Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Void.

The very idea of the void differs much between the Western and the Eastern culture. In the West, the metaphysical nothingness is usually understood as something negative, essentially perceived as emptiness, linked to existential loneliness, while in the East, the void is an extremely positive principle, perceived as something which exists in each of us and in order to achieve transformation, a radical change, one must first achieve this emptiness.

The Void on Behance

Russian artistic collective TUNDRA tried to visualize the idea of emptiness but not the emptiness as the absence of everything, but the emptiness closer to the Eastern doctrine, as the initial state when anything can appear.

The Void on Behance

TUNDRA's void consists of a 360 degree vortex-like projection of graphic patterns and sounds but the trick is that when one enters this room, he must be completely still and relaxed because any sort of movement or sound interrupts the sequence and stops it. So the installation actually tests today's people ability to stay calm, to free themselves from everything, to feel the emptiness and thus be ready for a change.

To whomever emptiness is possible, All things are possible.”  
Nagarjuna, III A.D.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Man machine.

Fritz Kahn (1888-1968) was a German physician and a writer of popular science. Between 1920. and 1950. Kahn wrote many books and articles for general public on medicine, health and science. In order to catch his readers' attention, he used very progressive illustrations for that period of time, which incorporated incredible visual analogies and metaphors. Most of these illustrations were done by a team of designers which Kahn would hire, but all of them were conducted under Kahn's art direction. Because of this ability to illustrate complex medical and biological systems using easy understandable graphics, Fritz Kahn is considered to be the pioneer of infographics.

Man as Industrial Palace by Fritz Kahn

Kahn's most known work is a poster from 1926. Der Mensch als Industriepalast. Here he shows the human body as an industrial factory where every tiny detail has its own role so the system can function without any flaws.

In 2006. a German artist Henning Lederer decided to make this poster "alive" and translate the original work into motion graphics. The result is this inspirational animation:

Der Mensch als Industriepalast [Man as Industrial Palace] from Henning M. Lederer on Vimeo.

Lederer shows the human physiology through cycles: respiration, blood circulation, digestive circuit, control center and metabolism. The sixth cycle includes all former five cycles and is actually the fully operational Kahn's human factory .

To me, this man machine analogy actually serves as a reminder how powerful, inspiring and complex human bodies are. Our bodies truly are machineries capable of doing all sorts of different things. For instance... acrobatics.

Shangai Acrobatics - Jonathan Frantini

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Absence of ego.

Trying to figure out what I want to write about, I realized that I feel a strong need to dedicate the whole post to my recent discovery. It's an artist called Moonassi.

Blow your mind, 2010.
Twisted relation, 2009.
Please take care of this, 2009.

His real name is Daehyun Kim. He was born in Seoul where he is now living and working. He has been making the "moonasi drawings" since 2008. They are minimalistic black and white paintings done using "pen and marker, and occasionally a brush", as Moonassi explains.

Sinking of you, 2010.
The moment that I loved you, 2009.
Across the universe, 2009.

I get so excited when I come across someone's work which represents deep human emotions that I can instantly feel by looking at the artwork. And then I feel the desire to look at them more and feel those emotions over and over. Moonassi's paintings are about relationships between him and others and various thoughts and feelings inside him.

Part of universe, 2011.

Last year, Moonassi created an album cover for Reedbeds' album Basement Grotto which was released on German cassette tape label SicSic. I love the cover and I find that music goes so well with Moonassi's art....

Saturday, September 28, 2013

GIFing around.

Over the past year I caught myself often spending hours browsing through GIF blogs. Whether I was giggling or going through them with a serious face, the common thing was my admiration for their authors' ability to tell a story in so little frames.

GIF stands for Graphic Interchange Format and is basically an image file which stores multiple images inside itself and thus gives the illusion of movement. It was introduced back in 1987. when the format was called 87A. Later, the enhanced version got the name 89A, until it was finally named GIF.
GIFs were very popular back in the first days of Internet and in the last few years they have gone through a sort of renaissance.

Here are some of my favorite GIF blog discoveries.

First stop,  The name says it all: the author decided to give his point of view on history of music through animated 8-bit graphics, accompanied with some witty short descriptions for each graphic .

And my personal favorite:


Next stop . I like the idea behind the blog and that is the author's attempt to visually present infinity through his hypnotic geometric GIFs. 


And then there's  This one I love because it's an endless source for other GIF blogs. As we know, nowadays everything is a remix of a remix and this blog is a perfect example of that. The author actually uses other artists' GIFs and puts his Connoisseur on them. And his Connoisseur is no other than Norman Rockwell's Connoisseur, who, just like in the original painting, is mysteriously exploring the artwork in front of him with his back turned away from us so we don't know if he's actually liking or disliking it.


Oh and yes, since 2012. GIF is officially not only a noun but a verb also, so saying to GIF is just as normal as saying  to Google or to Photoshop.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Aurora Borealis.

Illustration for Jules Verne's An Antarctic Mystery,
via Smithsonian Libraries

I've been trying hard to imagine the feeling of seeing Aurora Borealis swirling and dancing right above your head. I imagine the feeling being so intense that I would lose the ability to speak for hours, maybe even days...

I started thinking about this as I stumbled upon a name of Seanie Blue. He is a photographer who decided to travel north to "catch" Aurora Borealis in order to conduct a personal experiment. He wanted to check if the impression of seeing Aurora Borealis would be aesthetically so strong that it would make him forget the love affair which had been stuck in his head for quite some time and thus help him cure his broken heart. His project isn't finalized yet so we still don't know the outcome but I bet that he's now cured.

"Directly overhead, and coming at you like falling paint."
- Seanie Blue, 
©Seanie Blue

I could watch this video over and over again....

A fascinating discovery made by scientists in 2012. is that Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights, really do produce sound. This has been speculated over the years as many people who had seen Aurora Borealis also sometimes described hearing a special kind of noise, but this has not been officially confirmed until last year.

Scientists had always thought that Aurora Borealis is too far away for the people to hear the sounds it made but last year the researchers at Aalto University in Finland recorded the sound sources in an observation site and it turned out that the sources are just 70 meters above the ground.
Details about how these sounds are created are still a mystery. It is speculated that the same solar waves of charged particles that generate the display, also generate the sound but it is unknown why the sound doesn't occur regularly during every Aurora Borealis appearance.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dreams that money can buy.

"If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all." 

~John Cage

Hans Richter was a German painter and graphic designer who also experimented with the film as a medium. Just recently, I've discovered his feature film "Dreams that money can buy" from 1947. and found myself overwhelmed with joy upon the realization that such an extraordinary gem exists.

Richter's film practically had no commercial success and thus was forgotten not long after it was premiered but the film is such a thrill for anyone who is a 20th century art lover. The list of collaborators includes the most respectful avant-gardists of the time: Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Alexander Calder, Fernand Léger and Richard Huelsenbeck. 

The film consists of 7 surreal dream stories which were shaped by participating artists and each dream sequence is special and fantastic in its own way.

The above extract is from "The Girl with the Prefabricated heart" by Fernand Léger which is one of my favorite stories cause of the way it mocks all Hollywood romance movies of the time. And the hilarious accompanying song lyrics fit perfectly.

Marcel Duchamp's "Discs" is to me visually very interesting because he uses his "Rotoreliefs" which are actually painted cardboard disks rotating on turntables that create the illusion of depth

The soundtrack is as equally impressive. It features compositions by John Cage, Darius Milhaud, Louis Applebaum, Paul Bowles, Josh White.

Hope you are intrigued...Here's the link where you can watch the whole film.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Ever or Not.

Few days ago I was visited by a fascinating creature. One beautiful, quite large dragonfly flew in through my window, for a while flew around my room in all directions and then it found its way out.

During this close encounter, I realized how powerful dragonflies look because of the way they fly. Unlike other insects, they can fly backwards, straight up or down, suddenly change direction and  hover around just like a helicopter.

As I dag into reading about the order Odonata, I came upon this striking data: in the process of flying, dragonflies flap their wings mere 30 times a minute while mosquitoes or houseflies, need to flap their wings 600 to 1000 times a minute respectively.

Lucien Bull, "Films stereoscopiques"

I especially like the symbolism behind them which is very different in each culture. For instance, in most of Europe they are associated with evil and the Devil , while in Japan they are a symbol of self realization, courage, change and strength. I prefer the Japanese symbolism as I think it suits them better.

While exploring the subject, I came across a movie which is now on my "want to watch" list:  "Trollsländor Med Fåglar Och Orm / Dragonflies with birds and snake" by Wolfgang Lehmann.

Stills from the movie "Dragonflies with Birds and Snake"
© Wolfgang Lehmann

The film is a meditation about life and death with high visual stimulants. Wolfgang Lehmann used images from science films and combined them with his own footage to form a collage-like surrealistic nature film. In the film, three different images are combined in strict rhythm with occasional shifts to the combination of six different images. This creates a hypnotic, pulsating rhythm of visual data and as the movie is silent, this gives each viewer a chance to "see" the music inside itself based on the received visual inputs.

I would love to see this 60-minutes silent mosaic in a movie theater.

The song which I played in my head with the 2 minutes trailer:

Monday, June 3, 2013

Faraway does not exist.

I love when I'm attracted to somebody's art and I've already seen this person's work somewhere before and had been equally fascinated by it, but without knowing that it's the work of the same person. This usually means that this somebody possesses wild curiosity and keeps exploring different ways to express itself. The person is Dan Goods. Last year I wrote about his "eCloud" installation .

Aerogel from Dan Goods on Vimeo.

Note: It kinda feels nice to watch the video with the following song in the background:

Forever Dolphin Love by Connan Mockasin on Grooveshark

This  installation that I came across now is actually something which he had done much before the eCloud. Besides being impressed by its name - " For those who dream, faraway does not exist", I was mostly impressed by the material that was used for it.


Aerogels are the world's lightest solid materials with 95 to 99 % air in volume. They are derived from gels but with gas in their pores instead of liquid. There are different kinds of aerogels. The one that Dan Goods used, which instantly overwhelms you with its blueish transparent appearance, is called silica aerogel. One of its extreme properties is superinsulation:


And even though they can protect a delicate flower from a blow torch, silica aerogels are very fragile because of its low density and can be crushed with the kind of strength you use to crush a potato chip. At least that's how I imagine it from what I've read about them.

At the moment, aerogels are being used in Mars Exploration Mission which includes two rovers: Spirit and Opportunity. The electronics of these two little robotic guys are protected from the heat on Mars with the help of impressive insulating abilities of silica gel. Also, silica aerogel is being used in Stardust Mission for collecting samples of comet dust.

Wow, right?

I would love having this material in my possession so I could take some photos and experiment with it.

Thank you Dan Goods, for introducing me to it.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nudes per second.

In 1882. it was possible to record 12 consecutive images of the moving object per second and those frames would be stored on the same photo . The great mind behind this invention which I guess we can call a camera, even though it was gun-shaped, was Étienne-Jules Marey. He is considered to be one of the pioneers of photography and cinema. Marey was actually a physiologist who developed an interest in photography as he realized it could be the useful tool in studying the movement of animals and humans. 

via MoMA

In 2012. Shinichi Maruyama captured human motion with the camera which allowed him to take about 2.000 images per second. Advancement of technology in numbers: from 12 images in 1882. to 2.000 images per second in 2012. Impressive. As are the photographs from Maruyama's NUDE series:



© Shinichi Maruyama

The NUDE series consists of naked human bodies performing choreographed dance. Maruyama collaborated with the choreographer Jessica Lang who helped in creating the perfect dance moves. Each shot was created by layering 10.000 individual photographs of the dancers into one piece which gives the photos the incredible creamy substance effect. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

From the waggle to kaleidoscopic dance.

It all started with the bees. I was fascinated with how bees communicate through a waggle dance

An Austrian biologist Karl von Frisch, who studied the behavior of the honeybees back in the 60's, defined it as "Tanzsprache" or the dance language. I adore the idea of a dance being the only language used for communication between the living beings. The waggle dance is used by the bees to share the information about the food source with the other members of the hive. By performing the waggle dance, the dancing bee gives the other honeybees information about the direction and the distance of the location of food source. As I was exploring this subject, I accidentally came across a video by Emily Knight, which was inspired by Busby Berkley.

Busby Berkley was a Hollywood movie director and choreographer, best known for turning dancing bodies into human kaleidoscopes. In his choreographies, he used dancing showgirls for creating complex geometric patterns. I am completely astonished by the symmetry and the rhythmic precision in Busby's movies. And now I finally understand where Michel Gondry found inspiration for some of my favorite music videos:

via Retronaut
"Let forever be" by The Chemical Brothers 
via Retronaut
"Around the world" by Daft Pank

And in the end, the most memorable and surreal scene from Berkley's movie "The Gang's All Here"  where legendary Carmen Miranda sings "The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat" . I would love to put some bees in there. ;)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


You've probably heard about ferrofluid. I've been obsessing about it ever since I've discovered it. It's a liquid which looks like some sort of motor oil but under the influence of a magnetic field tends to act like it's alive because of its nanoscale ferromagnetic particles.

Singaporean artist Afiq Omar got into ferrofluid explorations and so far produced three videos of aesthetic perfection. The music he picked for each of his videos utterly matches the visuals.

The first one has a dark, futuristic atmosphere:

In the second one, which is definitely my favorite, the artist experimented with smaller amount of ferrofluid which he mixed with other liquids such as milk, soap, alcohol etc.

In the third video he again played around with mixtures of ferrofluid and other liquids. What's really admirable is that no computer software was used for the creation of the patterns but only manipulations with fluid dynamics and magnetism.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Analogue animation.

It all started with this:

Andrew Salomone's Pizzoetrope.

Then I started digging and discovered so many interesting people who like to play around with phenakistoscope and zoetrope techniques nowadays.

The phenakistoscope and zoetrope (funny and weird names?) are both early animation devices which produce an illusion of motion.
The phenakistoscope consisted of a spinning disc which was vertically mounted on a handle. Around the disc's center were series of drawings and series of slots right next to the edge. The user would spin the disc and look through the slot into the disc's mirror reflection where rapid succession of images would appear to him as a moving picture.

Eadweard Muybridge's phenakistoscope, 1893

The zoetrope was practically the improved version of  the phenakistoscope, only cylindrical shaped, which did not require the use of mirror and more than one person could view the moving picture at the same time.

Using phenakistoscope technique but adding turntables to the equation and a bunch of records with printed-on animations based on album covers (!), Clemens Kogler created something delicious to watch:

Then there's Jim Le Fevre's magical experiment :

And in the end, Retchy who stunningly incorporated projection mapping into his 3D zoetrope:

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bauhaus,part two

Another charismatic and progressive thinking person who taught at Bauhaus was Oskar Schlemmer. The subject which he loved to explore was the proportional perfection of a human body and the things humans are capable of doing with it. His theater workshop at Bauhaus was one of the places where abstraction in dance had been explored for the first time.

Oskar Schlemmer's Stick Dance, 1927. via Retronaut

Reconstruction of Stick Dance at the Centro Universitario SENAC,
São Paulo, Brazil., 2010. via Flickriver

Oskar Schlemmer's love for geometry, mathematics, abstraction and purity of form can be seen so clearly in his Stäbetanz  (Stick Dance). In a motionless position, lines-sticks, as the extensions of a human body, resemble the abstract painting. And as the dance starts and lines start moving, the painting itself starts to dance.

A wonderful reconstruction of this piece was conducted by an art teacher, designer and dancer Isaura da Cunha Seppi, at the Centro Universitario SENAC in São Paulo, Brazil. This was actually a part of a much bigger project conducted from 2008. until 2010. in which not only Stick Dance has been reconstructed, but also Schlemmer's famous Das Triadisches Ballett.

This video is a mixture of two realities, Real and Second life of  the Stick Dance by Oskar Schlemmer. Isaura da Cunha Seppi mixed the video of her real-life performance with machinima which was created using the Second Life in order to explore the idea of boundaries between the real and virtual world narrowing down more and more nowadays.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bauhaus, part one

Where to start when you wish to talk about Bauhaus?

I think I'll start with stunning food photography inspired by Bauhaus, which I stumbled upon some time ago. Masterminds behind these pieces: Nicky&Max.

© Nicky & Max
© Nicky & Max

Bauhaus was not just a movement, but an actual institution as well. Walter Gropius had gathered some of that time's brightest minds around him, such as Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Herbert Bayer, Oskar Schlemmer, Johannes Itten, and founded the Bauhaus School in 1919. All of them stood for strong individuals which was one of the fundamental things behind school's ideology: unlocking the creative potential of each student through insisting on individualism, on one hand and collaborative work, on the other. 

© Erich Consemüller, Lis Beyer or Ise Gropius sitting on the B3 club chair by Marcel Breuer and wearing a mask by Oskar Schlemmer and dress fabric by Lis Beyer, c.1927

What I find interesting is the way the school had operated in its early days.The school had always been trying to make a compromise between utopian, non-compromising, creative spirit and practical minded way of thinking. And it seems to me that in the first years the school leaned more towards the former and from. 1923. under the pressure of community and financial troubles it started leaning towards latter.

Johannes Itten was to me one of the most intriguing professors at Bauhaus. He held an innovative course which taught the students about basics of materials, composition and color. Itten was a fanatic follower of Mazdaznan, a religious health movement which included strict food diets. He incorporated some of Mazdaznan's exercises and breathing techniques into classes in order for students to use their full creative power. He also made rules about food which was to be consumed at school. No meat was allowed, only grains and vegetables, with special emphasis on garlic. The word is that at some point in time all school's facilities and students (!) had that distinctive garlic smell.

 Itten's class, via Kaufmann Mercantile

I love this photo. It gives you a glimpse of working atmosphere in Itten's class. I wonder if that food diet just might had an effect on student's work because at this time they were producing some incredible ideas and creating the most astonishing art pieces.

However, Itten's and Gropius's ideologies started to distinctively drift away from each other. Gropius was insisting on individual art being made with thoughts for the outside world or the industry and Itten rejected this and insisted on art being created without thoughts of its mass production. Finally, Gropius made Itten resign and from this point on, the School made its ideological change in favor of producing art in cooperation with the industry.

While in process of making those photos from the beginning of this post, Nicki&Max were aware of the fact they were being made for no one, they had no commercial value or as they say, they were making them just for themselves.  And they admit, they felt much more creative than when working for a client and they finally felt like they were using their full creative power.