Shared posts

14 Jul 09:10

woutervandevoorde: Hume Sunrise

14 Jul 16:54

J. Vergara

by antbaena
07 Jul 18:36

"Il récolte plus de 6.000 dollars sur Kickstarter pour préparer une salade de pommes de terre"

“Il récolte plus de 6.000 dollars sur Kickstarter pour préparer une salade de pommes de terre”

- 20Minutes (à cause de beldorin)
08 Jul 08:05

Patrick Joust

08 Jul 17:19

Stop-Motion Animation Reveals the Insides of Objects Sanded Down Layer by Layer

by Christopher Jobson

Stop Motion Animation Reveals the Insides of Objects Sanded Down Layer by Layer video art stop motion animation

Stop Motion Animation Reveals the Insides of Objects Sanded Down Layer by Layer video art stop motion animation

Stop Motion Animation Reveals the Insides of Objects Sanded Down Layer by Layer video art stop motion animation

As a quick follow-up to our video from Keith Skretch yesterday, here’s a similar concept from two years ago by Laurin Döpfner who used an industrial sander to grind down logs, electronics, and even a skull in thin layers which he then photographed to create this amazing stop motion video. Each object is comprised of about 100 different photos, a process I can only image was extremely labor intensive.

This will be trending on /r/ThingsCutInHalfPorn/ by the end of the day if it hasn’t already. While you’re at it see also @HalfPics, and for the not so faint of heart there’s the Visible Human Project. (via Jason Sondhi)

09 Jul 13:46

Shane Walsh - From the series Shipwreck Paintings (2010)



Shane Walsh - From the series Shipwreck Paintings (2010)

07 Jul 14:08

Are Ad Agencies Still Cool?


(Back in 2011, one of the largest ad agencies in the world flew this banner over the hoards at the Cannes ad festival. Note the spelling of "famously".)
Short answer: No. Long answer: FUCK No.

Today’s ad agencies are nothing like Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce in the 1960s. They’re not even like Crispin Porter + Bogusky in 2005.

If you’re a young creative, you’re not going to be Don Draper or Peggy Olson or even Stan Rizzo. You’re definitely not going to be Alex Bogusky.

You have no new truly original ideas in your portfolio. You’re lucky if you have even one mildly interesting idea amongst all the hackneyed, derivative dogshit. I know this: I’ve seen your portfolio. 100 fucking times.

Ad students have been sending me their portfolios—nearly daily, unsolicited—for 8 years, asking for advice. I never write them back.

This is my mass response.

If you want a “cool” ad agency creative department job, it’s there, waiting for you (at least at the big mega-merged bloated shops) if you happen to be one of those few young creatives with one (better, two) of those mildly interesting ideas in your portfolio. Because agencies these days are as desperate as a virgin male 2nd semester college senior.

Last fall, freelance designer Murat Mutlu wrote a 2,100 word article, republished to a wide audience on Creative Review, titled: "Why talented creatives are leaving your agency."

If you work at an ad agency, worked at an ad agency, or especially, if you're planning on working at an ad agency: read it. It is well worth your time.

This trend of good copywriters, art directors, and designers bolting or eschewing established ad agencies is not a new one. AdAge published a piece about it back in 2010. But, it is a trend that is gaining momentum, exponentially. Established creatives are heading to social start-ups and media websites. More and more brands are hiring these disgruntled creatives and bringing their ad work in-house.

Meanwhile, as Mutlu says:

"Agencies...are happy to keep trying to live in a world which is ceasing to exist. Clinging onto the same ideas, tools, and ways of working with CEOs who are either oblivious to the current mindset or too frightened to instigate change. It's the perfect storm of increasing entrepreneurialism, decreasing loyalty and an industry reveling in mediocrity."

Of course, all the creative directors at all of ad agencies of all sizes will still use the "C" (creative) and "I" (innovative) words in your interview. If you're a "hotshot" who they're hot to hire and you've got a good feeling about the place, tell them you'd like to freelance for a couple of months first. Facades are easy to erect.

Unless you have inside info, it’s hard to tell how “creative” an ad agency’s work environment is. One clue is to look at is the agency’s own self-promo stuff.

I've gathered together some recent agency self-promo and recruitment ads/videos/staff press photos—instances where ad agencies try to show the world just how fucking cool they really are.



Take a look, and see if these seem like the kind of places you'd like to spend working 10, 12 (or more, depending on the shop) hours a day.



The Ungar Group: "No Regrets"



Chicago's Ungar Group aired this spot, locally, during an April episode of last season's Mad Men.


Copy: "If you're looking for an advertising agency and don't meet with The Ungar Group. you will regret it for the rest of your lives."

Why is the man a zombie? I think they were trying to reference the Walking Dead (also on AMC). Why would you give your money to this ad agency? Because you're fucking brain dead. Back in 2007, Ungar created another cracking self-promo video where they threatened a kitten with a .357 Magnum.

SapientNitro "Idea Engineers"


SapientNitro has 37 offices worldwide, and is considered a "hot" "edgy" digital ad agency. What happened here with this auto-tuned "rap" song, I'm educatedly guessing, is one of the upper management guys desperately wanted to show off his guitar "skills".

"We're thinking not sinking..." Idea Engineers...


Planet Earth deserves to be destroyed by the Volgons because of this video.

DigitasLBi: "Inheritance"


This is the shop where every young "digital" creative wants to work. Their logo is a unicorn.

From the press note about the ad:

"...we're firm believers in practicing what we preach. And what we preach is that creating content that intrigues, engages and even entertains is a much better way of getting noticed than slavishly manufacturing marketing messages. We also believe in being brave (how quaint) and giving new things a try...Inheritance isn't about who we are, what we do or even what we think about the world. It is however meant to be so very us (what?)."

I'm disappointed they didn't slip "storytelling" in there somewhere.


Do you want your two minutes back? Write them, and ask them to get their magical fucking unicorn to make it happen.

How bout some print promo ads.

"JWT Brazil. 76 years (old), so what?"

(sigh)

TBWA Poland.

WHERE IDEAS ARE BORN. SEE, BECAUSE, A "LIGHT BULB" IS THE UNIVERSAL SYMBOL FOR "IDEA". Bloody brilliant.

Now, some staff press photos (click for closer looks).

Press photos from two firms considered "hot" and "creative". L—El Segundo's David & Goliath. GET IT? R—NYC's Sagmeister & Walsh. They're wearing space helmets because they're "explorers". They're naked because they're morons.

 

Both Philadelphia's Red Tettemer & Partners (L) and BBH NYC (R) go the hadouken route. WHO HAD IT FIRST?

(agency promo photos via Business Insider)
__________

In conclusion: stop sending me your portfolios, and drop out of ad school.

25 Jun 14:06

ILLUSTRATION:佐藤香苗 PORTFOLIO:

by kirill
10 Feb 10:04

Live fast, die young, bad girls do it well

Kesh Angels est une série du photographe Hassan Hajjaj qui a pour sujet ces jeunes filles de Marrakech fans de motos et de scooters. Son travail est actuellement exposé dans une gallerie à New York.

06 Jan 11:43

Chiara Goia - Sculptors’ Village Link to images sent to me...





















Chiara Goia - Sculptors’ Village

Link to images sent to me by Efedra.

For all who’ve mailed me wanting a list of my favorite “curatorial” art blogs, Efedra is & has long been in my top 5. Check it out and follow for a consistently top-class addition to your dashboards.

05 Jul 10:56

Flea

by michaeldeforge


22 Jun 01:32

captain toad

04 Jun 09:52

Light held together by moisture

by but does it float
Scanning electron microscope images of of trichomes Title: Galileo Galilei Folkert
12 Jun 07:40

Vita Magazine

by Dave

Vita Magazine on grainedit.com

Design by Emiliano Ponzi

Milan-based Vita magazine recently launched a blog to highlight the artwork created for the journal. Of special interest is the Ventivita category which features a series of posters that celebrate Vita’s 20th anniversary.

 

Vita Magazine on grainedit.com

Giacomo Bagnara

Vita Magazine on grainedit.com

Sergio Membrillas

Vita Magazine on grainedit.com

Stefano Marra

Vita Magazine on grainedit.com

Marco Goran Romano

Vita Magazine on grainedit.com

Marco Goran Romano

Vita Magazine on grainedit.com

Francesco Poroli

 

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Also worth viewing:
Laura Cattaneo aka Half Past Twelve
Francesco Franchi / Intelligence in Lifestyle
Marco Goran Romano

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12 Jun 21:22

Q&A: Throne: “Tharsis Sleeps”

by Andrew Montague

British duo Nicos Livesey & Tom Bunker have created this face-melting music video for the track “Tharsis Sleeps” from metal band Throne.

To achieve the finished look, the team combined cel and embroidery techniques, creating over 3,000 finished frames — a feat that would push any hard-nosed animation team to their limits.

Along the way they reached out for support via a Kickstater campaign that helped get them over the line. We caught up with Nicos to get some insight into their process.

How did you come up with the concept for the video?
Straight up inspired by heavy metal band patches and the denim “Battle” jackets metal heads wear.
 
Can you tell us a bit about the way this was made?
So the whole film was animated frame by frame into the computer using Flash. Each shot was then exported as an image sequence, taken into Wilcom DecoStudio to be converted to a stitch format. This is so the embroidery machines can read the images.
Then each image was taken to 1 of 3 Brother Pr 1000e embroidery machines, stitched out, then neatened up by a wonderful team of interns, who cut out little jump stitches to make sure each frame was perfect. Finally each frame was shot under a rostrum and then dropped back in the edit to create the final film. Basically repeat that over 3000 times.

How did you decide on the technique?
I tested the process out on a friends sewing machine that could do one colour embroidery at a very small-scale. I was in fact just making band patches and during the process, it clicked I could animate it.
 
TharsisSleeps-1 TharsisSleeps-5 TharsisSleeps-3 TharsisSleeps-2 TharsisSleeps-4
 
Was there much trial and error getting the workflow right?
There was a huge amount of trial and error. Many things where going wrong from things going missing in the digitizing process. To the wrong colours being read by the embroidery machines and each frame coming out different sizes. Problem with tension of material, the list goes on and each process can effect the process further down the line and dealing with the sheer number of frames we were, things can get confusing.
 
How many people did you have working on the project?
It was Tom and myself full-time (after about 6 months of me working out the process and getting Brother, Wilcom & Madeira on board). Then once some funding came in we had two pretty much full-time animators. Otherwise we had people from all over the world working wirelessly trying to help with animation whenever they could. Alongside the impeccable Jen Newman who took complete charge of the embroidery with two months remaining on the film. We ended up with quite a large credits list as so many people helped here and there as much as they could.
 
What was the timeline for the project?
Initial pitch to Channel 4 was well over a year ago, I then developed the idea and process for a further 6 months between working other jobs, making sure it was possible. Then once I had worked it out and Tom jumped on board the whole thing rattled off in about 7 – 8 months.
 
How did you find the crowd funding experience?
Brilliantly. I really didn’t expect it to work at all. It’s such a great way to gauge if your project is even worth doing. The sheer amount of help people were willing to give was incredible. It really helped keep us going.
 
You can now go here and pick up your own original embroidered frame from the video. Sweet!
 
Credits:
Created by: Nicos Livesey

Directed by: Nicos Livesey & Tom Bunker
Executive Producer: Harry Hill
Producers: Posy Dixon, Dan Keefe, Nicos Livesey
Lead 2D Animator: Blanca Martinez De Rituerto
2D Animation: Tom Bunker, Elisa Ciocca, Anne-Lou Erambert, Duncan Gist, Dan Hamman, Nicos Livesey, James Martin, Azusa Nakagawa, Nuno Neves, Joe Sparkes, Joe Sparrow, James Turzynski
3D Animation & Modelling: Luke Howell, Sam Munnings
Rostrum Camera Operators: Stefan Iyapah, Michalis Livesey, Theo Nunn
Embroidery Department: Liz Barlow, Rosy Maddison, Julia Owen, Victor Jakalfabet
Head Of Embroidery: Jen Newman
Interns: Daniela Alvarez, Daniel Matczak, Annalotta Pauly, Polina Sologub, Anna Streit, Lynn Yun, Jennifer Zheng
Sound Design: Alex Pieroni
Song: Throne “Tharsis Sleeps”
Graphic Design: Toby Evans
Digitzing: Tim Gomersall, Nicos Livesey
Supported By: Brother Sewing UK
A Lucky Features production in collaboration with Channel 4 & Dazed Digital
Special Thanks to: Steve Bliss, Martina Bramkamp, Amy Leverton, Ebru Oz, Clapham Road Studio, Kickstarter & All Our Backers.
Sponsored by: Bosh, Madeira Threads, Mother, Orta Anadolu, Wilcom Embroidery

21 Jun 16:40

A Pyramid in the Middle of Nowhere Built to Track the End of the World

by Geoff Manaugh
[Image: Photo by Benjamin Halpern, courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress].

The Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex in Cavalier County, North Dakota, is the focus of an amazing set of images hosted by the U.S. Library of Congress, showing this squat and evocative megastructure in various states of construction and completion.

It's a huge pyramid in the middle of nowhere tracking the end of the world on radar, an abstract geometric shape beneath the sky without a human being in sight, or it could even be the opening scene of an apocalyptic science fiction film—but it's just the U.S. military going about its business, building vast and other-worldly architectural structures that the civilian world only rarely sees.

[Images: Photos by Benjamin Halpern, courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress].

As Pruned described these structures back in 2008, it was a "mastaba-shaped radar facility reminiscent of the work of architect Étienne-Louis Boullée."

As such, Pruned suggests, it offers convincing architectural evidence that we should consider "the "U.S. anti-ballistic landscape as a subset of Land Art"—as lonely pieces of abandoned infrastructure isolated amidst sublime and almost unreachably remote locations.

[Images: Photos by Benjamin Halpern, courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress].

The photos seen here, taken for the U.S. government by photographer Benjamin Halpern, show the central pyramid—pyramid, monument, modular obelisk: whatever you want to call it—that served as the site's missile-tracking station. Its omnidirectional all-seeing white circles stared endlessly at invisible airborne objects moving beyond the horizon.

The Library of Congress gives the pyramid's location somewhat absurdly as "Northeast of Tactical Road; southeast of Tactical Road South." In other words, it's ensconced somewhere in a maze of self-reference and tautology, perhaps deliberately obscuring exactly how you're meant to arrive at this place.

[Image: Photo by Benjamin Halpern, courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress].

Yet the pyramid has become something of a roadtripper's delight in the last decade or two. When I initially published a slightly different version of this post on Gizmodo, commenters from around the world jumped in with their own photos and memories of driving hours out of their way to find these military ruins looming spookily on the horizon.

Most if not all of them then discovered that it was as easy as simply saying hello to the guard, walking unencumbered through the front gate, and then hanging out for hours, running up the side of the pyramid, taking pictures against the North Dakota sky, and enjoying this American Giza as a peculiarly avant-garde site for an afternoon picnic.

You can even see the structures, arranged like some ritual sequence of spatial objects—a chapel of radar aligned with war—on Google Street View.

[Image: The pyramid, seen somewhat jarringly in full color, via Google Street View].

One thing I like so much about these shots is how they resemble early expeditionary photos of the hulking Mayan ruins found at Chichén Itzá.

Check out these comparative shots, for example, where the latter image was taken by photographer Henry Sweet during a 19th-century archaeological journey led by Alfred P. Maudslay. The photo was featured as part of an exhibition at the University of North Carolina back in 2007.

[Images: (top) Photo by Benjamin Halpern, courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress; (bottom) photo by Henry Sweet, courtesy of the UNC-Chapel Hill].

Of course, there is nothing really to compare outside of their same overall geometry—yet it's striking to consider the functional, if obviously metaphoric, similarities here as well. 

One structure was built as part of a kind of analogue system for tracking divine events and celestial calendars, as dark constellations of gods spun across the sky; the other was a temple to mathematics built for guiding and pinging missiles as they streaked horizon to horizon, a site of early warning against the apocalypse, as a new zodiac of nuclear warheads would burst open to shine their world-blinding light on the obliterated landscapes below. 

Trajectories, paths, horizons: both pyramids, in a sense, were architectural monuments for navigation of different kinds. Both timeless, strange, and seemingly inhuman: spatial artifacts of lost civilizations.

[Image: Photo by Benjamin Halpern, courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress].

In any case, the original photos on the Library of Congress website are heavily specked with dust and some lens artifacts, but I've cleaned up my favorites and posted some of them here. 

[Images: Photos by Benjamin Halpern, courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress].

This is how modern-day pyramids are made: huge budgets and ziggurats of rebar, as tiny figures wearing hardhats scramble around amidst gargantuan geometric forms, checking diagrams against reality and trying not to think of the nuclear war this structure was being built to track.

[Images: Photos by Benjamin Halpern, courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress].

(An earlier version of this post previously appeared on Gizmodo).
23 Jun 16:17

Art Meets Mathematics: Dizzying Geometric GIFs by David Whyte

by Christopher Jobson

Art Meets Mathematics: Dizzying Geometric GIFs by David Whyte gifs geometric animation

Art Meets Mathematics: Dizzying Geometric GIFs by David Whyte gifs geometric animation

Art Meets Mathematics: Dizzying Geometric GIFs by David Whyte gifs geometric animation

Art Meets Mathematics: Dizzying Geometric GIFs by David Whyte gifs geometric animation

Art Meets Mathematics: Dizzying Geometric GIFs by David Whyte gifs geometric animation

Art Meets Mathematics: Dizzying Geometric GIFs by David Whyte gifs geometric animation

Art Meets Mathematics: Dizzying Geometric GIFs by David Whyte gifs geometric animation

Art Meets Mathematics: Dizzying Geometric GIFs by David Whyte gifs geometric animation

Art Meets Mathematics: Dizzying Geometric GIFs by David Whyte gifs geometric animation

In 2011, Dublin-based physics student David Whyte began a Tumblr called Bees & Bombs where he posted humorous images and quirky GIFs of his own creation, borrowing heavily from videos and pop culture icons. One day he decided to start playing with Processing, a popular open source programming language designed to help create images, animation, and various computer interactions. His background in mathematics and physics greatly enhanced his understanding of motion and geometry and it wasn’t long before he was churning out some of the most popular animations shared on Tumblr.

Whyte’s minimalistic use of shapes and color places an increased emphasis on motion, and leaves one somewhat dumbstruck at how he conceives of each image. In a somewhat rare move he happens to be quite open about his methods and frequently posts source code and tips to help other artists. See much more of his work on Bees & Bombs.

24 Jun 14:45

Mysterious Landscapes of People Exploring the World by Nicolas Bouvier

by Christopher Jobson

Mysterious Landscapes of People Exploring the World by Nicolas Bouvier travel landscapes

Mysterious Landscapes of People Exploring the World by Nicolas Bouvier travel landscapes

Mysterious Landscapes of People Exploring the World by Nicolas Bouvier travel landscapes

Mysterious Landscapes of People Exploring the World by Nicolas Bouvier travel landscapes

Mysterious Landscapes of People Exploring the World by Nicolas Bouvier travel landscapes

Mysterious Landscapes of People Exploring the World by Nicolas Bouvier travel landscapes

Mysterious Landscapes of People Exploring the World by Nicolas Bouvier travel landscapes

Mysterious Landscapes of People Exploring the World by Nicolas Bouvier travel landscapes

Mysterious Landscapes of People Exploring the World by Nicolas Bouvier travel landscapes

Mysterious Landscapes of People Exploring the World by Nicolas Bouvier travel landscapes

To explore the photography of French art director and concept designer Nicolas Bouvier is to become lost in strange new world, the inhabitants of which are dwarfed by the towering silhouettes of tree and mountains, or swallowed completely by eerie fog and haze. Though these landscapes are indeed real, shot in locations mostly in the Pacific Northwestern U.S., it may not be surprising that Bouvier’s day job is pure science fiction: he creates stunning concept art and illustrations for video games like Halo and Assassin’s Creed. While his concept art has gathered wide acclaim (he’s currently publishing a third book of his own illustrations), his photographic work has also flourished, garnering a significant following over on Flickr. We’ve featured his images several times right here on Colossal as part of our Flickr Finds series.

Currently based in Seattle, Bouvier first picked up a camera in the 1990s while in school, but it wasn’t until 2007 that he began shooting again in earnest. He has since amassed a collection of nearly two dozen cameras (he mentions he picked up a Lumix ZS40 just yesterday), all of which he experiments with as he explores locations around California, Washington, Oregon, Mexico, and France with his family who often appear as subjects in his surreal photos.

It was nearly impossible to make a selection of work for this post, so I strongly urge you to click this link, grab some coffee, and then press the right arrow on your keyboard about 1,100 times. You won’t regret it.

01 May 23:28

Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962)



Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962)

02 May 13:34

New Absurd Animated Portraits by Romain Laurent

by Christopher Jobson

New Absurd Animated Portraits by Romain Laurent portraits humor gifs

New Absurd Animated Portraits by Romain Laurent portraits humor gifs

New Absurd Animated Portraits by Romain Laurent portraits humor gifs

New Absurd Animated Portraits by Romain Laurent portraits humor gifs

New Absurd Animated Portraits by Romain Laurent portraits humor gifs

New Absurd Animated Portraits by Romain Laurent portraits humor gifs

New Absurd Animated Portraits by Romain Laurent portraits humor gifs

Photographer Romain Laurent (previously here and here) continues to create a new looping animated portrait each week. The photographer began the project as a way to break free from the pressure of commercial work, and we’re glad to see the project is still ongoing. These are some of the best portraits since the new year, but you can see lots more on his Tumblr.

03 Apr 00:29

Japanese Fart Scrolls

by noreply@blogger.com (P-E Fronning)
06 Apr 20:32

chubbytown: The Tiny Tiddlers by Jack. I’ve started...



chubbytown:

The Tiny Tiddlers by Jack.

I’ve started making Chubby comics

10 Mar 11:26

Les affiches de Boris Vallejo

Boris Vallejo, c'est le mec qui a développé l'esthétique des affiches des films d'heroic fantasy, identifiables parmi toutes. Composition pyramidale, hyperréalisme, avec un certain sens de l'épique et du corps "bien fait". Il a bossé pour des films aussi cultes que Barbarella, des comédies grand public comme le génial National Lampoon Vacations de feu Harold Ramis et plus récemment Rubber de Quentin Dupieux.

 

(Source)

11 Mar 18:30

Mulder & Scully

Série de polaroids de Gillian Anderson et David Duchovny sur le tournage de The X-Files.

 

03 Mar 18:25

Edgar Bak

by Dave

Edgar Bak via http://grainedit.com

Edgar Bak is a talented designer based out of Poland. A graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, he can now be found art directing for various magazines and teaching typography and information architecture classes at the School of Form in Poznan. He was also a driving force behind Projekt: The Polish journal of visual art and design published by United Editions.

Edgar Bak via http://grainedit.com

Edgar Bak via http://grainedit.com

Edgar Bak via http://grainedit.com

 

——————–

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Peak 21
Polish Book Covers
Polish Arts and Crafts Store Bag

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28 Feb 08:46

10 moments d'histoire bizarres


Anie Edison Taylor, la première personne a avoir descendu les chutes du Niagara en tonneau et survécu (1901).


Test de nouveaux gilets pare-balles (1923).


Des mannequins en maillot de bain lors d'un défilé (1923).


"Cage bébé" destinée à donner air et espace aux nouveaux-nés dans les appartements (Californie, 1937).

De l'alcool est déversé par les fenêtres durant la Prohibition à Détroit (1929).


Un distributeur automatique d'auto-bronzant (1949).


Une mère et son fils regarde un essai nucléaire (Las Vegas, 1953).



Ronald McDonald en 1963.



Un directeur d'hôtel verse de l'acide dans une piscine pour en chasser des Noirs (Californie, 1964).


Le premier jour de traffic en Suède après la décision de conduire à droite et non plus à gauche (1967).

(source)

23 Feb 19:05

Roentgen Objects, or: Devices Larger than the Rooms that Contain Them

by Geoff Manaugh
[Image: Photo courtesy of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and the Metropolitan Museum of Art].

An extraordinary exhibition closed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art last year, featuring mechanical furniture designed by the father and son team of Abraham and David Roentgen: elaborate 18th-century technical devices disguised as desks and tables.

First, a quick bit of historical framing, courtesy of the Museum itself: "The meteoric rise of the workshop of Abraham Roentgen (1711–1793) and his son David (1743–1807) blazed across eighteenth-century continental Europe. From about 1742 to its closing in the early 1800s, the Roentgens' innovative designs were combined with intriguing mechanical devices to revolutionize traditional French and English furniture types."

Each piece, the Museum adds, was as much "an ingenious technical invention" as it was "a magnificent work of art," an "elaborate mechanism" or series of "complicated mechanical devices" that sat waiting inside palaces and parlors for someone to come along and activate them.

If you can get past the visual styling of the furniture—after all, the dainty little details and inlays perhaps might not appeal to many BLDGBLOG readers—and concentrate instead only on the mechanical aspect of these designs, then there is something really incredible to be seen here.

[Image: Photo courtesy of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and the Metropolitan Museum of Art].

Hidden amidst drawers and sliding panels are keyholes, the proper turning of which results in other unseen drawers and deeper cabinets popping open, swinging out to reveal previously undetectable interiors.

But it doesn't stop there. Further surfaces split in half to reveal yet more trays, files, and shelves that unlatch, swivel, and slide aside to expose entire other cantilevered parts of the furniture, materializing as if from nowhere on little rails and hinges.

Whole cubic feet of interior space are revealed in a flash of clacking wood flung forth on tracks and pulleys.



As the Museum phrases it, Abraham Roentgen's "mechanical ingenuity" was "exemplified by the workings of the lower section" of one of the desks on display in the show: "when the key of the lower drawer is turned to the right, the side drawers spring open; if a button is pressed on the underside of these drawers, each swings aside to reveal three other drawers."

And thus the sequence continues in bursts of self-expansion more reminiscent of a garden than a work of carpentry, a room full of wooden roses blooming in slow motion.

[Images: Photos courtesy of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and the Metropolitan Museum of Art].

The furniture is a process—an event—a seemingly endless sequence of new spatial conditions and states expanding outward into the room around it.

Each piece is a controlled explosion of carpentry with no real purpose other than to test the limits of volumetric self-demonstration, offering little in the way of useful storage space and simply showing off, performing, a spatial Olympics of shelves within shelves and spaces hiding spaces.

Sufficiently voluminous furniture becomes indistinguishable from a dream.

[Image: Photo courtesy of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and the Metropolitan Museum of Art].

What was so fascinating about the exhibition—and this can be seen, for example, in some of the short accompanying videos (a few of which are archived on the Metropolitan Museum of Art's website)—is that you always seemed to have reached the final state, the fullest possible unfolding of the furniture, only for some other little keyhole to appear or some latch to be depressed in just the right way, and the thing just keeps on going, promising infinite possible expansions, as if a single piece of furniture could pop open into endless sub-spaces that are eventually larger than the room it is stored within.

The idea of furniture larger than the space that houses it is an extraordinary topological paradox, a spatial limit-case like black holes or event horizons, a state to which all furniture makers could—and should—aspire, devising a Roentgen object of infinite volumetric density.

A single desk that, when unfolded, is larger than the building around it, hiding its own internal rooms and corridors.

Suggesting that they, too, were thrilled by the other-worldly possibilities of their furniture, the Roentgens—and I love this so much!—also decorated their pieces with perspectival illusions.

[Image: Photo courtesy of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and the Metropolitan Museum of Art].

The top of a table might include, for example, the accurately rendered, gridded space of a drawing room, as if you were peering, almost cinematically, into a building located elsewhere; meanwhile, pop-up panels might include a checkerboard reference to other possible spaces that thus seemed to exist somewhere within or behind the furniture, lending each piece the feel of a portal or visual gateway into vast and multidimensional mansions tucked away inside.

The giddiness of it all—at least for me—was the implication that you could decorate a house with pieces of furniture; however, when unfolded to their maximum possible extent, these same objects might volumetrically increase the internal surface area of that house several times over, doubling, tripling, quadrupling its available volume. But it's not magic or the supernatural—it's not quadraturin—it's just advanced carpentry, using millimeter-precise joinery and a constellation of unseen hinges.

[Images: Photos courtesy of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and the Metropolitan Museum of Art].

You could imagine, for example, a new type of house; it's got a central service core lined with small elevators. Wooden boxes, perhaps four feet cubed, pass up and down inside the walls of the house, riding this network of dumbwaiters from floor to floor, where they occasionally stop, when a resident demands it. That resident then pops open the elevator door and begins to unfold the box inside, unlatching and expanding it outward into the room, this Roentgen object full of doors, drawers, and shelves, cantilevered panels, tabletops, and dividers.

And thus the elevators grow, simultaneously inside and outside, a liminal cabinetry both tumescent and architectural that fills up the space with spaces of its own, fractal super-furniture stretching through more than one room at a time and containing its own further rooms deep within it.

But then you reverse the process and go back through it all the other direction, painstakingly shutting panels, locking drawers, pushing small boxes inside of larger boxes, and tucking it all up again, compressing it like a JPG back into the original, ultra-dense cube it all came from. You're like some homebound god of superstrings tying up and hiding part of the universe so that others might someday rediscover it.

To have been around to drink coffee with the Roentgens and to discuss the delirious outer limits of furniture design would have been like talking to a family of cosmologists, diving deep into the quantum joinery of spatially impossible objects, something so far outside of mere cabinetry and woodwork that it almost forms a new class of industrial design. Alas, their workshop closed, their surviving objects today are limited in number, and the exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is now closed.
24 Feb 14:16

Women of the Stage #16

by Testify
'Coming in Person Feb 24'

18 Feb 16:29

A vos agendas

20 Feb 15:48

"Des proxénètes se battent à l’arbalète dans le bois de Boulogne"

“Des proxénètes se battent à l’arbalète dans le bois de Boulogne”

- Direct Matin (à cause de Quite et Bouille)