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Formafantasma: From Then On

London's Established & Sons taps the Italian duo to create a site-specific installation reflecting on the various passages of time

by Karen Day in Design on 17 September 2014

Established & Sons, Experimental Design, Formafantasma, Furniture, Installations, London, Marble, Site-Specific

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One of the more cleverly named design studios, London's Established & Sons has lived up to its moniker over the years, and 2015 will mark the progressive company's 10-year anniversary. To celebrate the indelible impact they've had on the industry—which is in large part due to the intelligent, experimental nature of founding partners Sebastian Wrong, Tamara Caspersz, Alasdhair Willis, Mark Holmes and Angad Paul (the only remaining founder)—Established & Sons asked Netherlands-based, Italian design duo Formafantasma to create a site-specific installation that reflects upon the notion of time.

"From Then On" consists of four functional sculptures that keep track of time in various increments, and through various materials. Formafantasma's Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin tells us that CEO Maurizio Mussati gave them carte blanche, and the most difficult challenge was to produce such technical manufacturing feats in a short amount of time. Thanks to the British outfit's longstanding manufacturing prowess (and relationship with Italian producer Tor Art), the exhibition is nothing short of impressive in scale and craftsmanship, while simultaneously meditative and engaging in concept.

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In the center of the vault-like room is a brass pendulum, which swings back and forth every second. This is meant to symbolize our fight against time, as the brass base would naturally oxidize over time yet the polishing brush at the bottom of the pendulum keeps that process from occurring. Nearby stands two connection saxophones, which emit a sound every 15 minutes like a classic horological sentinel. "This is our town church bell," Trimarchi explains.

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A massive slate of round Carrera marble represents time as a circular motion. The handless clock is comprised of two concentric circles, and when the veins in the marble match up, one hour has passed by.

An elegant fan clock in another part of the room expresses time as a repetitive pattern. Over the course of five minutes, the shade circumnavigating the brass center playfully unfolds and folds back up again as a reminder of our most common way of measuring time.

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Concurrently on view at the London showroom is "Vital Statistics," an exhibition curated by Holmes, Established & Sons' original Design Director. The collection serves as a neatly edited overview of the range of talented designers they've worked with and the forward-thinking output of their uninhibited collaborations. Both exhibitions will be up at the London showroom through 21 September, which is located at 5-7 Wenlock Road, London, N1 7SL.

Lead image courtesy of Established & Sons, all others by Karen Day

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In Waves: Arp + RO/LU + Paul Clipson

The collective group installation and world premiere of the Super 8mm video for "Pulsars e Quasars"

by Hans Aschim in Culture on 17 September 2014

16mm film, Collaborations, Installations, Mexican Summer, Music Videos, Premiers

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Electronic musician Alexis Georgopoulos (aka Arp) is no stranger to collaboration or experimentation. The NYC-based artist has worked with as many fellow musicians as he has painters, sculptors and illustrators. His latest work with Minneapolis studio RO/LU and San Francisco-based filmmaker Paul Clipson sees each artist's work contribute to an all-encompassing gallery experience. "In Waves"—on view now at NYC's Jack Hanley Gallery—is an interactive music, film and sculpture installation playing upon light, texture, shape and ambient sound. Georgopoulos composed an undulating score for the installation using a Moog synthesizer and the help of Nicky Mao (aka Hiro Kone) on violin and piano. Viewers are invited to rearrange RO/LU's ambiguous forms while Clipson's film and Arp's C minor, Dorian-only audio plays in imperfect unison. The light, shapes and harmony of music are ever-changing, resulting in a different experience with each viewing. Channeling a similar energy in 8mm film form is Arp's video for "Pulsars e Quasars," also directed by Clipson and debuting exclusively here on CH.

"Though his work is incredibly inviting, he likes challenging the viewer a bit," Georgopoulos says of Clipson's videography. Clipson draws on in-camera techniques for the trippy visuals, including double and triple exposures and manipulating film speeds. Like the "In Waves" installation, collaborating led Georgopoulos to see his own work in a new light. "I've always felt the song had an autumnal quality—more cobblestone than beach," Georgopoulos explains. "Paul [Clipson] puts us on the beach, just before fall, when summer is still present—a time we have a hard time realizing is still here because we know what comes next."

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"In Waves" is on view at NYC's Jack Hanley Gallery through 5 October 2014. Arp's upcoming record Pulsars e Quasars drops 23 September on Mexican Summer records.

Images by Hans Aschim

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Off Piste: Nahanni Reforestation Photography Book

Over 500 Kodachrome images capture the largely undocumented lives of 1970s tree-planters

by Graham Hiemstra in Culture on 17 September 2014

Canada, Documentaries, Environment, History, NSFW, Outdoors, Photography, Film, Off Piste

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Nahanni Arntzen was born inside a teepee on the shore of the Kingcome River in remote British Columbia. Her parents were tree-planters, hired by logging companies to repopulate the large swaths of land left naked by clear cutting forestry operations. On and off for the first eight years of her life, Arntzen lived wherever the Nahanni Reforestation camp went—a free childhood spent pestering the camp cooks and playing with the camp dogs. From 1977 to 1987 her father, Daniel James, ran the operation, which he named for her. During this time, James and his operation of 25 to 30 men and women planted up to 12 million trees. And thankfully, James was there with a camera, capturing the ins and outs of daily life as a tree planting hippy in Interior B.C. Now after some 30 odd years laying unseen, James' archive of over 500 original images will again see daylight, though instead of a slideshow, they will—with the help of Kickstarter—take the form of a book.

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Using Kodachrome slide film, James would shoot throughout the tree-planting season, which routinely culminated in a party and slideshow for the crew. Though Arntzen remembers her father often having a camera at the ready, she admits she was surprised at the quality and quantity of the photos taken by a man who would hardly consider himself a photographer. "I had no idea they were going to be as good as they are, honestly," says Arntzen. "Just going through them we could tell that the photos were really remarkable; there isn't another archive like what he's got." And this may very well be true—albeit an unfortunate truth, historically speaking. As Artntzen has found in her research, though many tree-planters documented their work, most images from this era haven't survived—and certainly not in cohesive numbers of this size. Most have been lost to poor storage conditions or house moves, as tends to happen to things of this nature. Now consider the fact that shooting slide film as a practice is essentially extinct, and that Kodachrome itself was discontinued by Kodak in 2009, and the images' value begins to transcend simple aesthetics.

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Though the images do ooze nostalgia, it's the historical context and raw, realness of the images that give them a sense of anthropologic importance as well. The era documented by James was a time of environmental awakening for the Western world, and the first time the experimental solution of tree-planting was widely used—or really any solution was offered for that matter. Logging had always been a major part of the economy in the Northwestern US and British Columbia, though not until the early 1970s did individuals involved realize the severity and lack of regeneration left in their wake. Initially wives of local loggers were hired to plant seedlings, but when the two efforts drew incongruent, forestry companies began contracting able bodied young men and women to take on the job. As no surprise, mostly hippies headed the call, for both the naturalistic experience and the high pay—which was so high, in fact, most worked only five or six months out of the year, and relaxed on their earnings for the rest.

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The images are almost surreal—caught in a heady decade seemingly somewhere between "Easy Rider"and "Into the Wild"—though genuine, depicting many aspects of a largely unknown and unrecognized life. The work these men and women did was remarkable, and hugely important for the health and sustainability of local ecosystem. Yet the individuals captured hold no sense of self-importance and were not shot to garner praise. James shot his friends and his family—at one point his mother acted as camp cook while up to three sisters all planted under his guise. From February to early June—year after year—they all worked and lived, ate and slept together.

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"There's definitely a push aesthetically, and the ideology of getting outside is very popular right now," acknowledges Arntzen of the current zeitgeist. Though the book's funding effort may very well profit from this cultural movement, it certainly was not a driving force in the decision to bring it to life. "I'm sure there are boxes and boxes of people's family history sitting all over the place that would be interesting to bring back. That's why I want to do [the book]—to inspire more people to do the same," says Arntzen. "Plus I want to do something for my dad. He worked super-hard for 10 years literally just planting trees into the ground, and that was a huge part of his life. What he did is really noteworthy and I want to share that with other people in recognition of his work."

Visit the Nahanni Reforestation Kickstarter page to help publish the book, where a pledge of $45 secures you a first edition copy. And for more immediate gratification, follow @nahannireforestation on Instagram for an ongoing sneak peek at some of the imagination-capturing images.

Images by Dan James courtesy of Nahanni Arntzen

Off Piste encourages exploration. With each feature we'll introduce the people, products and places that make life outside the city possible and life in the city more down to earth.

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