Ballroom Luminoso is a series of six chandeliers designed by artists Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock currently installed in San Antonio, Texas. Made from custom made structural steel, custom LEDs and recycled bicycle parts, the lights project colorful silhouettes of sprockets and other pieces onto the otherwise drab cement underpass. From the artist’s statement about the project:
Ballroom Luminoso references the area’s past, present, and future in the design of its intricately detailed medallions. The images in the medallions draw on the community’s agricultural history, strong Hispanic heritage, and burgeoning environmental movement. The medallions are a play on the iconography of La Loteria, which has become a touchstone of Hispanic culture. Utilizing traditional tropes like La Escalera (the Ladder), La Rosa (the Rose), and La Sandía (the Watermelon), the piece alludes to the neighborhood’s farming roots and horticultural achievements. Each character playfully rides a bike acting as a metaphor for the neighborhood’s environmental progress, its concurrent eco-restoration projects, and its developing cycling culture.
If you liked this project you might also enjoy Carolina Fontoura Alzaga’s bike chain chandeliers. Images above courtesy photographer Fred Gonzales. (via lustik)
Cateura, Paraguay is a small city that has grown atop a massive dump. It is regarded as one of the poorest slums in Latin America, a village where people live among a sea of garbage. Incredibly, the landfill itself is the primary form of subsistence for many residents, who pick through waste for items that can be used or sold. Prospects for most of the children born in Cateura is bleak as gangs and drugs await many of them. But then one day, something amazing happened.
A garbage picker named Nicolás Gómez (known as “Cola”) found a piece of trash that resembled a violin and brought it to musician Favio Chávez. Using other objects collected from the dump, the pair constructed a functional violin in a place where a real violin is worth more a house. Using items gleaned completely from the dump, the pair then built a cello, a flute, a drum, and suddenly had a wild idea: could a children’s orchestra be born in one of the most depressed areas in the world? As you can guess, the answer was yes.
Now a group of filmmakers, producers, and photographers are trying to tell the story of the orchestra through a documentary titled Landfill Harmonic. The orchestra seems poised to offer many of the children opportunities outside of the slum— they are already planning a multi-city tour around the U.S. The movie is currently being funded on Kickstarter and just passed the halfway mark today. Watch the video above and you can learn more over on their Facebook. Backed!
As part of an innovative partnership called Home Sweet Home (Lar Doce Lar) between multidisciplinary design firm Rosenbaum and TV producer Luciano Huck, the teams went through dozens of Brazilian homes doing dramatic makeovers of interior and exterior spaces. On their 48th home Rosenbaum designed a pretty amazing vertical garden that was suspended in a narrow walkway just outside the house. Reponse to the garden was so huge the firm quickly released design schematics (in Portugese) detailing how to build one. A huge thanks to the team at Rosenbaum for sharing these photos with Colossal!
Inspired by the forms of animals artist Barbara Franc seeks to capture a sense of motion as she recreates a variety of wildlife from birds to horses using reclaimed materials such as old food tins. Via her artist statement:
I have always been fascinated by the shapes and sculptural forms of animals, they present a never-ending source of inspiration to me. I try to capture a feeling of their movement and presence in my sculpture. For this I use wire and other materials in a way that suggests drawing in three dimensions. This allows me greater freedom to add changes whenever I want during the construction to keep the feeling fluid and to reflect the diversity of movement and form. I increasingly use recycled and discarded materials as I enjoy the challenge of transforming something with a past history into something new and exciting.
I’m a huge fan of alternative Christmas trees in urban centers, from last year’s plastic bottle tree in Lithuania to the abstract tree currently up in Brussels, any idea seems better than heading out to the local forest and hacking down a pine tree older than my grandparents. This year in Hasselt, Belgium a pair from the design firm Mooz created this concept of an enormous tree covered in 5,000 pieces of ceramic donated from local residents. Called the “Taste Tree” the piece was meant to be a sort of communal celebration as residents were invited to contribute unused dishes to the tree that now stands nearly 30 ft. tall in Hassel’s main square. (via designboom)
As part of his latest project Imagine, Mexico City based artist Pedro Reyes acquired some 6,700 weapons that were scheduled to be buried (as is customary in mass weapon disposals) and instead collaborated with six musicians to create 50 working instruments as part of a statement regarding increased gun violence in Mexico. The numerous firearms were cut down, welded and formed into a variety of string, wind, and percussion instruments over a period of two weeks last month. Via his blog Reyes says:
It’s difficult to explain but the transformation was more than physical. It’s important to consider that many lives were taken with these weapons; as if a sort of exorcism was taking place the music expelled the demons they held, as well as being a requiem for lives lost. [...] This is also a call to action, since we cannot stop the violence only at the place where the weapons are being used, but also where they are made. There is a disparity between visible and invisible violence. The nearly 80,000 deaths by gun-shot that have occurred in Mexico in the last 6 years, or the school shootings in the US are the visible side of violence. The invisible side is that one of gun trade-shows, neglecting assault rifle bans, and shareholder profit from public companies. This is a large industry of death and suffering for which no cultural rejection is expressed.Guns continue to be depicted as something sexy both in Hollywood and in videogames; there may be actors who won’t smoke on the screen, but there has not been one who would reject the role of a trigger-happy hero.
Surprisingly this is not the artists first project involving the reuse of guns. Back in 2008 he was provided with 1,527 destroyed weapons which he melted down to build shovels to plant 1,527 trees as part of his Palas por Pistolas project. If you liked this also check out the work of Al Farrow. (via my amp goes to 11)
Artist Carolina Fontoura Alzaga constructs impressive chandeliers using chains, wheels and other parts from old bicycles as part of a series she calls CONNECT. Alzaga has lived in Brazil and Mexico and now works out of a studio in Los Angeles where the Etsy Blog recently caught up with her to conduct the interview and tour above. Of her work she says:
This developing body of work draws inspiration from the aesthetics of victorian era chandeliers, DIY and Bike Culture, and follows an art tradition of utilizing non artistic materials for sculpture.
This series addresses class codes, power dynamics, reclaimed agency, and ecological responsibility. The traditional chandelier is seen as a bourgeois commodity, a cachet of affluence, excess, and as such power. The recycled bicycle parts become a representation of the dismissed, invisible, and powerless, but are also an affirmation of self-propelled movement. The bicycle chandelier thereby creates a new third meaning of reclaimed agency.
I think if I ever had need for a chandelier it would definitely be one of these. Alzaga has a number of pieces currently available in her shop. (via laughing squid)
This is a fascinating and touching glimpse into the ongoing art installation of Austin, Texas resident Vince Hannemann (aka the Junk King) who since 1989 has been collecting thousands of discarded objects and turning them into a giant cathedral of junk. In 2010 the city closed the structure claiming it was unsafe and demanded Hannemann obtain proper building permits for his “auxiliary structure”. He was then forced to remove nearly 60 tons of materials before finally obtaining the approval from an engineer. Over seven months hundreds of volunteers stopped by to lend a hand and the cathedral has begun expanding once again. Shot and edited by Evan Burns. Last photo by Blake Gordon. (via vimeo)