Tag Archives: Installation

Shogyo Mujo by Joshua Harker & Bartkresa Design

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Shogyo Mujo by Joshua Harker and Bartkresa Design at Adobe Max

Last week, I discovered this amazing video clip featuring a range of creative and artistic designs that were projected onto a large, three-dimensional skull. Artist, Joshua Harker and Bartkresa Design have developed a project known as, Shogyo Mujo that creates a very creative, yet dynamic experience within a three / four-dimensional format.1 If only I was able to view the skull in person, now that would be one fantastic experience worth travelling to! I was completely fascinated with this colourful, three-dimensional skull and I decided to explore the project’s overall development, the design and the concept behind Shogyo Mujo.

In reference to the Shogyo Mujo website, this remarkable sculpture “represents the 1st of the 3rd marks of Dharma which suggests that all things are impermanent.”2 At first, the sculpture was produced for the Burning Man Festival in Nevada and the overall structure including the materials were designed to burn towards the end of the festival, as referenced by Dan Cowles article via the Adobe website.

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Cowles explains that the choice of the materials as well as the unfortunate weather conditions increased the level of difficulty or complexity in regards to the overall installation. In fairness, the three-dimensional skull including the projections were very impressive despite all of the previous challenges or set backs. There is a very compelling video clip on the Adobe website that does explain the overall production of Shogyo Mujo and it is amazing to see a very large production team collaborate together in order to establish a very large-scale installation.

Cowles suggests that the sculpture was designed to burn or disintegrate for the Burning Man Festival, although I’m struggling to search for a video clip or some photographs which displays the skull burning into flames. The burning skull relates to the notion of impermanence; a clearly visibly structure is deconstructed or dismantled into something irreparable. In fact, the project has invited me to explore the idea that life is impermanent and everyone will eventually die, our bodies will decay, the skin on our bones will eventually disintegrate until there is nothing left except for our skeletal remains. I know this sounds pretty morbid right now, although the sculpture allows me to consider my impermanent existence within the world.

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Cowles briefly mentions that the ‘Shogyo Mujo’ was displayed at the Adobe Max in Los Angeles with a full “360 degree projection” and the sculpture received a very positive reaction from the audience. I would highly recommend watching the video clip, the different patterns and designs are sensational, they definitely work well within a public setting.There is a drastic improvement in terms of the execution and the ‘360 degree projection’ does add a sense of depth to the overall sculpture. I do admire the team’s effort to expand or push the project in order to reach its full potential.

The video clip exposes the overall process, the difficulties the constraints, the achievements and the final result; watching the development or the process does add a level of interest to the project. It is great to see a colourful, yet vibrant skull within the public sphere, this giant structure is transformed into a subject of beauty and creativity. In reference to Cowler, there are plans to create a “50-foot skull” and it is interesting to listen to the upcoming projects or ambitions from the design team in the Adobe video clip.3

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The project provides a unique perspective in regards to the image of the skull through a 12-foot, three dimensional structure along with a series of artistic, yet eclectic projections. I do prefer the concept behind the Burning Man Festival, where the skull would be burnt or destroyed through fire, although the execution at the Adobe Max was suburb! The project also provides a different perspective that challenges the viewer’s interpretation of the overall work. According to Joshua Harker’s website, “the project is an exploration into creating art in 4-dimensions: 1D point in space where the event occurs (lat & long), 2D projection patterns, 3D sculpture, 4D animated projections & the event as they occur in realtime.”4 This is the most exciting aspect of the project, the viewer is exposed to an elaborate project within a four-dimensional context; while Shogyo Mujo features a technical process, the artistic elements within the work are admirable!

Joshua Harker does create a range of sculptural works featuring the shape of the skull through the use of digital software including a 3D printer in order to produce a ‘tangible’ structure, as referenced by the artist’s website.5 If you have an interest for skulls, I would recommend visiting Harker’s online portfolio the collection of work is impressive! In a way, Shogyo Mujo does extend upon this particular concept at very large scale; in the Adobe video clip, Dylan Roscover explains that the digital form becomes a ‘tangible object’ that is introduced to an “analogue space.”6 The project successfully combines the use of technology and art in order to create a large, 3D skull that features a very distinctive approach towards the overall display or presentation of the installation.

Make sure to check out the Shogyo Mujo Facebook page for further details! Images are sourced from the Bartkresa Design Website and the Shogyo Mujo Linked in page.

References

1. Harker, Joshua, “Shogyo Mujo,” (Accessed 4/2/14) http://www.joshharker.com/blog/?page_id=4101
2. Shogyo Mujo Official Website, “Nothing is Permanent,” (Accessed 4/2/14) http://www.shogyomujo.org/ 
3. Cowles, Dan, “Shogyo Mujo,” Adobe (Accessed 4/2/14) http://inspire.adobe.com/2014/11/25/art_on_the_playa_shogyo_mujo.html
4. Harker, Joshua, “Shogyo Mujo”
5. Harker, Joshua, “About,” (Accesed 4/2/14) http://www.joshharker.com/blog/?page_id=2
6. Roscover, Dylan in Adobe Inspire Video Clip by Dan Cowles (Accessed 4/2/14) http://inspire.adobe.com/2014/11/25/art_on_the_playa_shogyo_mujo.html


Brook Andrew: Vox Tasmania at the National Gallery of Victoria

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Human Skull & the Gramophone in Vox Tasmania – Brook Andrew

Yesterday I decided to search through all of my photographs that I have taken over the past year and it’s surprising what you will actually find! I found one photo in particular that immediately captured my attention and I began to wonder why I left this image on my SD card for so long.

In February 2014, I remember visiting the Melbourne Now exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria that explored Melbourne’s artistic and cultural diversity. According to the official NGV website, the Melbourne Now exhibition featured a range of contemporary works including visual arts, sculpture, graphic design, architecture and performance art.

I was fascinated with one installation in particular entitled ‘Vox: Tasmania’ by Brook Andrew, a contemporary artist born in Sydney whose work depicts certain issues relating to culture, identity and colonialism, as referenced by the NGV website. On Brook Andrew’s WordPress Site, the artist specifically mentions his ‘Australian indigenous / Scottish’ heritage that may feature a connection towards the artist’s work. 

According to Andrew’s WordPress Page, ‘Vox Tasmania’ features a range of books, photographs, images and artefacts that reflect the treatment of the indigenous community in Australia during the 19th century.

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Human Skeleton within Vox Tasmania – Brook Andrew

In reference to the NGV, Andrew’s work is based upon the research and documentation conducted by Richard Berry; an autonomist who collected indigenous remains from Tasmania in order to thoroughly analyse this particular race. The skulls were often used as possessions or trophies and the remains were used for other ‘scientific purposes.’

The installation also features a large, intricate gramophone that is placed next to the wunderkammer; according to Andrew, the gramophone amplifies the way these indigenous remains were perceived or valued back in the 1990’s. As I peered through the gramophone, I recognised a human skull enclosed within a glass container and the installation does provide a very interesting perspective.

From a personal perspective, the gramophone does create distance between the viewer and the skull; it was as if I was viewing the installation from the other side of the gallery space. Once I continued to walk around the installation, I suddenly realised how close I was standing to the wunderkammer. The work itself creates an illusion, to me the installation did create quite a surreal experience.

As I began to walk around the installation, I immediately discovered an entire human skeleton carefully and delicately rearranged within the container. This is definitely my favourite section and I couldn’t take my eyes off the skeleton, I don’t think I’ve ever been this close to a real human skull before, well I haven’t actually seen one in the flesh before.

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Photograph Two – Human Skeleton in the Wunderkammer

The human skull reflects a moment in time, a moment in history that is almost impossible to forget. The installation has invited me to question whom the remains to belong to and the actual cause of death, the mistreatment towards the indigenous population stares the viewer right in the face!

The installation was confronting and the skull initiates ideas relating to death or mortality and I began to wonder what happens to our remains once we die? Would our bones last forever or would they eventually disintegrate?

The work itself does provide quite a confronting experience, although I was intrigued by the overall subject matter. While I couldn’t take my eyes off the skeleton I was also quite disturbed by these historical moments and the way these remains were treated.

The installation also features a range of books, images and photographs that also coincides with the human skeleton. It’s interesting to see how these different elements connect to each other in some way. As I continued to walk around the wunderkammer, I began to recognise the minor details that I failed to recognise at the very beginning, it was as if I was searching for the missing pieces for a jigsaw puzzle.

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Artefacts, Images and records within the installation 

Overall the Melbourne Now exhibition at the NGV was definitely worth the visit and the works on display were displayed in a unique, creative manner. Andrew’s ‘Vox Tasmania’ explores an intriguing yet confronting subject through a range of images, photos and historical artefacts including a real human skeleton!

The way the works were displayed was fascinating; although I was shocked to discover the way these remains were used for research or private collections. If you haven’t see Andrew’s work before I would definitely recommend visiting the artist’s WordPress page or the NGV website.

Photographs taken by Black Calavera – Charlotte Pridding

References

Melbourne Now: 22 Nov – 23 March 2014, “About the Exhibition,” National Gallery of Victoria, 2013, last modified 17/7/14, http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/melbournenow/about-melbourne-now

Melbourne Now: 22 Nov – 23 March 2014, “Meet the Artists: Brook Andrew,” last modified
17/7/14, National Gallery of Victoria 2013,
http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/melbournenow/artists/andrew

Melbourne Now: 22 Nov – 23 March 2014, Wall Text – Brook Andrew: Vox Tasmania, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.

Brook Andrew, “Planet Art: The Best Art from Around the World, June 2013, WordPress, last modified 17/7/14, https://brookandrew.wordpress.com/page/2/

Brook Andrew, “Researcher Profile,” Monash University 2014, http://www.monash.edu.au/research/people/profiles/profile.html?sid=51592&pid=4536


Nathan Sawaya

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Sawaya Lego Skulls

Nathan Sawaya uses Lego Bricks to Produce Three Dimensional Installations. 

On a very warm Sunday afternoon, I discovered an impressive installation constructed from individual lego pieces, Nathan Sawaya has produced a series of lego skulls in blue, red, yellow and green. Sawaya is a contemporary artist who uses everyday materials to create large, three dimensional installations; his most famous  and his most memorable works are constructed from a range of colourful lego bricks.

I remember visiting Nathan Sawaya’s exhibition at Federation Square in Melbourne a few years ago, “The Art of the Brick” featured Sawaya’s most unique installations, the actual size and the proportion was extraordinary! I remember walking straight into the gallery space and standing right next to this giant tyrannosaurus rex made from lego bricks, Sawaya’s installation was almost the same size as the gallery space and the level of detail was rather impressive.

As I continued to walk throughout the gallery space, I was just amazed by the number of installations that were displayed within the exhibition, every corner featured a completely different body of work, which is good in a way because I always had something interesting to look at. Within the very last gallery space, I recognised a red, blue, green and yellow skull mounted to the back wall, the display and the presentation feature similarities to Andy Warhol’s Pop-Art Paintings from the 1970’s.

Colorful Skulls - Nathan Sawaya

The lego bricks in particular create a very interesting effect, the four different skulls on the back wall appear pixelated when they are viewed from a distance. Once you begin to walk closer to the installation, you are able to recognise the detail around the eye sockets and the jawline. Sawaya has successfully transformed an ordinary, everyday object into a masterpiece, the artist has used the lego blocks to create unique and rather extraordinary installations.

In fact I was so inspired by the exhibition that I decided to purchased 13,000 pieces of lego in order to create my own installation, it was a very interesting obsession that lasted for an entire year. I’ve always enjoyed working with lego and the thought of using this particular material for an art project was just way too exciting! If you make a mistake, all you do is remove the bricks, what more could you possible ask for?

I’ve always wondered how the artist assembles his large scale installations, I’m assuming the artist would use a special glue to hold everything together, otherwise I could not imagine how anyone would be able to produce a large three dimensional installation without the lego bricks falling to pieces. Of course my favourite installation in the exhibition were the lego skulls, in a way Sawaya has used the individual colours in order to create a unique style and aesthetic, it wouldn’t deliver the same effect if the colours were all mixed together.

So what does it mean to create a skull from individual lego bricks? Well the skull and the lego bricks are continually manufactured and reproduced on a regular basis, they’re two recognisable symbols that have influenced popular culture and contemporary art, I would say that lego and skulls just work really well together!

While the exhibition is no longer exhibiting at Federation Square, I would recommend viewing Sawaya’s work in person if you ever have the chance.

For more Information please click on the link below

http://brickartist.com/about/

http://pix.alaporte.net/pub/USA/New+York+NY/Art+and+Statues/Brick+by+Brick+Lego+Sculptures
+by+Nathan+Sawaya+Agora+Gallery/


David A. Smith

20/8/12 – Death Ray

A friend of mine had mentioned the works of David Smith via Facebook. David Smith is a contemporary artist who has used everyday objects for bizarre or unusual installations. On Smith’s website there is an image of a bright blue skull that is juxtaposed with plastic toy guns that extrude from the eye sockets. The reflective surface also provides an interesting composition between the skull and the toy guns that are attached to the wall.

One could argue that the installation features a pop / retro style that may question the image of the skull within a commercial setting. The installation may demonstrate how the skull has become a commodity within the urban culture. My visual own observations have identified the skull in window displays, advertisements, billboards and even television commercials that also exemplifies a strong demand for the skull within the mainstream market.

In regards to the installation, the skull appears almost surprised or shocked as two bright red guns impale both of the eye sockets. The actual placement is quite   surreal and obscure, it’s not everyday you see a skull with two red guns protruding from each socket. Smith has also created other unusual compositions such as the skull and the handsaw or the skull and the machete that is balanced on top of it’s head.

Perhaps the skull is displayed as an ambiguous subject that has no direct or a specific meaning. Perhaps the skull is subjective, each person would have a different perspective or interpretation to the subject of death.According to Elizabeth Carmicheal and Chloe Sayar “The skull and bones are the universal symbol of death” (Carmichael & Sayar, 2003) Is the skull an iconic representation or has the skull lost it’s original meaning or association with death? In the 21st Century, the skull is impossible to avoid in almost every art form, has commercial or industrial goods removed the subject of death from the visual culture entirely?

David.A.Smith Official Site, http://www.davidasmithart.co.uk/4127.html (Accessed 20/8/12)

Carmichael, Elizabeth, and Chloe Sayar. The Skeleton at the Feast: The Day of the Dead in Mexico.  Texas: Texas Press Printing, 2003 p.41

http://mountboard.tumblr.com/post/29726153097/myampgoesto11-david-a-smith-death-ray