Since 2011, Raptor Blood (Blackie Burns) has been following a group of urban explorers (going by the name of Cave Clan) around the tunnel and cave networks underneath Sydney in Australia and photographing what they see, where they dwell and how they live. Connecting with the group through their shared interest in urban decay and abandoned architecture, Burns is able to access areas that are usually closed off to outsiders. He says of his first encounters with some members of the group:
The two dudes I met with seemed pretty cool and were informative about the group and had a strong appreciation for the architecture of the tunnels we visited. Although, our expedition was a little worrying when I was walking between the two going down a drain that was barely my shoulders width. We were walking for about 10 minutes, [and] as the tunnel got deeper, hotter and more humid, our conversation started to get a little strange. The guy walking behind me started to talk about masturbation and how he liked to watch himself through a mirror… I asked to leave and luckily enough nothing too strange ended up happening.
Cave Clan thoroughly live their passion of exploring underutilized and forgotten spaces. They turn the most understated corners into homes, personalized with objects of meaning and importance. Burns talks about his surprise of how comfortable some of the dwellings he visited were:
The first, which is located under a huge castle looking sandstone bridge was equipped with electricity, bbq and bar. The area was dusty though, to the point where anybody would feel sick from being in there too long. The second was in a connecting chamber in a network of tunnels running underneath one of Sydney’s secondary CBDs. The drains were surprisingly dry with no bugs. Any Storm water was directed from the living areas and during summer it was surprisingly cold down there, really not a bad place to live!
See more footage of his explorations here on his tumblr and here on instagram.
Agua Sagrada is the title of this series of photographs by Columbia-educated James Pomerantz. The photos were taken in Mexico at a cenote, which is a water-filled sinkhole, found mostly in the Yucatan, that the Mayans believed to be portals to another world. Today these cenotes are tourist destinations, though the otherworldly Mayan connotations are still plainly evident in their haunting, ethereal appearance.
More photos after the jump, but check out Pomerantz’s site for some other beautiful sets, mostly of poverty or tragedy-stricken places like Eastern Europe and the Congo.
Yevgeniya Kilupe, a Holocaust survivor and self-taught artist, started making masks to supplement her pension after a life of working in the factory. Around six years ago, artist Christine Jurjane discovered Yevgeniya and her otherworldly masks at a market and immediately recognized Yevgeniya’s talent. Christine introduced Yevgeniya to Linda Luse, the owner of Galerija Istaba, and they soon put on an exhibition of these fantastical papier mache “characters” to wide acclaim, eventually supporting Yevgeniya to open her very own Etsy shop. Watch the full documentary after the jump.
For the artist Annette Thas, Barbie is a disturbingly bittersweet symbol of childhood nostalgia and longing; for installation piece “Wave I,” she uses between 3,000 and 5,000 barbie dolls to build a sculptural wave, re-appropriating the doll as a means of translating her earliest memories, scenes which now flood her after returning to Belgium to care for her ill sister. Her sister’s illness, she explains, was related to the childhood they shared, one that was marked in part by the death of her brother.
For the artist, the wave is meant to convey her own relationship to overwhelming memories; it is 4 meters wide and stands at 3 meters tall, forcing viewers to be encased completely within its depths. The piece seems to swell with cascading blond hair, forever caught at the terrifying moment before its breaking. Adding to its realism, Thas chose to exhibit it on the beach as part of 2014’s Sculpture by the Sea amidst the sounds and smells of real waves.
The barbies in the piece, wild hair tangled and stripped of their clothing, do indeed seem ominous, but they are also startlingly sympathetic. They are second-hand toys, once loved but eventually discarded. They have endured a sort of violence, having been scarred by knives and bite marks. Each one has a poignant narrative all her own; one doll simply bears the words “please love me” on her chest. The plastic toys, symbolic of the scores of children who once owned them, are somehow lonesome now, robbed of childhood’s affections. Their demanding presence is urgent and desperate, their blue eyed faces pressing us to remember both the magical and painful bits of our youths. (via Design Boom)
Jeff Antebi is a photojournalist & essayist. His world portraits make me wonder: how would we perceive our place in this world, had we more familiar access to both the phenomenal beauty and the utter chaos that exists? Jeff’s Antebi captures both with finesse and power .
Space age abstraction – the power of design tools. Bechira Sorin’s recent digital work, especially the one above, retain a Neo-Dali aesthetic. I love how seamlessly everything ties together, and how fluid his composition is. That said, the futuristic surrealism does not speak for all his work, check out his other illustrations and experiments with typography after the jump.