Artist, musician, and grand master tinkerer Felix Thorn builds machines –wondrous, whimsical, beautiful machines– by taking apart old, obsolete contraptions and breathing new life, motion, song and light into them. His pieces have been featured in galleries and shop window displays and art installations and commercials, used in various live performances, or as theatrical accompaniment, or as stand-alone film fodder.
He states: ”Although my medium focuses on the development of acoustic sounds, I am continually inspired by electronic music – the countless abstractions act as blueprints for the construction of its acoustic counterparts. I aim to build a space where artificial and dream-like environments can become a reality.”
Felix’s Machines EP available here. The stunning film above was recorded and shot at Gasworks in the UK in the winter 2008, and here’s another one (more of an overview) by Tom Mansell:
“Like living organisms; a breathing artificial skin garment with pulsing veins (air is pumping through the veins to simulate a pulse), the pulse increases when you approach and the neckpiece deflates on touch as sign of trust.”
Designer duo Local Androids consists of Cor and Leonie Baauw. Their work is a stunning techno-chthonian amalgam of 2D and 3D, traditional and digital imagery. With assistance from engineers Ralf Jacobs, Daniel Schatzmayr, and Berend-Jan van Dijkhey, Local Androids created this “interactive skinfashion” for the 2012 Technosensual Expo, which will be running until September 2 in Vienna.
Once upon a time in 2003, a graphic artist and calligrapher named Robinson Deschamps did a series of illustrations for an organization with a temperamental printer. The quirks of their machinery meant that Deschamps could not use colors or even grey levels; the illustrations had to be in black and white. He did the project, delighted with the challenge of the restraints, and in the process created several characters. Of those characters, it was the strange little Akiza-girl who caught Deschamps’ imagination.
The first Akiza is the girl with the iconic face, whose world consists of wires and signage and bits of architecture. She is diminutive, and playful, and fetishy, and asexual all at once.
Akiza has several siblings in the form of tributes that Deschamps crafts, dressing her in faces inspired by Amélie Nothomb or the works of Pierre Molinier.
From art collective Dorothy (previously featured on Coilhouse) comes No Globes, the anti snow globe. This is actually fairly old, designed in 2009 for “Ctrl.Alt.Shift in anticipation of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.” Still, I love this one. A simple idea, perfectly executed.
Should they choose to delve deep into the dreckish pools of distant memory, some Coilhouse readers may recall this cheeky wee embloggening from 2009, written about the Dictionnaire Infernal, with illustrations by Louis Breton.
She wants to design and print a deck of 69 large (3.5″x5.75″), full-color heavy-stock art cards, each one featuring a Breton illustration from the Dictionnaire Infernal. She’s also planning to create “a supplementary PDF for the deck, with all 69 card images and extended information about each.” She’s given the project room to expand and evolve, depending on how much she raises beyond her minimum goal.
Ariana is all about fastidious documentation, immaculate restoration, and TEH LULZ (see below). EVIL GOOD TIMES. Click on MISTER SCARY ANTEATER OV DOOOO0M to learn more:
Many of us remember Andrew Huang‘s DIY sci-fi short, “Doll Face“, which went viral on YouTube in 2007, boosting the USC graduate’s professional career. Huang’s most recent work, this short film called “SOLIPSIST“, is nothing short of a vibrant, sensual revelation. It earned him and his team the Special Jury Prize for Experimental Short at Slamdance 2012.
Bartholomäus Traubeck, a German designer, artist, and inventor, has crafted a modified record player that takes wood slices from trees and creates music out of scan data gathered from the inner rings:
The Traubeck tree turntable pairs a standard record turntable with a PlayStation Eye Camera attached to the (motorized, moving) arm. In lieux of a tangible needle locking into the grooves of a piece of vinyl, the slowly panning, stylus-mounted Eye Camera reader scans a disc of wood as it rotates below, then passes the data on to computer running an Ableton Live program, which Traubeck has specifically installed with algorhythims that match distinct keyboard notes to various scan density levels.
The resulting music is surprisingly lucid, conveying –quite literally– the internal rhythms of the life of an individual tree. Breathtaking and melancholy.
Wayne White is an American artist, puppeteer, sculptor, set designer, cartoonist, art director, animator, and illustrator whose influence on popular culture has been quietly vast. As Mark Mothersbaugh puts it: “Kids [in the '80s] mainlined it. He was imprinting their brains, and they don’t even know it.” Filmmaker Neil Berkeley’s new documentary about White’s roller coaster career and personal life looks like it’s packed-to-bursting with inspiration and warm-fuzzies and whimsy and pathos:
“Raised in the mountains of Tennessee, Wayne White started his career as a cartoonist in New York City. He quickly found success as one of the creators of the TV show, Pee-wee’s Playhouse, which led to more work designing some of the most arresting and iconic images in pop culture. Most recently, his word paintings, which feature pithy and often sarcastic text statements crafted onto vintage landscape paintings, have made him a darling of the fine art world.”
“Beauty Is Embarrassing chronicles the vaulted highs and the crushing lows of a commercial artist struggling to find peace and balance between his work and his art. Acting as his own narrator, Wayne guides us through his life using moments from his latest creation: a hilarious, biographical one-man show.”
The world premiere of Beauty Is Embarrassing will take place on March 10th at SXSW. Click through below to see more examples of Wayne White’s multifaceted work.
Beauty is Embarrassing film still, featuring White wearing his LBJ paper mache puppet head.
The strange atomic-age flying machines (robots? winged helmets? …life forms?) recall Leonardo da Vinci’s technical drawings, while the composition echoes high-concept, hand-drawn film posters of bygone days. The would look great on a wall next to some Takashi Itsuki prints, no?
Sometimes, when creative and inspired people get together to collaborate on making imagery in a specific vein that no one’s attempted before, a special kind of magic happens. Case in point, this elaborate photo series independently produced by Jessica Rowell of J-Chan Designs and photographer Nina Pak in cahoots with model Elizabeth Maiden:
Κατάρα της Αθηνάς, η μοίρα της Μέδουσας Αθηνάς: Elizabeth Maiden Μέδουσας: Jessica Rowell of J-Chan’s Designs Photography: Nina Pak Costume Design & Styling: J-Chan’s Designs Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Ancient Greek lore and steampunk culture clash, titan style, in a sumptuous mythos-meets-modernity photo series depicting the Goddess Athena (Elizabeth Maiden) and the Gorgon Medusa (Jessica Rowell).
According to legend, the once ravishing Medusa was cursed with a monstrous appearance after “seducing” Poseidon, Lord of the Sea, under the roof of Athena’s sacred temple. Hence, this series title (which, translated into English, means) “Athena’s curse, Medusa’s fate.”
Rowell pulled “inspiration from Desmond Davis’ 1981 film Clash of the Titans, then put an atemporal spin on things by incorporating several contemporary ingredients that “also felt industrial and familiar to alternative culture.”