In the project Art Trap, the Korean architecture group Mass Studies group plays with the idea of the Guggenheim Museum as a victim, in a sense, of its own success due to an over-saturation of human movement in a singular space (900,000 visitors annually) around Frank Lloyd Wright’s radical vision of a museum — a quarter-mile-long ramp spiraling around an iconic void. In the proposal for addressing this issue, the museum visitors themselves essentially become the artwork.
Katherine Akey’s works traces the delicacies of life on this planet in various ways. Through photograms and photographs, she narrates the whimsical beauty of nature. These smokey, sparkling greys are from a body of work titled Aurora, where she captured the mysterious movement of the night sky. Her penchant for unearthing, discovering, and a curiosity about the sacred aspects of voyage have imbedded in her a unique way of viewing the world, one she projects masterfully from glass lens to gelatin. Outfitting herself to visit Svalbard in the next year, she will no doubt deliver a new body of work that is even more sophisticated and compelling.
Akey is a beautiful writer, and her this excerpt from her blog shows her motivations and what led her to commit to the upcoming Arctic Circle Residency in Svalbard. Beautiful and compelling, it reads like poetry:
“These questions and their associated emotional valences could be analyzed using the machines and tools of a scientist; I choose, however, to use the events of the past, the texts left behind, the myths generated, and, hopefully, my own foray into those parts of the world as material for art making. My work also confronts the reality that adventure as we have long thought of it is just about snuffed out. Astronauts go to the safety of space stations instead of venturing into the infinite universe, and robots have taken the place of humans to explore the dusty surface of Mars. The ambitions of so many of these men who went north to explore were complicated and compelling; what drove them to embark, what kindled the hope that kept them alive, and what they give credit to for their success once they return are all completely different things. The North Pole itself is elusive and misleading; there’s a geographic north pole, a magnetic north pole, the celestial North Pole, and a northern pole of inaccessibility. The Arctic, unlike the Antarctic, is a frozen ocean, not a continent; there’s no land mass, just sea ice. The mythic explorer hero is also a foggy, misleading concept; these men were egotistical, driven by ambition, and many of them died miserable, needless deaths alone. All of my interests and works come out of this deep respect for the Human; I see it so clearly in these fevered moments of triumph-cum-horror, like the World Wars or the Golden Age(s) of exploration.”
(Excerpt published with permission from artist)
Imagine your favorite teddy bear and or snuggly stuffed animal shrunken down to fit atop your fingertip, and you have the magical creations of Su Ami, an artistic company in Vietnam devoted to creating delightfully miniature crochet animals. The family run business includes only 5 expert craftsman who work to imbue the tiny woven creatures with unique and touching personalities.
Because of the animals’ itty bitty frame, each stitch is noticeable, highlighting the careful handmade nature of the work. In each turn of the yarn, we imagine the delicate movements of human fingers, and each being becomes impossibly precious. Heightening their dearness is the fact that delightful creatures are so easily lost; like microscopic pets, their vulnerability inspires us to cherish them and hold fast to their tiny bodies. In this way, the pieces recall the nostalgic yearning of a child for his toy.
Despite their smallness, each creation has an impressively distinct character. With the slightest opening of the mouth, a gecko exudes a curious and playful attitude; a long-beaked bird stares in awe of her own crochet egg. Two squirrels tell a story, peering up at the sky in unison; similarly, a parent elephant watches over her child, whose plastic button eyes seek approval. A lion turns his head with a poignant frown, as if startled by his own size. All animals great and small, from the littlest snail to the tallest giraffe, inhabit the same magical space, cautiously yet courageously exploring the large world they miraculously inhabit. (via Demilked)
Thierry Cohen is seen as one of the pioneers of digital photography. Since 2010 he has devoted himself to a single project – “Villes Eteintes” (Darkened Cities) – which depicts
the major cities of the world as they would appear at night without light pollution,
or in more poetic terms: how they would look if we could see the stars.
Cohen’s method is original and precise and harkens back to the methodologies employed by early 19th century photographers like Gustave Le Grey. He photographs the world’s major cities, seeking out views that resonate for him and noting the precise time, angle, and latitude and longitude of his exposure. As the world rotates around its axis the stars that would have been visible above a particular city move to deserts, plains, and other places free of light pollution. By noting the precise latitude and angle of his cityscape, Cohen is able to track the earth’s rotation to places of atmospheric clarity like the Mojave, the Sahara, and the Atacama Desert. There he sets up his camera to record what is lost to modern urban dwellers.
Emilie Björk is a young photographer working in Sweden. Her photographs are spooky images of mysterious youth and ghostly figures.
You’ve probably seen Mat Maitland‘s images before – and if you haven’t, when you do, you will remember them. The London based graphic designer has a knack at creating brightly colored, striking pop designs with a surrealistic twist. Producing album covers for Basement Jaxx, Michael Jackson, Prince, Goldfrapp, Kanye West and also brand campaigns for Kenzo, Jean Paul Gaultier, and The Tate Gallery, Maitland is experienced in generating eye catching and original compositions. Referencing fashion, vintage magazines, music, paintings and films, he is able to produce something very modern and compelling.
His slick backgrounds, layered textures, saturated colors and juxtaposing textures all blend together beautifully. He is able to eradicate the usual borders that exist between fashion, illustration, photography and design. He talks to Creative Review about some of his intentions behind the Kenzo campaign here:
I wanted the film to be an extension of my illustrative world, to bring that to life, so the jungle itself is quite surreal and otherworldly, a kind of electric parallel universe. I imagined the story as though dreamt by a wild cat, lucid snap shots of a neon jungle world that only make sense in a dream. (Source)
His images do indeed seem like you are exploring an exotic dream, full of strange and wonderful wildlife and patterned beasts. If you want to travel further into Maitland’s world, see his films and moving images here.
London based artist Dan Hillier creates unique, fantastical prints that blend both contemporary and antique styles. With portraits of beings composed of tree branch silhouetted hair, adornments of constellation filled skies, third eyes, and intricately pattered antlers, Hillier’s work is magnificently ornate. Using a steampunk reminiscent aesthetic, Hillier juxtaposes victorian imagery with moments of nature, creating his own sort of mythological, science fiction world. His work takes notes from the Symbolist movement that began in the late nineteenth century, such as human-animal hybrid motifs seen in Fernand Khnopff’s The Sphinx (1896), or the whimsical, grim illustrative style of Aubrey Beardsley. While most of his titles are straightforward descriptions of the image it is paired with, there are slight winks to a following of both psychological and theological threads. For example, the piece Son of the Father depicts a man wearing a mask of a perfectly sculpted face to cover a more complex, dark, geometrical entity, in which another face lurks. The piece titled Pachamama, which can either refer to the Incan fertilely goddess, or acts as the Incan word for the creation of the world, depicts a woman made up of a fully starred sky and a robe created from a forest. The prints are both recognizable, yet manifestly mythical, leaving the viewer in a sort of satisfied state of inquisition. The work is almost pleasantly dark, as if they are images taken from a memory, dream, or story that just cannot quite be placed, yet is yearned to be remembered.
It’s cyber monday, we’re pumped, and now have to pack a bazillion orders going out to all over the world. While we’re slaving over your holiday orders why don’t you watch the completely ridiculous (and hilarious) antics of skateboarding super hero Mongo Man!