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French artist/industrial designer known only as Parse/Error recently created an object that is both beautiful and troubling all at the same time. At face value, the Political Lamp is an aesthetically appealing decor piece… a lovely cylindrical dome housing a curious cloud. But behind this facade is a much darker reality, an intentional and well-conceived parallel to the current political climate. The lamp is actually connected to the internet and designed to react to tweets by President Donald Trump (and other political events) by triggering a storm beneath the dome, complete with lightning rolling in the cloud and disturbing the otherwise peaceful glow of the lamp itself. We are utterly intrigued by this piece, and hope for a day when we can look back in relief that the forecasted storm did not do as much damage as predicted. In his own words, the artist explains the project: “The choice of setting the Political Lamp to follow the tweets of Donald Trump is explained by the fact that he perfectly embodies a dangerous era. A world where the words of one man, released without reflection and with spontaneity on a global social network, can endanger the fate of millions by spreading the ghost of nuclear war on the planet…. the idea of the Political Lamp is to hide its true nature behind a beautiful object, which immediately modifies the observer’s behavior when its purpose is revealed, causing anxiety and fascination.”

Via parseerror.ufunk.net

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We have long commented on the convergence of history and art. They are intrinsically intertwined, reliant on one another in many ways. So when an artist turns the documentation and storytelling aspect of said junction on its head, we surely take notice. For his series The American Revolution Revolution, Denver-based artist Shawn Huckins masterfully juxtaposes early American portraiture with social media jargon. Thoughtfully conceptualized and brilliantly executed, Huckins’s incredible work succeeds on so many levels. And it’s also important to note that these are physical paintings, should Huckins’s artistic ability ever come into question. Huckins is a superb American artist who is clearly inspired by American Neo-Classical painters, as well as more contemporary Pop artists. In his own words, Huckins explains the series: “The American Revolution was conceived through an exchange of a few well-formed ideas communicated in person and by handwritten letters. Imagine what George & Co. could have done with the Internet. Or not. Technology influences how much we know and what we believe, as well as how quickly and intelligently we convey our ideas. But does how we communicate govern the value of what we communicate? The physical act of typing very fast on small devices has undeniably impacted spelling, grammar, and punctuation, encouraging a degree of illiteracy that has become the new social norm. As goes our grammatical literacy, do our social and cultural literacies follow?”

Via shawnhuckins.com

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In much the same vein as the incredible work of Christopher Boffoli, Japanese artist/designer/art director, miniature photographer Tatsuya Tanaka’s playful take on macro photography is really memorable. Tanaka’s miniature dioramas, if you will, are almost like stepping into the mind of a young child, pushing his broccoli around the plate while his imagination runs wild. Tanaka says, “Everyone must have had similar thoughts at least once. Broccoli and parsley might sometimes look like a forest, or the tree leaves floating on the surface of the water might sometimes look like little boats. Everyday occurrences seen from a pygmy’s perspective can bring us lots of fun thoughts.” A key word here is everyday. Tanaka has actually committed himself to releasing one of these each day, a project aptly titled Miniature Calendar, and has been doing so since April 2011. Yes, everyday, folks. The body of work here is tremendous, and Tanaka’s perspective is fascinating. This is obviously just a very small sample of an incredible project that’s worth following. Just ask his impressive social media following: 35K on Facebook, 242K on Instagram, 88K on Twitter. Tanaka’s mission is simple: “It would be great if you could use it to add a little enjoyment to your everyday life.” We couldn’t agree more.

Via miniature-calendar.com

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