Green porno

5 April 2009

Is Isabella Rossellini the only woman who can be elegant while humping a giant model of a fly? I think so.

I just discovered her Green Porno series on the Sundance channel, which totally blows my mind. Basically a set of mini webisodes pantomiming in graphic detail the mating habits of insects and sea creatures, Green Porno has it all: snail sadomasochism, 69ing earthworms, nymphomaniac flies, hermaphroditic fish. The sets and costume design smack of lower school plays, giving each minute-long episode an ironic charm. It’s especially funny how she plays the male animal in each mating pair, her silky, feminine voice explaining the unspeakable things she intends to do to her invertebrate lovers.

Quote of the day

6 November 2008

Image is Julianne Swartz, “Dented Bubble”.

Disturbing design: Laura Splan

29 September 2008

The Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland has a wonderful exhibit on right now entitled “Manuf®actured: The Conspicuous Transformation of Everyday Objects” featuring the work some very thought-provoking designers. I can’t get to Portland right now, but it’s ok because the exhibition website is such an excellent example of an online catalog that I almost feel like I’ve been there.

One designer-artist previously unknown to me whose work I’m really resonating to right now is Laura Splan, a Brooklyn-based designer who weaves traditional crafts with disturbing biomedical themes. The doilies pictured above, for example, are machine-embroidered in patterns inspired by some of the most deadly viruses known. Other pieces in the show include wallpaper patterns created with Splan’s own blood, and a piece of lingerie sewn from pieces of a facial peel-off mask, conflating beauty and revulsion into one moment of reaction.

I’m interested in this dark aesthetic – the idea that beauty can coexist with fear and disgust. That beauty is what draws us in, only to be repelled by what discover, is a powerful idea for the design world. This is deceptive design, but in another way it is actually quite direct. Nothing is what it seems, and to call attention to this fact is perhaps the most honest statement a designer can make.