This past month the Amsterdam Light Festival (previously) opened its seven year, inviting visitors to observe 29 light-based works by international artists, designers, and architects along the canals and throughout the historical center of the city. Artworks were inspired by this year’s theme, a quote from media scientist Marshall McLuhan: “The medium is the message.”
Installations such as British artist Gali May Lucas’s piece “Absorbed by Light” address our contemporary obsession with screen-based technologies. Her piece features three figures next to each other on a bench, each head bent to peer at an illuminated phone. Guests can take a seat between the sculptures to get a better look at the piece, or simply rest and check their own device. Another piece, “Waiting” by Frank Foole features a paused loading wheel on the side of the building surrounding the silhouette of a person inside.
Many of the works are presented close to the city’s canals, making an even more spectacular scene when reflected in the water below. Sculptures like Jeroen Henneman’s “Two Lamps” pay tribute to this effect as the title references the lamp installed on the riverfront, and the one that is projected into the glassy surface underneath. The Amsterdam Light Festival continues to light up the city through January 20, 2019. You can see more documentation of this year’s festival on their website. (via Design Boom)
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ART ON theMART is a new Chicago-based art program that amplifies the works of contemporary artists, transforming their pieces into dazzling displays along the city’s riverfront. The new project uses large-scale projection to illuminate the 2.5 acre facade of theMART downtown for a series of curated digital animations.
The initial project included commissioned works by Jan Tichy, Diana Thater, Zheng Chongbin, and Jason Salavon. Thater’s work True Life Adventures explored the plight of elephants, zebras, giraffes and other animals who live in danger of poaching in Kenya, and included a soundtrack that was recorded in the their natural habitat. Salavon’s work Homage in Between presented 5 minutes and 35 seconds of neural network-rendered video that sampled imagery from Chicago art and design history and ended with mined images of common internet images such as cats and celebrity faces.
ART ON theMART is projecting a seasonal program of winter holiday images that run through the end of the year. Works will be projected five days a week (Wednesday – Sunday) for two hours each evening over the span of 10 months (March – December). Currently the project is accepting calls for entry for their March programming. You can enter on their website where you can also find more documentation from previous iterations.
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Inventor Simone Giertz is known for her hilariously disobedient robots like this breakfast machine designed to pour a bowl of cereal but which actually just sloshes milk across the counter, or her wake-up robot that jolts users awake by repeatedly slapping them in the face. Her latest invention started as a personal project, and has nothing to do with being harassed by a piece of metal machinery. The Every Day Calendar is an illuminated board with responsive buttons that correspond with each day of the year, and is intended to help users set and stick with their goals.
Giertz built the piece to encourage meditating, a habit she had been trying off and on for nearly 10 years. After each session she touched the light-up button, which allowed her to get a visual index of her daily accomplishment. The inventor recently completed her year-long goal, only missing the one day she underwent brain surgery. Every Day Calendar is not only an encouraging model for the easy days, but it is also meant to be a guiding light for the days that are not so easy. You can check out the project and learn a little bit more about Giertz on her Kickstarter page. (via Swissmiss)
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Once only used to illuminate a painting or photograph, light is now commonly used as the medium itself—glowing brightly from neon tubes, programmed as an interactive installation, projected to create an intangible feeling of warmth, or flashing as an LED spectacle. In her book Lust for Light published by Gingko Press, Hannah Stouffer (previously) culls the practices of a variety of artists such as Liz West, Miguel Chevalier, James Clar, Jun Hao Ong, and Yayoi Kusama to present a wide selection of more traditional and daring examples of light-based work.
Stouffer tells Colossal that while working for the last year and a half on the 376-page collection she was overwhelmed and humbled by the impact of light, while also fascinated by what it represents. “All of the artists in this book are working to recreate its likeness, utilize it as a source of their work, and capture the inspiring glow that it produces,” she continues. “There is both a fascination and familiarity with this elemental, undeniably appealing form of energy, which is both tangible and completely uncontainable.”
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In the ever-widening world of drone photography, Reuben Wu (previously) has made a name for himself with his unique images that combine lighted drone patterns with stark observations of natural land formations. Two months ago, Wu travelled to Peru to continue his body of work called Lux Noctis. Peru’s Pastoruri Glacier is a rare remaining tropical glacier, sited at 17,000 feet above sea level in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range.
The trip was part of the filming for a Great Big Story (previously) video series titled “Made From Mountains,” and involved research, scouting, and treacherous travel to safely reach the glacier. In addition to the logistical challenges and the frigid, remote location, Wu shares with Colossal, “I photographed the glacier with conflicting feelings. I wanted to show evidence of its alarming retreat, yet I was drawn to the epic scale of the ice which remained. In the end I leaned towards the latter, but each photograph represents a bleak reality, a fading memory of what once stood.”
You can see more of the artist’s illuminated photography on Instagram and Facebook. Wu’s artist book of his Lux Noctis series is available for pre-order and is already almost sold out. Reuben Wu’s “Coors Light: Made from Mountains” episode is featured on greatbigstory.com. (via PetaPixel)
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Using modeling software and multi-material 3D printing, industrial designer Nicole Hone created a series of 4D-printed futuristic aquatic plants, or Hydrophytes, that are as full of character as the natural organisms they mimic. In the film of the same name, the hydrophytes are activated by pneumatic inflation in water, and transform into dynamic organisms that you could swear were actually alive.
“I have always been fascinated with nature,” the designer tells Colossal. “It inspires my design ideas and aesthetic. For this project, I became particularly interested in botany and marine life. I was amazed by the way sea creatures and corals moved, and I wanted to reflect similar qualities in my designs.” While working on her Master of Design Innovation thesis at Victoria University of Wellington, Hone learned about plans to redesign the National Aquarium in New Zealand. She thought that it would be interesting to develop a “future-focused exhibition” with moving models as an interactive installation for visitors. She began making test prints and discovered that the models moved best in water, which eventually became the pieces used in Hydrophytes.
Hone explains that software was used to create the shape, surface texture, and internal structures for the Hydrophytes. One benefit of the 3D printing system is that there can be a varying degree of hardness for the parts, but the machine can still handle printing them as a seamless object. During printing the works are encased in a support material, which Hone has to then painstakingly remove (sometimes a 4-hour process) by soaking them in water and using a toothpick. After cleaning, air is passed through the CGOs (computer generated objects) and they are placed in the underwater environments.
“They can respond to external forces such as gravity, water ripples or currents, and interaction with people or other 3D prints in real life,” Hone said. “Their man-made composite materials behave uncannily similar to living organisms.”
She went onto explain that each Hydrophyte has a unique character that is defined by both their style of movement and appearance. The colored lights that illuminate the printed plants were chosen to “complement each personality and amplify the emotive qualities of the film,” and the functions of each plant were inspired by the effects of climate change on marine species. “As the 4D printing experiments developed from abstract shapes into more plant-like models, their appearance and movement helped me think of which function would best suit each character,” she added. It’s fascinating to see the intersection of art and technology produce such a unique collection of objects. To view more of what Hone has created with her research, visit her website. (via Designboom)
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In French photographer Pierre-Louis Ferrer’s vibrant photographs, Dordogne, France is transformed into an enchanted land bathed in canary yellow. Ferrer’s colorful photographs illustrate the country’s idyllic topography, where the leaves upon the trees, fresh grass, and sculpted shrubbery are captured in the same vivid color.
While photographing, Ferrer takes time to observe his environment and decide on the best photographic technique to use. For his Dordogne photographs, Ferrer used an infrared photography technique which allowed him to capture the landscape in brilliant yellows. “My artistic approach is based on the invisible and imperceptible,” Ferrer tells Colossal. “I work with invisible parts of light (infrared and ultraviolet) and with techniques like long exposure to offer alternative views of our world.”
This yellow effect in Ferrer’s Dordogne photographs is due to a mix of visible and infrared light, and each plant species appears different depending on how it reacts to the light. “I use a selective filter that let’s pass a large part of infrared light and a small part of visible light,” Ferrer explains. “The main subjects of this technique are trees and foliage because they react a lot under infrared light.”
Although yellow is prevalent in nature; found in bananas, autumnal leaves, egg yolks, and the irises of some animal’s eyes, in Ferrer’s photographs he standardizes all natural elements, highlighting the color’s prevalence in natural forms.
As human eyes are not used to infrared light (due to its longer wavelengths), Ferrer’s photographs invite viewers to see Dordogne as through they are in a different dimension. The extravagant Jardins Suspendus at Marqueyssac and its ivy-covered châteaux are transformed into an ethereal world that might otherwise only appear in paintings.
Although fantastical, Ferrer’s photographs encourage mindfulness and allow us to reflect upon the importance of nature. “My goals are to invite contemplation, to realize the place of nature in urban places, to make aware of the impact of our environment on us, and our impact on the environment.”
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Editor's Picks: Illustration
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.