The story of photographer Rebecca Litchfield’s traveling to the ruins of the old Soviet Union reads like an adventure tale. As she and her guides were in the midst of exploring abandoned buildings and monuments, they were discovered by authorities. She explains:
Not many explorers travel to Russia where the rules are very different, locations are heavily guarded and a strong military presence exists everywhere. There are serious consequences for getting caught. We managed to stay hidden for all of the trip, we maximised our stealthiness, ducking and diving into bushes and sneaking past sleeping security. But on day three our good fortune ran out as we visited a top secret radar installation. After walking through the forest, mosquitoes attacking us from all directions, we saw the radar and made our way towards it, but just metres away suddenly we were joined by military and they weren’t happy…
Litchfield risked radiation exposure, experienced arrest and interrogation, and was accused of espionage as she shot this series of stunning photographs. They depict areas of abandonment – forgotten monuments, peeling paint, a places where nature has taken over. The photographer offers many haunting sights never seen before by western eyes.
These images were comprised into a book entitled Soviet Ghosts. They were all taken by Litchfield, while essays and articles by Professor Owen Evans and Neil Cockwill from Edge Hill University and Tristi Brownett.
Facebook cover photos don’t just have to be a photo of your grandma or a view from your last vacation. When done correctly, they’re an art form. Like user Nikki, for instance. She’s taken these images to the next level and combined her cover photo and profile picture into often-hilarious pairings. Nikki takes on personas like Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad, Daenerys of Game of Thrones fame, in addition to appearing Jurassic Park, and throwing a football with Johnny of The Room (a personal favorite).
The key to Nikki’s success is believability. Not that she’s actually Jesse or that she’s affiliated with Sherlock, but that between cover photo and image, they both line up. She took the time to get the colors and costumes correct, and it’s seemed to have paid off. Nikki has won the admiration of the Internet with her unique spin. (Via Gizmodo)
From afar, it’s unclear what this billowing, cloud-like sculpture is made of. Up close, however, you can see that it’s comprised of various plastic bottles that are strung together in round, pleasing shape. New York-based architects and designers STUDIO KCA collected a combination of one gallon jugs, 16 and 24-ounce bottles and compiled them into this ethereal, massive structure. In total, the installation titled Head in the Clouds is made from 53,780 containers to represent the amount of trash that’s thrown away in New York City in just one hour.
Beneath the cloud’s exterior is a small seating/dreaming pavilion that accommodates up to 50 people. It’s meant for visitors to contemplate the light and color filtering through the cloud, as well as our consumption problem and the impact on the environment. Sand, water, and a curved aluminum frame prove the structural integrity.
Head in the Clouds made its debut last year on New York’s Governor’s Island. The stay was temporary, and the studio is now looking for its next home. (Via Colossal)
What are you going to do when you’re retired? Will you tinker in your garage, enjoy making crafts, or go on giant sight-seeing trips? Photographer Harry Griffin paints portraits of old age in his series titled Gold Coast. Dentures, wrinkled hands, and an easy chair, and more showcase a quiet-yet-luxurious existence in a sunny place like South Florida.
The vividly-colored images are cropped compositions that are bizarre in the framing. Although we know that we’re looking at retirement, it’s hard to glean a lot of information about what we’re seeing. So, a guy taking out his dentures wrapped in green plastic is equal parts amusing and confusing. It doesn’t seem that different than the act of getting old itself – moving towards a life of easy living while at the same time finding yourself doing ridiculous-looking things to keep up comfortable and entertained. (Via La Monda)
A giant red ball has traveled the globe for the past 13 years. Aptly called the RedBall Project, it’s stopped in cities from Paris to Perth and is currently stationed in Rennes, France at the historic Place de la Mairie. It’s there from July 3rd to July 9th as part of the Les Tombées de la Nuit Arts Festival.
The larger-than-life inflatable sphere is currently squeezed into the Opéra de Rennes’ narrow archways and begs for the passersby to interact with it; at 250 pounds and 15 feet tall, it’s hard to miss. Reminiscent of a child’s toy on steroids, it adds a sense of playfulness to the landscape as it’s photographed, touched, and even bounced into.
The creator, Kurt Perschke, explains the idea behind his sculpture:
The urban environment is overbuilt and full of possibilities, and the project is about seeing the sculptural spaces of a city. The humor and charisma of the piece allow it access to the city and invites others into its story. I think it’s essential for public work to do more than be “outdoors” – it needs to live in the public’s imagination. (Via designboom)
Using recycled objects like board game pieces, party straws, and paper fans, Swiss artist Marie Rime created a fantastic set of masks and armor. The separate-yet-similar series are composed of multi-faceted objects that cover the subjects’ entire face and part of their body, forming silhouettes made from the likes of chess pawns and popsicle sticks. It recontextualizes kitsch and transforms the use of these tiny individual elements into a cohesive veil that obscures its model’s face. In both bodies of work, the emphasis is on power and competition. Rime explains her mask project and writes:
In this series, the notion of game is being questioned. I tried to express my fascination with the relationship between the players. I asked myself what the participants are looking for and whether they are trying to disturb, seduce or intimidate opponents. These reflections led to a series of pictures of a female model wearing masks inspired by primitive tribal art, yet created from elements of the games being played in the championships.
Likewise, with the armor, she states, “These costumes, realised with everyday objects, are the starting point of a reflexion of the relationship between power, war and ornament. These women lose their identity and become the support of their clothing.” (Via La Monda)
Good design is supposed to make life easier. Ideally, it’s beautiful, intuitive, and useful. This can be said for things like Apple products, for instance, but the same doesn’t apply to Katerina Kamprani’sThe Uncomfortable project. The architect has applied the exact opposite principles to objects such as forks, watering cans, and rain boots. Instead of helping improve our lives, they make it harder but being oddly contorted, ill-placed, and out of the wrong materials. This includes hairy dishes, a cement umbrella, and steps that lead to nowhere (paired with a door you can’t enter).
Kamprani (also known as KK) ponders if these designs are vindictive, or perhaps a helpful study of everyday objects. Her goal was to make them uncomfortable (hence the name) but technically usable and to maintain the essence of the original item. While they aren’t totally unusable, they certainly won’t improve your life. (Via La Monda)
Tucked away in the middle of California’s Mojave Desert is a tiny pool whose location is unknown to the public, identifiable only by guarded GPS coordinates. It was imagined by Austrian artist Alfredo Barsuglia, and is technically open to the public. If you want to swim in it, all you need to do is ask the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in West Hollywood about the longitude and latitude points and obtain the special key to open the pool’s cover.
The four-foot by 12-foot body of water is available for 24 hours to any one person or small party, and you must bring a gallon of water per person to replenish the pool. Its minimalist stylings are painted white and stands out against the sandy and arid terrain. Alone in the desert, it’s an oasis for a weary traveler or nomad. Barsuglia calls it Social Pool, and meant for the swimmer to consider the societal ramifications of this outdoor installation. A description of the project reads:
The work embodies the massive socio-economic changes that have taken place in the last forty years. It thus understands itself as the product of an economy in which privacy and immateriality have been fully commodified… For many a consumer, art is expected to operate according to the principles of the service economy rather than following humanist ideals of intellectual or moral stimulus and education.
Whether or not this pool encourages this deep thought or is simply a well-thought gimmick remains to be seen. (Via Huffington Post)