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Art

A Pyrotechnic Artwork by Cai Guo-Qiang Explodes into a Blossom on the Steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

August 5, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

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images via chrisstorb

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In 2009, Cai Guo-Qiang was commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art to create a site-specific explosion event on the front facade of the museum. The project, titled Fallen Blossomsused a gunpowder fuse, metal net, and scaffolding to activate a blossom pattern for 60 seconds, temporarily setting the columns of the building ablaze.

The fuse for the flower was lit on December 11 at sunset for a large audience. The title for the event and corresponding exhibition is derived from a classical Chinese proverb “hua kai hua luo” which comments on the extreme loss felt when a life is ended unexpectedly. The title and event were also meant as a tribute to the Museum’s late director, Anne d’Harnoncourt.

Cai currently lives and works in New York, but was born and trained in stage design in China. Not limited to one medium, Cai works in installation, drawing, performance and video art. During his 9-year stay in Japan he explored the use of gunpowder in his work which eventually led to his large scale explosion events. Cai was notably the Director of Visual and Special Effects for both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. (via cerceos)

 

 



Art

Hundreds of Colorful Café Chairs Take the Form of a Winding Roller Coaster in the Middle of a French Square

August 4, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

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All images via Baptiste Debombourg

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Baptiste Debombourg (previously here and here) has transformed a public square using the very objects that typically occupy it—taking 1,200 café chairs and forming them into an elaborate roller coaster. Although the installation is static, Debombourg created movement within the sculpture by incorporating six bright colors and four sky-high loops that twist and turn far from the ground.

The installation, titled Stellarwas built as a part of Le Voyage à Nantes, and will be located within the Place du Bouffay in Nantes, France until August 20th. Its inspiration stems from addressing the great presence of outdoor cafés and restaurants within the city center, as well as an artwork Robert Delaunay produced for the Paris World’s Fair in 1937. (via Junk Culture)

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Art

Artist Buys Billboard Advertising Time to Display Art Instead of Ads on Massachusetts Highways

July 23, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

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All images @Brian Kane, photography by Nate Wieselquist and Simone Schiess

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Created as a set of billboards along two Massachusetts highways, “Healing Tool” is a temporary public art installation by artist Brian Kane produced to temporarily relieve stress and promote introspection during one’s monotonous daily commute.

Kane’s digital billboards circulate between pictures of surrounding natural environments, creating “unvertisements” that promote nothing instead of shoving products, restaurants, and services in consumers’ faces from above. The piece builds upon a body of work Kane has been producing that places digital experiences into real world situations. “Healing Tool” is named after the Photoshop tool used to patch over errors in photographs, just as his project is patching over unnatural blips of landscape (billboards) seen from the highway.

The pieces change depending on the time of day. Daylight hours feature natural images of areas surrounding the billboards, while evening hours display high-resolution images of the moon and Milky Way that allow viewers a clear glimpse of the cosmos despite urban light pollution.

Kane explains, “By removing the marketing message from the advertising space, we create an unexpected moment of introspection. People are allowed to interpret an image based on their own experience, and not necessarily with the singular focus of the advertiser’s intent.” (via The Creator’s Project and Junkculture)

 

 



Design

Traffic Light That Lets You Play Pong with Person on the Other Side Officially Installed in Germany

December 6, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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Back in 2012, a trio of interaction design students from HAWK University unveiled a concept for StreetPong, an interactive game of pong installed at a street crossing that allows you to play opponents waiting on the other side. The concept video (above) was viewed a bajillion times around the web, compelling designers Amelie Künzler, Sandro Angel, and Holger Michel to work with design firms and traffic experts to build a fully-functional device. After two years of waiting, the game units have been designed and approved for use by the city of Hildesheim, Germany where they were installed two weeks ago. Rebranded as the ActiWait, the devices aren’t just a clever way to pass the time while waiting for cars, hopefully they dissuade impatient pedestrians from darting through traffic. (via Pop-Up City, @Staublfuse, Stellar)

Update: ActiWait currently has an Indiegogo campaign to help raise funds for further development.

 

 



Dance Design

An Interactive Dancing Pedestrian Signal by Smart

September 17, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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This fun urban intervention from small car manufacturer Smart attempts to redesign the humble traffic light by making it a bit more interactive. The team built a nearby dancing booth rigged with cameras that translates the dance moves of real passersby into a pixelated ‘don’t walk’ silhouette inside a crosswalk light. The video claims the installation resulted in 81% more people stopping at the light instead of walking out into the street. The piece was created for Smart’s promotional/safety campaign titled WhatAreYouFOR. (via Designboom)

 

 



Animation Photography

MÖBIUS: A Stop Motion Sculpture

August 11, 2011

Christopher Jobson

Created by environmental design group Eness, MÖBIUS is a sculpture commissioned by the city of Melbourne that was photographed and animated over two weeks in May 2011. The piece consists of 21 green triangles that can be configured into several cyclical patterns creating the optical illusion of motion. This is a really fantastic example of public artwork, as the individuals who interact with the space inevitably become part of the art itself. (via change the thought)