As a child, the vegan taxidermist Nicola Jayne Hebson wandered the Blackburn, England countryside, the sight of dead animals haunting her memory long after she returned home. The indignity of remains left to rot struck a chord in her, and she finally took a pair of mating, deceased frogs home, gently placing them in a frame, forever bound mid-coitus.
The artist, now 23, taught herself taxidermy, using only roadkill and deceased pets. The decision to use any living or once-living creature for the sake of art raises ethical questions, but Hebson hopes that debate over her work will inspire viewers to consider the ethics of the meat industry.
Ultimately, Hebson’s work reads as an emphatic attempt to reanimate a being that no longer exists, and it that sense it does—perhaps unfairly— claim nonhuman remains as an expression of the inherently human will to be remembered after death. But in this case, the work itself is so painstakingly delicate that it feels surprisingly generous; her careful craft isn’t a boastful display of her own ability; instead, it recalls ancient mummifications or ritualistic burial practices.
Her creations exude a life-like pathos uncommon in taxidermy in part because of her paradoxical choice to rely upon fantasy over strict realism, appealing to a more emotionally heightened realm of poetry and make-believe. One rat appears to lay a loved one to rest, and the viewer is seduced into mournfulness, forgetting for a brief moment that both rats are in fact dead. Other, more surreal creatures exist within what we might imagine to be a sort of afterlife; her seven-headed rat quietly recalls the biblical Book of Revelations.
Hebson’s creations are dizzyingly anachronistic, seeming to draw inspiration from anywhere between the Medieval Gothic period to the Victorian age. Unified only in their deaths, her works speak across generations and inspire us to mourn for those we so often forget. (via BUST and VICE)
Undercity is a great short documentary that takes you on a ride through NYC subways, Amtrak tunnels, sewers and even to the top of the Williamsburg bridge. I’ve spent my fair share of time exploring abandoned warehouses, factories, and subway tunnels so this video was like a walk down memory lane. I’m not sure if it’s a guy thing but there is something amazing about going to places that you’re not supposed to go and exploring decaying structures that most people have forgot. Put aside the next 27:54 minutes of your day and explore NYC like you’ve never done before.
Oakland-based artist Milena Korolczuk is best known for her work in film, but has recently turned to the medium of Wonder Bread. With the bread and water, she forms a malleable entity, and using precise instruments, she fashions tiny sculptures of iconic historical, pop culture, literature, and art images. Her renditions of these figures are impressively accurate and faithful. Figures pictured are Walt Disney, Vladimir Lenin, Plato, Claude Levi-Strauss, Prometheus, John Malkovich, Andy Warhol, Jay-Z, Jean-Paul Sartre, Stonehenge, Earth, and Marina Abramović.
Kazuki Guzmán‘s unique heritage (he has a Chilean father and a Japanese mother) informs the playful and fluid approach to his work. Guzmán’s creations range from toothpaste (!), nutshell, pencil, and gum sculptures to embroidered bananas and meat. For Guzmán, the essence of play is fundamental to the outcome of his work. “I equally enjoy allowing my materials to define the context of my artwork, and conversely, the challenge of letting the context of my work dictate the material execution. Most of my inspirations arise from mundane events… Most importantly, I strive for intricacy and exquisite craftsmanship in my work, while focusing on not losing my very whimsical sense of humor and play.” Guzmán lives in Chicago.
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Ori Toor of Tel-aviv is a recent graduate of the Shenkar School of Design where he majored in illustration and animation. This spontaneously created frame by frame flash animation flows to the beats of Animal Collective’s song Lion in a Coma and itself has a spontaneous but cohesive flow that constantly grows, splits and changes with the music.
A few months back one of the busiest freeways in Los Angeles was closed down so that a bridge could be taken down. The entire city was in a panic dubbing the weekend of closed freeway access Carmageddon. Luckily the traffic wasn’t too bad but I always wished I could see the process of taking down such a large bridge in just a few days. Filmmaker James Miller recently heard about a similar situation in the UK and jumped on the chance to videotape the process. Shot in gorgeous time lapse you can now witness what it’s like to take down a major bridge in just 24 hours. Watch James’ video after the jump.
Cape Farewell founder David Buckland involves artists to help bring attention to the usually scientific conversation about global warming. Hoping to appeal to the public on a more emotional level regarding the topic U-n-f-o-l-d, a travelling exhibition, presents the work of twenty-five artists who participated in Cape Farewell expeditions from 2007-2009. Capturing and creating images responding to what they saw and felt while venturing to places like the High Arctic and the Andes, the artists created innovative, independent and collective responses to explore the physical, emotional and political dimensions of our changing environment. Working side by side with scientists on the expeditions artists, writers and musicians, such as Rachel Whiteread, Ian McEwan, Gretel Ehrlich, Vicky Long and Heather Ackroyd sought to find ways to discuss the topic of global warming from an artistically minded point of view.
As Buckland says of the subject: “Climate change is a reality. Caused by us all, it is a cultural, social and economic problem and must move beyond scientific debate. Cape Farewell is committed to the notion that artists can engage the public in this issue, through creative insight and vision. The Arctic is an extraordinary place to visit. It is a place in which to be inspired, a place which urges us to face up to what it is we stand to lose.” -David Buckland, 2007 (from capefarewell.com)
Watch the video here, and read more bout the project here.