The pinhole camera is an idea that dates back to the ancient Greeks and beyond. The basic premise is that light entering through a tiny hole can display inverted pictures of the outside world in a darkened room. A typical working model of this lens-less camera features a light-proof box with a small hole cut in it, but this won’t do for French photographers Romain Alary and Antoine Levi. In their project Stenop.es they turn entire apartments into camera obscuras.
By turning rooms into pinhole cameras, they project the outside world onto the inside, blocking out all the light except for the small amount let through the pinholes, the city outside merges with the interior of the apartment. The effect creates a collage of tactile and projected, turning upside down buildings into surreal reflections of kitchen implements and planting a row of trees jittering on apartment walls.
Korean artist Jee Young Lee’s beautiful dreamscapes are living proof that you don’t need Photoshop or even a large studio space to create amazing surreal images. She creates all of these scenes by hand in a room that is only 3.6 x 4.1 x 2.4 meters and then inserts herself into the pictures. Some of these self portraits represent her own experiences, dreams and memories, while others represent traditional Korean folk tales and legends.
Since 2007, Lee JeeYoung shoots the invisible. Whereas traditional photography submits extracts of reality to our eyes, the artist offers excerpts from her heart, her memory, or her dreams. Restrained by the inherent limits of the conventional photographic medium, she adds plastic creativity and theatrical performance to it, in order to blow life into her immense needs of expression, and interrogation.
For weeks, sometimes months, she creates the fabric of a universe born from her mind within the confines of her 3 x 6 m studio. She does so with infinite minutiae and extraordinary patience, in order to exclude any ulterior photographic alteration. Thus materialised, these worlds turn real and concretise : imagination reverts to the tangible and the photo imagery of such fiction testify as to their reality. In the midst of each of these sets stands the artist : those self-portraits however are never frontal, since it is never her visual aspect she shows, but rather her quest for an identity, her desires and her frame of mind. Her creations act as a catharsis which allows her to accept social repression and frustrations. The moment required to set the stage gives her time to meditate about the causes of her interior conflicts and hence exorcise them; once experienced, they in turn become portents of hope.
Recipient of multiple artistic awards including the Sovereign Art Prize (2012), JeeYoung Lee is one the the most promising up-and-rising figureheads of the younger Korean artistic world. Following the huge success of her first solo show outside of Korea with OPIOM Gallery in 2014, her work was seen 500 000 times on Reddit in just 2 days and has been featured in the worldwide media from the USA to China (all international editions of the Huffington Post, NBC news, CNN international, France 3 National news, China Daily, etc.).
Lin Tian Miao‘s artwork combines household objects and human figures with a technique called “thread winding”: wrapping thread — or hair or silk — around an object until it is completely covered. The result is oddly tactile and organic, looking like something spun by a spider caught in a fevered dream. The use of string, Lin reveals in an interview with The Culture Trip, is partly for that very reason. They are organic and natural, and contain an element of mysterious strength. “The materials take on a life of their own,” Lin says.
When Chinese artists are discussed, it’s hard to ignore politics; Lin is no exception. As an artist — particularly a female artist — from a country that went through a rather recent revolution, her creations are rife with subtext whether intended or not. It’s difficult if not impossible to draw on the themes and symbols of family and femininity without also summoning the specter of their cultural context.
In a collection called “Mothers!!!,” pearls and webs of string become tangled cancerous masses on the backs of women, weighing them down. The pearls are beautiful but also destructive. In another installation called “Chatting,” several figures stand in a circle, heads bowed, seeking connection perhaps but resigned to the impossibility of it. To be fair, Lin has rejected feminist and political readings of her work. As an artist, she most likely wants to defy labels and have her work speak for itself. Still, it’s hard not to feel a little glimmer of dissent and rebellion in her art — arising organically, woven into the very DNA of it, strand by strand.
To Breathe: Bottari
Solo Exhibition at The Korean Pavilion, Venice, 2013.
Approaching the architecture of the Korean Pavilion as a bottari, the artist has wrapped the division between nature and the interior space with a transluscent film. Treating the windows as the skin of the pavilion, the film diffracts the natural sunlight as it showers the interior space with rainbow spectrums of light.
The intensity of the light in the pavilion will correspond to the daily movement of the sun rising to its setting across the Korean Pavilion—which is located right next to the Laguna di Venezia — transforming the space into a transcendental experience — folding and unfolding the phenomenon of light.
To Breathe: Bottari presents the empty space of the Pavilion, inviting only the bodies of the audience to encounter the infinite reflections of light and sound. The artist’s amplified inhaling, exhaling and humming performance sounds (The Weaving Factory, 2004-2013) fill the air, transforming the pavilion into a breathing bottari.
Simultaneously, the artist extends the experience of light and sound by creating an anechoic chamber. A space in complete darkness that absorbs all audio waves, leaving nothing but the sound of the viewer’s own body, To Breathe: Blackout (2013) creates a soundless dark void of infinite reflection of self: a black hole.
The artist invites audiences to be the live and active performers, experiencing a personal sensation and awareness that reveals the extremes of light and darkness ; sound and soundlessness ; the known and the unknown. This installation questions visual knowledge as the known and darkness as the unknown — that originates from human ignorance — through two visual extremes that are connected as part of a whole.
The Korean Pavilion will become a physical and psychological sanctuary, questioning the conditions of civilization in this era.
Inter Audio Mapo Akcjonizm / Inter Audio Map Act
i.a.m.a is a sensual, multi-generic multimedia installation. It associates multiple virtual areas controlled by tools and behaviors, both real and interactive. Quasi-holographic simulation. Mapped, animated, cinematographic space rendered in real time. Installation, which gives you the ability to control but also has its own independent characteristics, results in actual curvature of reality and psychedelic states. It is a mix of the virtual and the real. The room is completely filled with the image and the projection itself becomes something more than what is actually shown to the audience. Additionally, the area out of sight is also being filled out. The recipient himself unknowingly introduces interactions in each and every move, this involves the position of the controller(ipad), independent sliders (touchOSC application) and recipient’s own position in the xyz axes (kinect). The diagnosis of system interaction is unnecessary because of too high multiple events.
A conceptual stop-motion portrait of Rila Fukushima. Photographed by Matthew Donaldson, edited and graded by me.
Virgin, April 4, 1979. Chalk on blackboard, chalk and soap bar on wood table, wood chair, electrical cable, socket, and light bulb, Dimensions Variable. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. 94.4265. Joseph Beuys © 2007 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.
Beuys’s public discussions—lectures on politics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and social relations that often served as catalysts for other work—exemplify his role as artist, teacher, and activist. One such discussion was held in Vienna on April 4, 1979, at the Galerie Nächst St. Stephan, where Beuys had been invited to speak in the context of a debate surrounding the use of Vienna’s Palais Lichtenstein as a museum for modern art. Earlier that same year, the gallery had given Beuys the opportunity to create an installation entitled Basic Room–Wet Laundry, a manifestation of his provocative contention that the baroque palace was as useful for hanging wet laundry as it was for displaying art. The April 4 discussion grew directly from that project. During the discussion, Beuys referred to a chalk drawing on a blackboard that showed the chemical formula for making soap. Using the soap-making process as a metaphor for social relations and its colloidal character as an analogy for the stages of fetal development, he then spoke of the cyclical nature of feminine cleansing, associating virginity and motherhood with cleanliness and impurity respectively. The lecture also related back to the notion of washing as “the traditional domain of women” presented in Basic Room–Wet Laundry. These themes were further brought to bear upon the machinations and politics of the art world, which the artist viewed with contempt. The installation Virgin, April 4, 1979, is a kind of “representation” of that lecture, and utilized the essential elements that comprised this cycle of works—soap, blackboard, a table and chair, and the single light bulb,
In the summer of that same year, Beuys made Virgin Basic–Wet Room Laundry for a major exhibition at the Vienna Secession. A further iteration of the previous two installations and lectures, this was to have been the grandest presentation of the subject of the Virgin. However, Beuys decided to isolate some (though not all) of the elements of the piece as independent objects after a vandal had damaged the work; Virgin, April 4, 1979/June 23, 1979, consists solely of the blackboard from the Vienna installation. Beuys reworked the imagery to evoke more painterly results, which he achieved by rubbing soap directly onto the surface in broad circular movements. The dual date refers to both that of the original idea—in this case, back to the April 4 discussion—and the date the piece was constituted as a self-contained object, rather than referring to the date of its actual creation, a practice occasionally used by Beuys to underscore his belief that “thinking=art.”
Intermedia Chef (Jaewan Choi, Dongjo Kim, Won Cheol Lee and Jinhyung Park)
New media artist group, Intermedia Chef is trying to explore dynamic artwork generated by computer-controlled sound in the aspect of data visualization. The sound installation artwork transits sound wave into physical movement. Overmore, they are aiming that the sound wave energy turns out a kinetic type of visual art.
A collaborative installation between Mike O’Toole, Andrew Ratcliff, Ian Charnas and Andrew Witte, the Waterfall Swing is an intelligent swingset made from mechanical waterjets (solenoids) that create a falling plane of water in the path of the swinger. However just as the rider reaches the rainfall the water parts briefly ensuring nary a drop dampens their swinging. The swing was unveiled at the 2011 World Maker Faire, and you can find additional videos and specifications to build your own here, and for more intelligent rainfall goodness checkout the Rain Room. Photos above courtesy Paul Sobota.