In an effort to raise awareness about environmental degradation and decreasing water quality, Washington-based photographer Michael Dyrland turned some botched plans to go surfing into a series of disturbingly prophetic images. In October 2014, he traveled to Los Angeles to take photos for a friend who lives there. “I was really looking forward to this trip because I wanted to make the most of it and try my hand at surfing,” he explained in a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay. After a night of heavy rainfall, Dyrland asked when they could head to the beach and his friend was aghast. Apparently, following a storm, the 10 billion gallons of runoff contains “sewage, garbage, oil, and shit” — the types of human-derived waste that transform the ocean into a cesspool of disease.
From this unsettling experience, Hazmat Surfing was born. Dyrland wanted to show the world in a creative way what a future of continued environmental abuse and neglect would look like, and how it would impact our lifestyles that we take for granted. Coordinating through email and Google maps, Dyrland chose LA’s famous Venice Beach for the shoot location. A lifeguard was posted to keep an eye on the surfers, and out they went, garbed in gas masks and full-body suits that glisten a sickly yellow against the storm-bruised sky. Capturing the surfers treading water, riding the waves, and gazing seaward, Dyrland has instilled sport photography with a quiet-but-powerful social message. It is not unrealistic to believe that our relationship with the sea might one day look as dark and alienating as this.
Dyrland hopes to continue Hazmat Surfing at different locations in the US and beyond. His next shoot is aimed for Rio, where he hopes to “focus on the water quality issues and let [his] photos speak louder then words.” Visit his website, Facebook, and Instagram to follow this fascinating project. (Via Feature Shoot)
Artist Filippo Minelli uses the ethereal smoke bomb to paint atmosphere in vibrant colors in his striking series Silence/Shapes. This title refers to Minelli’s intention of giving the concept of silence a physical form. His clouds of color give off the impression of a demanding presence, taking over the incredibly picturesque surroundings that it inhabits. The photographer’s smoke bombs always take place in breathtaking environments, like deep in the mountains are on the surface of a serene lake. The boldness of the colored smoke is a harsh contrast to the calmness of its environment. However, the smoke can be as unpredictable and wild as the wilderness it is in, as it swirls and explodes with color into the misty air of forests and meadows. Even further, some of the most incredible views of Filippo Minelli’s compositions are of his smoke bombs wafting through the air of abandoned buildings. The organic shapes that the clouds take on create an amazing juxtaposition against the manmade structures that enclose around it.
When exploring this aesthetically genius series of Minelli’s, you realize that there is a complete absence of human form. No people are ever present. It is almost as if the colored clouds are a life of their own, standing in for human life. In one of Filippo MInelli’s photographs, it even appears that a bright, orange cloud is resting on a bench outside. The smoke begins to take on personality and substance, traveling to different natural environments and absorbing their majesty. Filippo Minelli explains the inspiration behind the series.
“The idea came to his mind when looking at political demonstrations footage, when he noticed that when the smoke was coming into the scene people stopped screaming and the scene was visually silenced too, so he thought of the smoke as the shape of silence taking over.”
“Compassion,” Arabic calligraphy, Issé – France (2014).
In a stunning series of images that blend photography, calligraphy, and performance art, Nantes-based artist Julien Breton (aka Kaalam) uses light and dance to “paint” beautiful and fleeting characters into the air. Inspired by a combination of Latin and Arabic writing styles, each piece is captured on long-exposure film while the artist creates his inscriptions using colored lamps and careful, intention-filled movements. As a living, artistic response to the environment, the designs are matched in compositional harmony to the surrounding backdrop, be it an underpass in New York, an abandoned building in France, or a magnificent hall in India. Each performance lasts several minutes and is then transformed into a single frame, transcending the boundaries of time and our perception of light.
On his biography page, Breton is quoted as explaining his choice of medium, which is rooted in a synchrony of bodily and spiritual practice: “a white sheet is too limiting. To paint on a canvas, however large, means in any case a limit within which I do not feel myself free to express my whole being. Only light is really infinite. The only limit is the air” (Source). Exploring infinitude, Breton’s images demonstrate the seemingly contradictory nature of light; it is bright and endless, yet also fleeting and enveloped by darkness. Both presence and absence are at play in the photographs; the artist disappears while his physical, expressive “trace” (the writing) remains behind. In these pieces, subjectivity and self-expression become greater, geometric portraits of universal energies.
Discovering Stephanie Calvert’s artwork is entering her world of shame. To break free from the memories left from her childhood, the feeling of discomfort due to her parent’s hoarding and her denial through all these years; she has come up with large sculptures on which she accumulates the symbols of her heavy past.
Stephanie Calvert was raised in a school house in the middle of a prairie in Colorado. With no electricity or hot water, she grew up feeling embarrassed of her living situation. Her parents were hoarders, piling up junk in every corner of the house. After she, her siblings and parents left their home town to pursue their life, the school house was left abandoned, in the middle of the prairie.
The artist eventually moved back for a while to explore the house ruins and the deep hole it had created inside of her. White taking care of her mother who had encountered a severe bike accident, Stephanie Calvert decided she needed to rekindle with her family, therefore her past. This process meant that she would have to dig into herself and face the feelings she had avoided during all these years. She went back to the school house and lived there, back to her childhood lifestyle. She then started to create, paint, collage and carve; letting out harsh feelings on the canvas. The sculptures are the expression of her past, shame and hope. They imitate the hoards she witnessed, although this time they represent the future, a message of promise and optimism to the ones that can relate to her story.
Lexus’ gravity defying hoverboard is a perfect balance of science and art. From an aesthetic standpoint, the board resembles a classic skateboard deck minus the wheels and with a grooving underneath made specially for rail slides and other tricks of the like. It is the inner workings of the board that are a truly fascinating display of physics: The deck has superconductors embedded in it, the temperatures of which are regulated with the help of nitrogen coolers.
This particular combination, referred to as ”spectacular and complicated” by one of its creators is what allows the board to defy the properties of gravity and thus remain elevated. So far, the board has been tested out by various amateur and pro skaters on a specially designed magnetic skatepark. Although it may look like a smooth ride at first site, the Slide actually presents a number of challenges when it comes to maintaining balance. The fact that the board is devoid of contact from the ground forces the person riding it to adapt to the lack of balance. Pro skater Ross McGouran even said it felt like he was “learning all over again”.
The junction of art, design,and physics is what makes this project even more worth treading about. The artistic aspect of this hoverboard is truly trans medium in the sense that many people will be instantly reminded of Back to the Future, and the key presence of the hoverboard in the film’s depiction of the year 2015. With this, Lexus has already paved the way for innovation and swift progress towards a future where skateboards may not need wheels, magnetic surfaces, or even gravity.
A thousand chairs creating chaos in the middle of a plaza. Baptiste Debombourg is the messenger from the skies. With his installation ‘Stellar’ he transports us above and beyond infinity. A snapshot of a movement, dancing chairs all linked in the air to connect with the public once landed on the ground, is the artist’s vision for this temporary installation.
It took Baptiste Debombourg 1200 chairs, 300 meters of steel tubes and 11 months to set up the installation in the middle of plaza du Bouffay in Nantes, France. Chairs are an important part of the six coffee shops symmetrically facing the plaza, they are the symbol of conviviality. Imitating that concept, he created the installation, structured yet taking us elsewhere, a relaxing place. From each coffeeshops, the sculpture can be perceived from a different angle; creating a different point of view.
Baptiste Debombourg was inspired by the French artist Robert Delaunay’s installation exhibited in 1937 (see the black and white photo far below). The shape’s roundness and exhilarating feeling is reproduced, except the artist chooses to incorporate ordinary materials: chairs that come in six different colors. His purpose is to nourish the eyes, to get a reaction and to defy specific contexts. In many of his installations he is not afraid to deconstruct and recompose, preferring being close to reality and see his work alive.
Baptiste Debombourg’s ‘Stellar’ installation can be viewed at the plaza du Bouffay in Nantes, France until August 2015.
Artist Sarah Cameron Sunde’s recent performance project 36.5 is what she refers to as a “durational performance with the sea”. In this project, she stands in an urban bay for the duration of a full tidal cycle, during which the water envelops her body and then recedes, while she remains still. The whole process takes 12 to 13 hours, during which she does not shift her position. This underlines the major role of time in her work, which she refers to as a “time based art project” At first glance 36.5 looks like a display of great endurance but, it goes beyond this, in the sense that her endurance comes with a message.
Sunde is staging a commentary on the relationship we have with water as individuals and on a greater scale as a civilization. She illustrates the rapid change of climate, as well as the impact we have on water and the impact it has on us. Her project is deeply anchored in the notions of time and change which she materializes by her presence within the process of the changing tide. Through this, she also aims to examine the “temporary nature of things”, such as the changing tides, or our physical existence. Her project is all the more interesting in due to the fact that she allows and encourages the audience to participate, thus creating a dialogue and underlining the significance and impact of such a piece. She has the plan to make her project go global in order to paint a bigger picture on an international level.
Sarah Cameron Sunde’s 36.5 has already taken place in Main, Mexico and California and will be taking place in Amsterdam and Venice .Photographs by Gus Ford and Irina Patkanian
Off the coast of Hinoba-an in the Negros Islands region of the Philippines, artist Azuma Makoto has constructed a floating, 13-foot-tall bouquet of Heliconia flowers and banana leaves. Shimmering against the ocean horizon in stark contrasts of red, green, and blue, the installation rises like a paradisiac mirage. Entitled “In Bloom #2,” the project juxtaposes terrestrial environments with the sea, bringing art and floral life where there would otherwise be open space. The following artist’s statement describes the construction and context of the art-island:
“A 4-meters long botanical sculpture consist[ing] of approximately 10,000 red Heliconia [was] installed on a simple raft used by the local fisherman. With nothing block[ing] the harsh sunlight, blown by salted water, the sculpture of flowers quietly floated in the cobalt blue ocean. The ocean accounts [for] 70% of the surface of the earth, and therefore it created [a] magnificent stage for the project.” (Source)
Following “Exobiotanica” — an exceptional project wherein Azuma sent boticanical arrangements into the stratosphere — “Bloom #2” demonstrates his creative goal to explore the visual and thematic effects of putting flowers in “environments where nature does not allow them to exist” (Source). The result is a detached form of beauty. Azuma’s work brings up questions of nature and place, and, by doing so, fosters an appreciation for the Earth’s harsh, disparate, and yet ultimately connected environments.