Tucked away in the middle of California’s Mojave Desert is a tiny pool whose location is unknown to the public, identifiable only by guarded GPS coordinates. It was imagined by Austrian artist Alfredo Barsuglia, and is technically open to the public. If you want to swim in it, all you need to do is ask the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in West Hollywood about the longitude and latitude points and obtain the special key to open the pool’s cover.
The four-foot by 12-foot body of water is available for 24 hours to any one person or small party, and you must bring a gallon of water per person to replenish the pool. Its minimalist stylings are painted white and stands out against the sandy and arid terrain. Alone in the desert, it’s an oasis for a weary traveler or nomad. Barsuglia calls it Social Pool, and meant for the swimmer to consider the societal ramifications of this outdoor installation. A description of the project reads:
The work embodies the massive socio-economic changes that have taken place in the last forty years. It thus understands itself as the product of an economy in which privacy and immateriality have been fully commodified… For many a consumer, art is expected to operate according to the principles of the service economy rather than following humanist ideals of intellectual or moral stimulus and education.
Whether or not this pool encourages this deep thought or is simply a well-thought gimmick remains to be seen. (Via Huffington Post)
“This spot was once a prosperous place” says Mexican artist Raúl Gasque. “It used to be one of the top commercial shrimp fishing ports in Mexico and now its an abandoned space.” This photography series, Metonymic Tropic, is Gasque’s way of capturing his nostalgia for what was: an affluent port that thrived during a prosperous economy and the rule of prolific leaders.
The decay shown through these images serve as a visual metaphor of an overall state of destruction and crisis. Although apocalyptic and dark, Gasque’s way of juxtaposing decay and bright blue waters or skies gives the composition an alternate uplifting meaning, one he hopes his viewers can somehow find upon careful and willful inspection.
The photos are metaphors of the present time in humanity: ghost towns, crisis, climate change consequences, but in the horizon the blue skies transmit us a way of hope and redemption.
Even in the darkest of photographs in the collection we are able to pinpoint a source of inspiration and beauty. Destruction always call for re-birth and rehabilitation and it is safe to say that through his photographs, Gasque makes a case of nostalgia but most importantly a myriad of observations that may in fact rebuild his faith in something that might return to the way it was.
In 2011, Google launched Art Project in order to provide comprehensive, virtual tours of the spaces and artifacts of the world’s art museums and galleries. This requires Google’s robotic camera trolleys to roam museums taking 360 degree panoramic shots of every room they’re documenting. Since May, Barcelona-based artist Mario Santamaría has been collecting striking images of these cameras’ mirror selfies via a Tumblr page. In some of the images, the cameras don silvery-white blankets – this effect, combined with our culture’s immersion in selfies, renders these cameras almost familiar and comfortable, but startling in its reflection of itself and selfie culture. These museums and galleries are, for the most part, emptied of people, the camera eerily alone in its self-documentation. (via booooooom)
For his surreal photo manipulations, the Buenos Aires-based digital artist Martin De Pasquale contorts his own body to imbue the mundane rituals of daily life with a sense of humor that sometimes veers into the realm of terror. With the wonderfully oxymoronic title “Impossible Photography,” De Pasquale’s work stretches the medium to its limit, boldly questioning our assumption that the photographic object necessarily reflects reality. Though indeed impossible, the strange and comical mishaps— and horrors— of the work speak to very real existential anxieties.
Here, the human body emerges as mechanical, much like the the camera itself. Like the gears of an advanced automaton, heads and faces are replaced with ease, and the treat of mortality is abated with ever-renewed body parts. In some ways, the impossible photographs recall the paradox of the Ship of Theseus, a thought experiment which asks if a ship remains essentially the same after each of its parts are replaced. Here, the ship becomes a human being; in the daily grind of life, our protagonist is continually deconstructed and reassembled. Does he become generic, or does he hold fast to his identity?
In so questioning the individual, De Pasquale’s imaginative images challenge the notion of replication, which in turn examines the very nature of the photograph. Seen here many times over, the self is given over to a mysterious—and frightening— sort of duplication, giving rise to unnatural yet indistinguishable bodies that are ultimately mere simulacrums of the original. Take a look. (via Demilked)
Latest collaboration between paper and set designer Alexis Facca and photographer Tom Joye transforms three dimensional spaces to look like flat, two dimensional paintings. With the creative use of angle and perspective, Facca and Joye were able to obtain the desired illusion and deceive the viewer’s eye.
The Flat Project actually features a miniature 1 x 1 meter set made from paper but in 3D. Seems like the set was flipped and turned to create images from various angles. Without knowing, it is hard to tell which is the floor or ceiling. Here’s an explanation by Facca on two of her creations:
“For example in the first image the red is the ground, the wood a wall on left and blue is in the foreground. On the second image (below) the ground is made with wood and the red.”
Some works of art look so wonderfully tactile that you’re drawn to want to touch them. Such is the case of Séance by American artist Sheila Hicks. The larger-than-life installation features huge tufts of colorful fabric stacked on top of one another. It was recently presented by Demisch Danant at Design Miami/Basel’s Design at Large Program.
A black-painted curved wall is covered with giant splotches of vibrantly colored wool, linen, and cotton. Crafting them utilized a processes that originates as pure powdered pigment and is later combined with a binding agent that creates a pliable fiber. This process is symbolically thought of as translating color into 3D form which is then repeated again and again for the purpose of Hick’s installation.
The multi-faceted Séance features a suspended column and a “color table” in addition to the things against the wall. A waterfall of individual strands pour from the ceiling onto a stack of blobs below them, carrying a powerful visual. The color table encourages viewers to create color combinations based on their own associations. When they’re done, they can share and trade them with other participants and piece together a unique narrative. (via designboom)
Since the first photograph, photography has ushered forth in producing a consequential depiction of truths through the containment of fleeting moments in a tangible and archival format. Instances in time are revealed as light falls upon sensitized paper, asserting the presence of each photograph’s content. The picture plane remains uniform, constricted by its own variable, physical dimensions: a synthetic simulacrum of a three-dimensional reality that will forever remain in constant flux. And yet, in spite of presenting elements of proof based within reality, the upheaval of the actual authenticity of the photograph has found itself under siege.
Through a variety of executions, the following artists working with the photographic medium twist this truism in unique and awe-inspiring ways, abolishing preconceived notions of photography through a re-presentation of the photograph. In their reconsideration of the ordinarily static picture plane, form is pushed beyond the confines of the image through the destruction, manipulation or interference of the photograph.
Studio Swine‘s Azusa Murkakmi and Alexander Groves specialize in creating exquisite designs out of discarded objects (aka trash). For the pair’s latest project, they turned to an alternative unwanted material: discarded locks of human hair. With it, the designers at Studio Swine created Hair Highway, a series of beautiful functional and decorative objects that mimic the look and texture of hardwood but are in fact made of human hair. Mixed with resins and dye, the hair turns to a hard material, one that becomes a potential functional and decorative piece of art work. Each of the objects in the series looks as if it is carved from tropical wood, horn, and tortoise shell yet they were produced at a fraction of the cost with the human hair. According to the duo, hair is in many ways a perfect sustainable resource. It grows up to 16 times faster than many tropical hardwoods, and it’s incredibly strong as well.