Date Archives March 2011

Surreal Appearances: Myeongbeom Kim

Myeongbeom Kim

Myeongbeom Kim Myeongbeom Kim

Myeongbeom Kim Myeongbeom Kim

Educated in South Korea and the United States, Myeongbeom Kim produces otherworldly installations and sculpture works that juxtapose man-made elements with nature to create surreal dream spaces. Utilising suspension as a common motif, his works are constantly poised in a state of ambiguous wonderment. Within his installations, living things are held inside the fragile confines of light bulbs and helium balloons replace tree foliage, literally uplifting the tree and its roots.

Although this breaking down of the boundaries between artificiality and nature would generally engender a sense of unease, conveying the decline of natural phenomenon at the hands of manufactured goods, from Kim’s artistic perspective there is a rather a peaceful coexistence of these two binary opposites. It is a beautiful thing to behold.

Danica

Disoriented Architecture

Disoriented Architecture

Disoriented Architecture

Disoriented Architecture

Disoriented Architecture

Yuri Pattison is a talented, young artist working in London. I came across a his project icallarchitecturefrozenmusic this weekend and really enjoy his approach to photographing buildings in this project. Some buildings are more exciting than others and some of the views are more disorienting than others, but all of the photos look great to me. The title of the project comes from a Goethe quote, which I heard an especially cheesy iteration of in architecture school: “Architecture is music, frozen in time.” The variety of modernist buildings in Pattison’s pictures doesn’t bring to mind the lyrical or emotional flourishes that music might, but I’m not sure if the projects title is tongue-in-cheek or simply referring to a different kind of music.

Alex

‘Ennui’ by Canon Blue

Ennui by Cannon Blue

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Canon Blue is the music of Daniel James, an American musician who creates beautifully structured folktronica. He dabbles with dreamy melodies and displays a pretty great ear for what makes an upbeat pop song seem inspiring and fun. Back in 2007 he released his debut album Colonies on the Danish label Rumraket and it’s an absolute treat from start to finish. Impressively, Mr. James has written, recorded and played almost every instrument on this debut himself and has managed to get Grizzly Bear’s bassist Chris Taylor to mix the thing. For me, Colonies comes highly recommended and chances are that you’ll find something on their that grabs your attention and leaves you with a warm feeling of joy.

Fans of the aforementioned Grizzly Bear are sure to find some good things on here, and you’ll also find some nice influences from Daniel James’s label mates Efterklang in the mix as well. This is no accident considering that James can occasionally be found helping the band out on some of their live shows. Colonies is a great album and apparently a follow up is very close on the horizon. For now I’d recommend heading over to the Rumraket website and get your hands on The Halcyon EP which the label are giving away for free. It features the excellent track Ennui which is featured at the top of this post. Enjoy!

Philip

‘Girlfriend EP’ by We Are Trees

Girlfriend EP by We Are Trees

Back in December I posted about We Are Trees, now made up of James Nee and Josiah Schlater, and their previous release the Boyfriend EP. Last week I got an email from their vocalist James letting me know they had a new EP out, this time titled Girlfriend. If you’re a fan of Department of Eagles, Grizzly Bear or Vetiver I think you’ll like this. James’ voice is really smooth and mellow and the music itself is pretty laid back and well structured. Definitely worth pausing what you’re listening to to hear this. At the very least be sure to listen to the last track, I Don’t Believe In Love, it’s by far my favorite.

You can snag the Girlfriend EP by clicking here.

Bobby

Portrait Deconstruction: Anna Higgie

Anna Higgie

Anna Higgie

Anna Higgie

If there is one thing that Pablo Picasso has taught the art world it is that simple and straightforward portraits can sometimes be a bit limiting. Barcelona-based artist Anna Higgie obviously share this view as, while her portfolio features more conventional studies of portraiture, she also ventures into a domain of visual deconstruction that is reminiscent of Cubism. Slicing, splicing and fragmenting her subjects, and using the abstract visual illusions of Op Art, Higgie’s works are stunning in their complexity. Indeed, her attention to the fracturing of subjectivity in monochrome is seemingly evocative of a whole new genre: Cubist Noir.

To discover more about Higgie, check out her blog and flickr.

Space Suit of the Week

Matthew Liebowitz - Astronaut

Matthew Liebowitz - Astronaut

Click images to enlarge

It is hard to have a conversation about early space suits without talking about the defense industry. Not only did space suits evolve from pressure suits worn by Air Force pilots but their development was accelerated during the Space Race thanks to the Cold War. We’ve looked at suit prototypes developed by defense contractors, but today, we’re looking at graphic design commissioned by one of these contractors.  General Dynamics is a “defense industry contractor for shipbuilding and marine systems, defense systems , land and amphibious combat systems and munitions.” The company hired Matthew Leibowitz in 1965 to make a recruitment video as a way to lure talent to the company.

I’m not sure if their strategy worked at the time, but the stills from that video are certainly alluring my eyeballs in the present. These images are nearly fifty years old and they’re clever and compelling, not just because of their subject but because Leibowitz was insanely talented. He was working for a company of military and technical experts- a company that relied on his skill to bring in new experts. Going to space presented two challenges: ability and motivation. It was the technical experts who provided the means for arriving in space, but it was the expertise of folks like Leibowitz that compelled the drive to go there.

How appropriate that the King of Hearts would be an astronaut.

Found through Aqua Velvet

Alex

Sony Needs To Reinvent the TR-1825 Radio

The Sony TR-1825 Radio

The Sony TR-1825 Radio

Click images to enlarge

If you frequent the site you’ll know that I try not to reference the past when it comes to design. I try to look forward with the things I write about, not particularly concern myself with things from the past. But when I came across this radio by Sony called the TR-1825, I couldn’t help but be smitten with it. Back at the beginning of March Kyle posted about the Jambox, a tiny bluetooth enabled speaker that I couldn’t help but think of when I saw the TR-1825.

In my opinion the design of this tiny radio is timeless. If you updated the materials and the colorways Sony would have a product that could rival the Jambox. Small, portable and attractive, this tiny speaker would be amazing to throw in a backpack and bring to the beach. There’s something so appealing about the simplicity of a product like this. You slide it open, you get a speaker and two simple controls, that’s it. I think it would be extremely smart of Sony to reintroduce this product to the market with functionality like that of the Jambox. They could not only bring back a classic design but make themselves relevant in the stereo business again.

Here’s a quote about the radio from the Sony site:

Released in 1970, when Sony had become the first Japanese company to list shares on the New York Stock Exchange. Sliding the faces on this cubic radio reveals a speaker in front and controls on top, a unique design at the time. One version of its packaging commemorates the World Expo in Osaka, held in March that year, and many expo-goers picked up the radio as a gift.

Bobby

A Giant Saint Bernard Across California



Nate Wells, Saint Bernard

Nate Wells, Saint Bernard

As I close out Dog Week 2K11, there is a lot to think about: little dogs, medium dogs, but mostly big dogs. These oversized beauties, who are easily overshadowed by the tiny shadows of small dogs, are some of the gentlest creatures on the planet. To know and befriend a large dog is one of those rare situations that a lot of people do not get to experience. I would say definitely try to get to know one, should the opportunity present itself.

A good example? Art director Nate Wells for Applied Underwriters‘ ad campaign featuring a giant Saint Bernard. The campaign, with the tagline “We’re in California in a big way.” as inspiration, not only conveys exactly what Applied Underwriters needed but is very approachable, well done, and fun (not to mention funny). When Wells sent these my way, I literally gasped. Literally.

The campaign is one of those rare moments where industry, silliness, and art all converge. I absolutely adore everything about it and am glad that Wells has inadvertently taken it upon himself to change the face of the Saint Bernard (from the damage Beethoven did to it). I hope you agree and, if you do, please follow the jump for more photos!

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‘No Lifeguard On Duty’ by J Bennett Fitts

'No Lifeguard On Duty' by J Bennett Fitts

'No Lifeguard On Duty' by J Bennett Fitts

'No Lifeguard On Duty' by J Bennett Fitts

Although born in Kansas City, photographer J. Bennett Fitts now lives and works in LA. The other day I stumbled upon a great series of photos he produced entitled No Lifeguard On Duty. This body of work gives us an insight into some of the motel and public pools of the Los Angeles area, and explores the abandonment and decline of these sites.

Much of J Bennett Fitts’ work fits into a style of photography that really appeals to me. He seems to have an obsession with modern, artificial landscapes and as a photographer he’s taken the responsibility to document these parts of our culture. His series above catalogues these weird structures in their moment of decline; they now exist as purposeless forms carved into our surroundings, and he approaches them with a sense of formalism and a strictness that is clearly influenced by the likes of Bernd and Hilla Becher and Ed Ruscha’s photographic work. You can find more of his work on his website here.

Philip

Ten Things I Have Learned About The Sea

Ten Things I Have Learned About The Sea

Ten Things I Have Learned About The Sea

In my opinion, everyone has some kind of fascination or fear of the sea. It’s dark, it’s mysterious and it’s larger than we can fathom. All of these things are summed up rather well in this video by Lorenzo Fonda entitled Ten Things I Have Learned About The Sea. Lorenzo travelled on a vessel from Los Angeles to Shanghai back in December of 2008, documented his journey and summing it all up into this beautiful video. It’s a little over 10 minutes but the whole thing is really well shot and gives you an amazing sense of how incredible the ocean really is. Definitely worth your time.

Found through Coudal

Bobby