Archive for the ‘art’ Category

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I found this image via one of my new favorite websites: bookshelfporn.  I believe I’ve mentioned how much I love books?  This site is exactly what it promises to be – lots of photos of bookshelves in all their booky glory.  I would love to know who did this particular image though. Internet? Help me out?

[via bookshelfporn]

Book excavations

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of books and book art.

This is the work of Brian Dettmer.  I’ve seen his work around without actually knowing who was doing it.  I love the idea of taking old books and finding something new in them.

From the artist statement on his website:

When an object’s intended function is fleeting the necessity for a new approach to its form and content arises. By altering preexisting materials and shifting functions, new and unexpected roles of old materials emerge. This is the area I currently operate in. Through meticulous excavation or concise alteration I edit or dissect a communicative object or system such as books, maps, tapes and other media. The medium’s role expands. Its content becomes recontextualized and new meanings or interpretations emerge.

Explanation of Book Dissections

In this work I begin with an existing book and seal its edges, creating an enclosed vessel full of unearthed potential. I cut into the surface of the book and dissect through it from the front. I work with knives, tweezers and other surgical tools to carve one page at a time, exposing each page while cutting around ideas and images of interest. Nothing inside the books is relocated or implanted, only removed. Images and ideas are revealed to expose a book’s hidden, fragmented memory. The completed pieces expose new relationships of a book’s internal elements exactly where they have been since their original conception.

I’ve done some work with altered books, but I can only imagine the amount of time and patience it must have taken to work on these.

This last one I found on his flickr stream which I highly recommend you all go check out right now.  He seems to have done an excellent job posting a lot of his most recent work there.  What caught me first about this piece was the title: Do it, Complete Yourself Man (2010)

and here is a detail from same work:

For more on Brian and his work, you can check out his wikipedia page.

Fat Monkey

I love art that just makes me smile.  This site specific installation for Sao Paolo’s event Pixelshow by Florentijn Hofman makes me grin like crazy.

Flortentijn is the same artist responsible for the giant inflated rubber duckie that was first presented in Amsterdam in 2007 and most recently shown in Osaka in 2009.

I really love that someone went to the trouble to put this in the world.  There should be more stuff like this.  We spend so much of our time and energy focusing on what is wrong with the world, it is really nice to see something that has no other function than to make people happy.

Pigeons and School

So my (never truly) stellar track record of posting every day has somewhat dropped off lately.  The reason is quite simple – I have returned to school!  I’m in the Intermedia MFA program at the University of Maine in Orono.  You may be wondering What (the %^$#) is Intermedia?  Intermedia is by its very nature hard to define.  It is the in between spaces.  It is where things overlap and new things become.  Personally, I’m interested in the places that art, technology and traditional craft overlap.  Other students are interested in where food and art come together.  Or sound and art.  Or writing, art and biology.  The list goes on and on. Most of what unites this group is that we don’t quite fit into any of the other traditionally defined departments within the University structure.  Which is what makes this whole experience so very exciting for me.  We are bounding forward into the unknown and hoping to come back with something amazing. Last week was the very first week of school this fall.  And there have been a lot of adjustments.  Something had to slip a little and it turned out to be this blog. I’m hoping to incorporate this blog as part of my art practice so it is my intention to be better about maintaining it.

ANYwho.

I’m trying to figure out what it is I’m going to work on first.  I think I’m going to go with the spark that was ignited earlier this summer by another class I took at the University.  I believe I mentioned before that I took a book binding class this summer and what a huge impact it had on me.  It reminded me how much I love making books.  Not that I’d really forgotten, just that it had been so long since I’d made one that other things were clouding my memory.  I’ve been wanting to continue playing with books since then and I think this is my opportunity.  So I’ve started doing some research. It’s funny though – research can often be entirely accidental.  You just have to recognize that what you are looking at could have larger implications for you. I’ve been hanging around the library on campus in between classes.  This early in the year, it is nice and quiet.  And it has comfy chairs and wifi.  As I was wandering down one of the mustier isles, this caught my eye:

The Natural History of Animals - spine

My first thought was that it was a skull. I stopped and pulled it off the shelf and looked at the cover:

The Natural History of Animals

Now it was beginning to make sense. I flipped through it just to see if it happened to have any other cool illustrations. And on the last page I found this:

Pigeon - closed

Which was kinda cool. But then I realized that it opened out. And it became SUPER AWESOME.

Pigeon - all three layers open

Each layer revealed something different about the inner working of a pigeon.

Pigeon - circulatory system

Pigeon - wing open

Pigeon - skeleton layer

So. Cool.

And I would have never even known it was there. I just bumbled onto it because I liked the spine of the book. There was no search term that I would have ever thought to use that would have ever turned up something like that. But once I found it, I totally loved it. I’m not sure if I’ll ever do anything with the idea, but just knowing it is there makes me happy.

Yay for libraries!!!

Fogler Library - UMO

Kodachrome curtains

So I’m conflicted.

I stumbled onto this a while back.  And I have to say, I love the look of these curtains.

Kodachrome curtains

Kodachrome curtains by yarnzombie

But the archivist in me weeps for the fact by using the slides in this awesome way, they are going to be destroyed by the sun.  They’ll last a while, but direct sunlight is brutal on slide film (on any film really!).  First they’ll start to color shift towards yellow/orange and then they’ll just fade away.

Kodachrome curtain detail 1

Kodachrome curtain detail 1 by yarnzombie

I guess the question is which part of something like this is more valuable – the temporary enjoyment of the art or the long term preservation of a part of photographic history.  They don’t make Kodachrome film any more. Does that make these old slides more valuable?  From a scarcity standpoint, yes.  In the same way that after daguerreotypes went out of fashion, they became cool art objects to collect.  It didn’t matter who was in the picture, just that it was a daguerreotype was enough to make it desirable.

And what about the pictures themselves? This is someone’s family history. Then again, these slides were found in an antique shop and there is little chance there was anything that would have identified the the photographer with them.  Sure, many of the photos have people in them, but do you know how many people there are?  At last count, billions.  And more than 300 million in the US alone.  Even if you could figure out where these photos were taken and of who, most were taken in the 50s and 60s.  If that young woman on the horse was 20 in that photo and it was taken in 1960, she’d be 70 now.  The older person in the slide next to her is most likely dead. Do they care about the images? If they did, I doubt they would have ended up in an antique shop.  Are old slides going to be the carte de visite of this generation? Walk into any antique store worth its salt and you can find a box or two or ten of old carte de visite portrait cards from the turn of the last century. Most don’t have names on them and are often referred to as “instant ancestors.” Because really, if you framed a photo at random and put it on your wall, who would know that isn’t your Great Uncle Roy? Will we find piles and piles of instant ancestors in slide form now?

So.  I am conflicted.  It looks so cool, but…

What do you think, dear reader?  Does the awesome factor out weigh the destruction of history factor?  Or is that such an non-issue that no one but me even cares?

Shibori: Japanese tie-dying

When I saw this post from Honestly…WTF, all I could think was how much I want to try this RIGHT NOW.

All of these fabrics were dyed using different styles of Shibori. Shibori is the Japanese term for dyeing cloth using a variety of binding, folding, twisting, etc. techniques.  I LOVED tie-dying when I was a kid.  It always seemed like the quintessential summer camp activity.  I had quite the collection of tie-dyed shirts for a while.  But, as kids tend to, I grew out of them (emotionally AND physically).  I’ve always had a love for fabric and good patterns and to me, this looks like tie-dying’s older, classier, sexier sister.  Perfect! I can’t wait to try this out for myself!

How to Be Alone

Love this.

How to be alone by filmaker, Andrea Dorfman, and poet/singer/songwriter, Tanya Davis.

Once I started poking around their websites and video feeds I discovered this wasn’t their first collaboration.  Turns out they’ve made another little animated film together called The Drums.  So sweet and lovely: