When thinking about how to produce genres of music like techno, industrial, or trance, the first thing that comes to mind is giant sound systems, laptops, emulators and turntables. What doesn’t come to mind is old pots and pans, buckets, chains, and dangerous shards of rusty scrap metal. And yet these are the instruments of choice for musician Dario Rossi who produces some of the most intensely percussive music you could possibly imagine from the hands of a single person.
Born in 1988, Rossi studied at the Accademia Musicale di Ariccia in Rome from the age of 10 before he began to perform with local bands only two years later. He now teaches in Rome and tours frequently, bringing his supernatural drumming performances to public streets around Europe. If you like these three videos, there’s tons more here.
Sky Ladder, realized at Huiyu Island Harbour, Quanzhou, Fujian, June 15, 2015 at 4:49 am, approximately 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Photos by Lin Yi & Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio.
In the early morning hours of June 15, a huge white balloon filled with 6,200 cubic meters of helium slowly ascended into the sky above Huiyu Island Harbour, Quanzhou, China. Attached to it was a 500-meter long ladder coated completely with quick burning fuses and gold fireworks that was then ignighted by artist Cai Guo-Qiang (previously) who has become known for his ambitious pyrotechnic artworks.
Titled Sky Ladder, the piece burned for approxmiately 2 minutes and 30 seconds above the harbor and was the fourth and final attempt to realize the performance. Guo-Qiang had earlier attempted Sky Ladder in Bath (1994), Shanghai (2001), and in Los Angeles (2012), to varying degrees of success, but never considered his vision complete until now. He first imagined a ladder of fire as a child and has pursued the idea for 21 years. He shares about this last successful iteration of the event:
Behind Sky Ladder lies a clear childhood dream of mine. Despite all life’s twists and turns, I have always been determined to realize it. My earlier proposals were either more abstract or ceremonial. Sky Ladder today is tender, and touches my heart deeply: it carries affection for my hometown, my relatives and my friends. In contrast to my other attempts, which set the ignition time at dusk, this time the ladder rose toward the morning sun, carrying hope. For me, this not only means a return but also the start of a new journey.
Unfortunately there’s no official video of the performance available yet, but a few shaky cell phone videos have emerged. You can see more images of the performance on the artist’s website. All photos by Lin Yi and Wen-You Cai courtesy Cai Studio. (via Booooooom)
From the thick of a Brazilian forest to the bustling streets of Taiwan, not to mention a lazy spot in the French countryside, here are three videos of extremely talented people spinning objects with their hands. The first is juggler Gustavo Ollitta who is manipulaing sets of striped blades (called buugengs and triple buugengs) that create a dizzying illusion that appears to warp space and time. The next is a recent video from performer Lindzee Poi who demonstrates something called an amelymeloptical illusion (which, Google as I might, I am unable to define exactly what that means, but apparently it’s this, and it’s amazing). Lastly, two young men from Taiwan take the mindless habit of spinning a pen on your hand to an entirely new level. (via The Kid Should See This, DDN Japan, Devour)
Update: An “amelymeloptical illusion” is a play on words. Blending the title of the movie Amélie (the video uses music by Yann Tiersen from the 2001 film) with the French word la méli-mélo which roughly translates to the “mish mash” or “hodgepodge”. Thanks Brigitte and Kevin.
As a person who’s spent more than a few hours at the seat of a potter’s wheel I can attest to the strangely soothing act of doodling around with wet clay sludge (called slip) before or after throwing a pot. As fun as it is, it’s still somewhat surprising to see the act elevated to this level of artistry by Michael GardnerMikhail Sadovnikov who blurs the line between performance and visual art as he creates pattern after pattern on an empty wheel. (via The Awesomer)
Splayed across a giant paper canvas with pieces of charcoal firmly grasped in each hand, Heather Hansen begins a grueling physical routine atop a sizeable paper canvas. Her body contorts into carefully choreographed gestures as her writing implements grate across the floor, the long trails resulting in a permanent recording of her physical movements. Part dance and part performance art, the kinetic drawings are a way for Hansen to merge her love for visual art and dance into a unified artform. The final symmetrical patterns that emerge in each pieces are reminiscent of a Rorschach test, or perhaps cycles found in nature.
At about two minutes in to this ten minute performance by beat boxer Tom Thum my jaw was already hanging open, by about six minutes I had nearly thrown my computer off my lap. The Guardian was absolutely correct when it stated Thum “appears to have swallowed an entire orchestra and several backing singers”. The performance was shot at TEDxSydney last May in the famous Sydney Opera House and was just released online yesterday. Excuse me while I step outside to show this to random people on the street.
The Top Secret Drum Corps is a 25-person drum corps and colorguard group from Basel, Switzerland who display incredible precision and choreography despite being comprised of performers who have separate day jobs. Formed in 1990 the group rose quickly to fame after being the fist non-military, non-British acts to perform at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which they have now performed at four times (see their 2009 performance). I’m no drum expert but this is some of the best drumming I’ve ever seen. (via laughing squid)