Degenerate Art Ensemble is a musically hyper-experimental performance group comprised of a dance company, punk/jazz band, a 45 piece orchestra. I found out about them first through their album Cuckoo Crow. Listening to it makes me feel really alive and dead and kind of confused and disgusted with myself as a fleshly vessel. It also made me want to turn off the lights in my room and just start writhing for no reason (which I have to admit that I did). Check out a sample of their song Checkersplitter on Youtube. They’re awesome!
Tim Noble and Sue Webster are a creative duo who assemble trash heaps that project shadows of recognizable—and often grotesque—forms: lumps of scrap metal cast the shapes of fornicating rats, and elsewhere shattered wood pieces align into a bickering couple. As a critique of human consumption and waste, their work falls under the category of “Gluttony” in Beautiful/Decay’s Book 9: “The Seven Deadly Sins.” Also featured in Book 9 are Tom Dilly Littleson’s wrathful portraits of self-mutilation (who we wrote about last August) and illustrator Brendan Danielsson’s crude, bloated portraits of sloth.
The concept of gluttony in Noble and Webster’s works arises from the idea of “perceptual psychology,” which concerns itself with how humans identify and interpret images. As it states on their biography page:
“Noble and Webster are familiar with this process and how people evaluate abstract forms. Throughout their careers they have played with the idea of how humans perceive abstract images and define them with meaning. The result is surprising and powerful as it redefines how abstract forms can transform into figurative ones.” (Source)
The junk heaps and their shadows produce startlingly different (yet somehow thematically similar) images—a ball of congealed road kill, for example, projects a human head impaled on a stake. This disparity compels the viewer to produce an interpretation and discern how the images are related. Bridging the gap, one may read the figurative signs of human over-indulgence, waste, and destruction.
Powerfully disturbing, and certainly controversial, the art that 22-year old artist The Kid creates spans genres. He describes his work as “forever caught between innocence and corruption,” and the well-executed pieces are compelling with their huge, detailed, Bic pen-drawn faces and hyper-realistic sculpted bodies. Photos of his sculptures, made from materials such as platinum silicon, glass fiber, oil paint, human hair, cotton, and mixed fabrics, force you to look, and look again, in order to believe that they are, in fact, inanimate objects.
In his latest work, The Kid is influenced by bullying inflicted on him by fellow students and teachers when he was younger. The sculpture “Do you believe in God?” which depicts the artist kneeling and holding a gun in his own mouth, was in response to the Columbine killers, who he feels he understands and sees as “victims of a social context.”
“All subjects of my drawings for the exhibition “endgame” really exist and are currently being held in prison-even in the United States-with exactly these tattoos. They are not imaginary and no detail is invented. They are all serving life sentences without the possibility of parole, until they die in prison. There is no other hope for them-a life in adult prison at the beginning of their sentence, that’s all, even though they have been convicted of violent crimes they committed before the age of 18.” (Source)
It’s clear that The Kid empathizes with these stigmatized subjects and hopes to give them back some humanity by evoking compassion from the viewer. Many share his view that social determinism condemns people from birth because of their familial circumstances, but by depicting, in such a graphic way, a sampling of those who are affected, he brings attention to the issue. It’s not empty sentiment, either. The Kid donated a portion of the profits from this work to the non-profit organization Human Rights Watch, which defends the rights of people worldwide. (Via yatzer)
“Sitting is perhaps the most common condition from which we experience architecture. Whether we work, relax, watch, eat, sleep, or talk to each other, sitting is at the core of our relationship to buildings.”
“SEAT” is an installation in Atlanta’s Freedom Park produced by E/B Office (Ju Lee and Brian Brush). The piece involves 400 chairs assembled in a sine wave formation “drawn into an agitated vortex rising from the ground.”
Sculptor Bruno Walpoth’s specific technique of wood working is a 400-year-old craft that originates from the Italian valley he grew up in. He has used this method, now removed from the religious context it originated within, for decades, in his creation of wooden sculptures of nondescript people, posed naturally. What has emerged is a body of work that is deceivingly realistic. From the photographs alone it is not always easy to tell that you aren’t seeing a real person; the pieces are teeming with life. He has become so masterful with a chisel and file that he can precisely replicate the curve and texture of human skin. When he is done the wood appears so absolutely smooth and soft, it could be mistaken as a model covered in powder. This is not accomplished easily, Walpoth has confided it often takes him two months to finish a life-sized sculpture. Some remarkable photographs have been taking of the sculptures placed in nature. One in particular, of a boy in shorts standing on a dock, gains such a hauntingly cinematic aspect, given the melancholy poise and demeanor of the sculpture. The common theme amongst the works is their meditative air; the pensive nature with which they stand, almost as if considering in which direction to begin moving once they break free from their eternal stillness.
In 2010, Gemma Green-Hope’s grandmother died; scanning a flimsy memorial service program, the illustrator desired a more intimate way to remember her grandmother. After inheriting her beloved relative’s old possessions, she animated them in search of traces of permanence left behind by a mortal soul. In this stop-motion video, titled Gan Gan, viewers see an entire life literally flash before our eyes; both mundane and exquisite objects are transformed into momento mori, as if we ourselves were at the moment of our death.
The whimsical, nostalgic animation elegantly draws upon literary and artistic themes of womanhood, so that in the wake of Gan Gan’s passing, a fertile, creative and distinctly feminine presence remains unharmed. Green-Hope recites the “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” hymn, a poem associated both with funerals and the sea. The sea remains a theme throughout the entire short film, and bodies of water are often seen as female, powerful, penetrable yet containing mysterious depths. The countryside, fairies, and the hearth—all iconographically seen as the woman—skip mirthfully in and out of the video. Left with the shot a books written about the sea, pulsating like waves, viewers are encouraged to see the matrilineal thread as something permanent and endlessly magical.
For Green-Hope, the cosmic and the personal are intertwined; amidst religious and natural icons, we see photographs that are poignantly unique to the deceased. Similarly, we are told in Gree-Hope’s sing-song voice specific things like “she rode a blue bicycle” and “she once shot a spider.” Unlike the mortal life, this video can be played over and over, forever preserving a memory that might otherwise fade away. (via Colossal)
Set up by the BBC and the Arts Council of England, The Space is a non-profit platform to explore exciting new art and design. Through a series of regular open calls and partnerships The Space invites users from all over the world to submit projects to be funded by them.
So by now you’re thinking “hey I’m super talented and have lots of great ideas. How can I get a commission through The Space?” Well here is you’re chance.
The space is currently looking for the great digital artists of the future who are pushing boundaries and furthering our understanding of digital art. Starting now until Friday November 14th anyone in the world over the age of 18 can submit original and groundbreaking ideas that exist on the internet and can be experienced on mobile and tablet devices.
Just shoot over your idea to The Space for a chance to be one of the winners to have your project funded and published. Funding isn’t where it stops. They also will help creatives with training and mentorship to help develop their expertise.
Don’t let this incredible opportunity pass you by. Submit your project to The Space and get your innovative project funded and published today!
Join in on the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #TheSpaceOC
Miran Kim has some interesting narrative paintings with a slight surreal bent.