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Gravity-Defying Objects Created With Magnetic Clay

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Dutch designer Jolan van der Wiel creates unusual ceramic sculptures using the conflicting properties of metallic clay and magnets. His latest project “Magnetism Meets Architecture” features a number of fantastic gravity-defying architectural models and explores the possibility of using magnetism in architecture.

The process of making such sculptures starts by mixing clay with water to create a slip, a mixture with the consistency of cream. Then he adds metallic powder like iron with the ratio typically being 90% clay, 10% metal. The whole blend is then transferred to a nozzle similar to the one confectioners use for cake icing. Carefully building layer after layer, van der Wiel allows surrounding magnets to pull them into various shapes resembling a drip sand castle (passing a magnetic field through the material provides an opposing force to gravity, thus the clay is pulled upwards and suspends in its place).

Van der Wiel is fascinated with the idea of using magnetism in architecture.

“I’m drawn to the idea that the force would make the final design of the building – architects would only have to think about the rough shape and a natural force would do the rest. This would create a totally different architectural field.”

According to the artist, he got the inspiration from Catalan architect Gaudi who used gravity to calculate the final shape of his famous building La Sagrada Familia: “I thought, what if he had the power to turn off the gravitation field for a while? Then he could have made the building straight up.” (via Wired)

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Alberto Sevesos Liquid Nudes

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Alberto Sevesos creates turbulent digital images of nude female figures. Colours swirl inside the elusive bodies that appear and disappear with a hint of nipple or goose bumps running down a torso. The movements within the nudes are so compelling it becomes difficult to bring yourself out to view the images as a whole. The viewer’s eye becomes lost in the gestures, especially as you try to make sense of the forms. In parts the figures seem as though they are glass, filled with swirling paints, but then they fade into nothingness where just beside is a definitive form.

The positions of the bodies themselves also create movement in the work. They bend, extend and caress in a dancerly manner. Sometimes the bodies are surprising, as they seem only to be deconstructed and not reassembled. A hand appears without sense, transforming the texture of the swirls that are like liquid in one moment, and smoke in the next. The hot and cold oranges, blues, and whites add an elemental aspect to the work, complemented by the natural skin tones and clean bright lighting of the original photograph. The work is airy and also haunting as the tantalizing figures ghost in and out of existence in plain sight. (Via Illusion Scene 360)

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Big Maze Installation Reveals Its Path The Further You Wander Into It

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International architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has created a life-sized wooden maze reminiscent of European hedge mazes of the 17th and 18th centuries, currently on view at The National Building Museum in Washington D.C. Eighteen feet high and made of baltic birch plywood, this installation offers a glimpse into BIG’s work and their forthcoming exhibition, scheduled to open in early 2015. The thoughtful design of this labyrinth allows visitors to see the entirety of the maze elevated around them once they fully descend to the center of the structure. BIG describes the project,  “As you travel deeper into a maze, your path typically becomes more convoluted. What if we invert this scenario and create a panopticon that brings clarity and visual understanding upon reaching the heart of the labyrinth? From outside, the maze’s cube-like form hides the final reveal behind its 18 foot tall walls. On the inside the walls slowly descend towards the center which concludes with a grand reveal – a 360 degree understanding from where you came and where you shall go.” (via design boom)

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Lina Manousogiannaki’s Photos Of Aging Superheroes

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Batman holds a gun to his own head at the edge of an empty swimming pool. Captain and Mrs. America sip mixed drinks under palm fronds. Spiderman naps on the couch. These are our Superheroes, candidly captured in their off hours. But they’re not the Superheroes we’re used to underneath their familiar suits. These Superheroes are aged, white-haired and wrinkled, and somehow completely wrong. The characters we know may die, but although they live for decades they never grow old. Our heroes stay perpetually strong, alluring, and complicated, and always, always young.

Lina Manousogiannaki’s costumed heretics of “Superheroes Gone Old” represent more than the inevitability of old age. To her, the aging superheroes they serve as reminders of the damaged Greek political system, one that politicians and people of her parents’ generation have been unwilling or unable to change.

[The series] was conceived as homage to the generation of my parents, the same one as our politicians. They have been pretending to be heroes ever since the collapse of the military junta but time has caught up with them. My heroes are old and they are afraid of everything that they can’t control. … The heroes of another time can no longer save me as they have pretended to do for so many years.

There is anger in Manousogiannaki’s writing that isn’t reflected in her images. These heroes are worn out, slightly absurd, certainly pathetic. And yet, there is the suggestion of pride here, of perseverance. They haven’t divested themselves of their worn finery. They haven’t stopped fighting. In a country with a struggling economy and generational discord, the heroes are stooped and sad. Manousogiannaki’s intent may be to put them aside and lead her own fight, but these archetypical heroes seem to be saying that it will be harder than she thinks.

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A Giant Immersive Kaleidoscope Built Inside A Shipping Container

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Lately, we’ve seen shipping containers used as repurposed mobile shelters for the homeless. The sculpture featured here serves an arguably less practical purpose but is a nonetheless an inventive and impressive use of the limited space. It was created by designers Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki who created a massive kaleidoscope as part of the Kobe Biennial Art Container Contest. This competition challenged creatives to craft an environment within the confines of an international shipping container. Here, the participants installed this brilliant piece as one that people could walk into and immerse themselves in an experience.

A kaleidoscope generally consists of carefully-angled mirrors that change light, color, and shape as it’s shifted. While their installation followed this general principle, Shirane and Miyazaki wanted to build the world’s first zipper architecture.  “We wanted to create the world’s first zipper architecture. In other words, this polyhedron is completely connected by zippers. And in order to facilitate even more radical change some of the surfaces open and close like windows,” explains Shirane. The structure needed to be light, soft and mobile, and they were able to accomplish it; their ingenuity paid off, too, and they won an award at the Kobe Biennial and more recently a CS Design Award. (Via Spoon and Tamago)

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Sexual Transgression Through The Eyes Of Neckface And Four Other Artists

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Often treading between reverence and ridicule, the mystifying allure of art that reiterates sexual transgression remains suspended within a deviating purgatory of the sacred and the obscene. Buoyantly drifting within the underbelly of normative culture, the erotic and transgressive create a synergetic relationship in a strike against societal conventions. Through a crude presentation of social perversions, the atmosphere created through sexually transgressive art permits an insight that challenges not only sexual precepts, but invites a critique of human behavior irrevocably influenced by social structures. In an explosive resurgence of suppressed sexual impulses, the following artists create frantic, tense and exquisitely obscene renderings of deviations and sexualized social distortions.

Featured artists include Tina Lugo, Aleksandra Waliszewska, Ventiko, Mia Makila and Neckface.

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Eye-Deceiving Murals Turn Streets Of Iran Into An Optical Illusion Gallery

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Creative murals by designer and street artist Mehdi Ghadyanloo are turning Tehran, Iran’s streets into an outstanding open-air gallery. Executed on two-dimensional blocks of concrete, Ghadyanloo’s artworks deceive the viewer’s eye by skillfully using methods from op art and 3D painting.

Mehdi has established a mural-painting company Blue Sky Painters, which helps him to work with the large-scale street art projects. What is not very frequent in the field, is that Ghadyanloo is fully backed up by the city’s municipality. According to the artist himself, it is one of the government’s goals to promote mural art in Tehran.

“The city is an architectural mishmash with buildings often having only one facade and the other three just left blank and grey. This doesn’t make for a beautiful city but it is a great environment for mural work. I think the municipality really felt the need to bring some cohesion or at least colour to the often confused and smog-smeared architectural face of the city.”

Ghadyanloo graduated from MA in Animation, which brought him closer to storytelling and surrealism. The latter has really influenced his style in urban murals. His scenes often depict unrealistic sights and actions such as cars flying in the air, man bicycling down the wall, people defying gravity and so on. Many of Ghadyanloo’s creations also cleverly interact with their surroundings bringing even more life to the streets of Tehran. (via: My Modern Met)

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Bech Scher’s Mixed Media Paintings Explore Women in the Military

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Beth Scher‘s “Female Soldiers” series depicts women in the military adorned with embroidery and other decorative elements. Scher’s mixed media paintings explore ideas concerning femininity and strength. Her images feature women in a variety of military contexts – Scher’s embellishments of her female figures recalls the idea of a “decorated” soldier while also referring to the art of craft and embroidery, concepts normally found within in a domestic setting. In images that include a bulls eye or target image, Scher conceals the women’s faces with black thread, evoking a sense of expendability that must inhabit a conflict-heavy environment. Scher explains, “In my paintings, I portray them as young women who intentionally seek to display their sexuality and vulnerability, yet are trained killers, in a position of power and placed in serious conflicts. I wonder what the consequences are in a society that must deal with this dichotomy.” (via lustik)

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