Turkish photographer Yonca Karakas used to want to be a genetic engineer due to her attraction to the idea of cloning. Somewhere along the line she became a photographer instead, but this fascination with mass produced identities is all too present within her work. Her work, which is polished and waxen, features symbols and people styled, and nearly de-stylized, to look mute and plasticine.
Karakas utilizes symmetry to her artistic advantage. She manipulates framing by organizing her props to dramatize the exploitation of whatever symbol: meat, or the cross, she is working with. Her characters are emotionless; colonized by the future, they are clean, well groomed, and the antithesis of squeamish. They wear meat, their religion is sugar coated. When thinking of her work, she recognizes that she is in the business of constructing dreams:
“I don’t like to define every frame I shoot or say ‘that is exactly what I tried to tell’. Once it’s all done that’s when I think why I shot it, I go back and say I might have been influenced by this or that movie. And by going back I can see my concerns and try to solve them. The Box is influenced by Ray Bradbruy’s novel Fahrenheit 451. It’s about a despotic future in an oppressive community where books are burnt by firefighters, televisions broadcasting brainwashing shows. I believe we are more or less facing the same situation now. We are burying ourselves in our tablets and phones, looking at ourselves and making others watch us too. It’s like we really like that, don’t we?”
Didier Blondeau, quite obviously from France, is an incredible graphite artist (fancy-talk for someone who draws with pencils, but you knew that). One cannot fathom that the image above is hand drawn, and not a beautiful, rich in contrast black and white photograph.
The short, but sweet set featured songs from his debut LP including “The One Eyed King”, “Chameleon”, “The Ballad of Little Jean”, and my personal favorite, “Clear The Air”. The show echoed the album’s fuzzy, but highly psychedelic feel that had the crowd swaying from the very first beat. I’ll be looking forward to hearing what he has up his sleeve for the next record, but in the meantime NPR just released a video for his newest single, “The End Of August” that you can watch here.
Jacco is currently on tour with the Allah-Las and you can catch both bands at The Chapel in San Francisco tomorrow night, Saturday October 5th. Enjoy the video for his song, “Clear The Air” and check out dates for the rest of his US tour as well as his jaunt across Europe that will last through the end of the year.
French artist Olivier Garraud has created Second Life, an installation that encapsulates the life cycle of flies in real time. The piece consists of two parts: an apparatus that allows flies access to food, and a tube filled with maggots and flies connected to an amplifier. Second Life allows us to examine the relatively short life-span of an insect on concise, bare bones terms, generating a context which can be applied to personal events. More images after the jump, and you can also check out a video of the installation in action here.
“I want to show that, despite stereotypes, that gay men can be masculine too.
“When I wear men’s clothes I feel comfortable and confident in how I look on the outside which now matches the inside.”
“I have been called a SNAG (sensitive new age guy), a renaissance man, a male in touch with his feminine side, etc….I think that I am masculine in the sense of self reliance.”
“I am strong emotionally, have always stood up for myself and fear nothing. I happen to be physically strong but that isn’t where I derive my masculinity.”
Philadelphia-based photographer Chad States creates ”Masculinities’, a series of photographs and text devoted to create real, tangible accounts of men and their thoughts on masculinity in order to expose the complexities and difficulties in trying to define the masculine. States, interested in creating a large sample of men and their accounts, exposes his project on Craigslist and only takes subjects who are interested in participating in this project.
“Growing up as a gay man in the U.S. I have always been aware of how men were supposed to act and I judged myself against these ideas. Masculinity was always something that was attractive to me but when I tried to unpack what made someone masculine I found it hard to define. Masculinity seemed based on relativity and shifted in different circumstances and cultures.”
The series, inspired by State’s own struggles with understanding conceptions of gender at an early age, set out to investigate the matter by photographing these men in their home. States explains that “the structure of the project created a special circumstance in which those who were still willing to participate had a strong need to have their own masculinity confirmed by the photograph.” The men got to choose the ways in which they were portrayed, they picked what they wanted to wear and they choose to stand by or sit in any position they felt truly comfortable in.
I used a 4×5 camera only taking about 8-10 shots per sitting, so the poses and choices are very intentional on part of the sitter.” (via Feature Shoot)
For her frightening and beautiful portraits, the artist and designer Tamara Muller uses her own face, pasting it atop various haunting figures. Within the context of these crudely drawn bodies, her features, seen over and over again, take on an uncanny, trance-like quality, allowing them to collectively span her entire lifetime from girlhood to the present. Within this expressionistic realm, the barriers between childhood’s innocence and the guilt of adulthood are disturbingly blurred to create a narrative where play and fear work in tandem.
Muller’s faces leap dizzyingly through the ages: baby, child, adult, blurring the lines between male and female in the process. A seemingly incomplete rendering of the bodily form appears to the post-Renaissance eye as primitive or childlike, creating a cognitive and visceral tension with the heavily weighted heads, which are given a disproportionate depth and dimensionality. For this reason, the fleshy, flushed faces seem dangerously precarious, as if they were too psychologically burdened to rest comfortably on a naive and doll-like body.
In a realm where child self and grown self live side-by-side, an uncomfortable eroticism emerges, carrying with it the guilt of innocence lost. In one image, a woman bears her naked breasts, her head taxed with the weight of a baby face robbed of her body. In another disturbing piece, a young girl sits on a rabbit, normally a symbol of fertility and sex, baring her disturbingly youthful genitalia. A woman holds a younger version of herself, and the latter’s body wilts, rag doll like. In these powerful images, it’s unclear who is haunting whom; is the grown self plagued by her childhood, or is it the other way around? Take a look. (via HiFructose)
Danielle Julian Norton’s art is slightly horrifying and absolutely fascinating in all its strangeness. Whether it’s a creepy Kubrick-like collaborative performance with fellow artist Tarrah Krajnak or a multi-tiered suspended installation created entirely of rice, glue, and monofilament, Norton’s style elegantly exposes the dark underbelly of weird as something quite shockingly recognizable and hypnotic. Her fantasy is not about the dream. It’s about us. How we are stuck in a twisted understanding of what an animal is or should be: the cruel psychology of our own distance from reality. The need for it. The ego of it. The horror of both.