I’m talking art and pigeon catchers!
Mixel of theWeek
An echo from the previous week’s Mixel of the Week #3 i find my eye is drawn to the Kandinsky circles, trying to figure out what the pattern is and how often it repeats. The Mondrian trees bleed intensity with mini aneuryisms of colour exploding on the canvas. The movement through both is what held my attention, it made me think about dance and ballet and Matthew Bourne and consequently a whole other mixel got made.
Favourite mixel last week
More so because this was my most awesome random moment last week. Crossing the square outside Westminster Cathedral between Mcdonalds and Specsavers, there was something almost medieval about this Harrison Hawk’s keeper.
The bird was perched on his leather clad forearm, majestic and alert, I’ve probably imagined that he wore swashbuckling boots, and that would be weird, but the two of them together looked like they were out of time and for once the square was pigeon free.
The flying rodents that are a tourist attraction constant are kept in check by this hawk who looked right at me as if i were dead to him, it was a little unnerving. Encountering that detachment felt odd. Sangfroid not withstanding I was relieved to hear he’s not trained to perform tricks, other than catching a morsel of food mid flight, Harrison here will show up at your birthday party and swoop around regally and that’s about it.
I can see I’m not the only one who throbs for cake because this is the mixel that received the most ‘likes’ last week. In real life, outside of Mixelronia, I’m known as somewhat of a cakeoholic, I quite literally push the take-my-delicious-cake-and-make-it-look-extraordinary to really ridiculous levels, consequently my Facebook album is full of *cake porn*.
“I believe it is possible that, through horizontal and vertical lines constructed with awareness, but not with calculation, led by high intuition, and brought to harmony and rhythm, these basic forms of beauty, supplemented if necessary by other direct lines or curves, can become a work of art, as strong as it is true.” –Mondrian
Mondrian sounds so optimistic here I imagine he’d be delighted by this cake homage because cake is beautiful, and if you think about it the eggs, flour and butter being mixed up to manifest as cake is deliciously harmonious. I therefore put it to you that this cake is the artiest of arty art right?
Mondrian might enjoy how it references ‘Composition II in Red Blue and Yellow’ one of the grid based paintings he began to produce after 1919 and for which he came to be renowned. He started out as a more literal painter, i like and have mixelled some of his tree paintings which are a teeny bit abstract in form and can be viewed as a transition between the literal to the abstract and spatial work that is his signature. It wasn’t until I saw a retrospective last year that I even knew that he had painted in any colour other than red, white, blue, yellow and black.
My favourite Mixel
I’ve had a fairly inside-doors week so I’ve been home a lot more when the afternoon merges in to early evening. The beauty of autumn not withstanding I actually hate this time of year. It’s synonymous with going back to school, putting away my summer toes and recognising the nights begin earlier and earlier. I don’t enjoy winter light, it’s not just the absence of sunshine with any significant heat ratio, it’s that the light for the next six or seven months will be thin and feint and distant. Brooding over this I took comfort in JMW Turner.
If I’ve not said this before let me say it loud and clear, when Chris Smith MP made museums and galleries free to enter in the 90s he created a cultural legacy that changed peoples relationships to art, he did an amazing thing. The national collection belongs to the taxpayer and for the various buildings that house it entrance is free, as it should be. I live not too far away from Tate Britain,I treat it like it’s my living room.
It’s where I got to know Turner really well; they have loads hanging there. What keeps me going back to him is his fascination with light, he painted the sea a lot and most of what I’ve seen are daytime scenarios. I’ve always found this night time painting spellbinding, that funnel of a spotlight in the middle of the painting is beautiful to me.
I wrote a piece on Mixel for the charming fellows at Creative Loop, the mixel images couldn’t be included in that post so i’m republishing it below
“Apple didn’t invent the first desktop computer– it copied Xerox…but it was the first to combine the computer with the household appliance, sparking the personal computing revolution.” ~Kirby Ferguson, Everything Is A Remix
In the wake of the launch of iPhone 5 to a chorus of euphoria or slow hand claps, depending on your tribal allegiance, it’s timely to note that the innovative leap pioneered by Apple with the desktop computer was launched on an intuitive merger of pre-existing building blocks.I don’t at all mean to throw shade on Apple either now or then for redirecting the game with what already existed.
“What started it all was the graphical interface merged with the idea of the computer as household appliance. The Mac is a demonstration of the explosive potential of combinations.”~ Kirby Ferguson, Everything Is A Remix
This “explosive potential of combinations” is so perfectly embodied by the Mixel for iPhone App I feel as though I took a swig of Alice’s potion and rabbit holed my way to Wonderland. Mixel is a collage creating photo sharing app, sourcing from my phone’s photo albums and Instagram or Facebook, I can make a selection then sit back as the pictures are assembled in to a pictogram. It’s a lot more fun than that sounds and having spent a fair amount of time on Mixel recently I’ve come to appreciate how creativity can flow quite beautifully from taking the old and repositioning it to create something new. Remix Culture is all around us, it is the vernacular of the digital age in so many ways and here it is expressed through my ‘sunset’, ‘cat’ and ‘self-portrait pics’.
“Giving life to some photo’s that don’t mean much on their own.”
I introduced a friend to Mixel and her observation illustrates why it’s so magical, why sourcing something that already exists and combining it in a new way can create something more meaningful.
If you’re not in love with the first layout that materialises after your photo selection just click the Shuffle button and watch your content reassemble within reordered frames. There are several filters to choose from and with your phone’s pinch-zoom incorporated here additional photo edit abilities can radically transform the material you start off with.
“it’s a great tool for visual inspiration”-@enriquegonzales
This iPhone iteration is Mixel 2.0, the first version having launched exclusively to the iPad last year was somewhat dense and labour intensive .The self-limiting audience of iPad users kept version 1.0 niche, rolling it out on to iPhone was a calculated decision to make what worked more workable and within version 2.0 the heavy lifting is done for you. The app has a design led interface that is intuitive to use and you can appreciate how it works as a creative tool.
The iPad Mixel may have been retired now, but depending on who you follow you can still be treated to the engaging spectacle of design principles being worked and reworked in a post. It is no bad thing to feel like an outsider sometimes, which is how I feel when something impressively complex pops up on my Mixel feed, the creative bells and whistles are impenetrable to me yet awesome still. It’s a bit like being presented with a piece of art that is challenging to make sense of, where I know that something genius has taken place I just don’t have a frame of reference to understand what that is. Not being a design creative isn’t a hindrance to producing something special here though and that this playful tool also stretches your aesthetic appreciation can make interacting with it a whimsical adventure.
Additionally there are sensory quirks to enjoy, like the ‘activity bar’ which fluctuates through the colour spectrum when the app is doing stuff. The real time notifications of Likes and Follows that flow in to your Inbox and of the several streams that can display everyone’s work, the Friends stream allows you to see what the users you follow are responding to. Then there’s the ‘Thread’, a novel element which amplifies the mix-tape vibe to a new level of fun.
I create a Mixel, it’s published and you can add to it by creating one of your own and establishing a link, this thread becomes a conversation that is sometimes Pass the Parcel and at others Chinese Whispers. As a rookie, feeling your way through a chain of collage is not completely intuitive, and maybe there’s an expected knowledge of collaborative behaviour that can trip you up if you’re clueless as you get involved for the first time. I sort of need to believe that you haven’t got the hang of things if you do conjoin your ‘out of focus sleepy eyed boyfriend’ shot to my obviously studiously considered artsy post. Seriously did you mean for that to happen? This is a democratic space though and whilst I might not enjoy it, I support your right to do it and I say that with no rancour because, enticingly, the’ end’ Mixel has the potential to be an inspired comment on the one at the ‘start’ of the thread.
“Even World of Warcraft, the legendary multiplayer online role-playing game, is more about collaborating with others than completing the game. Though users can play aspects of the game alone, it requires characters to work together in groups to overcome major challenges. World of Warcraft players spend hours strategizing and socializing, both on and off-line. It’s more than a game; it’s a tribe.” –Nir Elayan, Where Have The Users Gone?
If I’ve given the impression that Mixel can be totally immersive then let me tell you why I’ve become so attached to it. Nir Elayan’s piece on social sharing behavior quite neatly framed my new obsession in a way that made sense although the joint endeavour of role play isn’t present here. For me it’s that I get to express the varied fragments of my visual interests within an echo chamber and confirm my place in the creative tribe. There’s an affirmation at play that has me excited about design, excited about photography and excited about art and the way I see the world. What I find really interesting is that it’s the limits of my imagination that are the great leveller. This democratic space broadcasts in the dialogue of remix culture and when I check in I’m in the perfect place to experiment and reference what inspires me. It’s no wonder I haven’t been able to stop.