Swiss artist Remo Lienhard (aka Wes21) has an imagination to kill for. His acrylic and spray paint works are explosively detailed and often depict a sort of dystopian fusion of people and the natural world. Though despite the grittiness and abundance of detail found in each of his works it’s clear he also possesses a keen sense of humor. Lienhard belongs to a collective of graffiti artists and illustrators called Schwarzmaler where you can find much more of his street art and other works. Also don’t miss him over on Facebook. (via street art utopia which has a killer roundup of street art this month)
Update: Wes21 is represented by SOON where you can learn more about his work.
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Here & There are a fascinating set of prints from London-based design firm BERG that depict speculative projections of Manhattan by completely removing the horizon and skewing the entire urban landscape upward. These particular views are of uptown from 3rd and 7th street, and downtown from 3rd and 35th street. Last year the prints found their way into MOMA’s permanent collection, and have just been reprinted using offset litho on 170 gsm paper from sustainable sources. Pick ’em up now, shipping starts tomorrow.
Update: Because people are asking, these were designed a year or two before Inception. Just sayin’.
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Netherlands-based artist John Breed installed this whimsical leg rainbow in conjunction with German shoe salon Breuninger last year. The piece involved 145 multicolored shoes and legs that were eventually placed near the salon. See more on his website.
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I’ll never forget the excitement I felt the first time I disassembled a telephone. I was eight years old, on our back porch with just an old screwdriver and a pair of pliers, but seeing what was inside this everyday object was a discovery akin to unearthing a dinosaur. The sudden knowledge that the speaker part was magnetic and contained a mile of thin copper wiring was practically miraculous. When the day was over, I was surrounded by pieces of am/fm radio, an old handheld video game, and a toy car, none of which would ever be assembled again, but that really wasn’t the point. Master disassembler Todd McLellan remarks on a similar childhood discovery in his latest book, Things Come Apart from Thames & Hudson, but for him, it wasn’t fleeting like it was with me. It was the beginning of his life-long career in documenting the technological methods of modern mass production in reverse.
In Things Come Apart, McLellan exposes the inner working of 50 objects and 21,959 individual components as he reflects on the permanence of vintage machines built several decades ago—sturdy gadgets meant to be broken and repaired—versus today’s manufacturing trend of limited use followed by quick obsolescence. Captured in his photography are myriad parts laid flat and organized by function, creating recontextualized images of wagons, chainsaws, computers, and phones. He also shoots high-speed photos of carefully orchestrated drops where pieces are shot in midair as they come crashing down, creating impressive visual explosions. Also appearing in the book is his pièce de résistance: a Zenith CH 650 aircraft photographed as individual components.
Update: If you’re in Chicago, McLellan currently has an exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry through May 19th.
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You’re walking down a street in Brooklyn, gnawing on a piece of gum that’s past the point of flavorful.. In a hurry, you spit it on the ground without a second thought and continue about your day. Hours later, a mysterious woman arrives, surreptitiously collecting the sticky gum from the sidewalk and dropping it into a clear plastic bag which she then carefully labels. Flash forward a month later: you’re walking through an art gallery, and there, mounted on the wall, is a familiar face staring back at you. Astonishingly (or terrifyingly), it’s a 3D print of your face generated from the DNA you left behind on that random piece of gum that now appears in a petri dish just below the portrait. A few years ago this would have seemed like science fiction, the stuff of films like Gattaca, but to information artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg, it’s how she makes her artwork here in 2013.
They say inspiration can strike anywhere. For Dewey-Hagborg, it happened in a therapy session. While staring at a framed print on the wall, she fixated on a tiny crack in the glass into which a small hair had become lodged. As her mind wandered, she imagined who this seemingly insignificant hair belonged to, and, more specifically, what they might look like. After that day, she became keenly aware of the genetic trail left by every person in their daily life, and began to question what physical characteristics could be identified through the DNA left behind on a piece of gum or cigarette butt.
Stranger Visions is the result of her fascinating, if slightly disconcerting, line of questioning and experimentation: 3D printed portraits based on DNA samples taken from objects found on the streets of Brooklyn. Dewey-Hagborg worked with a DIY biology lab called Genspace, where she met a number of biologists who taught her everything she now knows about molecular biology and DNA. Via an interview with the artist:
So I extract the DNA in the lab and then I amplify certain regions of it using a technique called PCR – Polymerase Chain Reaction. This allows me to study certain regions of the genome that tend to vary person to person, what are called SNPs or Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms.
I send the results of my PCR reactions off to a lab for sequencing and what I get back are basically text files filled with sequences of As, Ts, Cs, and Gs, the nucleotides that compose DNA. I align these using a bioinformatics program and determine what allele is present for a particular SNP on each sample.
Then I feed this information into a custom computer program I wrote which takes all these values which code for physical genetic traits and parameterizes a 3d model of a face to represent them. For example gender, ancestry, eye color, hair color, freckles, lighter or darker skin, and certain facial features like nose width and distance between eyes are some of the features I am in the process of studying.
I add some finishing touches to the model in 3d software and then export it for printing on a 3d printer. I use a Zcorp printer which prints in full color using a powder type material, kind of like sand and glue.
The resulting portraits are bizarre approximations of anonymous people who unknowingly left their genetic material on a random city street. So how accurate are the faces created from this genetic experiment? The artist likes to say they have a “family resemblance” and no, unlike the scenario depicted above, a person has never recognized themselves in any of her exhibitions. Yet. There are some things such as age which are virtually impossible to determine from DNA alone, so Dewey-Hagborg casts each portrait as if the person were around 25 years old.
Dewey-Hagborg will be giving a talk with a pop-up exhibit at Genspace on June 13th, and QF Gallery on Long Island will host a body of her work from June 29th through July 13th. You can follow the artist via her website and also her blog. All imagery courtesy the artist. (via smithsonian)
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Last year artist Miya Ando traveled to Puerto Rico where she released 1,000 non-toxic resin leaves coated with phosphorescence into a small pond. During the day the leaves would “recharge” and at night would give off a ghostly, ethereal glow much like the light of a firefly. Titled Obon, the installation was inspired by a Japanese Buddhist festival of the same name that honors the spirits of one’s ancestors. The leaves were also meant to simulate Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent bays, a natural phenomenon caused by dinoflagellates, photosynthetic underwater organisms that emit light when agitated.
You can learn more about Ando’s artwork over at Spoon and Tamago who stopped by for a studio visit not to long ago. You can also follow her on Tumblr and if you’re in the NYC area next month she’ll have a solo exhibition at Sundaram Tagore Gallery starting June 20th. Photography courtesy L. Young.
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Editor's Picks: Art
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