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When not attending to his family’s masonry business, Hirotoshi Ito turns a more playful eye to the stones of his work day. Hirotoshi deftly works stone transforming it into sculptures that appear to be anything but the hard material. Rocks look as if they’re thin skinned pouches, melting like butter, and laughing faces. Hirotoshi’s sculptures – their playful forms and use of material – betray the artists sense of humor and a desire to pleasantly surprise the viewer. Indeed, the artist’s statement says that his work welcomes a laugh and a smile.
A new campaign in Brazil called, “virtual racism, real consequences” is plastering Facebook comments that are racially derogatory on billboards in the backyards of their authors. The point of the project is not necessarily to call out anyone or expose anyone, instead, the idea is to create a greater understanding of how these comments actually affect reality. It is far too easy to hide behind the screen. By taking these words out of virtual reality and placing them within a physical reality, perhaps those who write comments such as these will be forced to come to terms with the fact that even their internet selves are an aspect of their real selves, and, that words on social media have an equal effect (if not a heavier one as they reach a wider audience) as words in person. One example of the billboards is a post the states “cheguei em casa fendendo a preto,” which translates to “I got home stinking of black people” (“Preto” is an offensive way to refer to black people, as opposed to “negro,” which is unprejudiced). The idea for the project was conceived after Maria Júlia Continho, the first black weather forecaster on Brazilian prime-time television, was the victim of hateful comments referring to her race, after she corrected another newscaster. The project, headed by the Criola group, a nonprofit that works to defend the rights of black women, uses location tags from Facebook photos to determine what neighborhood the person who wrote the post lives in. The group then buys billboard space in their area, and plasters the post, blurring the name and profile photo. (via Yahoo Finance)
Cornelia Hediger‘s series of “Doppelgänger” portraits portray contrasting aspects of her self, creating suspenseful and awkward narratives. For this series, Hediger shoots single images in the same environment and composes them in a grid. Her style of composition allows for the distortion of sizes in both space and body; the grids she uses to configure these distortions also break up her images, further reflecting the presented fractured sense of self. Hediger prefers to work alone as an artist because of the time and patience it takes to design her set and capture all of the images in just the right positions.
Of her series, Hediger says, “I was interested in exploring the concept of the Doppelgänger in a broader way. Doppelgänger in German means ‘double walker’, it is a ghostly double of a living person, an omen of death and a harbinger of bad luck. The idea of the Doppelgänger also allows me look the alter ego, the conscious mind vs the unconscious mind, inner conflicts, the duality between good and evil and split personalities – the concept gives me plenty of material to think about and work with.” (via this isn’t happiness and feature shoot)
Mexican photographer Alinka Echeverria’sThe Road to Tepeyac , for which she won the prestigious French prize HSBC Prix pour la Photographie is a typology of the backs of three hundred Mexican pilgrims on their journey to the Basilica de Guadalupe in Mexico city. This yearly pilgrimage is undertaken by approximately six million devout Catholics on the anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin of Guadalupe in 1531 to the indigenous man Juan Diego. This journey is a manifestation of the iconic power of the Virgin, whose image was miraculously imposed onto Juan Diego’s cloak. Belief in the apparitions and their evidence, the ‘sacred image of a miracle and a miracle of images’, marks a turning point in the struggle for power of the Spanish conquerors, for whom evangelizing was imperative to the success of the empire. They successfully conquered the imagination using imagery as a tool for acculturation and domination in an already extremely visual indigenous culture.
The pilgrims photographed, carry their own reproduction of the Virgin – paintings, sculptures, posters or cloaks of the icon, taken from home and shouldered on their backs to the place of the apparition. The journey is an arduous one, a physical and spiritual undertaking with each pilgrim bearing their own evidence of devotion whilst enforcing their own personal relationship with the Virgin. Echeverria takes each portrait separately, which is then cut and transposed onto a plain background. This de-contextualisation is intended to raise the subject above the corporal world, making them appear like an isolated icon.
Seen as a series, each portrait creates a dialogue with the others. A narrative of interconnecting personal missions removed from the rest of the elements originally in the image. The sheer number of portraits helps to create a visual maze of similarities and differences. With the surrounding landscape removed we are struck by the contrasting richly colored Virgins and muted tones of the pilgrims.
Speaking of art and sand…here’s an awesome video of the day. Kseniya Simonova is a 24 year old sand animator from Ukraine who began her rise to Ukraine’s Got Talent fame when her business collapsed. She’d been drawing for only less than a year when she entered the contest with her piece (animated portrayal of life during the USSR’s Great Patriotic War against the Third Reich in World War II) and won earlier this year. I guess we at B/D will just leave the granulated stone masterpieces to the pros.