Cod.Act’s Pendulum Choir is an original choral piece for 9 A Cappella voices and 18 hydraulic jacks. The choir stands on tilting platforms, constituting a living, sonorous body. That body expresses itself through various physical states. Its plasticity varies at the mercy of its sonority. It varies between abstract sounds, repetitive sounds, and lyrical or narrative sounds. The bodies of the singers and their voices play with and against gravity. They brush and avoid each other creating subtle vocal polyphonies. Or, supported by electronic sounds, they break their cohesion and burst into lyrical flight or fold up into an obsessional and dark ritual. The organ travels from life to death in a robotic allegory where the technological complexity and the lyricism of the moving bodies combine into a work with Promethean accents. (via)
Christina Pettersson is a Florida-based (Stockholm-born) artist who draws on mythology and classic literature in the creation of large-scale graphite works that depict scenes of tragedy, savagery, and beauty. With realistic shading and elaborate textures, the images have a narrative-rich and highly expressive style that is reminiscent of historical paintings. Fascinated by the role such ancient, emotional, and metaphorical stories have on contemporary culture, Pettersson writes:
“I want to restore that epic and mythological dimension, a sense of awe and reverence for the world. The fact is they are not much about my personality. I want to be a storyteller. I want to believe that life is still wild” (Source).
Central to Pettersson’s illustrations are references to classical female figures, including the huntress/protector Artemis and Shakespeare’s Ophelia. Most of the images are dark in their imagery and/or atmosphere: Artemis, holding her bow, confronts the viewer with a fatally impassive expression; Ophelia, still awake, sinks into an oceanic abyss; while other women, unnamed, lie slain and bloodied. What Pettersson seems to be exploring (and critiquing) is the female body-as-sacrifice in such mythological traditions. These women — whose deaths are often treated as incidental plot-devices or metaphors in otherwise male-centered narratives — are given representation that mourns the tragedy of their deaths, and in many cases, signifies a liberating rebirth. Desdemona, for example, murdered in her bed, lies beside her peacefully-sleeping resurrected self; Ophelia, submerged in water, remains conscious while a ship — a symbolic “lifeboat” — turns her way. In a beautiful poem accompanying the latter image, Pettersson explains how she seeks to reclaim Ophelia from Shakespeare’s lethal sentence:
We are accustomed to your cruel pen,
the way it marks a creature for death, death only,
but this is too much.
I am taking it back,
taking it all back. (Source)
Aartjan Venema is a Dutch illustrator with some really crazy ideas. Venema uses a lot of digital elements in his work but maintains a really nice aesthetic that evokes some of the brushwork characters and text elements of Raymond Pettibon’s drawings. He also packs a whole lot of narrative into one image. Nazi dinosaurs? Stonehenge murder mysteries? I’ll take it. (via)
Petra Collins takes photos of her friends in cut-offs and puts neon Rihanna lyrics on gallery walls. It’s up for interpretation whether you see that as a form of feminism. She is a self-described feminist and walks the line somewhere between fashion and art culture. Not an uncommon thing to do, but certainly a path less easily tread by women artists addressing subjects that the fashion industry influences heavily and arguably negatively (…expectations of femininity and the female figure).
Petra’s practice sets out to embrace her own vision of what is beautiful, young and female. Conveniently, she is thin and (un)conventionally beautiful, but she has a point. There’s a definite irony in one woman telling another that what she does is somehow shameful or misrepresents the female gender. It’s slippery territory because one might wonder why Petra feels such affinity with this aesthetic. Is it because she was brought up on it, and what are the implications of that?
In 2013, Instagram deleted her profile for this picture after which she wrote an essay posted by Oyster Mag and the Huffington Post that you can read here on her website. Basically, She doesn’t want you to tell her what she can do with her body, whether you see it as feminist or not. Petra’s work is powerful, and yes, it makes young women and girls look sexy. The Teenage Gaze is a photo series from 2013 mostly of girls in highschool, bathrooms, with water, or applying makeup. It’s erotic and beautiful, delicate and girly in the most stereotypical sense. It defends the right to be as you wish as a woman, whether you fit neatly within or totally outside the box of preconceptions. See Petra’s most recent work on her Instagram feed (looks like she’s been too busy making art to update her website).
Swiss Origami artist Sipho Mabona creates a full-scale white elephant by using a single sheet of paper. By using one slice of white paper measuring 15 by 15 meters (50 by 50 feet), the skilled artist was able to craft up this grand ‘white elephant’, which stands more than 3 meters (10 feet) tall.
The project, apart from being living-proof of outstanding talent, was also treated as a performance; this live video [posted here] shows Mabona doing what he does best. As we intently watch it, we see a slow progression, a focused Mabona, and a paper-elephant slowly taking shape. “There is no limit in origami”, says Mabona.
Mabona financed the project through Indiegogo, the Internet-crowdfunding platform. He raised over $26,000 from 631 funders. In order to share with the donors, a webcam was installed where Mabona worked. The artist ran into some major challenges like figuring out how to spread a huge sheet of paper, measuring 15 meters by 15 meters (or 50 by 50 feet), in a hall, to transform the sheet of paper into the body of an elephant. There were moments during the folding process wherehe had to get the help of up to ten people to lift and fold the paper. (via My Modern Met)
NYC photographer and artist, Martynka Wawrzyniak recently had a ‘Ketchup’ performance piece/exhibition at Envoy Gallery in the Lower East Side. The performance looked pretty fun (for the kids), so I highly recommend you check it out. Oh and if you see Martynka at lunch, I would sit pretty far away from her… she might start a food fight.
Shannon Reed’s psychedelic collages look like the outcome of a nightlong bender that involved healing crystals, magical photocopy machines, and an epic joyride through an alternative universe.
A new photography exhibition at the American University Museum wants to show you that Siberia is more than just a cold, barren place. Titled Siberia in the Eyes of Russian Photographers, it paints the Russian region in a different light. Photographs boast impressive landscapes and even some warm weather; We see children swimming and people wearing short-sleeved shirts. Anton Fedyashin, the executive director of the Initiative for Russian Culture at American University, spoke with Slate about stereotypes of Siberia. “Notions of Siberia in the United States come from Hollywood,” he said. “They come from films that emphasize the morbid exoticism of Siberia, the endless white plains, the sparse villages. Those are the kinds of images that are most widespread in the West. Of course, Siberia during winter does look like that, but there’s another side of the story.”
Siberia makes up about 75 perfect of Russia’s landmass, but only 25 percent of its population. The people who live there are described as having an independent spirit, much like pioneers who settled in the American West during the 19th century. The exhibition draws comparisons between the two places. “It’s an image that overemphasizes the negative aspects of this enormous part of the Eurasian continent and one that completely underrepresents the enormous geographical variety, which is breathtakingly beautiful. The exhibit shows that it’s equally as beautiful and eerily similar to the American West.” Fedyashin explains. While many Western photographers chose to accentuate the emptiness of Siberia, the Russian photographers in this exhibition depict a multifaceted place, spanning from the 1860’s to 2011. (Via Slate)