Images of inspiration: The visual genealogy of Kon, Jodorowsky and Friedrich

Watch this video essay by Tony Zhou about filmmaker and animator Satoshi Kon (h/t Robin Sloan on Snarkmarket).

First off, Zhou’s piece is absolutely wonderful.

One thing I find particularly fascinating is when you’re shown the original scene and a scene inspired by it — e.g. Inception and Black Swan.

The documentary “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” which I watched last weekend thanks to Sandro Mairata, offers similar examples in the context of science fiction, which are mentioned near the end of the trailer (1:42) — e.g. Alien, Blade Runner and The Matrix.

It also reminds me of “The 19th Century Painting That Most Blockbuster Movie Posters Are Based On.”

Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich
Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich (Courtesy Wikipedia)

It would be awesome to have a tool that maps the genealogy of visual imagery. Maybe something to incorporate into the Visipedia project.

Tell me: What are some other works that reveal the visual inspiration of a painting or a movie scene?

This piece is based on my comment on Robin’s Snarkmarket post.

Seinfeld’s “nothing” and John Cage’s “silence”

Seinfeld called itself a “show about nothing.” The following video (via Lauren Rabaino) captures this cleverly by compiling moments of “nothing.”

As I watched, the stark “nothingess” compressed together in such a literal way reminded me of John Cage‘s concept of “silence.”

The experimental composer’s piece 4’33” is generally referred to as his “silent” piece. But, like Seinfeld, it is — despite its label — not silent at all.
For Cage, it’s about the shifting the focus from the performer to the audience and sounds of the environment in which the piece is performed.

With the general Seinfeld-Cage connection in mind, I thought:

Doing a quick search after this, I found that Joel Garten previously made a similar connection in a piece about MoMA’s current Cage exhibit.

As a longtime Seinfeld fan and someone who visited that Cage earlier this year, I never made the connection until sparks by that video.

Searching further, I found the connection to be even stronger when I stumbled across Cage’s 1949 “Lectures on Nothing:”

I have nothing to say and I am saying it


Let me know if you’ve seen anything about this connection before. I’d be very interested to read more or hear your thoughts.

P.S. Speaking of Cage, who used indeterminacy (a.k.a. chance operations) in his music, I’m also very interested to know if anyone has written about chance in Mallarmé’s poem Un coup de des as it relates to Forrest Gump: