Liu Bolin: The Invisible Man

Liu Bolin The Invisible ManLook closely. Very, very closely. In fact, you might want to click on the image to enlarge it and get a good look at these photos. In each one there’s an invisible man, usually the artist Liu Bolin himself. No, these are not digitally modified photographs. No, this is not Photoshop mastery. Liu Bolin, from Shandong, China, camouflages himself in all kinds of surroundings, no matter how complex they may be. He carries this out by painting himself to blend in perfectly with whatever is behind him. Liu will work up to 10 hours at a time on a single photo to achieve the right effect.

The artist says his art is a protest against the actions of the Government who shut down his art studio in the past and persecute artists in general. It’s about not fitting into modern society.

More of these amazing photos here.

Teapot: Erik Magnussen

This lovely teapot was originally produced in ceramic in the 1960s, but has now been redesigned by Erik Magnussen, in Denmark, and produced in bone china. It’s a testament to the original design that this teapot still holds up as a modern and timeless piece. The built-in handle in the back is a very cool feature that makes the hand seemingly disappear into the teapot when serving.

Available here.

Cristina Garrido

Cristina GarridoI don’t know if it was my “Philosophy of Art” class trip to a Vito Acconci exhibit in high school, or a visit to a John Baldessari exhibit later on, or maybe the first time I saw a sketch of a Christo-wrapped building, but somewhere along the way I came to really enjoy and appreciate Conceptual Art. So it’s not a surprise that coming across Cristina Garrido’s work recently, was a nice surprise.

Garrido’s work explores the idea of “visual removal of information through the appropriation of objects and images,” slightly reminiscent of Jennie Holzer’s Redaction Paintings though the target of criticism here is capitalism or materialism rather than the military and government censorship. In her series Removals, Cristina Garrido filmed her subject at an Ikea store in Madrid, covering up all the furniture in a living room display with white bed linens from the store, transforming the space into that of an uninhabited house. In addition to the video, Garrido took Ikea information flyers and veiled (or wrapped) the furniture in the flyers with white-out, forcing the reader to speculate based on the written description what is under the white-out. These, in effect, worked as publicity for her performance piece in the store as well. She continues these white-out “removals” in other catalogues as well, not exclusively Ikea.

Another related series of Garrido’s is called Próximamente (Coming Soon). (See bottom two images; click to enlarge.)

Coming Soon is a project of public intervention which consists in placing several big format billboards on the façades next to demolished buildings in the city of Madrid.

“The billboards would partially cover what is behind them and, at the same time, they would open a “window” to the interior of the building. In them, we could see images of uninhabited domestic interiors, with their furniture covered with bed linens. The images would have a cinematographic aesthetic; which addresses the viewer to those publicity billboards of new premieres. But instead of being an invasive advertisement, which has nothing to do with the place it is located, these billboards tell us about these absent houses, about their possible history.The title of the project, Coming Soon…,  announces something which is about to come (a new construction, the arrival of new inhabitants…), which might or might never happen.”

You can see more of Cristina Garrido’s work on her site.

Impressive Parsons Seating Prototypes

Parsons Seating Prototypes_Parsons Festival 2011Having a possible future industrial designer in the family makes us especially interested in furniture design, and even more interested and impressed by student furniture design work. Strolling by Parsons yesterday, Dan and I noticed these beautiful chairs through the windows and went in to see, what turned out to be, part of the Parsons Festival 2011. These spectacular chairs are designed by Sophomores. Second year, undergrad design students. Unbelievable! “Parsons product design students present full-scale study models of bent plywood chairs that are the result of a six-week project in which students learned the basics of ergonomics, sound construction principles, and finishes.”

Parsons Festival runs through May 23rd in the lobby of the 2 West 13th St. building. The rest of the show, which includes interaction design, looks equally impressive.

Working prototype design credits, clockwise from top right: Megan Enright; Reading Chair by Siramol (Muan) On-Sri; Credit to come for this chair; Bone Lounge Chair by Soonyong Yoon; Reading Chair 01 by Irina Williams.

Diseños Enredados (Tangled Designs)

Ivana Crivos Knitted BagsThese bags in their organic shapes are part of Argentinean designer Ivana Crivos clothing and accessories creations and company called ‘Hedón’. Hand knit in Lycra, Crivos likes the melding of new technology with the traditional process. The priority for Crivos is that the material work well with the body, covering it and molding its shape to it. “I want my products, clothing or accessories, to transmit love, happiness and comfort,” says the designer. “My designs are basically about the human body, as well as thinking about the requirements of modern life.”

You can see more of Ivana Crivos’ designs here.

Flash:Light

Flash:Light NYCIf you’re in NYC and you haven’t made your Saturday night plans yet, this definitely seems like the thing to do tonight. As part of the Festival of Ideas for the New City, Audemars Piguet presents Flash:Light, a series of projection mapping events around the New Museum, including on the New Museum itself. There are an impressive amount of artists participating in the project including Daniel Arsham (of recent Dig and Pixel Clouds fame), Acconci Studio, Jon Kessler, and about fifty more! There’s more information here but it looks like the three main events are taking place at the New Museum, St. Patrick’s Basilica on Mott St. and on the street itself on Mulberry Street between Prince and Houston. It all apparently starts at 8pm and continues past midnight.

Check it out here.

Phat Knits

Phat KnitsMaybe one of these to replace the bean bag, Dan? Designed by Bauke Knottnerus, Phat Knits is a series of giant threads used to create, knitted or not, interior products. These are part of two special editions of Phat Knits made for an exhibit called Unravel: Knitwear in Fashion going on now through mid-August at the MoMu (Mode Museum) in Antwerp, if you happen to be there in the next couple of months.

You can see more images here.

Origami Phone Handset

Origami Handset Em pointed me to this cleverly designed prototype. Designer Chengyuan Wei conceived of a phone handset made from cardstock, including all the minimal essentials: chip, microphone, and electrical wire. This flat board folds into a three-dimensional object when pressed on its sides. Much simpler than making a paper crane…just sayin’.

via PleatFarm

More Marlon de Azambuja

Marlon de AzambujaYes. I am officially a fan. In addition to his wonderful Operaciones series (see previous post), Marlon de Azambuja has large-scale projects as well, some of which would fall under the category of Street Art. Two of these series are: Potencial Escultórico (Sculptural Potential) in which he wraps street furniture/objects in colored duct tape; and Metaesquema (Meta Diagram) where he uses permanent marker to draw out diagrams encompassing the street manhole covers and grates. Both of these series of works appeared in the streets of Madrid.

“…For the last three years, Marlon de Azambuja has marked out urban spaces with adhesive tape, interventions that have the finality of highlighting or, even better, allowing the discovery of aspects that have always existed but that we have never imagined. Marlon de Azambuja is part of a constructive culture’s memory that finds its forebears in Brazilian Concretism….”

Very cool.

Marlon de Azambuja: Operaciones

Operaciones_Marlon de AzambujaI love this series by Brazilian-born, Madrid-residing artist Marlon de Azambuja called Operaciones! Really? It’s almost ridiculous how much I’m loving these. The description reads (translated from Spanish): “Displaced stickers on original slips of paper.” So simple and yet so clever and appealing. Makes me want to run out to the stationery store and buy a whole bunch of sticker sheets to make my own series and place all over the apartment.

en.light.en Interactive Lamps

en.light.en interactive lampen.light.en interactive lamps are designed by Barrangan Studio in Colombia. Apart from the basic lamp function of lighting their environs, en.light.en lamps contain different narratives that can be triggered by the user, creating a more “poetic and metaphysical relationship” between man and technology. One lamp seems to answer your questions à la Magic Eight Ball. Another will keep your ego in check displaying messages determined by the user’s psychological needs and desires. It can uplift those who are down, and bring down those with overinflated egos, creating a healthy equilibrium. Oh, and finally, one of the en.light.en lamps displays the time in scrolling LED type as well, (for the more practically-minded), while reminding the user that time is limited and they will not live forever.

For those who understand Spanish, here’s a video of all the different en.light.en lamps and what they offer…down to serving as an egg timer.

Pop-Up Magazine

Pop-Up Magazine at Skirball Center, NYCIf you’re in NYC next week, this event looks interesting. Apparently it’s a big hit in San Francisco. From their website:

Pop-Up Magazine is the world’s first live magazine, created for a stage, a screen, and a live audience. Nothing will arrive in your mailbox; no content will go online. An issue exists for one night, in one place. Pop-Up showcases the country’s most interesting writers, documentary filmmakers, photographers, and radio producers, together, on stage, sharing short moments of unseen, unheard work. Books, films, journalism, photography, and radio documentaries in progress. Obsessions and digressions. Outtakes, arguments, and live interviews.

This live issue includes filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side), author Nicholas Dawidoff, This American Life contributor Starlee Kine, and a host of other people including New Yorker, ESPN, and New York Times writers to name a few. Looks like tickets are going fast. Info and tickets here.