Miranda July, author, director, actress, photographer, master of capturing pre and post pubescent awkwardness, and as a character who has risen to status somewhat similar to that of a cult icon…has done it again. Our friend Graham at Future Shipwreck has written a nicer summary of her project than I could ever…so here it is! “In the language of cinema, extras are designed to be forgotten. Miranda July’s recent series of photos (a collaboration with Roe Ethridge), in which she unthinkably excavates background players from historically popular films and poses herself in homage to these bygone human props, is a declaration of war on the finality of culture. She dares to reverse the mandate of natural selection.” I wonder though, how she chose the particular films and extras that she did. Were they just arbitrarily picked? Or did she think aesthetically about which movies and which scenes from those movies that the most interesting looking extras?
Toronto-based photographer Kotama Bouabane has an incredibly poignant series called “Melting Words.” The ice letters form typical break-up phrases, with their indelible messages transcending the medium’s own impermanence.
Artist Brittany Schall created incredibly detailed drawings for her series Hair Studies. The mixed media pieces are certainly portraits but are decidedly missing faces. Instead she focuses entirely on each subject’s hair. The flowing masses nearly seem to suggest a mesmerizing movement. Locks tumble like smoke or water and imply the underlying form. Each subject’s hair carries a seeming personality of its own, a portrait of sorts in its own right.
Rebecca Steele’s photographs use a sort-of-handmade-but-still-slick type of light and color to make everything objects, like knickknack figurines and trees, feel new. It’s like you’ve just landed on Earth, and the spotlight on your spacecraft is pointing wildly into the night sky in Washington State hitting two red and green lifeforms, this is the first Earth tree you’ve seen. Punk meets philosophy, and the wiser punk echoes your grandparents: stop and smell the roses.
In 2013, conceptual artist Lenka Clayton created the “One Brown Shoe” project, in which she instructed participants to make a single brown shoe using materials found in their homes. The participants were 100 married couples that spanned 12 countries. They were asked to not discuss the project with their partners, and to construct their shoes in secret. Once each person completed their brown shoe, they could then share it with their spouse.
The type of shoes and materials used runs the gamut. Brown shoes were made from packing tape, knitting, animal crackers, corks, teddy bears, and much more. Materials were both conventional and innovative. One artist, for instance, made a stiletto heel from a nail. Another made use of a nest and quail egg. Some people used actual shoes, which seems like cheating (it isn’t). Despite living in the same household, no couple used the exact same supplies. Size of shoe was also noticeable; Some of them were meant for giants, while other babies.
In writing about the project, Clayton muses, “…each pair of shoes might be seen as a portrait – of two individuals, of one couple, and of the difference between the two.” It shows the artistic differences between the pair, as well as their individual ingenuity and knowledge of materials.
The fact that the shoe-making was in secret was the key to making this project successful. If they hadn’t, I don’t think these shoes would be as interesting. They might look forced, like they were trying (or not trying) to replicate their partner. One Brown Shoe allowed the participants to create freely without criticism. The eventual reveal of the two shoes, which are often very different from one another, is both amusing and telling. When left to their own devices, it’s fascinating to see how two people who share a life together would create something that is so alike or so different. (Via Junk Culture)
Michael Beitz kicks of our first Design Month, in which we will be exploring all the best stuff the design world has to offer.
Michael Beitz’ Picnic Table was commissioned by the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, in Omaha, Nebraska, as a permanent installation on its front loading dock, in conjunction with the Bemis Gardens exhibition and design laboratory.
Believe it or not, these very old drawings of Japanese men farting are not Photoshopped. The images were produced during the Japanese Edo period (1603 – 1868), and they depcit what is called he-gassen or “farting competition.” They show men shooting noxious blasts of gas towards other men, women, and animals (including a cat!). Seemingly, the force of the farts is so great that it the targets turn topsy-turvy when hit.
These drawings are peculiar, and not having a vast knowledge of Japanese culture makes their meaning even more alluring to me. Luckily, the website Naruhodo explains the historical context. They write, “similar drawings were used to ridicule westerners towards the end of the Edo period, with images depicting the westerners blown away by Japanese farts.”
The individual images originally appear on a scroll, which has obviously been sectioned off today. You can view it in its entirety here. It’s funny to think that farts have always been a source of amusement, even across time periods and cultures. (Via Dangerous Minds and Naruhodo)
Photographer Dylan DeRose’s Cat Fanciers Association series proves that not only do dog owners look like their pets but cat owners do as well.