with found objects
In this meta animation, animator and director Ainslie Henderson (previously) seamlessly transforms a demonstration of his stop motion practice into a film where his miniature puppets take over. The rag tag group of figures break off from Henderson’s narrative to form a slapdash electronic band, utilizing scraps from his workbench to construct instruments from the same electric detritus used to form their own hands, faces, and feet.
“Puppet making often begins by just gathering stuff, like materials that I find attractive like wood, sticks, wire, leaves, flowers, petals, and bits of broken electronics,” says Henderson in the film. “[I use] things that have already had a life are lovely to have as puppets. And then from there you just start improvising. It’s like making music, you just see where it leads you.”
During the process of animating Henderson’s voiceover gradually fades and the viewer realizes his voice is simply a tape recording on screen, and has suddenly been repurposed as an instrument by his animated creations.
Stems has picked up numerous awards since 2016 including a BAFTA in Scotland. You can watch more of Henderson’s work on his Vimeo Channel.
Share this story
Photographer Mandy Barker creates deceptively eye-catching images to document the pandemic of plastic debris in the world’s waterways. Barker, who is based in Leeds, UK, works closely with scientists to collect trash from our oceans and beaches on the edges of nearly every continent. One research expedition covered the debris field (stretching to Hawaii) that resulted from Japan’s 2011 tsunami and earthquake; she has also explored the Inner Hebrides in Scotland with Greenpeace.
Barker manipulates her findings in Photoshop, mimicking the manner in which ocean water holds these objects in suspension. Swirls of colors and patterns draw in the viewer’s eye, only to realize that these visually appealing compositions consist of garbage that animals have attempted to chew, plastic pellets, tangles of fishing line, and water-logged soccer balls. The artist describes her work in a statement on her website:
The aim of my work is to engage with and stimulate an emotional response in the viewer by combining a contradiction between initial aesthetic attraction along with the subsequent message of awareness. The research process is a vital part of my development as the images I make are based on scientific fact which is essential to the integrity of my work.
Barker is currently a recipient of a 2018 National Geographic Society grant. Her work is on display through April 22nd at Mexico City’s Museum of Modern Art, at Photo London Art Fair in May 2018, at the Triennial of Photography in Hamburg in June, 2018, and at BredaPhoto in The Netherlands in September 2018. The artist’s book, Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals, was named one of the ten best books of 2017 by Smithsonian. You can see more of Barker’s photographs on her website as well as on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Share this story
Photographer Mauricio Alejo uses everyday objects to create gravity-defying arrangements within his apartment, staging curious interventions and acrobatic feats on his kitchen counters and filing cabinets. Working within the confines of his living space has allowed Alejo to produce ideas as they come, rather than attempt to find the perfect backdrop for his spontaneous compositions.
“I didn’t always like the apartments I was living in, or better put, I didn’t always like the way some of the places I lived translated into the image,” explained Alejo. “They were somehow random and uninteresting, but I knew that it was just natural to photograph right where the ideas were conceived, besides if I started looking for the ‘right’ place to shoot it was going to be a never ending story.”
This immediacy of ideas has become embedded in the photographer’s practice, even with Alejo’s recent move towards studio-based photography. You can see more of his works on his website and Instagram. (via Ignant)
Share this story
New Split-View Trash Sculptures by Bordalo II Combine Wood and Colorful Plastics Into Gigantic Animals
Bordalo II (previously) has created a series of bisected animals, colorful plastics forming one half of the creature while a combination of wood and metal created a muted mirror on the other side. In one piece the Portuguese artist created a turtle with legs that extend to the ground, appearing to crawl along the side of a a low wall in Moncton, Canada. Other works are more monumental, such as a rabbit that extends two stories in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal, and a raccoon that seems to dangle head first from a building in Pittsburgh.
The globally-placed installations are the newest evolution of his series Trash Animals, large public works that address the impact our carelessly tossed waste has on the environment around us. You can observe his process for collecting plastic and other waste, as well as follow more of his recent work, on Instagram.
Share this story
Tens of Thousands of Metallic Lawn Ornaments Glisten Inside Nick Cave’s Monumental Installation at MASS MoCA
Composed from tens of thousands of metallic wind spinners, more than 10 miles of crystals, and thousands of other traditional lawn decorations is Nick Cave‘s installation Until, a work which exists at two levels within the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art‘s (MASS MoCA) football field-sized exhibition space, Building 5. Illuminated chandeliers peek from within dense clouds of dangling crystals hung from the building’s rafters a story and a half above the floor. Several bright yellow ladders lead to the top of these glistening structures, showcasing crowded platforms that serve as home to dozens of ceramic birds, gilded pigs, colorful flora, and cast iron lawn jockeys.
Collecting the enormous supply of lawn ornaments and decorations for the exhibition was a collaboration between Cave and MASS MoCA. A team of several individuals scoured eBay, thrift stores, and other second hand shops to find previously used materials that would be perfect for the towering installation. The thousands of found objects create a textured experience, one viewing his cloud-like platforms through mirrored kinetic objects. Not all inclusions are intended to dazzle however, as scattered images of guns, bullets, and targets lay within the comforting imagery of opulence and kitsch.
“Formally their [the metallic wind spinners’] reflective quality was important,” Cave shares with Colossal. “To have something that we can see ourselves within as well as something that becomes almost mirage-like. Conceptually, garden spinners are found in our own back yards, so using these everyday objects with images of guns, teardrops and bullets conveys the proliferation of this violence in and around the safety of our homes.”
Cave, an artist best known for his elaborately produced Soundsuits, created the installation as a response to gun violence and policies and race relations in America. The title, Until, sits at the center of two phrases. The first, which lays at the heart of our judicial system, “innocent until proven guilty,” and the second phrase, which is seen to be more commonly practiced, “guilty until proven innocent.”
Cave hopes the exhibition serves a catalyst for these topics to be more readily discussed, as well as a space for change to be motivated. During the run of Until he invited several dancers, singers, poets, and composers to perform their own messages within the work, allowing the visual exhibition to double as a rotating stage.
“By inviting other artists and community members to make their own work within it, the installation becomes a platform for their work and their audiences,” said Cave. “Their particular of sharing their view on the subject may strike a different or more specific chord in some and as such the whole project becomes more effective and reaches more people. This is in service to all of our goals. I also learn from their works the role of my own work.”
A nearly 200-page book centered around the exhibition, Nick Cave: Until which is published by Prestel, will be released on April 28 at MASS MoCA, featuring installation images as well as essays by MASS MoCA curator Denise Markonish, Talking Heads co-founder David Byrne, and Cave himself. It will also feature poetry centered around the justice system by Claudia Rankine and reflections by the head of the Police Board and Task Force on Police Accountability in Chicago, Lori Lightfoot.
The book is available for pre-order on MASS MoCA’s website and Amazon, and can be found in the museum later this month. There will be a book launch in NYC on April 26 at the New York Pubic Library and one at MASS MoCA on April 28. You can visit the monumental exhibition at MASS MoCA through August 2017. Until will then travel to Carriageworks in Sydney in 2018, and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR in 2019.
Share this story
Self-taught Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru (previously) fashions extravagant eyewear from pieces of found metal and other salvaged materials on the streets of his hometown of Nairobi. Kabiru has been building his futuristic glasses since childhood, and dedicates much of his time to producing works for his C-Stunner series of eyeglasses and coordinating photographs. Recently Kabiru has begun to expand his work to include large non-body-based sculptures, installations, and collage.
Kabiru’s practice is deeply tied to Afrofuturism, a genre that combines science fiction, magical realism, and historical fiction with the culture and politics of the African diaspora. His work was featured in the newly released Gestalten publication Africa Rising: Fashion, Design and Lifestyle from Africa. You can see more of his eyewear and larger sculptures on Artsy and SMAC.
Share this story
Artist j.frede composes flea market photographs into custom built frames, creating visual and narrative landscapes from the previously unassociated materials. The works spread across the wall, building on each other through similar landscapes or horizon lines. The project, titled Fiction Landscapes, builds on the artist’s interest in memory, tapping into others’ momentos of the past to create fictionalized scenes of ambiguous origin.
Although each image has once been a placeholder in time for the photographer, once it gets collected into a mixed up bin at a flea market these associations are erased. “Arranging these into new landscapes that have never existed speaks to the stitching together of human behavior and how we relate to time and the past,” says Frede. “How many people have pulled over at that rest stop and taken nearly the same photo of the plain hillside? All locking their own associations into the view, first road trip with a new love; last road trip to see grandma; one of many road trips alone.”
The Los Angeles-based artist strictly uses anonymous photographs from the past for his works, never incorporating photographs of his own or individuals he knows. The memories he personally imbues into each composition in the series are instead ones he creates while making each arrangement, placing his own marker within the newly composed environment.
Share this story
Editor's Picks: Murals
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.