Huma Bhabha is not unlike a medieval alchemist, transmuting discarded materials into works of art—morphing civilization’s dusty detritus into works of stunning beauty. They freely collapse ideological mores, the annals of history, contemporary art, yet transcend concretized fact or fiction. Instead, they resurrect their charred faces, standing as relics from a near distant future, or war-ravaged effigies to a post-apocalyptic past. This practice of temporal and physical shape-shifting seems to be both esoteric and playful at once—Bhabha notes that “turning lead into gold, or at least trying…is more interesting than just using gold.” Her visceral effigies are perhaps best described as “anti-monuments;” her works, in their materiality, do not desire permanence—rather, Bhabha formalizes their very transience through her use of ephemeral, corruptible and humble materials.
Today I was reminded of one of the coolest sculptures I’ve ever seen, Matt Johnson’s The Pianist (after Robert J. Lang). I saw this piece at the Hammer Museum a couple of months ago and was completely floored. Have you ever seen something you thought was truly amazing and your face starts to get all big and bug-eyed, and you feel tingles running down your back, and you start saying things like ‘whoa, dude, oh man!’ Well that was me at the Hammer that day, and maybe I looked like a fool, but it was totally worth it. Johnson’s work is full of warmhearted humor, and when an artist is able to rekindle that sense of childhood wonderment in your imagination, you just have to stop and savor the moment.
Improvised Making is and was an interactive installation by artist Dominic Wilcox. Created for the Making Together exhibit in Milan, Wilcox began the installation/sculpture with a single chair. He invited the public to donate sticks for the project and sticks of all sorts were brought to the gallery. Over the course of six days, Wilcox taped all of the sticks as they were brought to him to the chair. Carefully balancing and taping each piece to the structure, he only allowed the four legs of the chair to touch the ground and support the structure. Prior to moving the completed sculpture into another gallery, the structure’s shadow was documented in red on the wall and floor.
The term, “May the force be with you” is taking on new meaning by a team of MIT researchers who recently designed a chair that can build itself. Yes, you heard right, a chair, which can build itself. Using water, magnets and technology, MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab, headed by Skylar Tibbitts, in conjunction with Autodesk and molecular biologist Arthur Olson, have invented a technique which allows inanimate objects to construct themselves. The process, which combines raw, local and molecular materials, grabs hold of structural alchemy in the purest sense of the word. By deciphering the essence of structure, the team is able to figure out how it will react to raw and local environments. Once an assessment is made, a subject is then manipulated down a path of experiments, which will eventually enable it to react and change itself in the process. The study which has been ongoing for several years opens up endless possibilities, that will affect all sectors of life, including medical research, conflict resolution and urban planning. The chair evolved from Tibbitts’ original breakthrough known as 4D printing. That idea concentrated on the simple act of folding and became conscious of “the fourth dimension” otherwise known as time. Compelling not only in its simplicity, but also in exploring how the brain processes common occurrences in everyday life. So, the next time you witness bread popping out of the toaster, think of the infinite possibilities. (via thecreatorsproject)
Matt Espantman creates some fun brightly colored works and some silly videos. I like the faceless astronaut, above.
Delicate wood carvings by Satoru Koizumi.
This video by Crystal Castles for their Baptism release is low budget as hell but gets the point across. Pull out your Halloween vampire teeth, start crying, put on some spandex, and jump around til you’re dizzy. Once you’re done take a deep breath and repeat!