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Bizarre Art Project Creates Human Cheese Out Of Skin And Tears

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agapakischeese

Microbiologist Christina Agapakis and scent artist Sissel Tolaas‘ science-meets-art project “Self Made” seeks to challenge the way we think about microbes, scent, and the nature of disgust. Most cheese is made by taking milk and spoiling it with the bacteria, Lactobacillus. This bacteria transform milk sugars into acid, causing it to coagulate. The chunks are removed from the liquid and aged with specific yeast that creates specific cheeses. Lactobacillus and yeast can be found all around us, including our own skin. Agapakis and Tolaas take microbes from people’s skin – like Michael Pollan’s belly button or artist Olafur Eliasson’s tears – and add them to milk in order to create a human microbial cheese portrait (a cheese selfie?).

“The idea was to recognize, how do we get grossed out? Then to think about it and move beyond that initial idea of disgust,” Agapakis says. “Why are we more uncomfortable with bacteria on the body than we are with bacteria in cheese?”

From the artists’ statement, “Many of the stinkiest cheeses are hosts to species of bacteria closely related to the bacteria responsible for the characteristic smells of human armpits or feet. Can knowledge and tolerance of bacterial cultures in our food improve tolerance of the bacteria on our bodies? How do humans cultivate and value bacterial cultures on cheeses and fermented foods? How will synthetic biology change with a better understanding of how species of bacteria work together in nature as opposed to the pure cultures of the lab?”

“Self Made” is currently on view (and smell – the project is for thinking, not eating) at Gallery Science in Dublin until January 2014 as part of the “Grow Your Own” exhibition along with other synthetic biology projects including a mouse cloned from Elvis Presley’s DNA, a yogurt drink that yields disease-diagnosing feces, and a project that proposes a future in which humans could give birth to endangered species. (via huffington post, npr, and la times).

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Mark Bennett

Totally awesome illustrations by Mark Bennett.

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Provocative Neon Art Speaks To Web Slang

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Since the internet, the never-ending evolution of words and phrases changes like the blink of an eye. These neon signs were created from the messy scrawl of Seattle-based artist Dylan Neuwirth. Plucking from modern day “web speak,” Dylan has made a collection of glowing emblems that mark our point in history, almost to the second. There’s nothing more attention grabbing than a neon sign, and this installation illuminates the oddities of modern day speech in a playful way. The universal appeal of this work is enhanced by the statelessness of it; words and phrases not directly from any one region or culture, but drifting out from the collective voice of the internet.

Neuwirth describes where he fits into it: “I see myself not as a regional artist or attached to any one place… I want to be everywhere. Make work that looks like it could be anywhere. To be singular and be synonymous at the same time. Like a totally underground electronic artist who infiltrates the top charts only to return to the murky depths again.”

You can’t help but think: what slang will we be using five years from now, one year from now, or even a month from now?

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Anastasia Mastrakouli’s Alphabet Made Out Of Naked Bodies

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You’ve likely already noticed: this isn’t your typical font.  Instead of using pixels or vectors, photographer Anastasia Mastrakouli uses her own body to create a steamy alphabet (pardon the pun).  Mastrakoukli positions herself behind wet glass partly hidden as if in a shower.  She emphasizes certain parts of her body, and in turn certain parts of letters, by placing herself closer to the glass.  The result is an eye-catching font – one in which the medium may grab more attention the the message it spells.  Check out her website to see the rest of the alphabet.

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Spellbinding Death Masks And Sugar Skulls

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For Epitaph, British photographer Rankin teams up with Beaty Editor Andrew Gallimore to create spellbinding death masks inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead and Roman Catholic All Souls Day. Like the sugar skulls, or calavera, used to celebrate the holiday, these elegant masks put a vital and lively spin on death. Decked out in intricate beading and filigree, their models look luxurious and festive.

Calavera, normally colored in vibrant greens, reds, yellows, and blues are often eaten after the holiday; adorned in glittering stars and blooming daisies, these living skulls look like sweet confections. The female faces, painted in black, become a youthful template for imaginative explorations of an afterlife that awaits us after old age. As if from another world, their gray-green eyes stand starkly against coal-toned flesh. Rankin and Gallimore infuse the editorial with a hefty dose of high-fashion edge, introducing elements like metal spikes and and chains. These harder elements blend seamlessly with the iconography of the Day of the Dead; in one mask, a red clown nose made of punk-rock studs puts a contemporary spin on the timeless tradition.

Rankin is not new to the theme of death. In the wake of his parents’ deaths, he was compelled to break cultural taboo surrounding the dead, to face head-on his fears of dying. For last year’s photo series ALIVE: In the Face of Death, published by Hunger Magazine, he photographed those effected most by death, giving voice to grieving family members and to resilient individuals living with terminal diseases. Here, his enthusiastic lens provides solace from the fear of the unknown, inviting us to celebrate those we’ve lost as we mourn them. (via Trend Land)

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Terrifying Barbie Tidal Wave Composed Of 5,000 Dolls

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For the artist Annette Thas, Barbie is a disturbingly bittersweet symbol of childhood nostalgia and longing; for installation piece “Wave I,” she uses between 3,000 and 5,000 barbie dolls to build a sculptural wave, re-appropriating the doll as a means of translating her earliest memories, scenes which now flood her after returning to Belgium to care for her ill sister. Her sister’s illness, she explains, was related to the childhood they shared, one that was marked in part by the death of her brother.

For the artist, the wave is meant to convey her own relationship to overwhelming memories; it is 4 meters wide and stands at 3 meters tall, forcing viewers to be encased completely within its depths. The piece seems to swell with cascading blond hair, forever caught at the terrifying moment before its breaking. Adding to its realism, Thas chose to exhibit it on the beach as part of 2014’s Sculpture by the Sea amidst the sounds and smells of real waves.

The barbies in the piece, wild hair tangled and stripped of their clothing, do indeed seem ominous, but they are also startlingly sympathetic. They are second-hand toys, once loved but eventually discarded. They have endured a sort of violence, having been scarred by knives and bite marks. Each one has a poignant narrative all her own; one doll simply bears the words “please love me” on her chest. The plastic toys, symbolic of the scores of children who once owned them, are somehow lonesome now, robbed of childhood’s affections. Their demanding presence is urgent and desperate, their blue eyed faces pressing us to remember both the magical and painful bits of our youths. (via Design Boom)

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Audrey Flack

I’m absolutely loving these photorealistic paintings by Audrey Flack from the 1970’s. The paintings saturated color patterns scream 1970’s with its over the top disco sparkles all over and it’s kitschy psychedelic tendencies.

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Matej Peljhan Uses Photography To Help Boy With Muscular Dystrophy Skateboard, Swim, And Dance

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Photographer Matej Peljhan created these vividly imagined images with the help of twelve year old Luka.  Luka suffers from muscular dystrophy.  The muscle disease has severly limited Luka’s movement to mostly his fingers making even the most basic task difficult or impossible.  Luka worked with Peljhan to create photographs of fun activities that would usually be impossible for Luka to take part in.  Using simple props, Luka would be positioned on the ground as Peljhan shot the photographs from above.  The resulting images form a heartwarming series titled The Little Prince.  [via]

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