“The film is the first time you can watch a movie that three gay Arabs are the heroes and not the victims”
A prototype of Daan Roosegaarde's Smog Free Tower and filtration system. Image courtesy of the Studio Roosegaarde.
Sheets of rain traverse Rotterdam’s late afternoon sky as I prepare to leave designer Daan Roosegaarde’s “Dream Factory.” He and I linger in front of the sliding glass industrial door, peering out, and I wonder if I should make a break for it. “Does it always rain this much?” I ask regarding the inhospitable late-summer weather of the Netherlands. “It does,” Roosegaarde replies with a non-challant grin, implying this is a regular occurence. Roosegaarde offers me a low-tech solution—an umbrella emblazoned with words “World Economic Forum, Davos” where he was a guest last January. This small gesture acts as a metaphor for the ways the young artist’s impressive oeuvre of design solutions interact with, and react to, nature’s unpredictable ways.
BMX race image by Katrin Greiling.
Every day in Berlin, an estimated 500,000 bicyclists take to the streets on their preferred mode of transportation. In fact, the German capital is increasingly becoming one of Europe's most bike-friendly cities. It's only fitting then that Berlin is host to one of the most creative and vibrant bike shows on the continent—the Berliner Fahrradschau (Berlin Bike Show)—now in its sixth year.
When I enter Olafur Eliasson’s studio, I feel like I’m entering a batcave of creativity—a repurposed brewery in the heart of Berlin, it defies its austere brick exterior. In every corner of the Danish-Icelandic artist’s four-floor compound, architects huddle around blueprints, craftsmen tinker with color prisms, technicians challenge light and sound, and a suite of mirrored orbs awaits its public debut. This immersive studio environment calls to mind the full sensory experience felt in Eliasson’s large-scale works, such as “New York City Waterfalls” and “The weather project.” On the top floor is the classroom of Eliasson’s temporary university, Institut für Raumexperimente, which is scheduled to end its five-year run this spring. It offers the only stillness among this buzzing laboratory of 70 plus employees, conducive to growing more quiet ventures such as Little Sun, a solar-powered LED lamp and social business, which has already sold 126,402 lights with a goal of reaching 1.6 billion people without electricity, globally. After my all-access pass through this creative command center, I spoke with Eliasson about this new era of art-making, where collaboration is key to developing projects that enrich our public spaces, bend our notion of space and time, and beg for us to engage.
I don’t have a solidified idea or dogma under which a work of art is manifesting itself. To create a work of art is like having a great dialogue with somebody. And once the piece of artwork is integrated into a public space, it has to facilitate the same quality of dialogue. And the dialogue might drift in certain directions.
Even though street art is finding its way more and more in the mainstream (Walmart just began selling knock off Banksy posters), it is still being produced in the streets. Many think of urban art and graffiti as beautiful interventions vital to bringing a new lift into both cities and suburban areas. Yet there are some that think the opposite and vilify the medium as vandalism. To counter this view, earlier this year, revered art blog Wooster Collective shared with us the 10 things we can learn from street artists including: "It’s important to take risks; Give without expecting a return; Challenge the norm; Collaboration enhances productivity; Question everything; Creativity is a universal language."
Anyone that's ever seen comedian Ricky Gervais perform stand up or appear on television can attest to his penitent for play. Rarely does the British humorist take himself—or anything else for that matter—seriously. But this is more than just a part of his schtick; Gervais recently talked on his personal blog about the need for play in order to remain creative. "Scientific studies of creativity have basically concluded that it can't be taught, as it is a 'facility' rather than a learned skill," he writes. "Putting it very crudely, creativity is the ability to play. And, to be able to turn that facility on and off when necessary. This makes perfect sense to me. Everything I've ever written, created or discovered artistically has come out of playing."