It is one of my great regrets that I didn’t head up to New York over the last few weeks to catch Ann Hamilton’s groundbreaking installation, The Event of a Thread, at the Park Avenue Armory. Perhaps the only saving grace of not seeing it in person, or having not covered it on Colossal as coverage bounced around the web, is this gorgeous new video by my friend Paul Octavious who managed to catch a final glimpse of the installation before it closed last weekend. As visually stunning as it appears, I’m certainly left asking… “So what does it all mean!?” A field of swings suspended 70 feet in the air, a gargantuan white curtain attached to a network of ropes and pulleys, readers sitting at giant wooden tables reading to nearby pigeons. Via the Armory:
Visual artist Ann Hamilton combines the ephemeral presence of time with the material tactility for which she is best known to create a new large-scale installation for the Wade Thompson Drill Hall. Commissioned by the Armory, the event of a thread references the building’s architecture, as well as the individual encounters and congregational gatherings that have animated its rich social history. A multisensory affair, the work draws together readings, sound, and live events within a field of swings that together invite visitors to connect to the action of each other and the work itself, illuminating the experience of the singular and collective body, the relationship between the animal and the human. The address of the readers to the pigeons shifts at the end of each day, when a vocalist on the drill hall’s balcony serenades their release to flight. Each day’s song is cut with a record lathe, and the resulting recording is played back the next day.
To read more about the artists intent and purpose you can read her artist statement (PDF). Thanks to Paul for letting me use his imagery here, you can see more photos he shot by following him on Instagram.
For nine decades Fulton Market Cold Storage Company operated in Chicago’s meatpacking district with a full ten stories of freezing storage situated close to major railways. Last summer the company decided it was time to start fresh in a state-of-the-art facility outside of Chicago, so the building was sold to SRAM, a bike component manufacturer who will use the space for its global headquarters. Architects Perkins + Will were hired to help convert the ice-encrusted space into a new, modernized office building and were also tasked with the most epic refrigerator defrost in history. Luckily photographer Gary Jensen was asked to snap some incredible photos prior to the thawing which was actually caught on video (sorry no embed). See more photos on his website. (via gapers block)
Update: I’ve been asked to clarify that the building owner is technically Sterling Bay and the architect of the conversion is Hartshorne and Plunkard. SRAM is a potential tenant in the building and Perkins & Will is their architect.
For the past two years Colossal has come to you directly from coffee shops, dining room tables, couches, restaurants, hotels, and once from a small fishing craft in the Gulf of Alaska. I’ve written a handful of posts from a moving vehicle, one from a CTA rail car, and a few more from airplanes. Because of my job, work on Colossal often started hours before the sun came up when I poured entire pots of coffee on myself, with barely enough consciousness to muster the thought: LOOK AT THIS THIS AMAZING THNG. For 30 months Colossal has never been edited from a desk, during the day.
As of this post, that changes. I’m stupidly excited to announce that Colossal has grown enough that it’s now able to support my family and that today for the first time I will begin editing full-time. This abundance of time will let me focus on regular daily updates as well as a clogged pipeline of new projects and collaborations that will roll out over the next few months. Thanks to everyone who has clicked, tweeted, bookmarked, emailed or otherwise shared links from this blog, it’s because of you this is all possible.
OF NOTE: One of the main reasons Colossal exists is through limited advertising in partnership with Nectar Ads, an ad network for the visual arts. If you’re at all interested in getting your company, gallery, or event in front of millions of artists, photographers, and designers, please get in touch.
I’m Not There is an ongoing series of portraits by photographer PoL Úbeda Hervàs who lives and works in Barcelona. He says the series came from changes in his life that left him unsure of who he is, but decided to leave the shoes as a small reminder that there was at least some fragment of his personality left behind, more than just a shadow. (via ignant)
The Profilograph is a bizarre device created by Chicago artist Pablo Garcia based on a series of four books written in 1528 by German artist Albrecht Dürer that examine the geometry of the male profile through carefully documented illustrations. The device transforms a series of Dürer’s drawings into a contiguous 3D extrusion that rotates on a circular spindle causing a shadow that morphs between each profile. The machine was designed in 2008 for an exhibition at the University of Michigan. You can learn more about the Profilograph here, and if you liked this also check out Kumi Yamashita’s origami profiles. (via vimeo)
The Small Knocking Down the Big is a 2009 installation by Chinese artist Qiu Zhijie made from hundreds of cut wooden dominoes meant to loosely demonstrate the effects of something that has become known as Domino Magnification (if you really, really enjoy physics see the recent work of J. M. J. van Leeuwen). The basic premise is that any domino can knock over another domino that’s roughly 1.5 times larger, meaning that if you gently pushed a normal sized domino into a chain of bricks that increase in size each time by 1.5, the 32nd object will be large enough to topple the Empire State Building. In the video example above it takes only 13 dominoes starting with an object the size of a bean to knock over a 100 lb. slab!
Zhijie’s installation is somewhat less mathematical and more visual, but the same mathematical principles hold true. Participants are invited to knock over the smalles dominoes at the outer branches of the installation which eventually gain enough momentum to knock over the thicker blocks at the trunk. (via lustik)
Bristol-based visual artist Joanie Lemercier has been experimenting with light projected onto 3D canvases. This lastest work created for a Birmingham gallery space was created using sheets of A4 paper folded into pyramids onto which he projected light resulting in an interesting organic effect. No video unfortunately, but you can learn more about his work here.
In his photographic self-portrait series Struggle to Right Oneself, artist Kerry Skarbakka captures himself in moments of suspended peril: falling from trees, tumbling head over heels in painfully precarious falls, slipping nude in the shower, or teetering on the edge of a fateful leap from a railway bridge. In his artist statement Skarbakka references philosopher Martin Heidegger’s description of human existence as a process of perpetual falling, and the responsibility of each person to catch ourselves from our own uncertainty. He continues:
This photographic work is in response to this delicate state. It comprises a culmination of thought and emotion, a tying together of the threads of everything I perceive life has come to represent. It is my understanding and my perspective, which relies on the shifting human conditions of the world that we inhabit. It’s exploration resides in the sublime metaphorical space from where balance has been disrupted to the definitive point of no return. It asks the question of what it means to resist the struggle, to simply let go. Or what are the consequences of holding on?
Skarbakka says that he utilizes special climbing gear and other rigging to achieve each shot, but the final images are truly convincing if somewhat ambiguous. This too is on purpose, as the images are meant to leave the viewer questioning. Do they suggest we can fly? Do we fall? What happens when we land? See many more shots from the series over on his website. All images courtesy the artist. (via not shaking in the grass)