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P H I L L I P K A L A N T Z I S-C O P E’S On The Plane


Being in flight is one of the most unnatural, extraordinary, ordinary experiences of modern life. When we climb to 30,000 feet, our perspective looking down at the world becomes that of a deity, and the rules of time and space are altered as we rush over the earth. In flight we are able to view the most remote corners of the natural world and the vast spread of the world we have constructed. It gives us the unique perspective to look at the interaction of the natural and constructed in a truly holistic way. In its totality, the unnatural or extraordinary experience produces great fear and excitement. We confront death a little every time the doors close – and this closeness to death intensifies the extraordinary experience of being in flight. On the other hand, our ‘in flight’ experience is filled with the most unremarkable daily activities: reading a comic book, finishing a crossword puzzle, eating, sleeping. The cabin becomes our shared world, temporally removed from the world that we’ve left back on land. What connects the ordinary and the extraordinary is a powerful trust in the human capacity to take us beyond the mundane. The plane becomes a temple of humanism, where we put faith in all that get us and keeps us up in the air – engineers, pilots, researchers, air traffic controllers – a web of people, underwritten by collective knowledge, keeping us alive, together.- Phillip Kalantzis-Cope

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These Impressivly Spooky LEGO Sculptures Aren’t Meant For Kids

Gilcélio de Souza Chagas, Old Electric Chair

Gilcélio de Souza Chagas, Old Electric Chair

Jimmy Fortel, Scary Bear (~200 pieces)

Jimmy Fortel, Scary Bear (~200 pieces)

Dan Parker, Cavities (~1125 pieces)

Dan Parker, Cavities (~1125 pieces)

Mihai Marius Mihu, Heresy, from "The Nine Circles of Hell"

Mihai Marius Mihu, Heresy, from “The Nine Circles of Hell”

There’s a lot of impressive things built using LEGOs, and a lot of times the family-friendly toy stays PG in content. In Mike Doyle’s new book titled Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark, however, the dozens of creations are more sinister in nature. The publication includes a number of MOCs (a community acronym that means “My Own Creation”) that feature the likes of a scary bear, an electric chair, giant insects, and more. The artworks are an interesting and entertaining spin on LEGOs as they venture into adult territory. And, since we’d usually think of them as something that’s more lighthearted, it makes even more of a visual and conceptual impact. Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark comes out next month. But if you enjoy these unconventional builds and want to see more of the now, be sure to check out its predecessor, also by Doyle. It’s titled Beautiful LEGO. (Via Wired)

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Jon MacNair

Jon MacNair

Jon MacNair was born in Seoul, South Korea and grew up in the suburbs of southeast Michigan where he developed a love of drawing. After many years of having people tell him “You should be an artist”, he decided to attend The Maryland Institute College of Art where he earned a Bachelors of Fine Art in illustration. These days Jon can be found doing freelance illustration for many editorial publications. He has also enjoyed success with his fine art, having shown work in galleries across the country.

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Taylor Holland’s Pictureless Picture Frames

Taylor Holland’s Fra[me’s] project came about when Holland visited the Louvre museum and found himself more engaged with the heavily embellished and ornate frames that went around the master works of art instead of the paintings. Using digital manipulation Holland has created a body of work where the picture frame serves both as frame and content of the piece eliminating the need for outside content.  Taylor states ” This project was born of the idea that, on several visits to the Louvre, I was often more interested in the artistic merit of the frame than the art itself. The result hopefully challenges the viewer’s notion not only of what art is, but the viewer’s own perceptions about where to find and appreciate art in various settings such as the Louvre.” (via)

Taylor is currently partnering with Saintill Lijsten (Haarlem, NL) to realize a physical prototype of this project by taking antique frames and filling them with hand-crafted molds.

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New work from Alex Lukas and Matt Leines

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New stuff on view by Alex Lukas and Matt Leines @ Sf’s Guerrero Gallery, opening tonight!!!!!!

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Unnerving Artworks Created With Deadly Disease-Causing Bacteria

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Miniature woven felt lungs injected with sterilized tuberculosis bacteria

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In collaboration with microbiologists, the English artist Anna Dumitriu has honed her unique talent for working with bacteria as a means of staining fabric; her high-art fashions feature organic patterns made by microorganisms. In her most recent installation project, The Romantic Disease, she works with a more dangerous type of bacteria: Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the organism responsible for Tuberculosis.

In combining now-killed TB DNA with found and altered relics of late 19th and early 20th century technologies, Dumitriu creates a vivid medicinal—and often foreboding— landscape. Before the invention of antibiotics, TB patients were taken to “sanatoria,” hospitals built at high altitudes (then thought to be beneficial to sufferers), where they were confined to bed and given extreme treatments. For a piece titled “Rest, Rest, and Rest!” Dumitriu constructs a model sanitarium bed; for another piece, she carves the pattern of lung tissue onto an actual Pneumothorax Machine, once used to collapse patients’ lungs.

The Romantic Disease is neither a historical or scientific tour of old hospital machinery; on the contrary, is is an emotionally dangerous and poignantly subjective exploration of the disease. Although the exhibit avoids mention or representation of actual sufferers, individual pieces are imbued with a distinctly human touch. The sanitarium bed and curtain are small and delicate as dollhouse pieces; beside the larger pieces, they appear lonesome and afraid. Similarly, a group of miniature woven felt lungs, each containing sterilized Mycobacterium tuberculosis, appear to flutter like tiny, fragile birds beside the Pneumothorax Machine.

A maternity dress, dyed with supposed TB cures like safflower and madder root, hangs loosely on a dress form; this piece becomes all the more heartbreaking with the knowledge that at a time when the disease was thought to be spread genetically, pregnant women underwent forced abortions. The historical reverence and tender craftsmanship with which Anna Dumitriu presents The Romantic Disease serves to humanize those who suffered at the hands of this politically and socially fraught disease. The work is currently on display at West London’s Waterman’s. (via Smithsonian Magazine and Anna Dumitriu)

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Haunting Photographs Catalog The Effects Of Mental Illness

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In her recent work, the photographer Lisa Lindvay archives the indirect yet undeniable marks left on her family and their home by her mother’s mental illness. With the family landscape surviving as her constant foundation, she invites viewers into a claustrophobic space isolated from the perspective and normalcy of the outside world. Although we are given indicators of their location— McDonald’s bags, generic soda, a “Legalize Gay” wristband—the family appears as if entombed in a time capsule, each member left to fend for themselves since the onset of the matriarch’s illness.

The camera acts as an active character throughout the narrative, forcing intimacy when the closeness and comforts of family seem irrevocably fractured. Eye contact is avoided with all creatures and things aside from the lens itself, which somehow breaks boundaries and transcends each subject’s seemingly self-imposed solitude. Intimate and sensual moments— the applying of hair dye, half-nude lounging, naps with the loyal dog— are generously laid bare for the artist, providing viewers with intermittent flickers of hope.

In her still lifes, otherwise mundane or grotesque subjects are assigned deeper meanings. The artist worshipfully documents trash, each object appearing like a pitiful symbol of continuing life and hope amidst crippling circumstances. A jar of cheese puffs is seen from the floor and lit from an unknowable source, as if standing at the alter of some personal cathedral; an oily ring on a pizza box surrounds a golden mane like the halo of a forgotten saint. As the family faces an uncertain future, half-eaten pizza and dirty socks become the only reminder that time has not in fact stood still within the house; Lindvay captures each with beautifully archival rigor as if to denote days on the calendar. Take a look. (via Feature Shoot)

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Artist Makes Ceramic Vessels By Detonating Explosives

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Though made of clay and designed as functioning vessels, the  ceramic vessels created by Prague-based artist and designer Adam Železný are anything but ordinary.  Using an innovative method of controlled detonation, Železný sends shockwaves into small refractory containers holding masses of clay to create unique works of art. Appropriately titled “The Blast,” this series of works offers an unconventional approach to a familiar art form— “a kind of punk analogy to an industrial porcelain production.” 

Based on complex tests and intricate measures, Železný’s system of charges results in one-of-a-kind bowls spanning various shapes and sizes.  While each bowl is undoubtedly a work of art in and of itself, to the artist, it is not the finished product that is key but, rather, the process itself.

In order to capture this fascinating method of production, Železný has documented the entire process in a video.  Depicting the artist’s “alternative methods of ceramic shaping,” the short video shows Železný himself as he sets off the explosions and subsequently creates the sculptures. While the video also briefly depicts the project’s initial set up and final, tangible results, its focus remains on the process—which is, ultimately, presented as a work of art.

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