Los Angeles-based animator Miwa Matreyek completed the above film, entitled “Dreaming of Lucid Living,” as her thesis in the CalArts Experimental Animation program. I am completely blown away by it. I’m not entirely sure how it was made, but it seems to combine live performance with both pre-made animations as well as semi-autonomous, rule based animations that update based on what a camera is seeing. The result is unlike anything I’ve seen before, completely living up to the “experimental” aspect of the program.
Documentary photographer Cristina de Middel’s striking new series, This is What Hatred Did, displays a collection of beautifully cinematic photographs that bend the boundary between reality and magic. Her photographs are both playful, yet inherently insightful. The series acts as a photographic narrative of Amos Tutuola’s book, “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts,” a novel loosely based on Yoruba folklore. Written in child’s prose, the book follows a 5 year old Nigerian child whose village was attacked by soldiers, leaving him without his mother, and provoking him to flee in order to avoid the chaos. He manages to find his way into a magical bush where no humans are allowed. The novel follows him for 30 years, during which he achieves many states of being. Tutuola’s book, published in 1964, caused him to flee the country due to a violent reaction, leading him to open a new path for African literature. Cristina de Middel explains the series; she states:
“The series “This Is What Hatred Did” (derived from the mysterious last sentence of the book) aims to provide an illustrated contemporary version of the book, adapting the characters, and ambiance to the current situation of the country. The “Bush” is now the Lagosian neighborhood of Makoko, a floating slum with its own rules, commanded by Kings and community leaders, often the subject of popular media coverage. A place where logic does not prevail and forbidden for those who do not belong. With the conviction that contemporary issues should be described in a way that includes the agent’s traditions, perspectives, fears, and hopes, this series documents the enhanced reality of one of the most iconic places in Nigeria.”
Cristina de Middel, a spanish born artist now living on London, is known for her important, self-published photo book, The Afronauts, 2012.
In a world of online matchmaking and social media, the artist Noortje de Keijzer offers a simpler option: an art piece and product entitled My Knitted Boyfriend, a knit pillowcase that comes to life when stuffed. In this witty critique of modern dating and expectations, My Knitted Boyfriend eliminates all the messy parts of a human relationship, conforming to individual preferences; he will enjoy whatever you enjoy, and he “can be adjusted to your own tastes” with the use of accessories like facial hair, tattoos, or glasses.
Although humorous in its somewhat cynical outlook on modern love, the piece is unexpectedly sentimental. The boyfriend himself comes along with an illustrated book narrating the story of de Keijzer and her cuddly lover, much like children’s picture books that include a stuffed animal. Also like a children’s storybook, the text and illustration follows a simple, nostalgic format: we are told that they “sleep together” and are offered an innocent sketch of the pair doing just that. The boyfriend, though he is not real, becomes a precious manifestation of the fictional—or imaginary—friend that enchants the young mind.
Complicating the delightfully sweet story of the artist and her beau is the work’s clever take on the domestic theme. As seen in her charming short film, the relationship is build not around professional ambition or the public realm; instead, they eat breakfast and watch movies. In fact, the man himself is knitted and therefore associated with the home. This 1950s-style domestic romanticism is brilliantly complicated and subverted by the fact that the male and not the female here is the homemaker; in place of the mid-century ideal of the perfect wife, My Knitted Boyfriend is that crucial element that makes a house a home. In the artist’s own astute words to her knitted partner, “You fit in my interior perfectly.” (via Design Boom)
Liam Devowski lives and works in San Francisco as an Art Director at ad agency Mekanism. His bold colored messages and sharp imagery always have a way of looking at the bright side. One reoccurring motif in his work is the PBS logo with a single tear. This added design element playfully changes the meaning from “Public Broadcasting Service” to “Pretty Bummed and Sad”. Devowski takes pleasure in occasional sadness and uses it to fuel optimistic and enlivened design work.
To celebrate the release of Swoon‘s new monograph, we have teamed up with Abrams to provide a unique promotional giveaway & editorial. All you have to do is use the word “Swoon” in a sentence and leave it as a comment at the end of this post for a chance to win a copy of her new book! We’ll select three lucky winners in total- so choose your words wisely and contribute your most creative sentences! Confused on what an award-winning sentence looks like? Bad sentence: “Basically Swoon’s stuff is pretty cool and kinda nice.” Winning sentence: “Awake forever in a sweet unrest, still, still to hear her tender-taken breath, and so, live ever– or else Swoon to death.”
If that’s not enough, we’ve also conducted an exclusive, behind-the-scenes interview that gives insight into Swoon’s work. Who knows- maybe you’ll find inspiration for your winning sentence! Read on to find out more about the process of creating her book, how Swoon rifled through her personal archives to create unique spreads, her surprising reaction when the book was finally in her hands, as well as her inspirational, one-of-a-kind mentality towards the creative process and more.
The artist Kim Jae Il is playing a game, using a make-believe print effect to entice the eyes to get lost into the pattern; voluptuous lines of textured round drops running on the canvas. This is the beautiful visual Kim Jae Il is giving us. If watched from far away the viewer is mesmerized by the scenery, colored water bubbles creating a spiral, loosing itself within the white background.
The bubbles seen are in fact the opposite of a texture. They are the result of an image incised into a surface, the negative space accentuating the hollow shape. This technique is called intaglio. It’s a print technique where the lines to be printed are cut into the base material. Kim Jae Il is using three dimensional sculptural expressions blended with two dimensional pictorial expressions. The cubic and plane layers are meant to push forward the perspective and fabricate an optical illusion.
Kim Jae Il’s intention is to turn the most ordinary into a dynamic mode. Using the motion as a vanished mirage; leaving a vague trace that can only be remembered. The artist wants to “engrave his own vestige”. He gracefully invites us to dig into his art, not just to admire it from far. Because like this vibrating world that we are living in, there’s more that can be decrypted.
Interested in landscapes, San Francisco artist Jenny Odell spends quite a bit of time looking at places viewed from above on Google Maps. Searching for industrial forms and shapes that, when combined create an unusual and striking kind of landscape. Odell then creates digital prints, the likes of which have even been exhibited in the Google Maps headquarters. Of her work Odell says:
“Much of the strangest architecture associated with humanity is infrastructural. We have vast arrays of rusting cylinders, oil rigs dotting wastelands like lonely insects, and jewel-toned, rhomboid ponds of chemical waste. We have gray and terraced landfills, 5-story tall wastewater digester eggs, and striped areas of the desert that look as though they rendered incorrectly until we realize that the lines are made of thousands of solar panels. Massive cooling towers of power plants slope away from dense, unidentifiable networks on the ground and are obscured in their own ominous fog. If there is something unsettling about these structures, it might be that they are deeply, fully human at the same time that they are unrecognizably technological. These mammoth devices unblinkingly process our waste, accept our trash, distribute our electricity. They are our prostheses. They keep us alive and able, for a minute, to forget the precariousness of our existence here and of our total biological dependence on a series of machines, wires, and tubes, humming loudly in some far off place.”
Drawing attention to our dependent, but odd relationship with this infrastructure Odell is also exploring what it has to reveal about our habits, patterns and the elements of our everyday life. She is also interested in viewing this infrastructure in a way where it takes on the quality of being the remains from a time and civilization gone by. In other words, her images take on “tragic air: they look already like dinosaurs, like relics of a failed time from the perspective of a time when we will know better—or when we are no longer here.”
Catch Infrastructure, on view at the Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco until March 29th 2014. In April the exhibition will travel to SPACE Gallery in Portland, Maine and to NY Media Center in New York. In the summer it will appear at the Futur en Seine festival at the Gaite Lyrique in Paris.
Emily-Jane Robinson’s photography portfolio is filled with interesting and well taken images documenting Emily’s life and friends. Some of the photos walk the thin line of looking like the standard “look what me and all my sexy drunk friends did last weekend” but there are a handful of very strong photographs that capture all the youthful energy of Emily’s life without the usual cliche trappings. I’ve selected 10 of my favorite photos from her work below.