Numen / For Use: Tape Melbourne

Photo by Fred Kroh

Numen / For Use are an art and design collective who create organic, web-like structures from adhesive tape. Their temporary installations are large and stable enough for several adults to crawl through, and the effect is not unlike being trapped in a giant spider’s web.

After climbing up a step ladder, you find yourself suspended in a series of glistening caverns, the frosted plastic obscuring your view of the outside world.

Photo by Fred Kroh.
Their latest project, Tape Melbourne, took eight days to complete, with three artists and fifteen volunteers working nine hours every day. The exhibit used thirty kilometers of tape to build, with more tape to repair and fix the structure on a nightly basis.

The Numen / For Use website contains more examples of their work, including images and videos of the construction process. You can explore their newest installation at Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia for a few more days; from now through September 24th, 2011.

Photo courtesy of Federation Square

More photos of the installation after the jump. (Editor’s note: This is our cherished intern Connie Chen’s first blog post for Coilhouse. Thank you, Connie!)

The Mark of Princess Hijab

Editor’s note: today marks the birth date of one of our most tireless and incisive contributors, Mr. David Forbes. For his birthday, David gave us a present: an interview with elusive street artist Princess Hijab. Thanks, David – happy birthday!

A spectre is haunting Paris. For five years, Metro-goers have rounded corners to find heavy, black marker strokes obscuring the idealized arcadia depicted in subway advertisements, the airbrushed bodies of the inhabitants — men and women — disappeared behind a heavy veil. Princess Hijab has struck again.

When she started her “reign” in 2006, observers initially couldn’t decide if it was the work of a modernity-hating zealot or some sort of rabble-rousing commentary. The year before Paris had destructive rioting. France has its own serious racial and ethnic issues, and culture wars are never a place for nuance. The hijab is now, controversially, banned in public.

But from her work, there is no hiding, Parisians still pour out of trains to find the mark of Princess Hijab.

She hasn’t exactly hidden from the media, either. But strangely, in an era craving constant revelation, her identity remains a closely guarded secret. She claims to be around 22 years old, poor, from an immigrant background, and not a Muslim. Those who meet her aren’t even sure if she’s female.

Via e-mail, Princess Hijab, the alias chosen to represent “a mixture of precarity and aristocracy,” has chosen to draw back the veil, just a bit, and tell us about how — and why — she chose her domain.

MizEnScen’s somber, surrealist collages

Bride I

MizEnScen’s elegant digital collages, laced with melancholia like mournful mezzotints, are a surrealist fusion of gleaned vintage engravings, illustrations, and photography in which she expresses her love of the macabre and whimsy through her work while “exploring the juxtapositions between what some consider beautiful and horrific”.
“To me,” she notes, ” they are one of the same.”

“The artist, in my opinion, is a monstrosity, something outside of nature”. -Gustave Flaubert,

Referencing this provocative quote,  she postulates that this sentiment “… pertains to my works’ visual theme and aesthetic.  I create images that draw on my morbid sensibilities and because of that, the images exhibit dark or morose elements.  In essence, I’m inclined to the things outside of nature because that is precisely what I find beautiful.”

Those unfamiliar with her artwork may also know her as MizEnScen on tumblr in which she curates, among other things, a striking collection of film stills from early black and white cinema and cites an unapologetic love of the breathtaking, enigmatic Greta Garbo. It is unsurprising then, that she lists among her artistic inspirations: “silent film, melancholia, carnivals (sideshows), The Weimar Republic, Dia De Los Muertos, Edwardian/Victorian photography and illustrations, Surrealism, Pop Surrealism, engravings (particularly medical illustrations), German Expressionism, oddities/curios, graphic art, collage, and Dada.”

Her process involves both digital and traditional methods, about which she shares the following: “When I create a digital collage, I may or may not begin with an idea, but I simply rummage through illustrations to gather inspiration and play around with them in Photoshop.  Other times I create elements that I want to incorporate either as part of a altered-digital collage or my own illustration by sketching in graphite and ink, then scanning the artwork to alter in Photoshop.  Some of my other artwork is done in traditional paint and brush, my new favorite method being dry brush.  Essentially the tools I use are graphite, ink, acrylic, watercolor, oil, paper, canvas, engravings/illustrations, and Photoshop.”

Though not currently an artist by trade, she is working  toward making her artwork a full-time venture.  More of MizEnScen’s sketches, collages, etc. can be see on her flickr page and art prints are available through society6.  See below the cut for a small selection of her wistful, whimsical collages, compositions which resonate with both “traces of sadness and fleeting gladness”.

BTC: “Waking up to say…”


Yeah, admittedly, we’re a little late to the party re: this amazeballs Beauty and the Beast parody by Micah McCain. But it’s just too good NOT to post as a BTC, and surely, not all of you have experienced the spiffiness yet. Bonjour!

Mer’s Haunted House Music Score for “Empty Rooms”

Empty Rooms Trailer by adamlamas

“Empty Rooms” is an independent thriller directed by Adam Lamas in which a single mother and her non-verbal autistic son are terrorized by mysterious intruders after they move into a new house.

In addition to being Lamas’ first official feature-length film, it’s also a another first for our own Meredith Yayanos: her first feature-length film score. Complete with strings, theremin, voice, synths, raw percussive elements and piano, the score is at turns terrifying, sad, atmospheric and eerie. You can hear some of the score in the trailer above, and listen to several low-res, unmixed clips of the score on Mer’s Soundcloud. Appropriately enough, Mer recorded the score over the course of “several cold, dark, occasionally terrifying months” last year, hunched over her laptop, alone in a large, unheated house in the middle of nowhere. Engineered in Dolby 5.1 Digital Surround Sound for the film, the score is “OFF THE HOOK!!!” according to the director.

In addition to working on Coilhouse, Mer is currently in the studio finishing up an album as The Parlour Trick, her similarly spooky “haunted chamber music” project with multi-instrumentalist Dan Cantrell. As she tweeted four hours ago, “cheerfully trapped in tiny room w/cacophony of bowed glockenspiel, pump organ, chamber strings, bodhrán, grand piano, typewriter, celeste.” Sounds promising indeed. More news about The Parlour Trick in the months to come.

Photo by Audrey Penven.

Cats: A Film By John Campbell

From John Campbell, creator of the amazing/depressing/hilarious comic Pictures For Sad Children, comes “Cats”, a short film about Shannon Driscoll — screenprinter, teacher, cat enthusiast. The film explores Shannon’s love of felines and how they influence her art and, in doing so, hold up a mirror to her strained relationship with her father. A relationship in which the truly innocent suffer the most.

Lisa Bufano: Dancer/Shapeshifter

“I’m a shapeshifter… I explore the different forms my body can take using different mediums.” – Lisa Bufano. Photo by Gerhard Aba.

Lisa Bufano is a performance artist whose work incorporates elements of doll-making, animation, and dance. Bufano was a competitive gymnast as a child and a go-go dancer in college before she lost her lower legs and all her fingers due to a staphylococcus bacterial infection at the age of 21. Shortly after this occurred, Bufano went on to study stop-motion animation and sculpture at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Bufano’s performances often involve the use of prosthetics and props, and, according to Wikipedia, she lists among her inspirations “medical drawings, historical wax models and dolls, and optical toys; flip dolls and paper dolls; the structural aspects of Japanese jointed dolls, Hans Bellmer’s doll work, Louise Bourgeois’ cell installations, and the animation of Jan Švankmajer and the Quay Brothers.”

Bufano is now working on what may be her most ambitious project yet: a routine using aerial hoop. Bufano is developing a lyra – a steel hoop suspended from the ceiling – designed to accomodate her limited grip. Bufano is currently doing strength conditioning and discovering the movement, holds and momentum of working with lyra:

Below is a clip from her recent performance “One Breath is an Ocean for a Wooden Heart,” a duet with dancer Sonsheree Giles on stilts. Bufano describes the piece as “an unusual modern dance duet for a disabled dancer and an able-bodied dancer that is informed by the relationship between physical transformation and identity.” [via riotclitshave]

Riccardo Guasco

Flat, there layered shapes and muted colors abound in the work of Italian illustrator Riccardo Guasco. There is a strong Cubist/Primitivist streak running through these, along with the necessarily minimalist sensibility. Lots of beautiful, empty space that help draw the eye to the dynamic figures and strange scenes contained within them. Tonally, his pieces are often playful and kinetic, though some are wonderfully subdued. The winged girl below features in two more paintings, twisting in each one, as though she and the butterfly are taking part in a languid dance.

BTC (Part II): “Everybody Rock Your [MMD] Body!”

The most ADORKABLE MikuMikuDance video you’ll see all day.

via Jamais Cascio, thanks!

(Aaaaand the runner up.)

BTC: Illan Rivière

This elegant young man’s name is Illan Rivière.

Already an accomplished fusion belly dancer, Illan, who lives in France, is only eighteen years old. Definitely one to watch.