At first glance, media artist Nicholas Hanna‘s installation looks like some kind of DIY gallows. It’s sparsely constructed: just wood and string set before a simple $20 table fan. Below the string, a tray filled with liquid soap — death by Mr. Clean, perhaps?
Then the machine kicks into gear, dipping the string into the soap, drawing it up slowly, and suddenly an iridescent bubble blooms out of nothing. Magic.
Hanna works seem to incorporate one part engineering and two parts childhood wonder. One of his other pieces is a Beijing tricycle that, as the rider pedals, uses water droplets to write Chinese calligraphy in Courier New. Another piece utilizes motion sensors to cause a cascade of light depending on how a candle flame is shielded by a hand. And another still is a long gunmetal trumpet mounted on a toy truck, labeled simply as “Fire Truck #1.” What does the fire truck do? It starts sounding the alarms at 7:30 p.m., of course.
The bubble machine — “Bubble Device #1,” naturally — is another one of these curiosities. It’s unusual to see beautiful bubbles created by something as sterile as Hanna’s spare framed machine, in an environment as austere as a plain white-walled room. But the wonder is still there.
Like floating into a dream, Jason Mitchell’s photography takes you into a new place of existence, stuck between worlds. His series Dream Away displays ghostly bodies in a different state of being, exploring a sense of awakening. Inspired by metamorphosis, his figures are placed in a blank space, not knowing exactly where they are except for in a place of uncertainty. Even still, they seem tranquil and ready for whatever is to come next. Each image contains an ethereal quality, as the figures delicately glide through the air. In this series, we cannot tell if Mitchell’s figures are falling or floating, as there is no sense of direction, like they are underwater. With bright whites and light shadows, the absence of almost all harsh shadows creates an angelic atmosphere around these women.
Hinting at themes of afterlife and a higher state of being, Mitchell’s figures almost do not appear to be human. They are transcending their bodies on a journey of oneself.
“I ask my subjects to explore a loss of control, but a sense that they are being guided, pushed and pulled by another sentient being, as they make their way to a new self. They represent the soul of a magical creature on a journey through the limbo that connects their past understandingto this new unknown.”
– Jason Mitchell
Although all of Mitchell’s work holds a striking beauty, his series Dream Away truly exhibits stunning detail and imagery. Photographs from this majestic series will be on view at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco, CA until May 30th.
Half humans, half birds; Sarah Louise Davey’s ceramic sculptures are the symbol of emotional duality. She is blending a woman’s face with a beak and a feathered gaze. The eyes seem so real, they are preventing us from looking away. Insisting that we come closer and try to understand the meaning of it all. The other sculptures are hanging from leather cords and chains. Two arms ending with birds’ feet with rose metal claws. The arms and the faces are covered in wrinkles, leaving us wondering how old these creatures are, and if this is what will happen to us too. It will, in the artist’s imagination.
Looking at the sculptures, it feel like we’re entering the world of the wizard of oz meets the barnyard, fantasy meets reality. Isn’t it what we’re living daily? If we think about it, the result is far from being pretty and perhaps this is Sarah Louise Davey’s purpose. In order to reflect deeper on society, norms and beauty we need to stretch the limits of our understanding. When the artist exhibits those pieces, she is almost questioning if we, as individuals are not all freaks after all. Freaks that need to be analyzed and understood, because underneath the wrinkled skin and the animal features we each have a complicated unique soul giving us an infinity of possibilities. ‘At the heart of these works is the eternal push and pull of the spirit’.
Artist Seth Alverson paints the body in a realistic fashion, but not in a way that looks aesthetically appealing. Severed hands, bizarre contortions, and skin linked together like a sausage casing are just some of the ways he’s depicted the figure. It stands in stark contrast to the Old Masters traditions of life-like renderings, which are all about idealizing and hiding flaws. Instead they’re in-your-face in a way that it’s hard to look away from.
There’s a range of grotesqueness, from detached body parts (bloody ends and all) to oversized hands, and finally to things that aren’t shameful, but our society dictates they are. This includes cellulite on thick legs or sagging breasts. They seem to mock the airbrushed media and when compared with Alverson’s other more ghastly alternatives, definitely aren’t as bad. (Via Hi Fructose)
When someone loses a lifelong partner most people think of their loss in terms of daily companionship and financial security. Mourners rarely talk about another very important aspect; the loss of intimacy. A new product showcased at Milan Design Week by Dutch designer Mark Sturkenboom could change that and make the sexual transition a little bit easier for the open minded. 21 grams allows the partner of a deceased lover to use a sex toy filled with the decease’s ashes and symbolize the union that once was. It gives added meaning to keeping the fires burning and even though some may think strange is a unique and creative way to remember.
The device is made up of a memory box containing a hand-blown glass shaped dildo containing a small gold-plated urn which can hold up to 21 grams of a deceased partner’s ashes. The idea is to connect the living to the deceased again in a physical and intimate way. Accompanying the toy is a perfume diffuser, gold-plated key and iPod slot for music. The title comes from a study in 1901 by Duncan Macdougall who conducted an experiment on five dying patients seeking to prove that a soul existed and had ‘weight’. In the test patients were weighed before and right at the moment of death. When the final breath occurred all weighed 21 grams lighter thus proving Macdougall’s controversial theory. (Via dezeen)
Swiss born Roger Reutimann’s representational sculptures serve as commentary and critique of contemporary social life. Human behavior serves as a constant inspiration, using the human form as a starting point with a futuristic and sometimes apocalyptic bend.
Superman meets our ordinary daily laborious life. Ole Marius Joergensen depicts in his pictures the super hero trying to fly and making his dreams come true. An unusual situation here, as we witness Superman failing. We watch the struggle and identify with the character.
The series called ‘No. Superhero’ is inspired by comics and Norwegian values. The fantasy world created by Ole Marius Joergensen is grounded and disciplined. Halfway between a painting and a photography, the color scheme is colorful yet soft. The artist chooses to represent the super hero with different kinds of men and keeps the red and blue costume as well as the cape. He is climbing a high ladder, landing on a tree, falling headfirst on the snow or appearing lost in an empty field.
Failing and holding on until success is reached is part of human life. The unusual appearance of Superman within each scenes makes the introspection interesting. Are we dreaming too much and that’s why we are failing? Or is it necessary to fall and learn in order to progress and attain our goals? Ole Marius Joergensen seems to project his hopes and aspirations. Bringing reality to anyone who doubts of its capacity to make dreams come true. Creating a space for errors and multiple attempts appears necessary according to the artist, apparently even Superheroes fail from time to time.