Dance Photography

A Wind Gust Propels a Graceful Cast Toward the Sea in a Fantastical Burberry Ad

October 25, 2021

Grace Ebert

A dreamy new ad for Burberry meditates on the dual powers of humanity and nature. Directed by Megaforce, “Open Spaces” zeroes in on four figures as they venture into a wheat field when a strangely powerful gust of wind propels them across the landscape. They subsequently rush toward a steep cliff in graceful, choreographed movements before saving each other in an airborne embrace. You can find more from the Paris-based director, who’s worked on promotional videos for the BBC, Tame Impala, and an array of high-end brands, on Vimeo.

 

 

 

 



Illustration

Dizzying Patterns Envelop Imagined Characters in Portraits by Sofia Bonati

October 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Sofia Bonati, shared with permission

In the hypnotic portraits of Argentinian artist Sofia Bonati (previously), women find themselves embraced by backgrounds of black-and-white linework, foliage, and abstract geometries. The feminine characters often have rosy cheeks and earnest expressions, and they seamlessly meld with their patterned environments, which sometimes conceal the outlines of their figures and accentuate their unique facial features.

Now based in Oxfordshire, Bonati will show some of her dizzying drawings in a group exhibition with Wow x Wow this December. You can explore more of her works and recent commissions on Instagram and Behance, and pick up prints and other goods from Society6.

 

 

 



Photography Science

Project Stardust: A Photographer Scours Rooftops Across the Globe for Minuscule Cosmic Particles

October 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Jon Larsen and Jan Braly Kihle, shared with permission

According to Olso-based photographer and researcher Jon Larsen, the most exotic particles from across the universe are likely hiding in a rain gutter or scattered among debris on rooftops. Larsen, who works in the geosciences department at the University of Oslo, has been at the forefront of micrometeorite discovery since 2009 when “a shiny black dot suddenly appeared on my white veranda table while I was having strawberries for breakfast.”

The event sparked a now decades-long exploration into the field of “cosmic dust particles, the oldest solid matter there is, ‘ash’ from dead stars, etc,” he tells Colossal. “Nothing has traveled farther…The search/hunt for stardust continues in all directions, but I am particularly interested in the unmelted ones, which contain water and complex organic molecules, (the) building blocks of life.”

 

These findings are what Larsen calls urban micrometeorites or minuscule bits of extraterrestrial matter found in heavily populated areas. Even though 60 tons of the dust fall to Earth every day, scientists previously considered the tiny pieces only discoverable in remote regions devoid of human life “due to an unsurmountable wall of terrestrial contaminants,” the researcher says. “Furthermore, the micrometeorites were thought to have a very short lifespan here on Earth due to the harsh weathering.”

That theory changed after Larsen scoured countless areas across the globe, producing a monumental archive of tens of thousands of particles. These range from the common barred olivine to the rare glass with chromites and volcanic residue. Most are considerably smaller than .05 centimeters.

 

Larsen’s pioneering research has culminated in a few books, including an identification guide and a forthcoming tome collecting his paintings, photos, and drawings on the subject. It also forms the basis for Project Stardust, a global community of micrometeorite hunters where he shares images of the gleaming, metallic findings in the form of striking macro shots that reveal crystalline details, jagged edges, and the particles’ lustrous surfaces. Simultaneously focused on the discovery and beauty of his findings, Larsen’s practice falls at the intersection of science, photography, and art. He explains:

Stardust looks like nothing else down on Earth, and they are beautiful jewelry from space. That it fell on me to discover these extraterrestrial beauties was rather bizarre because I do not come from academia but the art world… It was these qualifications which enabled me to find the way through the labyrinth and discover what everybody else said was impossible.

The publication of Larsen’s next book will coincide with exhibitions in Oslo and Berlin. You can find more of his work in the recent Werner Herzog documentary about meteors and comets, Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds, and explore the vast archive of his findings on his site. (via Kottke)

 

 

 



History

They're Baaaack: Meet the Creepy Dolls from the History Center of Olmsted County Collection

October 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © History Center of Olmsted County

We’re sorry to introduce you to the cursed cast of the History Center of Olmsted County’s notorious Creepy Doll Contest: there’s the demonic “Miss Abyss” and her glowing portal-like eyes, the conniving criminal mastermind “Professor Moriarty” that will likely convince you to commit some unspeakable atrocity, and “Lizzie Bordon” that, like the infamous ax murderer herself, is sure to chop you to bits.

The center launched the project in 2019 as an innocuous way to explore its collection, although it’s since created an annual event of unleashing the horrors you see here. If you’re in Minnesota, you can attend the creepy doll cocktail party on October 23 (at your own risk, of course), and otherwise, cast your vote for the demonic character most likely to haunt your dreams on Instagram. (via Hyperallergic)

 

“Miss Abyss”

“T-Rex”

“Lady Corn Husk”

“Professor Moriarty”

“Princess Aouda”

“Cloudy Eye”

“Miss Havisham”

“Lizzie Bordon”

“Gagool”

 

 



Art Colossal

Putt Around the Playable Artworks of 'Par Excellence Redux: The Back 9,' Now Open at Elmhurst Art Museum

October 21, 2021

Colossal

All images courtesy of Elmhurst Art Museum, shared with permission

The Back 9 of Par Excellence Redux, an artist-designed miniature golf course, is now open at the Elmhurst Art Museum. Curated by Colossal’s founder and editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson as part of an open call, the exhibition of playable artworks pays homage to the incredibly popular Par Excellence, which opened in 1988 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Back 9, which runs through January 2, 2022, includes artists Wesley Baker, KT Duffy, Eve Fineman, Joshua Kirsch, Annalee Koehn, Vincent Lotesto, Joshua Lowe, Jim Merz, David Quednau, Donna Piacenza, and Liam Wilson & Anna Gershon. This round features a wide array of designs like a mirrored room in which the green spreads out into infinity, a community garden in waiting, and Koehn’s fortune-telling piece first shown 33 years ago in the initial exhibition.

Chicago sculptor Michael O’Brien conceived of the original Par Excellence, which opened to lines down the block and subsequently sold out daily. It was recognized nationally in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Chicago Tribune, among others, and went on tour throughout Illinois before returning to Chicago as a rebranded commercial project called ArtGolf, which was located at 1800 N. Clybourn in Lincoln Park on the site that’s now occupied by Goose Island Brewery.

Book a tee time to play the second half of the course, and remember that Colossal Members get 25% off.

 

 

 



Animation

Three Sisters Face an Impending Climate Disaster in an Existential Stop-Motion Short

October 21, 2021

Grace Ebert

What begins with a calm morning filled with stunningly bright sunlight quickly morphs into a short film of existential crises and the life-altering implications of climate disasters. Directed by Frédéric Even and Louise Mercadier with production by Papy3D and JPL Films, “Sororal” is a profound stop-motion animation that follows three sisters as they react to warnings about the sea submerging the land. The trio has incredibly varied and relatable responses, with Madeleine instantly consumed by panic, Emilie forming a mystical bond to the water, and Anna approaching the situation with extreme apathy.

“Sororal” presents the siblings’ reactions to the impending flood as physical manifestations: Because Madeleine and Anna resist accepting the news, their bodies become hard and brittle and form crusty, salt-laden scabs (these scenes are slightly graphic and use nude figures). Emilie, on the other hand, remains flexible and unscathed.

 

In a conversation with the animation publication Skwigly, Even and Mercadier share that they first digitally rendered the puppets before 3D printing them in resin. The sisters’ faces are inspired by French Gothic and Asian art forms of the 12th Century, and their bodies leave the black annealed wire armature visible, a decision the filmmakers explain:

We didn’t want to hide that they were puppets, to be realistic and give them the appearance of flesh and blood characters. We found that seeing the mouth replacement lines and the joints in their hands help make them fragile and touching and although the distance is established with a being of flesh and bone it creates more empathy than with more realistic representation. We feel that they can break. We feel the precariousness of their construction. They appear all the more disarmed in the face of the immense wave which threatens them.

“Sororal” features dialogue entirely in French, so be sure to click the CC button to turn on English captions. The animation follows Even and Mercadier’s first project titled “Metamorphosis,” a 2015 retelling of Kafka’s short story, and they’re now working on a film about a foolish angel lost in space and time. (via Short of the Week)