Trompe-l'œil Box Boy
May 8, 2009 4:32 AM   Subscribe

Aakash Nihalani decorates NYC with 3D lookin' boxes made of florescent tape.
posted by dgaicun (30 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's like doodling in a boring meeting, only without the boring meeting.
posted by DU at 4:38 AM on May 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


He is also a frequent collaborator of the many-faced, ever elusive Poster Boy. Personally, I find anything that beautifies or even distracts from the grimy piss stained NYC Subway is OK with me, so big ups to Nihalani.
posted by orville sash at 4:46 AM on May 8, 2009


He could create art out of the grime and piss. Like this. Then they either let the art stay or they have to clean the rest of the wall.
posted by pracowity at 4:53 AM on May 8, 2009


I don't understand. They add nothing.
posted by gman at 4:54 AM on May 8, 2009


Are you guys serious? You don't recognize the aesthetic beauty of repeating patterns like these? Have you never heard of Sol Lewitt? Have you never seen a fractal? Have you ever been to New York? This is a vast improvement over the natural landscape of the city, which is pretty grimy.
posted by orville sash at 4:58 AM on May 8, 2009


I liked it better not seeing or knowing of the person who makes these—it's better left anonymous.
posted by defenestration at 4:58 AM on May 8, 2009


I liked it better not seeing or knowing of the person who makes these—it's better left anonymous.
posted by defenestration at 7:58 AM


Yeah, I like to imagine these things are made by mole people who come to the surface at night and are trying to tell us something really important.

I almost had their code figured out, but then I saw this damn post. Ah well, maybe that splotch of paint I saw on the sidewalk is a secret message.
posted by orme at 5:03 AM on May 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I didn't say I didn't like it. Nothing wrong with street doodling.
posted by DU at 5:08 AM on May 8, 2009


Up next -- this is gonna blow your mind -- NECKER CUBES!
posted by grobstein at 5:12 AM on May 8, 2009


I see these damn things everywhere. I'm indifferent to them aesthetically, but it's nice to know their source, I guess.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 5:27 AM on May 8, 2009


BTW, if you've only watched the video... do peruse the pictures. Better stuff in there. Oh yeah, also, you could spend some time in NYC and see them (and many other, very awesome things) with your own eyes!
posted by defenestration at 5:39 AM on May 8, 2009


Does anybody ever just do anything anymore, without having a friend tape it and put pretentious music and titles on it and post it to YouTube and other Web 2.0 Social NetworkingTM wankfests? Every small, idiosyncratic artist is a more exhibitionist self-aggrandizer than the last. Does anyone have a thought or artistic impulse they keep to their fucking SELVES!?!?!

/go fuck yourself, internet.
posted by autodidact at 5:56 AM on May 8, 2009 [5 favorites]


Are you guys serious? You don't recognize the aesthetic beauty of grime and piss?! After all that took work.

Go decorate a desert.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 6:28 AM on May 8, 2009


kingfisher, his musclebound cat: "Are you guys serious? You don't recognize the aesthetic beauty of grime and piss?! After all that took work.

Go decorate a desert.
"

I'm making art as I type this. I doubt you'd want to see the YouTubeFlickrFacebookVideoBloEntryTweet of if.

autodidact: Amen.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:34 AM on May 8, 2009


DU I submit that the boring meeting was an art history lecture on post-structuralism.
posted by device55 at 6:39 AM on May 8, 2009


More like decorates NYC with photoshop.
posted by digsrus at 7:00 AM on May 8, 2009


Digsrus, it's entirely possible that the boxes in the photo you linked to were done anamorphically rather than in Photoshop.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:10 AM on May 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was massively underwhelmed by the video, but the photos definitely showcase his better stuff.

I can't say that I'm a massive fan of the concept, but I'm less meh than I was.
posted by djgh at 7:16 AM on May 8, 2009


I loved this, something about the transitory nature of his creations and the totally unselfconscious he creates them really appealed to me. I like anything that breaks the monotony of the city, little unexpected surprises that can briefly wake one up from the "city drone" that is so easy to fall into.

I remember one night as a teenager that me and a bunch of friends went into Manhattan for one concert or another. At the first subway station we found several signs on glossy white card that just said "PAINT" in bright red bold caps. The surfaces they were affixed to looked fresher than the rest of the station but the paint had long since passed the point of being tacky. In any case something about the declarative "PAINT" missing the expected modifier "WET" instantly appealed to us and we took the signs. For the rest of the night as we wandered around the Village, dressed in all our punk rock finery, we would show these signs to everyone we passed. At first we would make eye contact with anyone approaching us from the opposite direction then just hold up the signs. Mostly we were silent and did not attempt to engage anyone further than getting them to read the sign, but sometimes we would point to the signs and say "PAINT." We tried saying it with a pleasant tone, and we tried saying it aggressively; we tried saying it inquisitively and we tried saying it with deep concern. That simple sign, intriguing to us because of its brevity, became a social experiment/performance art piece, that in our vainglorious pretension (IMO the heights of which can only truly be reached by those under the age of 20), was groundbreaking and infinitely fascinating. We weren't trying to elicit any specific reaction, we had no message that we were trying to convey, we simply enjoyed watching people's reaction to a fairly innocuous piece of incongruous stimuli. As you might expect for NYC most attempted to ignore us and the rest had reactions far more bizarre than we could ever hope to achieve. Then we went and got drunk.

In any case something about these boxes reminded me of that night, thanks dgaicun.
posted by Bango Skank at 7:23 AM on May 8, 2009


This is just to say that Poster Boy is my favorite creature of the NYC underground. I mean c'mon, this is pretty cool.
posted by The Whelk at 7:42 AM on May 8, 2009


Dear Aakash Nihalani,

Thank you for efforts. I suppose these spaces speak to you, and you are driven to make your mark on them. In my part of the world many bored young men are also very busy being creative with the public space, and this can sometimes be a contentious issue. I look at tagger, graffitti and what-have-you for the advertising they represent. Like other forms urban advertising, its not always in a language I can understand, I am not always the intended audience, but fate put me in front of it, it is my space as well. So I ask myself "what is this?" The answer is most often some sort of calling card, poorly scratched out. Cheap and lazy, I usually don't bother with any further interest. I was here it says, over and over. And such an impoverished claim of ownership. What sort of sad existence requires such public affirmations? Tiresome and polluting, but occasionally there is something with a message. Like your boxes.

Neon boxes on urban spaces, so squares in an angular environment. Pretty straight forward. And its tape - non damaging. So this really is as good as "street art" can get for me. And what is says to me is that you need a vacation. It seems pretty clear the urban space has got to you, and is getting to you. If you find these blank walls so insufferable and dreary - move away. You are free - go out to the country where there is plants and beauty to be had. -Thanks, me
posted by zenon at 7:58 AM on May 8, 2009


This is a vast improvement over the natural landscape of the city, which is pretty grimy.

Boo! Hiss!

What, it should be Celebration, Florida for you?
posted by ford and the prefects at 7:58 AM on May 8, 2009


Cannot help snark. Must not snark. Stop, don't do it, keep it in...

Its fluorescent, not florescent.

Sorry.
posted by jester69 at 8:18 AM on May 8, 2009


I've seen these around, I like them. I actually saw one the other night on subway doors and was impressed by their bright color and tasteful minimalism
posted by fuq at 8:27 AM on May 8, 2009


Boo! Hiss!

What, it should be Celebration, Florida for you?


The city should be constantly improved by its denizens. I see these contributions as an improvement. This holds true in the city, in Celebration, Florida, in Youngstown, Ohio, wherever the hell you (or I) may be.

I don't really buy into the "You chose to live there, accept it how it is" schtick. That's meaningless.
posted by orville sash at 9:54 AM on May 8, 2009


The city should be constantly improved by its denizens. I see these contributions as an improvement. This holds true in the city, in Celebration, Florida, in Youngstown, Ohio, wherever the hell you (or I) may be.

I don't disagree with you. Also, I think these things are pretty cool. But as an ex-New Yorker who was troubled, deeply, by the glossy aesthetic "improvements" that rapidly replaced the New York I loved, I think summarily dismissing the streets as "grimy" is a little much.

Improvement is a virtue, there's no doubt. But I suppose the part that got my dander up was calling these a vast improvement over the City's "natural landscape." While I don't think this is your line of reasoning, a similar argument -- the necessity of improving "grimy" neighborhoods -- has been used by conservative groups to fundamentally reshape urban landscapes in order to pave the way for business. Two prime examples from Los Angeles, my new "home," are the razing of Chavez Ravine to build Dodger Stadium and (more impressively) the reshaping of Bunker Hill. Both of these initiatives paired suburban fear of brown folk, dirt, and crime with radically anti-leftist politics to destroy neighborhoods with history and character. Or did the "denizens" just "improve" them?

There are much bigger problems in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Baltimore, and all of our other urban centers than a little bit of dirt and roughness around the edges. We ought to cheer all infrastructure improvements that make life more tolerable for our city dwellers. And while drawing cool looking boxes on the ground is awesome, it's hardly a necessary or even laudable improvement. It's just kind of a cool thing to do. It's not an infrastructure improvement to cheer. It's not even really one to decry. It's just kind of this thing, you know?

Add to this that there are many of us who prefer the neighborhood Ray Davies describes in "Muswell Hillbillies," Mr. Hulot's neighborhood in Mon Oncle, and all that. I'm more than willing to admit that it's nostalgia for the mud. However, it's most certainly not "meaningless."
posted by ford and the prefects at 10:27 AM on May 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of Spectre VR.
posted by hellphish at 11:00 AM on May 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ford, I wrote a long response to you but then I went through and blasted it. I think that you make some good points, and we essentially agree, but my position just came down to this:

*The city is generally not very interesting to me aesthetically, and can be downright ugly.
*This includes "reshape[d] urban landscapes in order to pave the way for business."
*And especially train stations!
*Some art, like this, may not necessarily be beautiful, but it means a lot to me because it tends to make me notice and appreciate the city, its inhabitants and the landscape itself a lot more than I would otherwise.
*Therefore, it's important to me.

And then I had a little PS:

*Things rarely happened as people remember them. That includes Ray Davies.
posted by orville sash at 11:47 AM on May 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Love the Poster Boy stuff. That combination of creepy montage and off-the-wall creativity is a great way to brighten anyone's day. And by anyone, I mean that guy who doesn't want to see it.
posted by sneebler at 1:03 PM on May 8, 2009


ford, just because evil people can misuse a concept for ill doesn't mean the concept itself is flawed.
posted by breath at 1:54 PM on May 8, 2009


« Older Hypothesis: I believe when people are lying, they...   |   He ain't heavy, he's my guitar ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments