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Ice Fishing Shanties Transformed Into Alternative Art Spaces In Minnesota

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I93A0248Photos by Urban Camper

When the cold and snow are as harsh as this winter, the idea of an outdoor art fair sounds less than ideal to most. But, when cabin fever kicks in, anyone stuck indoors for too long understands the need to take drastic action to make the Hibernation Months bearable. Taking inspiration from the omnipresent winter ice fishing communities that spontaneously gather upon frozen lakes and ponds across the Midwest, the Art Shanties Project groups together to various themed ice shanties into a small winter attraction to give warm-blooded (and hot chocolate drinking) Minnesotans something to get through the cold months.

Proposals for these art-minded ice house are selected by committee, and run by volunteers for a few weeks in the dead of winter, creating an outdoor happening which explores the potential of new ideas in community-driven art. As the Shanties’ mission statement explains, “Art Shanty Projects is an artist driven temporary community exploring the ways in which relatively unregulated public spaces can be used as new and challenging artistic environments to expand notions of what art can be.”

Taking place in Minnesota since 2006, and operating every other year to protect the water quality and natural wildlife after the ice’s thaw, this year’s was the first on the ice of the Twin Cities suburb of White Bear Lake (hence the 25 foot, Bear-shaped bicycle-powered Pedal Bear). Each shanties’ theme range from winter-related like Ice Ice Maybe (which encases boutique items in ice) and the history museum/training course Curling Clubhouse Ice Shanty, to more participatory (such as the boogie-down Dance Shanty and the kite-making Wind Shanty) to the more conceptual (the Lost Found and Wanting Shanty, which collects actual lost belongings as well as existential yearnings).  Citing artist-audience involvement to the spontaneous community which gathers on the ice as its main goal, the Art Shanties Project “…provides a unique opportunity for artists to interact with their audience, and vice versa, in an un-intimidating, non-gallery like environment.” (via l’étoile)

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Jessy Lanza’s Smart Electro-Pop Filled Debut, Pull My Hair Back

Jessy Lanza performing at the Hollywood Palladium, April 1, 2014. Photo by Barry Belkin

Jessy Lanza performing at the Hollywood Palladium, April 1, 2014. Photo by Barry Belkin

Jessy Lanza has been quite busy lately. Not only has she just finished up a tour with Cut Copy, she’s about to embark on an even longer headlining tour of the US and Canada along with some festival appearances in Europe.

Still riding high from the great reviews she received from her fantastic debut album, Pull My Hair Back released late last year on Hyperdub, I was lucky enough to catch the Canadian singer perform last week at the Hollywood Palladium. Playing most of her new record, she entranced the early arrivals with her unique electro-R&B tinged sound that had the crowd swaying during her hypnotic set. Her beautiful, breathy voice matched with her catchy beats really strikes a nice balance that once you let in, you can’t help but to let it move you as the growing Cut Copy audience displayed during her set.

Jessy will be heading back on the road at the end of the month playing some Canadian dates, as well as some US dates before she heads to Europe. Any fans of electro-pop or R&B should make it a point to see her incredible live performance. Check out her video for Kathy Lee and grab tickets here for one of her upcoming shows.

 

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Aaron Draper Poignant Yet Hopeful Photographs Of The Homeless

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The Underexposed series illuminates outsiders of the world, homeless people of our streets. Aaron Draper has made the deliberate decision to literally put in the spotlight a dozen of men and women living on the streets, giving an authentic representation of what could happen to any of us. Not wanting to fall into the cliche of taking black and white photographs or insisting on the harsh features of his subjects, Aaron Draper is applying a commercial tone to the way he envisions their lives, giving the viewers a more positive imagery of scenes not so pleasant to usually watch.

That’s the reason the series has gone viral, the viewer is not in a position of guilt, he doesn’t need to feel bad. He is invited to share that special connection the photographer encountered when meeting his subjects. Inspired by John Steinbeck’s vision on dispossessed families struggling to carve their way into life, he spent a lot of time and money getting to know the personalities behind the facade of their humble lives. Using a camera strobe and a documentary effect, Aaron Draper wants to turn around the false perception one might have about homeless life. He says if he can only initiate that shift, his work will be successful in his heart.

The video below details the photography process of the Underexposed series and shows a passionate Aaron Draper at work. (via Trenf)

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Fiona Curran’s Hyper-Utopian Installations

Fiona Curran lives and works in London. From her artist statement: “Fiona Curran’s paintings, installations and assemblages explore the impact of new digital technologies on our experience of landscape space. The works reveal a recurring utopian impulse, formal idealism and sense of escapism that registers in a palette borrowed from the computer screen and advertising. There’s a sense of spatial precariousness at work as objects and forms are broken down and reassembled. Paintings break away from their frames becoming sculptures and existing works are re-placed and dis-located through new configurations and assemblages of value. Splinters of the natural world appear in the use of hardwoods and veneers alongside plastics, fabric, hand-stitched fragments and found images. Formal compositions explore how angles contend with and counterbalance one another in shifting spatial planes. The titles of the works often give a further clue to their origin in this push-pull between fragmentation and ambiguity, loss and longing where all is not quite as it should be in the bright and beautiful image-world we inhabit.”

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Discreet Photos of Rural Roadside Prostitutes

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Roadside Prostitutes

Roadside Prostitutes

There’s an air of both mundaneness and mystery in the series The Waiting Game by Spanish photographer Txema Salavans. The blown-out landscape images were collected over a period of six years, and the intriguing photographs don’t depict hitchhikers – they feature prostitutes. We see women sitting at rural roadside locations along Spain’s Mediterranean coast, including highways, secondary highways, and small byways between towns. Formally, they are not the focus of Txema’s composition. They appear from a distance and sit on the side of the photo’s frame as road signs, wilderness, and construction sites surround them. The routes seem desolate but are still well traveled, as drivers want to avoid having to pay for toll roads, as well as trucks carrying goods and fruit take them from Andalucia to France.

Salavans disguised himself knowing that these women probably wouldn’t want their photos taken in the first place. He wore a surveyor’s costume, complete with an assistant and a surveyor’s pole. The results offer an unconventional into the world of prostitution that takes it off city streets and to quiet moments. (Via Feature Shoot)

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Jelle Martens

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Digital photo collages and a pencil sketch by artist Jelle Martens.  These remind me of much cooler versions of landscape prints my grandma has in her house above a couch.

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Interview with Delicious Storm

NYC based architect Si-Yeon Min, who received training from the University of Michigan and the prestigious GSAPP at Columbia University recently published an interesting limited edition book on creativity. Compiled from his work in a creative field, his book documents how off-the-wall thinking can lead to genuine discovery. The book strikes a chord with the print-lover in me, as each cover design features a different color. Just 25 copies published by Allied Operations.

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Chromosomal visualization

DNA Radio (German experts on biotech) converts the entire human genome to images and audio that will be streaming on the internet 24/7. Isn’t it crazy that figuratively, all we are made up of are these dots? Here’s a little science lesson for you…

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