For his latest project, titled the Abyss Table, designer Christopher Duff of Duffy London constructs a detailed cross section of the sea bed from sheets of glass and wood. Inspired by mythology, he designed the piece of furniture to look like one belonging to an ancient deity, capable of pulling up chunks of the earth for his own decorative use. From above, the table resembles a topographical map laid flat, but when viewed from the side, it becomes a multilayered and multidimensional model of a three-dimensional mass forged over millennia.
The brilliance of the Abyss Table lies in part in the conflicting nature of its form and function. By its very definition, the table is not an abyss but the exact opposite: a protruding surface capable of supporting objects. Here, the liquid surface of the ocean is transmuted into an imperturbable solid, and fluid space becomes sturdy and unbroken.
On the website of Duffy London, the preliminary image of the table, which will be released this fall, is accompanied with a line from Friedrich Nietzche’s “Beyond Food and Evil:” “And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” This oft-quoted passage, almost always meant metaphorically, finds a very literal manifestation here. Contained in this table, the dark, unknowable emptiness that consumes the human mind moves poetically into the home, merging its mysteries with the normal routines of domesticity. Each image shown here is a digital model from which the actual table will be built. Take a look. (via Colossal)
Often in our daily lives, something needs to be taken out of it’s normal context to be seen with renewed appreciation. In Arnaud Lajeunie‘s recent photoseries Water meets colour, colour meets water, the Paris-based photographer explores new waves of seeing the constant ebb and flow of ocean waves by making them more visible, through the use of biodegradable, sugar-based dyes. Arnaud’s interventions tint the surging water with a plethora of colors, which are captured using an extremely fast shutter speed, which produces photos of violent, colorful takes of traditional landscape photography. Taken out of a normal context, one can see more clearly the natural beauty and fury.Says Arnaud, “Here, colour is seen as a raw material, as are the waves and the rocks. Colour adds density and thickness to transparent water, thus enhancing the flux fixation process.”
As writer Eugenia Lapteva notes in an essay on the series, Colours of Absence, “As the colours bleed into the sea, the texture of the water thickens and the motion of the waves is (re)defined, revealing its hidden course and complex networks. The crashing waves, which are carefully contained within the camera frame, pull the viewer into a vortex of frozen shapes and novel configurations that are otherwise indiscernible to the human eye.”
In his own words, the photographer explains, “I rely on the camera as a device with technical features that can give tangible shapes to ever-moving fluxes, in this case the waves. The high shutter speed transcends the human reflex of persistence of vision: it reveals existing shapes that the ‘mortal eye’ cannot perceive on its own.” (via mymodernmet)
In 2010, Gemma Green-Hope’s grandmother died; scanning a flimsy memorial service program, the illustrator desired a more intimate way to remember her grandmother. After inheriting her beloved relative’s old possessions, she animated them in search of traces of permanence left behind by a mortal soul. In this stop-motion video, titled Gan Gan, viewers see an entire life literally flash before our eyes; both mundane and exquisite objects are transformed into momento mori, as if we ourselves were at the moment of our death.
The whimsical, nostalgic animation elegantly draws upon literary and artistic themes of womanhood, so that in the wake of Gan Gan’s passing, a fertile, creative and distinctly feminine presence remains unharmed. Green-Hope recites the “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” hymn, a poem associated both with funerals and the sea. The sea remains a theme throughout the entire short film, and bodies of water are often seen as female, powerful, penetrable yet containing mysterious depths. The countryside, fairies, and the hearth—all iconographically seen as the woman—skip mirthfully in and out of the video. Left with the shot a books written about the sea, pulsating like waves, viewers are encouraged to see the matrilineal thread as something permanent and endlessly magical.
For Green-Hope, the cosmic and the personal are intertwined; amidst religious and natural icons, we see photographs that are poignantly unique to the deceased. Similarly, we are told in Gree-Hope’s sing-song voice specific things like “she rode a blue bicycle” and “she once shot a spider.” Unlike the mortal life, this video can be played over and over, forever preserving a memory that might otherwise fade away. (via Colossal)
California based artist Evan Holm, creates Submerged Turntables, a kinetic installation featuring salvaged objects, turntables, records, and dark, murky water. The piece, which Holm used to perform at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art but now resides in his studio in Oakland, is meant to serve as a reminder that “all tracings of human culture will dissolve back into the soil under the slow crush of the unfolding universe.” By playing the records in the piece’s pitch-black pool, Holm is “enacting a small moment of remorse towards this loss.”
For this work, Evan submerged a working turntable in a dark liquid; he then proceeds to pick a record from his wall, which then is inserted onto the wet record player. The functioning underwater turntable is a mystery, and I think that that’s the most enticing part of the work; the turntable’s ability (against all odds) to play music under water, it is quite remarkable.
The work, heavy on symbolism, relies on our negative notions of pairings involving electricity and water (a parallel to doomed feelings). How can we ever think that an electric turntable could effectively work under water? It is this notion that brings Holm’s concept to a clearer view. By making this possible, he brings forth an “optimistic sculpture, for that just after the moment of submergence..the tone, the melody is pulled back out of the pool, past the veil of the subconscious, out from under the crush of time, and back into a living and breathing realm.” (via IGNANT)