Friday, June 29, 2012

feminine vs. masculine

I have some x-rays lying around my apartment and I was wondering what to do with them. I don't want to throw them away as I feel that somehow they are a part of me. I also recently talked to a friend of mine about this and it turns out she also has some x-rays which she would like to turn into some sort of art.

This has inspired me to start wondering around, to see what people do with their x-rays, and the discovery which completely blew my mind was Matthew Cox's art.

Feet,  image © Matthew Cox
Blowing Hair,  image © Matthew Cox
Orchid With Crucifix,  image © Matthew Cox

In Matthew's art , the embroidery and medical x-rays collide.

Two completely diverse materials: cloth and plastic. On one hand, there's the embroidery as a traditional, decorative craft which requires intensive manual work and on the other, modern x-ray shot which is created without any aesthetic intentions in just a few seconds.

Embroidery seems so gentle and feminine and the x-rays appear so emotionless and masculine. Combined together they are hauntingly beautiful.

Pigtails, image © Matthew Cox

Wadding Knees, image © Matthew Cox

Music video for Brazilian pop band Pato Fu wraps this up nicely.

Monday, June 11, 2012

My brain is bigger than yours.

This time my Internet digging has led me to the first robot celebrity of the 1930s. Meet Elektro :

photos via Retronaut

I actually got interested in a song by Meat Beat Manifesto called Original Control,Version 2 ( don't ask why ) and I wanted to find out where those "I am Elektro" and "My brain is bigger than yours" samples come from. This led me to the story about Elektro.

I Am Electro by Meat Beat Manifesto on Grooveshark

So, Elektro was a robot built by Westinghouse Electric Corporation which was a manufacturer of clothing irons and ovens. What fascinates me is the fact that this company had such a marvelous strategy for promoting itself. They've financed Elektro's production and then showed him off at the New York World's Fair in 1939. where the robot would amuse the crowd with its skills during a 20 minute show every hour. And he was a huge hit ! The crowd loved him.

Elektro's skills included walking, moving his arms and fingers, recognizing colors, making lame jokes, blowing balloons and also smoking cigars. He was made to be a "cool" party robot.
During the 50s he went on a tour, becoming one of the icons of popular culture at that time. And then , in the late 60s he was completely forgotten. He ended up in one of engineer's basement. Years and years later, the engineer's son discovered the robot , resembled and cleaned it so Elektro is now safe in Mansfield Memorial Museum. 
But what hit me today while reading all this was the fact that four years ago, when I was visiting The Atomium in Brussels, I wasn't even aware of the fact that I shook hands with a celebrity.

Yes, there he is, Elektro himself ( well actually his replica but that's irrelevant for this story ! ). And there I am, holding his hand, at that time completely unaware of the story about this robot. He was a part of a huge display in The Atomium which celebrated the history of World's Fairs. To me, in that moment, he was a cool vintage robot which I had to touch but now that I know the story behind Elektro, I can fully appreciate the captured moment. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Weather obsession.

Remember that part in The Truman Show when Truman tries to escape his fake reality and the producer of the show unleashes "The Weather Programme" as the ultimate weapon? Is the weather control really the ultimate weapon? And doesn't it seem strange that in today's world of genetic manipulation, satellite communications, space research and all the other available technologies, people are still not capable of controlling the weather?

Conspiracy theorists of course claim that the scientists from HAARP (ionospheric research program in the US) have mastered the weather control long time ago and are responsible for series of natural disasters. I know for sure that the artist who has mastered the weather control is Olafur Eliasson.

Olafur Eliasson's work is based entirely on elements of the weather - water, light, temperature, pressure.

by Bill

This is the "Weather Project" at Tate Modern from 2003. People would enter the building and instantly be confronted with the gigantic illuminated orange disc whose light is perfectly diffused in the space so that it gives the feeling of a setting sun. There is also a giant mirror on the ceiling which creates the illusion of uneven edges of the upper half of the disc and the mist in the space is created with sugar and water air pumps.
Eliasson's work is so simple, yet so powerful and apocalyptic.

Another artist who is able to "control the weather" is Berndnaut Smilde. He has specialized in creating clouds.

via Berndnaut Smilde

He creates these using a smoke machine, indoor moisture and dramatic lighting. Each cloud only exists for a few moments before dissipating. I love the idea of an empty gallery space filled with clouds that appear and vanish after a few moments.

So,  did YOU talk about the weather today?