Daniel Franke is an artist, designer and music video director who seeks to combine digital art with reality and thus extend our understanding of the world in which we live. In fusing the digital with the tactile, he creates stunning images, like this video, Unnamed Soundscape, which recreates the motion of the human body as a field of dots, or pixels. A dancer created with her body a representation of Kreukeltape, an ambient musical composition by Machinenfabrik. This dance was recorded by three cameras and reconstituted into a three dimensional cloud. The cameras themselves responded to the music by shifting their perspectives, further enhancing the multidimensionality already present.
Unnamed Soundscape is reminiscent of sand art and also reminds me of the computer generated images in The Mummy, which I have always found fascinating, although this is much more complex and haunting. The elegance, fluidity and transitory nature of the human form and movement are clearly illustrated. “From dust you came, and to dust you shall return,” it seems to say. What gloriously beautiful dust we are!
For when you are put into the Vortex you are given just one momentary glimpse of the entire unimaginable infinity of creation, and somewhere in it a tiny little marker, a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, which says “You are here.”
Rest in peace my dear friend and colleague DeShon Marcelous, who brought so much joy and light into the lives of those who knew you. Thank you for showing us how to be present in the best possible way.
Yayoi Kusama is a visionary who inspired and contributed to the emerging avant-garde movements of pop art and minimalism in the 1950s and 60s and continues to produce unusual and provocative art at the age of 84. Her art spans a wide variety of media, including environmental installations, performance art, sculpture, painting, film and fashion design, as well as the writing of novels and poetry. The polka dot is one of her signature symbols.
…a polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colorful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots become movement… Polka dots are a way to infinity.
Born in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, Japan, Kusama was raised in the conservative household of a seedling merchant. Her mother repeatedly tried to break Kusama of her artistic aspirations, taking away her supplies and destroying her creations, beating her, and verbally abusing her. She was told that she would stop this nonsense and marry a rich man, bear his children and keep his house. To make matters unimaginably worse, her mother forced her to spy on her father’s relations with other women. Not only did this strategy not keep Kusama from making art, it created a terrible anxiousness and fear that would take its toll on the woman she became.
My art originates from hallucinations only I can see. I translate the hallucinations and obsessional images that plague me into sculptures and paintings. All my works in pastels are the products of obsessional neurosis and are therefore inextricably connected to my disease. I create pieces even when I don’t see hallucinations, though.
In 1957, Kusama moved to New York, thinking that it would be easier to break with Japanese tradition and make a name for herself there. She worked tirelessly, painting for days at a stretch without a break, inducing hallucinations of polka dots which she incorporated into her art. Alas, even New York was unfriendly to female artists at that time and fame did not come easy. Kusama has written that she slept on a old door and rummaged through trash cans for fish heads to eat. Her friend Georgia O’Keefe tried to persuade her to move to Texas, but Kusama was determined to conquer New York. She developed a following among artists, influencing such famous men as Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg, with whom she exhibited. Popular success came in the 1960s with her Happenings and Body Festivals, a series of get togethers that involved guest participants, often nude, whom she painted with polka dots. Kusama, who was unsurprisingly uncomfortable with sexuality, found herself an unlikely icon of the sexual revolution.
Unfortunately, Kusama’s work ethic was obsessive. She returned to Japan in 1973, burnt-out and in need of re-invention. She tried becoming an art dealer, but Japanese culture was far more conservative than that of New York, and she found no respect. In 1977, after having a mental breakdown, Kusama admitted herself into Seiwa Hospital, a psychiatric facility. She has resided there for the past 36 years, continuing to produce art and explore a literary career as well. Her work ethic remains impressive and her ability to channel her own difficulties into creative pursuits is nothing short of miraculous, truly making art from her own limitations and neuroses. Here at synkroniciti we love people like Yayoi Kusama.
Video via KUSAMAdocumentary on YouTube.
Kusama’s art has been exhibited all over the world, including retrospectives of her work at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, and Tate Modern. In 2008 I pray with all of my love for tulips was sold for $5.1 million, the highest price ever paid for a piece made by a female artist.
“I had this sudden awareness,” she continues, “of how the moments of our lives go out of existence before we’re conscious of having lived them. It’s only a relatively few moments that we get to keep and carry with us for the rest of our lives. Those moments are our lives. Or maybe it’s more like those moments are the dots in what we call our lives, or the lines we draw between them, connecting them into imaginary pictures of ourselves.”
A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.
Starry Night Over the Rhone, Vincent van Gogh, 1888
…to look at the stars always makes me dream, as simply as I dream over the black dots of a map representing towns and villages. Why, I ask myself, should the shining dots of the sky not be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France?