The embedded video above comes from the latest project by Montreal-based media artist Jon Rafman. Kool-Aid Man in Second Life offers to give Internet users free guided tours of Second Life by Rafman’s avatar, the Kool-Aid Man. The aforementioned video is a promotional video showing scenes of the tour (by the way, apparently some of this may not be NSFW, though I watched the first minute or two and didn’t really notice anything bad). The subtlety of the video, and the entire project, is what makes it so engaging. There are all sorts of questions raised here: about the role of crafted pop culture icons in the new era of user generated content, about the nature of scenic beauty, about our interaction with kitsch. Someone take the tour and let us know how it is!
PS: Check out this essay Rafman wrote on Google Street View. Very compelling stuff.
Nicholas Bohac is a San Francisco based artist who works with printmaking methods and acrylic based media. His two-dimensional paintings and drawings are an investigation of human influence on nature, and natures influence on humans. Bohac has created his own version of a modern day landscape, encouraging his audience to think about the ecological climate and human stweardship.
San Francisco-based photographer has a few different ongoing projects, but the one I like the best is the tentatively named “The Inhabited West.” The series consists of aerial photographs parts of the American landscape: “pursuing themes of mapping, vertigo, human impact on the land, geology, and various aspects of the sublime.” Some interesting points on how we’ve constructed our world around nature, and how the two interact.
New York-based photographer Oliver Wasow works mostly with digital photography, having taught it at Bard and SVA. He creates hyperrealistic, crisp landscapes that at times can look like portals into another world. And while he’s refrained from it recently, his composite work from the late 90s is my favorite.
Artist Brian Cooper‘s paintings explore the idea of landscape and space through abstract representation. His work features surreal situations that appear to explode from their ‘real’ counterparts. Check out the way he uses depth by contrasting the ” tension between flat and far” to create eerie and fantastical environments. I love how, as the viewer, I get sucked into the padded rooms and sharp angles of his creative, dali-esque compositions. The structures and strange shapes become more enticing through Cooper’s use of rich colors. There’s a cool tangible quality to the visual textures of the abstract surfaces, especially in Bulge, posted after the jump.
“In my paintings I use the violence and romantic sadness of the natural landscape to provoke a sense of fragility and melancholic instability beneath the surface of the image. I like to use a variety of images that are beautiful and sad with natural elements that can also be seen to parallel the worst parts of our human animalistic behaviors.” -Sarah Emerson
There is a sense in Sarah’s work of sadness and impending doom that i really enjoy.