Category: Arts

Copyright Felix Colgrave

Felix Colgrave Animated

You may have seen his work lately, it has after all gone viral and spread around the blogosphere through the magic of the internet. Magic seems to be the appropriate word when describing Felix Colgrave’s work, his animated videos are crafted like a wizard, filling them with a cauldrons worth of amazing and incredibly vivid art, riled through an intense imagination that transcends his own mind and brings little worlds & characters into life, playfully.

To show you a glimpse of this world, we’ve put some stills of his work within this article, and there’s some links to his videos too.

Copyright Felix Colgrave

Copyright Felix Colgrave

Not for everyone… I’d imagine there are a few parents that would not like their kids to see his videos, shielding them in bubble-wrap, yet still there’s something about Felix’s work that is just brilliance. The young Australian’s third year university project, The Elephant’s Garden, won best Australian film at the Melbourne International Animation Festival 2014.

Quite the achievement we think. Not stopping there however, he has a range of shorts that you can check out on his Youtube page, the majority of which are mockingly humorous, albeit a tiny bit of dark humour thrown into the animation for good clout… aimed at the world’s most contemporary issues though of course.

I mean when you make a video like The Pigpen, when you’re 16 years of age, it’s then hardly surprising that he’s now getting further acclaim as a prerequisite to his animations.

He’s an active little fella on Tumblr if you want to keep up-to date with his shenanigans and jesting http://feeldix.tumblr.com/ .



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TEDxBrum 2014 A Personal Experience

From June to November, I was a member of the TEDxBrum 2014 team. For those unfamiliar with the TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) concept, it is a set of global conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, under the slogan: “Ideas Worth Spreading”. TED originated as a one-off event in 1984, before growing into a global entity, with TED events taking place across the globe from Sydney to Birmingham.

The Birmingham event has been running since 2011, founded by Anneka Deva, a guest this year, who then stepped down in 2012, passing the baton of inspiration to Imandeep Kaur, a woman with Birmingham at heart. She was leading the preparations for the 2014 event at The Library of Birmingham.

Any TED event is centred on a theme with this year’s theme as ‘DIY’. It was a choice that appealed to me due to my love of music, especially the late 1970s’ punk movement, which is rooted in a ‘do it yourself’ culture.

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After joining the team halfway through the organisation process, I attended meetings on a regular basis, absorbing in and being impressed by the sheer volume of ideas flowing from a bunch of creative, industrious and passionate individuals who were all here because of their love for TED and showcasing what Birmingham had to offer. In addition, I found attending meetings all the more pleasurable due to the harmonious nature within the team, devoid of sniping, pomposity and ego.

As the event neared, the intensity of the preparation inevitably increased, but with the energetic, hardworking and passionate maverick Imandeep leading the troops, there was no danger of standards slipping. A huge collective effort in the last few weeks left us ready to put on an event that would hopefully set a high benchmark for future TEDxBrum events to be judged by.

The team all arrived prior to 7am, a little tired but buzzing with anticipation at being part of a little history, as for many it was a maiden TED event. Carys Evans, who was working on her second TED event, had organised a large team of volunteers known as ‘Champions’ to ensure that all guests, speakers and sponsors had an enjoyable experience.

When watching people gathering outside before doors opened at 9am, I was then struck by the magnitude of the occasion. The Champions were then at our busiest registering in all the guests and presenting them with their iconic TED name badges, not forgetting goodie bags.

After the registration process it was a case of doing tasks, if required, or speaking to people about how their day had been, especially in the breaks, obtaining feedback – all positive – on how their day had been.

There was a little manual labour, including impressing a library staff member with my lifting of some large tables, while I also manned the coffee/tea tables.

Ian Harrison, was the Co-curator with Imandeep, had responsibility of arranging the speakers. He had struck a balance between speakers offering a Birmingham-centric vibe and those who didn’t.

The talks and musical/spoken word performances, organised by the chilled combination of Simarjeet Kaur and David Austin Grey, who was playing as part of Hansu-Tori, were split into four sub-themed sessions.

For the first three sessions I managed to view selected performances in the livestream zone, which was working in conjunction with the Bite the Ballot. I kept an eye on the action being relayed by the big screen, but was also engaged in a fascinating conversation with Sawsan Bastawy, the Community Engagement Officer, for the Birmingham arm of Bite the Ballot, an organisation with the primary aim of persuading people aged 16-24, to register to vote for forthcoming elections.

A talk that grabbed me was by ‘Mr Gangology’, or Raymond Douglas to his mom, in the way he used popular culture reference points to support his stance on gang culture. He slightly overran, and bits of his viewpoint were a little generalised, but he was amusing and engaging throughout.

I had the pleasure of being in the Studio Theatre for the last session, bringing home the cosy intimacy of the venue and the reverential hush of the audience, interspersed by moments of genuine laughter and applause.

My personal highlight of this session was Ann-Marie Naylor’s talk on the future of libraries, although it was more the way she recounted the transformation in her life from feelings of low self-confidence at 25 that resonated most strongly.

As for the ultimate climax, Lobster proved a shrewd choice, with their energetic, funky, cuts of ska-punk rock ushering the event to a chaotic, joyous and heartfelt denouement, which included many team members shaking their meat to the beat. The event was such a resounding success that I even indulged in a little dancing, an event that has occurred about three times in my adult life!

The day was tiring but the adrenaline and the friendly team and audience kept spirits high. It was a rewarding journey, highlighted by discovering that Birmingham, a city that I had become tired of, has a thriving creative and cultural identity that can hopefully be nurtured for many years to come.

To find out more about the event visit www.tedxbrum.org or follow on twitter @TEDxBrum

 



Guy Bourdin at Somerset House

For Walter Benjamin, fashion was a fusion of two extremes – frivolity and death.  Never has this fusion been so extreme as in the photography of Guy Bourdin, and it is the subject of an exhibition at Somerset House opening on the 27th of November.

Bourdin’s trade was as a fashion photographer, not that he ever believed it.  He was a surrealist artist to the last and whatever product he was being paid to advertise always played second fiddle to his extraordinary vision.  His working process involved the construction of elaborate fictions from which he would pluck a single moment from the narrative, and this would be the image he would enigmatically present to the world.  On occasion, much to the world’s bewilderment.

Narcissism forms a strong and heady presence in Bourdin’s photography.  The gaze is instrumental and it is his and his alone, which only renders his raw depictions of violence and exaggerated forms of sexual objectification of women and children more remote, more troubling and more problematic.

Bourdin’s subjects are hyper-sexualised and submissive.  Frequently, his models are depicted as the victims of extreme violence.  They lie amid elegantly assembled surroundings unconscious or dead – a signature Bourdin image and the one he felt was the ‘purest’. His almost exclusively female subjects rarely have agency.  Often they don’t even have heads. A woman lies prostrate in a pool of vomited nail varnish, another lies inert surrounded by expensive shoes, others are decapitated, but always beautifully dressed.  It would be easy to read his work as a savage statement on the destructive collusion of women and their vanity.  An odd statement from a Vogue photographer, but Bourdin was the type of man liable to commute to his Parisian office by camel, a key indicator of a man who didn’t put much stock by the rules.

Serge Lutens once commented that he felt that; “What Guy did was conduct his own psychoanalysis in Vogue.”  This isn’t an uncommon view and there has been a great deal of head scratching over his early abandonment by his mother and the unfortunate fact that all his wives and girlfriends ended up either dead or wishing that they were.  Surely, this is a line of argument that will provide much mental masturbation for decades to come but it doesn’t do a great deal to answer a more pressing question – what has the effect of Bourdin been on the fashion photography of today?

The crass sexual objectification in Terry Richardson’s output with the odd, juvenile surrealist touch as though to add a gloss of artistic merit to his personal sexual entitlement bears the shadow of Bourdin, although Richardson’s work at its best is only a pale parody of the painfully uncomfortable and intricately contrived photographs of Bourdin.  On the other hand, there is painstakingly created and beautiful work of contemporary artists such as Tim Walker who surely owe a nod to Bourdin’s meticulous narrative working process.

A complicated and problematic legacy for a complicated and problematic artist.

For information on the exhibition visit www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/guy-bourdin