Artist Nicholas Hanna seems to have a real curiosity for life. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from Yale and an MFA in Media Arts from UCLA. A native of Canada, his work investigates the sensation of wonder and the essential relationship between humans and technology.
I love his Bubble Devices. These mechanical installations are almost as wide as a room and they create giant bubbles. They’re the sort of things that need to be seen to be believed so fortunately Hanna has shared some videos online:
Driven by a computer, Hanna’s automatic bubble wand is a fantastic construction and the lighting in the video really captures the beauty of these incredibly large bubbles.
You can see more projects from Nicholas Hanna on his website.
One of my favorite films this year has been Boyhood. Shot over a period of 12 years, it tells the story of Mason as his life unfolds during a period between the ages of 6 and 18. Before seeing the film I imagined that it must be a wonderful spectacle; that there must be something incredible about watching a person literally come-of-age on screen. In actuality, there is no real spectacle to Boyhood. If anything, that’s the real strength of the film. Real life is made up of small fleeting moments, and Boyhood captures these in a beautifully uncinematic way. In doing so, it captures something even greater than spectacle and in its subtly it reveals something more profound.
All of this is little more than preamble to introduce Ken Murphy’s “A History of the Sky”. This project is similar to Boyhood in that its premise seems suitably epic yet its lasting impression feels more poetic than astounding. A time-lapse film shot over the period of one year, Murphy reduces the ever changing skies of San Francisco into a mere 5 minute film.
“A History of the Sky enables the viewer to appreciate the rhythms of weather, the lengthening and shortening of days, and other atmospheric events on an immediate aesthetic level: the clouds, fog, wind, and rain form a rich visual texture, and sunrises and sunsets cascade across the screen.” says the self-described programmer, artist, and tinkerer. I think it’s wonderful!
Sometimes I forgot how beautiful simple things can be. I think that is one of the best things about art; it can really remind you of the beauty that exists in the simple things and the mundane parts of life. That’s what I love about this series by the German-born photographer Michael Wolf. Shot on the streets of Paris, the work shows little more than the shadows of trees set against the buildings of the street. Yet in his composition and his high-contrast black-and-white he manages to find something effortlessly beautiful in something so banal.
Wolf’s work is frequently interested in contemporary city life. His images of modern cities often feel far less inviting than the work shown here. Through his lens buildings reach near abstraction as they dominate everything around them and themes of voyeurism, privacy and detachment are often seen throughout his practice.
Wolf doesn’t offer an explanation to the meaning behind this work. Considering his previous projects one might view it as an exploration of natures challenged role within the city, or perhaps it could be seen as a study into the small traces of the natural world that remain within our busy cities. Personally I prefer to take a more romantic view of it and see it as a simple celebration of the mundane. For me, these images serve as a reminder that there exisits simple pleasures in the world and its important to take the time every-now-and-again to stop and appreciate these simple things.
You can see more work from Wolf on his website.
Modulorbeat’s One Man Sauna is a wonderfully strange construction found near the German city of Bochum. The work forms part of a research lab project called Borderlands which the architects have been working on since 2012. Borderlands examines the border and transit spaces of the city and attempts to see what role architecture can play in the development of these spaces.
This One Man Sauna is located on the site of an old abandoned factory and stands at nearly 25 feet. Built from old building shafts, the sauna consists primarily of three stacked pre-cast concrete parts. These form three different unique layers on the inside: a plunge pool at the bottom, a sauna on the middle level and a relaxation room and viewing area at the top.
Go check out Modulorbeat’s website for more exciting work.
I sometimes feel that there’s a tendency for blogs to just focus on what the latest thing is. For some reason there seems to be a need to focus on the thing that’s just been released. While I enjoy new things just as much as the next person I also feel that the internet is so full of amazing things that there’s bound to be some stuff that passed us by the first time around. That’s why I thought I’d share this excellent short film from 2011 with you. Called The Runaway (or La Huida in its original Spanish), this 10 minute short looks at how life moves fast and – rather fittingly – it highlights the things that might just pass us by.
Shot on 35mm and directed by Victor Carrey, the film has won 77 Awards and has had more than 200 festival selections. It’s a story told in two-halves, with the first setting the stage for an event to play out in the second. The narration comes from actor Joaquin Diaz, who does a wonderful job of stringing together a seemingly-endless array of apparently unconnected objects and situations. His rapid-fire delivery rattles through a great array of stories, anecdotes and observations before bringing us to the ‘runaway’ of the title in the second part. Here Carrey slows everything right down and wraps it all together with an excellent slow motion sequence that demonstrates the directors finely honed skills as a music video director.
It’s a great little romp and one which, if you didn’t catch the first time around, I’m sure you’ll enjoy!
UK-based illustrated Stephen Smith has been working under the name of Neasden Control Centre for almost 15 years. One of his most recent projects has been illustrating the menus for Artisan; a hip restaurant and bar in the Northern-city of Manchester. NCC’s approach here has been to serve up a delicious selection of hand-drawn type; presenting a great choice of ‘A’s’ that no doubt echo the variety of choices found within the menu.
This is not the first time that NCC has worked with Artisan. When it opened last year he worked on the overall identity for the space. Bringing site specific artwork, illustrations, installations and murals to every corner of the Spinningfields located space. The restaurant covers a vast 12,000 square foot area, so it must have been a massive undertaking for the one-man studio. You can see more shots from the interior on his website.
I also think that his work for the set-menus is just as strong and, while I was going to put this down to his excellent choice of a bold black-and-white palette, it’s clear to see that the lunch and kids menus work just as well in color. His choice of bright primary colors add just the right amount of cheerfulness for day-time dinning. I think they look great.
More work from Neasden Control Centre can be viewed on Stephen’s website.
I had never heard of Jerko the Gowanus Water Vacuum until discovering these excellent photos of it. Taken in 2011 by the LA-based photographer Elizabeth Weinberg, these images show the Jerko on its madden voyage. The vessel is an incredible two-story houseboat which boasts its own homemade rain-harvesting system as well as solar panels and a composting septic system. It’s a pretty incredible construction! I hope the city still continues to make space for people and projects like this!
Weinberg’s photographs capture the energy that this vessel seems to have brought to the area; despite it sailing on one of New York’s most environmentally disturbed waterways – Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal. While I can’t seem to find any information about the Jerko after 2011, I think it’s great to see people making a real effort to be energy efficient in a city as large and as polluted as New York.
You can view Elizabeth Weinberg’s full series of images on her website.
The South African artist Peter Eastman has been living and working in Cape Town for a number of years. While working primarily as a painter, it is Eastman’s prints that I find the most appealing. Produced digitally, Eastman creates these by working over photographs. He subtly alters forms, tones and colors and he views this process as an opportunity to explore color.
As a painter, Eastman’s work is typically monochromatic, so these images are quite distinct from what he normally creates. I find his use of color very interesting and each image has a unique atmosphere and mood to it. Despite being created digitally, I feel that there still remains quite a painterly quality to how these images are rendered and I love the way he captures light.
More work from Eastman can be viewed on his website.