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Interview: Deb Sokolow

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Deb Sokolow creates a vertiginous world of invented narratives. Her large-scale, ink on paper installations are hung in a kind of methodized-madness that call to mind police investigations bulletin boards, a mad scientist’s chaotic formulas and revelations, or the bedroom of an obsessive-compulsive conspiracy-obsessed fanatic. Sokolow leads viewers into the tangled web of an information-saturated schematic, leaving viewers at once disoriented and exhilarated. Sokolow talked to us about her creative process and sent us a bunch of behind-the-scenes shots, including her “research binders” detailing subjects such as “Ghosts, Email Scams, Pigeons & Squirrels.” Full interview after the jump.

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Kate Bingaman-Burt Wants To Draw Your Mixtapes

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Proliferations of mixtape-themed things exist in the art & design world, having hit a high point in the mid-2000’s—where images of “vintage” cassette tapes covered everything from pillow cases to USB drives. What got lost somewhere in there was the sentiment that was originally attached to the archaic plastic medium, the sense of pride that comes from crafting (and usually gifting) someone with a perfect, personal selection of songs. Portland-based illustrator Kate Bingaman-Burt has embarked on a long-running series of mixtape drawings, where she picks up long-since discarded cassettes and makes a quick, humorous sketch…and she’s taken submissions for the project for a while now. As a series, the fresh, expressive drawings reveal an intriguing cross-section of personalities, musical tastes and long-lost good intentions.

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Pradalphabet

Design partners M/M (Paris) put their spin on the alphabet for a collaboration with Prada, creating architectural black and white type where each letter is related to the others.  They will release 5 collectible shirts with different letters on the front and the Prada-M logo on the back.  Wear a different one each day and see what you can spell!

Now who will be first to make this into a font? More alphabet fun after the cut.

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Amazing Before And After Images Of Classic Vintage Photographs Colorized

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Have you ever looked at a black and white photograph and wondered what it would look like if it were taken in the modern day? The Dutch website NSMBL recently uploaded GIFs of vintage photographs being colorized. We are not only able to see the original range of black, grey, and white tones, but we can see the color each hue translates to.  As each nostalgic scene turns to color, we realize how different contemporary technology is and how far it has come. The new colors and tones are not muted or faded like we might expect a color vintage photograph to be. They are ultra-bright and full of vibrancy, leaving each image looking near perfect.

 

Because the images look too high quality for real vintage color photos, they almost make it seem as if we were in the frame of the picture within the scene, or like the photos were taken in modern times. Either way, it breaks the time barrier that creates such a nostalgic distance between the photograph and the viewer. It makes you wonder what images would have been captured if they had better technology during those times, or perhaps, what advanced technologies will capture images of our lives in the future. Contemporary film photography is becoming more and more obsolete, as vintage film is becoming aged and damaged over time. These images are refreshing to see as these classic photographs are now often documented digitally. We can both marvel at the technological advances in film photography while still seeing the timeless and beautiful original.

 

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Philip Ob Rey Builds Apocalyptic Giants Out Of VHS Tape In Desolate Landscapes

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At the end of the world, if all of our waste, memories, and collective knowledge were to be resurrected into living masses, it would look something like this. In an exhibition of metaphorical power and desolate beauty, artist Philip Ob Rey (in collaboration with Louie Otesanek, who inspired the movement, and photographer Mailie Viney) brings us V, an installation/photography project currently on display at the Cell63 in Berlin. Featured in V are black-and-white photographs of faceless, monolithic giants plodding aimlessly through an apocalyptic wilderness, here represented by the vast and darkly beautiful horizons of Iceland. Made of tangled VHS rolls — along with natural artifacts (feathers, stones, shells, and dry seaweeds) Ob Rey found amidst the fjords and active geothermal areas of Iceland — the bodies of the mysterious, god-like beings rip and tear in the wind. Elsewhere, eerie cocooned beings sit in silent, candle-lit caves encroached by snow, emanating a sense of wisdom and despair.

For Ob Rey, the giants manifest the five essential elements in a post-apocalyptic context, as well as the voices of lost generations trapped within the magnetic rolls. With their withering, film-wrapped bodies and their ancient-yet-futuristic appearances, the giants stand as mute omens that warn against current cultural and environmental trends. “They are covered with a black toxic skin, [a] chaotic flesh of magnetic encoded images,” Ob Rey explains. “I built in 5 essential elements, creatures made of VHS, dreamlike and disfigured in reaction against the growing dictatorship of the mass media and the unstoppable plastic pollution due to the overconsumption of the new technologies.”

At once cautionary and retrospective, Ob Rey’s V provides a beautiful, neutral medium in which to envision the earth pre- and post-human life. As temporally indistinct visions, the summoned giants allow us to emotionally explore the idea of our own end, when one day our bodily traces linger as non-recyclable materials floating around on the earth’s desolate surface. If you are in Berlin, V is showing until May 8th. You can see more of Ob Rey’s work on his Facebook page and website, where he works under the title “Humantropy” (a word referring to the nature of universal chaos and the decline of humankind). More stunning shots from V after the jump. (Via beautiful.bizarre)

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Nonotak’s Glitchy And Aggressive Audiovisual Installation

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The audiovisual installation titled Isotope v.2 was created Nonotak – an art duo made up of Noemi Schipfer and Takami Nakamoto.  Light projections are projected on and through a box approximately thirteen feet on each side.  Accompanied by sound the projection begins rather subdued.  Low drones match lights moving and changing slowly.  Soon, however, the light and sound seems to quicken its pace, become glitchy, even aggressive.  Watch the video after the jump to see the Isotope v.2 in action.  The installation is a reference and response to Fukushima and its now infamous power plant.  Following the tragic 2011 earthquake control over the Fukushima power plant quickly deteriorated.  Using this as a metaphor for the human relationship with nuclear energy, the installation creates a type of immaterial prison.  Walls of light surround the visitors becoming ever more imposing as the projection progresses.

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Contribute To The Beautiful/Decay Blog!

Attention Cult Of Decay! Do you know thousands of artists and designers who need to get some well deserve exposure? Do love writing about art and want an outlet? Do you want over a million monthly readers from around the world  reading and hanging on your every word? Do you want to join Beautiful/Decay in our quest for all things groundbreaking and creative? If so then send a few short writing samples or links as well as a cover letter about why you want to join the Beautiful/Decay blog contributor team to contactbd(at)beautifuldecay.com.

We are looking for smart writers and contributors in all corners of the globe who have their hands on the pulse of the contemporary art world and want to join our independent group of writers, critics, and art enthusiasts. Writers must be able to commit to a minimum of two or more articles per week. These positions are unfortunately unpaid but hey who needs money when you have the power of influence and press?

 

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Pieter Hugo’s Permanent Error

Pieter Hugo’s new series, Permanent Error, depicts Agbogbloshie, a massive dump site for technological waste on the outskirts of Ghana’s capital city, and the locals who burn down the components to extract bits of copper, brass, aluminum and zinc for resale. Tons of outdated and broken computers, computer games, mobile phones and other e-waste are shipped to the area as “donations” from the West, under the guise of providing technology to developing countries. Rather than helping to bridge the digital divide, the equipment is transformed into noxious trash threatening the health of the area’s inhabitants and contaminating the water and soil.

Gray plumes of smoke rise from smoldering piles of disassembled monitors, motherboards and wiring, providing an apocalyptic backdrop for Hugo’s portraits of the workers. The subjects, many of whom are young men sent by their families from impoverished outlying villages, are photographed full-figure and directly engaged with Hugo’s medium-format camera. With each portrait, Hugo draws the viewer into the conditions imposed on this slum community and their effects on individuals. Collectively, the photographs expose consequences of the West’s consumption of ever-new technology and its disposal of outmoded products in poor countries ill-equipped to recycle them. See Pieter Hugo’s Permanent exhibition at Yossi Milo Gallery in NYC from  Sept. 8- Oct. 29th.

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