Swiss Genius

When I gave a talk in Switzerland about a week ago, I came across this fabulous little piece of Swiss engineering, combining usefulness and beauty. (I always said that a country where even the smallest supermarkets offer five-meter shelves stacked with chocolate can’t be bad!) With our clumsy German plugs, such little gems are hard to create …

swissgenius

Park(ing) Lights

“Parkleuchten” is the name of sort of a light installation in the Gruga Park in Essen. The word actually means the parking lights of a car, but in German, it has the double meaning of lights in the park. My fiancé and I went there to have a look at the impressive illuminations. I liked the trees in particular—there’s some kitschy stuff, too (like castles, flowers and butterflies made of lights), but most is really worth seeing (it is still running till March 15). More information (in German) is available at the Gruga Park Website.

This is one of my favorite photos I shot there. It reminds me of images of the blood circuit in my highschool biology book 😉

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Abandoned Places (1)

While on a walk today, I came across an old abandoned church—the bell tower was overgrown with plants, and there was no access to the building, which was completely fenced in. The picture is not really good, but I liked the little tree that grows where there used to be a window. From my research, I learned that the tower is used as a mobile phone mast.

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The “logo” of the church, a copper cut on the roof, did not really appear Christian to me—at first, it made me think of a Hindu sect or something. If you look closely, though, you see it’s actually an image of the Virgin Mary. I like the way the branches and twigs seem to reach out for this weird, organic shape, which bows towards them.

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Half-legally, I also discovered an old railroad which is not in use any more. I see the little house from the window of my living room and had always wondered whether it wouldn’t be cool to live in a place like this. Yet it would probably be too much work to restore it again—there was one broken window at the bottom through which one might access it, but the smell of unhealthy building substances and other not-so-pleasant things made me abandon my plan to have a closer look at the actual part of the building which would have interested me. It seems that the place is used by junkies—at least, I found a substantial number of syringes.

The building itself is somehow cool, though.

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Photography (31): Split Screen II

My (now not more that new, but still wonderful) new office provides me with the loveliest sunsets. (Luckily—being a late bird, it’s unlikely that I would ever benefit from lovely sunrises.) Trying to take a picture of it with my laptop camera resulted in a funny “split screen” (you may remember that I have a soft spot for those). On the right, the view on the city; on the left, the reflection of the sunset in my window.

Split Screen Sunset

Jelly Belly YEAH YEAH

Another attempt at working with mixed materials by maltreating them in the oven.

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“Jelly Belly YEAH YEAH” is the title. Here, the plastic foil consisted of a bag of jelly beans (which I love! Yum!). As there were none left (except for the disgusting “cafe latte” beans—who invents flavors like that?!), I filled the bag with black beans I found in the kitchen. The cardboard YEAH YEAHs serve the purpose of stabilizing the whole thing, but also convey a positive, not-so-serious attitude about this whole piece of art. They were actually a random find from the wrapping of two espresso cups (a Christmas gift—thanks to Claudi and Christoph), which had these YEAH flaps hidden inside the cardboard boxes the cups were in. I cut them off, because I think you can use positive-attitude pieces of cardboard for almost anything, e.g., shopping lists, random notes, doodles, etc.

What I like about the piece is that it is funny in a way. It combines commercial and natural elements, along with random findings, and the process even led to the liberation of nature (i.e., the beans were set free when the plastic was molten). 100–120°C seem best suited for melting plastic bags, by the way.

Hidden Bird

Time for new art, after a long break due to personal and professional changes for the better! Actually, this was supposed to become a collage (a postcard, to be specific), which I intended to laminate with some plastic foil. However, the result turned out completely different than I had intended …

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I did not take a picture of the original—it was a page torn from a 1996 magazine on Jewish culture (the fact that it was on Jewish culture did not matter at all; actually, the reason was the funny commercial on the flip side, with line drawings of different Volkswagen models in white and blue. If you look closely, you may notice them on the “tail” of the bird).

So my original intention was to take these cars as the background (I had also painted the page with some watercolor and watered it when the color turned out too garish—with the effect that the paint disappeared almost entirely, but hey, you’ve got to get to know your materials) and to glue a bird onto the page, a bird which I had cut out from a sheet of flower-patterned origami paper. Because the bird was not well visible on the unquiet background, I contoured it with a black felt marker. As the touche de maître, I wanted to laminate it in a plastic foil (which I had put in the oven for that purpose)—yet the foil got completely deformed and crumpled the paper into the shape you see above. However, I like that from a certain perspective (and with a lot of imagination), you may even perceive it as a bird.

The picture below gives you a slight hint at the “hidden bird” inside the bird (bird inception?). It is pink, and you do not see much of it, but you get the idea.

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What do I learn from this? Knowing how your material reacts is crucial; yet random effects may yield interesting results, too. I think the process is probably as important as the result; and in a way, I like my hidden bird.