Cory Arcangel’s recently published book – which originally exists on twitter as @wrknonmynovel – is a compilation of people who have tweeted “working on my novel”. The tweets come in all kinds: humorous, pathetic, emphatic, delusional. Seeing the phrase over and over again kind of makes your mind numb. I imagine these people probably NOT writing and then Arcangel completing a work of their impotent attempts. It’s the post-modern cyclical concept: I make a novel of you not making a novel, but the novel isn’t really a novel, it’s just your tweets about (not) making a novel. Maybe this is too cynical, though, as another way to look at it is that, now at least, these authors are published! In any case, the tweets themselves can be entertaining, if not sometimes painful, and from what I can tell each of the aspiring authors will receive a copy of the book from Arcangel.
Arcangel is a bit of an enfant terrible; a computer programmer, composer, and artist, his work spans a large range of media and he has received wide approval from institutions such as MoMA, Tate, and Smithsonian. What’s often interesting in work like Arcangel’s is its very serious reception from these highly respected art authorities. It presents a sort of ‘Emperor wears no clothes’ situation, where its unclear how seriously Arcangel takes himself, but painfully obvious how easy it is to buy his wares. The best way to enjoy him is to find entertainment in his projects and remember to be wary of the orbiting bullshit. (Via The Fader)
Joel Tretin calls himself a Photo Humorist and that description seems perfectly apt. His photo series Stranger in Paradox “looks at what’s true and totally screws with it.” At first glance, the pictures seem deceptively straightforward—portraits of the city shot in a somewhat generic ad-agency aesthetic. Hidden in plain sight are the visual jokes: a parking ticket on the windshield on a sports car in a building height ad; a carousel over a revolving door; an elephant walking though the green murkiness of a subway. The Photoshop manipulations are mostly seamless—it really looks like that woman is pushing an eight-seat stroller, and that sporty yellow cab looks real next to its stodgier brother. A stack of cars make the most of a lone parking space.
The subtlest images make you work for them. A lit Wall Street façade, American flags… oh, there. The don’t walk sign is flipping the bird. The traffic sign points to the “Road Most Taken” an apparent play on Robert Frost’s Road Less Taken.
Photo manipulation in art is often used to create surreal imagery. And these pictures are surreal in that they portray things that are unreal and often fantastic, but the photos lack the intention and technique that transform pictures into fine art. Which seems to be just fine with Trentin, who says:
I am a failed stand up comedian, who now tries to make people laugh through photography.
Designer Luis Hernan‘s project, “Digital Ethereal,” captures colorful “spirit photographs” of Wi-Fi signals. Using long exposure photography alongside the Kirilian Device mobile app, an app created specifically for this project that translates WiFi signals into color gradations, Hernan creates stunning photographs that feature ghostly swirls of color and activity. Hernan’s project represents the ways we can thread different kinds of technology together to create something new – something that visualizes a field of energy that is omnipresent, yet eludes our physical sensibilities. Of his WiFi light paintings, Hernan writes, “I believe our interaction with this landscape of electromagnetic signals, described by Antony Dunne as Hertzian Space, can be characterised in the same terms as that with ghosts and spectra. They both are paradoxical entities, whose untypical substance allows them to be an invisible presence. In the same way, they undergo a process of gradual substantiation to become temporarily available to perception. Finally, they both haunt us. Ghosts, as Derrida would have it, with the secrets of past generations. Hertzian space, with the frustration of interference and slowness.” (via laughing squid)
How many Commandments have you broken? New York City-based photographer Anna Friemoth has gone against all 10 of them with her witty series of self portraits entitled 10 Commandments. With each image, Friemonth turns gluttony, adultery, stealing, and more into a conceptual interpretation of the offense. She styles herself against a dark gray background, adding props that bring each idea to life.
With Commandments like “Keep The Sabbath Day Holy” and “Honor Your Father And Mother,” it’s pretty common to not follow these. We see that for “You Shall Not Kill,” Friemonth is about to devour a bird, and for “You Shall Not Take The Lord’s Name in Vain,” she’s had a specially-made balloon that says “GOD DAMN.” The fine details in each portrait make this series amusing; they also point out that depending on how much of a stickler you are, you could easily break any one of these rules. (Via Flavorwire)
This Too Shall Pass, 2012. Oil package. – A package made of caramelized sugar, coated with wax. This package is made for oil-based food.
This Too Shall Pass, 2012. Oil package. – To open it you crack it like an egg. When the material is cracked the wax do no longer protect the sugar and the package melts when it comes in contact with water.
This Too Shall Pass, 2012. Oil package.
Swedish design studio Tomorrow Machine experiments with unusual materials to create revolutionary food packaging concepts. Pursuing the modernist principle of form follows function, Tomorrow Machine unites visual appeal with highly innovative and operational technologies to create both aesthetic and pragmatic design.
Their project This Too Shall Pass addresses the increasing issue of environmental pollution and recycling. Using biodegradable materials, studio has created food packaging that shares the symbiotic life span with the food housed inside. Vividly colored and minimalist in shape, these concept containers for oils, dry foods and liquids disintegrate when the contents they store are used.
“Is it reasonable that it takes several years for a milk carton to decompose naturally, when the milk goes sour after a week? “This Too Shall Pass” is a series of food packaging were the packaging has the same short life-span as the foods they contain. The package and its content is working in symbiosis.”
Besides their environmentally friendly attempts, Tomorrow Machine creates interactive product packaging to shape the innovations of tomorrow. Collaborating with Swedish research company Innventia, designers created self-opening and self-expanding packages based on the use of the 100% biodegradable material they developed together. According to Tomorrow Machine, “this is the new generation of sustainable package design, using materials that are both smart and environmentally friendly”. (via Packaging | Uqam)
German photographer Loretta Lux captures surreal portraits of children, portraying them in a way that makes them appear as if they’re porcelain dolls. Young boys and girls stare towards the camera and with expressions that you can’t get out of your head. As they look beyond or at you, their large eyes look as if they know deep, dark secrets. Pastel and faded colors contrast with the mysterious feel that these works evoke.
Lux studied painting at Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich and uses this influence in her images. Some pieces take up to a year to complete, and her process involves a combination of photography and digital manipulation. She’ll strip the background and then place her subjects into muted, minimal environments. The flatted backdrop and realistic foreground confuse your eye and help craft these strange images.
The nudes in Olivier Fermariello’s series “Je t’aime moi aussi” aren’t the familiar forms. Do they make you uncomfortable, these images of men and women outside the norm? Do you want to look away? Do the portraits feel exploitive?
People with disability in most cases feel the discrimination of not being considered entirely as a man or a woman: instead they feel treated either as children, either as beings belonging to a third gender, neutral with no libido. This project is about people, who are suffering from this kind of discrimination, but are not willing to give up their fight choosing a direct way to express themselves revealing their intimacy.
There is very specific platonic ideal of attractiveness that we all know, even if we choose not to accept it. Sure Dove has been campaigning for “real beauty” and Debenhams put size 16 mannequins in shop windows, but the vast majority of self-acceptance/social-acceptance images we see feature non-disabled people. The exclusion of images of people with disabilities removes them from the context of normalcy, both alienating and alien-making.
The series title translates to “I love you, too,” and this comes through in Fermariello’s photos. His pictures are not sensational —there is little effort to make the subjects of the photos look strange or other. There is also very little artifice, especially in the photos of the little person. She is captured, documentary-style, allowing us to see commonalities. This is an adult woman, sexual and sensual. All of the people photographed are making a clear statement in their fierce nakedness.
I wondered to what extent a disabled person was willing to go in leading a battle against the ultimate taboo in the field of disability. These images are the answer to my question.
Simon Gerbaud’s artwork is kind of like an MRI for household objects. He disintegrates an item and photographs the process for a stop motion animation that reveals the insides of computers, shoes, and toy dinosaurs, among others. With some, like the chair, he carefully saws away larger chunks and then reconstructs it. The second life of the chair is much more fragile. It’s like the chair has been teleported and its atoms were all mixed up in the reassembly. It’s mesmerizing the watch the objects disappear seemingly into nothing in the animations, and fascinating to witness the innards of a computer, however messy the process becomes.
Another of his animations, Misterio No. 8, also focuses on everyday objects. Gerbaud animates chairs and bicycles to seem as if they are being pushed by a shadow of a flower or a hand. The wind sounds create an eerie feeling that make the shadows feel more ghostlike, but the animation mostly feels playful, experimenting with the non-existent force of the shadow. Gerbaud studied at the Sorbonne. His aesthetic – apart from when a hair dryer is half dust from disintegration – is very cool and clean. Gerbaud now lives and works in Mexico. (Via Design Boom)