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MATTEmatters: Self-Satisfaction

By Marcela Filomena

Let's say this post is a window into yours truly.  This week it's all about me- whatever makes me happy, piques my curiosity, makes me giggle or simply stand in awe.  The following collection of items fill all of these requirements and more.  Could you and I be kindred spirits? Scroll down and find out.

film - In their own words, The MIT Media Lab studies the relationship between organic and digital in an attempt to combine "computational form-finding strategies with biologically inspired fabrication".  In their latest project, they built a pavilion in an inter-species collaboration with 6,500 silkworms.  The basis of the structure is composed of 26 polygonal panels networked with silk strings made by a CNC machine, creating a cloudlike pavilion on which the silkworms spun their web, in effect acting as 3D biological printers. The end result is halfway between a giant cocoon and a functional space for humans, of a complexity that belies its delicate simplicity.

design - While it's an invariably good idea to check out the Central St. Martin's graduate shows, one rarely has an Aha! moment a la Isabella Blow/Alexander McQueen.  Enter Maia Bergman, whose brilliant final collection put her in the running for the 2013 H&M Design Award.  Using sheer fabrics and simple, one size fits all silhouettes, Bergman embellished her pieces in patterns inspired by bacteria growth.  Inspired by both Stephen Sprouse's bright splashes of color and 90's Versace matchy-matchiness, each item is both amazing and unique.

art - For the Victorians, taxidermy was an art form- no house was complete without a stuffed critter or two- and a clear trajectory can be drawn from boxing squirrels to the work of Atelier Les Deux Garçons.  The Netherland based artist duo of Michel Vanderheijden van Tinteren and Roel Moonen create fantastical siamese deer and mythical creatures from ethically sourced animals.  The fun doesn't stop there, as they also have beautiful series of objets trouvés, bronzes, installations, paintings and photographs. A particular favorite are the many iterations of bizarre Mickey Mouses (Mice?).  

music - Think Crosby, Stills and Nash for the 21st century: wistful vocals, lush cinematic arrangements of guitars, strings, keyboards and wind instruments thrown in for good measure, as nearly every member pulls double or triple duty whether live or in studio.  Often compared to the derivative Fleet Foxes and their ilk, Oklahoman Other Lives' greatest strength lies precisely in the fact that their influences (Philip Glass, Sigur Rós, etc.) remain guides rather than dictates.  The For 12 video presents the band in a panorama completely different from the usual prairies and country roads of folk, choosing instead to showcase their soundscape with majestic Kubrickian images of space exploration.  As a certified super-fan, I travelled to Mexico City last year to see them live.  Unforgettable.  Every bit as good as I expected and more- so much more- they made standing miserably in wet, clammy weather a joy and a pleasure.
item - This Japanese and Netherlands design duo bring abstract design and geometricity to the world of sheer hosiery. Proef means experiment in Dutch and in much the same way as De Stijl dissected art, these flocked tights will change the way you think of your gams- no longer just a method of transportation, but a canvas!