Julia Holter performing at the First Unitarian Church in Los Angeles on September 11, 2013. Photo by Barry Belkin
Los Angeles based artist Julia Holter recently released her third full length album, Loud City Song on Domino Records to great reviews as well as a feature about her in The New Yorker. I was lucky enough to catch the first show of her North American tour last week at the First Unitarian Church in Los Angeles as part of their Church Sessions concert series. Playing to a very respectful and quiet audience, she performed songs from her new album accompanied by members of Los Angeles’ wIld Up orchestra who also performed earlier in the evening. You could hear a pin drop during her entire performance making me happy the show wasn’t at your average club/venue.
Her cinematic new video, “This is a True Heart” is a perfect introduction to her beautiful voice and rather unique sound. Julia Holter is definitely worth your time and her live performance will resonate with you long after the lights come on. Upcoming shows include Chicago’s Schubas on September 21st as well Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg on September 24th. You can also catch her in Europe this coming October and November. Check out the video and hopefully you can catch one of her upcoming performances.
Every piece of James Hopkins’ work challenges the limits of human cognition. My favorites from his series (though they’re all really cool) are “Balanced Works”, many of which pieces in this feature various types of alcohol- drinking and balance? – good combination, and “Perspective Sculptures” containing erratically proportioned instruments that would make up a rock band.
Tiffany Trenda is a performance artist on a mission to awaken us from a technological slumber. Wearing a synthetic suit imbedded with forty small 2.6 inch LED cell phone screens, she asks people to interact with her, touching and pressing the monitors all over her body. Citing fellow performance artist Valie ExportTap and Touch Cinema as an inspiration, she examines our ease and familiarity with having devices, gadgets, screens and monitors all around us, in her new work Proximity Cinema.
The word ‘touch’ has a completely different meaning for today. Originally ‘touch’ meant human-to-human contact. Now we think of our smart phone, iPad or tablet. So, today, touch refers to human-to-screen contact. (Source)
Confronting people to enter her personal space, and destroying normal social limits, she highlights the boundaries between man and machine; natural and digital, and how willing humans are to accept the influence technology has over us. Trenda not only looks at how we use technology, but also how we understand our own identities through technology.
In her body of work she becomes the digitized version of the human body and her actions replicate those of a computer. Trenda creates a platform for questioning the boundary of where the digital impression and the physical body begin and end. The viewer is physically and visually immersed in the process of how the psyche evolves to relate to the screen (LCD, television, cinema or a computer). (Source)
Trenda’s installations and performances are a fresh and very real look at how easy it is to be overwhelmed and overpowered by technology. She reminds us to reflect on how integrated technology is becoming – it is not far from becoming part of our very skin. Perhaps her futuristic bondage-looking outfit will soon be a part of our wardrobes?
If you’re in the New Orleans area this Friday come by Loyola University to hear me talk about the history of Beautiful/Decay and the trials and tribulations of DIY publishing. I’ll be discussing how B/D began, how we morphed from a zine to a internationally distributed publication, working in the art/design world, and all the various projects we’ve been involved in along the way. The lecture presented by AIGA, starts at 7pm, and is open to the public. Hope to see and meet all of you there!
Graziano Locatelli creates mixed-media artwork out of humble materials: tiles, cement, glue, and metal plates. All of his pieces have some element of carefully controlled tumult, something brewing beneath the surface. Often Locatelli breaks his tiles in a precise but organic way, creating fault lines that ripple through the entire piece and create movement and a sense of tension. In one such piece, the fingers of a sculpted hand can be seen gripping the side of the jagged crack, as though peeling it back for a better look at the real world. Other works are more subtle: An impression of a human figure, outlined by hairline fractures.
According to Cross Connect Mag, Locatelli explains: “My early works are sharp and are often torn apart by heads and figures that try and break the wall and is still the subject of the breakage that bewitches me.”
Locatelli’s recurring motifs of breakage and emergency are complemented by his sculptures of materials re-made, formed into eggs or other objects. What’s interesting about his choice of tiles is that they are found so often in people’s houses, especially in places of comfort and privacy; in other words, places that have intimate knowledge of our lives. Perhaps that’s why the pieces are so unsettling, as they blend the familiar with the surreal along with elements of a Poe-esque horror.
“I wonder what meanings and feelings these (once) familiar places arouse in those who lived there,” Locatelli says. “I see them as restless dreams, spaces in ruins inhabited by ghosts that still retain an embryonic life.”
Right off the bat, Venezuelan Nelson Garrido states the following: “To know limits is to begin to know that one does not have limits.” His work, brash and unapologetic, throws together Catholicism and American consumer culture, yielding incredibly fascinating results. Actually, to call his photographs “fascinating” would be an understatement. We’ll go with “riotous” after seeing Jesus depicted with three jumbo penises!
And for those with a strong stomach, check out one of his blog posts entitled “La Gruta de la Virgen.” You have been warned! This project in particular goes along with his passion for showcasing concepts deemed unacceptable by society.
As a huge fan of Electronic Musician Amon Tobin, I’m excited to post about Photographer and Director Celia Marais. Why, you ask? Well that would be because Celia created a series called “Field Excursion”. She constructed a group of odd creatures, built from scraps of meat and fish that were named after existing or imaginary bacteria. A few chosen ones were then animated and included as part of an interactive minisite released alongside Amon’s album, Foley Room. You can also view the animated creatures as a video.