Archive for October, 2009

Stephen Wiltshire draws manhattan skyline from memory

steph01British artist stephen wiltshire is currently attempting to draw the manhattan skyline
from memory. since monday october 26th wiltshire began filling in an 18 foot canvas
at the pratt institute, brooklyn. the drawing is expected to be complete by friday.
you can follow his progress through the live webcam here.

wiltshire diagnosed with autism at the age of three displays an unusually powerful
photographic memory that he has applied to rendering cityscapes. he can look at the subject
of his drawing once and reproduce it accurately with photographic detail, down to the exact
number of columns or windows on a building. he memorizes their shapes, locations
and the architecture.

having completed cityscapes of some of the world’s most iconic cities – london, tokyo,
hong kong, rome, madrid, frankfurt, dubai, and jerusalem, the new york panorama marks
wiltshire’s last cityscape. after this piece is complete, he said he will pursue drawing
individual buildings.

Paolo Ventura: Winter Stories


Photographer Paolo Ventura’s new book “Winter Stories” follows an old circus performer’s visions as he looks back on his life during his final moments. Wonderfully, Ventura built the protagonist’s haunting and melancholy world with his own bare hands, constructing incredibly detailed miniature sets from props he collected at flea markets, and then photographed them to appear life-size. The result is a dark but beautifully evocative narrative series—and a fantastic follow-up to Ventura’s last book, War Souvenir—that will keep its audience coming back again and again. The book includes several plates, as well as Ventura’s pre-build sketches and polaroids, along with an essay by Eugenia Parry.

What the circus performer remembers are not moments of great drama, rather, they’re fleeting glimpses of his day to day. Some are particularly unique to his own existence—scenes occupied, in turns, by a tightrope walker, a sword swallower, a stilt walker, a clown, and a fire-eater—but many are universal: the early morning light washing over a bare room, the view of a street corner after a movie lets out, the first snow of the season, the full moon’s effect on a dark corner.

LINK to Artist’s Website with Slideshow

Should Photos Come With Warning Labels?

Ralph Lauren ad
A Ralph Lauren ad, featuring a model with hips narrower than her head — so cartoonish, so grotesque, so right for Halloween — has become the latest focus of the already ongoing criticism of digitally altered fashion spreads, even though it ran only in Japan. Foes see such images as harming women by promoting a standard of beauty so false that it can be achieved solely by manipulating a photograph of an already slender model. This image is an extreme example of what happens to many ads, a practice that has become so dubious that some governments are taking action. Should ads using electronically altered images be banned?

Link to Full article in NY Times

No Impact Week: Trash

As part of Trash Day for No Impact Week, (learn more here and sign up) we’re taking a deeper look into trash, recycling and where it all goes after we throw it away. Check out this inspired slideshow from photojournalist Mathieu Young who takes us into a California sorting plant in Pico Rivera, where an average of 225 tons of waste are processed each day.
In honor of trash day, we’re launching two citizen journalism projects  .1) Get to the bottom of what happens to trash in your area. Where does it all go? Today or tomorrow, visit the closest landfill or waste processing center and help HuffPost readers experience the place. With photos or in a video under two minutes in length, show us what the place looks like and how much trash they see on a daily basis. If it’s too far away, consider simply interviewing your trash collector to get the scoop. For inspiration, check out The Story of Stuff.

LINK to slideshow and article

Scientists Visualize / Artists Experiment


Thursday, November 5th, 2009 – 6pm reception, 7pm keynote address & panel
Carnegie Institute of Washington, 1530 P Street, NW, Washington, DC
FREE and Open to the Public

How and where do art and science – two seemingly disparate disciplines of intellectual inquiry – overlap? And, at that confluence, what can practitioners of both disciplines learn to expand their unique fields of knowledge and to affect consciousness?

SOFAlab’s keynote speaker, Tod Machover – Professor of Music and Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, the inventor of Hyperinstruments, a trained-Juilliard musician, and, the man Los Angeles Times deemed, “America’s Most Wired Composer” – will bring his boundless knowledge of creative technology to the discussion. With each of Machover’s innovations, such as his Hyperinstruments, Hyperscore, Brain Opera, Toy Symphony and MMH (Music, Mind and Health), he has intentionally explored the space where science and art collide and in doing so challenged traditional perceptions of both fields.

Expanding the discussion further, SOFAlab’s panelists will include Maria Barbosa, Professor of Biology and a DC-based installation artist, Ernesto Barreto, Associate Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy and the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study at George Mason University, and Brandon Morse, Professor of Digital Media at the University of Maryland and a DC-based video installation artist specializing in 3-D environments and animation software.

Edward Burtynsky’s Oil @ The Corcoran Gallery of Art


“How do you photograph something you can’t see?,” was the question Edward Burtynsky faced when creating the images in Oil, on view at the Corcoran Gallery of Art starting tomorrow. The world-renowned photographer began his career focused on consumerism and consumption, but around 15 years ago he had his “oil epiphany” – that oil is at the center of everything in an industrialized world and yet, we never see it, only its end products. The resulting portfolio of work is not a heavy-handed political statement, but a gorgeous documentary on the uses and ugliness of oil. I first discovered Burtynsky’s work in the (must-see) 2006 documentary Manufactured Landscapes and, admittedly, have eagerly been looking forward to seeing his work in person. It did not even remotely disappoint.

Burtynsky’s large-scale, sweeping landscape photographs deftly allow us to “see” oil, both in each powerful individual scene, and together in a longer narrative, which is how the Corcoran has set up his exhibit. In the first gallery, oil fields in California and Houston and refineries in New Brunswick set the scene. In mostly aerial shots, oil rigs dot an otherwise barren landscape fading all the way into remarkable horizons, marking the beginning of the “lifecycle.” A Texan near me at the press preview exclaimed, “In my district they’d never be that close together!” Is that better, then, if the same number of rigs take up even more space? (Would it make as interesting a picture?) The refineries are highly organized labyrinths of green and silver pipes that look like fine jewelry.

Link to full article

Exhibit Information – Corcoran Gallery

America, Captured in a Flash

Sadness seems to trickle through the 83 photographs in his classic 1959 book, “The Americans,” his disturbed and mournful song-of-the-road portrait of a new homeland and the subject of a 50th-anniversary exhibition now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 Once rejected for its pessimism, now sanctified for its political prescience, the book distills heartache, anger, fear, loneliness and occasional joy into a brew that has changed flavor with time but stayed potent. You may not know exactly what you’re imbibing when you pick up “The Americans” for the first time, or when you visit the Met show, but a few pictures in, and you’re hooked.

Link to Full Article and Slideshow