About Nathaniel Smith

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Moving Monument To Terror Victims Can Be Seen From Space

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On Tuesday, September 19th, 1989, UTA Flight 772, a French airline Union des Transports Aériens plane had a scheduled flight plan from Brazzaville in the People’s Republic of Congo, to N’Djamena in Chad, with a final destination of Paris CDG airport in France. The flight would end in tragedy, as a terrorist bomb went off near the front of the plane, causing a massive crash over the Sahara Desert near the town of Ténéré in Niger. All 155 passengers and 15 crew members on-board died.

The details of the memorial dedicated to terror victims of the crash has been filing around the internet recently, and was fantastically covered by a (uncredited?) writer at Viral Nova. “Eighteen years later, families of the victims gathered at the crash site to build a memorial. Due to the remoteness of the location, pieces of the wreckage could still be found at the site. The memorial was created by Les Familles de l’Attentat du DC-10 d’UTA, an association of the victims’ families along with the help of local inhabitants. The memorial was built mostly by hand and uses dark stones to create a 200-foot diameter circle. The Ténéré region is one of the most inaccessible places on the planet. The stones were trucked to the site from over 70 kilometers away. The memorial was built over the course of two months in May and June of 2007.”

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Alice Aycock’s Exceptional Architectural Drawings

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Alice Aycock is mostly known for her important oeuvre of sculptural and installation works, which have spanned decades and include exhibitions at some of the most important cultural institutions around the world. Aycock, however, is also a master draftswoman, creating works on paper that problem-solve her idea of “nonfunctional architecture,” often taking on forms reminiscent of diagrams and blueprints. As Aycock eloquently explains, the medium and its strengths are vastly different in 2 and 3-Dimensions - “Drawings aren’t bound by the physical—the imagination can run freely.

These sumptuously drawn pieces offer a new realm of possibilities, not simply tied to her sculptural works, but also a visual representation of how the artist’s mind and complex process unfolds. “Viewers are accustomed to seeing Ms. Aycock’s work in its final form, large-scale installations and outdoor sculptures, but her drawings show a mind at work, solving problems and breaking new ground. They also provide further evidence of her ideas and sources, offering clues to their meaning.”

Part of the exhibition series, ALICE AYCOCK Drawings: SOME STORIES ARE WORTH REPEATING, these drawings can be seen in a two-part drawing retrospective, the first of which was Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, NY and the Grey Art Gallery at New York University. The Exhibition then travels to University Art Museum at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA January 25th – April 19th, 2014. (via butdoesitfloat)

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Aleksandra Domanović Striking Paper-Stack Prints

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Aleksandra Domanović deals with sculpture that echoes monuments from the past from her native (former) Yugoslavia. While some sculptures take on more traditional forms of post-Communist leaders, the Berlin-based artist also began experimenting with unique materials in her work. 19:30 Stacks was created by piling size A3 and A4 paper with photos printed on their sides with ink-jet printing. First creating a massive PDF file of a photo, Domanović set the printer to ‘border-less print’ setting, which coated the ends of each paper, and when stacked upon each other, revealed the finished image.

For a time this work was open-sourced so that anyone could make one for themselves by downloading the file (now broken), printing it out, and then placing it between 1500 empty pages on the top and bottom of the printed stack. According to her artist statement, Domanović’s “work focuses on profound social and media-technological transformations, and their interdependence. Some of her projects give form to the relationships of meaning imposed by archival models. Others suggest alternate models that draw on her observations of shared memory and feelings of community. Domanovic uses material related to her autobiography — the television, music, and monumental art of Yugoslavia — as well as materials that claim transcendence of the personal and national, such as Getty Images’ database of stock photography and (on the blog Vvork, which she co-edits) international contemporary art production.” (via u1u11)

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Alex Chinneck’s Incredible House Complete With Sliding Exterior

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Alex Chinneck is a London-based artist and designer, recently responsible for an installation that cleverly combines both disciplines. In Margate, a tiny town in Kent, England, a dilapidated home in the Cliftoncille district which had laid in ruins for months has been transformed. By remodeling the brick exterior and exposing the building’s top floor, Chinneck has altered the facade of the building to look as though it has become a single sheet and slid from the rest of the house.

Playfully titled From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toe, Chinneck extends his experimentation for surreal constructions and alterations of ordinary buildings (past projects include 312 identically smashed windows near the Olympic Stadium, and a melting brick wall). In an interview with Dezeen, Chinneck stated I just feel this incredible desire to create spectacles, I wanted to create something that used the simple pleasures of humour, illusion and theatre to create an artwork that can be understood and enjoyed by any onlooker.

Chinneck goes on to state some intentions of the piece, though admits they mostly have come after the piece’s construction. “It has social issues, it struggles with high levels of crime and the grand architecture has fallen into a fairly fatigued state,” says Chinneck, “I increasingly like that idea of exposing the truth and the notion of superficiality,” he explained. “I didn’t go into the project with that idea, but as it evolved I started to like that.

From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toe can be seen at  1 Godwin Road, Cliftonville, Margate UK, until October 2014, when it will again be turned into residential housing.

(via ignant and dezeen)

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Brian Luong’s Month-long Halloween-Themed Drawing Marathon

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Day 29 – Ghoul

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Day 26 – Vampire

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Day 30 – Pumpkin

Let’s face it, sometimes artists need a little extra motivation to keep creating and challenging themselves. Based on the Drawing-a-Day style exercise, Drawlloween (generally hash-tagged so each artist’s daily offering can easily be searched on social media sites) is the month of October equivalent where artists and illustrators test their skills and dedication. Illustrator Brian Luong has taken this challenge, and come out with a completely cohesive and solid body of Halloween-themed work. The Southern California-based Luong has gone beyond mere renderings of each instructional prompt (list below), creating dark narratives that add necessary darkness, mystery and visual heft to each drawing.

Although Luong’s portfolio shows a range of strengths typical of most illustrators, Luong’s muted palate, tight hatching and large areas of shading have become more focused and with the project. On the eve of the project’s culminating date of Halloween, the drawings have developed their own distinct, chalky, monochromatic style. Dark shadows have became longer, and scenes of street stalking vampires, discovered corpses and goblin-carved pumpkins became more imaginative than most other participants. Luong’s final Drawlloween piece should be posted today, Halloween, on his Tumblr. 

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Ye Chang’s Metamorphic Installation Of 10,000 Petri Dishes

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Chinese architect Ye Chang‘s Kong Shanshui/Empty Shanshui is a naturally transforming installation consisting of over 10,000 petri dishes. Part of the “Pavilion of China – Architecture China 2013” exhibition, which recently opened at the Palacio Quintanar in the Segovia, Spain, the piece has a unique, changing quality. The base of the installation consists of layers of white stones which fill the ancient palace’s courtyard, echoing peaceful, meditative gardens. On top of the stones are piles or gatherings of petri dishes, some ten thousand in total, stacked in various forms, resembling miniature hills, mountains and rock formations.

According to Sue Wang at Cafa Art Info, the installation transforms at different stages of the day, citing firsthand that, “…there is dew in the petri dishes in the morning; light is gentle in the morning and the glass is transparent; when there is direct sunlight at noon, the installation is entirely placed in the sun, strongly reflecting, which is in contrast to the dry surrounding environment, making people feel cool; the setting sun is blocked by the house in the evening, so the glass reflects the light from the sky, seen as backlit, it looks like the scales of a huge creature stranded on the beach, with rich tones; the whole glass hills is self-luminous at night, producing a transition effect changing from semi darkness to darkness.”  This daily, natural transformation of the installation not only is a quickly-viewable message of transition, but it’s meditative qualities also call to attention how both art and architecture can effect a viewer’s ability to feel at peace in a home, garden or museum experience.  (via myampgoesto11 and CAFA Art Info)

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Ben Sandler Transforms The Painted Desert Into Futuristic Architecture

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Photographer Ben Sandler (previously here) has applied his fascination with the desert landscapes outside of Phoenix, Arizona into an unearthly yet oddly remindful new photoseries titled Badlands. Conceived with and digitally constructed by Zeitguised, the photographic images of Sandler are transformed into something otherwordly. According to Sandler’s statement of the Badlands project, “The Painted Desert – as it is known – is a land full of the remnants of a previously lush and fertile environment, now dried up and succumbed to the harshness of the arid atmosphere and unforgiving sun. The sweeping colors, immense spread of land, mountains eroding into flowing waves of sand and pebble – indeed, it seems that it is a glimpse from another world.”

The photoseries, made in collaboration from Arizona, Berlin and Paris, combines simulated digital models which further explore the haunting landscapes, reinterpreting the “the geologic phenomenology of the fantastical land“. This collaborative process seems imperative to both the blended natural and unnatural aesthetic of project, as well as the message developed from it. “Within this process, an aesthetic language is developed – one that interpolates between the inorganic substrates of the prehistoric landscape, with the organic and tectonic structures embedded within. Based on image analysis and observation, the project circumvents the dichotomy of the real and the fake, as it combines the two in imagery that is taking cues from itself – iterating an image transformation based on its original recording.”

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Mark Dorf’s Beautiful Juxtapositions Of Technology And Nature

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Photographer Mark Dorf‘s photoseries //_Path is an exploration of how technology and encroaching singularity affect our relationship and place in the natural world. The Brooklyn-based artist notes “…there is barely a single situation that is not influenced by digital technology and communication through the World Wide Web – the Internet and digital technology has been integrated into nearly every part of our lives and will only continue to become more and more present in our daily routines.”

//_Path seeks to explore this integration in its most visual form; combining bucolic and lush photography with images from collage, digital photographs and renderings, and early 3D scanning techniques. These symbolically-loaded, technologically-sourced alterations serve to represent a “…synthetic form to contrast against the landscape in which they are manifested; a comparison of language.”

Though Dorf is certainly not the only artist working with juxtapositions of technology and the natural world, his work specifically calls attention to the psychological and sociological damage our dependence on the tools we depend on, which once served us and now control us. Acknowledging that this dilemma too is human nature, Dorf seems to call for a combination of understanding: an existence both within the frameworks of our digital lives, and within our natural environment. Dorf explains, “It is no longer about logging on or off, but rather living within and creating harmony with the realms and constructs of the internet for our newest generation of inhabitants.” 

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