Haitian born American artist Morel Doucet sculpts ceramic timepiece odes to coral reefs. His work simultaneously touches two seemingly unrelated issues, both of which have been created by constructs of complicated and sensitive histories ingrained into reality over time: climate change and societal taboos. His series, titled Clock Work,“examines the relationship between the dying of our environments (coral reefs) and skin color (Melanin) as a device for the passing of time.” Just as climate change manipulates elements of the environment, the conditioning of history’s exploits that have been created by unequal distribution of power and inequitable actions has influenced the way human tonality is considered. His work pairs moments of nature with notions of flesh tone. For example, his piece titled Blanc refers to how the solar irradiance is bleaching the coral reefs, as well as “how prevalent skin whitening cosmetic products are popular in the Caribbean and parts of Southeast Asia. Four out of ten women surveyed in Jamaica, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea used a skin whitening cream.”
Using various forces, including personal and cultural histories, dreams, and the “paradoxical beauty of nature,” Doucet’s quiet work finds a delicate manner in which to speak of overtly complex topic areas that are often let down by semantics. He states;
“I aim to create work that not only stands out for its regal impact but also for its sensitivity. My inspiration comes from an ongoing interest and profound respect for indigenous tribal cultures of the Amazon, Aboriginal natives of Australia and the Yoruba tribe of West Africa. I am fascinated with garments and textiles of Native Americans and Afro-futurism. With this vocabulary of indigenous art, along with my personal dreams, I make whimsical forms resulting in a diary of my personal mythology.”
His work, rooting in self exploration, effortlessly offers a soft platform to speak about the complex.
Inspired by a childhood dream to be a rockstar and fueled by a “narcissistic desire to re-embody” himself, innovator Guy Ben-Ary has developed a synthesizer using his own stem cells. The project, titled “cellF,” began with what the artist is calling a “new materialist” quandary: Through using both biological and robotic technologies, what sort of responses can one achieve “in regards to shifting perceptions surrounding understandings of ‘life’ and the materiality of the human body?” Or, in other words, how can one explore one’s biological selfhood via means of a technological interface? Or, even further, how can one “clone” oneself into a robotic entity? And, what does that mean for the purpose of the human body?
The machine acts as a “biological self-portrait,” a literal doubling of the artist that is meant to act and behave as Ben-Ary, using his own cells. After receiving the “Creative Australia Fellowship,” Ben-Ary was able to research and develop his project, which he divided in two parts; the first being to grow his own external “brain,” and the second was the development of the robotic interface that would interact with said brain.
To develop the brain, Ben-Ary gathered his cells through a biopsy of his arm. He then used Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell technology (iPS), a method that manipulates cells back into their embryonic state, which would allow him to “reprogram” the cells.
To development of the robotic interface, he created a machine that would serve as a real time feedback loop between itself and the cells. The robotic interface acted as a sound-producing “body” through an analogue synthesizer that is able to reflect “the complexity and quantity of information via sound.” When noise is fed to cellF, the cells then respond using the synthesizer and “perform” live. Pretty cool. (via The Creators Project)
Itching for new source material? The British Library has a public Flickr account that showcases over a million images sourced from books published centuries ago. This account not only gives anyone digital access to a wide range of obscure drawings, photographs, etchings, and others of the likes, it also allows the public to manipulate and make use of them anyway they chose. The Library released a statement;
“We have released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. These images were taken from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th century books digitised by Microsoft who then generously gifted the scanned images to us, allowing us to release them back into the Public Domain. The images themselves cover a startling mix of subjects: There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of”
The images span such a large array of topic areas and media that the librarians aren’t fully aware of what many of the images are. By allowing the public access to these images, the library not only shares them with the masses, but also hopes to collectively acquire knowledge about the content. The Library is planning to release a tool that will allow willing participants to offer information about the images with the aim to create a sort of referential guide.
This is a really amazing resource for artists, illustrators, graphic designers, and just anyone who is in to that sort of thing. Check out the full collection here, or just the highlights here (again, there are over a million).
Brooklyn based artist Russel Cameron creates lifelike sculptures of amputated human body parts. Displayed almost like trophies, Cameron’s on gong series, Flesh and Bone, acts like a collection of the living bizarre. Using classic materials such as clay, paint, wood, and metal, Cameron, a self taught artist, is able to perfectly achieve the goal of many artists: he attains the ability to accurately mimic human flesh. This handiwork allows his work to truly provoke, probe and disturb; each piece acts as a slight ode to the abnormal, forcing the viewer to imagine the the entire creature attached to the individualized parts. The details are what allow the work to feel so real — his minor hints of flesh tonality and careful placement of wrinkles and creases give enough information to perhaps create a full narrative for every piece. His work is influenced by artists specializing in dark and fantastical subject matter such as Zdzislaw Beksinski, the Polish dystopian surrealist painter, Hieronymus Bosch, the Dutch painter known for his detailed absurd landscapes, and H.R. Giger, the Swiss “biomechanical” surrealist painter and special effects artist known for Alien. He also takes inspiration from classicists such as the infamous Spanish romanic painter Francisco Goya. Through his work, Russel Cameron aims to glorify the beauty in what can be often found as grotesque.
Climate control has been a controversial and momentous topic, well, for at at least two decades, but, the issue of global warming seems to be re-trending in light of the the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. One tactic of addressing the issue’s importance, as we have seen, has been the thousands of activists marching all over the world (and the silent protest in Paris due to recent events). However, a Chinese performance artist who goes by the name “Nut Brother” has decided to take a more quantitative and perhaps informative approach. Beijing, the capital of China (the country that has largest CO2 emissions in the world), is a city of industrial smog. The artist announced a plan to literally vacuum the dust from the Beijing’s air for four hours a day, for 100 days in a row. As a performance, the artist walked the streets, starting in late July, with a pony tail, often a respirator mask, and vacuum with suction nozzle held in his hand to collect debris. On November 30th, the last day of his project, he gathered all 100 days worth of dust and brought it to a brick factory to be mixed with clay and turned into an alarming soot filled brick. Nut Brother is aware that he is not actually changing the air quality, however, he hopes his project will provoke passerby’s to consider their relationship to the environment and their surroundings. (via QUARTZ)
Pennsylvania based artist Peter Olson has merged the ancient tradition of pottery as narrative and panoramic photography. As a professional photographer who has traveled “the world many times over,” Peter Olson has documented and experienced an extensive array of cultures and environments. Through out his journeys, from “corporate culture to religious iconography, he finds meaning in the repetition of human expression.” Each image is taken from a moment in his life, from his point of view. His pottery series, titled Photo Ceramica, refers to each piece as an “urn.” Defining the pieces as such almost allows every individualized work to act as a ceremonial ending to a specific point in time. The urns are, perhaps, a way for the artist to collect and put to rest certain times in his life. His work is created by transferring images onto the ceramic by encasing them in ink left over from his photographic prints. When the urns are then fired, the ink burns away, leaving an image from the iron oxide in which the ink is created from. The aesthetic is formed through a sort of collage, depicting personalized narratives and motifs. For example, his work “New York City Urn No. 8” is a panoramic view of the city, starting with the the iconic city street lamps, followed by a amalgamation of classic New York City imagery such as the city sky line from various points of reference along with more personalized moments including a portrait of women standing in front of graffiti. Peter Olson has created a delicate, shrine like body of work that allows him to document his own life by intimate and clever means. (via Hi Frustose)
Chaotic Moon, an Austin based software design company, has created cyberpunk “tattoos” that monitor vitals. As a new addition to the “quantified self movement,” Chaotic Moon’s new invention, Tech Tats, invites a creative answer to the Fitbit. Using ATiny microcontrollers and electroconductive tattoo paint, Tech Tats are temporary tattoos that exist directly on the skin and, through sensors, gather information that can measure temperature, heart rate, hydration levels and others of the likes. When connected to a smartphone app via Bluetooth Low Energy, Tech Tats can allow users to keep track of their bodies as well as send data directly to doctors. Unlike it’s predecessors which are wearable devices, Tech Tats offer a lightweight low-key option that can be hidden under clothes if so desired. Or, the on the other hand, Tech Tats also offer the ability to self design a cyberpunk tattoo that can be worn anywhere on skin. The design is still in the prototype phase, however, the company has high hopes for the product. Chaotic Moon aims to some day replace the nuisance of the annual trip to the doctor’s office. They also foresee a use for the military, as they could detect injuries, toxins and other stresses. Another use could transform banking as the microchips could store credit card information within our skin instead our wallets. The product has potential to be a step further to cyborg-hood, just as it’s aesthetic suggests. (via hyperallergic)
British artist Jenny Aryton creates “miniature wonderlands captured in molten glass.” Almost like snow globe depictions of every day life, Jenny Aryton’s work physically encapsulates intimate depictions of her private world. Gaining inspiration from her young daughter, she aims to gather excitement from the mundane. Her work tends to have a “domestic twist” as she allows her surrounding of her home and family guide the way as her source imagery. Her process begins by creating small metal wire figurines. She fashions tiny sweaters, chairs, trees, shovels, and other objects found in an everyday family home. She then organizes a simplistic scene, almost like a child playing with a dollhouse. After everything has been arranged, Aryton then encases it between two layers of molten hot glass which is poured at 1100ºC (2012ºF). She uses what is called sandcasting. She molds the overall shape of the piece in sand — just as a plaster sculptor would do with clay or wax. One the first layer is poured, she has one brief moment, while the glass is still fluid, to manipulate the aspects of the piece. The second layer is then poured and the whole piece is placed to set in a kiln for two days where it will take its final form. The glass, as a fragile and volatile material, will solidify differently each time, creating a one of a kind piece. The delicate and cloudy imperfection of each piece almost seems to mimic the memory of a child. The have a solemn charm that is nostalgic yet innocent. Each piece is quiet, quaint and unique. (via iGNANT)