For three nights the sky above Woodward Avenue in Detroit was filled with bellows of smoke and light as the artist studio Minimaforms transformed the Detroit Institute of Art into a transient light environment. The ephemeral clouds acted as smoke signals, each cloud carrying a unique message and story. Memory Cloud Detroit was a platform that offered the people of Detroit an opportunity to engage in a dialogue about the city. This interactive space animated the DIA Woodward entrance with stories collected from the public. During the two weeks leading up to the event, messages consisting of memories, stories and personal aspirations for the city of Detroit were collected and archived on-line at Voice Of Detroit. Each individual expression became a part of a continuous story about the city, a narrative written by participants over the duration of the project transforming the steps of the DIA into a dynamic space for communication. Audience members were also able to contribute messages via text-message during the performance each night. These collected text messages will be added to the Voice of Detroit archive, becoming part of an evolving diary and a voice that will speak of Detroit’s past, Detroit’s present and Detroit’s future. An archive of collected stories and documentation of three day performance will go live at Voice Of Detroit in the coming weeks.
Science never ceases to amaze us with its bizarre, powerful and sometimes even beautiful. Wim L. Noorduin, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has managed to create tiny flower like sculptures out of crystals. Now crystals are commonly known for having hard jagged edges. However Noorduin’s crystals buck convention with their organic shapes that were created by manipulating chemical gradients in a beaker of fluid through a chemical reaction between Barium Chloride and Sodium Silicate. (via)
“For at least 200 years, people have been intrigued by how complex shapes could have evolved in nature. This work helps to demonstrate what’s possible just through environmental, chemical changes.” -Wim L. Noorduin as told to Caroline Perry
For the surrealist painter Vincent Castiglia, his “work is literally a blood sacrifice on the altar of art;” using up to 30 vials of his own blood for his darkly sprawling paintings, he hopes to imbue his richly philosophical work with his own living tissue. The artist’s blood shares the same iron oxide pigment as many commercial paints, lending each image its dark rusty tone and heightening the drama of Castiglia’s macabre scenes.
For this blood artist, the unusual medium works in service of larger themes. In extracting blood from his own body, sometimes 15 vials at a time (less than a blood donation), he allows the literal life-giving substance to more deeply examine fertile powers of mankind. With the careful painting of milk-filled breasts and deliberate vaginal imagery, Castiglia celebrates the allegorical implications of motherhood and childbirth. A female figure rises from the earth, howling like the ancient Greek goddess Gaia, who birthed the entire world.
The idea of human creative potential becomes complicated with the dark suggestion of our mortality. A mother nurses from a wheelchair, her skeletal legs and decaying infant painted in dried blood, reminding viewers that with life comes inevitable ruin. Laid upon a cross, a woman bears the suffering of Jesus, her abdomen radiating light while her vulva appears to be ominously stitched shut.
The introduction of religious imagery helps resolve the tension between death and birth. Borrowing shapes and floral imagery from early Christian painting, Castiglia implies a connection between death and eternal life. In sacrificing his own blood, the artist fills not a Holy Grail but a canvas, elegantly preserving his own flesh for our consideration. (via HuffPost, ABC, Oddity Central, and Tumblr)
“Dame Otro Papel” is the name of the new music video from Barcelona hip-hop group El Gremio. The video, featuring some nice stop-motion animation, was done by Spanish animation studio Home de Caramel. Check out their site for more work, including some cool industrial design stuff.
Jodi.org (Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans) has always been the pioneers of the net art movement subverting websurfing logics and breaking your browsers since the mid ’90s and have been deconstructing web platforms such as Google Maps, Blogger, and now Twitter too has fallen victim. Taking place last Monday in the Netherlands, “Sk8monkey” involved a group of skaters using wheeled wireless keyboards instead of regular boards which were connected to a number of computers logged-on to a Twitter account, which was subsequently overloaded with nonsense “tweets”, made solely of random characters. Maybe these nonsensical keyboard mash sessions are actually more interesting than some users’ sensical ones, ha!
A woman sits alone beneath hundreds of dangling scissors; they teeter above her, metallic mouths open and sharp edges facing downwards. Calmly, she sews. As part of 2011’s The Mending Project, the performance artist Beili Liu put herself in this position, asking audience members to cut away portions of a large piece of fabric and patiently threading it back together.
In juxtaposing the feelings brutality and danger evoked by the scissors with the softness and careful mending of fabric, the performance symbolizes the cyclical process of violence and healing. The scissors are ominous, and yet Liu performs patiently. The work relies upon a symbiotic relationship between destruction and creation; without the audience’s cutting of the sheet-like fabric, the artistic process would not take place. The work is uncomfortable and dangerous, but at the same time, Liu’s re-threaded tapestry, which begins to cover the floor, is strangely comforting. Ultimately, the solace of the artist’s concentrated mending rivals the aggression of the scissors.
The Mending Project also centers around ideas of women in art. Upon until Judy Chicago and still to this very day, women’s craft work has been scoffed at and rejected by museums and galleries. Liu’s work helps to change all that; here, she embraces sewing as “a woman’s work […] a traditional woman’s craft,” and she lends the art form an unexpected hardness and edge. In this picture of femininity, the woman and her work aren’t weak but powerful; through her careful process, she works with the notion of danger and transforms it into something unexpected and, in many ways, not frightful. In her own words, she, the woman, “is the one who […] creates,” finding resilience and fertile power within an unsettling context. (via This is Colossal)
It’s hard to stand out as a collage artist these days. But Brooklyn-based Pierre Botardo is so good at what he does that his wonderfully composed , vibrant works have no trouble ‘standing out’. This new batch of collaged goodness from Botardo gives you the idea that the artist has somehow gazed into the collective childhood memories of all Americans, and combined his experiences into a collection found on paper that is so empathic, that it makes us want to go home and do it all again.