A Giant Immersive Kaleidoscope Built Inside A Shipping Container

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Lately, we’ve seen shipping containers used as repurposed mobile shelters for the homeless. The sculpture featured here serves an arguably less practical purpose but is a nonetheless an inventive and impressive use of the limited space. It was created by designers Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki who created a massive kaleidoscope as part of the Kobe Biennial Art Container Contest. This competition challenged creatives to craft an environment within the confines of an international shipping container. Here, the participants installed this brilliant piece as one that people could walk into and immerse themselves in an experience.

A kaleidoscope generally consists of carefully-angled mirrors that change light, color, and shape as it’s shifted. While their installation followed this general principle, Shirane and Miyazaki wanted to build the world’s first zipper architecture.  “We wanted to create the world’s first zipper architecture. In other words, this polyhedron is completely connected by zippers. And in order to facilitate even more radical change some of the surfaces open and close like windows,” explains Shirane. The structure needed to be light, soft and mobile, and they were able to accomplish it; their ingenuity paid off, too, and they won an award at the Kobe Biennial and more recently a CS Design Award. (Via Spoon and Tamago)

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Rafael Gómezbarros’ Giant Ant Installations Shed Light on the Plight Of Migrant Workers

Rafael Gómezbarros
Rafael Gómezbarros
Rafael Gómezbarros
 Rafael Gómezbarros

Casa Tomada is a project of traveling installations started in 2007 by Colombian artist Rafael Gómezbarros in which giant sculptures of ants are fixed in swarms on buildings and structures. Self-described as “urban intervention” by Gómezbarros, the ants have been showcased in locations varying from London to Cuba with a very specific goal in mind: shedding light on immigration, forced displacement, and uprooting through historical points of departure for travelers and immigrants. The 2-foot ants themselves are crafted out of tree branches for legs and two joined skull casts made of fiberglass resin and fabric to make up the torso, making for a particularly morbid, visceral depiction of migrant workers in Latin America who are looked at as nothing more than vermin.

When placed on the facades of government buildings and blank gallery walls alike, the ants give off a chilling sense of foreboding and encroachment. By placing them in swarms, Gómezbarros makes the insects even more strikingly representative of the peasants displaced by war and strife in Gómezbarros’ native Colombia. The giant insects that make up Casa Tomada, which translates to Seized House, are certainly works that are bound to linger with viewers, whether in nightmares or otherwise.

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Billowing Cloud Sculpture Represents The Amount Of Trash Accumulated In NYC In One Hour

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From afar, it’s unclear what this billowing, cloud-like sculpture is made of. Up close, however, you can see that it’s comprised of various plastic bottles that are strung together in round, pleasing shape. New York-based architects and designers  STUDIO KCA collected a combination of one gallon jugs, 16 and 24-ounce bottles and compiled them into this ethereal, massive structure. In total, the installation titled Head in the Clouds  is made from 53,780 containers to represent the amount of trash that’s thrown away in New York City in just one hour.

Beneath the cloud’s exterior is a small seating/dreaming pavilion that accommodates up to 50 people. It’s meant for visitors to contemplate the light and color filtering through the cloud, as well as our consumption problem and the impact on the environment. Sand, water, and a curved aluminum frame prove the structural integrity.

Head in the Clouds made its debut last year on New York’s Governor’s Island. The stay was temporary, and the studio is now looking for its next home. (Via Colossal)

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Dominic Wilcox And Four Other Artists Upcycle and Illuminate Found Objects

Dominic Wilcox

Dominic Wilcox

Sarah Frost

Sarah Frost

Gabriel Dishaw

Gabriel Dishaw

Robert Bradford

Robert Bradford

Through the metamorphic conversion of discarded paraphernalia given a second life, art created from materials otherwise destined for a landfill has turned waste into resource. In a conscious reflection of a recycled object’s inherent value as a cultural statement, the fragmented disarray of salvaged goods conjoin as a reflection on the surplus of consumerism. Computer relics and plastic toys from the 1990’s resurface as jarring, three-dimensional works that reestablish a value beyond their initial introduction as cultural commodities. Extending the life of goods long since forgotten, the immortalization of a wastefulness that continues to swell stands as not only a poignant reminder of the ecological decay resulting from our consumption, but the opportunity to revisit and remake otherwise quotidian, superfluous goods.

Working predominately, if not entirely, with upcycled goods, the following artists create stunning installation and sculptural works that are a visual whirlpool of texture, color and line.

Featured artists include Dominic Wilcox, Sarah Frost, Robert Bradford, Gabriel Dishaw and Elisabeth Higgins O’Conner.

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Megan Bogonovich’s Ceramic Sculptures Of Oversized Coral Reefs Are Detailed Fairytales

 ceramic coral reef  ceramic coral reef Megan Bogonovich - ceramic Megan Bogonovich - ceramic

In New Hampshire-based artist Megan Bogonovich’s magical ceramic sculptures, well-dressed women and men peek into gigantic anemones and castle-like coral reefs, plunging headfirst inside like Alice in Wonderland. Looking at the sculptures is similar to reading an enchanting fairytale, with each ornate detail given the attention and intricacy usually afforded to the illustrations in a children’s storybook. Bogonovich’s eye for detail is perhaps most evident in the underwater creatures poised to swallow their small-scale human counterparts. Made colossal in comparison, they foster the sense of wonder and impending adventure that Bogonovich is so adept at creating for each of her sculptures. There’s no end to the number of details one can glean looking at just one of Bogonovich’s sculptures, from the little girl peering into the rose-like openings in a slab of coral to the woman on the cusp of falling headlong into a multicolored anemone that, with its open valves, strongly resembles a human heart. Bogonovich’s sculptures are painted in vivid pastel colors of yellows, pinks, and greens, which lends them an even stronger storybook aesthetic. This serves them well in conjuring up all of the magical scenarios to follow the spellbinding scenes her sculptures capture. (via Hi Fructose)

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Creative 3D Sculpted Alphabet Made From Food, Body Parts And Other Everyday Objects

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German design studio FOREAL has created an impeccable set of 3D alphabet renderings for their personal project “Sculpted Alphabet”. Playful series features the whole English alphabet made from various everyday objects, food products and even body parts. The whole set of 26 letters was created by two designers, Benjamin Simon and Dirk Schuster.

“New tools, new playgrounds. One single rule: Choose a letter and sculpt it! Maxon gave us it’s new sculpting tools with the last releases of Cinema 4D. Our goal was to create the whole alphabet and achieve some completely new ways how type can be built and seen. A playful execution of that self-initiated project helped us to gain some significant experience in cgi sculpting techniques while having a lot of fun. We hope you enjoy these as we did.”

The project by FOREAL is a candid illustration of how three-dimensional CGI (computer-generated imagery) has moved forward and continues to grow in capabilities. The artistic 3D alphabet was designed using one of the agency’s illustration tools, Maxon Cinema 4D. According to the producers, it is one of the greatest tools for recreating even the slightest details, such as hair or fur.

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Marie Rime Creates Primitive Masks And Armor Using Board Game Pieces And Party Straws

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Using recycled objects like board game pieces, party straws, and paper fans, Swiss artist Marie Rime created a fantastic set of masks and armor. The separate-yet-similar series are composed of multi-faceted objects that cover the subjects’ entire face and part of their body, forming silhouettes made from the likes of chess pawns and popsicle sticks. It recontextualizes kitsch and transforms the use of these tiny individual elements into a cohesive veil that obscures its model’s face. In both bodies of work, the emphasis is on power and competition.  Rime explains her mask project and writes:

In this series, the notion of game is being questioned. I tried to express my fascination with the relationship between the players. I asked myself what the participants are looking for and whether they are trying to disturb, seduce or intimidate opponents. These reflections led to a series of pictures of a female model wearing masks inspired by primitive tribal art, yet created from elements of the games being played in the championships.

Likewise, with the armor, she states, “These costumes, realised with everyday objects, are the starting point of a reflexion of the relationship between power, war and ornament. These women lose their identity and become the support of their clothing.” (Via La Monda)

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Seyo Cizmic’s Contradictory, Surreal Sculptures Defy Reason

Seyo Cizmic - redesigned hammer and nailSeyo Cizmic - Rose stem, pencil lead and eraserSeyo Cizmic - modified paintbrushes with human hair  Seyo Cizmic - apple, razor blades

San Diego-based artist Seyo Cizmic works largely within the realm of the surreal. From hammers that droop to knock nails into their own bodies to wooden pencils with thorns built into them, many of the objects Cizmic creates are meant to confound the viewer. Barely any of them are usable in the practical sense of the item, presenting a challenge to viewers about what exactly these objects could be meant for. Some are rife with humor, such as Cyclops’ Shades, a pair of tie-dyed flower child sunglasses with only one lens, or Fish Machine Bank, a gum ball machine filled with goldfish. They’re sculptures that are meant to be questioned, scrutinized, perhaps even laughed at. Cizmic’s objects are of a different world, one in which backwards is forwards, in which objects that don’t follow reason are a new, cockeyed normal.

Within the nonsensical nature of Cizmic’s objects, however, lie larger issues at play. There’s With God on Our Side, a gold-plated sword with a crucifix at the base, joining religious iconography with an image of violence. Then there’s the self-explanatory In God, Money, and Guns We Trust, in which a pair of disembodied gold arms in military regalia hold a dollar bill up as if in prayer. Despite having his tongue pressed firmly against his cheek, Cizmic often layers his sculptures and installations with these deeper meanings, making the scrutiny and perplexity they evoke all the more rewarding.

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