The intensity and electricity in Mickael Jou’s photography can only be matched by his equally immaculate dancing skills. In his series Air Through my Ashes, Jou captures the precise positions of his dance through the lens of a camera. Each movement, leap, and bend is shown being done not on a stage, but through city streets, in breathtaking nature, and even in a grocery store. Jou, now living in Berlin, was trained as a dancer, and started out dancing through the streets of Paris. He got the idea to photograph himself after so many tourists began taking pictures of him as he danced. He then taught himself how to use a camera and turned his dancing into frozen moments in time where he can levitate and defy gravity.
Jou’s dance positions are turned into still statues that pulsate with energy in each photograph. The incredible scenery of the images is almost as breathtaking as Jou’s suspension in mid air. The series has a kind of magic to it that transports the viewer into a world where your feet never need to touch the ground. What makes each composition so dynamic is not only the sheer power felt in the dancer’s stance, but also the addition of a scarf in the dance movements. This scarf that often appears adds color and balance to the rhythm of each photograph as it floats alongside this multi-talented dancer. Jou combines these two art forms harmoniously to create ethereal and graceful photographs. He explains how using these two mediums further his creative vision and expression:
My self-portraits help me express the emotions that I feel while dancing. Dance is a very powerful art form, and I try to translate my emotions into my photography.
If you’re local to, or find yourself in New York City during January, head to Times Square to witness artist Sebastian Errazuriz’s site-specific installation. Titled A Pause in the City that Never Sleeps, it’s a black-and-white video featuring the artist slowly yawning multiple times throughout its 11:57PM to midnight timeslot. There isn’t any fancy editing or motion graphics in Errazuriz’s video – it’s just him that dominates approximately 50 electronic billboards that are central to the city’s hustle and bustle.
If you’ve ever visited Times Square, or even just seen pictures of it, you know that it’s a crowded frenzy nearly all times of day. There are hoards of people, bright lights, colors, and jumbo-sized advertisements that are on a continuous loop. Errazuriz’s moment-of-zen video stands in stark contrast to what we’re normally used to seeing. It’s unhurried, hypnotic, and contagious. Visitors might feel the urge to yawn after watching it.
About the project, Errazuiz says, “I hope that the video can offer a brief moment of pause that can remind us of our urgent necessity for free space and time that can allow us to recover a stronger sense of awareness. (…) I am yawning at everything and all of us; we need to wake up.”
Find A Pause in the City that Never Sleeps from 42nd to 47th streets between Broadway and 7th Avenue until January 31. (Via designboom)
Wearing a bright orange dress and armed with scissors, German artist Nezaket Ekici is tethered to the ceiling of a room via her hair. Long ropes act as handcuffs and are tied to the ends of her long brown strands. The only way out? To cut the strings or hair. Her performance, titled Atropos, was first presented in 2006 and again in 2008. It used 100 ropes, 100 hairlines, and 100 pitons (a type of metal spike) and lasted one hour.
We see that during Atropos, strings and hair are cut and dangle over Ekici’s eyes and other pieces of rope. At its core, it’s the act of freeing oneself from the ties (literally) that bind. In a statement about the work, posted on the Celeste Network:
She carries out an act of the self-liberation, while she frees herself with the help of a sissle from long ropes fastened at the roof and to the hair. She cuts off a part of her hair and in this way dissociates herself from a piece of herself. This work can be seen as a vital discussion about the question on the sense of life, that is partly characterised by striving for freedom. Particularly, because hair can be considered as a symbol of life.
This piece’s title comes from the Greek myth of the Moirai who are the goddesses of fate. The statement further explains:
Atropos, who is one of them splits according to the myth the fate threads of the life with a sissle. The artist shows with the radical act of the hair-cut a way out. She takes fate into her own hands and frees herself, like Atropos did. At least the act of the cutting can be seen as an attempt of liberation in itself. (Via Sweet Station)
Italian sound designers Fabio Di Salvo and Bernardo Vercelli, together known as Quiet Ensemble, create work that features insignificant sounds that we wouldn’t give a second thought to. They focus their energies on the “greatness of small events,” and the subject of their most recent project is a lamp. Specifically, lamps used to produce a musical event. Titled The Enlightenment, the duo calls this performance a “hidden concert of pure light” that uses a bevy of different lighting elements like stage lights and high-powered bulbs. “Instead of violins are neon lights, to replace drums are strobe lights and instead of clarinets we will see theatrical headlights illuminating the audience,” they explain in the video’s description.
The Enlightenment was performed in October for Bologna’s Robot Festival, where it included 96 lamps. Each was fitted with its own copper coil that received various electric currents set at specific intervals, as well as a sensor. This produced an electromagnetic field that was captured and turned into sounds. Salvo and Vercelli accompanied the buzzes by modifying and amplifying each lamp’s electric output in real time. The result is a clash of blues, greens, and yellow flashes with the poetics of a familiar buzz. (Via The Creators Project)
Brooklyn-based artist Matt Reilly of Japanther skateboards on a canvas-covered mini ramp in order to create loosely colored paintings. With just a handful of simple tools: a skateboard, some paint-dipped sponges and a plain canvas, Reilly was able to create his abstract-looking artworks by skating back-and-forth over the sheet.
The setting for the “Wall Ride” was installed at the Mana Contemporary in Jersey City. A white canvas was tacked to the surface of a half-pipe. Using saturated sponges attached to the wheels, Reilly colored the white sheet in vibrant shades of blue, red and brown. After finishing one artwork, the canvas would be replaced and the process would start all over again.
Distinct in texture and color, Reilly’s works have been titled to resemble Jackson Pollock’s and Aaron Young’s abstract art. Apart from the end result, artist’s live performance is titled to be a big part of the whole experience. Watching the mesmerizing process of an artwork unfolding puts the viewer into a creative catharsis. Reilly’s “skate-paintings” can be purchased on Artsy platform. (via designboom)
Often treading between reverence and ridicule, the mystifying allure of art that reiterates sexual transgression remains suspended within a deviating purgatory of the sacred and the obscene. Buoyantly drifting within the underbelly of normative culture, the erotic and transgressive create a synergetic relationship in a strike against societal conventions. Through a crude presentation of social perversions, the atmosphere created through sexually transgressive art permits an insight that challenges not only sexual precepts, but invites a critique of human behavior irrevocably influenced by social structures. In an explosive resurgence of suppressed sexual impulses, the following artists create frantic, tense and exquisitely obscene renderings of deviations and sexualized social distortions.
adidas collaborated with a renowned performance artist Marina Abramovic to create a short film for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Video takes inspiration from Abramovic’s 1978 performance Work Relation and explores the notion of teamwork and parallels between sport and performance.
Same as the original piece, the reenactment features a group of 11 people (a reference to the number of soccer/football players on the field) transporting stones from one side of the court to the other. They are all arranged into three contrasting models: a couple, two individuals and a human chain. By doing so, Abramovic explores the contrast of cooperation and efficiency.
Work Relation was a perfect piece for adidas to pay tribute to its partnership with the 2014 FIFA World Cup. According to Abramovic who appears in the video herself, she sees a broad affinity between sport and performance.
“One similarity that I wanted to highlight in this video is the importance of group collaboration. <…> I believe that it is important to learn from other disciplines in order to bring new life to whatever it is that you do.”
The black and white video was shot by SHOWstudio in the manner of early motion cinematic experiments. All participants are dressed in their personal clothes, however they all wear a white lab coat from Marina Abramovic Institute and adidas’ Samba sneakers. As the performance author explained, the apparel was meant to create a sense of collective experimentation and mute external distractions.
“Entoptic Phenomena” is an ongoing photo series by Texas-based multi-media artist William Hundley. The project features people jumping under colorful pieces of fabric and creating mysterious floating sculptures. The final photographs are then edited to remove the subject and leave the viewer with nothing but the ephemeral cloud-like figure hanging in the air.
“My work started with the influence of Erwin Wurm and Maurizio Cattelan, these absurdists. I love the practical-joke nature of it; if I can make humor and beautiful aesthetics come together, that’s the biggest powerhouse I can imagine.”
The name of the project comes from the term entoptic phenomena, meaning “visual effects whose source is within the eye itself”. In simpler words, it’s those dots and wrinkles that sometimes appear in our sight due to bright light or pressure applied to closed eyes. Entoptic images have a physical basis and are not considered to be illusions. However, they share one common feature: the observer can’t share a specific view of such phenomena with the others.
By merging real and unreal – the scientific explanation of entoptic phenomena and his own visual representation of it – Hundley introduces disguised absurdity to his project and proves our knowledge of the world is only a matter of perspective.