The Popular Edge, Pop-Up and Book Arts News

November 3, 2012

High Heel Race in Washington, DC

Filed under: art classes, performace art — Tags: , — popularkinetics @ 4:23 am

2012 High Heel Race, Washington, DC

It may surprise some, but Washington, DC, has a funky, alternative side, and yesterday it was on grand display at the 26th annual Halloween High Heel Race. Guys in drag (and some women in costume, too) vamped their way down 17th Street in the Dupont Circle neighborhood for two hours before the race was run, posing for photos with spectators and giving news interviews to the press. Most wore heels of varying heights, many spiked and VERY high. The race itself included runners, walkers, and those who casually sashayed  to the finish line. Usually held on the Tuesday before Halloween, the race was postponed this year due to Hurricane Sandy, but thankfully not cancelled.

2012 High Heel Race, Washington, DC2012 High Heel Race, Washington, DC

2012 High Heel Race, Washington, DC2012 High Heel Race, Washington, DC


October 30, 2012

Lavatory Self Portraits in the Flemish Style

Filed under: art classes, paper crafts, performace art — Tags: , , — popularkinetics @ 8:38 pm

Here’s a novel approach to developing an alternate persona: Nina Katchadourian’s extemporaneous “Flemish” portraits created with materials typically found in  public restrooms: paper towels, toilet paper and seat covers. Katchadourian frequently works with simple found materials, improvising them into artworks around a specific theme which she then photographs. For the 2012 election she has created a piece called Monument to the Unelected with campaign signs she’s designed to commemorate those who failed in their election bids. A version of this piece is now on display at the Washington Post offices here in Washington, DC. To see more of Katchadourian’s work, visit her web site.

 Monument to the Unelected

April 22, 2012

Hirshhorn Museum Song 1

Filed under: animation, performace art — Tags: , , , — popularkinetics @ 10:46 pm

We drove into downtown Washington, D.C., late last night to see artist Doug Aitken’s media piece, Song 1, projected in the round on the Hirshhorn Museum. It’s a very impressive production, including a running soundtrack of various people singing I Only Have Eyes for You and a visual dialogue of moving text and images. Eleven projectors are employed to create what the artist refers to as a work of “liquid architecture.” Even at 11 pm, there was a large audience of people walking around the museum’s exterior to experience the 360-degree video performance. The work will be up until May 13th, but if you can’t get to Washington in time to visit the museum, you can get a feel for the work by watching this YouTube video.

November 10, 2011

Shakespeare Beyond Words

Filed under: performace art — Tags: , , — popularkinetics @ 8:58 pm

Aside from Washington, D.C.’s impressive monuments, museums, and libraries, our nation’s capitol has a thriving theater community. The Synetic Theater Company is one of the city’s theatrical treasures. Billed as “physical theater,” most of its performances are wordless interpretations of great dramas, combining mime, dance, and acrobatics with amazing sets, props, and costumes. This season’s Speak No More  silent Shakespeare Festival features three plays, MacBeth, Othello, and Romeo and Juliet.

The idea of a silent performance of Shakespeare may seem to run counter to the Bard’s emphasis on words and dialogue, but Synetic’s performances work on an intuitive level, using the universal languages of movement and art to convey the essential meaning of the plays. The company has also mounted performances of Dracula, King Arthur, Frankenstein, and our favorite, The Master and Margarita with actors posing as manuscripts in costumes of hand-written text.

Founded in 2001 by Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili from the Republic of Georgia, the company’s experimental approach to theater is a joy to experience. Washington visitors should definitely add a Synetic performance to their list of must-see D.C. attractions.

August 12, 2011

“Seduce Me” Series with Isabella Rossellini

Filed under: animation, paper crafts, paper engineering, performace art — Tags: , , — popularkinetics @ 8:57 pm

"Seduce Me" video series with Isabella Rossellini, salmon video

A sequel to the popular “Green Porno” series of videos about animal and insect reproduction, the “Seduce Me” videos expand on the playful combination of paper props, unique musical scores and amazing costumes worn by Isabella Rossellini to describe how creatures attract each other for the purpose of procreation. A combination of hard science, art, sound and poetry, the videos make learning about the natural sciences fun. Visit the web site to see all the videos along with behind-the-scenes views of  the creators and the making of the props.

"Seduce Me" video series with Isabella Rossellini, paper cuttlefish set"Seduce Me" video series with Isabella Rossellini, cutting paper props

April 17, 2011

The Ice Book Pop-Up Theater

Filed under: animation, artist's books, books, performace art — Tags: , , , — popularkinetics @ 1:29 am

The Ice Book, A Pop-Up Book TheaterThe Ice Book, A Pop-Up Book Theater

The line between books, electronics, theater and animation is becoming thinner these days with the rapid development of digital readers. We’ve seen several great apps that attempt to capture the feel of a pop-up book, although the experience is not the same as the actual paper versions. Here’s another approach in which film and pop-ups retain their distinctive qualities, yet the two are joined in a beautiful, surreal way. Created by Davy and Kristen McGuire during an artist’s residency at Kuenstlerdorf Schoeppingen in Germany, this large-scale pop-up book serves as the stage set for a story told through behind-the-page video projections. Inspired by Russian fairytales, the story is of a young boy enticed into the realm of an ice princess who wants him to warm her heart. Click here to watch the video.

To read more about this project, visit their web site at

January 27, 2011

Fun with Laurel and Hardy

Filed under: animation, performace art — Tags: , , — popularkinetics @ 2:58 am

It’s not a pop-up or an artist’s book, but we found this video so delightful that we wanted to share it with our readers. Old meets new, silent film meets sound track, it’s a mash-up that works. It’s only 1:37 minutes long.  Here’s the clip.

Laurel and Hardy were a comedy duo working in vaudeville and silent films in the 1920’s and 30’s. Filmmaker Michael Akkerman (Dark Knight, Taxi Driver, Midnight  Express) added the soundtrack, Oye Como Va, by rock and jazz fusion artist Carlos Santana. Mr. Akkerman managed to merge the two seamlessly.

November 16, 2010

Vienna’s Vegetable Orchestra

Filed under: performace art — Tags: , , — popularkinetics @ 9:31 pm

We are now big fans of the Vegetable Orchestra after listening to PRI’s The World radio segment about it. Members of the orchestra make their own instruments before every performance. Beginning as purchases from local markets, vegetable instruments are reamed out, carved, and tested before being played in performance. Back-up vegetable instruments are also made in case of a malfunction. The resulting music is very hip and techno. Watch a video and see if you don’t agree that this is an awesome show.

July 19, 2010

Text as Camouflage

Filed under: art classes, artist's books, performace art, teaching kids — Tags: , , , — popularkinetics @ 1:26 am

Artist Liu Bolin explores issues involving identity and loss of the sense of self within Chinese society by camouflaging his subjects to blend into their surroundings. His series of photos, begun in 2005, are works of protest against the government, which shut down his studio.

Most intriguing are those subjects covered with text. The writing obscures the person, replacing  identity with a new, written message. To see more images of Bolin’s work, go to

June 19, 2010

Pop-Up Office

Filed under: performace art, pop-up books — Tags: , , , , , — popularkinetics @ 3:20 am

We at Popular Kinetics have always known pop-ups can have a life outside the book, and we often look at examples of folding furniture and collapsible objects for inspiration. Here the process of finding inspiration is reversed, with two Austria artists, Liddy Scheffkencht and Armin B. Wagner, seeing the pop-up for its architectural potential. They’ve created a life-sized pop-up office desk and chair that conveniently collapse for storage when not in use. Featured in Dwell Magazine’s June 2010 email newsletter, we hope this motivates more architects and designers to discover the beauty of paper-engineered mechanics when looking for design ideas.

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