Russian

Rule of Three

 
 

Balls

directed by Nicolai Fuglsig
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The fingerpicking of an acoustic guitar, soft slides squeaking on strings. A residential hill in San Francisco, seen from above, birds flying by. A telegraph pole, a fire hydrant. Then, a trio of bouncing balls, bounding down the pavement in slow motion. They are soon joined by thousands more, descending the slope in colourful flurries, off car bonnets and rooftops, slowing to a bob to gather in the gutter at the bottom. A dog watches in interest, a frog leaps from a drainpipe in surprise, a dustbin is upturned. At times, the translucent spheres soaring past seem to hover in the air, gaudy orbs buzzing in a cloud of activity.

Words by John Wadsworth


Kitchen Garden

by Sophia Parnok
Poem

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The narrator of ‘Kitchen Garden’ tackles the hardships of horticulture. Blisters and calluses mark hands and feet. Roots are torn from earth. A shovel struggles with desiccated dirt, splitting apart the salty soil so that seeds can be sown, and lives grown. The land and the planter fight, neither prepared to retreat, the ‘atavistic vengefulness’ of one met with the lively cry of the other: ‘I will out-stubborn your stubbornness!’ Come spring, the effort will prove itself worthwhile. A pumpkin will ‘loose her serpent tresses’, ‘sprightly peas’ will curl. Even now, clammy spine running with sweat, the protagonist experiences the sensation of victory.

Words by John Wadsworth


Stacking

developed by Double Fine Productions
Video game

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As the smallest in a family of matryoshka dolls, Charlie Blackmore is the only one not required to work. His siblings have been forced into child labour, and it falls to Charlie to save them. Fortunately, his diminutive size means that he can hop inside other dolls, using their varied skill sets to solve the series of puzzles that stand in his way. Humour lights up the sooty setting; fans can be used for circulating noxious odours, while soupy sneezes are effective at inducing infections. Narrative asides are told in the style of a silent film, complete with grainy intertitles. Left to investigate this absurd world, we find that the fun foibles soon start to stack up.

Words by John Wadsworth


More to discover

Balls: You can watch the advertisement here, and view a making-of video here. Jennifer Faull has discussed the ad with Sony's Mikio Nakazawa for The Drum. You can also find the following ads on the Sony BRAVIA website: 'Paint', 'Play-Doh', and 'Petals'.

Kitchen Garden: You can read the poem, along with many other works by Sophia Parnok, on the website of translator Arlindo Correia. You can also read an excerpt from Diana Lewis Burgin's biography of the poet on Google Books.

Stacking: You can view the trailer here. Many playthroughs of the game are available on YouTube. Scott Juster has written an article about the game, titled 'Nested Design in Stacking', for PopMatters.


Today's connection

Sophia Parnok was a Russian poet, known as ‘Russia’s Sappho’. ‘Balls’ was filmed on Russian Hill, San Francisco. Stacking features matryoshka dolls, also known as Russian dolls.


Question of the day

Which artworks connected to the word 'Russian' would you recommend?
Let us know on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

Piano Sonata No. 5, a composition by Galina Ustvolskaya, a dissonant piece formed from economical counterpoint and crunching chord clusters. (→)

– John Wadsworth, Silent Frame's Editor-in-Chief (via Patreon →)


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