Archive for July, 2012

Transfiguration

Posted in Art with tags , , , on July 30, 2012 by elgrayso

Earlier this month I showed you some sculpture art by Olivier De Sagazan. His sculptures are amazing, however he is probably more known for his performance art.

Transfiguration

and a similar performance piece

Walter Potter’s Taxidermy

Posted in Animals, Death with tags , , , , , , on July 23, 2012 by elgrayso

Walter Potter was an English taxidermist noted for his anthropomorphic dioramas featuring mounted animals mimicking human life, which he displayed at his museum in Bramber, Sussex, England. The exhibition was a well-known and popular example of “Victorian whimsy” for many years, even after Potter’s death; however enthusiasm for such entertainments waned in the twentieth century, and his collection was finally dispersed in 2003. [from Wikipedia]

 

Olivier De Sagazan

Posted in Art with tags , , , , , , , on July 16, 2012 by elgrayso

Princely Toys

Posted in Dolls, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2012 by elgrayso

Princely Toys is a BBC documentary from 1976. It explores the subject of automatons; antique animated dolls manufactured for the upper classes of the 19th century. The film centers around the collection of a man named Jack Donovan, but primarily focuses on the automatons themselves. The narrator talks in an odd cryptic fashion as the aged VHS footage ushers you into the yesterworld of monkey-masked musicians, half-human harlequins and other abominations from your childhood nightmares. Many toys have their own segment and an in-depth explanation is given by the narrator. He describes the toys in detail as the film zooms in on their unforgiving mechanical eyes darting about as their stiff little limbs jerk and sway to the sounds of antique music boxes perfectly tuned to conjure demons from beyond. Most of the footage is shot in an empty studio with a minimal amount of lighting to give the viewer the illusion that each toy was filmed in it’s own personal abyss of darkness. Putting aside the creepy overtones (did I mention that one of the dolls is a man hacking a woman’s bloody torso with a butcher knife?) it’s amazing how intricate and detailed the dolls’ movements are and it’s hard to believe that their animation comes from tiny hidden gears and other simple machines. After watching it I was surprised to find that there doesn’t seem to be hardly any information available on this documentary. Just about the only reference a google search comes up with is this youtube video (below), which, as of this writing clocks in at a meer 135 views.

If any of this sounds at all interesting, I highly recommend watching the video. Also, if anyone knows of a higher quality version or has interesting info on Princely Toys, please inform me in the comments section!

On a related note, I’ve been reading an interesting book called Living Dolls which details interesting stories and the history of similar, yet less creepy, automated oddities.

HR Giger Bar

Posted in Art, Museums with tags , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2012 by elgrayso

The Giger-Bar which, today, exists in the Swiss city of Chur, was originally planned for New York City. When it became apparent that the budget for the bar envisioned for New York was not going to be enough to allow for the design and construction of the elements which had been planned for it, Giger decided it would be wiser to wait until it could be financed properly.

Fortunately, Thomas Domenig came into Giger’s life at about the same time. Domenig is the number-one architect of Chur. He built about a third of the city. There were plans for a café in his Kalchbuhl-Center, which was already under construction, and Giger had, evidently, shown up at just the right moment. He was able to convince Domenig to change his plans and back the idea of a bar.

The furniture program for the Giger-Bar was significantly expanded by the new designs for a chair, a glass topped table and the bar itself. The establishment’s door is that of Giger’s armoire design, enlarged by one third. The oval mirrors, the wall lamps and the special coat racks were also designed by Giger and carried out with the aid of Giger’s most important team of technical experts, de Fries, Schedler, Ammann, Vaterlaus, Gruber and Brigitte von Kanel.

Construction took, approximately, two years. The bar’s official opening was on February 8, 1992, three days after Giger’s birthday.

It is Giger’s hope that, one day, a Giger-Bar can still be realized in New York City, his favorite amongst all the cities of the world.
[from HR Giger official website]

I wanted to add that in addition to his bars, Giger has made other functional art pieces including guitars, a microphone stand and various pieces of furniture.

[note: also included are photos from the other Giger Bar in Gruyéres, Switzerland]

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