Combining Japanese architectural influence with a concern and skill for using reclaimed materials, Australian firm March Studio decided to make a statement to the entryway staircase to the Nishi building in Canberra, Australia. Already being called “Australia’s most radically sustainable mixed-use building and apartment complex,” the building’s design makes an effort to harmony with its natural surroundings, treelife, and wasting as little as possible in it’s construction.
Hotel Hotel Blog explains March Studio’s design goals well, quoting, “Let the location inform the materials, and then let the materials inform the design. In Nishi’s case, the creative catalyst was the splendour of the construction site itself: chaotic but precise. March also prescribes to the philosophy of “letting the material be the material” (ah so desu ka, sensei) by using them in their natural state.”
Made of 2,150 recycled (or upcycled, whichever word seems more appropriate), the repurposed wood from homes, basketball courts, and the remnants of the construction site of the building itself. Held in place with over 2000 steel rods, the installation creates a striking effect, yet balanced with an ordered peacefulness. Beautiful yes, but dusting seems like it will be a pain. (via colossal and hotel hotel blog)
While the term “heroin chic” emerged in the 1990s as a droll description of the trendy androgyny and grungy-yet-glamorous look of contemporaneous supermodels, artists Loral Amir and Gigi Ben Artzi present the expression through a literal lens with their series, Downtown Divas.
Comprised of a short film and photographic series, Downtown Divas presents heroin-addicted Russian prostitutes as they don designer clothing and pose for a reimagined fashion spread. Juxtaposing bruised legs, tired eyes, and aloof expressions with luxury materials, trendy ensembles, and elegant silhouettes, the striking photographs appear disjointed and disconcerting. Though aesthetically startling and indicative, they paint a very different picture from the corresponding short film. Comprised of candid interviews, the poignant film surprisingly does not focus on each woman’s hardships; Amir and Artzi sought, rather, to “show a different side of the women and ignore that ‘drug addict’ tag that they carry around” (Bullett). By strictly avoiding questions regarding their drug use or experiences as sex workers, Amir and Artzi are able to instead focus on unseen—and often ignored—aspects of the women’s lives, including recurring dreams, childhood aspirations, lost loves, and favorite colors.
While many applaud Downtown Divas as a critique of the fashion industry and its apparent glamorization of drug addiction, contrary claims of exploitation and questions of the subjects’ ability—or inability—to consent have also emerged. Thus, while seemingly intended as a means to humanize the women, many hold that it instead achieves the exact opposite by exploiting them and taking advantage of their apparent afflictions and unwell mental states.
After viewing the photos and watching the video, what do you think of Downtown Divas? Humanizing social commentary, or exploitative agenda? (via Feature Shoot)
The animator and designer St. Francis Elevator Ride’s delightful animated gifs read like the 21st century’s response to the Pop Art masters of the 1950s; using vintage ad imagery, the artist marries retro aesthetics with modern technology. The 1950s moon landing even makes a subtle appearance! Using the seductive visual powers of color, form, and motion, he explores the endless allure of kitsch appliances, electronics, and other pop culture or commercial materials.
Like Richard Hamilton did with the iconic collage Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?, the mixed-media artist focuses much of his attention on domestic consumption. A chipper 1950s nuclear family is shown to be enjoying a night of bonding over screens, and a woman with perfectly coiffed hair replaces her eyes with dollar signs. The human body and sex drive become fused with images we intellectually associate with the media; as with the work of Roy Lichtenstein, flesh is rendered in polka dots, and women’s tears are represented in dramatic comic book-style shapes.
The body of work, dripping in a charming sort of irony, is made in a way that parallels its content. Like the Cleaver-esque family before the television, the viewer is seduced and transfixed by St. Francis Elevator Ride’s images. The eye is manipulated by an expert understanding of color; opposite colors like green and magenta alternate and flash at break-neck speed, forcing a sort of optical illusion that commands attention (this technique was widely employed by Andy Warhol). As technology and media integrate seamlessly into our home lives, our sense of identity shifts in challenging new directions; from these charming gifs, we might draw insight into the changing definitions of personal agency, selfhood, and intimacy.
Skote disrupts your normal routine. Founded in 2006 by artists Jill Pangallo and Alex P White, Skote is a performance collaboration dedicated to the value of artistic play and group dynamics. Skote utilizes the unpredictability of public interventions and the accompanying documentation to evoke an alternate universe that blurs the boundaries between visual art and theater, audience and performer, fiction and fact. “Produce. Consume. Discard. Are you buying?”
Artist Gabriel Schama demonstrates that lasers aren’t just for starships: He uses them to carve out incredibly intricate designs and patterns from materials such as wood, paper, and even leather. His works come alive with “surreal textures” that create a kinetic feeling, the kind you might get from studying a Magic Eye poster. There’s also the structural element, which lends his artwork literal depth as they seem almost excavated, blooming into mandalas and swirls.
The cool thing about Schama’s work is that it’s clearly informed by the natural world, some sporting the same frills as aquatic flowers and others looking like any garden-worthy blossom. There’s also a very rigid manmade feel to his work, though, not just in the precision with which he carves them but in some elements of his designs that look almost retro-futuristic chic.
Schama’s art is evolving, growing from his early hands-on approach that used mixed-media materials. In the description of his second Kickstarter project, he says:
“I have long been possessed with a desire to make my work bigger and more intricate at the same time. A modestly sized cut paper piece could take me weeks of nonstop work to execute. This project is not only the next step forward stylistically, but a means to achieve far more daring and exciting projects.”
It seems that anytime someone finds a strange piece of art out in public the first thing they think is that Banksy was the culprit. This seemed to be the case when three strange and mystical wood carvings popped up in the woods of Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, UK. Carved into tree stumps these weren’t amateur carvings by stoned teenagers partying in the woods. With ornate details and precise craftsmanship any wood smith would be proud to call these their own. The Daily Mail caused an uproar stating that the pieces were carved by everyone’s favorite street art mystery man Banksy. However after some investigation by the BBC it was revealed that that the work was done by Tommy Craggs, who was commissioned by the person who owns the land that the sculptures were found on. Not sure why the Daily Mail didn’t start with checking who owned the land before going Bansky crazy but who’s got time to fact check when you could be selling some papers with phony headlines.
Welcome to the world of London based sculpture Alessandro Gallo where bird people hang out on a ledge, Tattooed lizards chill with a mild case of beer guts, and a cornucopia of creatures read and patiently wait at a bus stop. More manimal hybrids after the jump.