• Flowers and Insects: The Art of Toru Kamei

    Toru Kamei’s lush works are reminiscent of vanitas paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries. His motifs are flowers with eyes, skulls, butterflies, and other creatures including bats and beetles. His masterful use of lighting and color brings a sumptuous glow to his illustration of death and decay. I love his juxtapositional imagery, such as the blossoms overflowing and spilling from the rib cage in almost obscene abundance, while strange, alien, seemingly sentient vegetation grows around it in the night, with its sense of still, mysterious hunger.

  • DEMOBAZA

    One of my favorite online clothing stores right now is Bulgaria-based DEMOBAZA. Raw, gauzy, tattered, asymmetrical knits dominate this unique, futuristic label. With unconventional shapes, various textures, cutouts galore, exposed seams, arm warmers, cowls, and hoods, it brings to mind the image of a fierce yet pixielike urban nomad. I would describe its aesthetic as haute cyberpunk. I love the unusual silhouettes which lend themselves so much to draping and layering.

    See more after the cut

  • A Brief Review of Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs

    “There is a spoon of medicine, I says, and it’s a silver spoon what you did get born holding, ever so painful for mummy dear but grasped so hard it was in a little screaming red fist. Later you used your spoon to dig a hole in the garden to get all the way to Mexico, and then you did eat worms with your spoon on the way to stay fat.

    This spoon was the same you gave your twins, then you used it to dig a hole to their clockwork souls and you ate up their hearts like soup on the way to keep you fat.

    Fat little mole, where will you dig next, I asks, you and your little silver spoon made from the silver spine of your children, and wrapped in the hair of your dearly departed?”

    Although Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs has had a somewhat mixed reception since its release last September, it haunted and affected me as games rarely do. I think I even consider it stronger than its acclaimed predecessor, Amnesia: The Dark Descent. I’m not evaluating it from the perspective of gameplay mechanics or anything of the sort. Descent is much scarier and more horrific in terms of actual terror. But I found Pigs to be much more moving, and darker in its far-reaching implications. See more after the cut

  • Cristina Francov

    {Cristina Francov}
    from her artist statement:

    As far as my memory goes, I have always been characterized by having a rather loose connection with what most people accept as truth, the real world. And all these years I have believed that thinking different, walking on unusual paths – among many other things -, could be the only way to discover the sources of my healing.

    My work started as a worldly extension of my dreams. I wanted that exquisite context in which dreams unfold to be, somehow, relished by the senses beyond my own imagination only. Growing up, I realized dreams flashed small centrifugal shards of my persona, the universe and all of it encompassed symbols open to personal conclusions stemming from brief events, oftentimes imperceptible to myself and the world at large. As if it almost were a cryptic game of questions and answers.

    And so I assumed dreams and symbolic manifestations to be coded messages that, when translated into images, could establish themselves as obvious but never simple links straight to the anima and spirit of the beholder (and my own). I worked on my dreams as I worked on myself; trained my hand and tied it to my mind in an effort to lift off the chains of reason and sense; opposite actions that I hoped would someday teach me a way of materializing all of that which floated in rather ethereal and cosmogonic forms.

    I posited that by reinterpreting those most substantial symbols from the unconscious I could actually be deciphering a new form of cosmic re-cognizing and elementary control, maybe even taking my language skills to different, exciting levels. It appeared to me, just as many other have concluded from their own experiences, that I was living when I dreamed and dreamed when I was living.

    Suddenly, everything was ambitiously unnatural.

    Today I am certain but of a single thing: this work I do is a vibrant reflection of one and many lives within myself, holding the power to represent a revealing reflection full of awe to those beholding it. It is a timeless threshold towards what once was, now is and possibly will be. I speak with my own version of reality and then release it to take its own course. I translate my visions, but also aim at narrating and portraying that which I am still unable to understand; in the hope that everything will fall into place one day.

    I know not if I am being healed, but am still fine with looking at things in a different way.

  • Naomi Kizhner’s Energy Addicts

    Energy Addicts is a project by Israeli graduate student Naomi Kizhner. Kizhner, a designer and “trend theorist,” seeks to “provoke the thought about how far we will go in order to ‘feed’ our addiction in the world of declining resources.” The project comprises three devices, the Blinker, the E-Pulse Conductor, and the Blood Bridge – jewelry pieces which harness the body’s energy to generate electrical power. Some of them are embedded into the veins, and thus invasive.

    Kizhner plays with the idea of human bodies as “biological wealth.” Using “invasive gold and biopolymer devices,” electromagnets, micro energy cells, and micro turbines, she turns the wearer into a natural resource, where “simple movements performed by the subconscious are fully utilized” – provoking interesting questions about ethics and the quantification of the individual. The Blinker extracts energy from blinks of the eyelids, the Blood Bridge uses a hypodermic needle inserted into the arm and circulates blood through the wheel, turning it, and the E-Pulse Conductor is inserted in veins near the spine and picks up electrical impulses.

    This ingenious project is simultaneously technological wizardry, fashion statement, and social commentary. She has also made a short film to accompany it, which depicts individuals using their bodies to light up their world in a way that makes it meaningful for them, drawing them further in to this addiction, but also seeming to drain them. It is as if they only feel alive when they can have this visionary reality before them, which requires their energy to manifest; so what makes them feel alive is what ironically enervates and devitalizes them, and is also what closes them off to any other world, perpetuating the cycle.