Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thanks for all the fish.

My obsession with the fish as one of my favorite beings on this planet, crawled upon me once again as I was going through the work of Sandy Skoglund.

Sandy Skoglund, Revenge of the Goldfish, 1981.

I am not a big fan of staged photography but I love Sandy's work. I love her preciseness, attention to detail and hypnotic repetition. Most of all I love the fact that whenever she talks about her art, she points out that there is no greater purpose to it. Whenever critics try to interpret her work as her attempt to highlight society's contemporary problems, she just dismisses those and explains that she is not trying to create "high art" but just art filled with emotional intensity.
She usually spends half a year imagining the scene, developing her idea, designing every single element by herself and when she finishes her installation, she sets the lighting and takes the photo. This makes her a script writer, a stage designer, a sculptor, a painter and a photographer at the same time, which is pretty impressive.

While looking at Sandy's "Revenge of the goldfish" , I remembered another artwork which gave me that same feeling of odd oscillation between real and surreal and at the same time the perfect flow of the two parallel universes. I had hard times finding it again because I didn't know the name of the author but thanks to the mighty Google, I've managed to trace it down. It's a collage named "In the Pisces Constellation" from 1963. by Adolf Hoffmeister.

Adolf Hoffmeister, In the Pisces Constellation, 1963.

Hoffmeister was "an unconventional spirit"; a poet, a novelist, an editor, a translator, an illustrator, a painter, a stage decorator, a journalist and lots of other things at the same time. I wasn't able to find much info on this Czech avant-gardist but I was impressed with most of his work that I could find online ( here and also here) .

Now fast forwarding to nowadays when someone figured out that the fascination with the fish doesn't necessarily mean that you need to trap the real fish in a fish tank and put them in your living room.

Interactive Fish Tank is an installation which explores water-based touch displays developed by two students at NYU,  Manuela Donoso and Crys Moore in 2011. With this virtual aquarium, one can interact with the pixelated goldfish, thus destroying the boundary between real and virtual (surreal).

Saturday, March 1, 2014


Karl Blossfeldt, photos via phlearn

I find solace in looking at Karl Blossfeldt's photographs of plants.

Blossfeldt was a German sculptor, teacher and a self-taught photographer. He photographed nothing but blossoms, leaves, buds and seed-capsules for 35 years. Blossfeldt primarily made and used these photos for educational purposes. He wanted to show his students that the best design solutions already exist in nature and one only needs to look closely at them. He claimed that in plants one can find not only functionality but also the highest aesthetic forms.

Blossfeldt's photos were published in a book "Urformen der Kunst" when he was already 61 years old and this was the turning point for him as this publication practically made him famous overnight.

Flow ( or flOw) is a video-game which awakes the exact same feeling in me as going through Karl Blossfeldt's photos.

flOw screenshots

Flow was created by Jenova Chen and Nicholas Clark in 2006. as a free Flash game and has later been reworked to be suited for playing on Sony PlayStations. The game takes place in aquatic environment where the player is an organism that moves and feeds on other organisms. If you prefer, you may also choose to just float around and not interact with other creatures. You can try out the game here.

Flow is about surviving and also evolving. It is visually so exceptional that it completely absorbs you into the depths of deep blue water, just as Karl Blossfeldt's photos absorb you into familiar, yet alien-like, forms of the world of plants.The perfect flow.