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Art

Artist Okuda San Miguel Sets an 82-Foot Sculpture Aflame for the Falles Festival in Valencia

March 30, 2018

Christopher Jobson

Photo by the author for Colossal

Earlier this month in the city of Valencia, Spain, the annual five-day Falles Festival hosted the construction and burning of some 400 sculptures in neighborhoods across the city amidst fireworks, parades, and enormous bubbling skillets of paella. The festival is so large it requires year-round preparation. Neighborhoods raise money to hire artisans to build each falla, and plans are made for eardrum shattering pyrotechnic displays called Mascletà that occur daily at 2pm.

For 2018, the Falles Festival invited Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel (previously) to build the Falla Mayor, the largest and last falla to be burnt during the celebration. With the help of renowned falla designers Pepe Latorre and Gabriel Sanz, as well as a monumental effort from his team at Ink and Movement, the team submitted a winning design that incorporates the artist’s trademark colorful geometric style. Okuda says the 25 meter (82 foot) piece loosely addresses the relationship between people and animals, while incorporating various symbols the local community might find familiar.

Photos by the author for Colossal

Photo by the author for Colossal

“I’m inspired most by surrealist Salvador Dali and by Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights,” Okuda shared with Colossal. “I mostly describe my work as surrealism.” In an interesting twist, Dali designed and built a falla during the festival in 1954. Instead of indulging in surrealism’s darker side, Okuda’s work seems to shine a bright, happy light on the creatures and figures who populate his multicolor murals and canvases.

The festival may date back to as far as the Middle Ages when carpenters and woodworkers burnt wood scraps at the end of winter to celebrate the spring equinox, though it is now generally known as a celebration of Saint Joseph. In its present day form, the trash heaps have morphed into elaborate artworks that feature celebrities, various current events, and even abstract conceptual sculptures. Caricatures of political figures like Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and Kim Jong-un appeared frequently this year. Two years ago the event was designated as a world heritage site by UNESCO.

During the festival Okuda also opened a large retrospective of work titled “The Multicolored Equilibrium Between Humans and Animals” at the Centre de El Carme in Valencia. The expansive exhibition gathers paintings, sculptures, photos, and video works from the last 20 years. The show is free, open to the public, and runs through May 27, 2018. You can follow Okuda on Instagram, and pickup some of his original works in the Ink and Movement Shop. Video courtesy Chop Em Down Films.

Photo by the author for Colossal

Falles sculpture by Salvador Dali, 1954

 

 



Art Photography

An Experimental Short Film Captures the Dramatic Dance of the Seasons

February 22, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

French film director Thomas Blanchard (previously) is known for his video work with oils and inks. In his most recent video, DANCE DANCE, Blanchard uses flowers as the contextual framework for his signature coils and swirls of color. Flowers have long been used as symbols of vitality and mortality, and the fire and ice these blooms are subjected to suggests a literal interpretation of those concepts. In the dramatically scored video, flowers and foliage light on fire, freeze and melt in icy pools, and are consumed by billowing clouds of colorful smoke. You can see more of Blanchard’s work on Vimeo, Behance, and Facebook. (via We and the Color)

 

 



Design

This Heat-Sensitive Edition of Fahrenheit 451 Can Only Be Read by Flame

October 19, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

This week the Anne Petronille Nypels Lab at Van Eyck Academie in the Netherlands shared a video of an edition of Ray Bradbury’s classic Fahrenheit 451 being held up to a flame. The video was not an ironic twist on the book’s overt message of censorship, but rather a demonstration of the experimental work’s hidden capabilities. The book was screen printed by French graphic design collective Super Terrain using heat sensitive ink, which conceals the book’s text behind a layer of black when at room temperature. You can see more of the collective’s experiments with printed matter on their website and Instagram. (via Open Culture)

 

 



Art

A Ring of Fire Blazes in the Middle of the Swiss Alps

February 14, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

All photos © Stefan Altenburger, 2017

Burning brightly amidst the snowcapped mountains of the Swiss Alps is Douglas Gordon and Morgane Tschiember’s fiery installation As close as you can for as long as it lasts. The temporary piece of blazing land art was produced for the biennial event Elevation 1049, a collection of 11 sculpture, performance, video and sound installations supported by the LUMA Foundation and situated within Gstaad, Switzerland.

The piece is a sculptural and performance-based tale of the lonely traveler, as well as a call and response between the two artists involved in the piece. Tschiember built the circular fire, and as a reaction to her landscape meditation, Gordon installed a sound piece. The howling work is meant to trigger primal fears of dangerous animals and the dark woods, drawing visitors closer to the warm fire.

As close as you can for as long as it lasts is on view as a part of Elevation 1049 through March 19, 2017. (via Designboom)

 

 

 



Animation Photography

Animated Fire Spirals by Daniel Barreto

January 15, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Here’s a fun series from artist Daniel Barreto who animates infinite loops of flame in these surreal gifs. The brief animations continue his experimentation with light and long exposure photography as seen here last year in his short film Ignight. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 



Photography

Cloud-Like Explosions Photographed in Midair by Ken Hermann

December 3, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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For his latest photographic series Explosion2.0, Copenhagen-based photographer Ken Hermann went big. Partnering with a pyrotechnics expert, he captured this series of suspended explosions illuminated with a strobe light that seem to hover in the air like clouds. Each image is all the more mysterious because the origins of each detonation are obscured, as if the blasts were spontaneous. Explosion2.0 is the second in a series of photos that began with some slightly less controlled blasts in part 1. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

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Amazing Science

A Tornado of Fire Filmed in Slow Motion

November 23, 2015

Christopher Jobson

Gav and Dan over at the Slow Mo Guys are famous for creating bizarre (and usually explosive) events in front of powerful HD slow motion cameras. Almost all of their videos are worth a watch, but their latest involving a spinning tornado of fire is especially great, skip ahead to 1:25 for the good stuff. Although this particular flamey vortex was created artificially using box fans, you can sometimes see real fire tornadoes in the middle of forest fires or spinning off from the plumes near an active volcano.