Jon Rafman has been featured a few times on Beautiful/Decay, but this time it is for his 9-eyes blog curation project. It’s named 9-eyes for the camera Google Maps uses to create ‘Street View’, and he has managed to find some very captivating images. Each one holds mystery, as you wonder how such a moment might have been captured. Some are more easily explained than others, of course, such as the blue car run into a ditch. Others are not so much mysterious as seemingly improbable or exciting (how did it happen that the monkey looked straight at the camera just as the Google Van rolled by?) The most interesting, though, are the ones for which you cannot find an explanation. Here is where your imagination runs free, and the magic happens. This is because of the uniformity of the format, and our familiarity with Google ‘Street View’.
It is understood that Google ‘Street View’ photographs are taken by a camera atop a van as it journeys across the world. It is firmly stationed in reality. Still, we are provided with these surreal images, captured entirely by chance. It’s exciting, and creates wonder in the viewer to see something that is difficult to imagine could be real, yet seemingly must be, because it’s actually less believable that it isn’t. Having seen Donnie Darko, I can’t help but imagine that the watery trail left behind the vehicle in the second picture is that same kind of time path. Obviously it is not, but what makes these images so exceptional is that they did happen, whether by error or by some means outside our rational understanding, and so we are allowed to let ourselves imagine how they’ve come to be. It’s the closest we come to objective documentation of the world we live in, and it still manages to be surprising without our purposeful interference.
Max Hamilton is a photographer based in London. He has a knack for photographing cultures and their beauty – from skateboarding to the industrialization of China. His shots create an honest narrative that resonates beyond a simple, timely image; his work is a testament to this era.
French art director and photographer Patrice Letarnec combines his two talents when he devised this cleverly simplistic photoseries. Having his subjects switch their top and bottom clothes, Letarnec then has them stand on their hands, walking about upside down on their daily routes. Thus the title of the series, Head Over Heels, which is taken quite literally.
The results are subjects which look familiar at first, until a general unease sets in to the missing head, arms which are too long, and legs that are far too short. The orangutan-like subjects are more comedic than disconcerting, another win for Letarnec’s eye (who also deserves a bit of credit for finding subjects who can balance on their hands so well while blindfolded).
Experimental design/art studio Cohen Van Balen‘s new project 75 Watts features an actual factory, assembly line, and workers. However, the product the assembly line workers are constructing does absolutely nothing. Well, almost nothing. The purpose of the product is simply to choreograph the movements of the workers as they construct it. 75 Watts illustrates the complex dance of production, consumption, and the human relationships therein regardless of the product. The project received its name from a rather creepy quote from the book Marks’ Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers: “A labourer over the course of an 8-hour day can sustain an average output of about 75 watts.” Check out the video to see the dance of the pointless product.
Roger Hiorns‘ sculptures and installations are concerned with chemical processes and how these processes affect his materials and forms. I first encountered Hiorns’ work a few years ago when his installation, Seizure, was nominated for a Turner prize in 2009. For this installation, Hiorns filled an entire vacant & demolition-ready ex-London council estate flat with a copper sulphate solution. This created an abundance of bright blue crystals that filled every inch of the space. Visitors to the space had no choice but to crush some of the crystals as they walked through the transformed flat, further altering the construction of the space and his work. Hiorns uses the same copper sulphate solution to transform other objects, but also combines other seemingly disparate materials like ceramic pots with moving foam, metal with fire, steel with perfume, and even glass fiber with brain matter. A crucial component of Hiorns’ work stems from his compulsion to initiate the reaction, but then step back and become an objective viewer of his work as it transforms. Hiorns: “The works are successful if they are self-contained and need nothing else. They exist by their own language.”
With Halloween just around the corner, costumes don’t have to be the only spooky things you you do to celebrate the holiday. We’ve been introduced to the lifelike, creepy cakes of Conjurer’s Kitchen, and they aren’t the only ones turning delicious treats into something sinister. So, here are a couple of other food artists having some ghoulish fun with conventional desserts.
Christine McConnell is an artist, photographer, and baker who makes elaborate delicacies like screamberries, a life-sized facehugger pastry, and chocolate-covered spiders. The details on these foods are incredible and so convincing that they don’t appear like they’re edible (though they are!). But, they look so impressive that you wouldn’t want to. (via Who Killed Bambi and Laughing Squid)
Ruth & Sira created their own version of the sugar skull by opening the top of the heads and sticking things like berries, nuts, and gummies. The walnuts look like a strange, dried-up brains while they’ve also created the more traditional-looking organs. Their creations look very sweet, and easy to pop skull after skull (as strange as that sounds) into your mouth. (via Who Killed Bambi and Boing Boing)
Jae-Hyo Lee’s latest work is a true work of perfect imperfection. He works with the imperfect forms and patterns of wood and reworks them in order to produce smooth, polished, and functional works of art. The combination of the wood’s natural shapes and the work he puts into the wood himself make for a series of pieces that are a perfect balance of nature and the presence and interference of man in nature. He creates a sort of hyper perfection which relates our relationship with beauty to our relationship with nature.
The process of Lee’s work is equally interesting to note: he spends time assembling an assortment of bits and pieces of wood, which he then spends time polishing and burning. This process allows him to rework the structure of the wood and create the meticulous shapes that can be seen in the final product.
Lee’s work is however not only a process of creation: he expresses the way in which he works very much with the natural structure of the wood, He says that he likes to “ make the most out of the material’s inherent feeling”, which underlines the fusion of nature and the man made. His project is full of a positive energy that brings a new perspective on the roles of wood its presence in our everyday lives. The fact that his series includes both sculpture and furniture adds to its beauty and complexity.