Personal space, something that’s cherished in the United States, is put to the test in Brooklyn-based artist George Ferrandi’s series, I Felt Like I Knew You. This site-specific performance features Ferrandi on the crowded New York City subway. In her words, she transforms the space between two people from being stiff and guarded to something that resembles a space friends would share. Essentially, she sits in a packed subway car, rests her head on a stranger’s shoulders, and documents what happens through iPhone videos shot by Angela Gilland.
Not surprisingly, not everyone is receptive to Ferrandi’s invasion of their “personal bubble.” Some people wake her up or passive aggressively move their shoulder. Some, however, just let her rest. In an interview with Katherine Brooks of the Huffington Post, Ferrandi was asked if she learned anything from the project. Her response:
For me, this piece taps into the mystery and fragility of how we relate and communicate to each other as human animals, full of signs secret even to ourselves. It’s given me a deeper understanding of the way New Yorkers evolve to maintain their privacy in public spaces. We carry our energy so closely. We’re often pressed up against each other on the train with a kind of “I wish I wasn’t touching you” energy that is invisible but respected. This is part of why so many people are touched by a photo of one man resting his head on the shoulder of another; it challenges a preconception about tenderness between strangers, especially in New York. And it offers a tiny counterpoint to the Culture of Fear being cultivated in America.
All images are stills from iPhone videos. They make you ponder how you would act if Ferrandi put her head on your shoulder. Would you engage her or move your shoulder? (Via Huffington Post)
Microbiologist Christina Agapakis and scent artist Sissel Tolaas‘ science-meets-art project “Self Made” seeks to challenge the way we think about microbes, scent, and the nature of disgust. Most cheese is made by taking milk and spoiling it with the bacteria, Lactobacillus. This bacteria transform milk sugars into acid, causing it to coagulate. The chunks are removed from the liquid and aged with specific yeast that creates specific cheeses. Lactobacillus and yeast can be found all around us, including our own skin. Agapakis and Tolaas take microbes from people’s skin – like Michael Pollan’s belly button or artist Olafur Eliasson’s tears – and add them to milk in order to create a human microbial cheese portrait (a cheese selfie?).
“The idea was to recognize, how do we get grossed out? Then to think about it and move beyond that initial idea of disgust,” Agapakis says. “Why are we more uncomfortable with bacteria on the body than we are with bacteria in cheese?”
From the artists’ statement, “Many of the stinkiest cheeses are hosts to species of bacteria closely related to the bacteria responsible for the characteristic smells of human armpits or feet. Can knowledge and tolerance of bacterial cultures in our food improve tolerance of the bacteria on our bodies? How do humans cultivate and value bacterial cultures on cheeses and fermented foods? How will synthetic biology change with a better understanding of how species of bacteria work together in nature as opposed to the pure cultures of the lab?”
Photographer Lincoln Clarkes examines the street corners of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to expose moments in the lives of over 400 female heroin addicts over the course of five years.
It began when Clarkes took a photograph of his long-time friend, Leah, “shooting up” against the backdrop of a Calvin Klein billboard starring Kate Moss- and interesting juxtaposition indeed.
“Heroines” captures the bleak realities of female addicts within the city. Clarkes exposes the physical and emotional scars of women whom inhabited a space were death was always nearby. Although the images are disturbing in many levels, it is hard to ignore Clarkes’ attempt to make the women shine through a different kind of light, perhaps a positive one, where their vulnerability brings forth an unusual kind of beauty. The photos serves as a kind of a tableau vivant of unwitnessed experiences in the social history of the Vancouver city life. (via Huff Post Exposure)
Beautiful/Decay has partnered with premiere artist portfolio building platform Made With Color to bring you some of the most exciting contemporary artists working today. Made With Color allows you to create a website that is professional and easy to use with just a few clicks and no coding. If that’s not enough all Made With Color sites are optimized for mobile and tablet viewing so you’re site looks perfect no matter how it’s being viewed. This week we are happy bring you the work of Portland based artist and Made With Color user Wendy Red Star.
Over the course of her practice, Wendy Red Star has worked within and between the mediums of photography, sculpture, installation, performance and design. Red Star’s multilayered work influences are drawn from her tribal background (Crow Nation), daily surroundings, aesthetic experiences, collected snapshots of moments of the past and present, and stories that are both real and imagined. Through her photographs and sculpture a new cosmos is built, simultaneously urban-rural and high-low, conveying ideas through representations created from suggested associations of seemingly diverse sites, objects and ideas. HUD houses, rez cars, three legged dogs, powwow culture, indigenous commoditization, and Red Star’s personal collection of memories growing up as a half-breed on the Crow Indian reservation are used to excite a response in a form that can be experienced by others.
The work represents an insider/outsider view that is rich with complexity and contradiction. Red Star’s unruly approach examines the consumptive exposure of a cross section of American cultures while also being a meditation on her own identity. Her works explore the intersection between life on the reservation and the world outside of that environment. Red Star thinks of herself as a cultural archivist speaking sincerely about the experience of being a Crow Indian in contemporary society.
Light painting is a photographic technique created by moving a hand-held light source, or the camera, to create images via a long exposure. Artists experimented with the technique beginning in the early 20th century. One artist who uses light in performance is San Francisco artist Eric Staller. He creates and captures vibrant images. Michael Bosanko is another artist who uses light to create art. Using colored torches the way one might use a paintbrush, he captures the images using a long exposure.
Taking the idea to a new level, contemporary graffiti artists are also experimenting with light technology. Lichtfaktor is a collective of light painting artists, performers, photographers and media artists who are constantly pioneering into new territories of expression. Lichtfaktor artists use light, painting photography, media art installations and interactive media performances that blend into an exciting experience. Daniel Lisson, for example, is a designer, illustrator and artist from Cologne, Germany. His Monster Show consisted of a selection of light paintings done at a factory in Cologne. Also in Germany, Graffiti Research Lab is another collective that uses technology to create street art. Using objects like “LED throwies,” these artists engage new media for urban communication.
The surreal photographs by Christopher McKenney are haunting, as a (mostly) faceless figure interacts with a deserted environment. The desaturated images are shot in the middle of the woods, a corn field, a lake, and back country roads. Sometimes, we see a ghost. Other times, a man is lit on fire. Whatever the situation, McKenney crafts a quietly desperate image.
The photographer recently told art blog iGNANT that he one day found himself in the woods with nothing but a sheet, chair, and frame. He placed the sheet over his head and photoshopped his body out. He tells iGnant, I like taking away identity when photographing and to leave people thinking. “I only make the photos I do to express myself and what other people see or think is up to them, as long as I make them feel anything I’m ok with that.”
Personally, I experience cognitive dissonance when looking at McKenney’s work. I find a lot of these images disturbing yet beautifully composed.. For instance, the photo Fragile Perspective (above) features someone with a burning box over their head. Formally, the colors are rich and the orange of the fire is stunning against the blues, browns, and grays. But, then I study the content of the photograph and realize that it depicts someone who is essentially set on fire.
Not all of McKenney’s photographs are like that. Other times, they are simply whimsical and nonsensical. In Let Go, a suitcase with a balloon tied to the handle stays on the ground as its owner floats away. Another photograph has a chair in an empty field with a pair of hands (only hands, no body), infinitely holding a mirror. It’s these photographs I enjoy more – ones that are odd, but don’t communicate utter despair. (Via iGNANT)
Hiroko Kubota is a prolific embroiderer whose latest project of embroidering cats onto dress shirts has caused the cat-loving internet community to swoon. Kubota stitches cats who peek over and through shirt pockets and openings, giving plain dress shirts an adorable and unique accent. Her project began when her son – a cat-lover and collector of internet cat images – requested that she embroider some cats from his collection onto some shirts she made for him. After posting her work on the internet, her project quickly became popular and of high demand. Kubota then decided to put some of her shirts up for sell on Etsy, but her handiwork could not keep up with the demand – even at a hefty price tag of $250-300 apiece. Kubota also embroiders other figures, such as fish, Pokemon characters, dogs, and flowers onto a variety of objects. You can check out more images of her work on Flickr. (via colossal)
Korean artist group Everyware (Hynwoo Bang and Yunsil Heo) recreates the sky and its clouds as part of an interactive installation on the ceiling of a Korean exhibition space, the Savina Gallery.
Cloud Pink, a multi-media project, serves a pseudo sky pool in which you can touch and interact with the color, shapes and sizes of clouds. The work is composed of a fabric screen, and an interactive software; the two work together to create a believable yet whimsical recreation of the clouds on the sky.
“Today, I visualize my colorful cloud of words right in front of your eyes. Touch the pink clouds drifting on a giant fabric screen, reminisce your childhood clouds of dreams. I spent countless sleepless nights just to realize my unproductive and only romantic cloud of words. But, isn’t it nice if we could feel the clouds at our fingertips?”