Category Archives: photography

California: Designing Freedom | The Design Museum

If you haven’t been to the new building for the Design Museum which recently relocated to Kensington, you are missing out. The architecture and gift shop alone are worth a visit!
The exhibition “California” caught my eye based on the parts that explore ‘freedom’. The exhibition explores more than just the expression of human rights freedom:

California: Designing Freedom explores how the ideals of the 1960s counterculture morphed into the tech culture of Silicon Valley, and how ‘Designed in California’ became a global phenomenon.

The central premise is that California has pioneered tools of personal liberation, from LSD to surfboards and iPhones. This ambitious survey brings together political posters and portable devices, but also looks beyond hardware to explore how user interface designers in the San Francisco Bay Area are shaping some of our most common daily experiences. By turns empowering, addictive and troubling, Californian products have affected our lives to such an extent that in some ways we are all now Californians.

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Aside from the array of Apple inventions and iconic technological advances that California has blessed the world with, the most interesting part of the exhibition for me was “Say What You Want”. Described as “tools of self expression and rebellion”, this part of the exhibition showcased artefacts that were created to highlight racism, sexism and homophobia:

P.S. sorry for the awful photo quality! Taken on my phone.

It was incredible being able to be so close to relics that were created to protest against the biggest human rights movements in the world. They even displayed newspaper articles from the past, and contemporary pieces created against Trump’s America.
I cannot recommend this show enough. It has to be one of my (if not THE) all time favourite exhibitions.

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Spotlight: Daniel Arsham

Contemporary artist Daniel Arsham has created some fantastic and very popular work, but one project has caught my eye. ‘Future Relics’ features a series of fossilised contemporary items such as cameras, Walkmans, phones, furniture and clothing. Based on Arsham’s theory that mundane objects will soon become completely obsolete, he created “future versions” of objects, cast in white ash and other materials like glacial rock dust, ground volcanic glass, hydrostone, rose quartz, and steel. To create the crystallised objects, Arsham casts a mould of the object; crushed calcite is then pressed into the moulds with a binding agent, and if wax is added to the mould in certain areas, it causes those parts to not bind. The effect is amazing…

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Things we associate with the present, as if they were crystallised over millennia.

Arsham created over 3000 pieces for exhibitions including ‘The Future is Always Now’ and ‘Remember the Future’ alongside a film series, focusing on a world many years down the line, in which a major and transformative ecological shift has occurred.
Arsham collected a tone of objects for this project, mainly from eBay! He has said that he started to think of eBay as a “bizarre Library of Alexandria”, but these mundane objects weren’t all Arsham used for fossilisation. Visit his website or his instagram to see more stunning images:

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They are so bizarrely satisfying to look at.

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Spotlight: Michał Kulesza

Graphic designer Michał Kulesza has a range of different work in his portfolio, but the Lego projects he has created certainly stand out. In 2015 Kulesza created a ‘Lego photo project’ by capturing every day objects featuring parts made with Lego, in part 1 ‘Daily Lego Project’. The project started in 2015 and lasted 135 days, capturing a new scenario every day.

I created different grotesque or even absurd daily situations. I took photos in minimal composition and every time I showed new ideas. In my work I just wanted to make people smile.

You can view all the images here, but here are a few of my favourites:

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Part 2 of the project, named ‘Legoman Daily’ features a narrative where Kulesza falls into a box of Lego whilst photographing Part 1 of the project, and subsequently turns into a Legoman himself!

The surprising effect of this crash was that my hands and head were transformed into parts of lego man figure. In this way I created an everyday photo journal after weird accident. How I have to struggle with life challenges and how looks my sad reality. Project was realised as previous, everyday I took just one photo for 106 days.
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I love these projects! Both the concept, the narrative and the output are fantastic, and it certainly made me smile.
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