Swing House: A Three-Story Swing Suspended from the Ceiling of a Gutted Cincinnati Home by Mark deJong
From the outside, artist Mark deJong’s contemporary installation, Swing House, doesn’t particularly stand out from the other residences lining the street of Cincinnati’s Camp Washington neighborhood. The blue 19th-century building is narrowly built, and features charming architectural details that cap its windows and roof. The interior however, is remarkably different. All three levels of the home have been completely gutted to create an open floor plan void of any interior walls or floors, with a single swing positioned at the center of the space.
“Swing House is a piece of art in itself,” deJong tells Colossal. “All of my major decisions were based on the arc of the swing, which started by emptying out everything on the inside. The arc of the swing then dictated where the stairs to the basement went, as well as the placement of the bed and kitchen. While swinging, your feet miss those things with a considered clearance. You are able to swing way over both the bed and kitchen.”
The seat of the swing was formed from reddish pine salvaged from inside the home. Its natural-fiber rope attachments extend 30-feet into the air, and are secured into a metal beam from the home’s three-story ceiling. It is here that deJong painted a black and white hour glass shape, a nod to the motif of passing time represented in the pendulum-like swing.
The installation took three years to build, but had been a dream of deJong’s for nearly thirty. He originally thought of the idea shortly after finishing art school. “I stopped making art for 20 years, so this house was my leap back into the art world,” he explains. He has worked in construction for the past several decades, so this art-based house was a way for him to marry his formal training with his lifelong career.
DeJong is currently renovating another house on the same street which will also be mostly gutted, except for as set of freestanding stairs which will serve as the main focus. Objects created from salvaged elements of the Swing House are currently on view at his solo exhibition of the same name, which runs through September 2, 2018 at the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center. Tours of the home will occur throughout the duration of the exhibition. (via CityBeat)
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During a residency this spring at La Maison Verte, a house affiliated with Jardin Botanique in Marnay-sur-Seine, France, artist Jenine Shereos (previously) created a series of ephemeral installations using local flowers. Inspired by her long daily walks in the village and gardens, the Boston-based artist tells Colossal, “I was keenly aware of the continual shift of the different blooms of flowers all around me. In the beautiful old house where I stayed, there was a small room adjacent to my bedroom that felt like a kind of liminal in-between space, or a dream space. I started to envision the different ways these flowers could transform the room.”
Shereos normally creates time-intensive work, and she describes the fleeting nature of these installations as a refreshing departure: “From the time I picked the flowers, I had only a few hours to install and photograph the work before the flowers would begin to fade… There was something magical about the continual transformation of the space. I left each installation up for one or two days, and would observe and photograph the way that the flowers wilted.”
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The Second Annual Nuart Aberdeen Festival Activates the Scottish Town With Installations Inspired by National and Regional Themes
It was 2002 when an international group of street art and electronic music enthusiasts organized the first Nuart Festival in Norway’s oil capital, Stavanger. The idea was to create a secondary event for their music program in order to introduce some of the most interesting artists of the underground street art movement. Keeping their concept simple yet original, the festival presented an annual platform for national and international artists who operated outside of the traditional art establishment, both indoors and outdoors, to stimulate conversation that would challenge the notions of what art is, and what it can be.
It wasn’t long before the visual part of the project continued on its own and grew into what’s now widely considered to be the world’s leading celebration of street art among its peers. It was around the 15th year of the festival when founder and director Martyn Reed and his team were approached by the city of Aberdeen, Scotland with an idea to develop a similar project in their own town. After years of rejecting similar offers, the team felt a strong connection and similarities between the two oil industry-dependent cities, and in 2017 the first edition of Nuart Aberdeen (previously) was introduced to the public.
The 2nd edition of this festival was held only a few weeks ago, and once again brought the Granite City to the spotlight of the international urban and street art scene. Nuart Aberdeen invited well-established artists who first started their careers at Nuart in Stavanger, such as Bordalo II and Ernest Zacharevic, which helped introduce a wide range and vibrancy of contemporary street art to the young festival. Working with local themes and subjects, but within their individual visual languages and mediums, the international line-up of artists produced an impressive series of public murals, installations, and interventions, which brightened up the daily routines of locals, and provided a new attraction for the festival’s visitors.
Addressing themes like the relationship between UK and Scotland (Hyuro), regional history and legends (Bordalo II, Milu Correch, Nimi & RH74, Phlegm), or referring to local specifics such as the lively seagull population (Conzo & Globel; Ernest Zacharevic or Snik), the public works covered topics that locals could easily identify with and engage. And while these pieces were being created on the streets and alleys of the Grey City, selected group of academics were discussing and presenting the past, current, and possible future state of the movement, in the presence of local and international enthusiasts, fans, and members of the creative community.
Always highlighting the activism side of public art, this year’s edition included a project with Amnesty International, presenting their project in support of women human rights defenders in the UK. For this part of the project the team joined forces with “craftivist” Carrie Reichardt who designed an elaborate ceramic mosaic that celebrates Scotland’s woman human rights defenders and the Suffragette movement. The London-based contemporary ceramicist also created “We are Witches” and “Trailblazing Women of Aberdeen,” borrowing the aesthetics of traditional stain glass windows. She also helped create a public monument to local unsung heroes which was fully designed, cut, and installed by local volunteers under the stewardship of Reichardt.
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Italian artist Edoardo Tresoldi (previously), known for his massive architectural sculptures made of wire, built three transparent structures for this year’s Coachella music festival in California. Titled ‘Etherea’, the sculptural series was comprised of three identical buildings in different sizes, inspired by Neoclassical and Baroque aesthetics. The buildings were illuminated at night with a hazy lavender glow that emphasized the illusion of Etherea’s solidity. You can hear Tresoldi share more about his work in a TED talk, and see previous installations on his website, Instagram, and Facebook. (via Ignant)
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Famed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama (previously) is known for her color explosions, light matrices, and proclivity towards covering many of her works in a dazzling layer of dots. In one of her most interactive installations, the artist hands her interest in dot making over to the visitor. The Obliteration Room invites guests to “obliterate” a domestic interior by placing colorful stickers onto the walls, furniture, and floors.
For her recent commission for the inaugural National Gallery of Victoria Triennial, the artist transformed this concept to include a flower motif. For Flower Obsession (2017) guests were given artificial gerbera daisies and flower stickers to place on any surface of their choosing, completely covering the faux-apartment by the end of the triennial’s four-month run. This floral theme taps into the beginning of the artist’s art-making, referencing a memory from her early childhood.
“One day, after gazing at a pattern of red flowers on the tablecloth, I looked up to see that the ceiling, the windows, and the columns seemed to be plastered with the same red floral pattern,” Kusama explains in a press release for the triennial. “I saw the entire room, my entire body, and the entire universe covered with red flowers, and in that instant my soul was obliterated … This was not an illusion but reality itself.”
The NGV Triennial closed late last week. You can view more documentation from the inaugural exhibition, including this massive installation of hyperrealistic human skulls by Ron Mueck, on the National Gallery of Victoria’s website.
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Media artist Refik Anadol’s work Melting Memories combines data paintings, light projections, and augmented data sculptures to visibly demonstrate how the brain recalls memories. The installation was created with a custom 16 x 20 foot LED media wall and CNC milled rigid foam, and was shown earlier in 2018 at Pilevneli Gallery in Istanbul. In the work, seething swirls move across the work’s surface, resembling cresting ocean waves, blossoming flowers, and shifting sand.
To generate the data, Anadol conducted experiments at the Neuroscape Laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco. An artist statement describes the technical process: “Anadol gathers data on the neural mechanisms of cognitive control from an EEG (electroencephalogram) that measures changes in brain wave activity and provides evidence of how the brain functions over time. These data sets constitute the building blocks for the unique algorithms that the artist needs for the multi-dimensional visual structures on display.”
Anadol is a media artist and director who specializes in site-specific public art that explores the intersection of physical and digital reality. Born in Istanbul, the artist is now based in Los Angeles, where he is a visiting researcher and lecturer at UCLA’s Department of Design Media Arts. You can see more of his work on his website, as well as on Instagram, Vimeo, and Behance.
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For the Hanami 2050 exhibition in Fukuoka, Japan, Danish floral designer Nicolai Bergmann collaborated with the Tokyo-based design firm Onesal to create a series of dazzling botanical animations. The works were created under the concept of “future flowers,” and explore creations from deep within the designers’ imaginations. Fantastical and brightly colored buds burst into bloom with a satisfying crack and sizzle, presenting arrangements that appear like a cross between a botanical garden and extraterrestrial forest.
The looping presentations were displayed on screens embedded in real foliage arranged by Bergmann, and sprung to life at the historic Shinto shrine Dazaifu Tenmangu (太宰府天満宮) from March 29 to April 1, 2018. You can see a video, and several clips, from the recent installation below.
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