Category archives: Art for Progress

  • Streetwear designer Gosha Rubchinskiy may have burst on the scene in 2008, his eponymous line is finally heating up, as it's reported that athleisure is cooling down.The former filmmaker, based in Moscow, melds a early-’90s Post-Soviet  style of oversized sweatshirts with modern high-fashion suiting, demin and accessories. And the designer has also collaborated with brands, including Levi's, on the iconic trucker jacket.    Image Credit: Collier Schorr Despite being lumped in a "Post-Soviet youth culture" fashion category along with Demna Gvasalia and Lotta Volkova, Rubchinskiy rejects the comparison. "I feel, myself, like an international artist," he tells W Magazine. "Not like Russian, local thing," adding, "I don’t like when people say—‘Oh, Gosha does the post-Soviet Russian thing.’ I think, no.” He goes on to say "I try to speak about the current moment. That’s why I’m hanging always with young kids, because I want to see what’s happening in their heads. And I mix my emotions, my great memories, with what is cool and great for now.” Can't wait to see what this hypermodern designer has in store in 2018.
  • It’s a great time of year for New York's documentary lovers, as the nation’s largest nonfiction film festival comes to town. The eighth edition of DOC NYC runs November 9 –16 with screenings and panels taking place at the IFC Center, SVA Theater and Cinepolis Chelsea. Among the fest’s 250 films and events are 11 feature-length works, from already released films such as Agnès Varda’s acclaimed Faces, Places to films making their world premieres, including Sam Pollard’s Maynard, a portrait of Atlanta’s first black mayor, and Julia Bacha’s Naila and The Uprising, about a Palestinian woman in Gaza who must make an impossible choice between love, family and freedom.Among the festival’s 18 categories are two competition sections: Viewfinders, for distinct directorial visions, and Metropolis, dedicated to stories set in NYC. More than 350 filmmakers and special guests (often film subjects) will be in attendance for Q&As after most screenings and for DOC NYC PRO panels, including Steve Madden (for Maddman), Dan Rather (for Fail State) and Susan Sarandon (for Soufra).Opening the festival is Greg Barker’s The Final Year, which follows key members of outgoing President Barack Obama’s administration; closing it is Lili Fini Zanuck’s Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars, about the life and career of the legendary guitarist. In between are docs of all sizes and shapes including centerpiece film Far from the Tree, Rachel Dretzin’s world premiere adaptation of Andrew Solomon’s book,[...]
  • Today, in the field of Contemporary Music, artists empower themselves using technology. Combining IT and engineering with the arts, they are able to create interesting artworks, performances and new instruments using tools for algorithmic composition and advance programming, electronics and audio visual techniques.This awesome granular marble’s symphony, combines sensors to capture data and experimental software to create beautiful sounds with marbles. The contact microphones are connected to the glasses to capture the sound of the marbles knocking the glass with perfect accuracy.The name of this project is Untitled Samek and as the author Federico Dal Pozzo describes it as a study about the emptiness of time that sounds for the eyes.It's experimental electro-acoustic music using granular synthesis made with the sound of a marble spinning on a bohemian glass, combined with audiovisual painting. It's such a symphony and definitely delights the audience!Nerea T. Ruiz
  • Ballet Rotoscope is an experimental short film made in 2011 that connects ballet with technology. By empowering the natural beauty of ballet and utilizing physical computing, the concept adds value to the real-time action and performance.The artists and researchers involved in the project, have created a relationship between geometric shapes with an animation technique known as rotoscope which was invented in 1905 by Max Fleischer. The object’s contours are traced and controlled by an algorithm that brings a mathematical layer to the natural movements of a ballerina.The awesome result is the ballerina dances while she draws perfect geometry.  The joints on her body are traced with a computer –generated rotoscope animation technique created by mathematical methods.In the process, each of the steps of the ballerina were tracked with accuracy to translate and synthesize it with a vectorial animation.Rotoscope technique is normally used in motion pictures to make realistic cartoons, but artists use it to generate an abstract animation of shapes that follow the movements of a ballerina. Therefore, this project makes sense in how to bridge the gap between arts and technology and create new concepts of beauty.This great artwork was created in Keio University of Japan, and the proposal intends to be an interaction between live performance and animation and new ways of expression. This was developed by the EUPHRATES Group, founded by the students of[...]
  • Many of us get dressed and undressed everyday without much thought. But for some people, changing in and out of clothing, or dealing with buckles, zippers and laces can be a frustrating task.According to Fashionista.com, in the U.S. alone, there are 59 million people living with disabilities, and 'their clothing options are greatly limited.'Thankfully, 'adaptive wear' has emerged as type of clothing made for people of all abilities that adheres to various function and style needs. Photo Credit: Lucy Jones Design And thanks to programs like Runway of Dreams Foundation and Parsons' Open Style Lab (OSL), there has been an increase in the availability of clothing geared for children and adults of all abilities. In addition, Target has rolled out a 'collection of sensory-friendly apparel for children,' including items with zip-off sleeves, side openings, or openings in the back for those who are sitting or lying down. At Parsons' Open Style Lab (OSL), designers, engineers, and occupational therapists work in unison to create accessible wearables. OSL was initiated at MIT in 2014, the program aims to challenge the fashion industry to consider the variety and uniqueness of all bodies, ages and abilities in the world. And designing for the underserved leads to better products for everyone —a core tenet of Open Style lab’s curriculum Watch video below to learn more about Runway of Dreams and adaptive wear https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=hEdCmCSPmJY [...]
  • The subject of Lana Wilson’s documentary The Departure, Ittetsu Nemoto is a fascinating individual. The former rebel-turned-Buddhist priest has made it his life’s work to personally help people who want to kill themselves. Because he cannot turn anyone down when they call or text him—and because suicide is rampant in Japan—the 44-year old’s own health has been terribly compromised. This impressionistic portrait of a heroic yet flawed character is meditative and often quite beautiful, as befitting its extraordinary subject and his environment.At the monastery where he lives with his wife and young children, we see Nemoto welcome visitors to the Departure, a retreat specifically geared to help people who are contemplating suicide. He does this by having them “experience” death; we see a small part of the process, which involves writing down things they’re leaving behind and crumpling up these pieces of paper one by one until nothing is left. The idea is to find something worth living for. Later in group discussions, the participants discuss their feelings. It's interesting that so many utterly despondent people have allowed themselves to be filmed. On the other hand, suicide has a long tradition of honor (kamikaze pilots, the ritual of seppuku) in Japan, so there’s probably less shame attached to it.  This may make people more open about their feelings, but also guarantees that Nemoto is seriously overworked.The film shows him riding his motorcycle to meet with [...]
  • For music aficionados and the real heads that check out a lot of live shows, you know when you're in the presence of exceptional musicians, singer/songwriters. Where Mumford and Sons have in some respects brought a new wave of progressive folk music to the forefront of popularity, I can't say the results have led to many high quality bands.  When I received an invite to check out the band Twain, I was a bit reluctant about attending, but after listening to some of their stuff I was ready to go.On this night, they were playing the opening set, but it was obvious that the early crowd was gathered to see Twain, and by the end of the night it was clear they were worthy of the top billing for this show.With 8pm fast approaching, the level of excitement was building as eager fans edged closer to the stage, and with their new album Rare Feeling dropping on October 20th, this would be the first opportunity for many to experience the new stuff live.  As they got into their first song, the thing that initially caught my attention was the depth and warmth of their sound, and as their set progressed I heard glimpses of everything from Neil Young, The Doors and even The Grateful Dead.This is the kind of music that grows on you, and as you continue to listen to Mt. Davidson (lead singer/songwriter) and the band perform, you're soon captivated both musically and lyrically. Though many of the songs deal with serious subject matter, there's an undeniable sense of enthusiasm in[...]
  • For those of you who might not recognize the fashion label Barragán, you are now in for an unexpected treat!Led by Victor Barragán, the edgy label has now attracted almost 45,000 Instagram followers. Not a bad feat for a brand new, small label.https://www.instagram.com/p/BSEWsB3hNhK/?taken-by=barragannnnIn seasons past, Barragán issued looks that included 'jewelry fashioned out of sex toys or raw fruit, and bags fabricated to look like rocks.'Victor Barragán tells Fashionista that the label began when he started making DIY, tongue-in-cheek shirts. The label quickly expanded to a full line. "For me, fashion is more than just about selling clothing for wholesale — it's about telling a story," he says.https://www.instagram.com/p/BXVd-n6Bmc0/?taken-by=barragannnnThe label's daring looks have led the design team to gain a selling slot at Opening Ceremony, as well as collaboration opportunity with the likes of Maryam Nassir Zadeh.In addition, Barragán says that his hometown of Mexico City, and his adopted city, New York, have greatly informed his work. All of his sourced fabrics are sourced locally in NYC, while garments themselves are produced in Mexico City.https://www.instagram.com/p/BYE8GoIBf5b/?taken-by=barragannnnAnd what's also inspiring about this new label is that it appears to be gender fluid. 'When we're designing, we're never really thinking about gender,' he says, adding, 'I think if people are gonna wear the clothes, they'll wear th[...]
  • We recently caught up with the guys from the band Big Sweater to discuss their music, inspiration and their exciting new album they're currently recording.In one way or another, members of the band have all been part of AFP's music education programs over the years. So, we're very proud and excited to see how they've progressed and evolved as artists.  Check out "Platform Stare," a single from the new album.Platform Stare by Big Sweater1) What inspired you guys to become musicians, writers?Collectively what inspired us to be musicians is that of which was instilled in us by our parents and their taste for the most part. Being shown things that would be considered "old school". Those things later becoming memories and what is now sense of nostalgia of car rides and long trips throughout the years subconsciously planting a seedling in a driving force that is creating sound as well as putting words together that sum up how we feel.2) How would you describe your sound?Our sound is derivative of multiple things that boil down for the most part to blues. Our upcoming album has a combination of really somber and light tunes and also some really upbeat ones but overall our sound is very mellow.3) Have you been playing the songs off the new album live, and if so how has the crowd responded to the new songs?We've played most of the upcoming album in a rotation for about a year now, the crowd now sings along and its one of the most gratifying feelings[...]
  • The 66th annual London Fashion Week kicks off on September 21, and the star to watch at the fashion event of the season is Matty Bovan — fearless designer known for creating 'clashes of textures' that are often spray painted, knitted, and or crocheted.https://www.instagram.com/p/BYipeGXnVVg/?hl=en&taken-by=babbymThe York, England based upstart has worked with Marc Jacobs, and Miu Miu. Bovan is also a former junior designer at Louis Vuitton who won the L’Oréal Professionnel Creative Award and the LVMH Graduate Prize after graduating Central Saint Martins (CSM) in 2015.Image Credit: The Guardian And it's at Central Saint Martins where Bovan delved into the world of Knitwear: “Being able to create your own fabrics gives you more scope, he tells Artefact about his attraction to knitwear.He adds, "[knitwear] is the foundation of a lot of textiles, "[it] also gives more creative room to the design process.”Image Credit: NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/GETTY IMAGES Since CSM, the designer has ignited the fashion world with vibrant, color- and-texture-rich looks. The Guardian aptly connects Bovan's aesthetic with 'great tradition of wonderfully original English eccentrics that includes Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood and Bodymap.'Image Credit: The Guardian We can't wait to see what you have in store next week, Matty! 
  • The first Dominican film to screen at Sundance (and recently announced as the Dominican Republic’s Academy Award submission for Best Foreign Language Film), Woodpeckers (Carpinteros) is not your typical prison drama. Sure, writer/director José Maria Cabral includes some familiar elements: the new guy initiated into the brutal, dehumanizing ways of the institution; an uneasy alliance formed with the cell block’s bully/fixer. But Woodpeckers, which was filmed on location in the notorious Najayo prison outside of Santo Domingo, is also a love story with a spectacular ending that is Shakespearean in its resolution. With its raw, authentic setting, which includes throngs of actual Najayo inmates, the film has a gritty, documentary feel that really gets under the skin. It’s easy to get caught up in its slowly intensifying narrative.When petty thief Julián (Haitian actor/director Jean Jean, quietly riveting) is incarcerated, he notices his fellow inmates crowded around the prison windows, executing elaborate hand signals. Turns out they’re communicating with inhabitants of the neighboring women’s penitentiary, who signal back from their yard. Through this detailed language, known as “woodpecking,” romantic relationships are formed, as are jealousies and resentments as rivals fight over love interests. (The practice is completely true to life; Cabral spent ninth months visiting Najayo and other prisons, where he got to know the inmates.)When the volatile Manaury (Ramó[...]
  • The future is certainly terrifying. From climate change to our political climate, there is a lot of uncertainty. But one thing is for certain —  robots will take over the world's workforce —  especially in the world of footwear. Talk about a walk-up call! And possibly leading the robotic revolution is the company Grabit, Inc., a materials handling solutions company.The California-based (Nike-backed) robotics startup employs 'electroadhesion' in order to automate the handling of any material. To be exact, the company, applies  'electroadhesion' via 'flat pads of electrodes that, when charged correctly, create an electric field that adheres to nearly any surface,' Bloomberg reports. Grabit’s shoemaking robot at the company’s headquarters in SunnyvalePhoto Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg Unlike using human hands or pliable materials, electroadhesion can offer manufacturers the ability to work around such pesky issues like gripping materials by channeling the same sort of static cling that also makes a balloon stick to your head.Sounds simply genius? That's because it is! 'Electroadhesion has the finesse to handle something as fragile as an egg, as flimsy as soft fabric and as unwieldy as a 50-lb box,' the company says on their website. They also assert that their line of equipment provides a cheaper, faster solutions that uses less power.  And the static electricity that Grabit can yield has the ability to 'make machines work at[...]