After 30 years of war and Taliban-rule, pop culture has returned to Afghanistan. Afghan Star – a Pop Idol-style TV series – is searching the country for the next generation of music stars. Over 2000 people are auditioning and even three women have come forward to try their luck. The organizers, Tolo TV, believe with this programme they can ‘move people from guns to music’.
Special Problems is a multi-disciplinary creative studio composed of Campbell Hooper, Darron Lilley and Joel Kefali. Their work fuses hand drawn, painted, video, animation and illustration–often recontextualized in new and surprising ways. They recently interviewed with Beautiful/Decay to discuss their design collective, their approach, and thought processes behind their videos.
Food art. It’s everywhere. Yesterday I posted Emily Blincoe’s mouthwatering candy arrangements and today I’m posting these, well, not-so-mouthwatering photographs of fast food. Jon Feinstein’s Fast Food series is meant to expose the viewer to the repulsive aesthetics of the processed and chemicalized food marketed to us with an opposite aesthetic. Feinstein creates these images by taking still-warm fast food and placing them on a scanner, creating a stark black background and giving rise to a bit of condensation from some of the food. Each photograph is named for the amount of fat grams in each food, giving the series a scientific method of organizing and labeling them. After years of creating these images, Feinstein still craves fast food every now and again, a paradox that is not uncommon among his viewers.“I remember at the opening many gallery-goers responding that while their initial reaction was to be repulsed, something about the images also made them hungry.” (via)
Artist Soo Kim severs, cuts, and reconstructs photographs until they become a more ethereal, delicate version of what they once were. Kim’s work portrays buildings fading away, and creates new geometric forms from different objects. Her cityscapes turn into beautiful framework of a concrete jungle after she slices them into their new form. They become a new, unique style of architecture and design that is created from layers of hand altered and manipulated photographs. Her highly architectural work examines these manmade forms in the midst of their environments. She often snips away at the manmade structures, but leaves the lush landscape in the background alone.
Often using photographs of scenes from different cities all over the world, these once extremely diverse places now are stripped down to their bones where they look somewhat similar. Soo Kim’s hand-cut structures unify these contrasting places, creating a balance of harmony. The incisions in her layered and cut two-dimensional work form a sense of volume, a three-dimensional element is added with her manipulation of foreground and background. Soo Kim’s art can often be more abstract, creating more vividly colored work with the same incredible cutting technique. Not always focused on architecture and manmade structures, the artist’s body of work also includes several ephemeral scenes of nature. With a light and airy palette, her tree branches droop, curve, and jut out of the composition in every direction, creating an amazing sense of depth. Make sure to check out more of her work on Angles Gallery’s website, where she is represented.
Paper is a surface used by artists all the time, however we rarely see the true versatility of it as a material explored to the extent that is seen in the paper art featured here by: Ryuji Nakamura, Kyosuke Nishida and Brian Li, Jeff Nishinaka, Tomas Saraceno, Matt Shlian and Jen Stark.
Tomas Saraceno is a master of transforming a space and infusing it with an interactive surreal quality. His installations that are constructed to provide viewers with the experience that they are walking on a cloud are absolutely captivating. The soft dream-like magic of his work is more tactile and intimate, however, in this paper installation Cloud House featuring cloud like formations made only out of smaller geometric matte paper structures.
Jiang Pengyi‘s latest series, Everything Illuminates, sees the artist mixing fluorescent powders with liquid wax, and applying it to various, commonly-found objects. Pengyi then documents these applications, capturing in a time a brief moments where the objects were not just illuminated, but focused on for consideration through art. According to the Hunan-Province-born artist’s statement, these images “suggest the artist’s changing focus back to original form and shape, at the same time reflect his current state of mind.”
Pengyi was recently selected to participate in Artshare.com’s group showing of note-worthy Chinese artists born between 1977 and 1987, called Another Light. The show’s catalogue references the artist’s past works, which focused on the rapidly-evolving city and industrial spaces in China, and a slowing down in focus for his newer works, where each object becomes precious and unique. “In Jiang’s Everything Illuminates series, the mystique of autonomous objects is revealed in delicate depiction…Through the passage of time, these objects slowly take on their new forms on film and emit individual signals from their uncommon glow, as they emerge in a bewitching existence.” (via skumar and mymodernmet)
Photographer Millicent Hailes recently completed a two-month stay in Los Angeles where she traversed some of the city’s finest strip clubs. “You can find the erotic anywhere, you just have to look for it,” Hailes told Dazed, and her journey included spots where Courtney Love danced pre-grunge era.
Hailes was on the hunt for a club that breaks away from the chauvinistic, clichéd joints that we’re used to seeing. She found a string of clubs where women hold the power, prostitution is low, and the women actually enjoyed themselves. In a place called Cheetahs, Hailes explains, “The girls each had a different style of dance and look, and each danced to a song of their choice,” she says. “It felt a lot more personal, and it was a lot of fun.”
To pay tribute to Cheetahs, Hailes began a project that mirrors the separation between dancer and customer. She placed a sheet of plastic between herself and model Nadia Lee. “The plastic sheeting is a metaphorical barrier between the model and the audience. She is pressed up against it, but you can’t fully see her or touch her,” Hailes explains to Dazed Digital. “I wanted the shoot to seem very ‘bodily’, and by having the body pressed against the plastic and capturing the breath creating a fog over the images, it feels a bit intrusive, but also has a distance because of the sheeting.” (Via Dazed)
DXV by American Standard is a landmark product line that represents the company’s storied history spanning 150 years. The collection spans four broad movements: Classic (1880 – 1920), Golden Era (1920 – 1950), Modern (1950 – 1990), and Contemporary (1990 – today). Each piece in the carefully curated collection harkens back to the era it was inspired by and combines it with modern sensibilities, technology and performance. Although each fixture is inspired by a distinct era, the entire collection has a dialogue and the ability to cross over and create a remix of eras in one space.
The Fitzgerald Collection by DXV perfectly encapsulates the beauty and lines of the 1920’s Jazz Age. The faucets, sinks and fixtures echo the rectilinear, geometric forms and shapes that ruled the Art Deco aesthetic. Artists, designers and aesthetes have always had a love affair with the opulent finishes, bold lines and flair of the Art Deco era, and the Fitzgerald Collection gives the modern home owner the finishes to create a sumptuous and inspired space.