Flash Invaders // Street art collector app

Some might say that graffiti, and perhaps ‘street art’ more generally, holds an uneasy relationship with technology and the internet. Some feel like the web has diminished the original graffiti subculture by opening it up to wider audiences who experience the artform behind a screen as opposed to in person.

This may very well be the case, and a crime in which I am complicit simply by running this blog!

Yet there are many others who actively embrace the internet, and the potential it has to exponentially increase the number of people who can experience their art, either in person or virtually. A rise in visually stunning and digital-only ‘GIF-fiti’ like this from Insa and Unga shows that by no means do all street artists feel resentment towards the web.

Now with Invader’s recently released (and free) ‘Flash Invaders’ app, street art and digital technology are probably more closely aligned than they ever have been.

As I work in the digital/web development sector by day, and blog about street art in my spare time, I was really interested in this venture.

flash invader feat

The concept is simple. If you spot an Invader mosaic piece, grab your phone and ‘flash’ the invader (take a picture of it through the app). Once you’ve flashed it, and depending on whether or not the app recognises the piece from the app’s database of Invader mosaics, you are awarded points. These point are then totaled up, and your position on the delightfully 8-bit high score table is decided.

I’ve yet to test it on actual Invader pieces, so I’m interested to know if anyone has tried it out for real yet, and how they got on. The process of matching the image with the database is a potentially tricky one, so it will be good to find out how well this works.

flash inv screens

The high score table already has some entrants with well over 300 pieces spotted, which means roughly 20 flashed per day. I am not sure if there’s been a little subversion of the system involved or not…but yet again, those based in Paris will have the edge in ticking off a number of his pieces quickly!

Anyway, it looks like a really fun way to combine the collectibility of his art, and introduce a gamification aspect to give it an appropriately digital twist. It also got me thinking about app development in this way as an art form, or as a way to complement art. Does anyone have any examples of apps being used in this way? I’d really love to check them out – if you do, comment below, drop us an email or find us on Facebook.

Download the Flash Invaders app and start ‘flashing’ his mosaics!

Steven
UKB

Ostgun Ton Label Showcase – The Art School, Glasgow

The Art School in Glasgow, the multi-purpose music and events venue of the Glasgow School of Art, plays host to legendary Berlin-based label Ostgut Ton this weekend presented by Animal Farm Records. The techno giant travels to Scotland for their first showcase in the country, and makes the trip one that’s worthwhile, with the promise of a tinnitus-inducing 10 hours of techno.

The Ostgut Ton label brought into existence in 2005 is owned by Berghain, the Berlin club that is nearly as famous for its door policy as its banging techno. The label, guided by Nick Höppener is known worldwide to release some of the finest techno tracks from the likes of Ben Klock (who, incidentally plays in Edinburgh the same night), Prosumer and Tama Sumo.

Starting at the pretty alien time (by UK standards anyway) of 6pm, the night will get underway with the Animal Farm guys taking to the decks, steering the night dutifully in the direction of 3 producers/DJs I am very excited to see in action. Function, Marcel Dettmann and Martyn.

Function

Function at Culture Box in May as part of the Ostgut Ton Nacht.

Fresh off the back of his Boiler Room appearance last week, Function will be performing a live 1hr set in Room 1. I was lucky enough to catch the New Yorker at Copenhagen’s Culture Box earlier this year on May Day weekend, ably supported by Tama Sumo. His performance really set the place off. Everyone will be hoping for more of the same this weekend, and I’m sure he won’t disappoint.

For an idea of what to expect, have a listen to the live set he performed last year on Boiler Room Berlin below (his most recent is yet to be uploaded unfortunately, but is definitely worth keeping an eye out for).

Going by last week’s performance I’d love to see him for longer than the hour slot he’s taking up, but regardless, it’ll be unmissable. And for that matter unstoppable – judging by the trouble the Boiler Room guys had in getting him to wind his set up…

Diverse Dutchman, Martyn, has released his first LP The Air Between Words in almost 3 years and looks set to take the headline slot in Room 2 between 1am and 4am. Since the critically acclaimed Ghost People was released in 2011 I’ve been looking for him to make an appearance in Edinburgh. It just so happens that within the space of a few days he’s set to make his first appearance in my hometown and another only a short trip down the M8.

I guess it’s like they say, you wait for one Martyn performance, and 2 come at once… Both appearances will be ones to savour, though. Everyone will be hoping to catch some of that unpredictability on Saturday, and that he has the chance to drop one or two of the tracks from the new LP into his set…

Finally, back in Room 1 for the conclusion to the evening, the man at the decks will need little introduction. As his RA profile states; “Ruff, rugged and raw. Mentioning Marcel Dettmann as well as his feeling for and vision of electronic music, his way of dealing with it, is impossible without these attributes”.

Those two sentences sum Marcel up better than I ever could, so there’s no real need for me to go any further here. It’ll be a fitting way to close what is sure to be a night to remember.

All this will be fuelled appropriately by a limited supply of Club Mate the Berlin energy drink of choice for the evening. All the more reason to get down early!

Steven
UKB

uk-0802-599959-337463-front

Urban Kultur on Hypnotic Groove // Box Frequency FM

So this week I was invited to play a few tunes on the Hypnotic Groove monthly radio show on BoxFrequencyFM. Hypnotic Groove is a great dance music channel based mainly via Soundcloud (but keep an eye on the Hypnotic Groove new website) showcasing the best local underground music talen in Scotland and beyond with a regular mix series, and of course, their own radio show.

I supported the HG top dog – Jay Dub – for an hour or so of house/tech-house before he moved in and played a seriously good and very eclectic set to take the show through to its conclusion.

You can check both sets below, and as always, I’d love to hear what you think! Leave a comment below, or on the soundcloud page.

 

Steven
UKB

Lichtenberg Totem mural from JBAK

I’ve not blogged for a week or two, but have had this one in mind for a while. Having heard a few months back about this mural, I’ve really been looking forward to the outcome. And just a week or so ago, JBAK completed the truly enormous mural in east Berlin off Landsberger Allee.

The guys completed this work in association with LOA (Lichtenberg Open Art) & HOWOGE, a housing association in the city, and is the direct result of a pretty stressful sounding application process.

Karl explained that following their initial acceptance, their first presentation of what they had in mind didn’t get the reaction they’d hoped for. “It did not go well, we left discouraged and feeling all the holes to our artwork for this project”.

But having done enough to persuade the organisers to chase for a revised plan, the pair went back, addressed the requests from the organisers and sealed it. Now just to paint all 32m of that bad boy…

It wasn’t plain sailing by the sounds of things. 12-14 hr days, 6 days a week, for 4 weeks. Oh, and chuck in a handful of lift breakdowns just to make things interesting.

The mural takes aspects of James and Karl’s individual work, as always, but this time there was a really different look to the piece. Maybe there’s more bright colour involved this time? With that sort of high contrast, saturated look highlighting some of the aspects of the bodies it almost looks as if the top layer of skin has been removed to reveal the colour beneath.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it looks different. Different but still great!

Anyway, enough of the chat, check the flicks from Just and Karl below. Let us know what you think!

JBAK Idraw

Close up detail 

JBAK Just 1

At the controls…

JBAK Just 2

Karl taking in the finished mural

JBAK Just 3

Toteam mural, Landsberger Allee, Berlin.

Steven
UKB

Malakkai // Artist Profile

Tucked in a driveway adjacent to Vesterbrogade, Copenhagen, was where I first saw Malakkai’s work in the flesh.

Opposite stood another painted wall, but it was the Spaniard’s one that really caught my attention. A sort of dream-like piece, with a large fox, a distorted character riding on his back, in a circle of trees with eyes. Off to the left sits a red apple…in a bear trap.

There’s quite a lot to take in – both in the painting itself and potential symbolism within. It’s a surreal trip!

After digging around to find out more about Malakkai (I struggled as much of it is in Spanish…) there’s not a great deal more I can say with certainty at this time. He’s Spanish, called Isaac, an illustrator, graffiti artist, and a cross-stitch maestro…according to his Facebook page.

I can’t really put his work into words and do it justice, so I’ll let his pictures do the talking. I’m excited to have discovered him for myself and by complete accident – he is such a talent!

Worthwhile giving him a like on Facebook too, his daily sketches are something else…

Malakkai 9

Malakkai. Vesterbrogade, Copenhagen

Malakkai 8

Malakkai. Vesterbrogade, Copenhagen

Malakkai 1

Malakkai, Cristian Blanxer, Kerotoo. Gemona del Friuli, Italy.

Malakkai 2

Malakkai & Danjer. La Rioja, Spain

Malakkai 3

Malakkai & Rems. Gemona del Friuli, Italy.

Malakkai 4

Carlos Gómez, Diam & Malakkai. Almeria, Spain.

Malakkai 5

Malakkai. Hueral de Almeria, Spain.

Malakkai 7

Malakkai, R.Jack & Ysco. Vidreres, Spain.

Steven
UKB

Images from UKB and Malakkai (www.malakkai.es)

Karl Addison’s 14 Tails mural, Berlin

Within the legendary Berlin street/urban art scene, Karl Addison and James Bullough (JBAK) have established themselves with a number of impressive works both in the city and beyond over the past few years.

The pair are due to start painting an epic 32m high building in Berlin on Monday, but before this, Karl had time to complete his own 100m long wall at the corner of Klosterstr. and Stralaurstr.14Tails_11 14Tails_13

Karl’s illustrations are among my favourite, and it’s always great to see these translated onto a bigger canvas.

Utilizing a mixture of the Screen Printing theory of trapping he uses for his drawings and the way he paints using Colour Theory, these colourful Koi Carp are really, really cool.

14Tails_14 Koi_10

Karl also runs the Idrawalot Gallery in Berlin,  a great space in Neukolln that’s recently started to offer artists a residency in the city.

The Program is a free one month studio and residency for a working artist, providing valuable resources and support for a working professional and emerging artist specializing in drawing, screen printing, painting, murals, urban & contemporary art.

The program is open to all artists of all mediums and disciplines. Think this might be for you? Find out more on the Idrawalot website and enter your application via Call for Entry.

Steven
UKB