The Analog Watch Co. got into the spirit of April Fool’s Day with their absurd Ant Watch. Reminiscent of an ant farm, this accessory was purported to hold three to five live harvester ants that move within the tiny face. Each watch kit would come with shake-resistant sand, a food/water dropper/tweezers, a case-opening tool, and a care guide.
At first read, Analog’s watch listing sounds believable. They provide detailed instructions on how to add your ants to the small farm: (place their shipping tube in the fridge for 10 minutes to put them to sleep) and when to fed them liquid sugar (one to two times a month).
The longer you read the listing the more bizarre it sounds. Ants are only expected to live four to six months and all orders come with a one year supply of real ants. New ants ship every four months. Analog Watch Co. also adds that if your old ants are still alive to just set the other ones free. Luckily, the company stipulates afterwards that it, “ships never because April fools.” Whew. (Via Design You Trust)
For many people, eating gluten-free is a way of life. But, what happens when you not only remove wheat products from your diet, but from art history, too? The amusing Tumblr called Gluten Free Museum shows us just what that’d look like. It strips the offending protein from paintings, advertisements, and Chief Wiggum’s hands.
There’s a “before” and “after” element to each Gluten Free Museum post. The before, of course, is the original artwork, and the after is it sans grain. You don’t necessarily realize how integral gluten is in artistic compositions throughout history. Suddenly, though, things look bare. There’s no bread on the table, and the peasants are just picking at the ground without purpose. It demonstrates just how large of a role gluten plays in the art world, and sometimes, it’s at the center of it.
Artist Peregrine Church creates a special brand of street art. Instead of wild colors and sprawling compositions, you can only see his handiwork when the ground is wet. Otherwise, his clever paintings are invisible. Church calls these pieces Rainworks, and it’s part of an ongoing series of over 25.
A quick demonstration shows just how inconspicuous Church’s works are. A dry sidewalk reveals nothing, but as soon as a bucket of water is poured on it – magic. The secret is hydrophilic chemicals. Once they’re activated, the clandestine designs reveal uplifting messages, hopscotch, and funny sayings. They last anywhere from four months to a year. (Via The Creator’s Project)
In a professional dog show, the canines are supposed to be the stars, and the humans’ presence fall to wayside. But, just because people aren’t the main focus doesn’t mean that they aren’t picture-worthy themselves. When photographer Mark Holthusen was on an advertising assignment for Purina at the National Dog Show, he was supposed to just take pictures of the dogs. He also snapped these photos while their owners were prepping the canines. The result is a candid series titled Second in Show.
Holthusen set the portraits against a solid black background that highlights the gestures and facial expressions of the owners. Some are seen seriously primping and preparing for the dog’s show, while others look more relaxed and even eccentric. And, you can’t help but notice how the duos (or trio) take after each other. Hair color, style, and demeanor are all eerily similar, proving that people really can look like their pets.
Artist Beomsik Won collages images of different architectural works to form one unified structure. The photographs feature a gray wash over the disparate features to increase their sense of cohesion. Won calls this the Archisculpture Photo Project, writing:
René Descartes viewed as beautiful the order and coherency of structures designed by a single architect; the purpose of the Archisculpture Photo Project, however, is to create architectural sculptures by collaging photographs of diverse architectural works from various architects. In this way, Archisculpture Photos are both similar and different to the organic romanticism of old cities built through the works of myriad architects, for they represent the artist’s subjective interpretation and decisions regarding various architects’ numerous designs.
Won’s assemblages create the illusion of a metropolis. “Like collectors who arrange and classify their acquisitions with great care, artists analyze selected city fragments gathered from here and there and with them create their sculptures.” He goes on to write, “What exist[s] now as disparate structures are reborn as beautiful sculptures which retain their diachronic or synchronic histories, or else encompass it all.” They should be looked at as the sum of their parts. (Via Ghost in the Machine)
The year 1968 was a tumultuous time in America’s history, and Washington, D.C. was often in the middle of controversy. Following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1968, six days of race riots erupted in the Nation’s capital. Dr. Darrell Clayton Crain Jr. captured parts of the event and put them on Kodachrome and Ektachrome slides. Thanks to technology, these were scanned in to the computer and digitized. They’re now featured on the Flickr account Posthumous DCC, along with other pictures throughout the years.
If you aren’t familiar with the riots, they started as news spread about King’s death. Crowds began to gather at 14th street and U. Stokely Carmichael, an activist who had parted ways with King in 1966 and removed as head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1967, lead members of the SNCC to different neighborhoods. At first, they politely demanded that stores close out of respect. Eventually, the crowd became out of control and were breaking windows. Widespread looting started by 11PM (as well as in 30th other cities).
Things got worse in the following days. Anger was still evident and it resulted in violent confrontations with the DC police. Buildings were set on fire. Police unsuccessfully tried to control the crowds with tear gas, and eventually the National Guard was brought in. Marines mounted machine guns on the steps of the Capitol and army troops guarded the White House. It was the largest military occupation of any American city since the Civil War.
These vintage images showcase just how bad some of the destruction was. By the time the city was considered calmed down, 12 were killed (mostly in burning homes), 1,097 were injured, and over 6,100 were arrested. The devastation to property was $27 million (over $175 million today). Some neighborhoods in DC didn’t start to economically recover until the 1990’s.
Photographer Samantha Fortenberry’s colorful images reveal the pleasure of a good soak in the tub. Her aerial photos are part of an on-going series called Suds and Smiles, and it features people alone in their bathrooms. Naked, they revel in water as the space is peppered with familiar objects, and it reflects their personality. “I have taken my models and either asked them to collect an array of items that mean something to them, or I designed them a set based on an idea of their choosing,” she writes in an email to Beautiful/Decay.
As we gaze at Fortenberry’s subjects, we act as voyeurs to their pleasant time. There’s genuine looks of joy on some of the model’s faces, and when juxtaposed with the bright colors and playful objects, we too derive some pleasure from it.
Suds and Smiles also celebrates the figure. “With this series I also wanted to display the nude human body in a natural and beautiful way,” Fortenberry writes. “I want to collect a wide variety of people in all shapes and sizes to display the various form of beauty each person has.”
Collage has fascinated artist Matthias Jung since he was a child when he built his first fantastical buildings in his father’s photo lab. Not much has changed since then, and he still cut aparts photos to make them into new scenes. He doesn’t want help from digital technology in his artwork, and doesn’t use Photoshop.
Jung explains why he focuses on structures, writing:
I am always amazed at how architectural details can evoke certain associations and feelings. This is how a latticed window conveys coziness; one might even say it is soulful. Framework is soothing, sometimes touching. Antennas have something sinister about them. They point to something outside the picture. Concrete is cold and foreign – but maybe interesting for just that reason.
He began with the series Houses in January 2015, and developed seven complex images within a few weeks. “All the images used have been photographed by me,” he explains. “Many were taken during trips in northeastern Germany. My last trip took me to the Ruhr region where there are abandoned steel mills and heaps of coal. I find that to be very exciting.”
Matthis says that his dreams are collages, and that for them to “function properly,” he also has to consider design rules.
Thus, the relationship between order/disorder and homogeneity/diversity must agree. A building has to first be stable and credible before I can add some “disorder,” to let it fly for example. One such disorder refers to another, only hinting at reality. I weave, so to speak, spiritual realities into everyday things.