Art Design

A Virtual Installation Immerses Viewers in a Reactive Environment of Shape-Shifting Architecture

September 20, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Medusa.” All images courtesy of London Design Festival, shared with permission

A landmark collaboration between Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto (previously) and Tin Drum, a production studio and technology developer, brings an undulating, reactive installation to the 2021 London Design Festival, but the immersive artwork is only viewable through a headset. Falling at the intersection of architecture and virtual reality, “Medusa” is comprised of monochromatic pillars that appear to suspend from the ceiling in a rippling environment. As viewers move through Raphael Court at the Victoria and Albert Museum where the work is on display, the responsive structure shifts and alters its composition in light and shape.

The work draws inspiration from the dynamic displays of the aurora borealis and underwater bioluminescence, two phenomena that manifest through the animated qualities and shifting patterns of Fujimoto’s curved forms. “This is the first time I am designing architecture with non-physical materials—it’s using light and pure expanse of the space,” he said in a statement. “It’s an architecture experience but completely new and different.”

“Medusa” is on view through September 26.

 

 

 



Art

Evoking Mythology and Urban Culture, Beaded Masks Brim with Geometric Motifs and Embellishments

September 20, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Fefe Talavera, shared with permission

From small shells and Amazonian beads, Brazilian-Mexican artist Fefe Talavera strings together elaborate masks that fuse ancient mythologies and contemporary urban culture. The mixed-media works are part of an ongoing series—Talavera shares more on her site and Instagram, along with vibrant silhouettes painted in acrylic and her large-scale murals—that embellish expressive faces with stripes, symmetries, and various geometric patterns. Sometimes spanning upwards of ten feet or featuring a long tuft of straw, the masks are an amalgam of color, motif, and material that blur cultural boundaries and the tenuous distinction between humanity and nature.

The São Paulo-based artist tells Colossal that the series “developed when my government opened the doors to cattle ranchers, when forest fires began, putting an end to Indigenous tribes, exotic animals, and trees,” and initial iterations used açaí seeds, shells, and mirrors to explore birth and death through a mystical lens. “When we looked at our reflection in the work, we would be seeing ourselves with respect and love, and it is this look that we should have with the Amazonia,” she says.

Currently, Talavera is working on a larger-scale piece using 20,000 beads, and she has a solo show planned for May 2022 at Paris’s Bandy Bandy Gallery.

 

 

 



Art Design

Sinuous Branches Envelop Human-Sized Nests and Large Geometric Sculptures by Charlie Baker

September 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Charlie Baker, shared with permission

Brooklyn-based designer Charlie Baker wrangles unruly branches and twigs into large-scale sculptures and installations that highlight the natural curvature of his foraged materials. Whether cloaking a perfectly round sphere in wood or constructing a treetop nest built for people, he envisions discrete spaces, which are sometimes marked with hidden passageways and windows, that tame the gnarly, knotted wood and present it anew. “I like the sense of motion the curvy pieces create because, to me, it gives a sense that the artwork is living, growing,” he says.

Baker has a background in landscape design, a parallel practice that continues to influence his work. “I am constantly considering how my creations interact with their surroundings, how they tie in with nature. With my artwork, it’s no different,” he tells Colossal.

The designer was recently interviewed by Wired, which travels with him from his studio to the forests of Long Island where he gathers materials. Currently, he’s working on a few projects, including an elaborate kitchen garden, a children’s tree platform, and smaller sculptures, which you can follow on his site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Illustration

Hundreds of Digital Illustrations Imagine Enchanting Storefronts and Their Friendly Shop Cats

September 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Angela Hao, shared with permission

Whether adorned with used books, houseplants, or groceries, the tiny shops and corner stores that illustrator Anglea Hao draws are infused with whimsy and admiration for everyday architecture. The digital renderings are part of Hao’s ongoing endeavor to create 365 unique storefronts—she’s already posted hundreds on Instagram that have grown in complexity and depth—and the subject matter is primarily imagined spaces, although some of the earliest works are based on real spots. Prints of the buildings, which frequently feature vine-laden rooftops, pasted advertisements, and a recurring white cat, are available in her shop.

 

 

 



Photography

Spectacular Winners of the 2021 Drone Photography Contest Capture a Bird's-Eye View of the World

September 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Pink-Footed Geese Meeting the Winter” by Terje Kolaas. All images courtesy of the 2021 Drone Photography Awards, shared with permission

Following last year’s competition eclipsed by this serendipitous shot of a shark swimming in a heart-shaped school of fish, the 2021 Drone Photography Awards brings together a slew of aerial images framing the myriad patterns, textures, and colors found around the world. Norwegian photographer Terje Kolaas captured the winning composition, which joins a flock of thousands of pink-footed geese as they make their way to Svalbard. The shot is particularly interesting because the winged creatures are early on their journey to the snow-covered arctic region, a premature arrival that’s likely sparked by the changing climate.

Hosted by the Siena Awards Festival, the 2021 competition garnered hundreds of thousands of submissions from photographers working across 102 countries, an immense and diverse collection that was culled down to a few dozen winners. An exhibition titled Above Us Only Sky will showcase the finalists from October 23 to December 5 as part of the annual event.

 

“Duoyishu Terraces” by Ran Tian

“Volcano Show” by Oleg Rest

“Sheep in Congress” by Yoel Robert Assiag

“Poisoned River” by Gheorghe Popa

“Bank Of Buriganga” by Md Tanveer Hassan Rohan

“Melting Ice Cap” by Florian Ledoux

“Hippopotamus Group From Above” by Talib Almarri

 

 



Art History

Archaeologists Uncover Children's Hand and Foot Prints in What's Thought to Be the Oldest Cave Art To Date

September 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

Image via Science Bulletin

A series of hand and foot impressions uncovered in the Quesang village in the Tibetan Plateau might rewrite the art-historical timeline. According to an article published this month in Science Bulletin, researchers believe the ancient prints were made between 169,000 and 226,000 years ago and appear to be placed intentionally, cementing the notion that they’re the earliest examples of cave art yet to be uncovered. 

Of course, there’s plenty of debate over whether these impressions are art, although archaeologists arguing for the categorization are staking their claims on intent. “​It is the composition, which is deliberate, the fact the traces were not made by normal locomotion, and the care taken so that one trace does not overlap the next,” geologist Matthew Bennett told Gizmodo, rejecting the idea that the prints are a byproduct of common movement like walking or grasping nearby material for stabilization. If the impressions are considered art, they predate the prehistoric figurative findings in both Sulawesi and Lasceaux, which date back about 43,900 and 17,000 years, respectively.

Fossilized on a piece of limestone called travertine, the size and variances of the prints also indicate that they were made by two children. Archaeologists theorize that the indentations, which include five feet and five hands, were placed in mud near the Quesang Hot Spring before it compacted under pressure, or lithified, preserving the duo’s pieces in the hardened material for millennia. Although the research team isn’t sure that the creators were Homo sapiens—the timeline also aligns with the Denisovans, an extinct species from the hominin group that primarily occupied what’s now Asia—if they were, they were likely 7 and 12 years old.