Author: Vidovic Art

Artful Swirls of Plastic Marine Debris Documented in Images by Photographer Mandy Barker

SOUP – Refused © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; plastic oceanic debris affected by chewing and attempted ingestion by animals. Includes a toothpaste tube. Additives; teeth from goats.

Photographer Mandy Barker creates deceptively eye-catching images to document the pandemic of plastic debris in the world’s waterways. Barker, who is based in Leeds, UK, works closely with scientists to collect trash from our oceans and beaches on the edges of nearly every continent. One research expedition covered the debris field (stretching to Hawaii) that resulted from Japan’s 2011 tsunami and earthquake; she has also explored the Inner Hebrides in Scotland with Greenpeace.

Barker manipulates her findings in Photoshop, mimicking the manner in which ocean water holds these objects in suspension. Swirls of colors and patterns draw in the viewer’s eye, only to realize that these visually appealing compositions consist of garbage that animals have attempted to chew, plastic pellets, tangles of fishing line, and water-logged soccer balls. The artist describes her work in a statement on her website:

The aim of my work is to engage with and stimulate an emotional response in the viewer by combining a contradiction between initial aesthetic attraction along with the subsequent message of awareness. The research process is a vital part of my development as the images I make are based on scientific fact which is essential to the integrity of my work.

Barker is currently a recipient of a 2018 National Geographic Society grant. Her work is on display through April 22nd at Mexico City’s Museum of Modern Art, at Photo London Art Fair in May 2018, at the Triennial of Photography in Hamburg in June, 2018, and at BredaPhoto in The Netherlands in September 2018. The artist’s book, Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals, was named one of the ten best books of 2017 by Smithsonian. You can see more of Barker’s photographs on her website as well as on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

EVERY… snowflake is different (detail) © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; white marine plastic debris objects collected in two single visits to a nature reserve on the East Coast of England.

EVERY… snowflake is different © Mandy Barker. Ingredients: white marine plastic debris objects collected in two single visits to a nature reserve on the East Coast of England.

Hong Kong Soup:1826 – Lighter © Mandy Barker. Discarded cigarette lighters make reference to our single-use throw away society. The panda, a national emblem of China represents endangered species and faces away from the group symbolizing mother nature turning its back on man’s inability to take ownership of its waste.

Hong Kong Soup:1826 – Spilt © Mandy Barker. 150 tonnes of pre-production plastic pellets (nurdles) spilt from a cargo container during Typhoon Vincente on 23rd July 2012 adds to Hong Kong’s waste issues in its seas and on its beaches.

PENALTY – Europe © Mandy Barker. 633 marine plastic debris footballs (and pieces of) recovered from 23 countries and islands within Europe, from 104 different beaches, and by 62 members of the public, in just 4 months.

PENALTY – The World © Mandy Barker. 769 marine plastic debris footballs (and pieces of) collected from 41 countries and islands around the world, from 144 different beaches and by 89 members of the public in just 4 months.

PENALTY – 24 Footballs © Mandy Barker.

SHOAL – 30.41N, 157.51E © Mandy Barker.Included in trawl: child’s ball and Japanese character – fridge magnet found on the tsunami shoreline. Fishing buoy found in trawl sample, North pacific Ocean

SHOAL 33.15N, 151.15E © Mandy Barker. Included in trawl: tatami mat from the floor of a Japanese home, fishing related plastics, buoys, nylon rope, buckets, fish trays, polystyrene floats, shampoo bottle, caps, balloon & holder, petrol container.

SOUP – Alphabet © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; plastic debris that includes surface text. Ironic random arrangement of 4 pieces of plastic that suggest a warning; ‘Sea’ ‘AND’ ‘HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES’ ‘FOUL’

SOUP: Bird’s Nest © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; discarded fishing line that has formed nest-like balls due to tidal and oceanic movement. Additives; other debris collected in its path.

SOUP – Ruinous Remembrance © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; plastic flowers, leaves, stems, and fishing line. Additives; bones, skulls, feathers, and fish.

SOUP: Turtle © Mandy Barker.

WHERE © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; marine debris balloons collected from around the world.

WHERE (detail) © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; marine debris balloons collected from around the world.


A Rare Glimpse at a Deserted Great Wall of China Captured by Andres Gallardo Albajar

This past February architectural photographer Andres Gallardo Albajar traveled to the Great Wall of China where he was able to take in a rare sight—one of the seven wonders of the world without a single soul in sight. Albajar had expected to create the same tourist-filled images as others who visited the architectural feat, however when he arrived he found a thick fog encapsulating the structure. The dense cover may have been a deterrent for tourists, but this particular weather added further mystery to the deserted landscape Albajar captured in this recent series.

“I was expecting big amounts of people, even lines to access or things like that, but for my surprise there was very few people, which allowed me to capture the wall with no people, which in my opinion helps to create a more surreal and magic feeling,” Albajar tells Colossal.

You can view more of the Spanish photographer’s work, including his multi-part series on urban geometry, on his website, Instagram, and Behance.

My 7 Reasons to Visit Iceland

things to do in Iceland
Iceland. It’s a land of sheep, the northern lights, volcanoes with unpronounceable names (try saying Eyjafjallajökull), majestic waterfalls, craggy mountains, and otherworldly landscapes. To me, it is one of the most beautiful places on earth. How can such a tiny island have such a diverse and beautiful terrain? It changes every few feet — from verdant fields, snowy mountains, and brilliant glaciers to looking like Mars. It never ceases to amaze me. I had high expectations when I first visited. I’d seen movies and pictures in magazines of a land with jagged mountain peaks, volcanoes with desolate lava fields, rolling hills with grazing sheep, and glaciers that stretched for miles.

Iceland lived up to all those expectations. Now, a year doesn’t go by when I don’t visit (see ya again in September!). Sure, the country has seen an explosion in tourism in recent years and it’s gotten a lot more expensive but most of the tourists concentrate in the south near Reykjavik. Once you head out of the capital region, it’s mostly you and nature (I only saw three other tourists in my week in the Westfjords…during peak season)!

So, in honor of the Iceland guide, I just published today, here are my favorite things to see and do in Iceland that will convince you to book your ticket (because, thanks to WOW air, flights are dirt cheap):

View of Reykjavík Iceland
This hip capital is awash in thriving cafes, high-energy clubs, friendly pubs, and a brightly colored old town with rows of wooden houses clustered together. It’s more like a giant small town than a city. Though it’s super small, it’s worth a few extra days to really get a feel for the art and café culture of the city. And if you’re a night owl, you’ll love the party life (Icelanders know how to drink). I love this city and never find myself bored here. From reading in cafés to wandering the coastline to
enjoying drinks with my friends, Reykjavík sucks me in during ever visit.

Visit the Westfjords
the Westfjords of Iceland
The Westfjords is a large peninsula in northwestern Iceland with tons mountains and a coastline heavily indented by fjords. It’s one of the most raw parts of Iceland and my favorite region. Few people live here and fewer visit, though Icelanders make their way here on summer vacation. It’s an area of tiny towns, fishing villages, mountains, waterfalls, and lakes. In the summer months, puffins and whales call it their home. In the winter, many of the roads are closed by ice and snow for several months. But you’ll find tiny towns, deep fjords, and beautiful hikes all to yourself. It’s not easy to get around but locals will let you hitch rides with them easily because bus service here can basically be non-existent. Be sure to eat at Tjöruhúsið in Ísafjörður for an all you can eat, catch of the day buffet. Delicious!

Hit a relaxing lagoonThe Blue Lagoon in Reykjavík Iceland
Most people soak in the Blue Lagoon. This huge, milky-blue spa is fed by mineral-rich heated seawater from the nearby geothermal plant. Though it’s the most expensive one, you cannot deny that Iceland’s most famous geothermal pool is the country’s top tourist attraction. But there are so many other hot pools in the country. Reykjavik has their local one, in the north there is the Myvatn Nature Baths, and on the way to Vik, there’s the famous “secret – not so secret” mountain springs. You’ll find plenty of free hot springs all around the island. Use the website Hotpot Iceland to find them.

The Golden Circle
Iceland's most famous waterfall, Gullfoss
The Golden Circle is the popular tourist route and includes Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir, and Thingvellir National Park. They make an easy day trip from the capital or airport, so people on a short layover always visit this area. You can easily drive the whole ring in a day. Along the way, there are a few farms where you can stop and see Icelandic horses. The main sites are:

  • Gullfoss – Fed by Langjökull, Iceland’s second biggest glacier, this is one of the most photographed waterfalls in the country. While not the biggest or most majestic, its V shape is unique and powerful to watch. Iceland’s most famous waterfall tumbles 105 feet into a steep-sided canyon, kicking up a wall of spray. On sunny days, the spray creates shimmering rainbows over the gorge. This is a truly amazing spectacle and a rewarding scene after a nice hike.
  • Geysir – A famous hot spring in Haukadalur Valley. Geysir itself seldom erupts anymore, but nearby Strokkur spouts 15-20 meters of water about every 10 minutes. There are also numerous strikingly colored hot pools in the area along the path. If you want to hike up the mountains nearby (takes 20 minutes to get to the top), you’ll be rewarded with picturesque views of farmland.
  • Thingvellir – This place is full of hiking trails and stunning camping grounds, but its big draw is that it’s the only place in the world where you can see two major tectonic plates drifting apart above sea level. Walking through the park takes a good 1-2 hours, but the landscape is so gorgeous (and it’s not a difficult walk). You can also go scuba diving between the plates and there are some good guided walks.

How to get there:
Gullfoss is 124km from Reykjavik. From Geysir, follow route 35 (Biskupstungnabraut), the drive is about 30 minutes long. The waterfall can be visited 24/7 free of charge. It is a public free open space.

Watch the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights in Iceland
From September to April, the Northern Lights become more visible here. These dancing lights are one of the greatest natural wonders in the world. To witness the aurora borealis in all their glory in Iceland requires patience, luck, and darkness. The country towns in the north are the best place to see the lights, especially during periods of “low” activity. If the lights are really strong, you can sometimes see them in Rekjyavik.

Jökulsárlón (The Jökulsár Lagoon)
The Jökulsár Lagoon
Located in the southeast of Iceland, this ice floe is only a couple of decades old and now one of the most popular attractions in the area country. Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier retreated very quickly from 1920 to 1965, leaving this breathtaking lagoon behind, which is up to 190 meters deep. Icebergs float in the lagoon all year. I enjoy just sitting and listening to the ice blocks crash into each other on their way out to sea. You can also take boat trips around the lagoon.

How to get there:
Jökulsárlón is on the edge of the National Highway 1 so very accessible if you stop on the side of the road. It’s free to visit.

Do a Glacial Trek
Hiking glaciers in Iceland
During the winter months, the glaciers get a bit sturdier, and groups of tourists are led across them. There’s no better way to see the glaciers than to walk on them. Release your inner Arctic explorer across the glaciers of Iceland. Vatnajökull is one of the most popular glaciers to hike. Tour companies to choose from: Extreme Iceland, Icelandic Mountain Guides, Trek Iceland.

My love for Iceland became an obsession as I’ve drawn back by the people and the raw natural beauty of the terrain. Don’t let the high prices scare you away from Iceland. There’s plenty of ways to save money while you’re there. Get inspired, take advantage of the cheap flights, head north away from the crowds, and sit in a hot springs while watching the northern lights!

Announcing My In-Depth Budget Guide to Iceland!!

Nomadic Matt's Guide to IcelandToday, we just published our brand new guide to Iceland! The product of months of work this two hundred page guidebook will help you get off the tourist trail, save money, and see the best of the country. You’ll see the local side of Iceland as I take you off the tourist trail, give you my obsessively curated list of places to stay, eat, and things to see.

Moreover, you’ll get a plethora of ways to save money, suggested itineraries, maps (so many maps), practical information, suggested reading, operators, and so much more. This guide cuts out the fluff you’ll find in mass market guidebooks and gets right to the point giving you the practical stuff you need to have a first class trip on an economy class budget!

—->Click here to learn more about!!

Book Your Trip to Iceland: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight to Iceland by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines. Start with Momondo.

Book Your Acommodation
You can book your hostel in Iceland with Hostelworld. If you want to stay elsewhere, use as they consistently return the cheapest rates. (Here’s the proof.)

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. I never ever go on a trip without it. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. You should too.

Need Some Gear?
Check out our resource page for the best companies to use!

Want More Information on Iceland?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Iceland for even more planning tips!

Photos: 2, 6

The post My 7 Reasons to Visit Iceland appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Dublin’s Sweep of Public Mural Removals Prompts Wave of New Artworks

Mural by @ADW

For the past several months, a collective of artists in Dublin known as Subset has been coming up against the letter of the law, as the Dublin City Council (DCC) issues orders requiring Subset to paint over their colorful murals with swaths of monochromatic paint. Blindboy Boatclub, a Dublin comedian and hip hop artist who was the subject of a Subset mural, points out the conundrum in an interview with JOE:

Subset have been brightening up dull spaces all over Dublin. People were engaging… taking selfies, having craic [fun conversation]. That’s what art is supposed to be, socially engaged. A genuinely engaging spectacle for real people, not just hidden away in a gallery for those with an art education. Dublin council have disappointed me. How is it OK to paint a wall one dull color of paint? But it’s illegal to paint the same space with multiple colors.

The sweep of mural removals began in late 2017, despite previous successful collaborations between DCC and Subset, as cited in the Irish Times. Although the murals are created on private property and with explicit permission from property owners, under current law the artists are still required to apply for permits for each painting. These permitting fees are calculated by square meter, and can cost thousands of euros.

As explained by RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) Ireland’s national public-service media organization, “The permission available to the artists at present is fixed and rigid whereas they require a more fluid process allowing them to apply for spaces on an ongoing basis and vary their artwork in response to changing events. As it stands, the collective must apply separately for each mural. The amount of time, bureaucracy and expense required to do this detracts from the spontaneity and impact of their art, so they don’t apply.” In contrast, the more up-to-date and efficient licensing processes in Irish cities like Limerick and Waterford have been beneficial for both artists and the city governments.

In response, members of the Subset collective have teamed up with other artists to paint new murals throughout Dublin, with a goal of adding twenty five new works. Some are vibrantly colored, drawing attention to the role that such large-scale public artworks play in enlivening urban environments. Others feature grey palettes in solidarity with the #greyareaproject hashtag, which is being used to unite the pro-mural movement, and you can see examples of both below.

Residents are also using the hashtag on social media to document pre-existing murals, as evidence of the city’s rich mural scene. You can follow the conversation on Subset’s Twitter and Instagram and via #greyareaproject on both platforms.


Mural by @Subset

Mural of Irish president Michael D Higgins by @Subset

Mural by @Subset

Mural by @KinMx

Mural by @Ominos_Omin

Mural by @Subset

Mural by @Subset

Mural by Dan Leo

Mural by Subset with additional Banksy-esque intervention as commentary on removal summons

Colorful Light Sculptures by James Clar Interpret Technology’s Effects on Our Perceived Reality

Wheeeeeeeeeeeee! (2015), neon, 125 x 155 cm

James Clar, Wheeeeeeeeeeeee! (2015), neon, 125 x 155 cm

Artist James Clar creates sculptural light systems that interpret the ways modern technology has altered our perception of reality and time. His multi-colored works often imitate society’s relationship to the screen, such as in his work Increasing Resolution, which shows the rapid incline of digital resolution on our TVs, computers, and phones, or his 2015 sculpture Wheeeeeeeeeeeee! which expresses the loosening of language structures due to an increasing dependence on communicating through technological devices.

“The majority of our daily experience and information comes from the artificial light sources of our screens and phones, shifting our habitat from the physical space around us to the non-physical space of online digital systems” explains Clar in an artist statement.

Clar received his masters in interactive telecommunication from New York University. He has an upcoming solo exhibition at Jane Lombard Gallery in NYC later this year. You can see more of the artist’s work on his Instagram and website.

Space Is A Hologram (2014), LED lights, filters, wire, 105 x 120 cm

Space Is A Hologram (2014), LED lights, filters, wire, 105 x 120 cm

Nemo (2013), fluorescent lights, filters, 130 x 75 cm

Nemo (2013), fluorescent lights, filters, 130 x 75 cm

Binary Star, (2016), LEDs, filters, wire, 190 x 190 cm

Binary Star, (2016), LEDs, filters, wire, 190 x 190 cm

Increasing Resolution (2012), fluorescent lights, filters, 120 x 190 cm

Increasing Resolution (2012), fluorescent lights, filters, 120 x 190 cm

Thermal Energy (2013), 160 x 120 x 90 cm

Thermal Energy (2013), 160 x 120 x 90 cm

Horizontal Force (2015), LEDs, filters, wire, 220 x 120 cm

Horizontal Force (2015), LEDs, filters, wire, 220 x 120 cm

BOOM (2011), fluorescent lights, acrylic tubes and light filters, 85 x 120 cm

BOOM (2011), fluorescent lights, acrylic tubes and light filters, 85 x 120 cm

Win a Trip to San Francisco to See Inflatable at the Exploratorium

Fantastic Planet by Amanda Parer. Photo credit: Parer Studio

In partnership with Hyperallergic and the Exploratorium museum, we’re giving away a trip to San Francisco to see the museum’s summer exhibition, ‘Inflatable’, curated by Colossal. One lucky reader and a plus-one of their choice will be provided with hotel accommodations, airfare, and tickets for the exclusive preview night of Inflatable on Friday, May 25. Read more about the exhibition here;  the prize package and how to enter are detailed below. This giveaway is available only to US readers.

Prize includes hotel, flight, and admission for two to the preview event on May 25, 2018:

Hotel accommodations include three nights at the Hotel Zephyr at Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco.

Flights to be awarded with two $500 Visa gift cards.

Tickets for two to exclusive preview event on Friday, May 25, 2018, including meet and greet with the artists and curator of Inflatable.

$500 in gift certificates to The Colossal Shop and the Hyperallergic Store ($250 each).

Enter to win below or via this link.

An Aerial Tour of an Abandoned Chinese Fishing Village by Joe Nafis

The small fishing village of Houtouwan on the Chinese island of Shengshan has been abandoned since the 1990’s. Due to increased competition with nearby Shanghai and a depleted fishing supply, residents were forced to find work in other towns, leaving their own coastal village to the whim of Mother Nature.

Today the ghost town is only visited by tourists curious to see the vine-wrapped homes and other buildings swallowed by untamed greenery. Shanghai-based photographer and videographer Joe Nafis visited the area last year with fellow photographer Dave Tacon. It took them nearly 36 hours to reach the village due to lack of ferries or connection with other towns in the area. Once in town, Nafis explored the area on foot, as well as from above with his drone.

“Using the drone to explore the village first was a good idea as the paths were not well maintained and overgrown,” Nafis tells Colossal. “Some of the buildings were in tatters, while others looked like they were going through a remodel. It was all very strange. On the Sunday there were a few tourists, about ten to fifteen, and then on Monday we were the only people in the village other than the three to four that still lived there.”

You can view drone footage from the photographer’s visit to the overgrown village in the video below. He recently released an aerial time lapse video focusing on Shanghai’s urban development over the last seven years on his website, and more video-based projects by Nafis can be found on his Instagram and Vimeo. (via This Isn’t Happiness)