Dutch design team Studio Drift (previously) codifies the complex mix of materials that are used to create modern consumer goods in their newest series, Materialism. The collection reduces down recognizable items ranging from light bulbs and pencils to bicycles and even a Volkswagen Beetle. Raw materials like graphite, copper, rubber, polyurethane, and aluminum are shown as perfectly sliced blocks, emphasizing the original substance rather than the abstracted functional shape (like a rubber bicycle tube or graphite pencil core).
In a statement about the collection, Studio Drift describes the lofty goals of Materialism: “To make the essential nature of the world visible. If humankind could somehow perceive this connection to materials, to our collective consumption and the earth it impoverishes, it would be a leap in our social evolution, in building an awareness that we must somehow become better stewards of our future.”
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Embroidered and Beaded Coral Sculptures by Aude Bourgine Honor the ‘Lungs of the Oceans’ in Protective Glass
French visual artist Aude Bourgine’s work is informed by her love of the environment and a sense of guilt for what humanity has done to the natural world. Using textiles, beads, and sequins, the artist creates displays that capture the beauty and fragility of coral for a series called “Poumons des océans,” which translates to “Lungs of the Oceans.”
Bourgine’s sculptures mimic the unique shapes, intricate textures, and vivid colors of living coral. Encased in glass bell jars, they are simultaneously isolated as objects of wonder, and also protected from harm caused by the hands of humans. “If we do not rapidly change our relationship with our environment, oceans will be dead by 2050,” the artist said in a statement on her website. “Their disappearance will entail a disastrous imbalance on all ecological, climate and human levels…We must take heed for this universal cause, which concerns each and every one of us.”
Bourgine has an upcoming solo exhibition at the Saint Julien Chapel in Le Petit-Quevilly in northern France from June 7 through 30, 2019. You can see more of Bourgine’s sculptural works of the sea on Instagram. (via The Fiber Studio)
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Yesterday, Banksy (previously) left his mark in the South Wales town of Port Talbot, his first in the UK nation. The area drew attention earlier this year when a World Health Organization report named it the most polluted community in the UK (the designation was later revoked). The street artist seemed to be referencing this undesirable ranking in his piece, which is placed on two adjacent sides of a cement brick garage. A young boy clad in winter gear and with a small sled appears with arms outstretched, his pink tongue catching what appears to be snowflakes. But the nostalgic scene takes on a different meaning when both walls are viewed together, as the “snow” is revealed to be flakes of ash from a dumpster fire. Banksy has declared the work to be his in a video posted earlier today on Instagram, where you can join 5 million others in keeping up with his latest hijinks. (via Juxtapoz)
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The project Water.Shapes.Earth uses aerial photography and storytelling to bring an understanding to the complex and diverse ways water inhabits our planet, from a radioactive water pond in Huelva, Spain to mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan. The images provide an abstract look at Earth’s surface, presenting purple-hued veins of a divergent river or an icy body of emerald water laced with severe cracks and splinters in its surface. Stories accompany the many images, which bring attention to how each might be a sign of climate change, and to highlight our own destructive mark on our environment. You can read about a salty marsh in Spain or glacial river tributaries in Iceland on Water.Shapes.Earth’s website. (via Colossal Submissions)
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System 001: An Innovative Design to Remove Plastic From the Ocean has Been Deployed off the Coast of California
Founded in 2013 by 18-year-old (at the time) inventor Boyan Slat, The Ocean Cleanup is a nonprofit organization that’s working to clean up our oceans by removing plastic. After five years of rigorous design and testing, the Cleanup’s cleaning apparatus, called System 001, has been deployed off the coast of California.
System 001 is a passive collection apparatus that works by moving in tandem with the ocean’s currents, taking advantage of the water’s circular movement patterns, called gyres, that cause the trash to accumulate in the first place. The Ocean Cleanup points out that 92% of the debris in the Patch is still large enough to be collected using the System’s large suspended net, and it’s critical to remove this plastic now before it degrades into microplastics that enter the food chain. Because of the net’s passive, slow-moving design, the group has reported that it has not caused animals to get caught, presumably because they have sufficient time and space to navigate away from the debris-funneling nets.
While the organization has global aspirations and an international team (the founder is Dutch), their first focus is on the massive Pacific Garbage Patch, which floats in the ocean between California and Hawaii. The Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest aquatic aggregation of trash in the world, first recognized thirty years ago. It is estimated to contain about 80,000 metric tons of garbage spanning 5.2 billion square feet (nearly a million square miles). Ocean Cleanup’s boat, the Maersk Launcher, towed the System 1,200 miles from Alameda to begin its work.
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After taking a much-needed break over the summer following his successful presentation in Paris in June, Pejac is now back in his studio, developing new works for his U.S. debut in New York City and preparing a special limited edition that will be released toward the end of the year. Mixing his most recognizable techniques and mediums, he’s been sharing some of the alluring new pieces via his Instagram, including most recent drawings and works on pressed wood panels.
The Spanish artist first introduced the captivating works on wooden chipboard from the Redemption series back in January 2017, and eventually had an entire showcase focused on these pieces back in September 2017 in Venice. Known for revisiting his ideas and concepts, he recently finished this poignant new piece titled Safari. Mixing some of the previously seen imagery, such as patrolling helicopters with a spotlight, or a lonely stag, Pejac combines these visuals into a dynamic image that depicts a wild animal caught in the open by an unknown authority. Using fastidious shading and light effects, he uses the unorthodox composite wood medium to create a powerful effect of objects flying around the animal as its surrounding crumble around it. Once again putting a focus on the careless and ignorant bearing of humans towards nature, the artist constructed a gripping image utilizing an original technique he developed.
With similar thematic content, Pejac’s most recent solo exhibition on an old waterway barge on the Seine in Paris included three masterful large-scale drawings, along with other works on paper. Portraying a post-apocalyptic, surreal future, these meticulously rendered drawings mounted on thick frames were matched the quality of his paintings while depicting the hefty subject with a direct and delicate technique. Showing a lone character diving deep to retrieve a sinking lifebuoy ring in between plastic waste, or a helicopter removing a lighthouse over a desert, these images showcase Pejac’s poetic vision and his ability to pass a sharp and weighty message in the most poetic way.
A great example of such narrative is his canvas Le Bateau Ivre (The drunken boat) from 2015, titled after a poem written by Arthur Rimbaud, describing the drifting and sinking of a boat lost at sea in a fragmented first-person narrative saturated with vivid imagery and symbolism. Making an analogy with poem’s verbal saturation, the image shows two boys finishing from a small boat drifting through a sea densely polluted with garbage. Originally exhibited at his 2016 London solo show “Law of the Weakest,” this troubling vision from only three years ago is repeatedly becoming an alarming reality around the globe. You can see Pejac’s works in progress and stay up to date on show and print release announcements by following him on Instagram.
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The latest installation by ceramicist and ocean advocate Courtney Mattison (previously) is Confluence (Our Changing Seas V), a porcelain coral arrangement produced for the US Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia. The site-specific work features a vibrant cluster of coral structures at its center which turn stark white the further they are placed from the installation’s core. This shifting gradient references the rapid devastation caused to reefs as temperature levels rise and force corals to lose their colorful algae.
This installation is a celebration of Indonesia’s coral reefs, while also pinpointing the human-caused damage that infects the vibrant systems. “Corals, anemones, sponges and other reef-dwelling invertebrates coalesce into a cyclone-like spiral with colorful healthy corals at the eye of the storm, their tentacles and branches dancing in the current,” explains Mattison. “Toward the edges and tail of the swirling constellation, corals sicken and bleach, exposing their sterile white skeletons—a specter of what could be lost from climate change. Yet at its heart the reef remains healthy, resilient and harmonious.”
Indonesia is located at the heart of what is called the “Coral Triangle” or “Amazon of the Sea.” This environment is host to more invertebrate species than can be found anywhere else on the planet, in addition to thousands of species of fish which thrive in the rich ecosystem. Mattison hopes that her handmade constructions of the Coral Triangle’s diverse specimens produces an excitement in viewers while sparking an interest to protect the delicate balance found in Indonesia’s coral systems.
Mattison is exhibiting another recent installation titled Afterglow (Our Changing Seas VI) in the group show Endangered Species: Artists on the Frontline of Biodiversity, curated by Barbara Matilsky, at the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Washington through January 6, 2019. Mattison will travel to Bali at the end of October to unveil a 60-foot-long community-based coral installation she designed for the Coral Triangle Center in Sanur, Bali titled Semesta Terumbu Karang—Coral Universe. The work features over 2000 elements sculpted by a team of over 300 volunteers, coral reef conservationists, and Balinese artisans. You can see further conservation-based projects by Mattison on her website and Instagram.
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Editor's Picks: Photography
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.