2047 Apologue is a concept performance by Chinese director Zhang Yimou, the director of the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The video is a teaser for the final part of the show titled the Weaving Machine, one of eight acts that combine traditional Chinese craft, music, or dance with modern technology such as lasers, robots, and drones. The combination of ancient and modern technology aims to comment on how much the later has taken over life in the 21st century.
For this particular segment Zhang places an ancient Chinese weaving machine on stage with 640 kinetic LED spheres designed and produced by WHITEvoid. Moving together in an elegant wave, the lights interact with a dancer performing underneath. Throughout the segment the lights change both pattern and color, as a soundtrack matches their increasing energy and movement.
The performance premiered at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing this past June and will tour China throughout 2018. You can see the full teaser video for the Weaving Machine above. (via Prosthetic Knowledge)
Elements, an experimental art film by Maxim Zhestkov, follows more than two billion black and white spheres through a series of experiments within several enclosed spaces. Throughout the film the particles swarm through different white rooms, each labeled with subtle wall text that broadly defines the physics of each animation such as flow, diffusion, and pressure. Set to a score of hauntingly hollow tones, Elements is intended to express laws of nature and mathematics, visually representing the composition of particles found in each of us.
“The film is a trial to explore the idea that everything around us and inside us is made from simple elements or blocks which can be arranged in complex relationships and become compound structures,” says Zhestkov. “We could project this idea into emotions, behaviors, thought processes, relationships, life, planets and the universe.”
Zhestkov is a visual artist and motion designer based in Russia working in animation, design, and cinematography. You can see more of his short film projects and illustrations on his Vimeo and Behance.
Czech artist Jakub Geltner (previously) has been clustering groups of technological equipment in public spaces since 2011, creating installations that address the heightened state of surveillance in our contemporary world. Arranged as ‘nests,’ the sculptures interrupt both natural landscape and urban environments, making the viewer innately aware of how closely they are being watched.
One of Geltner’s latest installations is Nest 06, is a group of cameras installed alongside a pathway leading to the beach in Sydney, Australia created for Sculpture by the Sea. Attached to a curved pole, the devices stare directly down at any passersby with over a dozen watchful eyes. Nest 7, another recent work, dots the side of an aging brick building at Chateau Třebešice, bringing surveillance to the countryside rather than a bustling urban setting.
French animator Frédéric Vayssouze-Faure explores complicated mathematical concepts through short animations he publishes on a Tumblr called Wavegrower. Sine functions, harmonic oscillations, and fractals are all core concepts behind his undulating and swarming animations. Via his artist statement:
This blog is a branch of the wavegrower project in which I’m focused on combining minimalism and multitude to create dynamic artworks with more than one level of reading, the first being that every cell constituting them has its own simple periodic motion, meaning regularly looping by spinning or twisting or stretching or balancing or revolving or swinging or shaking or beating or vibrating, in a word : oscillating.
As with several other designers and artists working with animations of this nature, Vayssouze-Faure shares the source code behind some of his works to help others learn how they work. You can see much more here.
Dallas-based artist Dan Lam organizes her gloopy sculptural works into three categories that perfectly capture the form factor of her general aesthetic: Squishes, Drips, and of course Blobs. The pieces appear to ooze from where they rest, growing stalactite-like appendages that drip from the edges of shelves. The pieces are made primarily from polyurethane foam and acrylic paint and are often adorned with spiky appendages. Some of her latest works have begun to incorporate layers of crystals and color-changing thermal paints that further bring the alien works to life.
“My work has always elicited pretty raw reactions from people, my favorite being the desire to touch the object, to make sense of it with another sense because just seeing it doesn’t satiate the curiosity,” Lam shares with Blackbook Gallery. “I like the tension that is created in that moment.”
Lam most recently had works on view with Black Book Gallery and Guy Hepner. You can see more of her behind-the-scenes process and studio experiments on Instagram.
The Parthenon of Books, 2017.
Steel, books, and plastic sheeting.
19.5 × 29.5 × 65.5 m. Commissioned by documenta 14, with support from the Ministry of Media and Culture of Argentina.
South American conceptual artist Marta Minujín has just installed a towering new architectural installation in Germany called The Parthenon of Books, a scaffold replica of the famous Greek temple clad in 100,000 copies of banned books. The piece is currently on view in Kassel, Germany as part of a 100-day art exhibition called Documenta 14.
Minujín worked with students from Kassel University to identify 170 titles that have been historically banned worldwide by various institutions, and then sought help from the public to obtain donated copies. The books were then wrapped in a protective plastic coating to shield them from the elements while allowing visitors to easily identify each title.
An earlier version of The Parthenon of Books was first installed in 1983, referencing an event in Minujín’s native Argentina where books where confiscated and locked up as part of a military junta. This new iteration rests on a site where Nazis burned books by Jewish and Marxist writers in 1933 as part of a broad campaign of censorship.
The Parthenon of Books will be on view through mid-September and you can see more photos at the Instagram hashtag #parthenonofbooks. (thnx, Alice!)