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Warped cities: Photographer uses drone footage to create impossible landscapes
01.28.2016
08:40 am

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Art

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Turkish photographer and artist Aydin Büyüktas created these amazing still images of cityscapes from drone footage. Everything was shot over Istanbul. While most people on the Internet are comparing the final product to the Hollywood film Inception, Büyüktas’ series titled “Flatland” was actually inspired by the 1884 satirical novella Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. Makes sense.

Anyway, I’m really digging these trippy images. They deserve to be in an art gallery.


 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
This felted Klaus Nomi is the most adorable thing you’ll see today
01.27.2016
12:22 pm

Topics:
Art
Music

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Here’s an adorable needle-felted Klaus Nomi doll by Colorado-based artist Marin (AntiM).

The artist writes:

“If I were a better photographer, you could see the prominent cheekbones and the sharp, slightly upturned nose.”

I have no clue if Marin is making more of these felted Nomis or if they’re for sale, but you can contact the artist here.

I dig it.

Below, Klaus Nomi, who was then making his living as a pastry chef, sings on Glenn O’Brien’s legendary NYC cable access show, ‘TV Party’:
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Incredible photographic recreations of Hieronymus Bosch paintings
01.27.2016
09:01 am

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Art

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Photographer Lori Pond has produced an amazing series of prints that recreate figures and tableaux from the Hieronymus Bosch paintings “The Last Judgment,” “The Temptation of St. Anthony,” and “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” The painter’s unsettling visions fit well with much of Pond’s dreamlike work, such as her tintypes that recall the grotesque surrealism of Frederick Sommer and Joel-Peter Witkin, or her dark, brooding, and massively disquieting images of taxidermied animals baring their fangs.

What’s remarkable, though, about the Bosch series, is just how much for these images was accomplished in-camera, before digital editing. In an interview with Create, Pond revealed the work that went into crafting these images:

“I hired a prosthetics designer to create the iconic ‘Bosch snout’ and legs and tail in one image, and a propmaster to make the life-size boat in Bosch Redux 4.0. My taxidermy teacher gave me some crows’ feet, and I got my friends not only to model for me, but also to help with the prop building, wardrobe, and makeup that went into every image. Most resulting photographs are made in camera, apart from some exceptions when I didn’t want to string up a woman in a harp or couldn’t find ears or birds bigger than a human.”

Where digital effects were added, Pond was faithful to the source material—the cracked paint textures applied to some of the images were lifted from high-res digital photos of the actual Bosch paintings.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Download PDFs of the mysterious Voynich Manuscript and the Codex Seraphinianus for free
01.26.2016
10:57 am

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Art
Books

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Codex Seraphinianus
 
A few years ago we ran a post on one of the most mind-bogglingly awesome books ever written or conceived by mortal humankind—I refer to Luigi Serafini’s Codex Seraphinianus, republished by Rizzoli in 2013. To this day it remains one of the most popular posts we’ve ever done, the degree of interest in this peculiar, fantastical volume of fanciful schematics, all in an invented language and alphabet, was quite stunning.

Similarly, The Voynich Manuscript, which dates from the early 15th century, is also written in an alphabet that nobody can decipher. The Codex Seraphinianus was written in the 20th century by a writer who is still among us, but the Voynich Manuscript isn’t like that. For centuries a great many people have tried to crack its elusive code, but nobody has been able to. So you get a very similar effect, marvelous illustrations of botanical fantasies, tagged with captions we can’t comprehend.
 

The Voynich Manuscript
 
Both of these are awesome coffee table books or just books to peruse idly and get your creative juices flowing.

A friend recently called my attention to this 2011 post by the Holy Books blog, which offers readers a chance to download the two books on PDF. It’s obviously been around for a while.
 

Codex Seraphinianus
 

The 2011 doc ‘The Book That Can’t Be Read’
 
After the jump, a fascinating Terence McKenna talk about the mysterious Voynich Manuscript; Rudolf II, the “mad king” of Bohemia; The Winter King and Queen; Doctor John Dee; Edward Kelley; Roger Bacon; and the book’s possible ties to alchemy and the Rosicrucian Enlightenment…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Empty Porn Sets
01.26.2016
08:51 am

Topics:
Art
Feminism
Sex

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03balloonsjo.jpg
Balloons set (2004)

I was once on a porn set. It wasn’t how I had imagined it would be. I was part of a production crew making a documentary about online porn. We were in the upstairs bedroom of a small terraced house in the north of England. Outside all the houses looked the same: red-bricked back-to-backs with cobbled lanes. Quiet streets, half-net curtains hung in windows. In a small bedroom a man who looked like Benny Hill wearing a blonde Beatle wig was directing two young girls in bikinis to cover their bodies with various food products. He was filming their antics for his web channel, telling the girls to squirt more mayonnaise down their cleavage, splatter more beans on their bottoms, get that ice cream all over their chins and so forth. Downstairs Benny’s wife sat by a coal fire patiently knitting, and sipping weak sweet tea.

Behind the fantasy set of latex curtains, paddling pool, ketchup bottles and assorted props was a small dingy room—the kind seen in Britain’s black & white kitchen-sink dramas of the 1960s. The smell of congealing food was nauseating but the girls who were smeared with it were laughing and joking and egging each other on to be more outrageous. Their onscreen activities seemed very unsexual. I was seeing the whole absurd scene—the bare floorboards, the peeling wallpaper, the small tripod lights—not the close-up titillation being broadcast to an excited online audience paying by the minute.

This dissociation between the pornographic image and its creation—between location and use—form part of Jo Broughton’s photographs of empty porn sets.

Broughton was studying a foundation art course at Thurrock, Essex, when she was sent for work experience to London, as she explained in an interview with Jean Wainright.

I thought what I was being sent to was a glamorous fashion shoot when in actual fact I walked into a studio in Hoxton to a nurses set being set up and a girl walking out of a changing room wearing suspenders and stockings, the full monty kit. Quite an abrupt Yorkshireman approached me and asked if I’d ever seen a “fanny up front” and I squeaked “No” and he replied “Well today’s your lucky day”.

[Fanny is British slang for “pussy” not rear end—the difference of meaning once disconcerted English jazz singer Cleo Laine when her American doctor said he was going to give her “a jag in the fanny.”]

Jo was supposed to be doing two weeks work, but dropped out of college and stayed with the studio for two years.

For a long time I had quite a problem with what was going on there, I was quite conflicted. I was green as grass; I’d never ever walked into something like that before…

..It was very contradictory in some respects to have this space where I was safe and had a connection to people that were “family” and yet it’s perceived as very unsafe to other people: it’s a safe industry because they work very safely but it isn’t your desired environment, I wouldn’t desire it for my child to work as a pornographic model. My conflicting emotions stayed with me and I hid it very well, where I’d been and what I’d been doing, for a long time.

She worked as a studio assistant.

...my job was to paint the set, make lots and lots of tea and to sweep up. I was just the dogsbody, to put up the lights; always give Steve a “pop”, meaning I’d have to dump the power on the light packs for him to do the light test. I had to put up the poly boards and all the normal stuff you do in a studio with the content of a sexual nature, which actually was very tame and quite tongue in cheek now.

Having left college and finding herself temporarily without a place to stay, Jo started sleeping on the studio sets at night. During the day she was working as a photographic assistant at major Sunday broadsheet the Observer. Because of how people perceived porn, Jo could tell no one what she was doing or where she was staying.

When I was working as an assistant we would get phone calls all day, somehow people had got hold of the studios number and they would scream obscenities down the phone and make threats. People were repelled and absolutely disgusted by the subject of porn; you just didn’t mention that you worked in the porn industry. So in order not to be tainted by that brush, I didn’t dare mention it when I was at The Observer because you just didn’t knew how people would take it, take what you did.

Then Broughton enrolled at Royal College of Art. She also continued visiting the studio every week and began working as a cleaner there.

I’d had these conflicting issues about these models seen as meat and I was doing all this feminist work and then I became Steve’s cleaner every two weeks. I became this… I don’t know how to describe it, this Igor character, cleaning up after someone. But also, I felt more humanistic towards the models, the industry and suddenly I started becoming more comfortable with it myself. I started to see this more human aspect because I’m seeing bodily fluids and I’m washing things and I’m in contact with almost what the untouchable is. You know, washing dildos and whatever, you’re there, at that point. And suddenly I started to laugh and see the funny side of it and going in and putting the radio on and seeing the set week after week after week, it would change. It made me laugh because you see the set, there’s so much work that goes into those sets and yet it’s still the same subject; tits and arse.

Broughton started photographing the sets at night. She was interested in revealing the reality behind the artificial glossy sex of porn mags.

I’m letting the audience in to see what I saw and also to take the power out of it almost. It is to say this is false, which I suppose pornography is, it’s false. I like the fact that there’s a brick holding up the poly-board that reflects the light, the ambiance coming in, the floor boards coming in. For me it’s really important to have those elements, also it shows humanistic elements of imperfections. Because in the magazines that its published in that would all be cut off and straightened and it would all be very glossy, so that was important. Also, I wanted to show the space I had this relationship with, that was important to me as well. This space doesn’t really know what’s going on, a table doesn’t know it’s a table, a porn set doesn’t know it’s a porn set and that’s almost what I was trying to do.

Each of Jo Broughton’s photographs was taken on a porn shoot. The bed sheets are crumpled and stained, stockings and shoes lie on the floor, discarded sex toys and lubricant are visible. The frame is devoid of people, only the evidence of sexual performance and the illusion of passionate intimacy remain.

More of Jo Broughton’s work can be seen here.
 
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Christmas November Set (2003)
 
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Nurses (2002)
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘The Legend of Bruce Lee’: The little-known syndicated comic strip
01.25.2016
11:46 am

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Art
Media
Movies

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The world premiere of Enter the Dragon, the kung fu crossover hit, happened in Hong Kong on July 26, 1973, six days after Bruce Lee’s shocking death at the age of 32. Less than a month later the movie hit America, sparking a global sensation into that most charming of martial arts heroes.

The absence of Lee from his own worldwide phenomenon made it an inviting prospect for others to cash in. This led to the advent of “Bruceploitation,” analogous to the dozens of Beatles imitation LPs that were released in 1964 and 1965, in which “Lee-alikes” were cast in obvious imitations of signature Bruce Lee classics like Fists of Fury or Game of Death.

The kinetic skill of Bruce Lee doesn’t seem like the greatest starting point for a syndicated comic strip, but then again, that bizarre Amazing Spider-Man daily strip has been around for decades and is still going strong. At any rate, there were several attempts to do a Bruce Lee strip in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Actually, one of the widely acknowledged legends of cartooning, Milton Caniff, known for his work on Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon, almost got involved with a daily Bruce Lee strip. In 1977 he and Noel Sickles (of Scorchy Smith renown) produced at least one strip for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate before Caniff lost interest, which you can see below (click for a larger view):
 

 
According to Allan Holtz, author of American Newspaper Comics: An Encyclopedic Reference Guide, “Caniff grew disgusted with what he considered nitpicky suggestions from the syndicate and dropped the project.”

However, five years later, in 1982, the Los Angeles Times Syndicate did run a Bruce Lee strip for approximately a year in “a vanishingly small number of newspapers,” as Holtz puts it. So don’t be too surprised if you missed it in your halcyon youth, it didn’t last very long and it wasn’t in too many papers.

The strip was called “The Legend of Bruce Lee.” It was written by Sharman DiVono, who was also penning the Star Trek strip at the time, and drawn by Fran Matera, who just a couple years later would commence on a 20-year run putting out Steve Roper and Mike Nomad. Later on the strip was taken over by Dick Kulpa.

Holtz is insightful on the reasons the Bruce Lee strip didn’t get wider distribution:
 

The small client list might seem odd given the devoted fandom for Bruce Lee. However, we must consider a few factors. First of all, newspaper editors were pretty much convinced that continuity strips were dead, so the strip had a lot of resistance to overcome. Secondly, the market was awash in media tie-in strips at that time—Spider-Man, Hulk, Dallas, Star Trek, Star Wars and others were all jockeying for newspaper space. Bruce Lee may have just seemed like the low man on that totem pole—popular with teens, certainly, but did he have the mass appeal to sell newspapers? Strips featuring much higher-profile media stars were just limping along as it was—why take a chance on a cult figure that many older readers had never heard of?

 
There aren’t too many images of “The Legend of Bruce Lee” out there, but I was able to score a few. First up is this gorgeous, full-color Sunday edition (in all cases, click for a larger view):
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Mind Expander Chair & other inventions from the far-out world of 60s architects Haus-Rucker-Co.
01.21.2016
12:10 pm

Topics:
Art

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Haus-Rucker-Co. Environment Transformer
Haus-Rucker-Co. “Environment Transformer” the “Flyhead,” 1968
 
In the late 1960s, a group of architects in Vienna decided to see what would happen if they created architectural designs that had the ability to alter a person’s state of perception or consciousness, using sensory enhancement or deprivation. 
 
Haus-Rucker-Co.
Haus-Rucker-Co. “Environment Transformers” left to right - the “Flyhead,” “Viewatomizer,” and the “Drizzler,” 1968
 
Comprised of Laurids Ortner, Günther Zamp Kelp and Klaus Pinter (and later joined by Manfred Ortner in 1971) the group called themselves Haus-Rucker-Co. In 1967 the group formed around something they called the “Mind Expanding Program” which produced a number of sensory enhancement machines like the “Mind Expander Chair,” futuristic helmets known as “Environment Transformers” with names like “Flyhead,” “Viewatomizer,” and the “Drizzler,” (pictured above), as well as the groovy-sounding, “Yellow Heart” (pictured below).
 
Haus-Rucker-Co.
Haus-Rucker-Co. “Yellow Heart” 1968
 
Haus-Rucker-Co.
 
The psychedelic architects described the experience of being inside the “Yellow Heart” as follows:

The idea that a concentrated experience of space could offer a direct approach to changes in consciousness led to the construction of a pneumatic space capsule, called the ‘Yellow Heart.’ Through a lock made of three air rings, one arrived at a transparent plastic mattress. Offering just enough space for two people, it projected into the centre of a spherical space that was made up of soft, air-filled chambers. Lying there one could perceive that the air-filled “pillows,” whose swelling sides almost touched one, slowly withdrew, that is to say the surrounding space appeared to expand, finally forming a translucent sphere and then, in a reverse motion, flowed out again. Large dots arranged in a grid on the outer and inner surfaces of the air-shells changed in rhythmic waves from milky patches to a clear pattern. The space pulsated at extended intervals.

 
Haus-Rucker-Co.
Haus-Rucker-Co. “Mind Expander” chair, 1968
 

“Mind Expander Chair” II by Haus-Rucker-Co. 1969
 
The idea for Haus-Rucker’s “Mind Expander Chair” was born from their “Balloon for Two” installation, which was a large balloon hung from a window outside a small apartment in Vienna with structures and trees inside of it. The Mind Expander Chair on the other hand was not as precarious, and was created for two people to use at the same time. The idea was that a woman would sit on her male companion’s lap and once everyone was too close for comfort, the large cover of the Mind Expander Chair would be pulled down and something called a “rhythm machine” would be (ahem), turned on.

Haus-Rucker’s CV is rich with sci-fi daydreams, and to feature them all here would be much like their creations, seemingly impossible. There have been a few books published on the history of Haus-Rucker-Co. worth looking into like Haus-Rucker-Co: Architectural Utopia Reloaded that features a large sampling of the group’s space-aged creations. Images from Haus-Rucker’s “Mind Expansion” series, as well as their interactive piece from 1970, “Giant Billiard” follow.

You could grab your bong to enhance your own personal experience, but trust me, you’re not going to need it.
 
Haus-Rucker-Co.
An early version of the “Mind Expander” chair, 1967
 
Oase Number 7, an installation by Haus-Rucker-Co. in progress Kassel, Germany, 1972
“Oase Number 7,” an installation in progress by Haus-Rucker-Co., Kassel, Germany, 1972
 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Revealing portraits of neo-burlesque performers (NSFW)
01.21.2016
09:46 am

Topics:
Art
Sex

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Kat Mon Dieu.
 
The photographer Leland Bobbé describes the neo-burlesque movement as “an art form that allows the performer to use their bodies and costumes to deliver a statement or message.”

It can be a political, social or comedic statement. The message is up to the performer because they come up with their own act including costumes and music to deliver their message. It’s different from classic burlesque in that in classic burlesque it’s just about a seductive reveal of the body without having a specific message.

Neo-burlesque kicked-off around the mid-1990s. Billie Madley in New York and Michelle Carr her Velvet Hammer Burlesque troupe in Los Angeles revamped the spirit of old burlesque with some feisty punk pizazz. Neo-burlesque “put the tease into striptease” and brought spectacle, comedy and art back to the stage. They created their own characters, designed and made their own costumes, and choreographed their own acts. Unlike old burlesque, these young independent performers were making shows that often appealed more to women than men. And so neo-burlesque became a thing.

When New York-based portrait, lifestyle, street and landscape assignment photographer Leland Bobbé heard about the resurgence in neo-burlesque he knew it was something he had to photograph. He was not interested in just documenting these artists’ stage performances. He wanted to “capture their creative costumes and stage persona in very real non-posed studio portraits.”

Bobbé put an ad in Craig’s List. Made some contacts, got some referrals and soon neo-burlesque performers were knocking on his door. He photographed these beautiful everyday performers between 2010-2012. See more of Leland Bobbé‘s beautiful photographic work here.
 
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Perle Noir.
 
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Harvest Moon.
 
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Ferro.
 
More beautiful portraits of neo-burlesque performers, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Artist creates freakishly realistic doll faces
01.21.2016
09:08 am

Topics:
Art
Design

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Out of polymer clay, Russian artist Michael Zajkov creates doll faces and moveable doll body parts that are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. The detail within his work is utterly exquisite. The handpainted glass eyes are from Germany and the dolls’ hair is fashioned from French mohair. The end result, to me, is quite spooky. The longer I stare at them, the more lifelike they seem. The quality of the expressions is haunting, like they’re lost souls or have tortured pasts.

All images via Michael Zajkov’s Instagram.


 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Draw David Lynch’s hair
01.20.2016
11:09 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Heroes

Tags:


 
The good people at Welcome To Twin Peaks have shared a wonderful web widget with which you can kill some quality time today—”David Lynch Doodle.” It’s a caricature of Lynch (who turns 70 today) with his epic haircut lopped off, and you get to draw it in, with eleven simulated brushes to choose from. (While you justly make fun of my shitty efforts, bear in mind that I went to art school. And graduated. In lots of debt.)
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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