Monday, 24 January 2011

Matthew Barney

Barney's cinematic work on the 'Cremaster Cycle' relies heavily on the use of costumes. Below is a trailer for the whole series of 5 feature length films. They are symbol laden, esoteric and although no always full body costumes, can give you an idea of how much the bodies shape can be altered with costume.

Paul McCarthy

McCarthy's video work involve a range of costumes. McCarthy's main interest lies in everyday activities and the mess created by them, his other works range from large inflatables to more traditional sculptures. see his video 'painter' here.

Martin Engelbrecht + Nicolas de l'Armessin

At the end of the 17th century Nicolas de l'Armessin (one of them: there were a few artisans by that name) engraved a series of plates - Costumes Grotesques - in which tradesmen and their occupations were depicted with the tools of their trade as body parts.

In 1730 Martin Engelbrecht released his series of similar figures to de l'Armessin (
Assemblage nouveau des manouvries habilles).

During the 19th century when the idea of physiognomy - judging characters by their physical appearance (eg. phrenology) - had its greatest following, English lithographic artists GE Madeley and G Spratt released another series (itself after
Cooke's 'Implemental Characters') of occupation prints. The pseudo-anthropomorphic illustrations were issued just prior to the Victorian industrial period when satirical presentation of the 'machine-age' was common.

Hew Locke

Locke's work often focuses on the investigation of power. His investigation in the display of Power has expanded into new areas such as royal and swagger portraiture, coats-of-arms, public statuary, trophies, masculinity, company share certificates, weaponry and costume (displayed in the images above).

Gareth Pugh.

Gareth Pugh was mentioned for the last years students but i am going to mention him again as his work is a perfect reference point for the next part of the Author project. Elements in his designs include PVC inflated into voluminous coats, black and white patchwork squares, Perspex discs linked like chain mail, and shiny latex masks and leggings; he has used materials including mink, parachute silk, foam footballs, afro-weave synthetic hair, and electrically charged plastic in his clothing.Pugh describes his designs as being "about the struggle between lightness and darkness." see a video used for his first foray into the Italian fashion world here.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Prison Technology

The material constraint of a prison inspire fantastic innovation and re-use of made parts. A lot of the devices made in this manner are crude weapons, but others include eating implements, tattoo instruments, music, and other tools.

Above you see an electric cooking stove made with wire element and a brick. Different environments lead to different solutions to life's challenges, resulting in this wide variety of accoutrements.

Above is a description of how to make a cup out of a toilet roll, and how to hide it in your cell.

Scott Garrett - Gestures From Around The World.

“al-Hamdu li-llaah”
Means: "Praise be to God"
How to do it: after shaking hands, place right hand across the chest and bow head briefly. This is a sign of respect to someone of high office or an older person, such as your partner’s parents.

em tak slozhnu?”

Means: “Why so complicated?”
How to do it: reach behind head and scratch left ear with right hand or vice versa – means that something has been expressed backwards or has been made too complicated.

Gestures, as well as language and objects, can help you interact and communicate with the society that surrounds you.

Manual for Survival - Protect and Survive.

Protect and Survive was a public information series on civil defence produced by the British government during the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was intended to inform British citizens on how to protect themselves during a nuclear attack, and consisted of a mixture of pamphlets, radio broadcasts, and public information films. The series had originally been intended for distribution only in the event of dire national emergency, but provoked such intense public interest that the pamphlets were authorised for general release.

if you are interested in this cold war view of fundamentals for survival, and the images associated, read the whole booklet here.

Lisa Milroy

Milroy's images are of everyday objects reproduced with intimacy and regularity. Often on the verge of trompe l'oe.

Philip Guston.

Gustons work moved from abstract expressionism in the late 1960's and settled on more representational style. In this body of work he created a lexicon of images such as Klansmen, lightbulbs, shoes, cigarettes, and clocks. The seem to speak of the world that surrounded him, but also they were symbols of that which was not present.


Walden (first published as Walden; or, Life in the Woods) is an American book written by noted Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau. The work is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, satire, and manual for self reliance. An investigation into what is self sufficiency. You can download a free copy here.