As a photographic artist and filmmaker, Chris Anthony’s world is anything but normal. His large scale photographs are an intersection of Renaissance set and costume design, melted with a process that employs both antique photographic equipment and the modern technology of post-production. Anthony’s work is lush and painterly. He creates an image that is akin to film work in its narrative, both cinematic and containing all the elements of a story left open-ended.
For this body of work, Anthony rented an old hotel in Downtown Los Angeles once owned by Charlie Chaplin to create a sweeping backdrop of space lost in time. He photographs his subjects in mid-dream, or in a state of semi-consciousness. The scene is amplified by distinct props and the presence of small figures, visions manifested from the sub-conscious. It is not sure if they are evil or guardian.
Hailing from the Edinburgh College of Art, Sarah Muirhead’s portraits of eccentric strangers conjure an immediate feeling of intimacy. With poignant insight towards her subjects, she offers a sympathetic narrative of their lives by meshing together scraps of the subject’s environment and superficial appearance; these carefully selected details are window dressing compared to the clarity of soul that is depicted. A beer bottle, patch of leopard fabric, facial wrinkles around the eyes, brick with graffiti, a strip of red fence, bodies covered with tattoos – each have their place within the individual’s story. The subject’s gaze is often to the side and aloof; however, this does not prevent the viewer from being captivated. Beautifully painted in acrylic on canvas and board, Sarah’s paintings are compelling representations of passersby easily forgotten in everyday life.
As the famous designer Miuccia Prada once said, “fashion is instant language” — if worn with intention, fashion can allow us to express our inner identities without having to say a word. But what if our clothing was so in tune with our emotional lives that it responded physically to external stimuli — like the approach of another person? Anouk Wipprecht, a Dutch designer known for her explorations at the intersections of fashion and technology, has created an animatronic dress that does just that. Named the “Spider Dress 2.0” (an updated version of the original Spider Dress), this curious tech-garment embraces the torso in a spider-like carapace, while eight spindly legs shift from the shoulders. Eerie and enchanting, this specially-engineered dress should be approached with caution and consent, as Hep Svadja explains for Make:
“[The] Spider Dress 2.0 […] is a mechatronic dress with an Intel Edison chip that uses biosignals and learned threat detection to defend the wearer’s personal space. Mechanical arms extend and retract as a response to external stimuli, making it a truly intuitive system. As people approach, the wearer’s own breath will help to signal the defense posture of the robotic arms. The speed of the approach will also feed into defensive behavior; approach quickly and the arms will aggressively posture, but approach in a leisurely fashion and the arms will gently greet you.” (Source)
Wipprecht is known for her other cutting-edge designs, such as a dress that allows you to vanish in a smoke screen, and another that becomes transparent as one’s heartbeat increases (such as during intimate, interpersonal encounters). The Spider Dress 2.0 is her newest (upgraded) creation, unique in its mimicry of animal behaviour, and infused with the power to visually display deep-set emotions and experiences without a reliance on verbal cues. Words, after all, are typically put through a mental filter before they come out of our mouths; the Spider Dress communicates directly from the body via internal biosignals. It interprets and visualizes inner phenomena that may not be immediately known to the wearer. In this way, Wipprecht’s work imagines a future wherein fashion could be used to physically extend the expressive capacities of human body language.
Spencer Tunick designs and installs nude human bodies into landscapes and photographs or films them. The blending of the color and texture of human skin with industrial or natural landscapes is stark and effective; the bodies themselves become their own landscape. Tunick has traveled the world staging photographs and videos of these large nude installations, and uses anywhere from a handful of voluntary participants to tens of thousands of them. The end result is a beautiful combination of art forms, including design, sculpture, performance, photography, and video. According to his website, Tunick has been arrested 5 times since 1992 while performing in New York City, and has gone to court to defend his First Amendment rights, which he won, but was still denied a permit from the city to practice his art. As a result, he creates his work abroad and has not performed in New York City in over 10 years.
New York artist Bing Wright has a clever way of creating something simple and visually striking. For his latest series Broken Mirror/Evening Skies, he has photographed various sunset scenes in shattered mirrors, resulting in beautiful, understated images akin to stained glass windows. The images are full of calming blues, glowing yellows, haunting greys and ferocious reds. In this way Wright really is a photographer painting with light.
While more abstract than some of his earlier works, the composition carries a narrative that enables the viewer to collectively experience the beauty of the sunsets the artist has captured, while facilitating an individual interpretation of the emotion they imbue. We are presented with pictorial images, fragmented and in disrepair – a reminder that everything beautiful is flawed and imperfect. Bing’s signature large format lends these images symmetry and exact composition, giving them a majestic quality. (Source)
Fascinated with the subtlety of changing weather patterns, landscapes and seasons, Wright is known for his poetic photographic series. His past work includes Greyscapes (very bleak, but not bland, views of nature’s tones of grey), Wet Glass (a close up series of droplets and drips on panes of glass), and Windows (a series that narrates the passing of time through the same one window).
Wright has gravitated slowly toward an aesthetic based around reflections, mirrors, silver tones, and foil. He has photographed silver bits on mirrors, mirrors on mirrors, and now simply has captured his surroundings in mirrors. But don’t let the simplicity undersell the elegance of this sunset series. The combination of a violently broken mirror and the tranquility reflected in the shards, has a surprisingly enchanting effect. The charm of these works lie in the juxtaposition between these two worlds.