Conceived by creative strategy consultant Richard Smith, the Dollar Re-De$ign Project seeks to breathe new life into US currency. The last time our currency was dramatically changed occurred back in 1928, so Smith believes that it is time to update our currency to represent modern America and its values. Every year since its initiation in 2009, the Dollar Re-De$ign Project takes submissions for currency proposals from around the globe. Hopefully one day the US treasury will actually consider taking one on!
Artist Whit Forrester’s photographic series, Affinity in the Tall Grasses, documents his time spent on a queer marijuana farm in California. He states:
“The work began as entertainment when I was not manicuring cannabis. I’d seen a psychic a few years prior who suggested I go back to photography which coincided with a move out west (again). ‘Affinity’ is the documentary beginning of a body of work that continues to look at my own history within the history of cannabis, and thinking about the ways that queer history and culture intersects all of it.”
The artist explains that the work explores the connection between the legalization of marijuana in California in 1996 and the rising HIV/AIDS epidemic. He continues by stating that at the time, the Queer and Trans community (or what he refers to as LGBTTSQIQ) was heavily affected by the epidemic, and therefore, a large portion of those campaigning for legalization were within that community. Furthermore, there is inevitably a strong link between the legalization of cannabis in California and the Queer Trans community.
Affinity in the Tall Grasses is just one of many series the artist has created. His work is constantly searching for new intersections between collective history and personal selfhoods. He states:
“The work and research I do typically thinks of the ways in which identity plays into our connections, but also strives to look for new ways in which we compose our identities, and the potential ways that could change. I am interested in larger, decentralized radical community and identify with conceptual experimentation in the service of creating new forms of social community, especially in relationship to land.”
Allison Schulnik’s 2014 claymation and stop-motion film Eager is a bizarre dance of the beautifully macabre. At 8 minutes and 30 seconds, it is her longest film to date — and perhaps her darkest, portraying a peaceful, ritualistic world that spirals in and out of violent, psychedelic chaos. The story begins in an opaque, supernatural world, devoid of light, before the viewer is guided into the heart of a strange forest. Traversing these unpredictable landscapes is a cast of misfits: the multiplying, skeletal specters, who open the film with their haunting, synchronized dance; flowers with faces that pulsate and transmogrify into mouths, labia, and cavernous expressions of joy and despair; and the eyeless, fleshy horse, with his lolling tongue and genitalia, who plods along with an almost human ungainliness.
What makes the film so stunning and dark — aside from the endearing absurdity of its characters — is how quickly and easily the world of Eager oscillates between compassion and cruelty. Take the skeletal specters, for instance, who, after completing their ritual, eviscerate each other and don the bloody skins like cloaks. The flowers, too, live in a world of beauty and menace, as they dance and devour each other. Despite the darkness, Schulnik’s treatment of her “monsters” is based in love and fascination; as she said in an interview with Beautiful/Decay in 2012,
“I’m drawn to these characters, for some reason. There’s something about the sad or pathetic kind of character that I like. There’s something sad about them, yet […] it’s comforting to know that [they are] maybe not real.”
In Schulnik’s surreal and metamorphosing universe, she has created a vast creative space wherein she explores the vicissitudes of life, and furthermore, celebrates the heart-wrenching beauty of what is normally seen as “dark,” “forlorn,” or “rejected.”
Schulnik also works in other mediums; her paintings, seen here, reflect the layered, whirling, and melting style of her claymation. Check out her webpage for links to her other films. And, as it has been advised, make sure you turn the lights down and the volume up as you experience Eager. More stills from the film after the jump. (Via Juxtapoz)
The photographer Vyacheslav Mishchenko spent much of his childhood in nature; following his father on mushroom hunting expeditions, he often crouched to the ground in rapt fascination with the tiny, slimy, and colorful wonderland of bugs. As an adult, he returns to this kingdom of imagination, cataloguing the daily lives of snails.
Breaking from the objectivity of traditional nature photography, Mishchenko’s soulful images read like a children’s storybook, filled with unexpected emotionality and suspense. The expertly-shot macro images frame the miniature snail landscapes in miraculous detail, seducing viewers into a world of Alice In Wonderland mushrooms and plump fruits. Shot from the vantage-point of teensy, unsuspecting creatures, the world seems vast and dazzlingly fertile.
The delicate creatures, seen so vividly, become startlingly powerful, their muscular bodies twisting and writhing around newly-budding stems. In this strange and enchanting visual narrative, snails become lovers who gently kiss, seemingly forming one long, sticky body in their embrace. They curiously extend towards succulent forbidden fruits that drip with raindrops; as if in some natural Eden, they hide their bodies in fantastic shells.
Reflected many times over in perfectly rounded dewdrops and in the artist’s own lens, the snails seem to verge on the point of self-awareneness. As if to evoke the metaphor applied to Helena and Hermia, the young heroines of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, two snails arch their bodies over twin cherries, ripe and red. It’s miraculous what goes on beneath our feet, and I cannot think of better set of images to get us in the mood for spring. (via BUST)
Li Hui, a conceptual artist born in the (a term which is often used here) post-70’s decade, creates a lot of his work with automobiles and “custom laser array, Laser Night Module, waterjet cutting machines, and laser engraving machines” in his arsenal. He’s even welded two front parts of a car together and turned yet another car into a pink sofa. Check out his video interview on The Creator’s Project.
The beautiful paintings of Eric Zener explore the great unknown beneath the water’s surface. Some of his underwater images are haunting, while others feel like an endless summer vacation. Either way his art will leave you anything but dry.
I’m sure you recognize the reference here. In case you were in doubt, the Belgian artist Jan Fabre is reinterpreting the most iconic work of the renaissance, Michelangelo’s Pietà.
Michelangelo’s famous work of art depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion.
Fabre’s interpretation gets personal, a little macabre, and a bit controversial…
In his rendition, Fabre places himself as Jesus with a butterfly perched on the side of his mouth. The heavy, dead-looking body wears a crisp, classy but torn suite. A closer look reveals a scarab at the edge of his cuff that is slowly drifting off towards the artist’s lifeless hand, which is tenuously holding on to a human brain.
The Virgin Mary’s face is replaced by a skull, which many would say is a reference to the Vanitas, the universal symbol of death.
The work was shown in Venice in 2011. This was in close relation to, but not a part of the 54th edition of the Venice Biennale. Given the place and the country (a very religious one) in which it was shown, you can image the controversy it created. The artist commented on the matter:
“is not to convey a blasphemous or even merely or provocative message. This work represents a “performance sculpture” that illustrates a mother’s real feelings when she yearns to take the place of her dead son.”