• Yuri2
  • Yuri1
  • Yuri3
  • Yuri4
  • Yuri9
  • Yuri10
  • Yuri6
Art

Yuri Suzuki: Red Stripe Make Something from Nothing

Posted by Rob Alderson,

In Medieval times, Yuri Suzuki would probably have been run out of his village suspected of being a wizard, because of his ability to turn everyday objects into something completely different. Remember the vinyl Scalectrix, the goldfish theremin and the electric kettle flute? Now Yuri and collaborator Mathew Kneebone have teamed up with Red Stripe to create this unbelievable lager-can sound sculpture as part of the company’s Make Something From Nothing project, which commissions cutting-edge creatives to make work which reflects the DIY culture of Red Stripe’s Jamaican roots.

With Yuri in his Stockholm studio and Mathew at home in Australia, the idea came together via a number of Skype sessions, and “improvising many things, like concept, construction and aesthetic.”

The sculpture was inspired by the towering, bass-driven stereo systems which provide much of the rhythm of Jamaican street life. Many of the cans used in the sculpture were collected at this year’s Notting Hill Carnival, but now they will be born again, coming full circle from fueling August’s street party to fueling next week’s dubstep launch event in east London.

Yuri said: “In Jamaica they had to make all instruments and sound systems from scratch, as there are not so many materials. However that made some great inventions, and the reggae music culture has been made by a DIY, frontier spirit.

“From the sound systems that started in the ghettos of Kingston to the attitude of the Jamaican people, it’s a place where if you don’t do it yourself, it isn’t going to happen.”

“The steel drum in particular is a great example of our inspiration as it was an innovation from a pre-defined object,” Mathew adds. “As Yuri mentioned, Jamaican musical culture has been defined by finding a new purpose for an object. Take steel drums – they were oil drums left behind by US forces after the war. In our case, the beer cans were also left behind for us to find a musical purpose. Reggae sound systems are quite ramshackle in nature, but are designed for maximum volume and bass, so this is what we wanted to make.”

In total, nearly 5,000 cans were used in the final piece, which measures an astonishing 2.5 metres high and 2.5 metres across. With speakers hidden inside the cans, both artists were delighted with the sound quality produced and the sheer physical scale of the final sculpture.

The launch event takes place tomorrow night at the Village Underground in Shoreditch and will see top DJs Spencer (NMBERS), Ben UFO and MC Chunky on the decks, putting their creation through some serious paces.

It’s Nice That is a media partner of the Make Something from Nothing project and this article was produced in collaboration with Red Stripe.

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. List-2

    Anna Valdez is the kind of artist who makes me want to swathe myself and everything around me in layers of tropical prints and geometric patterns and embrace a new sartorial existence as a wannabe art teacher. Her mastery of textiles is so thorough that some of her pieces almost feel like studies, an effect which makes sense considering her academic interests. With a background in anthropology she paints domestic interiors as though they were portraits, with every detail contributing to the overall effect, whether it be house plants, intricately reproduced book covers, woolly jumpers or oriental rugs.

  2. List

    Australian artist Kit Webster is has long been fascinated with the emotional and psychological tricks he can play through the manipulation of sound and light. His new piece Hypercube is a concentric cubic sculpture with a 120-metre LED set-up that can be controlled using specially-created software. The pre-recorded cycles allow Kit to control the viewer’s experience, speeding the cube up to a frenzy and breaking the tension with meditative moments of calm.

  3. Main

    Apologies if this is a slightly dismayed post, but upon thinking I had stumbled across a gem via Nieves’ announcement of some new zines I was excited to be the first to write about Keegan McHargue on It’s Nice That. Alas I was not, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t shout about his brilliance once more.

  4. List

    When I was a teenager I’d have given my right arm for patches emblazoned with the lyrics of my favourite songs. It was the height of cool to be covered in brightly-coloured band paraphernalia (or at least I thought so). German artist Selma Alaçam clearly thought so too as her latest project Heartstrings combines some of her favourite song lyrics from the likes of Fiona Apple and Depeche Mode. The seven woven rugs – based on the traditional kelim, native to Turkey – have been hand-embroidered with bold typographic verses, whose personal importance is known only to the artist. To the rest of us these embroideries are like beautifully ambiguous album covers, enticing you in with their bright, bold colours.

  5. List

    It’s plain to see that Lee Marshall’s artwork is a product of the digital age; his smooth gradients, vectorised objects and figures apparently created in an early version of Corel Draw all evoke the atmosphere of an abstract digital landscape. But Lee’s creations all exist in the real world as paintings, drawings and sculptures, bringing a unique physicality to environments we’d expect to experience on a flat screen. The Norwich School of Art graduate has been perfecting this signature style since his student days, but with an ever-increasing list of group and solo shows to his name we’re expecting more great things from Lee over the coming months and years.

  6. List

    Let’s all give a big round of applause to the people behind Instagram who, in creating a convenient photo-based social media outlet, also paved the way for Instagram artists. If Instagram is the Impressionist salon of our time, then right at the forefront of this digital gallery is Kalen Hollomon, whose own brand of photo-collage is a tongue-in-cheek giggle at both the fashion industry and at commuters in general, and is hugely popular with it.

  7. List

    It’s fair to say that Interview magazine, founded by Andy Warhol in 1969, had some serious sway over popular culture throughout the 1970s and 80s. With its pop art-driven aesthetic and its constant pursuit of features with the superstars of the day it has grown to occupy seminal status. And this is due in no small part to Richard Bernstein, the artist behind the publication’s iconic cover imagery.

  8. List

    Imagine going to a party with a bunch of your favourite creatives and each picking up a paintbrush, a pot of ink, and creating the drawing equivalent of a huge, diverse orgy on a very long piece of paper. I’m sure for some people that kind of malarkey is the norm, but for most of us, we need the help of an organising body in making experimental ideas and collaborative practice come to life. Enter Sumi Ink Club, the participatory drawing project we first wrote about three years ago which was founded in 2005 by LA-based artists Sarah Rara (I know, right) and Luke Fishbeck. For 13 years now they’ve been the source behind a string of public meeting planned by anybody, anytime, which seek to mirror open social interactions with the act of putting paintbrush to paper.

  9. List

    It’s 100 years since Britain entered the First World War and to mark the centenary, the Tower of London is being surrounded by nearly 900,00 ceramic poppies. Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red is the brainchild of artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper and will grow between now and November when there will be 888,246 flowers in the dry moat, one for every British or British Colony soldier killed during the fighting.

  10. Main7

    There was a time when we at It’s Nice That were inundated with internet art – we were having so much submitted to us on a daily basis that it was pouring out of our ears in waxy gifs. It’s pleasing to be faced with it again, a year or two after the craze has kind of died out, when it’s created by someone who actually has a passion and an eye for this stuff and isn’t just jumping on a weird bandwagon.

  11. List

    It feels like Max and Adele at Atelier bingo lead a pretty charmed life. Camped out in the middle of the countryside with their converted studio/barn, it would be easy to resent the life they lead – in fact sometimes it’s very easy indeed. But the work they’re producing – stunning screen prints and collages of abstract forms – keeps me returning to their website time after time, and I just can’t find it in my heart to resent their rural idyll. Though if they called me up tomorrow to invite me to come and live with them, I’d definitely have a hard time saying no.

  12. List

    Here at It’s Nice That we spend an awful lot of time talking about, thinking about and writing about creatives but ultimately we don’t get too many chances to really see what goes on in their day-to-day working lives…until now. Our new collaboration with super-cool eyewear brand Ace & Tate is taking us inside the studios, and inside the minds, of a host of some of our favourite creatives.

  13. List

    Some artists, immensely talented and original though they may be, simply don’t make work that fits in the grandest art galleries of the world. Fortunately for them there are super-cool concept stores created specifically to house such work, and queen of all of these is Colette. Hiro Sugiyama’s surreal, hilarious and altogether unsettling artwork is a natural fit for Paris store Colette’s carefully curated collection of the avant-grade and the offbeat.