This past year at Warwick Art Gallery in Queensland, Australia featured a cozy site-specific installation called the Knitchen. As the name suggests, it was a kitchen adorned with knitting (some referred to it as a yarn-bombing). Yarn-covered chairs, sinks, coffee cups, and even a turkey occupied the space from July until August. This endeavor was the result of 50 artists working over the course of seven months. And, it shows. Nearly everything – from a phone cord to the label on a jam jar – is the result of a meticulous attention to detail.
Karina Devine, the Warwick’s gallery director told ABC Southern Queensland that the installation was inspired by an old-fashioned kitchen (hence the phone). “I got a new oven last year, and kept my old oven so I could wrap my oven,” Devine said. “The most exciting part for me was creating the crocheted gas flame, and hand sewing the orange flecks.That gives me a little bit of a kick every time I see it.” (Via Lustik and ABC Southern Queensland)
This new interactive installation Oil by Moscow media-artist, musician and engineer of ‘strange-sounding mechanisms’ ::vtol:: (Dmitry Morozov) is an exciting opportunity for participants to create something new and original from destroying used personal objects. Inviting people to use whatever object they are carrying at the time (headphones, sunglasses, keys, cosmetics), he places them underneath a hydraulic press and proceeds to crush them into something unrecognizable. He records what happens next with a microphone mounted closely to the hydraulic presses. The sound from the act of destruction is turned into a 20 minute record and presented to the participant to take away with them.
The project is intended to provoke visitors into spontaneously ridding themselves of material consumer objects for the sake of creating their own individual work of art via deprivation, divestment and destruction. Sound has been taken as the chief medium here with good reason, since sound art is perhaps the least material and most abstract of all genres in art. The technological aesthetic involved constitutes an ironic attempt to make the process of art production into a technological process, but the result, unlike that of mass production, demonstrates a contrary phenomenon – this is a work involving programming and code in the context of generative art, with the potential to broaden the range of instruments at art’s disposal. (Source)
You can also hear one of the 1574 tracks recorded during exhibition here. And see more innovative work from :vtol::, including different instruments here.
Somewhere between sculpture, fashion, and performance art lies the curious work of Daniel Ramosobregón. This Colombian designer’s wearable art takes the form of dismembered components of the human body in a pure white slate. Each piece is created from porcelain casts of the particular body part that it represents. Then, they are attached to gold plated brass metal and appropriately worn almost always directly attached to the body segment it mimics, creating a deeply psychological affect. It is as if each human body section is jumping out of its place into the air only to be confronted by it own body once again. Ramosobregón’s series is titled Outrospection inspired by the philosopher Roman Krznaric, who claims that humans must live towards the outside to truly know themselves. This meaning, experiencing life is how we discover and form our identities. The designer further explains the meaning behind his wearable limbs.
I have appropriated his concept while relating it to out-of-body experiences more commonly known as astral projections, by seeking to represent -in a metaphorical way- the mind being projected inside out of the body as a way of self-expression and representation.
These “out-of-body” experiences are represented in his work as ghostly and unnerving fractions of the body unnaturally detached. The most startling piece is the white, porcelain tongue that is only attached to the subject’s body by part of it being held in his mouth. Ramosobregón’s series Outrospection is a perfectly balanced mix of beautiful craft and amputation. Although the photos of his crisp white and well-designed sculptures appear somewhat unsettling, Ramosobregón’s work is unarguably delicate and stunning.
TOMAAS is a Paris-based fashion and beauty photographer whose stunning works explore the way man-made materials and objects accompany us in our daily lives. This particular series, titled Plastic Fantastic, incorporates plastic bags, forks, tubing, straws, bottles, and more into the creation of surreal and cinematic imagery. His white-washed models are both alien and beautiful; with plastic adorning their bodies and faces, what is most often seen as a functional and/or wasteful material becomes the luminescent fabric of space-age fashion.
Throughout his work, TOMAAS is interested in imagery that presents multiple themes. Plastic Fantastic is one such series, wherein he examines the prevalence, significance, and artistic versatility of plastic in our modern-day world. While conceptualizing this project, TOMAAS wanted to emphasize “the design and design choices behind such man-made products” (Source), and furthermore, explore what happens when such functional objects are removed from their normal contexts; take plastic forks and tubing into an arts and beauty studio, arrange them in unusual ways, and suddenly they become eerily beautiful and expressive crowns and dresses.
This approach to plastic as desirable or aesthetically-pleasing may be a bit difficult for us, given its noxious status in environmental discourse. But this is TOMAAS’ intention, to show beauty in unexpected places (and perhaps challenge some ethical perceptions in doing so). “There is no denying that [plastic] is one of the most commonly used materials in today’s society,” TOMAAS writes, describing what inspired him to create the series. By synthesizing plastic with fine art photography, he allows us to see — perhaps with a bit of resistance — beauty in a synthetic material that has become deeply integral to our human habitat.
Check out TOMAAS’ website for more of his works, including a series called Eco-Beauty, wherein he integrates other materials (such as straw and rope) into his photographic narratives. (Via Art Fucks Me)
Italian charity La Collina dei Conigli ONLUS rescues rabbits, mice, rats, and guinea pigs from labs or mistreatment. The now-adoptable pets were the recent subjects of a photo series by Rachele Totaro that’s inspired by Lewis Carroll’s famous novel Alice in Wonderland. Volunteer Attilia Conti had the idea, and it commemorates the first 10 years of the charity’s operation. So, why Alice in Wonderland? Because the book and organization both started with a white rabbit.
The fantastical photographs feature the animals holding objects, poking out of a teapot, and of course, gazing into the looking glass. “Mice were the most cooperative models, while guinea pigs were the laziest (they stayed still only with food present),” Totaro writes. “Rats were the most attractive, and rabbits… were the most disapproving.” You can see that with some of the critters, there was no coercing them into any sort of cutesy pose.
The charity’s rescue center is located in Monza, near Milan, and many of the animals are still looking for new homes. If you’re local to the city, you can adopt one. (Via Bored Panda)
Russian painter Slava Fokk creates surrealistic art with elegant lines and bold colors. Inspired by art deco, Fokk’s work inhabits a geometrical world filled with stunning detail. Fokk also draws inspiration from a range of sources, from the Netherlands in Jan Van Eyck to Germany in Otto Dix. According to his biography, he explores “allusions, paradoxical and phantasmagoric combinations” in his artwork, using Russian symbolism in some to evoke deeper meaning.
Much as his style is eclectic, Fokk himself has himself traveled internationally. He’s showcased his art in Arizona and California, though he has now returned to his native Russia. According to Tutt’Art, he says of his background: “I felt that the atmosphere where I was living was pressing on me. It seems to me that everyone at some point in time needs to leave…to live somewhere else, far away. As a native of Krasnodar, I knew that I would have to work to adapt to another city, another culture. I knew that it would be very useful.” (via I Need a Guide)
Photographer Nat Wilkins spent two weeks documenting the ceremonies and death rituals of the Troajan tribe in the highlands of South Sulawesi in Indonesia. In his series Dealing With The Dead, The Troajan Of Tana Toraja, he takes a close up look at this fascinating world and wishes to examine his own understanding of death and decay. The funerals carry on for a number of days and are one of the most important part of the culture in the highlands of Tana Toraja. When a family member dies, they are embalmed and lay waiting inside the family home until the ceremony can take place. Wilkins explains a bit more about the process:
When the time of the funeral comes illegal cock fighting, illegal gambling, buffalo fighting and the slaughter of buffaloes and pigs mark the occasion. The wealthier the family the grander the funeral, with this grandness being marked by the number of buffalo slaughtered, a minimum of one buffalo is required to pass to the land of souls but wealthier families will slaughter 10 to 20 sometimes 30 buffalo and the richest Torajan’s will kill hundreds.
To some these rituals may seem over-elaborate, and excessive, but to the Troajans, it is essential to ensure their loved ones cross over safely to the ‘land of souls’. Devoutly Christian, the tribe places great emphasis on life after death, or the treatment of the body and soul once dead. The living who are left behind, make great sacrifices to provide what is needed for those who have passed. But with the weight of this responsibility comes much hardship. Wilkins explains again:
From an outside perspective it can seem that to the living these funerals are used as a reflection on the importance of the deceased’s family, a status symbol for the rich. On the flip side though, death can be a serious burden on the poor. Every spare penny earned by the living goes to honoring the dead and the importance of a good funeral puts serous weight on the poorer Torajan’s with the poorest getting serious debt problems just to slaughter a buffalo.
A digital arts/new media professor at The University Of Oregon, has found a clever, new way to recycle Styrofoam. He builds gigantic robots out of it. The robots are massive and according to artist Michael Salter, reflects the local streets he sees everyday. It’s not the livelier sections, but the mundane, plain parts which inspire him to create. It’s a bit hard to see the connection to this statement because there is nothing plain or boring about his Styrobots. Perhaps what the artist means is that they embrace quiet, domestic scenes reminiscent of these faceless places, which is true.
Exhibited in about 20 museums to date, the Styrobots can stand 16 inches to 22 feet high. Various displays have shown them upright, sitting, holding hands with a tiny friend, surrounded by a smaller group or headless and torn apart. The standing bots embody characteristics mirroring the lead character in The Iron Giant. For those not familiar, the animated movie centers around a giant war robot who crash lands in a small town and befriends a young boy. The Styrobots have the same gentle giant quality displayed in the movie.
Salter finds his material through donations. Styrofoam is primarily used for packing but can be utilized as pipe insulation and preventing roads from freezing over. The material itself, polystyrene is extremely flammable and carcinogenic. When lit, it has the capacity of releasing 57 different kinds of chemical by-products. (faithistorment)