David Guttenfelder’s Never Before Seen Photographs Of North Korea Through Instagram

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North Korea is a country famous for its censorship. Even so, Associated Press photographer David Guttenfelder has been able to capture images of the country and share them via Instagram. Recently, the DPRK relaxed their laws surrounding the internet. Foreigners are allowed to carry their phones with an activated 3G network. Guttenfelder talks about his motivations and experiences to Wired magazine, stating:

“In a country known for its censorship, I’m now uploading photos to Instagram from the streets of North Korea like I would anywhere else in the world. Through social media, I’m trying to piece together a picture of this country for the outside world … No one puts their hand in front of my camera, and no one tells me not to shoot things. There’s no review process. They don’t look at my pictures at all before I send them on the Associated Press wire or my Instagram account. Facebook even asks me to tag my “friends” Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung when I upload my photos.”

Displaying his photos on Instagram allows for followers to interact with Guttenfelder directly. He welcomes this, and comments on one of his photos, writing,  “I appreciate the comments and the direct connections. It has given my work a cool and unexpected extra purpose.”

Guttenfelder posts photos of everyday life, displaying different aspects of the country and the influence the regime has on the cultural landscape. Of course, because they have been “Instagram’d” they look old, but are completely contemporary. In some of these photos, based on subject matter, it’s hard to imagine that they are of our time. (Via Huh Magazine)

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Luminous “Consumerist Christmas Tree” Made With 3,000 Plastic Bags

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Anonymous Spanish art collective Luzinterruptus has installed their latest public interventionist project, “Consumerist Christmas Tree”, as part of Lumiere, a citywide celebration of light that takes place in Durham, England. To construct this 9 meter high tree, the group asked people to donate their plastic bags in exchange for cloth ones, resulting in a donation of around 4,000 bags. In addition to the tree, Luzinterruptus created strands of garland by installing lights in leftover bags and hanging them across streets. According to the artists, the tree ”is an installation that will help to raise awareness of the excessive use of plastic bags and the consequences that this consumption has on the environment…We thought about a grand Christmas tree, built of the bags used during the period prior to Christmas, the dates in which their use dramatically increases.” (via unknown editors)

Santa And His Crew Are Naughty When They Aren’t being nice

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Tis the Season from Jens & Anna on Vimeo.

Ever wondered what Santa and his crew are up to during their time off? Watch the above hilarious short animation by Jenns & Anna and find out.

Nathan Vincent’s Six Foot Crocheted Doily Warns ‘Be Good For Goodness Sake’

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Santa is not the only one you telling you to be good for goodness sakes. In today’s word, that is, in today’s virtual, and real life panopticon, you have no other choice but to be good for the sake or yourself, your life, your job, etc. Your success as a human being depends on your good (or bad?) pubic, and well documented, behavior. Everyone is watching, everyone is judging.

“Be Good for Goodness Sake”,a three-person show featuring works by Nathan Vincent, Iviva Olenick, and Kathy Halper at the Muriel Guepin Gallery in New York, explores ideas of surveillance and public performance in the age of the virtual panopticon (intagram, facebook, etc).

Taking its name from Vincent’s large-scale work installed in the gallery,  “Be Good for Goodness Sake” pushes audiences to question their stance on surveillance and privacy in the age of social media.

Nathan Vincent’s six-foot crocheted doily acts as Big Brother and it invites the spectators to to sit on a bench flanked by security cameras, while Kathy Halper and Iviva Olenick create embroideries that question the psychosocial impacts of intimate over-sharing via social media. Inspired by her own Facebook feed, Olenick uses embroidery and watercolor to render her own “selfies” and portraits of others. Halper’s work similarly questions the disappearing space between public and private online through embroidered drawings of found images from teens’ Twitter and Facebook accounts.

The exhibition, “Be Good for Goodness Sake” will be on view at the Muriel Guepin Gallery in New York until January 19th, 2014.

Santa Invades Classic Works Of Art In Ed Wheeler’s Photographs

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The Birth of Venus, Inspired by: Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus – 1486

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The Dream, Inspired by: Henri Rousseau, The Dream – 1910

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Golconda, Inspired by: René Magritte, Golconda – 1953

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Death of General Wolfe, Inspired by: Benjamin West, Death of General Wolfe – 1770

Ed Wheeler, a photographer, superimposes himself on famous paintings while dressed in a Santa costume.These hysterical renditions are inspired by Ed’s long time traditions of dressing as Santa for holiday cards he created for fun. For years, Wheeler would send out photographs of himself as Santa doing strange and comical things to clients around the holiday.

Inspiration stuck with him, and, according to Wheeler’s website, in 2011 Wheeler stood in front of Emanuel Leutze’s famous painting of George Washington at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it was then that it occurred to him: Santa needed to invade canonical works of art!

That is just what he did.

As you can see in these photos, Santa (Wheeler) has made appearances in many famous paintings. He appeared in his long underwear as Venus de Milo in Botticelli’s most iconic painting, and has also posed as a pensive, and a very spirited Santa, over Claude Monet’s Water Lillies. Through Wheeler, Santa has ridden Napoleon’s horse, sipped a cup of coffee in a 1940s diner, played poker with dogs, and floated in a flock of businessmen into the stratosphere in these humorous interpretations of some of art’s most iconic works.

These have become a hit; the Philadelphia Museum of Art is now selling Wheeler’s Santa Classics in their official gift shop for $12.95 a set. You can get them here. (Via Fast CoDesign)

The Lives Of Miniature Cement People By Isaac Cordal

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Via Twisted Sifter: Isaac Cordal is a Spanish artist that has been working on his own projects since 1999. His ongoing series entitled Cement Eclipses began in art school in 2002 but he didn’t start placing them on the streets until 2006, with his first piece laid in the city of Vigo, Spain.

Cordal makes the tiny sculptures in his apartment/home studio. He has placed them in major cities all around Europe including: London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Milan, Berlin and Brussels. “Small interventions in big cities,” is how Cordal characterized Cement Eclipses.

In a 2012 interview with Agenda Magazine, Cordal explains:

‘Our gaze is so strongly focused on beautiful, large things, whereas the city also contains zones that have the potential to be beautiful, or that were really beautiful in the past, which we overlook. I find it really interesting to go looking for those very places and via small-scale interventions to develop a different way of looking at our behaviour as a social mass.’”

Check out a previous post about Cordal’s strainer street art here.

Sarah Schoenfeld Captures The Results Of Exposing Drugs To Film Negatives

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Mostly considered for the way they might make you feel, it is less common to consider what a drug might look like.  Artist Sarah Schoenfeld had this thought while working at a Berlin nightclub.  She converted her photography studio into a laboratory and exposed legal and illegal liquid drug mixtures to film negatives.  She then created large prints from the resulting chemical reactions.  The body of work, titled All You Can Feel, consists of bizarre images of heroin, cocaine, MDMA and other drugs.  The work is meant to explore the relationship between alchemy, pharmacy and psychology, but also emerges as a visually interesting and sophisticated photography series.

The images appear as visual incarnations of the physical effects of the drugs they depict—they evoke bizarre altered states that feel both alluring, otherworldly and dangerous.

All You Can Feel is now available as a book through Kerber Press.  The works also appeared in a group show titled, It Is Only A State of Mind at Heidelberger Kunstverein in Heidelberg through February 2, 2014.  (via Colossal) (via It’s Nice That)