Michael Wolf is a German photographer who grew up in USA and spent ten years of his life in China. Famous for his series on the architecture of Hong Kong and Chicago, the artist is also one of the first to use Google Street View for a photographic project between Paris and New York.
But his series, for me, which is the weirdest and most fascinating is undoubtedly Tokyo Compression, perfectly showing the flip side of Japan, the country which had a rapid economic success those last years but also the one which has the largest world population.
I’ve been astonished when I saw this series of pictures with hundreds of Tokyoites who were photographed at peak hours when they were literally half crushed and compressed behind the windows of the subway, just before the train departs. Impressive photos of Japanese who are exhausted, and who finally are the ghosts of an huge anthill…
The height of the work done by Michael Wolf is seen through the physical expression of the people photographed, he managed to catch each face in its deepest intensity. They seem totally absorbed in their thoughts, what is indicative of this inferno which is daily and to which they “get used”.
However, I don’t see this work as a description of Tokyo, of course it is but not only. These images can be interpreted as the Japan cliché, but it depicts a real issue, the issue of all the big cities of the world, the example here is the subway but it could have been something else. When watching these pictures I just feel like we are all rotting away to small fire, because of the human’s folly of urbanization becoming more and more oppressive. Nobody realizes how much absurd it is to live in such a jungle.
At the end of the day, a very good work from Michael Wolf which raises the issue of the place of the human in megacities.
Today, we are going to take a look at a great project that expresses perfectly this nostalgic feeling we all ever had.
Detroit was one of economic and industrial centers of the U.S. in the 70s but the city now seems totally ruined with a number of unhabitants which decreased dangerously. A lot of infrastructures are abandoned and some even haven’t dared venture anymore in the city during a few years.
This is what the groupe and site “Detroit Turbex” wanted to show through a series of photos taken at Cass Hi Tech School. With this technic superposition of several pictures, the project discusses the contrast between the powerful Detroit of the 70s and photographs taken at the exactly same places but now, presenting empty and melancholic places.
However, the city is fortunately regaining some power those last years (called the Berlin of U.S.), a city which becomes more and more trendy and alive so maybe this high school is going to resurrect sooner or later.
A little return to the roots is necessary to understand the phenomenon. Something easy because this artistic movement was born on the Internet, a place where you can find all the archives. On June 1, 2011, @LILINTERNET posted on Twitter:
This simple message has spawned an hashtag and afterwards to an artistic movement : #seapunk.
However, the real father of Seapunk is definitely Tumblr.
Three years ago, a large platform called Tumblr began to be flooded with psychedelic images and gifs with sea creatures (dolphins, shellfish …) but also many fluorescent objects, outmoded clothes, religious symbols, smileys, bleached colors, geometric shapes, oriental graphism and an aesthetic coming from the 90s. All wrapped in montages created with shoestring (Webcam, Paint and a basic use of Photoshop…)
It stings your eyes, isn’t it ? Aesthetically, the movement is directly recognizable and seems to belong to a kind of new Soft Grunge.
Seapunk movement has no sense or any reason to defend. It’s rather a huge moodboard from 2.0 generation which spreads through fashion, graphics, and music.
For me it was only a “Tumblr” movement but I realized that the phenomenon had reached its peak on internet when it became a meme.
Indeed, many pop stars have recently blatantly used some seapunk graphics for their new productions. We have noticed Azealia Banks in her Atlantis clip who was wearing a crustaceans bra while waddling on a dolphin in front of a virtual ocean.
Then, it was Rihanna’s turn who sang her new song Diamonds in the middle of a seapunk decoration on Saturday Night Live.
The graphics used in the screens of Rihanna’s performance are clearly based on the work of the video artist Jerome from LOL Boys who belongs the seapunk movement.
The creator of LOL Boys and others founders of the movement have quickly expressed their dissatisfaction and their anger on the social networks because they know that from the moment a pop star like Rihanna is seen in this universe (which was unknown by the large public before), most of the people are going to think seapunk belongs to Rihanna, it will be popularized and will lose its original idea.
But like all phenomenas born on internet, this situation was expected and now that the seapunk movement is taking another form, all the people who once dreamed of a leather jacket with barnacles instead of the studs will soon have to find a new wardrobe…
My blog is about art, not politics… but how can we not mention what is happening today as we know it’s a special day not only for Americans but for the whole world ? Barack Obama won the presidential election, again. Everybody obviously feels concerned because we can’t deny that America plays a key role in our world. However, the last and new president of United States of America is not a robot, and although it is hard to realize that because politicians seem inaccessible as they are always focused on cases of international importance, they live. Like you and me.
That’s why I have a small gift of this historical day for you. Pete Souza, The official photographer of White House has been following Obama during all his last warrant and had an interview with TIME magazine last month, an interview in which he accepted to deliver several pictures of these few years spent following the President.
“I tried to, in putting together this edit, not only to show some of the high points or low points of his presidency thus far, but pictures that help people understand what he’s like, not only as a President but as a human being,” Souza tells TIME.
Pete Souza and his team show to the world some pieces of Obama’s life, from his great meetings to selected moments of intimacy and even if we all know everything is controlled and all pictures carefully selected… I can’t see a better day than today to post this series.