If you’ve spent any time looking at Google Earth, you’ll notice that the photography isn’t always perfect; sometimes things appear a little weird. Brooklyn-based artist Clement Valla looks for these oddities, scouring the site and viewing places from different vantage points. At certain angles, highways appear as if they’re melting, dipping into ravines and rivers. It’s trippy. He collects these images and calls them Postcards From Google Earth.
These scenes aren’t the result of glitches or of errors in the algorithm, but are the logical result of the system. Valla explains, “They are an edge condition—an anomaly within the system, a nonstandard, an outlier, even, but not an error. These jarring moments expose how Google Earth works, focusing our attention on the software.” 3D images like we see here are generated through texture mapping, where the flat satellite image of earth is applied over 3D terrain. Most of the time this is seamless, but sometimes, when the spaces are so different, things look wrong. Valla goes on to remark:
Google Earth is a database disguised as a photographic representation. These uncanny images focus our attention on that process itself, and the network of algorithms, computers, storage systems, automated cameras, maps, pilots, engineers, photographers, surveyors and map-makers that generate them. (Via Amusing Planet)
Austrian/Croatian Design Collective numen/for use has created many varying types of “social sculptures” over the years. Their latest effort is formed from interwoven nets, sandbags and wires and acts as a walkable structure. Housed in the OK Center For Contemporary Art in Linz (Austria), visitors can walk, lie in, grab onto and pull themselves through the nets. This sculpture stands in for the staircase normally used in the exhibition space. The nets are strung up from the ceiling and stretched out with the help of sandbags at their bases, creating different forms, shapes and pathways ready to explore.
These images show just how surreal the experience is – as if you are walking through mid air without enough support, unaided by any hard surfaces. We can see just how immersive this course is, with the nets stretching out in very organic ways around the people walking. As the gallery goers make their way through the course, traversing along the tunnels and scaling heights, one is reminded of the contour lines on a topographical map. It feels as if we are seeing images of people in some new virtual reality – or a glimpse of the future environments that will one day surround us. Perhaps this is the new ergonomic way of walking?
This architectural technique numen/for use has created is similar to Tomás Saraceno‘s exhibition Cloud Cities. He choose to create inflatable spheres and other large structures which visitors accessed with ladders. Just like in “Net Linz”, people could lie on and move around within these forms. Saraceno has also enlisted the help of nets in the past to create a similar feeling for his guests; one of weightlessness and the defiance of gravity. Perhaps we will all get to experience this in the near future? Perhaps nets will eventually replace escalators, elevators and even the humble staircase…. (Via Designboom)
Ikeda Manabu creates visual labyrinths with only pen and ink. His illustrations are so elaborate that they can take up to three years to craft. Not only are they incredibly detailed, but they’re enormous as well: His latest project, which he began in 2013, will be 10 x 13 feet.
This size of Manabu’s work is necessary to capture the scope of what he depicts. His work is often kinetic, with waves crashing and giant spires of land rising up like towers from the abyss. He often explores the tension between nature and technology, and the result contains immense power and a sense of raw inevitability.
In an interview with Hi-Fructose, Manabu addresses one of his artworks in particular: an incredible roiling picture of a tsunami called “Foretoken.” After recent natural disasters in Japan, “Foretoken” has been called “prophetic.” Manabu tells Hi-Fructose: “The correlation with the tsunami was surely just a coincidence, but I feel prophetic as one aspect of this work is a warning that civilization is about to be swallowed by the vast power of nature.” (via Hi-Fructose)
French artist Celine Artigau is never really alone. In her series of manipulated photographs, “Goodbye Childhood”, she inserts spectral neon figures into photos of places with personal resonance. She says:
“These luminous characters are the souls of these places and ghosts of my childhood. They are like some lonely and abandoned imaginary friends that still follow me and haunt my life.”
Sometimes sweet, sometimes sad, the figures are simple outlines rendered with a neon glow. Their simplicity is what makes them work. Photoshopping “ghosts” into images—copying and pasting figures from one photo to another and lowering the opacity—has been done and done. With Artigau’s lost souls, the artifice is intentional; these wandering ghosts are meant to look illustrative and not realistic.
“Concerning the process, I use Illustrator to create my character and then Photoshop to integrate it into my picture. For my light effects, I use a mixture of layers and blur effects but the precise process is always different from one project to the next.” (Source)
In this series, Artigau has resurrected her childhood imaginary friends, allowing them to live in the in-between places and shine their light.
You may have seen Alex Seton‘s previous work: lightweight pieces of clothing, heaped casually in a corner, draped on a pair of hangers — and carved from marble. Seton’s sculptures are incredibly hyper-realistic, creating an illusion of malleability and texture that insists on a closer look. In his latest exhibit, “Someone Died Trying to Have a Life Like Mine,” Seton again uses cold, hard marble to replicate objects that would float rather than sink: inflatable rafts, palm trees, and life jackets.
This contrast is part of what Seton is exploring with his art; the depth and contradiction of the objects he portrays and their actual substance. In an interview with the gallery Sullivan+Strumpf, Seton says, “There’s no easy read on these objects. They are both an optimistic and shining series of objects, but they’re also sardonic, they also have a darker side.” The installation addresses the complex topic of those who seek asylum, largely by risking death by sea or other means, only to be turned away.
“Each of these is both inflated and deflated; each of these is welcoming and unwelcoming. How do you justify shattering a life?” Seton asks. “Or a desire or a dream? How do you do that? And what are the long-term impacts of that?”
The objects around him, which appear in a kind of memorialized limbo, have no answer for him. They are frozen by stone and time.
“Someone Died Trying to Have a Life Like Mine” can be seen September 16th to October 11th, 2014 at Sullivan+Strumpf in Sydney, Australia. (via Design Boom)
Jim Darling’s paintings use tromp-l’oeil airplane windows to frame picturesque though abstracted landscapes. The windows create a consistent context for the imagery, which otherwise might not be as recognizable. I’d hazard to say many of the people reading this article have had the compulsion when on a plane to take a photo of the view below, but rarely if ever does it turn out as what you see. Darling’s paintings manage to maintain the feeling of what you’re seeing out your window. They are abstracted views of farmland divided into squares and circles by roads, or blocks of suburban houses with pools and green yards of grass.
It’s especially interesting to see the very realistic rendering of the window beside the loose and impressionistic landscapes. Each window responds to the painting within it. The windown accompanying the New York skyline, depicted in sandier colours, maintains the same colour themes and scratchy technique, but still appears much more meticulously realistic than the loose style the city is painted in.
These paintings are rather subdued in contrast to some of Jim Darling’s other works. Recently he’s been creating large-scale installations and even what you could call sculpted paintings. His installations are made of discarded items and junk to create a giant yellow robot, or a curved X in the middle of a church in Detroit. For his painted sculpture he made a head puking water with a motorboat riding through it, all out of wood and painted in simple colours. Check it out on his website. (Via I Need A Guide)
Photographer David Waldorf seeks to capture the truth in people’s eyes, and his series Trailer Park documents the people that live in these types of places. The slice-of-life images are in Sonoma, California and are partially what you’d expect from a place like this: double-wide trailers, faux wood panelling, and fake astroturf are visible. There are some peculiar elements to them as well. We see a picture of a woman in a wedding dress with a fire blazing in the foreground. She’s holding a shirtless man’s hand, and the scene is bizarrely reminiscent of the iconic painting American Gothic by Grant Wood.
If you aren’t familiar with a trailer park or have never been to one, Waldorf’s series offers a fascinating look into the goings-on. The plots where people live are technically mobile, but are decorated with performance. Some of the images detail the struggle of the working class – like the family of four that lives in these small spaces – while other photos are just plain odd, and seem like a throwback to the 1980’s except in present day. Time moves slower there. (Via Boingboing)
Mr. Bean as Thomas More by Hans Holbein the Younger.
Mr. Bean as Vanity by Frank Cadogan Cowper.
If you are a fan of Mr Bean, beautiful paintings, internet memes, stupid expressions, or laughing out loud, you will love what caricature artist Rodney Pike has been up to lately. Basing this series on the skit from the TV show when Mr Bean sneezes on a painting (Whistler’s Mother), and ends up replacing her face with a cartoon one, Pike decided to take the joke one step further.
Who knew that Mr Bean’s dark eyebrows, large eyes, swollen nostrils and chin full of stubble would fit so well under a fair maiden’s headscarf? Or that he could so effortlessly turn Mona Lisa into a nosy neighbor peering over the fence, or into someone who is so smug with themselves it is repugnant? Not only are these Photoshopped images a display of Rowan Atkinson’s theatrical talent, but also of Pike’s vision to imagine what would fit together. Combining two very different styles and eras, Pike is able to re contextualize many historical paintings that no longer have relevance to our contemporary lives.
Adding Mr Bean’s face into these Renaissance and Medieval paintings, Pike has re awakened the art lover in all of us cultural-meme-obsessed fans. He tells the Daily Mail
“I think it just adds to the absurdity when working with such serious source material and Rowan Atkinson can make any situation funny no matter how absurd. He’s always lots of fun and it is good therapy and a welcome break to the stresses of work sometime.”
You can see more of his hilarious faces on his website here.