Seattle’s goCstudio design team has cooked up a dreamy creation that is perfect for the moody weather in the Pacific Northwest. This piece, the “Floating Sauna,” offers a portable, wood-fueled sauna that can be taken and put onto a body of water. This project is nearing fruition as the team is in their final stages of fundraising and will soon begin construction. They have reached out into the community for support and have received an overall enthusiastic response.
GoCstudio was founded in 2012 by architects Jon Gentry and Aimee O’Carroll, who met while they both worked for Olson Kundig Architects.
This team, which has already produced some amazing projects, is moving to embrace a more unique and innovative path. Not only is the technical concept behind the sauna pretty astounding, but the aesthetic presence of it is simple yet elegant. It will add beauty to any horizon it sits on.
As for the logistics of the sauna, they sound pretty spectacular: ” The earliest concepts for the sauna were always focused on the journey to discover this place; creating a unique experience and refuge in the water that would offer a new perspective on the landscape. We imagine people kayaking out to the structure and tying off. The design has a deck, a wood-fired sauna, and a roof platform for canon balls. The rear ladder connects the water, dock, and roof platform. The ‘cool down hatch’ allows hot and sweaty visitors a chance to open the back door and cold plunge directly into the water.
The sauna is designed to fit on a standard size trailer. It can be transported and launched into any accessible still body of water, and when not in use, parked and stored on land.”
As they say on their Kickstarter page, “The sauna is an apotheosis of all experience: Purgatory and paradise; earth and fire; fire and water; sin and forgiveness. It is eternal new birth. You are healed, you are made new.” -Constance Malleson 1936
Photographer Mariell Amélie‘s self-portraits are a bit like playing with an imaginary friend on the borderlands of fantasy and reality. They transport her to a dreamy limbo state, each looking like a snapshot from some noir-ish modern fairy tale. Some are haunting, others playful, but all have a sheen of melancholy, an icy veneer. This sensibility is perhaps explained partially by Amélie’s biography, which places her childhood on “a small island above the arctic circle.” A wind-blown isolation permeates her photography, no matter if the backdrop is breath-taking iceberg mountains or bright dollhouse interiors.
Her self-portraits are enigmatic. They are, to borrow a phrase from science, a bit of “spooky action at a distance” — in one, she contemplates her skates on a puddle-sized ice rink; in another, she pays no heed to the warnings of Narcissus, leaning down to kiss the marsh waters. The latter photograph is called “Part Time Lover.” All of Amélie’s photographs have similarly suggestive names: “She Had Just Left for Heaven, They Said,” is the name of one; “Alone and Unaware” is the name of another. As she tumbles from the driver’s seat of a car, vacant-eyed, the photograph’s name comments, “Someone Will Be Waiting at the Station.” These names, paired with the in media res nature of her photographs, give the unshakable feeling that there’s more to the story than meets the eye. If only it were possible to look beyond the veil.
At first glance, these creations might only look like small sculptures. But, they’re more than that. UK-based Conjurer’s Kitchen crafted these impressive pieces that are actually cakes. The yummy sponge cakes are shaped like surgeries, skulls, and cross-sectioned bodies. They’re bloody, decrepited, and deliciously disgusting. Conjurer’s Kitchen has expertly colored and painted the tiny details like veins on a skull
Annabel de Vetten is the woman behind these fantastic creations. Not surprisingly, she was trained as a sculptor and previously made a living as a painter. Her foyer into food art started when she made her own wedding cake. Now, she draws inspiration from horror films, alternative art, and more; she has a variety of clients. “It’s great! One day I’ll be working on a full-sized replica of the actor from the TV show Dexter for FOX, then I’ll be doing a wedding cake for a couple who runs an S&M business, and the next I’ll be doing a dragon for a wedding at Warwick Castle,” she says.
The Polish artist Pawel Kuczynski has created a new set of work themed around the megalomaniacal aspects of Facebook and social media in our lives. A prized satirical artist, Kuczynski has been winning awards for his work since 2004. Although the statements are not offensive, the themes are comical and instantly relatable, giving the viewer a humorous look at some of the harsh realities of our lives.
He covers a wide range of topics, “Pawel Kuczynski creates thought-provoking illustrations that comment on social, economic, and political issues through satire. The illustrator’s portfolio ranges from criticizing military practices and the incentives behind war, to themes of mortality and reinterpreting the uses of social media as elusive spying platforms. Each image reflects its fair share of serious issues balanced with whimsical illustrations.”
These illustrations highlight how Facebook has saturated our way of living: from bringing us closer together at times, to further apart at other times, to being a way of judging one another, to being a catalyst of the spread of knowledge, misinformation, and gossip, to how it has morphed our entire concept of proximity, intimacy, and communication.
Robin Schwartz’s photo-series Amelia and the Animals documents her daughter alongside animals as Amelia has grown in the past 12 years of her life. Schwartz’s photographic practice is predominantly of animals, but her daughter is the main focus of these photographs. In each one, Schwartz finds creative ways to have Amelia and the animals interact. You can see the ease with which Amelia interacts with the animals, having been surrounded by them her whole life. It’s incredible to see her nonchalance as well. Both mother and daughter feel a deep connection with the animals. In an interview with Science of Us, Schwartz says the first time she saw a chimpanzee she was in love. “We’re intensely drawn to primates because – well, because they are us, maybe.”
In the interview, she was also asked about the dangers of photographing her daughter with wild animals.
This is a question that gets asked so often. Most people ask Amelia, “Weren’t you scared?”You just have to be smart about it. We are as careful as possible. It’s a team effort, with Amelia taking directions from the caretaker. Amelia takes instructions well, and at this point, she does have experience.
The animals that hurt us the most are the mosquitos! We were eaten in Florida.
Joris Kuipers‘ installations are meant to be experienced viscerally. Inspired by bodily cross-sections from MRI scans, CT scans, and even botany, Kuipers’ artwork is alien yet immediately familiar. We are intimately familiar with the vascular bends and twists of his pieces, as well as the palette of reds and purples and blues.
Blown up to the size of huge wall reliefs, these biological artforms are also a little unsettling, particularly because they’ve been deconstructed, unmade, and re-formed into startling configurations. Organic deconstruction, after all, is just a hop skip away from decomposition. Of these twin concepts, Kuipers says: “Loveliness and morbidity; both Eros and Thanatos flow through my red lines.”
In some collections, Kuipers steps away from the blatantly macabre. “Letting Go” contains a brightly colored installation that looks like dreamy clouds or floating alien flowers. Other pieces in the collection involve splashes of color amidst a staid black background and plays with light, flashing and blinking at the touch of a switch. This too recalls the cathode ray tubes and autopsy scans of Kuipers’ other work, but from a subtler angle.
Subtler or not, Kuipers work is, as always, intended to be evocative. “I hope that my work will initially be experienced ‘from the abdomen’,” Kuipers says in an artist’s statement, “to gradually make itself felt in the mind of the visitor.”
Opening tomorrow, September 27, is Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei’s exhibition @Large in the former San Francisco Bay prison, Alcatraz Island. The sculpture, sound, and mixed media installations are staged in four locations throughout the space: the New Industries Building; a group of cells in A Block; the Hospital; and the Dining Hall. Ai’s work inside creates a dialogue about how we define liberty, justice, and individual rights.
In 2011, Ai was secretly detained by Chinese authorities for 81 days, and is still not permitted to travel outside of the country. He was unable to visit Alcatraz during the planning of the show and was developed in his studio with the help of the FOR-SITE Foundation.
There are a variety of pieces in @Large, including Trace, which is 176 portraits of political prisoners and exiles made from LEGO blocks. The impressive works began at Ai’s studio in Beijing and were completed in San Francisco by a team of 90 volunteers. Cheryl Haines, the exhibition’s curator told the San Francisco Chronicle, “I’m overwhelmed by how remarkable it looks. This is the face of the individual in the fight for freedom, but it’s also a collective statement and to see the density and quantity of people that are incorporated in this work, I find deeply moving.”
In addition to Trace, there are six other themes: With Wind, a giant traditional Chinese dragon kite; Refraction, stunning metal wings; Stay Tuned, sound installation that occupies 12 cells; Illumination, the sounds of Tibetan Buddhist and Native American chants; Blossom, fragile floral bouquets; and Yours Truly, where visitors can write postcards to prisoners. (Via FOR-SITE and Artnet)
Tianmiao Lin‘s artwork combines household objects and human figures with a technique called “thread winding”: wrapping thread — or hair or silk — around an object until it is completely covered. The result is oddly tactile and organic, looking like something spun by a spider caught in a fevered dream. The use of string, Lin reveals in an interview with The Culture Trip, is partly for that very reason. They are organic and natural, and contain an element of mysterious strength. “The materials take on a life of their own,” Lin says.
When Chinese artists are discussed, it’s hard to ignore politics; Lin is no exception. As an artist — particularly a female artist — from a country that went through a rather recent revolution, her creations are rife with subtext whether intended or not. It’s difficult if not impossible to draw on the themes and symbols of family and femininity without also summoning the specter of their cultural context.
In a collection called “Mothers!!!,” pearls and webs of string become tangled cancerous masses on the backs of women, weighing them down. The pearls are beautiful but also destructive. In another installation called “Chatting,” several figures stand in a circle, heads bowed, seeking connection perhaps but resigned to the impossibility of it.
To be fair, Lin has rejected feminist and political readings of her work. As an artist, she most likely wants to defy labels and have her work speak for itself. Still, it’s hard not to feel a little glimmer of dissent and rebellion in her art — arising organically, woven into the very DNA of it, strand by strand.