JooYoun Paek is a Seoul-born, New-York based artist and interaction designer. Her fantastically tactile interactive video installation, The Zipper Orchestra, uses a zipper canvas as a physical controller to a zipper collage video. Users can play music by zipping and unzipping the physical zippers.
Avant-Gardener Marcel Duchamp propagated the readymade. Duchamp’s found objects (a signed urinal in 1917’s Fountain, a defaced Mona Lisa in 1919’s L.H.O.O.Q.) challenged distinctions between art and everyday life, and shifted the focus from the work of art to the vision of the artist—a fundamental realignment without which most 20th century art would be inconceivable.
Light Ripples, an interactive audio/visual installation, made its debut at the 2010 Maitreya Festival in Melbourne, AU. With the use of custom-designed software, a pool of mesmerizing liquid illuminations is created by eight floating balls that act as inputs. Music and visuals are created from the interplay between the user, the balls and virtual objects.
Avant-Gardener Sun Ra propagated Afrofuturism. Ra’s concerts with his massive Myth Science Arkestra linked large-scale, relentlessly experimental improvisation with an intergalactic mythos that was equal parts black history, science fiction, and civil-rights struggle.
Avant-Gardener John Cage propagated the idea that music is all around us. With 4’33" (1952), a three-movement piece consisting entirely of rests, Cage foregrounded the performance environment and obliterated the distinction between sounds—the shuffling of the audience’s feet, the noise of traffic outside—and music. Cage used compositional methods involving chance and randomness to remove creative bias and level the playing field for all sound, any sound, to become music.
Here, the BBC Symphony Orchestra plays Cage’s
4’33"composition under the direction of conductor Lawrence Foster at the Barbican Hall in London.
Avant-garde was originally a French military term meaning “forward guard”—troop specialists who surveyed battlefields in advance of armies. Now it refers to artists and artworks that break with convention, are ahead of their time, experimental, shocking even. Here, the Imaginary Foundation showcases Avant-Gardeners of the past hundred years—cultivators of the imagination who transformed the world of artistic endeavor, sowing seeds of radical innovation that would bloom for decades to come.
Each Avant-Gardeners t-shirt comes with the first eight in a series of new Avant-Gardeners Trading Cards. A limited-edition box set of 23 cards will be released soon. Look out for forthcoming IF blog posts featuring the Gardeners.
Avant-Gardener Pablo Picasso propagated cubism. Picasso inaugurated a radical new grammar of visual expression, exploding the unified plane of the canvas to reveal the multiple, fragmented perspectives that lie beneath and shape our perceptions of art and the world. He changed the way we
see art, and art hasn’t looked the same since.