD YOU THE BRAIN IS ALL BLACK AND WHITE. WELL, THERE’S AN EXCEPTION: THIS IS MY PRIVATE HYPERSPACE. PEOPLE WHO NEVER TOOK DRUGS SAY DRUGS ARE BAD BUT I DON’T THINK SO, ESPECIALLY WHEN I’M ON A GOOD TRIP. NATURAL STUFF LIKE AYAHUASCA OR PEYOTE CAN OPEN NEW PERSPECTIVES IN YOUR LIFE.

BRAIN 16 big hole

THIS IS THE END OF YOUR JOURNEY AND I HOPE YOU ENJOYED IT. YOU CAN EXIT MY MIND THROUGH THE LACRIMAL BONE BUT, PLEASE, WATCH YOUR STEP AS YOU CLIMB YOUR WAY OUT, SINCE THIS IS THE MOST FRAGILE BONE OF THE FACE. LEAVE A BRIEF NOTE, IF YOU WISH. IT WILL HELP ME TO IMPROVE THIS PLACE.

THANK YOU FOR VISITING!

BRAINPOWDER

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PAPER SURGERY 2

B Paper Surgery

Paper. What a fragile, soft, crumpled and easyburning word. If paper sounds almost outdated, as old as stone or bone, it’s because it has been displaced by the digital efficiency of glass. Our fingertips run on its surface, tapping on contents which magically pop up, slide, zoom and disappear. But none of the content on your tablet, smartphone or computer screen can aspire to the same level of interactivity of paper. Digital content is as fast as a fish you see darting under the translucent icy surface of a frozen lake. We call it “eskimo effect”. You see it but you can’t catch it, unless of course you cut a hole into the ice crust and try to stab it with your harpoon. The access to digital information happens on a sleek, shiny surface that’s also a barrier to deeper understanding. Paper, on the other hand, is  a deep, tridimensional, physical medium you can play with in endless forms.

The Brandpowder Team realized, this time under the supervision of Carlo Muttoni, a series of photocollage that, after photographed,  have been destroyed. This is a selection of pictures inspired by “Paper Surgery”, a theme we already developed before, as a reflection between the evanescence of plastic surgery and ethernal beauty as Nature’s way to endlessly recreate us beyond us.

B Born Again

B Drunkard

B Egoist

B Exhibitionist

B Flatterer

B Flirter

B Inscrutable

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B Prayer

B Smuggler

B Spy

B Whisperer

B carpet ok

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HELVETIA DROP

Helvetia Drop 00

Helvetica is the most widely used typeface in the world. Designed in 1957 by Eduard Hoffmann and Max Alfons Miedinger for Haas Type Foundry in Zurich, it was rapidly adopted by graphic designers, ad agencies and printers worldwide for its clean lines, elegance and great readability. Initially it was called Helvetia but Haas didn’t want this type to by identified with his own Country (Helvetia is the latin name for Switzerland) and the name Helvetica – which means “from Switzerland” was chosen.

The Brandpowder Team, to honour the 56° anniversary of this aesthetic achievement, designed the first open source typeface in the world. It’s called Helvetia Drop, and everybody can use it for free. Here’s how it works: start from the Arial Bold MT Rounded, a free typeface which is identical to Helvetica but bears another name for copyright reasons (don’t ask). Write your text or logo on Illustrator. Then select the outline mode and choose the color of your background (i.e. white, if you want it on a white surface). By giving different thickness to the outline (1 up to 20 points, depending on the size of your type) you’ll be able to reduce the type’s appearance. It will be thinner and smoother, as sand shaped by sea ripples. Its gentle contours convey a sleek, modern look to your text and it’s readable also on small type, even if it’s not suitable for extra small print such as in legal notes or pharmaceutical instructions. That’s all folks!

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Above: popular commercial logos written on Helvetia Drop acquire a new life.

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Above: chromatic torture test. Helvetia Drop is nice also in bright green and pink.

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Above: Monica Turlot, photographer and chief designer for the Helvetia Drop project. The Brandpowder Team celebrated a great moment last week. Monica was nominated for the prestigious Hardon Design Award for Excellence. She’s kind of shy and didn’t want to pose for a picture. We had to catch her by surprise. Nice shot! – she said, but when she found out we used her beloved Hassleblad, she got mad at us. 🙂

LESS TOP MODELS, MORE TOPLESS MODELS.

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We are living in tough times and money is tight like a lemon’s butt.  The Brandpowder Team received a call for help from one of the most celebrated Australian fashion designer, Don Pezzano (who happens also to be an early supporter of Brandpowder and a friend of us). Don asked us to find a reasonable alternative to top models’ ludicrous wages. “They simply ask too much,”  he told us. “And what they do, at the end of the day? Nothing, really. They drink Evian and chain-smoke in the studio, posing in front of a camera with the usual ‘I am unreachable for you’ kind of attitude and, when the photographer is done, they pretend to keep every dress they tried on and, as if this weren’t enough, they make a doggy-bag out of all the food they can put their hands on. These are not models, for God’s sake, these are fucking locusts!”

We calmed Ron down and suggested him to adopt our new technology: Sklwedfr© by Brandpowder. It’s a lousy name – we admit – but at least it’s not on Google. Sklwedfr© is a smart analogic software that creates composite fashion pictures starting from a bio database of 5,000 virtual dolls we created for this purpose. There are endless possibilities and the result is striking: no more models, no more crazy fees, no more ravaged buffets in the studio. Just brilliant, sexy girls who can do everything for nothing.  We are now launching a beta-version of the software and, for the occasion, we are introducing a few samples of Sklwedfr© pictures. Many fashion designers can’t wait to buy our super no-bullshit innovative technology. Sklwedfr© is not going to decree the end of top models and their ridicolous cachets but, after all, even dinosaurs laughed a lot when they bumped into the first mammals.

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DOG GLIDING

DOG GLIDING ad

120 million people suffer from depression all over the world. According to the National Institute of Public Health, 6.7% of U.S. population over 18 experience clinical depression in many forms. What’s worse is the fact depression is contagious and not only people but also animals living in close contact with depressed people, can develop the same symptoms. Unfortunately, while 50% of people receive medical treatment, drugs or social assistance, pets are left to sort out thing on their own. It’s a shame nobody, so far, ever thought to do something about it. After all, dogs are men’s best friends the way diamonds are for girls.  That’s when the Brandpowder Team decided to get in touch with Jeremy T. Lurcher, an ethologist and canine expert from UCLA, to see whether it was possible to help our pets to regain enthusiasm and motivation out of a dog’s life. It has not been an easy task, but in the end we came up with a very simple idea: why not treating dogs like humans? After all they share the same lifestyle of their owners. The next step was to find an exciting activity and, after discarding bungee jumping, scubadiving, group sex and cocaine, we all agreed skydiving was a good point were to start from.

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Above: Stewpot, a veteran with 300 jumps, leaps from a plane at 9,000 ft. The static line opens the small parachute automatically and, after 5 seconds of free fall, the dog quietly glides to the ground. The outfit includes a small radio control and a GPS to monitor the dog’s location in case of distant landings.

DOG GLIDING02

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Above: Pasternak, our beloved black Labrador, touches ground near the Brandpowder Airfield in Montana. Below: Juju, a 4 year old Golden Retriever from Ohio, smiles upon landing on the shore of Lake Isabella, in California.

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Above: U.S. paratroopers asked Brandpowder’s advice for man+dog tandem jumps. Below: Skipper, one of the dogs at last year’s Summer Course, always showed a particular interest for the cockpit.

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Above: Babou, a crazy beagle from France, dressed up to celebrate the first year of Dog Gliding’s activity. Below: Jeremy takes border collie Pippo for a ride on his old Land Rover. Jeremy has been unvaluable in helping us with the Dog Gliding’s project. Without his support we were not going to make it.

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Above: John Shermann, one of our pilots at the Brandpowder Airfield, smiles for the camera. He’s a good guy but we are not sure about his pink scarf. Below: our two veterans, Stewpot and Pasternak, waiting for another ride.

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No animals were armed throughout our activity. Skydiving is a pretty safe sport and we didn’t have a single accident in almost two years. Of course tennis table is a much safer bet, but as far as we know, dogs are not much interested in it.