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Innovator Guy Ben-Ary Developed An Interactive Synthesizer From His Own Stem Cells

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Inspired by a childhood dream to be a rockstar and fueled by a “narcissistic desire to re-embody” himself, innovator Guy Ben-Ary has developed a synthesizer using his own stem cells. The project, titled “cellF,”  began with what the artist is calling a “new materialist” quandary: Through using both biological and robotic technologies, what sort of responses can one achieve “in regards to shifting perceptions surrounding understandings of ‘life’ and the materiality of the human body?” Or, in other words, how can one explore one’s biological selfhood via means of a technological interface? Or, even further, how can one “clone” oneself into a robotic entity? And, what does that mean for the purpose of the human body?

The machine acts as a “biological self-portrait,” a literal doubling of the artist that is meant to act and behave as Ben-Ary, using his own cells. After receiving the “Creative Australia Fellowship,” Ben-Ary was able to research and develop his project, which he divided in two parts; the first being to grow his own external “brain,” and the second was the development of the robotic interface that would interact with said brain.

To develop the brain, Ben-Ary gathered his cells through a biopsy of his arm. He then used Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell technology (iPS), a method that manipulates cells back into their embryonic state, which would allow him to “reprogram” the cells.

To development of the robotic interface, he created a machine that would serve as a real time feedback loop between itself and the cells. The robotic interface acted as a sound-producing “body” through an analogue synthesizer that is able to reflect “the complexity and quantity of information via sound.” When noise is fed to cellF, the cells then respond using the synthesizer and “perform” live. Pretty cool. (via The Creators Project)

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Lisa Beck’s Rorschach Installations

Brooklyn, NY based painter and sculptor Lisa Beck creates reflective, Rorschach like abstractions that function simultaneously as murals, paintings, sculptures, and installations.

“My work has always been driven by certain preoccupations and obsessions, that can be seen as divided between the particular and the universal. The particular is shorthand for the observable aspects of reality, the stuff around us (the landscape, our bodies). The universal is a shorthand for things that are too vast or too tiny for us to grasp completely ( space, atomic physics)— that necessarily become a kind of abstraction. Those are the things that I think about, with an emphasis on the relationship between those things — the place where they meet or interact, rather than the divide. I’m concerned with where I stand, or where anyone stands, in relation to these aspects of existing reality … the act of observation of the place in between; visual awareness and perception as a way of understanding existence, like a filter.

I tend to be attracted to opposing but related visual phenomena like positive and negative, pattern and randomness, color and grayscale, flatness and depth, representational and abstract imagery. I always want to go in both directions a once and much of my work has involved trying to find ways to integrate these opposites. My most prevalent motif has been the circle in all its forms and references. Atoms, dots, spheres, solids, voids, cells, selves, stars, eternity, emptiness- it’s amazing how much can attach to this form.” (via)

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Tanner Teale’s Performative Documentations

Tanner Teale’s work uses every day materials to investigate the difference between performance and documentation. With each of his studies, Teale obsessively creates a kind-of “living” still-life that is full of tension and mystery. His most recent piece titled “Hair Dryer Knife Balloon” (pictured above) makes it clear that each of Teale’s portraits are comprised of a series of components that are completely reliant upon each other (like a formula or a recipe) in order to make the portrait as a whole work. Think of it this way: if that fan gets unplugged, the balloon will definitely pop.

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Awesome Video Of The Day: Lykke Li- Untitled

I love this new video of Lykke Li trapped on an island, decked out in 5 inch heels, and stabbing at the sand with various knives. I have no idea what this is about but going along for the ride. It’s sexy, weird, dramatic, epic, and has a dash of goofiness (check out the knife play towards the end. Full video after the jump.

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Andi Schreiber Documents Middle-Age And The Need To Be Desired

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Andi Schreiber refuses to disappear. In her ongoing series, “Pretty Please”, she documents life as an aging suburban mom in a youth-obsessed culture. “Middle-aged mom” must be one of the least sexy descriptors around, redolent of yoga pants and stretch marks and sun-damaged skin. Yet as the years have passed, Schreiber has continued to feel young and sexual, even as she’s felt that society has closed those roles to her. She says:

“When I was in my thirties I heard the expression “Invisible Forties.” I couldn’t imagine how sexually inconsequential I’d feel throughout this decade.”

The powerful documentary style photos in “Pretty, Please” beg you to look. Honest and vibrant, they are not always comfortable. Victoria’s Secret has trained us to expect sexy lingerie on a young, taut body, not on folded and stretched skin. And yet, why isn’t this just as beautiful? Grow old or die, those are the only options. Why can’t we appreciate the child-scarred body of a woman who wants to be seen?

Self-portraits are interspersed with images from Schreiber’s life. A drop of blood on the toilet seat symbolizes her ebbing fertility; the lit interior of her closet holds neatly hung clothes and shelves of shoes, but also, stashed up and away, naked kewpie dolls, whimsical and eerie.

“You get into your 40s and things are very different, your perspective changes, and the way the world looks at you changes as well.”

In “Pretty, Please” we’re looking at Andi Schreiber and she’s looking back. This is definitively her — her life, her body, her blood — and yet this desire to be seen, to be valued on her own terms, could also represent the scores of middle-aged women who chose family and stability and have had their sense of self sacrificed to their suburban houses, and diapers, and carpools.

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The Perfectly Grotesque Paintings Of Peter Saul: Shaking Down Politics Since The 1960’s

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Peter Saul - Acrylic on Canvas

Peter Saul’s perfectly grotesque; strangely cartoonish paintings are filled with political and anti-political content. Having been born in the 1930’s, he has lived through an immeasurable amount of political turmoil. His highly illustrative paintings come bursting with endless social commentary, with more than just a bit of humor. Associated with the Chicago Imagists and the west coast Funk Artists, Saul’s style contains heavy influences from pop culture and surrealism. His distinctive style is harshly cartoonish due to the brilliant colors and flattened space. The characters in his paintings have bizarre, exaggerated features such as big, bulging eyes that pop out of the person’s skull, and tentacle-like appendages that bend and stretch clear across the composition. Although this may remind you at first of the cartoons you watched as a kid, examine the paintings longer and you will see enormous nude body parts and plenty of oozing bodily fluids. These hilarious and misshapen characteristics further express his thoughts on these characters; some real, some fiction.

Although Saul’s style is derived from sources many may see as lowbrow, his skills as a painter and an artist cannot be denied after seeing his complex, multifaceted compositions. Saul is a master at taking silly, iconic imagery from pop culture and mixing it with the grim, violence of reality. Experiencing his paintings is a journey through time, as they include imagery of the Vietnam War, Martin Luther King Jr., and Ronald Reagan. However, the messages and situations depicted in these scenes still ring true today. Peter Saul’s long art career is memorable to say the least. You can see his powerful work in person at Venus Over Manhattan gallery in NYC where his exhibition From Pop to Punk will be on display until April 18th.

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Lincoln Clarkes’ Female Heroin Addicts

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female heroin addicts

Photographer Lincoln Clarkes examines the street corners of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to expose moments in the lives of over 400 female heroin addicts over the course of five years.

It began when Clarkes took a photograph of his long-time friend, Leah, “shooting up” against the backdrop of a Calvin Klein billboard starring Kate Moss- and interesting juxtaposition indeed.

“Heroines” captures the bleak realities of female addicts within the city. Clarkes exposes the physical and emotional scars of women whom inhabited a space were death was always nearby. Although the images are disturbing in many levels, it is hard to ignore Clarkes’ attempt to make the women shine through a different kind of light, perhaps a positive one, where their vulnerability brings forth an unusual kind of beauty. The photos serves as a kind of a tableau vivant of unwitnessed experiences in the social history of the Vancouver city life. (via Huff Post Exposure)

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Morgan Herrin’s Carved Forms

Check out Morgan Herrin’s amazing hand carved wooden sculptures. I could only find a few images of his work but perhaps that’s because they take him years to make!

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