Since 2011, Raptor Blood (Blackie Burns) has been following a group of urban explorers (going by the name of Cave Clan) around the tunnel and cave networks underneath Sydney in Australia and photographing what they see, where they dwell and how they live. Connecting with the group through their shared interest in urban decay and abandoned architecture, Burns is able to access areas that are usually closed off to outsiders. He says of his first encounters with some members of the group:
The two dudes I met with seemed pretty cool and were informative about the group and had a strong appreciation for the architecture of the tunnels we visited. Although, our expedition was a little worrying when I was walking between the two going down a drain that was barely my shoulders width. We were walking for about 10 minutes, [and] as the tunnel got deeper, hotter and more humid, our conversation started to get a little strange. The guy walking behind me started to talk about masturbation and how he liked to watch himself through a mirror… I asked to leave and luckily enough nothing too strange ended up happening.
Cave Clan thoroughly live their passion of exploring underutilized and forgotten spaces. They turn the most understated corners into homes, personalized with objects of meaning and importance. Burns talks about his surprise of how comfortable some of the dwellings he visited were:
The first, which is located under a huge castle looking sandstone bridge was equipped with electricity, bbq and bar. The area was dusty though, to the point where anybody would feel sick from being in there too long. The second was in a connecting chamber in a network of tunnels running underneath one of Sydney’s secondary CBDs. The drains were surprisingly dry with no bugs. Any Storm water was directed from the living areas and during summer it was surprisingly cold down there, really not a bad place to live!
See more footage of his explorations here on his tumblr and here on instagram.
Yoshitoshi Kanemaki sculpts incredible life-sized metaphors from camphor wood. Once he finishes chiseling in each furrowed brow and dabbing on painted flesh, what stands before him is a character that is beyond human. All of Kanemaki’s subjects seem to be between thoughts, complex humans who are plagued by existential terror while simultaneously wondering if they left the stove turned on.
One sculpture, a many-headed girl, shows every shade of expression from happiness to surprise. A six-eyed woman glances left, right, and straight ahead at the ground. It’s almost as though Kanemaki has sought to capture the various elements of the psyche in action — a glimpse of id, ego, and super-ego at play.
Just as his previous sculptures, Kanemaki riffs on the theme of emergence. Mirror images are attached like siamese twins. A peculiar case of mistaken, misplaced, or misremembered identity, it’s diffiult to tell which is real and which is doppelganger. (via Laughing Squid)
Micaela Lattanzio creates works of art that go beyond the traditional forms of photography. This collection, called “Frammentazioni,” shatters photos into bits and pieces, enabling Lattanzio to play with space and texture. Her mosaic-esque pieces contain a sort of kinetic energy, suggesting form and movement in a subtle way.
Like other types of art that use human features, it’s hard not to assign emotion to Lattanzio’s work. She literally uses human images as jig saw pieces, evoking a sort of psychological depth that could be read as anxious or even playful.
Some of Lattanzio’s works are use the various pieces of photographs as pixels, rearranging them around each other but maintaining some semblance of the original shape. Other pieces lace together long stripes, looking like the result of two inkjet printers communing (via Hi-Fructose)
Gaspar Lepage is the pseudonym of Bristol artist Marcello Velho. His work, which is mostly animated GIFs, explores the pre-Web 2.0 era internet aesthetic (Geocities, basically) through content consisting of strange half-robot/half-monster creatures in environments inhabited by weird plants, graffitied walls, and lots of bubble writing.
Jessica Eaton experiments with color, using it either sparingly, oddly (hue-wise) or in splashes. She uses geometric shapes, as well natural, turning simple things like circles and forests into something otherworldly.
In their series, “Anamorphoses,” French artists Ella and Pitr (Papiers Peintres) transform forgotten, run-down places into colorfully framed spaces that create anamorphic illusions. The duo paints frames onto stairwells, empty rooms, and hallways, giving the normally 2D experience of a frame the depth of 3D. The photographs have to be taken at a particular angle in order to create the desired shot of a figure inside the painted canvas. The outcome is a whimsical portrait that lends playful depth to an otherwise drab and neglected setting. The artists completed these installations and photographs as part of a project for National Dramatic Center of St Etienne. (via my modern met)