21 Balançoires (21 Swings) is a recent project by Canadian design collective Daily Tous Les Jours, known for their wide variety of interactive public installations and experiences. Surrounded on both sides by a new music complex and science center, designers Mouna Andraos and Melissa Mongiat chose to bridge the gap between the two by converting a narrow strip of land into an enormous interactive instrument. Pre-recorded sounds from a xylophone, piano, and other instruments were programmed into color-coded swings that when in use play various notes, however when swung in unison with careful cooperation, more complex melodies and harmonies arise. An additional “secret mode” was programmed to only play when all 21 swings were in use. What a fun idea.
Earlier this week a few blogs reported a photo from this series as being some type of swingset bus stop. According to Andraos, while the installation has close proximity to the street it does not actually serve the purpose of a bus stop. All photos courtesy Olivier Blouin.
I honestly have no idea where or when I first saw this film, but it’s stuck with me for over a year, and unable to find it again after searching the past few days I turned to Jason Sondi over at Vimeo. Armed with my vague description, and despite never having seen it himself, he found it in about 10 seconds.
Everything is Incredible is a short documentary by Tyler Bastian, Trevor Hill and Tim Skousen about a man named Agustín from Siguatepeque, Honduras who was struck with polio at a young age. His body ravaged from disease, he was left unable to walk and spent most of his life working as a shoemaker in what is described as near-poverty. Possibly plagued by childhood dreams of flight, in 1958 he embarked on his life’s work: the construction of a crude, custom-designed helicopter made completely from trash with the exception of a few pieces of rebar purchased from a hardware store. Even the chains he uses to power the propeller were forged by hand. The filmmakers do a wonderful job interviewing local residents and family for their reactions that vary from hope to despair. I find this video to be both very beautiful and very sad as it discusses what is gained and what is sacrificed through the act of devotion and creation, yet I’m left feeling a profound sense of love for Agustín, which is perhaps why it’s stuck with me for so long. Definitely worth 10 minutes of your time. Thanks Jason.
Update: In response to recent attention the filmmakers have launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise enough funds help Agustín with living expenses by purchasing the helicopter and his home. He will of course retain both through the end of his life, but with the funds raised from the campaign the helicopter itself would be preserved in his memory. Go donate, I did.
Artist Adam S. Doyle who recently relocated to Hong Kong creates beautiful gestural paintings of birds, where the seemingly incomplete brushstrokes form the feathers and other details of the animal. In some strange way it reminds me of the story of the Renaissance painter Giotto who is rumored to have been able to draw a perfect circle without the aid of a compass, as if Doyle just picks up a dripping paint brush and in a few seconds paints a perfect bird. In reality his work demonstrates a profound control of the paintbrush and careful understanding of the mediums he works with. Via email he tells me:
Yes, what you see is what it appears to be—strokes of paint. I’ve always loved unfinished paintings because you could see the alchemic process of surface and paint transforming into a living person. With my paintings, it does take quite a bit of working and reworking to arrive at the place where every brush stroke fits into a fluidly flowing whole. It’s important to me to find a balance between an elegance of form that holds both visible marks of paint and a representation of ‘energy within’. I’ll just add that the painterly craft of my images, which I consider secondary to investigating ideas and concepts, came about after a lifetime of expressive image-making, followed by doggedly exploring the aforementioned transformation in grad school. I realized during that same formative period that I was also captivated by trying to visualize energy, which I was quite familiar with having grown up with a dad who practiced Eastern medicine.
Doyle most recently had a show at Skylight Gallery in 2011 and is now currently working on a new body of work in Hong Kong. You can see much more of his work on his website.
I’m thrilled to announce Colossal’s first ever collaborative show with Art House Co-Op’s Sketchbook Project called A Landmark & A Mission. If you’re not familiar, the Sketchbook Project is a global, crowd-sourced art project where participants from all walks of life are sent sketchbooks to fill with art as they see fit. After completion the books are returned for annual inclusion in a permanent collection at The Brooklyn Art Library which now houses over 22,000 sketchbooks from 130 countries. That alone is pretty fantastic, but wait, there’s more.
With generous support from Ugg Australia’s Creative Council the Sketchbook Project is building a custom-crafted trailer that will contain 1,000 sketchbooks I’ve selected around the theme ‘A Landmark & A Mission’ for inclusion in this first-ever mobile sketchbook library. In early November we’ll drive around the U.S. with stops in Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor, and Cleveland to share hundreds of artists work with you. It’s like art meets libraries meets road trip. Stay tuned to Colossal and the Landmark & A Mission page for more details, and hopefully we’ll see you soon.
Seattle artist and science illustrator Marlin Peterson was recently commissioned by the Washington State Artist Trust to paint a mural somewhere in the city. After searching unsuccessfully for a suitably large wall, Peterson got the idea to look for a large roof, and where would a painting on a roof be more visiable than right underneath the Seattle Space Needle. An agreement was reached with the Seattle Center Armory (formerly the Center House) and he quickly began work on two daddy long-leg spiders using a technique called trompe l’oeil that creates the illusion when seen from above that giganto arachnids are actually overtaking the building. You can see many more photos and an explanation of his process over on Peterson’s website. (via street art utopia)
Update: An earlier version of this post referred to these arthropods as spiders. While technically daddy long-legs belong to the class Arachnida, they fall into the order Opiliones, which means they aren’t spiders, they’re called harvestmen. We regret the error. (thnx, everyone)
In his Broken Flower series photographer Jon Shireman soaked various kinds of flowers in a liquid nitrogen bath for up to 30 minutes before using a special spring-loaded contraption to slam them against a surface at high speed. He then photographed the hundreds of fragments spread across a white surface like sharp glass shards. Beautiful work. See the rest over on Flickr. (via photojojo)
Artist Lorenzo Durán lives and works in Guadalajara, Spain where for the last four years he’s focused primarily on cutting intricate illustrations from dried leaves. He often depicts animals and insects as shown above, but has explored a wide variety of geometric patterns and also does custom work on request. (via fer1972)
The RGB Colorspace Atlas by New York-based artist Tauba Auerbach is a massive tome containing digital offset prints of every variation of RGB color possible. For you designers, think of it as a three-dimensional version of a Photoshop color picker. At 8in. x 8in x 8in. the perfectly cube book was co-designed by Daniel E. Kelm and bound with assistance from Leah Hughes. What a beautiful sculptural object. (via designboom)