Screenshot from #EmbraceYourself: Kitty Von-Sometime
Photo: Birta Rán
Kitty Von-Sometime is an Iceland-based (England-born) filmmaker who creates beautifully strange and empowering performance art videos celebrating women of diverse backgrounds, ages, and body types. Titled The Weird Girls Project, Kitty’s art pieces are visual experiments aimed at releasing the participants from inhibitions and insecurities by exploring fun and unconventional forms of identity.
As a child born of the digital world, I have a compulsive hunger to record what I do. My inspiration comes from childhood dreams, from synchronicity, from public participation, in freeing those from their constraints, and a personal obsession with spandex.
In each episode, a group of women — many of whom have never met — are assembled and briefed on the secretly planned video shoot that Kitty has carefully planned. The results are inspiring: in “Secret Garden,” for example (shown below), women walk among the trees, unveiling both body and soul under the moonlight. In “Castle of the Apocalypse,” filmed in an abandoned fake Disneyland theme park in China, a shadowy crew dances amidst the ruins of greed and corruption. Taking a turn towards the humorously absurd, “Bunny Revolution” features a cast of rabbit-masked ladies who violently battle before throwing down their weapons and humping vigorously. In each of the videos, we see women improvising, playing, and morphing into expressive extensions of themselves, exploring their individual strengths and beauties while also working together as a supportive group. I had the opportunity to speak with Kitty about her project.
Erik Ravelo‘s photo series Los Intocables, or The Untouchables, captures children pinned up crucifixion style against the backs of adult authority figures. “The Right to Childhood Should Be Protected” subheads the title of this provocative series that addresses the responsibility of adult figures with regard to the harming of children in various contexts. Ravelo places the children at the forefront of issues such as military occupation, tourism, healthcare, religion, and school violence, asking viewers to consider the potential for abuse within these issues and institutions. More photos and a short video after the jump.
The landscapes of photographer Martin Vlach emanate a mysterious and melancholic energy. Characterized by ghostly human figures silhouetted against an impenetrable mist, it is like witnessing somebody’s passage into the afterlife; with their backs turned and postures calm, the stoic, nameless people seem to be on the edge of something, hesitating between worlds, gazing into that all-engulfing void beyond which we — the dreaming bystanders — are not permitted to see. As you will notice, Vlach has seamlessly blended surrealist imagery into his photography: whales emerge from the fog, and bodies plummet from the clouds. These surprising elements enhance the series’ theme of liminality and otherworldliness, merging reality with an intangible, heart-wrenching dream.
What makes Vlach’s work so consistently engrossing is the atmosphere. His images are landscapes of emotion and sensorial experience; by empathizing with the distant figures, you can taste the chilled mist in your lungs, smell the rain-wet earth and sea, feel the grass and sand shift beneath you as you traverse the lonely terrain. There is a sense of movement and stillness, solitude and comfort. With the contours of the “real” world obscured in the fog, Vlach creates immersive landscapes that foster our own deeply personal interpretations and emotional engagements.
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.
Carsten Höller’s work intends “to trigger the organic responses that underpin the structure of learned behavior, to unbalance the rational mind…Using his training as a scientist in his work as an artist, Höller’s primary concerns relate to the nature of human perception and self-exploration. He has undertaken many projects that invite viewer participation and interaction while questioning human behavior, perception, and logic. His “laboratory of doubt,” embodied in objects ranging from carousels and slippery slides to upside-down goggles, often contains playful, hallucinatory or darkly humorous overtones in order to provoke experience and reflection.” – from Gagosian Gallery. Read more about Höller’s work and his 2011 exhibition at the New Museum here.
Ted Mcgrath is an artist and musician currently living in Brooklyn, NY. His scribbly illustrations have appeared in a myriad of publications including The New York Times, New York Magazine, Bloomberg Business Week, NYLON, The Village Voice, and Bust.
Berlin based digital art and design studio, Onformative, has recently installed their newest project, ANIMA iki, an “immersive experience of light and sound.” The installation is made up of a large glowing sphere that spans two meters in diameter and is suspended from the ceiling in a dark room. The orb is lit up by a visual aimed to mimic a “viscous metallic fluid” that’s hue and tonality shift and become distorted, creating a futuristic, mysterious aura. The “glow” within the sphere is created from a powerful wide angle projector that uses a fish eye lens and can create 360 degrees images. By manipulating the audible frequencies, the installation is able to “respond” to the space though picking up and reverberating the sound back. ANIMA iki is able to create visual and sounds in real time by responding to a Kinect tracking system that has the ability assess movement within its atmosphere. As the orb has a complex interaction with light and sound, the installation is able to seem alive. The orb seems to be able to have a personal interaction with the viewer, creating a strange, interesting experience.
Founded in 2010 by Julia Laub and Cedric Kiefer, Onformative offers a space they describe as “guided by an emotional approach, we constantly search for new forms of creative expression. Through an experimental practice we create meaningful works to challenge the boundaries between art, design and technology.”
The work was originally commissioned for the Amsterdam Dance Event and has since been exhibited at various galleries in the Netherlands and Germany.