In the depths of East London, artist Lucy Sparrow ambitiously converted an abandoned, rundown store into a majestic, playful and fully functional corner shop. The only catch is that every single object in this store, including the cash register and the functional pricing gun, is made out of felt! Everything has been stitched and created by Sparrow herself out of nothing but felt, thread, and the occasional stuffing. Last year, when The Cornershop was “opened” it was filled to the brim with normal, everyday items that a grocery shop may have in stock, but instead, made of felt. The items included ice cream, cans of soup, Doritos, beer, and even cigarettes, just to name a few. The variety of items that were sold at the store was endless. The best part about this corner shop is that it functioned as a real store. A customer could enter the store, shop, purchase the felt items, and take them home. Sparrow’s felt creations became so popular that she even opened up an online shop where anyone in the world can purchase his or her own soft food and cigarettes.
Each grocery store product looked impressively similar to its real-life counterpart, in spite of being made out of felt, with the exception of Sparrow’s vegetables with eyes, of course. While The Cornershop was opened, it contained over 4,000 soft, plush items. The painstaking task of creating each individual grocery item out of felt and embroidery speaks volumes to the artist’s patience and artistic talent. (via The Jealous Curator)
This past year at Warwick Art Gallery in Queensland, Australia featured a cozy site-specific installation called the Knitchen. As the name suggests, it was a kitchen adorned with knitting (some referred to it as a yarn-bombing). Yarn-covered chairs, sinks, coffee cups, and even a turkey occupied the space from July until August. This endeavor was the result of 50 artists working over the course of seven months. And, it shows. Nearly everything – from a phone cord to the label on a jam jar – is the result of a meticulous attention to detail.
Karina Devine, the Warwick’s gallery director told ABC Southern Queensland that the installation was inspired by an old-fashioned kitchen (hence the phone). “I got a new oven last year, and kept my old oven so I could wrap my oven,” Devine said. “The most exciting part for me was creating the crocheted gas flame, and hand sewing the orange flecks.That gives me a little bit of a kick every time I see it.” (Via Lustik and ABC Southern Queensland)
If you’re local to, or find yourself in New York City during January, head to Times Square to witness artist Sebastian Errazuriz’s site-specific installation. Titled A Pause in the City that Never Sleeps, it’s a black-and-white video featuring the artist slowly yawning multiple times throughout its 11:57PM to midnight timeslot. There isn’t any fancy editing or motion graphics in Errazuriz’s video – it’s just him that dominates approximately 50 electronic billboards that are central to the city’s hustle and bustle.
If you’ve ever visited Times Square, or even just seen pictures of it, you know that it’s a crowded frenzy nearly all times of day. There are hoards of people, bright lights, colors, and jumbo-sized advertisements that are on a continuous loop. Errazuriz’s moment-of-zen video stands in stark contrast to what we’re normally used to seeing. It’s unhurried, hypnotic, and contagious. Visitors might feel the urge to yawn after watching it.
About the project, Errazuiz says, “I hope that the video can offer a brief moment of pause that can remind us of our urgent necessity for free space and time that can allow us to recover a stronger sense of awareness. (…) I am yawning at everything and all of us; we need to wake up.”
Find A Pause in the City that Never Sleeps from 42nd to 47th streets between Broadway and 7th Avenue until January 31. (Via designboom)
In the site-specific installation Anxiety Map, designer Alexia Mosby documents an overactive mind’s anxious thoughts. It’s a personal map, and one that boldly displays the many things that run through your head as you’re leaving your home. Over the course of two flights of stairs, you’re doubting that the stove was turned off or the door was locked. After making your way to the bottom of the steps, you come to the conclusion that you have to go back and check.
Anxiety Map uses stairs, walls, and even railings to transmit her text in black masking tape. At certain angles letters look distorted, and it’s only when you approach them from very specific ways that they appear correct. Otherwise, they are stretched, shortened, and sometimes incomprehensible – not dissimilar to the thoughts in our head.
Scott Hazard ( featured here previously) is a North Carolina-based artist whose torn-paper landscapes engulf an entire gallery space. Titled Silent Geography, it’s currently site-specific installation at Mixed Greens gallery (in collaboration with Projective City) in New York that covers the floor with paper structures and punctuated with masses of text. These areas of words are meant to turn the space into a garden, meaning that it’s a cultivated and enclosed area that’s set apart (but close to) the wilderness.
From a distance, it’s not clear what Hazard’s soft, inviting installation is made from. It’s only upon closer inspection that you see incredible, carefully-torn sheets of paper and small details like block-printed letters. Silent Geography is meant to evoke the feel of nature but speak to those that live in cities. Mixed Greens writes:
Yet here the wilderness is not exactly that of nature but rather the din of flowing information, language, and symbol that surrounds most urban-dwellers on a daily basis. Into this flow Hazard creates a momentary pause, an immersive space of rest in which language is once again ordered and reduced to its simplest designative function.
Silent Georgraphy is on view until January 10, 2015.
Multidisciplinary artist Georgios Cherouvim’s installation titled Debate looks like your average conversation between two political candidates. But, there are some big differences: the figures’ heads are replaced with flashing geometric forms and they talk using unintelligible robot noises (think a series of beep boops). And of course, these aren’t people – they are realistic-looking plastic mannequins that are animated by an Arduino micro-controller with a custom “conversation” – stimulating program.
Cherouvim says that he entered the world of visual arts through computer animation, which explains the complex nature of Debate. The triangular and rectangular “heads” are controlled by an algorithm that changes lights and sounds based on parameters like how long one of them has been talking, if there was any silence, and the last time one was ignored by the other.
In his artist statement, Cherouvim writes:
My work is a visual representation based upon my perspective of social and political issues. I question established ideas of the modern lifestyle and how common social behaviors and ideologies have turned us against our environment and our selves. I want my work to invite the viewer to step back, observe our actions from a different perspective and associate them to the consequences.
“The act never reaches a conclusion and it is performed in a non-deterministic way,” Cherouvim told The Creators Project. “Their language is incomprehensible, causing the viewer to lose interest in the conversation and politics all together.” (Via The Creators Project)
British set designer and artist Nicola Yeoman creates optical illusions via temporary installations. The complex arrangements use well-scoped vantage points and specifically-lit sets that conjure fantastical scenes. She uses both conventional and discarded objects in her work and places these objects in unexpected locations.
Yeoman combines moody lighting and a variety of textures to make her works appear simultaneously flat and three-dimensional. This is especially visible in her letter installations. The “D,” for instance, is crafted by negative space with chairs that occupy the foreground, middleground, and background. But, you wouldn’t necessarily realize it unless you looked closely – this photo is shot at just the right angle.
While some of Yeoman’s work is as specific as the alphabet, other installations are more mysterious. Outdoor scenes obscured by fog fill the composition, and paper planes and a silhouetted car on a journey into the unknown. Her work has the power to go in opposite directions – didactic and dreamy – and the well-thought compositions, allow her to take the viewer anywhere. (Via Yatzer)
Artist Carson Davis Brown wants to disrupt the big box stores (think Walmart or Target), or “places of mass” as he calls them. Not by making a lot of noise or leaving the aisles in total disarray, but by creating site-specific installations titled Mass that feature carefully-selected and thoughtfully-arranged products. He’ll pick one color and group those objects into totem-like structures that line the shelves, create an island in the shoe aisle, or block an important door. They form visually-pleasing works of art that are documented via photographs.
It’s no surprise that these installations were made without the permission of the store; Brown takes things from all around and somehow arranges the displays without getting stopped by staff. They are then left until they are inevitably disassembled.
There’s an inherent beauty of these works, but a guilty pleasure that comes from enjoying them. Brown’s disruptions highlight just how massive these warehouse-type stores really are – just look at the range of products. This “convenience” has put many “mom and pop” shops out of business. So, these works are a small way of fighting back. But, at the same time, having to disassemble these displays must be done by the lowest level, least-well paid employees – the sales staff.