Category Archives: Art

Rams: a teaser trailer

(Source: Vimeo via David Korchin)

A short teaser for the documentary RAMS, about legendary German designer Dieter Rams. A film by Gary Hustwit (Helvetica, Objectified, Urbanized), with original music by Brian Eno.

hustwit.com/rams

For over fifty years, Dieter Rams has left an indelible mark on the field of product design and the world at large with his iconic work at Braun and Vitsoe. The objects Dieter has designed have touched the lives of millions of people––so many of us have had a Braun coffeemaker, shaver, stereo, calculator, speakers, or alarm clock. Or an Oral-B toothbrush. Or a Vitsoe 606 shelving system. Or any of the hundreds of other products Dieter has designed or overseen the design of. His work has influenced the way most of today’s consumer products look and function.

But one of the most interesting parts of Dieter’s story is that he now looks back on his career with some regret. “If I had to do it over again, I would not want to be a designer,” he has said. “There are too many unnecessary products in this world.” He has long been an advocate for the ideas of environmental consciousness and long-lasting products. RAMS is a design documentary, but it’s also a rumination on consumerism, materialism, and sustainability. Dieter’s philosophy is about more than just design, it’s a about a way to live. It’s about getting rid of distractions and visual clutter, and just living with what you need.

The film is currently in production as will be released later in 2018.

Click here to view on Vimeo.

A carpenter “who carves vintage radio sets”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kim Elliott, who shares the following story from the Odisha Sun Times:

Bhubaneswar: Only a lucky few get to live and breathe their passion and Rajendra Sahu, a carpenter, is one of them.

From Odisha’s capital city of Bhubaneswar, Sahu steals time to give shape to his imagination. He has been carving radios of varied shapes and sizes since past decade-and-half.

“I make radios just because it makes me happy. I return from work by 7 pm and start with the daily ritual of making radio,” said Rajendra. He prepares the cabinet with plywood, sunmica and cane whereas the circuit board is affixed from discarded ones.

“It takes around five days to assemble a radio. I browse through online sites looking for designs,” said Rajendra, who also collects antique radio sets from various parts of Odisha.

“I grew up listening to the radio. There’s a charm to it that the gadgets today fail to deliver. My father too was very fond of them. He would make radios, but I learnt to make them by myself,” he added.[…]

Continue reading the full story at the Odisha Sun Times.

“Empire of the Air” – a history of radio broadcasting

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike Hansgen, who notes that Ken Burns’ film, Empire of the Air is now streaming on YouTube. This impressive documentary was originally broadcast in 1992.  The following is a summary taken from the Empire of the Air website:

For 50 years radio dominated the airwaves and the American consciousness as the first “mass medium.” In Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio, Ken Burns examines the lives of three extraordinary men who shared the primary responsibility for this invention and its early success, and whose genius, friendship, rivalry and enmity interacted in tragic ways. This is the story of Lee de Forest, a clergyman’s flamboyant son, who invented the audion tube; Edwin Howard Armstrong, a brilliant, withdrawn inventor who pioneered FM technology; and David Sarnoff, a hard-driving Russian immigrant who created the most powerful communications company on earth.

Against the backdrop of radio’s “Golden Age,” Empire of the Air relates the history of radio through archival photographs, newsreels of the period and interviews with such well-known radio personalities as Garrison Keillor, the late sports commentator Red Barber, radio dramatist Norman Corwin and the late broadcast historian Erik Barnouw.

As with many videos on YouTube, this film could be removed at any time without warning. I suggest watching this soon:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Can you ID this radio in “Diamonds Are Forever”–?

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Chris, who writes:

Last weekend, I watched a few old James Bond movies and this caught my attention when Blofeld was listening to a shortwave broadcast:

Can anyone identify this radio?

Post readers: Please comment if you can ID this radio model!

Dan spots shortwave radios in the film “Operation Chromite”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Hawkins, who writes:

Operation Chromite (2016) is a South Korean film about the invasion of Inchon by UN forces in September, 1950. This film began streaming on Netflix in the USA on January 15, 2018 and is in the Korean and English languages. The English language subtitles run automatically. This story is inspired by actual events during the Korean War. Under the command of General Douglas MacArthur UN Forces, CIA, the South Korean military and the covert Korean Liaison Office infiltrate Inchon a week before the invasion. Their mission is intel, reconnaissance and disruption. They will operate behind enemy lines in North Korean uniforms.

I gave this movie a try for several reasons. I enjoy Korean movies. The role of General MacArthur is played by Liam Neeson (of all people) and this looked like a good bet for spotting some vintage military radios. I was right about the radios.

Captain Jang Hak-Soo and his seven infiltrators arrive for their first night in Inchon. Remember, they are posing as North Koreans. The radio they have packed along is a Russian RBM. This transceiver has distinctive dual magnifying lenses over the dials.

Click to enlarge.

General MacArthur is in the radio room at his Tokyo headquarters. He issues orders for the KLO to locate any naval mines placed in Inchon harbor. The radio in this scene is a complete AN/GRC-3. I am surprised to see this as it is a 24VDC vehicular radio set (a 115VAC power supply was available). I expected to see some brand spanking-new Collins R-390s or Hammarlund SP-600s for the General. Maybe he has another radio room at HQ. I could be wrong about this.

Click to enlarge.

The final radio is seen behind enemy lines and is the same AN/GRC-3 seen in Tokyo. This time a KLO operative is using it.

Click to enlarge.

Operation Chromite held my attention for the reasons given above. The historical accuracy is more dramatic than documentary but is not too far off the mark.

Being a fan of military receivers, I really appreciate these screen grabs from Operation Chromite, Dan! Thanks for sharing! I’ll add this find to our growing archive of radios in film.