Field of Infinity 🛰

Shuffle Sundays #22 • The Mitchells vs The Machines, Pursuit of Happiness, Rafael Aflalo, Reuben Wu, and more.

Hello and welcome to Shuffle Sundays, a weekly curated list of content I thought was worth sharing with more people.

This week we’re following actor Ravi Patel seeking answers to life's universal questions, joining the Mitchells family on a crazy road trip, get some personal recommendations from our guest Rafael Aflalo, get lost into the out-of-this-world work from photographer Reuben Wu, and more. Enjoy the read!

🎧 Soundtrack: This is Beastie Boys

📺 Pursuit of Happiness

{something to watch • tv-series, 1 season}

You may remember Ravi Patel from the great 2014 documentary Meet the Patels, about an Indian-American young man getting help from his family to start looking for a wife in the traditional Indian way.

Fast forward to 2020, in Pursuit of Happiness we follow Ravi Patel, as he travels the world seeking answers to life's universal questions. Throughout 4 episodes (I wish there were many more), Ravi brings his own parents to Mexico to learn about the life of retirees there, takes his wife to discuss overparenting in Japan, explores the workaholic life in South Korea with a friend, and visits Denmark to understand the challenges immigrants are facing there in current times.

It’s a joyful and (most times) funny take on modern life. A perfect break in between so much content with heavier subjects out there.

Available on HBO Max | Watch the trailer on YouTube

🎬 The Mitchells vs The Machines

{something to watch • movie, 113 minutes}

Looks like the run for the 2022 Oscars has officially started, at least in the animation department. As much as I love most of Pixar’s films, next year they will have another serious contender.

Produced by Sony Pictures Animation, which in 2018 gave us the extraordinary Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (one of my favorite movies of all time), The Mitchells vs The Machines follows the story of a quirky family who finds themselves in the middle of a robot apocalypse while just trying to get going with a family road trip. The synopsis may sound silly and unappealing, especially if you’re not into animated movies, to begin with, but I promise that there’s so much more than that.

Besides the incredible visuals and great soundtrack, there’s a lot on the script to uncover, if you’re willing to go a little deeper, with discussions surrounding family, relationships, modern life, and especially our addictions to electronics and social media. It’s a fun ride, to say the least!

Available on Netflix | Watch the trailer on Netflix

📣 Shuffle Guest: Rafael Aflalo

Once a month I bring a guest to feature their work and share some of their recommendations with you. Check the previous one here.

🗣 » Tell us a bit about yourself: Originally from Brazil, I’m an animator based in East London (a shout to Hackney and surroundings!). Rather than honing a recognizable visual style, I tend to approach projects by exploring unexpected solutions. Examples include a digital graphic novel made from sequential looping GIFs (A Space Tale); a music video where the recording speed constantly changes while maintaining lip sync (Bugalu); a stop-motion animation using only a string of chain (Billy and Charley); a light installation controlled by an Arduino board depicting a flying bird soaring five feet from the ground (Electric Wings); and a music video sourcing only images from the NASA photo archive (Before the Sun). My most ambitious project is yet to come though, in the form of our first kid, due to the end of the year.

📚 » Book: Beastie Boys Book - I first came across this book when a musician friend strongly recommended it to me. “It’s one of those big coffee-table books that are actually worth reading, not just flipping through”, he said. Boy, he was right! At the height of their popularity, the Beasties realized they hated what the record industry was pushing them to become, and were willing to risk losing all if that meant remaining true to themselves. The result of such a gamble is what made them the legends they came to be. Unlike biographies on seemingly autistic artists that materialize creative thoughts of thin air (well, maybe Adam “MCA” Yauch a little) from whom you can’t really take lessons from, this book is an honest report on how great art is made by iterative experimenting, staying true to oneself, and most of all, having fun while doing it. I now have a copy of 1989’s Paul’s Boutique vinyl hanging on my wall as a reminder of that.

🎙 » Podcast: Rabbit Hole - An eye-opening 8 episodes series made by the New York Times on how social media lead users into small clusters, effectively shutting out all diversity of thought, and ultimately fanaticize people who otherwise would not be radicalized. Primarily focused on YouTube, the show leads the listener down the rabbit hole of an algorithm designed to maximize playback time by suggesting more and more addictive unfiltered content. 

📺 » Tv-Series: For All Mankind (Apple TV+) - This is probably the most overlooked show on streaming at the moment. There, I’ve said it. The show follows the Space Race era, but with a twist: The Soviets got to the Moon first. The series of events that follows leads humankind to an alternate future where politics, science, and technology take different turns from what we’ve witnessed unfolding. Season two has just wrapped and I can’t wait to watch some more.

🕹 » Video Game: The Last of Us Part 2 (PS4) - Earlier this year I finally got around to play The Last of Us Part II (yeah, the pandemic, at last, pushed me to get my first Playstation). Moving past the obvious gorgeous graphics one comes to expect from modern blockbuster games, what really sets this game apart from the competition is its majestic narrative and superb acting. The screenplay features truly three-dimensional characters (no pun intended!) that go far beyond the good/evil conflict we are used to in mass entertainment. Tiptoeing around spoilers, this game forces you over and over again to take despicable actions in order to progress the story, only to have to face the consequences of such deeds on a very personal level down the road. The only problem is that now the bar has been set too high, and all other games I’ve tried since look naive.

Learn more about Rafael and check out his work on his website or Instagram.

⚡️ Something to Inspire

Reuben Wu is a British photographer, director, and music producer. His project “Field of Infinity” combines landscape photography with light painting in a spectacular way. Check out his website or Instagram for more. Here are some favorites:

« all images © Reuben Wu » website | Instagram

💽 New Music

{something to listen to • albums & singles}

This week I'm particularly interested in checking the new albums from Black Midi, Edgar, Kele, and Tuyo. Also, new tracks from half•alive, Spiritbox, The Maine, Young Lights, and many more. If you’re curious to hear some of these songs and more, make sure to follow my 2021 playlist on Spotify, updated weekly with new releases:

👋🏼 See you next Sunday

My name is Leo Mascaro and you are receiving this email because you signed up for Shuffle Sundays, a weekly curated list of content I thought was worth sharing with more people. If this email was forwarded to you, subscribe using the box below:

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