Vitamin See

A Celebration of the Citrus Fruit, the Winter Season's Energizing Unsung Hero

Waxy skin and vibrant colors provide inspiration in this new set of images from Christian Werner. To mark the United States’ National Grapefruit Month and the annual Lemon Festival in the French Riviera town of Menton, NOWNESS commissioned the German photographer to put his own spin on the oranges, lemons and abundant limes shot earlier this month at Fruit Logistica, the Berlin trade fair that was also the focus of a 2012 book by the renowned photographer Wolfgang Tillmans. “I’m familiar with that work and of course it would have been absurd to attend the fair and photograph the machines and surfaces in the same way as he did—the smooth, coldly digital, globalized world of commodities—so I looked for a different approach: appealing, interesting and humorous details which would form unexpected, witty still lifes,” explains Werner, who studied graphic design and has shown his work throughout Germany. Werner’s introduction to the world of produce fairs provided an opportunity for an unexpected get-together. “The funniest thing for me was the fact that my uncle Christoph attended the fair as an exhibitor—he invented the automatic peeling machine for asparagus, which is sold worldwide today. So we had this little family reunion.”

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    Make Your Maker

    Five Days of Food, Part Four: Body Architect Lucy McRae Fuses Science and Art for a Lurid Feast

    A crude laboratory plays host to a series of macabre experiments in this short from the burgeoning artist and filmmaker Lucy McRae. Inside, glowing comestibles drip and flow to mold bodily shapes that are then harvested, sliced and repackaged for consumption. Having featured in such publications as Dazed & Confused and Wallpaper*, as well as directing the award-winning Morphē for the skin care brand Aēsop, this latest endeavor from the self-styled “Body Architect” explores how food connects to the body, inside and out. “Everything is edible,” says McRae of her gelatinous props. “The stuff on the model’s face is inked rice paper, and the jellies on her body are molded agar agar, which is made from natural seaweed.” The impulse to show what we are turn into what we eatand vice versawas inspired by an encounter with Vietnamese restaurateur Nahji Chu whose outlets in the director's native Australia merge the culinary arts with an investigation of cultural and individual identity. Taking a hands-on approach to every aspect of production, from the cinematography to the science, McRae adds a personal element to that notion of synthesis, inspired by human biology. “The idea is to create genetic manipulations,” she explains. “Eating them is a transdermal absorption.” 

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    Dali City

    A Fusion of Contemporary Art and Mountain Tradition Erupts in China’s Cultural Haven

    Nestled alongside China’s Erhai Lake in the dramatic Cangshan mountains, the ancient Dali City is the subject of this dreamy short by filmmaker Eric K. Yue and writer Zachary Mexico. An arts enclave in the province of Yunnan, Dali’s mellow charm has long lured a vibrant community of artisans, poets and wayfarers, including artist H.N. Han, whose personal art museum houses works by Roy Lichtenstein, and coffee purveyor Gong Jiaju, who painstakingly seals his boxes of aromatic beans with hot ruby-colored wax. Dali is also a rare center of Bai culture, a Sino-Tibetan community famed for its artisanal expertise and elegant architecture featuring upturned gables. According to Mexico, author of 2009’s China Underground, the residents “are living for the sake of living”—something that captivated him when he first traveled to Dali 12 years ago. Finding the tranquil pace especially conducive to creative thought, he frequently visits from his home in New York for writing sabbaticals. New York-based director Yue, visiting the country for the first time, found experimental ways to break the ice with the local community. “I found I couldn’t interact with people, so I did magic tricks to get them to like me,” he explains. “It’s a purely visual language—there are no boundaries with magic.” Next up, Yue and Mexico will collaborate on a series of films about Chinese youth culture with Forever Pictures. 

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