The altered visions of Lori Nix have led to the creation of transfixing dioramas, which she photographs to look like reality. Often building an entire scene around one object or piece she finds compelling, these worlds are pain-stakingly intricate. The body of work featured, City, offers glances into a post-apocalyptic city, one devoid of human life and beyond collapse. Vegetation and foliage crawl into the scenes, taking over the man-made aspects. Debris everywhere, the rooms appear untouched from how they were before. All the details and minutae indicating human life is there, strewn about.
The dioramas are a time-consuming creation; Nix spends about seven months constructing and photographing a single work. Each diorama is built only to be photographed from a single angle, and she controls and manipulates all of the lighting until she arrives at her desired outcome. A film purist, Nix shoots on an 8×10 large format camera, allowing her to make massive prints of her work.
“Since my earliest days I have always worked with fabrication, either through darkroom manipulations or even room sized installations. My strength lies in my ability to build and construct my world rather than seek out an existing world. Inspiration comes from reading the daily newspaper The New York Times, science fiction paperbacks and magazine articles. I get most of my ideas during my morning subway commute from Brooklyn to Manhattan to go to my day job. Something about the morning light, the rocking of the subway, seeing the cityscape pass by opens my mind up to inspiration.”
In a sociopolitical environment wherein Western music was banned, music-lovers in 1950s Russia (who were called stilyagi, similar to our modern-day “hipsters”) found an ingenious way to pirate the popular tunes they loved: by printing the music on exposed x-ray film salvaged from hospital waste bins. The process was unrefined, but subversive; as writer Anya von Bremzen explains,
They would cut the X-ray into a crude circle with manicure scissors and use a cigarette to burn a hole. You’d have Elvis on the lungs, Duke Ellington on Aunt Masha’s brain scan — forbidden Western music captured on the interiors of Soviet citizens. (Source)
The name given to these bootlegged records was, appropriately, “Bone Music.” The sound quality likely wasn’t excellent, but such piracy was as much a political act as the desire to listen to one’s favourite Western jazz or rock ‘n’ roll — it was a way to cleverly challenge a system that sought to regulate entertainment and youth culture. The Bone Music phenomenon was discovered by the authorities and made illegal in 1958.
The Bone Music records today are curious works of art; you can see the grooves and the circular shapes of the discs superimposed over the bones and viscera of some long-dead stranger. The concept is morbid, and beautiful. As József Hajdú intriguingly points out, Bone Music has a “double function of being both [a] sound record as well as [a] record of the internal human body; images of ribs, skulls and limbs [are] broken by sound waves and shattered by music inscribed onto the surface” (Source). What this macabre association ultimately explores is how we use our material bodies in the creation of art and self-expression, and how, after we are dead, such art becomes cultural artifacts for future generations. We imprint our historical, bodily subversion onto the art we make; and therein lies the beauty of Bone Music.
Check out Hajdú’s page for more scans and insightful thoughts about Bone Music. NPR’s article is also an excellent resource, and it explores many other ways in which people discretely dissented in Soviet-era Russia. (Via Colossal)
Generally speaking, mushrooms are fascinating organisms. As part of the fungi family, they are neither plant nor animal and have an incredible capacity for growth. As evidenced in these stop motion gifs, we witness the mushroom cap or fruit, sprouting out of the ground in various shapes and sizes. The fruit is made up of 92% water allowing for its rapid maturity and part of the fungi you would normally throw onto pizza and salad. It’s this top section, which makes for an interesting visual specimen, as seen here in phallic, veiled and bumpy shapes, credited to nature’s grand design. The part you don’t see, called the root or mycelium, can remain dormant and underground for years. These are the real heroes, acting as nature’s garbage disposals, devouring all that is dead and decaying. Some fungi lore to speak of, includes the toadstool known for its red color, and white dotted spores. Those who grew up playing Nintendo, will remember these colorful blobs as part of the landscape in Super Mario Bros. and incarnate to “Toad” a figure in the game. Psilocybin or “magic mushrooms” are the rebels. In existence since prehistoric times, the fungi first appeared during the mesolithic period as evidenced on rock paintings taken from archaeological finds. Known for its pleasant, hallucinatory effects, studies have shown psilocybin can not only give you a nice high but help with OCD and clinical depression. (via boredpanda)
Elizabeth Tolson‘s range of interactive, light up futuristic styled dresses are a light-hearted look at quite serious topics. Called Vessel, the concept centers around two garments – the Fertility Dress and the Chastity Dress. Combining cutting edge technology, soft circuity, connective threads, connective garments, simple switches and plain white cotton, Tolson has created two innovative wearable art pieces that are dealing with feminist issues.
The Fertility Dress works in cohesion with the female body. It contains lights that change color depending on the woman’s menstruation cycle and fertility. The lights turn blue to indicate ovulation, red for menstruation, and glow white to indicate excellent hygiene, and finally, turn yellow to denote poor hygiene levels. This dress is meant to not only display internal bodily states, but also to remind us that woman are fertile beings, all day, everyday.
The Chastity Dress is a combination of lights and sounds, triggered by sensors that go off if certain parts of the garment are touched. Tolson explains more:
So the final result of the Chastity dress had sensors so when the girl in it was touched inappropriately, sensors went off to remind her of how she should behave. It was creating an audience for the girl as an object because she needs to watched over. It was a way for people to be aware of her actions, but she also needs to be aware. I also created a bra that has sensors so if you push her chest it creates a high-pitched noise. (Source)
Inspired by strange dating books she was sent from her mother, Tolson wanted to draw attention to some outdated attitudes that still exist about female sexuality. With a playful , tongue-in-cheek mentality, Tolson manages to raise awareness about gender politics, marriage equality, abortion laws, birth control and a whole plethora of topics most people love to avoid. Read more about her work here. (Via Design Faves)
Barcelona-based artist Elisa Ancori‘s illustrations are somewhat arcane in nature, like drawings of dryads or nymphs. A common characteristic in Ancori’s artwork seems to be that of metamorphosis, blending animal and human forms. One of her collections is a play on the word: “Metamorfish,” with an aquatic theme throughout.
The allure of her work is in the matter-of-fact anatomical nature of each piece. Even though the subject is fantastical, she isn’t heavyhanded or tongue-in-cheek with her flavor of surrealism. There’s a subtlety to her illustrations. She treats both the grotesque and the sensual with a light hand; the crook of an inviting finger is shaded just as delicately as the soft petal pink of a mermaid’s innards. (via I Need a Guide)
Adrien Mondot and Claire Bardainne, the French performance art duo that forms Adrien M / Clair B Company, has created a stunning display of dance and the digital. “Pixel” combines the physicality of human movement with unique technological creativity. Dancers leap from mountain to mountain, splash through wire-frame water, and fling themselves through showers of shimmering pixels.
In collaboration with Compagnie Kafig, the performance is an hour long and described as “a work on illusion combining energy and poetry, fiction and technical achievement, hip hop and circus.”
From a distance, artist Ye Hongxing’s works on canvas appear like pointillism technique, as if it’s thousands of tiny painted dots occupying a single canvas. But, as you look closer, her images are much more than that. The small spots of color are actually decorative stickers! Cartoonish dogs, cats, fruit with faces, smiling raindrops, and virtually any cutesy design under the sun make up the complex compositions. They’re a collision of subject matter, and you’ll find pop culture icons, animals, flowers, and historical references are just some of the things you’ll find in these swirling works.
The dizzy mosaic are meant to fuse traditional Chinese imagery with contemporary society. Religious statues, for instance, flow into Darth Vader’s mask. This juxtaposition is the artist’s reflection on China and how its culture has been influenced by the West. “Using stickers is a conscious challenge to traditional and conventional mediums,” she writes in an profile for the Lux Art Institute. “A sticker has an enormous amount of information in it, they reflect the time we’re living in and they are fragmented and mosaic, so I can give them a new order in the landscape I’m creating.”
Artist Mister Finch is a seamster, dollmaker, and reclaimer of lost souls. He works in discarded trinkets and found objects, cobbling them together into sculptures and models from a strange and much more wondrous place. “Scraps of thread, fabric and paper are stitched and pulled into fairytale creatures looking for new owners and worlds to inhabit,” the splashpage to his webpage proclaims. “They hide in the woods, behind masks, some have died along the way and are buried under spoon lockets.”
For inspiration, Mister Finch turns to nature and his native British folklore. “British folklore is also so beautifully rich in fabulous stories and warnings and never ceases to be at the heart of what I make,” he says. “Shape shifting witches, moon gazing hares and a smartly dressed devil ready to invite you to stray from the path.” The fantastical touch of myth and fairy tale can be seen in the inviting curl of pristine pastel toadstools and creatures that are half fox, half human.
By all appearances, the materials of his art have been truly transformed from their former life in this world, becoming something magical along the way. Of his choice to recycle, Mister finch says: “It’s a joy to hunt for things for my work… the lost, found and forgotten all have places in what I make. Most of my pieces use recycled materials, not only as an ethical statement, but I believe they add more authenticity and charm. A story sewn in, woven in.” (via This Is Colossal)