The goal of Japanese designer Takayuki Fukusawa’s work is “to create things that make people say , ‘he made another ridiculous thing.’” And that he did. His newest series of works is called Tanama Diver, and it features pendants that resemble human and animals who are poised to look like divers and climbers. They are positioned in a way that they appear as if they’re headed into the cleavage of whomever is wearing them.
The silly accessory includes figurines like a salaryman diver, a skydiver, an astronaut, and canyon climber. There’s even a sloth and wolf thrown into the mix. Alone, they look innocuous, but when around someone’s neck suddenly transform into provocative pieces of tiny, site-specific works of art that interact with your breasts. (Via Demilked and Spoon and Tamago)
Katherine Akey’s works traces the delicacies of life on this planet in various ways. Through photograms and photographs, she narrates the whimsical beauty of nature. These smokey, sparkling greys are from a body of work titled Aurora, where she captured the mysterious movement of the night sky. Her penchant for unearthing, discovering, and a curiosity about the sacred aspects of voyage have imbedded in her a unique way of viewing the world, one she projects masterfully from glass lens to gelatin. Outfitting herself to visit Svalbard in the next year, she will no doubt deliver a new body of work that is even more sophisticated and compelling.
Akey is a beautiful writer, and her this excerpt from her blog shows her motivations and what led her to commit to the upcoming Arctic Circle Residency in Svalbard. Beautiful and compelling, it reads like poetry:
“These questions and their associated emotional valences could be analyzed using the machines and tools of a scientist; I choose, however, to use the events of the past, the texts left behind, the myths generated, and, hopefully, my own foray into those parts of the world as material for art making. My work also confronts the reality that adventure as we have long thought of it is just about snuffed out. Astronauts go to the safety of space stations instead of venturing into the infinite universe, and robots have taken the place of humans to explore the dusty surface of Mars. The ambitions of so many of these men who went north to explore were complicated and compelling; what drove them to embark, what kindled the hope that kept them alive, and what they give credit to for their success once they return are all completely different things. The North Pole itself is elusive and misleading; there’s a geographic north pole, a magnetic north pole, the celestial North Pole, and a northern pole of inaccessibility. The Arctic, unlike the Antarctic, is a frozen ocean, not a continent; there’s no land mass, just sea ice. The mythic explorer hero is also a foggy, misleading concept; these men were egotistical, driven by ambition, and many of them died miserable, needless deaths alone. All of my interests and works come out of this deep respect for the Human; I see it so clearly in these fevered moments of triumph-cum-horror, like the World Wars or the Golden Age(s) of exploration.”
When the photographer Julia Kozerski lost literally half her body weight, dropping from 338 to under 178 lbs, she cataloged her complex emotional reaction to her transformation in a series titled Half. In a jarring response to most weight loss media, the artist avoids the display of any cheerful confidence, forcing viewers to consider the murky and provocative intersections of body image and identity.
In each frame, the artist performs intimate rituals, using her form as an aesthetic means of translating her feelings about identity and metamorphosis. In Ruins No. 1 and No. 2, she treats her flesh as if it were the remains of an ancient monument or temple; her skin, colored by stretch marks and curvatures shot in vivid contrast, appears less like an emerging new shape than a worshipful testament to the body she once lived in. For Kozerski, her weight loss is complicated by the suggestion of a confused identity; as she navigates her “halved” body, we quietly mourn the loss of the other.
As the photographs courageously expose this sense of loss and confusion, they paradoxically serve as a forum for self-actualization. In exposing her deepest vulnerabilities, Kozerski surrenders herself to her transformation, allowing for a richer and gorgeously nuanced identity to emerge. Throughout the series, the artist’s emotional and physical bareness become increasingly related to this idea of selfhood re-discovered, a theme which is often explored through her erotic connection with her husband.
In “…or for Worse,” Kozerski is tragically shown to be too small for her wedding gown, but throughout the series, sexual barriers and insecurities fade. An image titled “Lovers Embrace,” for instance, presents the pained and uncertain subject laying beside her mate, their wedding bands providing a flicker of hope as they glisten in the evening light. Ultimately, the viewer bears witness to “Eclipse,” a shot in which husband and wife stand nude, embracing one another and visually condensed into one powerful and resilient figure. After weathering this complex emotional terrain with the artist, we are presented with an image simply titled “Self,” left breathless and in awe of the woman before us. (via CNN, Phototazo, and Jezebel)
Luis Dourado‘s Departure series’ digital manipulation of photography contorts and distorts geography to explore the power of imagination. The photographs of Spanish and Portugese mountains are regarded as departures away from civilisation, as the once formidable are changed into beautiful geometric patterning by Douardo’s imaginative capability. More after the jump.
M. Ward with (not so) surprise guest, Zooey Deschanel performing at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, February 7, 2013.
The Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles played host to M. Ward last week to a very enthusiastic crowd. The show was supposed to happen last October, but was cancelled due to illness. “I was sick as a brick”, he said after coming home from Mexico with a fever. The show featured songs from his last album, A Wasteland Companion as well as 2009’s Hold Time which were well received when crowd favorites like Primitive Girl and For Beginners were played.
“As you can see behind me, it’s a beautiful evening”, Ward said referring to the five windowpane backdrops that projected various outdoor scenes throughout the evening. The mostly seated crowd finally got up to dance a bit when Ward played his Buddy Holly cover of Rave On even moving two couples to swing dance in the aisles which security unfortunately put a stop to. The show reached a deafening peak when Zooey Deschanel came out to sing She & Him‘s You’ve Really Got A Hold on Me and Magic Trick, one of my favorite earlier tunes from Ward. They ended the show with the Rivieras’ version of California Sun which had the whole crowd finally on their feet.
Christopher Bucklow is one of the leading figures of the contemporary British ‘cameraless’ photography movement. His other-worldly photographs of radiant men and women set against grounds of color are made through a complex multi-step process which begins with the artist projecting the shadow of his sitter on a large sheet of aluminum foil and tracing its outline. He then makes thousands of small pinholes in the foil silhouette. Using a contraption of his own device that places the foil over a large sheet of photographic paper, Bucklow then wheels his homemade “camera” out into daylight and pulls the “shutter” to briefly expose the paper to direct sunlight. Thus each finished picture becomes a unique photogram silhouette composed of thousands of pinhole photographs of the sun. The intensity of light on a given day and the length of exposure create unique color variations on how the resulting piece appears.
The photographer Roman Sakovich has gotten some heat for his project Half, a series of images detailing the effects of drug abuse, particularly with respect to methamphetamine addiction; his subjects stand, face forward, their lefthand side polished, even proud, while on the right, their bodies are ravaged by scars and scabs characteristic of addiction. The jarring split-personas are achieved not through photoshop but with expert make-up and styling.
The artist has been criticized for his simplified portrayal of drug dependency; by his own admission, the images, in their shocking nature, exclude a more nuanced exploration and rely in part stereotypes. Problematic for some is the fact that the non-addict self is styled professionally in suits and crisp button-downs, while the addict wears more urban attire, the implication being that class and drug use are profoundly connected.
Regardless of the controversy (and perhaps even because of it), the shocking series inspires much-needed and critical discussion on drug addiction, an illness that plagues tens of millions nationwide. Avoiding blaming and scapegoating individuals, the artist provides an intimate approximation of selfhood torn by addiction, one that inspires empathy, not disgust or prejudice.
Sakovich’s subjects, their identities split in two, are as you and I, lead by hopes, fears, and complex yearnings. A doctor, stethoscope slung over her shoulder, hair in a tight chignon, directs a placid glance comfortingly at the viewer; only after allowing our eyes to drift across the print do we see this figure of heath and safety cruelly overtaken by substance abuse, her eye downcast and purpled, a dried lip furrowed and lined. We read these bodies from left to right like strange texts, imagining personal and intimate narratives in order to reconcile the two faces before us. Ultimately, we are left with the powerful warning, “This could happen to you.” What do you think? (via My Modern Met and Feature Shoot)