The work of Nicola Samori depicts dying corpses and mysterious portraits scraped, scratched and torn on the surface, unveiling layers of contrasting paint. Dark and intense paintings, covering layers of existing work, like flesh covering the accumulation of past experiences and traumas. The artist chooses to damage his previous paintings on purpose. He feeds the canvas, daily; until the texture becomes ’intense and palpable’. Using his fingers or a knife to destroy the apparent layer, the result of what feels like a painful process is a magnificent harmonized agony. By scraping his paintings, Nicola Samori tries to search for true identity. A person’s face on a painting is not a valid representation of who this person really is. It doesn’t give a true essence of its inner personality and soul. Exploring what’s underneath the surface is the purpose of the artist.
Body, death and painting are, for Nicola Samori, subjects of obsession. By punishing the three altogether on the canvas, he opens the wound and sets himself free. His layered macabre creations are the structure for his catharsis (act or process of releasing a strong emotion into an art form or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration). Apart from the fact that the artist doesn’t fancy working with colors, according to him; the source of darkness does not reflect a state or a belonging; what is made from it is what’s interesting. A rough process symbolizing metamorphosis of deep emotions into meaningful and empowering art pieces
Andreco, negli Italia (that’s Italian for “from Italy”… I hope) recently had a project where he showed videos created from paper-cuts as a live performance “shown in a very old palace in Bologna citycenter, (‘RE ENZO Palace’, the old King Enzo building.),” according to the artist. I love the simplicity and stiffness of the stop motion, and the morbid beauty of the figures.
Inspired by a childhood dream to be a rockstar and fueled by a “narcissistic desire to re-embody” himself, innovator Guy Ben-Ary has developed a synthesizer using his own stem cells. The project, titled “cellF,” began with what the artist is calling a “new materialist” quandary: Through using both biological and robotic technologies, what sort of responses can one achieve “in regards to shifting perceptions surrounding understandings of ‘life’ and the materiality of the human body?” Or, in other words, how can one explore one’s biological selfhood via means of a technological interface? Or, even further, how can one “clone” oneself into a robotic entity? And, what does that mean for the purpose of the human body?
The machine acts as a “biological self-portrait,” a literal doubling of the artist that is meant to act and behave as Ben-Ary, using his own cells. After receiving the “Creative Australia Fellowship,” Ben-Ary was able to research and develop his project, which he divided in two parts; the first being to grow his own external “brain,” and the second was the development of the robotic interface that would interact with said brain.
To develop the brain, Ben-Ary gathered his cells through a biopsy of his arm. He then used Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell technology (iPS), a method that manipulates cells back into their embryonic state, which would allow him to “reprogram” the cells.
To development of the robotic interface, he created a machine that would serve as a real time feedback loop between itself and the cells. The robotic interface acted as a sound-producing “body” through an analogue synthesizer that is able to reflect “the complexity and quantity of information via sound.” When noise is fed to cellF, the cells then respond using the synthesizer and “perform” live. Pretty cool. (via The Creators Project)
Microbes as paint and a petri dish as a canvas. These are the conditions in which biologists and artists collaborated together to create organic and innovative pieces of art. Organized by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the ‘Agar Art contest’ called all ASM members to demonstrate by a visual expression of their science the beauty of bacterias. The rendering of the contest led to entertaining designs and for some cases, deeper and profound interpretations.
If we look at the end results on the ASM Facebook page, without knowing the origin of the work, we could have guessed it was achieved by drawing and writing with colored sharpies on a gel texture. It’s astonishing and amazingly well done. The winners, microbiologist Mehmet Berkmen and artist Maria Penil won twice.
First with their ‘Cell to Cell’ design, a symmetrical design in orange and fuchsia colors. The captions explain the colors were obtained by isolating ‘yellow Nesterenkonia, orange Deinococcus and Sphingomonas’. Who knew bacteria existed in such superb tones? The duo also won with ‘Hunger Games’, a 3D skeleton face literally symbolizing life and death. As explained in the description, the main bacteria which forms the textured effect of the eyes, nose and mouth grows in defense to a famine condition within its environment. Death had to be created first to generate life. The examination of the biological world via bacterias not only produced surprising designs, it also created a space for a spiritual introspection. (via Junk Culture).
Last year, we featured the work of Dutch artist Patrick Bergsma. Featured today is a selection of his newer works, which demonstrate his endless creativity in sculpting floating, post-apocalyptic homes. Appearing to defy gravity, old ramshackle buildings painted in rustic shades meld with rock formations and elaborate root systems. Bonsai trees sprout from the top, creating darkly beautiful habitats for tiny, marooned people; a helicopter lands perilously atop one, and on another, a girl kneels pensively amongst the roots of a dead tree.
Aside from being objects of imagination and extreme detail, many themes seem to be occurring throughout Bergsma’s sculptures, such as the reclaiming power of nature; trees appear to be taking over the ruined buildings, returning the small, blasted fragments of earth into a more natural state. There are also dual feelings of sorrowful entrapment and isolated simplicity; the inhabitants appear lonely, but their quaint living spaces are also beautiful and calming, referring to a simpler way of life. Whatever your response to Bergsma’s sculptures is, they each tell a story that will pique your curiosity.
Their fourth album, Adventures in Your Own Backyard was released earlier this year on Domino Records and now they are back to play the First Unitarian Church in Los Angeles this Wednesday, November 21st. I recently saw Lost in the Trees there and let me tell you it’s a wonderful place to see live music. Tickets are still available via Ticketfly and apparently if you bring some canned goods or non perishables to the show you’ll get a nifty Patrick Watson poster. Check out the video for Into Giants and I’ll see you at the show!
The pollution crisis in China is reaching an all time high. With over 500,000 people dying each year from diseases related to the air quality, it’s a time for action. A company in China called Xiao Zhu has decided to educate the public on just how serious the matter is. They have literally shone a light on the culprits – by projecting images of crying children’s faces onto the guilty factories’ billowing towers of smoke and pollution. As most of the victims of air pollution are children, this artistic protest has a hard hitting message. Stop now, or the future generations will continue to suffer.
The faces themselves are quite hard to stomach. Twisted and contorted faces fade in and out of the smoke clouds. Young boys are covering their mouths with masks trying to breathe without pain. It is an emotionally charged subject, and the company normally responsible for selling air filters have tapped into the drama of the situation. Their creative approach to such a huge environmental problem is working – people are noticing and spreading the word.
Xiao Zhu write this statement to accompany their video on Youtube:
We decided to put a spotlight on air pollution’s biggest culprits—the factories—by using the actual pollution from the factories as a medium…. Clean the air, let the future breathe again. (Source)
Not only is this a message for the whole nation, and world, but most specifically for the industry that is causing the damage. And I’m sure they won’t be able to avoid looking up at their own factories and see the mess they are creating. (Via The Creator’s Project)
Light, shadow, and the human figure feature prominently in the recent works of photographer Dusdin Condren. Whether looking at an arm amputated by shadows or a woman posing Lee Miller-like in the striated light of a nearby window, there is a certain surreal, but serene viewing experience to be had with these photographs. The sometime use of black-and-white certainly increases this special effect.