Watch a TEDTalk entitled “One Year of Turning the World Inside Out”, in which Prolific French photographer/street artist JR, who made our Top Ten Public Works of 2011 post, details a year’s worth of results from his TED-sponsored Inside Out Project. The Project enables large-scale printing and shipping of photographs from participants all over the world. The prints are then applied toward public art projects of social, cultural, and aesthetic importance.
Make sure to visit the Project’s website, where you can find extensive coverage of the work so far, and info for those who’d like to get involved. Video after the jump.
Tom Fruin made his solo debut at Mike Weiss Gallery with quilts made of drug baggies. 11 years later, his sculptures maintain reference to that mosaic, but have taken on a different form as colourful plexiglass architecture. The baggies for his earlier artworks were found on the street and sewn into a pastiche. It actually seems like quite a natural progression for Fruin to go from baggies to plexiglass that imitates stained glass. The baggies already had the feeling of stained glass windows, and the choice to use plexiglass instead of glass allows the work to maintain that plastic durability or roughness that regular glass would not.
Fruin’s most recent sculpture is installed in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The structure has lights installed on the inside, so that at night it is lit up. Whether lit from the sun during the day or at night by the artificial lighting, the colourful shadows cast by the installation are totally enjoyable. It’s interesting that stained glass and drug baggies should come together so coherently in Fruin’s work. From his rather turbulent beginning as a divisive artist, Fruin is cooling it down with this work. Still, as stained glass belongs to a religious symbolism, the invocation of the baggie configuration remains a mildly daring one.
New Media artist Phillip Stearns contrasts two mediums in a way that also conjures unexpected similarities. Stearns has considerable experience with glitches – he’s the author of a Tumblr blog that presented a different glitch screen shot each day. He went on to combine the cold digital spattering of glitches with warm textiles such as blankets and tapestries. The pixels translate strangely well from screen to weave, the glitches not being lost in translation from one medium to the other. Stearns says about his project:
“The Glitch Textiles project was started in 2011 with the goal of exploring the intersections of textiles and digital art. The idea was simple: Transcode glitches in the cold, hard logic of digital circuits into soft, warm textiles. Following a successful funding campaign on Kickstarter in 2012, Glitch Textiles has grown to include a range of woven and knit wall hangings and blankets whose patterns are generated using images taken with short circuited cameras and other unorthodox digital techniques, including data visualization aided by the use of tools developed for digital forensics.”
These sculptures are made from the bones of dead people. The photographic portraits of these sculptures are made by Arne Svenson. What results is Unspeaking Likeness, a strangely captivating series of death portraits, collected here.
For four years, Svenson sojourned from coroner’s offices to law enforcement agencies allover the country, snapping photographs of facial reconstruction sculptures which were built by forensic artists and molded from unidentifiable victims’ skeletal remains, with the intention of resolving crimes.
The narrative hidden behind each “face” is a mystery, and, as viewers, our own hearts tense with sadness when considering each subject’s lurid last moments of life. It’s almost too much; so, we reject the idea of reconstruction in relation to rejuvenation. It feels psychological, how we need to detach. The “face” in the context of Svenson’s portraits are not representative of an emotional life nor physical body; instead, it’s a mask or doll with a troubling echo, seemingly touched by the hands of Frankenstein.
Los Angeles-based painter Justin Bower makes portraiture a glitched metaphor, literally and figuratively, to the present and future of a combined human and computer existence. Bower “…paints his subjects as de-stabilized, fractured post-humans in a nexus of interlocking spatial systems. His paintings problematize how we define ourselves in this digital and virtual age while suggesting the impossibility of grasping such a slippery notion.”
Absorbing different movements and styles (visually one could see a connection to the paintings of Francis Bacon, Jenny Saville, Op Art, as well as early 90’s Cyberpunk and post-Millenium Glitch aesthetics), Bower creates large-scale works that seem almost pained, frustrated or weariness, but with a computer-like void of any tangible, specific emotion. This is balanced delicately by the controlled, digital-referencing malfunctioned backgrounds, combined with loose, painterly brush work, affirming the power and communicability of the paint medium.
Designer Aaron Draplin’s tirade is probably not the most eloquently phrased criticism on the present practice and goals of graphic design but it definitely holds some truth. He’s actually a branding specialist…
Designer Luis Hernan‘s project, “Digital Ethereal,” captures colorful “spirit photographs” of Wi-Fi signals. Using long exposure photography alongside the Kirilian Device mobile app, an app created specifically for this project that translates WiFi signals into color gradations, Hernan creates stunning photographs that feature ghostly swirls of color and activity. Hernan’s project represents the ways we can thread different kinds of technology together to create something new – something that visualizes a field of energy that is omnipresent, yet eludes our physical sensibilities. Of his WiFi light paintings, Hernan writes, “I believe our interaction with this landscape of electromagnetic signals, described by Antony Dunne as Hertzian Space, can be characterised in the same terms as that with ghosts and spectra. They both are paradoxical entities, whose untypical substance allows them to be an invisible presence. In the same way, they undergo a process of gradual substantiation to become temporarily available to perception. Finally, they both haunt us. Ghosts, as Derrida would have it, with the secrets of past generations. Hertzian space, with the frustration of interference and slowness.” (via laughing squid)