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.
Ebony G. Patterson constructs immense and elaborate installations filled with everything you can think of. The artist creates intricate work both attractive and kitschy, using mannequins, sunglasses, beads, beer bottles, and lots of gaudy jewelry. Interested in mixed media tapestries, video, and photography, she often incorporates one or all of these different techniques into her work, creating a complexity of objects and imagery. Exploring racial and gender politics, she uses photographs, mannequins, and clothing to make reference to ‘popular black’ culture in her art. Her work, so filled with patterns and flashy objects, is highly satirical, commenting on race, questioning stereotypes often associated with the culture she is representing. Concepts on beauty are also questioned, as the figures in her work are adorned with jewelry, bright colors, and flashy clothing. Although the mannequins appear to be making an attempt to look attractive, they inevitably look over-the-top and ridiculous.
When you see Patterson’s installations, there is an overwhelming sense of color and pattern inviting you to examine every last detail of the chaotic mass of objects. You get lost in a see of mismatched clothing and clashing patterns, all shown like a department store display. Transforming her mannequins into striking objects participating in her art, their individual genders are often blurred, pointing out pre-conceived notions concerning the masculine and feminine. Her installations not only have mannequins, but also still humans that appear to be inanimate until they spring to life, turning her installation into a performance piece. This talented Chicago-based artist creates confrontational work that, due to content and appearance, is not easily ignored
Ari Weinkle has created an extremely unique and bizarre typography, titled Feelers, that moves and squirms with each carefully constructed letter. This is no ordinary alphabet; each letter is formed from different animal appendages. Weinkle designed his somewhat creepy typography to be explore and interpret the movements of animals and their body parts. It is hard to believe that these odd colored squiggles were once part of animals, especially since they look like amoebas, worms, or insect parts. The way the ends of the letters taper in at each end and sways back and forth closely resembles aquatic life such as seaweed moving in the water.
One aspect of this typography project that makes its concept so interesting, is trying to determine what appendage could have possibly made the type of movement that the individual letter is making. Even more intriguing, is that not every part of the letter moves. Some stand still while others whip back and forth, spread apart, or jump quickly away from the viewer. The movement is so organic, it is almost as if these alphabet creatures are pinned under a microscope and we are watching them squirm. Although the letters are hard to determine once they begin to wiggle, you cannot deny the unique creativity behind this mesmerizing typography. Make sure to check out Ari Weinkles Tumblr to see every single letter of his alphabet in its still form, and then again as 26 organically moving organisms.
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)
Like many people, Greg Krehel loves cacti and succulents. But, living in Jacksonville, FL was not conducive to keeping these plants happy and healthy. The desert-loving flora would drown in the sogginess of Jacksonville. That was until he randomly selected a cactus from a local garden store. Instead of dying, it thrived, and produced beautiful, large blooms in a mixture of colors. It turns out that Krehel selected a echinopsis, which is a genus of cactus from South America that loves humidity. And, better yet, there were hundreds of other varieties out there. Krehel photographs them with an iPhone 5 or a Cannon 6d camera and post them to his Instagram, under the username @echinopsisfreak.
Once his first cactus thrived, Krehel bought more. Many more..“My single echinopsis acquired by accident was soon joined by 5… 25… 50… and now I’m at 100 other echinopsis species and hybrids, ” he told the Instagram blog.
Krehel is passionate about imaging the echinopsis, which blooms in a day and peak for only an hour or two. “Their brief existence pushes you to photograph the heck out of them,” he says. This led him to using time-lapse photography to capture their beauty in short, mesmerizing videos. The echinopsis’ gently-opening blooms are easy to watch in hypnotic fashion. You’ll probably find yourself click the “play” button over and over again.
Videographer Rob Whitworth together with city-branding pioneer JT Singh create a stunning flow-motion panorama of the mysterious capital of People’s Democratic Republic Of Korea, commonly known as North Korea. “Enter Pyongyang” is their another collaboration combining the stunning effects of time-lapse photography, HD and digital animation, acceleration and slow motion.
According to the creators, North Korea, which is mostly imagined as a country “immune to change”, is rapidly developing. Besides the uplift in tourism, the whole infrastructure is rising with new railways being planned and special economic zones launched. Whitworth and Singh accurately capture this shift in their video filmed with the help of Koryo Tours, a Beijing-based travel agency who provided the team with exclusive access to the city.
“As is standard for all foreign visitors to the country, we were not allowed to shoot any construction sites, undeveloped locations or military personnel. Other than that we were given relatively free reign.”
North Korean society is highly enclosed and lifting the curtain, especially for a video, is a truly unprecedented behavior. However, “Enter Pyongyang” captures the controversial reality of this multimillion capital: from its high-end golden statues and modern glass skyscrapers, to the humble and earnest citizens. The fast-paced video conveys what is essentially Pyongyang’s biggest wealth – the dynamism and energy driving it to the new heights. (via The Awesomer)
In his latest project OMOTE, Japanese producer Nobumichi Asai combines explicit real-time face tracking and projection mapping to create unbelievable transformations of a human face. While projecting computer generated imagery (CGI) onto buildings, room walls or cars isn’t new, using a live model as a dynamic canvas demonstrates an advances use of technology.
To accomplish such realistic and mesmerizing effect, Asai gathered a team of digital designers, CGI experts, and make-up artists. Together they created a set of digital “masks”, or, as Slash Gear referred to it, “electronic equivalent of makeup”. As shown in the video, model’s face should be scanned and mapped so the graphics can be projected and manipulated in real-time, even when the face moves around.
Despite that lots of technical details about OMOTE are left unsaid, Internet users have already started speculating on the possible use of such technology. Most suggestions include testing of products such as make-up, clothing, or even tattoos. Some state that advanced versions could be employed for medical purposes, like projecting X-Rays or creating “instant previews” of plastic surgery. Not to mention the game industry. (via Gizmodo)
Dutch designer Jolan van der Wiel creates unusual ceramic sculptures using the conflicting properties of metallic clay and magnets. His latest project “Magnetism Meets Architecture” features a number of fantastic gravity-defying architectural models and explores the possibility of using magnetism in architecture.
The process of making such sculptures starts by mixing clay with water to create a slip, a mixture with the consistency of cream. Then he adds metallic powder like iron with the ratio typically being 90% clay, 10% metal. The whole blend is then transferred to a nozzle similar to the one confectioners use for cake icing. Carefully building layer after layer, van der Wiel allows surrounding magnets to pull them into various shapes resembling a drip sand castle (passing a magnetic field through the material provides an opposing force to gravity, thus the clay is pulled upwards and suspends in its place).
Van der Wiel is fascinated with the idea of using magnetism in architecture.
“I’m drawn to the idea that the force would make the final design of the building – architects would only have to think about the rough shape and a natural force would do the rest. This would create a totally different architectural field.”
According to the artist, he got the inspiration from Catalan architect Gaudi who used gravity to calculate the final shape of his famous building La Sagrada Familia: “I thought, what if he had the power to turn off the gravitation field for a while? Then he could have made the building straight up.” (via Wired)