Smoke, the simply titled project photographed by Ken Hermann (previously) and art directed by Gem Fletcher, observes colorful clouds of the title’s subject matter as they disperse through industrial environments, each gaseous mass originating from a ladder at the center of the photograph. The works follow Hermann’s previous series Explosion 2.0, a group of explosive portraits which focused more on the fiery burst at the center of the frame rather than the smoke created by each. With this series the puffs of yellow, blue, orange, and pink clouds are closely documented, each work’s composition completely tied to the way in which the wind decided to turn. You can see more of the Denmark-based artist’s work on his Instagram @kenhermann and Fletcher’s at @gemfletcher.
Here is the first trailer for the feature length documentary film AWAKEN, a work that beautifully observes the simple and complex relationships that humans from all over the world have developed with technology and the natural environment. Shot over the course of the five years, the film tracks the ceremonies, private moments, and daily rituals of citizens from over thirty countries, capturing each instance with beautiful panning shots or captivating time lapse visuals.
AWAKEN was directed, shot, edited, and produced by Tom Lowe, who previously created the short film Timescapes, and is set to open next year. (via Kottke)
Happy Accident – Mini Happy Face (Pink). Paint bottle, resin casting and enamel. 12″ x 7″ x 5.5″ in.
In this ongoing series of works by artist Joe Suzuki, pools of paint appear like maniacal smiles as they drip from cans and bottles. The colorful sculptures often pay tribute to artists like Warhol, Basquiat, and Keith Haring by referencing symbols used in their own works. The pieces are constructed with resin casting material and enamel, but give the appearance of freshly spilled paint.
“I consider my work to be artifacts of my own particular culture, which is not the generalized Japanese American culture, but that which formed as a direct result of being a first generation immigrant,” Suzuki shares in an artist statement. “Through a long assimilation process, I found myself not fully belonging to either culture, but rather somewhere in between, which I began to call Japamerica.”
Expelled from school at the age of 15, Brazilian artist Muretz decided to make a career doing exactly what got him in trouble in the first place: drawing. Known mostly for his rounded cartoon-like characters that fill nearly every available inch of the walls they inhabit, the pieces walk a fine line between playful and cynical, bringing a sense of humor to figures struggling with inner demons. Muretz most recently had a show at Montana Gallery in Barcelona and you can also catch him on Instagram. A few prints are available here.
Dallas-based artist Dan Lam organizes her gloopy sculptural works into three categories that perfectly capture the form factor of her general aesthetic: Squishes, Drips, and of course Blobs. The pieces appear to ooze from where they rest, growing stalactite-like appendages that drip from the edges of shelves. The pieces are made primarily from polyurethane foam and acrylic paint and are often adorned with spiky appendages. Some of her latest works have begun to incorporate layers of crystals and color-changing thermal paints that further bring the alien works to life.
“My work has always elicited pretty raw reactions from people, my favorite being the desire to touch the object, to make sense of it with another sense because just seeing it doesn’t satiate the curiosity,” Lam shares with Blackbook Gallery. “I like the tension that is created in that moment.”
Notation Knives, c. 16th century. Artist unknown. Fitzwilliam Museum Collection, Cambridge. Photo by Johan Oosterman.
It’s not exactly musical chairs, but this Renaissance-era cutlery can carry a tune at any table setting. Dating back to the 16th century, these extremely rare knives are engraved with musical scores complete with lyrics. On one side is a benediction that may have been sung before a meal, and then a grace on the reverse side that was sung after eating. For instance the knife below reads: “The blessing of the table. May the three-in-one bless that which we are about to eat.” And the other side reads: “The saying of grace. We give thanks to you God for your generosity.”
Left & right views of an etched, engraved and gilded steel knife with ivory, brass and silver handle, by an unknown maker, Italy, 1500–50.
What isn’t clear to historians is how this may have all played out in actuality. It would be uncommon for a wealthy Italian family who might have possessed such opulent knives to cut their own meat, the task instead performed by a squire. But perhaps they were reserved only for special ceremonies or holidays. Kristen Kalber, a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum where some of these knives are kept, lays out a few theories in the video below.
Luckily for us the V&A’s Medieval & Renaissance Galleries approached the Royal College of Music to create recordings of what the music on the notation knives sounds like when performed by a choir. Here are examples of a benediction and grace from one knife, but you can hear additional recordings on the V&A website. (via My Modern Met, Open Culture, WQXR)