When data enters conversation many of us switch off but in the hands of Stefanie Posavec data is an artistic medium. The creative innovator talks to us about how she transforms stale, immaterial matter into exciting works of art. She takes figures relating to anything from cabinet office spending to the ozone layer and turns them into highly visual and engaging installations.
Since graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2004, with an MA in Communication Design, Posavec shifted her focus from book design and text visualization towards a more immersive and experiential dimension.
She uses an analogue approach to data manipulation that makes patterns normally hidden in a seamless digital world tangible. Her ability to make data fun and engaging has seen her receive a variety of exciting partnerships. She has created works for Facebook, the BBC, Channel 4 and Barclays and has exhibited internationally at large-scale institutions such as MoMA, New York and CAFA Art Museum, China.
Posavec talks to us about her commission for the Web We Want Festival at the Southbank Centre where she created an 'open data playground' in which statistics became available for physical exploration. Data was turned into a kind of physical map through which visitors were guided through space. Their movements became a data dance.
Text by Beckie Cove for
Designs rooted in reality and heightened by the imagination. Liam Hodges' innovations have already been worn by international music artists such as Drake and FKA Twigs. However, despite his growing success Hodges says it is just as important for him to see his designs worn on the street.
After graduating from the Royal College of Art Liam presented his SS14 collection under Fashion East and notoriously elevated gorilla tape to essential grunge accessory. Since then he has taken inspiration from London markets and, for his fourth season, pirate radio.
So what's next for the designer who has already exploded into both the fashion and music industries?
We have no doubt Hodges will continue to attract attention in the music world. Recently he collaborated with producer Visionist and poet Aponysus to create music for his SS16 show.
Catch a glimpse of Liam Hodges SS16 collection in this raw cut collaboration with Vidsett
Leather made of pineapple?! Well, not exactly. Carmen Hijosa is the brain behind the new textile Pinatex, which by the first glance and touch might as well have been leather. But the fact is that this new sustainable product is made from the fibres from pineapple leaves.
Working as a designer Carmen Hijosa had her place in the leather industry for many years. As a part of her job she went to the Philippines to overlook some of the manufacturing of the leather. Here she came to the realization, that leather was not a sustainable product. "I need to do something about this. I'm a maker. I know leather - but we need an alternative", Carmen recalls.
The alternative was not far away. She started to look into what else the Philippines had to offer, and found that many of the local products - bags, fabrics etc. - were made out of the fibres from the pineapple plant. And so the research began.
By using the pineapple leaf fibres, a by-product of the already on-going harvest of pineapples, the waste of the harvest is minimized. Additionally it is worth noting that the leaves does not need any additional land, watering or fertiliser to be produced - they're already there!
The fibres get made into a mesh, that goes through mechanic and chemical processes, to get to the finished result. Carmen made sure that the end results was a fabric was strong enough to be used as one would use leather, without compromising the sustainability of the process.
It took around 7 years to develop, what is now Pinatex. A strong and sustainable textile, that can be used in everything from bags to furniture. Even shoe companies like Puma and Camper have made prototypes with the textile. What started as an alternative to leather, have become its own product.
Carmen believes that there is a place for Pinatex in the world - right between leather and petroleum based textiles.
This 'precycling' initiative, founded by Sara Wolf and Miena Glimbovski, eliminates packaging and reduces food waste
We are becoming increasingly aware of how much we waste and there is a rising demand for sustainable alternatives to the way we consume products and services.
Original Unverpackt (Originally Unpackaged) is a Berlin-based supermarket which demonstrates one very simple way we can cut down on the amount of waste we produce in our day to day lives. By buying the product minus the packaging.
Shoppers bring their own containers to the store and can then help themselves to anything from muesli, rice and pasta to toiletries. Even packageless vodka is on offer. There's a large demijohn from which customers can buy a few shots, or more.
With a good base of loyal customers and an ever increasing interest from new ones, the shore, open for business since September 2014, proves there is a market for sustainable shopping.
Although a visit to Doctor Yi Zhou starts conventionally with "patients" filling out a clinical record it soon becomes clear that she is not your average doctor and this is not your average check up.
Practising from her mobile Body Memory clinic and wearing her trademark Doctors coat, the self confessed "collector of human body parts," takes a "faux-scientific" look at body form and the role that our body parts, rather than our brain, play in storing our memories.
Fingers, noses, lips, ears, breasts and even belly buttons are covered with resin and then plaster bandages to create unconventional, quirky jewelry pieces and accessories.
A Central Saint Martins graduate, Dr. Zhou is largely touted as the 'one to watch' in China's design scene after receiving widespread acclaim at this year's Beijing Design Week.
'Patients' can contact Dr. Zhou by email at yizhoudesign.com to schedule an appointment or, alternatively, show up to one of her many pop-up events.
Images courtesy of Yi Zhou
Text by Precious Mahaga for Crane.tv
Disclaimer: No animals were harmed during the shoot. All of the animals involved have died from natural causes.
There's something extremely delicate and very raw about Tessa Metcalfe's jewellery. Gold and silver pigeon claws adorn the young designer's fingers, each one distinctly different from the other. Some clasp onto precious jewels while others are embellished with miniature rings of their own. Each one has it's own story.
Born in Hackney, East London, Metcalfe grew up in a metropolis where the only wildlife present was pigeons. Commonly referred to as "rats with wings" the often, hated birds, captured the young Tessa's fascination.
Her exposure to dead animals, her father frequently collected road kill, gave her the opportunity to study pigeons more closely and she experimented with taxidermy in an attempt to capture the bird's overlooked beauty.
After her experience with taxidermy, Tessa Metcalfe got the idea of making jewellery out of the pigeon feet. She then learned how to cast, and that was the beginning of what is now a successful jewellery brand, that is being worn by celebrities like Rita Ora and Pixie Lott.
Text by Precious Mahaga and Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen for Crane.tv
During the final leg of AW15 fashion month, all eyes are on Paris, which, arguably is considered to be the most important showcase of next season's trends. While the names of the big couturiers are on everyone's lips, we've scoped out one of the next generation's most promising designers, that you may not necessarily have heard about.
Paris-based Jonathan Liang is the creative director of both his namesake label and as of last year, also of Malaysian brand Dude and the Duchess. Calling the Malaysia-born a workaholic would certainly be an understatement. He has been in the fast lane ever since sending his first pieces down the catwalk a few years back.
As with many designers, his beginnings were in fine art and a career in fashion developed out of an interest to do more with his art than just putting it down on paper. While still a student at Raffles Design Institute in Malaysia, he began drawing Japanese comic art, known as Manga. With increasing commissions, he gained wide recognition online under the alias Toounit and became known for his outstanding Copic marker art.
In 2009, he made his debut at Malaysia Fashion Week and won the award for "Most Promising Designer", gaining him a supportive following and setting him up for a career in Fashion. It also got him an invitation to show at London Fashion Week.
"In London, the style is really eccentric and actually I really love that about people, they dare to go crazy," he says about his brief stint in the UK capital. Travelling around Europe and considering several offers, making the decision on where to have his base was down to a simple reason. "In Paris, I think branding is best, for some reason it helps being a French brand."
There seems to be no limit to the young designer's creativity. In the past, he has collaborated with Uniqlo for the brand's Feel the Sea, creating a sustainable fashion line.
Yet there is more to the 27-year-old than living and working in Paris, being strongly influenced by the 80s and 90s, and having made a name for himself as a well sought-after Manga artist. His secret passion is food. It therefore comes as no surprise, that he considers a career in food a serious option int he future, aside from fashion.
"I just want to do what I love, going around eating food and trying out different food, food-travel, that is my ultimate dream, to be on a food channel." We'd certainly love to watch this fashion foodie get creative with something other than garments.
Thomas Curley and his team were over the moon, when they won the Bafta for Production Sound Mixing for Whiplash, already anticipating going to the Academy Awards a few weeks later. But despite the hype, the praise and critical acclaim, as part of the crew, you may dream of it, but you don't really think 'this one is going to win an Oscar'.
For the production sound team and Curley this dream was made reality at the 87th Academy Awards, when Whiplash bagged three Oscars, including Best Sound Mixing.
We meet Thomas the day after winning the Bafta in his hotel room in Covent Garden, central London. He's in surprisingly good shape, considering having received his first major prize the night before, then having "been dragged to some after party to celebrate".
"When I took the job of sound production for Whiplash, everyone called me crazy," he admits. And reading through the script and coming across more and more scenes involving music, drumming, yelling, thrown objects and dialogue, all at the same time, these sceptics may not have been too off. The film is a mix of band rehearsals, performances and solos of highly complicated jazz pieces, so it's not surprising that it was a huge challenge to do the script justice with the sound.
"Early on in the film, when he [Fletcher] first introduces Andrew to the class [...] we had to have the right piece of music queued up, our playback guy had to change tunes in a very short amount of time, all the while I'm mixing in drumming and dialogue," Curley describes handling one of the more challenging scenes.
He studied engineering, film and video production before graduating with a BA in Film Studies at the University of Buffalo. After a few years of broadcast engineering for Fox and NBC affiliates, and a bit of production assistant work, he found his calling in sound production, while working on Dreamworks' "The Time Machine" in Troy, NY. Six months later, Curley moved to Los Angeles and started Curley Sound with his Brother.
The offer for Whiplash came through a friend of his, and it seemed to be over before it really started, with production only lasting 19 days. For Curley as the on-set production sound mixer, these were intense 19 days to say the least.
Perhaps due to the nature of the subject, J.K. Simmons comedic talents didn't find much opportunity on set, apart from the time when he was told to slap Miles Teller round the face, which according to Curley "he took great pleasure in".
We're celebrating the technical skills that go into the production of a film, that may occasionally stay in the shade of actors' performances during award season. While Thomas Curley was the one to take home a trophy, these nominees also had very interesting production anecdotes to share.
Weta's senior digital effects supervisor Joe Letteri, nominated for Best Visual Effects for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Director Michael Lennox, on Boogaloo & Graham, nominated for Best Live Action Short
Producer David Rosier on Wim Wender's The Salt of the Earth, nominated for Best Documentary
Perfection, excellence and beauty -- you won't find many creative people who don't seek these ideals in their work, from the surliest, most DIY of DIY bands to the most unashamedly elitist luxury car manufacturers. They are subjective ideals of course, but for Masam, a fledgling Paris-based design studio of already impeccable pedigree, these are the foundations of their creativity, the driving force.
Masam is renowned paper artist Marianne Guély (her skills have previously been called upon by brands such as Dior, Louis Vuitton and Toyota) and Lebanese architect Said Njeim. The pair met at an architect's dinner, bonding over a love of travel and artisanal production.
"When we met the idea was to make the prolongation [sic] of the story of Studio Marianne Guély -- Masam," says Guély. They apply her paper-folding techniques to various materials including leather and alabaster, across lighting, jewellery and stationery. "We wanted to show we are coming from two different worlds," says Njeim.
Their creative collaboration is also visible in the studio itself. The space on Rue de Provence in central Paris used to be a map store, a destination for travel fiends to come to and find inspiration and information. When taking over the space, Njeim felt it necessary to add the Masam touch. He took out an entire wall and exposed beautiful dark wooden beams, which make the studio space both more open and inviting.
Having premiered their debut collection at 100% Design in London in 2014 to great acclaim, the pair continue in their quest for perfection. Says Njeim: "I like perfection, I like excellence, I like beauty, and that is what we try to do with paper and the other materials."
Text by Tom Jenkins for Crane.tv
It all stems from a fascination with our relationship to movement. As we sit in the waiting room downstairs in Siobhan Davies Studios near Elephant & Castle in Southeast London, we can hear workshops underway in the studios upstairs; the Studios simultaneously act as an exhibition space.
When Siobhan Davies CBE took her first steps on the dance stage at 17, no one assumed that the art student had never danced before. Through friends she became part of a dance movement spearheaded by the late dance philanthropist Robin Howard CBE, and after only a few months she starred in one of his first works, 1968's Transit. Two years later she started choreographing and ultimately joined the London Contemporary Dance Theatre.
"I didn't have a dance language embedded in me, which is the thing that I would naturally use," says Davies now. "I've always felt that I need to re-find the language for the moment, for the time, for my age, for my experience, for and with the people I am working with."
But the lack of a classical education was more freeing than restrictive, allowing her to perform and choreograph however she saw fit. This ultimately led to what some would call a career change roughly 10 years ago. Her decision not to perform in theatres anymore wasn't down to her no longer admiring the craft and tradition, but came as a natural progression out of the desire to develop and nourish more personal relationships with dancers. Imagining a fresh, constantly investigative place for the art, where dancers can be "injected with energy", Siobhan Davies Studios was born.
"I have the privilege and the excitement of this kind of relationship, between an artist and myself," she says.
After so many decades in the dance world, it was time to explore new projects, like last year's Human- Nature: Art, Horticulture and Choreography, harnessing the potential of growth in every possible way. "I find that the form of garden, the form of growth, the form of season, the form of time passing, all has relevance."
Moving image was another new venture. Davies and filmmaker David Hinton created All This Can Happen in 2012, a film based on Robert Walser's 1917 novella The Walk constructed entirely from archive photographs and footage from the early days of cinema. The novella follows a pauper poet on a walk though his town while he's feeling melancholic and annoyed about certain customs of modern life and is praising nature's blissfulness.
After the success of this first project, she partnered with Hinton for a second time. They are currently working on a new film installation work, to be shown in the summer of 2015 - no doubt focusing on a shared fascination with our relationship to movement.
In the modern city, space, as any over zealous estate agent will gleefully tell you, is at a premium. As city-dwellers fight for living space in the heart of the metropolis, pleading not to be put out to pasture in the suburbs - what a terrifying word that can be to some - they are also demanding an immediate environment full of public and green space; aesthetically pleasing as well as close to great transport links and amenities. Human beings, particularly urbanites, are a demanding bunch.
Perhaps the answer is under our noses, or more accurately, under our feet. James Ramsey of the New York-based Raad Studio has hit upon a novel way of repurposing abandoned spaces, starting with an old trolley depot below the streets of Manhattan's Lower East Side that looks like a set from a Saw film. The project is titled the Lowline and is scheduled for completion in 2018. The idea is to channel sunlight from street level, illuminating the space below and providing natural light for photosynthesis, so plants can grow, creating "basically a cave with a science fiction garden".
Ramsey explains: "As [cities] get more crowded we have to start getting a bit scrappy about how we can claim space we can use for public or green space. The basic idea of the Lowline is to use advanced solar technologies to harbour sunlight, send it down, almost like plumbing or irrigation, and redistribute that light... transforming this abandoned space into something for the public
Here's the science bit: the proposed solar technology of the Lowline involves the creation of a remote skylight, whereby sunlight passes through a glass shield above a parabolic collector, is reflected and gathered at one focal point, and directed underground. Sunlight is transmitted onto a reflective surface on the distributor dish underground, transmitting that sunlight into the space.
Right... Ramsey admits he's struggled to identify exactly what has captured the public's imagination about the project. Could it be the cutting-edge green technology, or an element of DIY urban renewal (that's DIY in the loosest possible sense)? Perhaps it's the undeniable romance of discovering a secret space in a bustling and saturated city like New York?
James, it's quite simple: it's a really good idea.
''Röyksopp'' is Norwegian for mushroom cloud -- the result of an atomic blast.
It all started when two boys, with a shared passion for electronic music, met at a young age. Svei Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland were 12 and 13 years old when they first started making music together.
Having grown up and spent their childhood in Tromsø, the magnificently untouched scenery of Northern Norway is often referenced as one of their main inspirations.
Since 1998, when Röyksopp was officially formed, they have been nominated twice for a Grammy and have won at the Spelleman Awards, the most prestigious ceremony in Norwegian music, an impressive seven times.
Their distinct instrumental electronic sound began to receive international recognition through their songs being used by T-Mobile in a UK television advert, as well as their collaborations with artists such as Swedish export Robyn. Besides producing, collaborating and their elaborate concert performances, Röyksopp have also put their remixing skills to good use. Roots Manuva, The Streets and Coldplay are amongst those who have had some Norwegian electronica added to their sound.
The latest and reportedly final album, 'The Inevitable End', may have fans thinking it's a farewell from the duo, but fear not, Svei and Tobjørn explain they are simply breaking with the traditional system of releasing music on LPs. For all we know, this could mean even more Röyksopp in the future.
Three young women gesticulate towards a camera, rapping a cappella in Portuguese, so in their element they don't notice the hundreds of eyes on them following their every step, hanging on their every word, in admiration of their raw confidence. While most won't understand them, their message could not be clearer:
We are women, we speak our minds and we will sing and dance wherever we want.
Who is this trio who've been making so much noise on the international scene? Crane.tv met Alice, Mariana and Jennifer, aka Pearls Negras, a female rap group from Brazil on the London-leg of their first European tour.
At first glance, the hard beats seem to be in direct contrast to their appearance. But they are, in fact, the perfect match. Their sound is trap-intense and base-heavy, the lyrics sometimes beyond their age, their look daring, confident and sensual. With a clear idea of who they are and what they stand for, they defy prejudice within seconds of being on stage.
Inspired by their north American idols, such as Nicki Minaj, Ciara and Drake, they got involved in a youth programme a few years ago, taking their first steps in performing at the Nós do Morro theatre company and school under the instruction of Jecki Brown, who is now their music producer.
All three grew up in the Vidigal favela of Rio de Janeiro, in a country perhaps better known for traditional genres such as Funk, Samba or Pagode. Pearls Negras are trailblazing female rap in Latin America, something that's widely missing in the southern hemisphere.
Long gone are the days where women were merely background accessories to rap videos. "Women can handle rap too, we're standing up for women's power." We're certainly glad they're doing so in our hemisphere as well. Welcome to modern Hip Hop.
Bill McMullen has been involved in some pretty cool stuff in his time.
The artist/graphic designer started out making flyers for bands during his college days. After moving to New York from San Diego, he landed a coveted job as an art director at the legendary Def Jam, creating iconic artwork for some of the label's biggest records, working closely with the Beastie Boys.
The next logical step says McMullen, was to start making objects -- toys that aren't necessarily meant to be played with but can still be admired for their inventive nods to popular culture. Examples include a doll based on Christopher Walken's character in King of New York and the AD-AT, a hybrid of the Adidas shell toe and the Imperial Walker from The Empire Strikes Back.
McMullen: "I'm the type of the guy that does not open their toy. I don't need to articulate a toy and have fun with it. The packaging and the presentation... that's the whole thing for me. I always want to make something that's complete as it is. I do think, 'what would I do with this thing if I had it?' I'd probably put it on my shelf with the other objects... alongside an old pair of binoculars."
See what we mean? But even McMullen isn't cool enough to predict the future. "I'm not really sure where all this is going, but it's a really great trip," he says.
In the West it can certainly feel like street art has become so ubiquitous as to have come to, rightly or wrongly, something of a dead end. But in China, where at present there is no specific law against street art, the genre is little understood. Witness the puzzled looks Beijing-based artist Robbbb receives when pasting his creations on walls and ruins across this rapidly evolving city.
Robbbb has been an active street artist since 2011 and believes ruins "mark the development of a city. Since the Olympics in 2008... a lot of culture and landscape has been destroyed. My works co-exist with the ruins and old structures. They disappear when the ruins disappear, therefore my works are part of the ruins and vice versa."
He documents his temporary works, many of which focus on social problems linked to Beijing's extraordinary development, using photos and video. However, he doesn't expect to be as free to use the city as a canvas as he is for too much longer. As Western culture floods China, it's only a matter of time before the authorities pick up on the subversive element of street art and attempt to suppress it.
"The major difference with street art in China and in foreign countries lies in whether or not people understand what you're doing," reflects Robbbb. "Ruins are temporary, so are my works, but I hope they'll leave some marks in Beijing's history."
Despite the festive season coming around again every year and there being countless occasions throughout the year to dress up and attend great parties, it does seem like party season always tends to sneak up on you and catch you in a moment of unpreparedness.
Sequins, fur, short, long,...
Gaetano Pesce, like his ideas, is well travelled. Born in Italy in 1939, the architect and designer has, over a career spanning four decades, conceived public and private projects in the US, Europe, Latin America and Asia. He's also taught in France, Italy, Brazil and Hong Kong and has had homes in London, Venice, Helsinki and Paris.
Since 1980 however, he's been based in New York City, so it seemed only natural that Pesce should put forward, in 2002, a proposal for the World Trade Center rebuilding project. Pesce's twin towers were to be supported by a heart-shaped structure, picking up on the famous t-shirt motif associated with the city. It conveys Pesce's love of his adopted hometown.
"The two towers were more important than the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of this city," he says in thick Italian tones. "It was my duty." It remained unbuilt of course, but for Pesce, modernism is less a style than a method for interpreting the present and hinting at a future in which individuality is preserved and celebrated: "Art is an expression of reality," he says.
Pesce sees architecture as "king or queen of the arts" and says humour is vital: "I try to express the spirit of the place. To be always serious, like most architects are, is very boring. I like to see people express themselves without barriers."
But it's curiosity that drives him. "Curiosity brings you to discovery and when you discover you are able to make innovation," [sic] he says. "I'm always discovering things because reality is continuing to provoke us... the importance is to pay attention."
The world was a different place in 1999. New York was a different place. But one constant in the city has been Beats in Space, Tim Sweeney's weekly mix of eclectic house, disco, hip-hop, techno and dance floor friendly anthems, broadcast through WNYU. The show has been on air every Tuesday night from 10.30pm to 1am since its debut. That's 15 years without missing a week. It's all for the love of music.
"I don't get paid doing the radio show, but I love learning about music," Sweeney says. "I love having these guests on, hearing what they play. I just have a really good time with it. It's college radio anyway so I can do what I want and I love that freedom."
In an attempt to connect with the show's global audience, Sweeney established a hotline on which listeners could leave messages for him and his guests. However, a man calling himself Victor from Washington Heights, a potentially unstable character that veers between utter contempt for "little Timmy" and the show, and adulation, has now largely hijacked it.
"They did start freaking me out at the very beginning," says Sweeney of the over 600 messages from Victor he has saved, which are now available online. "If I play disco or anything with other languages he gets more angry than you need to be. He's definitely a patriot. When he loves the show he says that he's having a house party with hundreds of people... I feel like [the show] is really a failure if he likes it because it means I didn't play enough different music."
Will Sweeney be spending New Year's Eve 2014 in the company of his biggest fan then? "No, he's never invited me to a house party," he says.