Have you ever been staring at the screen on your phone so long that you feel like a zombie? Well, Steve Cutts illustrates this bizarre technology, zombie-like phenomena as a terrible reality. His vividly colored illustrations and animations cleverly and satirically portray contemporary society as a series of greedy monsters, zombies, and hollow-eyed humans with no trace of humanity. Each scene exposes the sad truth of what is wrong with the world today, with money hungry men and dismal humans being completely controlled by a piece of technology. He uses a graphic novel-like style, full of bold colors, with an intensity that will stay engrained in your mind for years to come. The London-based artist illustrates and animates depictions of familiar characters like Roger and Jessica Rabbit in a somewhat humorous, but undoubtedly dark way.
The abysmal world that is portrayed is one of shallow intentions and hopeless monotony. Steve Cutts’ work leaves us questioning our own society and our role in it. He points a stern finger back at the viewer in his vibrant, unforgettable work. Displaying the ‘rat race’ we all find ourselves in as one with actual rats, it shocks us into contemplation. These rats are not only stuffed into small places, but also caught and killed brutally in a trap. Steve Cutts’ work is insightful, intriguing, and incredibly well done, however, this is not a world that is appealing to the masses. Make sure to check out his full animations on his website. (via Bored Panda)
Chicago-based photographer Evan Baden has captures the world of adolescent sexting in his series cleverly titled Technically Intimate. The word “sexting” was officially added to the dictionary in 2012—that is how common this word and action is. Selfies and nudes being sent back and forth to people via smart phones has become commonplace. The fact of the matter is, these explicit photos never truly disappear. Evan Baden shines light on the privacy issues at hand concerning digitally sent photos, especially ones that are meant to be intimate or private. Interestingly enough, the title of this series, Technically Intimate, refers to a level of intimacy that is perhaps supposed to be felt between the people doing the sharing of sexual photos. Although the intention of these photos may have started out as intimate between two lovers, they remain forever in the public sphere. Therefore, no intimacy can be achieved.
Evan Baden starts each photograph with an image from real life, found online. He then hires a model to pose in a similar way, in a similarly adolescent environment. The final result is a re-imagined version of the original photos that has been shared online, accessible for anyone to see. In this uncomfortably close series, we are a fly on the wall, looking into a both private and public situation. For more amazing photography with an eye on pop-culture and its digitalization, Evan Baden is in an exhibition that will be on view September 19th until January 17th at the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf Contemporary Culture Center titled Ego Update: The Future of the Digital Identity.
Baden delves deeper into his intriguing series explaining this incredibly relevant topic. (via FeatureShoot)
“The poses in my images emphasize the repetitiveness of the sexual images that pervade our society while the rooms that the scenes are staged in and the ages of the room’s occupant clash with those highly sexualized poses, causing an unease in the viewing of those pictured and reminding the viewer that with every leap we take in technology and convenience there is an equally deep crevasse into which we can fall.”
That seemingly irrational paranoia of always being watched begins to rise when viewing photographs from Andrew Hammerand’s series, The New Town. The artist, currently based near Phoenix, Arizona, has created a power play in the dichotomy between watching and being watched. He offers us a glimpse into the lives of a small, Midwest town and its anonymous inhabitants by electronically accessing and controlling a webcam on a cellular tower, taking screen-shots of what was captured over the course of a year. This camera, overlooking the town, is appropriately located on a steeple of a church, giving new meaning to “omnipresent”. This camera is watching over the people, not unlike a higher power. The question is who is in charge, who has the power? Do the townspeople have power through the safety gained by being observed, or do we have the power because we are doing the looking? We live in a world of meta-data in which digital snapshots are constantly being taken, whether it is through the lens of literal cameras, or by information given from our Google searches.
One element that is especially significant in this remarkably unique series is the anonymity behind every aspect of it. The artist is unknown to the subjects being watched, the town’s location and peoples’ identity are also a mystery to us. Although we see small hints of each person’s life, what he or she is doing remains unclear. We have no indication if their intentions are malicious or moral. By nature, even the viewer is anonymous to the artist, especially when the artist’s work is being displayed through digital publications like this one. The grainy quality of the photos makes each composition all the more intriguing. We are wrapped up in the mystery, in the unknown story of these peoples’ lives. We see them playing in a park, pushing a stroller, and texting, but we do not know them at all. Even further, many of the subjects seem isolated in spite of being around others. Are we all detached through the lens of a camera, or does the convenience of the digital age connect our existence? Hammerand brilliantly gives rise to a slue of challenging questions and tests society’s progression into a super-digital age. Interconnecting technology, privacy issues, and digital culture, Hammerand’s work confronts contemporary politics in authority.
In a digital age, some say traditional methods are dead. However, there has been an upsurge in popularity of using old-school techniques to create new things. Fashion designer Greg Climer combines two such mediums, knitting and film, to do just that. He has transformed knitting into a way of displays film stills. By using technology to transfer frames of a film onto knit fabric, he creates a knit scarf that is used the same as a film reel that you can actually watch as a short film. What is so amazing about this project is that Climer is taking film, shifting its properties to knit fabric, and then converting it into film once more. He is ingeniously using modern technology to manipulate different, traditional mediums to create an entirely unique and contemporary finished piece.
How this process works is each frame is reduced in size so that the amount of pixels matches with the amount of stitches. Then, the colors included in the film are decreased to four, since looms can only use up to four yarn colors. Then, the scarf is ready to be knitted! This method is very time consuming, as his test strip took a year and a half to make. However, after watching just a fragment of the resulted film, the outcome is undoubtedly worth it. Greg Climer’s ambitions do not stop at his unbelievably intricate knitted short film project, but extend to creating quilts from scraps of fabric. These quilts range in a wide variety of interesting subjects; one series depicting loved ones of Climer, and another displaying stills of pornography. (via Fastco Design)
Are you ready for some shocking art? Somewhere between science and art, Marc Simon Frei tests their boundaries by combining these two worlds into a stunning series of photographs titled Tesla Sparks. The innovative artist creates electrical currents with a Tesla coil and captures their iridescent glow with his camera. A Tesla coil, invented by engineer Nikola Tesla around 1891, is an electrical resonant transformer circuit that produces both high and low voltage. Frei manipulates this electrical current in fascinating ways by arching a variety of different objects to the coil. This produces mesmerizing bends in the current, resembling tiny lighting bolts. In fact, Frei plays off this likeness by staging miniature lighting storms of his own. He creates clouds out of wool and constructs a scene so that these electrical currents seem to shoot out of his “clouds.”
To add an even more striking visual, he adds an element of color by illuminating his clouds with different colored LED lights. As if the bright, purple and blue glows erupting from the Tesla coil weren’t awe-inspiring enough, his eerily beautiful clouds fill you with a surreal wonder. The intense hue that the electricity emits captivates us, reeling us in to every frame. There is a powerful tension between the undeniable beauty of the many bolts of voltage lighting up each photograph and the known dangers behind high-voltage. We are drawn to its attractiveness, but are aware of its dangers. The photographer has created a unique, dynamic series that demonstrates spectacular colors and patterns made from electrical currents. (via This is Colossal)
What would a television see if it could look back at us? Artist Donna Stevens reveals images of children hypnotically looking into a television screen in her series titled Idiot Box. Each photographs captures the entranced look on a child’s face as they gaze on with a zombie-like stare, complete with the glow of the screen lighting up their face. Although this series is somewhat comical, as the children have their mouths hanging open or a silly grimace slapped on, there is a heavy darkness to it. Stevens’s aims to question the role of technology in our society and explore the effects it may have as children are exposed to it at such a young age at such a high volume. Although we can benefit from technology, what is lacking in our lives because of it? Although Idiot Box includes fairly simple images, the affect the vacant eyes have on the viewer is enough to make you stop and think.
Stevens’ incredibly memorable photography explores themes of identity and hardship, as she is interested in people’s journey to find their place in the world. Humanity’s struggles can be found as a theme in her work, both in Idiot Box and in her series Thirteen. In the latter series, she poignantly captures the anxiety and uncertainty that comes along with becoming a woman. Stevens’ ability to encompass such strong emotions and themes in a single portrait is apparent in each photograph. Originally hailing from Australia, the photographer is currently based in Brooklyn, where she continues to create her sharp, thought provoking work.
Like melting wax drips and forms new shapes, so does Januz Miralles’ digital manipulations mold his once recognizable subject. The artist digitally applies paint and illustration to change photographs of faces and bodies into otherworldly beings. The figures in his work are left partially untouched, some with only a mouth or an eye peaking through, while the rest is covered by stunning, organic strokes of paint traveling up and across the composition. Although the women in his work look conventionally beautiful, they look even more alluring with globs of thick, digitally applied paint covering most of their faces. Miralles’ highly textural technique alters each figure’s state of being, as if they are ascending to another world or perhaps disintegrating completely.
His captivating, multilayered work shapes form, personality, and identity with his amazing techniques, created mostly digitally on a laptop. His art is quietly beautiful, as you can get lost in the many swirls of color and texture that he integrates into his work, completely transforming the mood. As the artist digitally breaks down his figures, the structure and details seem to break down as well, as if chemicals have been poured over each face. There is a sense of torment and melancholy that surrounds his subjects, like something is being extracted from them, leaving their bodies through the seeping paint. The deep, psychological effect that Miralles’ work holds draws you in to further examine what it is you are looking at, leaving you in mystery.
The “illuminati” is at it again! Not really, but you may think so once you see the levitating all seeing eye created by artist Guy W. Bell. He has created a real-life, levitating “Eye of Providence,” featured on the back of the U.S. one dollar bill. Made from slate veneer and distressed brass, the pyramid Bell has created is split in two, with the top half literally levitating, thanks to innovative technology involving two magnets of the same charge. Because of these repelling magnets, the top section of the pyramid not only levitates, but can also spin, giving this “Eye of God” a 360-degree view. This panoramic line of sight can be seen through the eye in the pyramid, which contains a wireless, pinhole camera, giving the phrase “the all seeing eye” a whole new meaning. The eye itself is actually a prosthetic, larger than life eye replica created by ocularist and anaplastologist Michel D. Kackowski.
The Eye of Providence has been referred to as an illuminati or Freemason symbol, and was also commonly used in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. This symbol has become such a cult image, it is amazing to see a fairly large scale, levitating, moving sculpture that really does look back at you with its uncanny and familiar eye.
A talented painter, Bell had been interested in this idea of creating this infamous symbol, but had not yet made a sculpture of this technological magnetite. Luckily for Bell, with the help of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, he was able to make his dream a reality. This incredible sculpture can be seen at Bell’s solo exhibition Fourteen Minutes and Forty-Nine Seconds presented by the Thea Foundation in Arkansas. (via The Creators Project)