Tag Archives: art

Synaptic stimuli

We love art. We hold it in high esteem. We write about it. We talk about it. We fix it when it’s broken. But what does art ever do for us? (Besides provide us with something to look at while sipping bad chardonnay.) Well, in the case of Ernesto Neto’s piece at the Park Avenue Armory, in NYC, it loves us back. His sprawling installation — think: mom’s pantyhose gone fantastically amoebic — contains various chambers that embrace you in the most womb-tastic ways.

I wish I could be there to feel it.

[Content shamelessly nicked from C-Monster]

One Frame of Fame

This is so neat – One Frame of Fame is possibly the first self-replicating music video that updates itself every hour with new participants. How does it work? It invites users to strike a pose dictated by the site and then plonk, the recording goes off to them and gets included in the video soon afterwards.

The video is not only really well made, but also gives a great sense of how super-connected, highly sociable and interactive we are across our Interwebs if only tingled with a little bit of fun.

Seizure is back!

Seizure is an amazing installation by Roger Hiorns in SE1. Go see it, it’s on until January 10th 2010. The council flat that the installation is in was meant to be demolished last year, but I guess that the glitz of its interiors has gotten it out of the danger zone.

Roger Hiorns took advantage of a couple of the complex’s bedsits and filled one of them with 70 000 litres of hot solution of copper sulphate at 60 degrees centigrade. The liquid was poured into the flat through holes in its ceiling and was kept there until its temperature dropped to 30 degrees, thus allowing crystals to form on every inch of the flat’s surface. The liquid was then channelled into the neighboring flat, which is now used as the waiting site. The results of the experiments weren’t precisely known until the entire process was over. The flat had also been stripped of all furniture and reinforced by nets of steel to give more surface for the structuring of crystals. The results are pretty impressive.

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The rooms of the exhibition are accessible only in rubber boots provided at the spot. The rubber boots also provide a good way of controlling the number of people present in the rooms, so at least you can have some space to enjoy it all. Seizure has a strange feeling to it – something between a post-disaster waste site to a luxurious glitzy night club. The floors are uneven and still wet with the chemicals used to create the crystals. The area of the council flat is all but impressive, so you are all the more impressed when entering rooms made of illuminated crystal.

1:00-17:00 Thursday to Sunday
Closed Monday to Wednesday

[Image courtesy of Nick Cobbing and art rabbit]

Museum of Everything

There are few places in London that keep me going back to them and Museum of Everything has definitely become one of them since it’s opened back in October. It’s located in Chalk Farm just off Regent Park Road, which is one of the most quaint streets in north London. The street serves as a good ‘afterparty’ location for the museum with its cosy cafes and little restaurants (one of my favourite discoveries is Troika, a medium-sized cafe restaurant that serves delicious Russian food, cakes and tea). When you pass the bridge at the top of the road remember to look to your right to see another sight – the lone standing group of skyscrapers against the bridge’s graffiti.

Museum of Everything is filled with what it calls ‘outsider art’, i.e. art created by people living outside of artist societies and anyone from jailbirds to janitors can be found among the artists. I really like the idea of ‘outsider art’ actually whether the museum is about it or not – in a way I think that seeing art created by those who didn’t have the luxury of being an artist is even more interesting than seeing the art conceived by those surrounded by it on a daily basis. Could it not also be more relevant to real life and have the chance of being more original since it’s not plugged into any art trends or pressures?

For these artists there are o studios, no press junkets, no art fairs, no magazine spreads. Instead there are treasure troves of untrained work, discovered under rocks, in basements and attics, its creators often unaware their art would ever see the light of day.

James Brett, the founder, says that the ‘outsider art’ is not much but a catchphrase and that the art that’s inside the museum is there because it’s just interesting. In our short phone conversation he also said that art is normally too pre-occupied with big ideas and that the art world might be too caught up in itself, perhaps like a patient who is so focused on analysing his problems that he becomes unable to overcome them.

The Museum of Everything is located in an old dairy factory and with its warehouse feeling really reminds me of Shunt in some ways. The rooms are filled with intricate decor, windy corridors and an impressive array of art pieces. The collection ranges from mosaic sculptures and miniscule illustrations to temples made out of transistors to somewhat resemble Lost City structures. The first exhibition includes the first public show of Henry Darger’s artwork and was curated by a group of renown artists from Nick Cave and Jarvis Cocker to Eva Rothschild.

Entry to the museum and all events held there are free – in fact, the entire organisation runs on donation. The setup has its flaws though – the museum is not getting enough donations at the moment and might have to start charging for tickets in the future.

So anyway, hurry up, go see it, have some tea and be generous when you leave!

You can find the Museum of Everything on Twitter too at @Musevery.

[Image courtesy of Christoffer Rudquist]

Walking in My Mind

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In case you’re worried about not being able to see Walking in My Mind, it is still on and will be on till the 6th of September. The exhibition is a good combination of artists whose aim was to express their mindscapes as tangibly as possible. Walking in My Mind really does in parts feel like walking through others’ minds, dreams and fantasies.

The thing that struck me the most perhaps was Keith Tyson’s work. Though I can’t say I was impressed with his visuals, I really enjoyed his writings. I particularly remember a text from February 2004 that was written over a window of rain and talked of a night where pain transformed into joy as a spectacle of a rainy London evening passed.

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A handful of other works I remember include a somewhat suffocating web of wool strings resembling a forest surrounding two ghost-like figures, a brain-like structure you can walk through and the famous red polka dot room that is by now the icon of the exhibition. You can also find a small house by Yoshitomo Nara and a room that has a playful, if surrealist installation of sound and floating body parts.

All in all, bits of Walking in My Mind are definitely worth seeing. On Fridays you can also get a 2 for 1 deal on the exhibition site, which can come in handy 🙂

Heartworks

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Yesterday I attended my third Thishappened, a series of events at the intersection of new technologies, arts, design and innovation. Thishappened was establised by 3 friends Chris O’SheaJoel Gethin Lewis and Andreas Müller and is held pretty much every three months. The event is free, but really hard to catch, as the tickets fly out in seconds (literally, this time it hit a record 40s before they were gone). The projects and their creators hosted at Thishappened are inspiring each and every time, whether through their creative flair or dedication to a good cause. Currently all the talks are also available online, so for those who can’t make it to the events, you can always catch up on their site as well.

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One of the most inspiring things I saw last night was Heartworks, a project created by Glassworks, a London-based award winning post-production company. Approached by the Heart Hospital of London and supervised by its top medical experts who direct a course in peri-operative transoesophageal echocardiography, Glassworks spent the last two years creating a 3D digital human heart in motion that allows students to learn about the heart before putting a scalpel on anyone. Apart from being able to see it from different angles, zoom in and out of it, students can also dissect the heart with a virtual sheet that can literally slice the heart open or provide ultrasound images of the chosen section. Students can also experiment with a mannequin that allows them to learn about the tube insertion procedures that allow for ultrasound imaging diagnostics.

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Initially Heartworks was meant to be a small project for the London hospital, but the interest it has received from foreign universities has turned it into a larger scale commercial venture. The success breeds potential not only for students around the world to be able to learn more about the human heart in a better way, but also gives potential for developments of such imagining for other organs be it the brain or other difficult to access areas of the body.

[Image courtesy of Heartworks and Thishappened]