Sand and Currency from Dozens of Countries Converge in an Endless Interchange of Culture and Economics
Corrie Francis Parks’s absorbing stop-motion short “Foreign Exchange” is all about perspective. Through a continuously evolving landscape of minuscule stones and banknotes, mini-universes emerge that meld the two materials into culturally significant tableaus. “Between the dazzling layers of currency and sand lie connections that can be mined in infinite ways. Each person who views this film will unearth different associations filtered through their worldly experience and national background,” Parks says.
Although the sand shown is small in quantity—Parks can hold all of it in her two hands—it’s sourced from more than 50 countries just like the paper currency, and both materials converge in a perpetual juxtaposition of culture, economics, and nature. The rocks flow across the screen like water and animals, while the colorful collages of ripped money contrast distinct national figures and heritage against a universal economic backdrop. “Canada’s interstellar pride meshes with the gothic arches of Prague’s St. Salvator’s Church. Portugal’s colonial conquests intertwine with a Singapore’s nostalgic market economy. India’s signature animals wallow beneath a Chinese waterfall,” the Baltimore-based animator says in a statement.
Watch behind-the-scenes footage of Parks’s micro-sand process, which involves moving each grain with a toothpick or tweezers before photographing, along with a few of her other animated projects, on Vimeo.
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Along the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, sandy drifts swell and surge in a massive mural by the Canadian architecture firm NÓS. Aptly named “Moving Dunes,” the anamorphic artwork is comprised of neutral-toned lines that undulate along the walkway, creating a deceptive path mimicking deserts and beaches. Chrome spheres sporadically appear along the street in order to reflect the surrounding architecture and rippling patterns on the ground.
The 2018 project coincided with the museum’s exhibition, From Africa to the Americas: Face-to-face Picasso, Past and Present, which prompted NÓS to evoke the perspective-bending approach of cubist painters. “Moving Dunes” was chosen after an annual call for proposals to install a large-scale artwork on the Avenue de Musée. Follow NÓS’s latest designs and illusory projects on Instagram. (via designboom)
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One-hundred five hourglasses dangle from the entranceway ceiling at cSPACE King Edward in Calgary. Every day at both noon and midnight, the sand-filled vessels flip in tandem and reset. They’re part of a 2018 project called “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow,” a site-specific installation created by artists Lane Shordee, Caitlind r.c. Brown, and Wayne Garrett (previously), that visualizes the intricacies of how we experience collective moments, individual memories, and history.
Each hourglass has a unique correlation to time–half document how hours slip by like a clock, while others reflect more personal relationships to the passing seconds in a series of notes submitted by the public. “Ranging from ‘the time it takes to call mom’ to ‘the time it takes to realize it was just a dream and you are no longer lying next to me,’ you can read the brass tags attached to various hourglasses to understand the increment of time being measured in sand,” the artists tell Colossal.
Every vessel, though, represents a year of the King Edward building, from its construction in 1912 to its transformation to the cSPACE area in 2017. “‘Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow’ uses the hourglass as a symbol of non-linear time–both mortal and immortal–drawing a relationship between the sandstone school’s past, transitional present, and the uncertain future yet to come,” they said. Visualizing the otherwise abstract concept, the suspended project invites people to consider how all moments are interwoven.
For the project, the creative trio ground the sandstone bricks from the original building. They then sifted and measured the substance into the hand-blown glasses that measure zero seconds to four hours. Motors, sensors, microcomputers, and an internal clock using GPS ensures that each vessel flips on time even if there’s a power outage.
To keep up with Shordee, Brown, and cSPACE King Edward, head to Instagram. You also might like Brown and Garrett’s interactive lightbulb sculpture and Carbon Copy, their installation that flipped a car on its front bumper
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Like many kids with a love for digging in sandboxes, Calvin Seibert (previously) grew up creating grand castles and towers from piles of the sediment. But for Seibert, the practice wasn’t just a childhood pastime. “In hindsight I see that much of what I made was more like sculpture. It really was all about the object and its resonant meanings rather than interiors and spatial flow,” he says.
After studying at the School of Visual Arts, the Colorado-born artist began sculpting modernist buildings featuring sharp angles, clean edges, and various geometric shapes that resemble brutalist architecture rather than something from a children’s story. “While not all of my structures have quite the rugged fortress-like presence of a Kenzo Tange or a Paul Rudolph building, it is something I aim for,” he writes. “Certainly I see my sandcastles in opposition to those frivolous turreted fantasies that Cinderella would feel at home in.”
To create his works, Seibert begins by mixing water and sand to create layers, before packing and smoothing the rest by hand. He cleans the edges with various trowels and knives that he’s made himself. Plus, he never works without a five-gallon pail because it’s “indispensable for digging and fetching water, as well as carrying stuff to the beach.”
I always start at the top and work down, taking great care to keep the horizontals level. I pretty much make things up as I go along, allowing surprises and engineering difficulties to shape the castles. Robert Venturi’s prescription of ‘complexity and contradiction’ is always in the back of my mind, while mash-ups of gameshow sets and artillery bunkers are soon added to the mix.
Seibert tells Colossal that he’s moved to Colorado since making the works featured here, which limits his time on the beach, although he dreams of transforming a pile of sand at the Venice Biennale or as part of Casa Wabi in Mexico. Follow what he’s up to, and perhaps get a glimpse of his next visit to a sandy landscape, on Instagram.
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There’s a traffic jam on Miami Beach thanks to Leandro Erlich (previously). Erlich’s installation, titled “Order of Importance,” is an effort to put conversations surrounding climate change front and center. Commissioned by the city of Miami Beach and curated by Ximena Caminos and Brandi Reddick, the installation features 66 life-sized cars and trucks erected on the beach at Lincoln Road. Made of sand, the vehicles blend in with the surrounding beach and highlight the temporary nature of their construction. They will be allowed to deteriorate until the exhibition closes December 15.
“The climate crisis has become an objective problem that requires immediate solutions,” Erlich says. “As an artist, I am in a constant struggle to make people aware of this reality, in particular, the idea that we cannot shrink away from our responsibilities to protect the planet.”
Caminos added that the exhibit, “like an image from a contemporary Pompeii or a future relic, also alludes to our fragile position in the large universal canvas. It interacts with the climate crisis facing the world, particularly the rising sea level.”
Erlich, who resides in Buenos Aires and Montevideo, is known for combining architecture, sculpture, and theater to create surreal works that alter traditional conceptions of natural environments. “Order of Importance” is his largest installation to date. You can find more of his work on Instagram and his site.
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If you’re walking along the beach this summer and you see a group of napping cat sand sculptures, there’s a good chance it’s the work of a Neko Cup (neko is the Japanese word for cat). Neko Cup is the latest product from Japanese design brand h-concept. Made from biomass plastic (bamboo and scallop shells) the hollowed out object creates a silhouette of a napping cat.
It can be used on the beach, in your park’s sandbox and, in the winter, with snow. And when it’s not in use, it also functions as ab adorable little sculpture. Designer Yuka Morii says she loves seeing cats sleeping on the sidewalk and she wanted to preserve that warm feeling she gets when she spots one out of the corner of her eye.
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