• 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

    Head down to Southwark Street just south of the River Thames, and you’ll find Alex Chinneck’s large-scale project, A pound of flesh for 50p. Starting as a life-size two-storey house made out of 8,000 wax bricks, the sculpture will eventually be a mess of rooftop and melted wax come mid-November.

  2. List

    Several artists have attempted to respond to the nude photo scandal, in which private photographs of a number of celebrities were hacked from Apple’s iCloud software and leaked on sites like 4chan and Reddit earlier this year, but few have had any success in harnessing the sense of shock and the eery echo of “have you seen them?” which rippled through the internet in the aftermath.

  3. List-willy

    Writing is rarely a chore. However, sometimes you find yourself working on a piece that reaffirms why internships spent schlepping round Covent Garden in the pissing rain on breakfast compote runs, and hours practising writing “multi-storey carpark” in shorthand are more than worth the irritation.

  4. List

    I don’t care how nice the wallpaper or the lampshades may be, there’s something creepy about the stereotypical American motel featured in films, novels and plays. As if expressly to prove my point, artist Airco Caravan created a series called Crime Scene in which she paints the rooms that have previously played host to murders, suicides and accidental deaths.

  5. List

    Swedish creative Henrik Franklin is a designer, illustrator and animator with two of the world’s leading design schools (Konstfack in Sweden and Rhode Island School of Design) sparkling on his CV. Invited to showcase his considerable talents in Anna Lidberg’s Gallery 1:10 – “the miniature gallery for contemporary art” – Henrik produced a table of tiny tomes and the attention-to-detail on each cover design is really impressive.

  6. Main

    Victoria Siddall has worked at Frieze for just over a decade and two years ago was made Director of Frieze Masters. Excitingly, just a few weeks ago she was appointed Director of Frieze Masters, Frieze New York and Frieze London. As well as being one of the most powerful women in the art world, Victoria is also my sister, so I was curious to find out how she’s feeling on the dawn of her new career.

  7. List

    The Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern has an incredible presence when it’s void of installations, which is what’s so wonderful about the huge enclosed space. As much as I admire the vast emptiness though, it’s even more exciting when a piece of work is placed in the hall and interrupts the vacuum. Opening today, American sculptor Richard Tuttle is the latest commissioned artist to show his work in the space and his 24ft sculpture certainly makes an impact.

  8. Main2

    I came across the work of Matthias Geisler over on Booooooom the other day and was reminded that we hadn’t posted something like this in a while. Matthias’ work is a swirling blend of spirits and creatures that are created with meticulous use of pencil crayons and water-colours. Is it me or are watercolours real in at the moment? All the cool kids seem to be using them.

  9. 8

    A kind of magic happens when Seth Armstrong puts brush to canvas. Having only been familiar with his work for the Mr Porter Journal, I became instantly bewitched by his paintings when clicking through his website.

  10. List

    Whatever the some naysayers may claim there is an art to collage and not everyone can do it, despite how good you think your teenage collages of cut-out red lips, Leonardo DiCaprio and puppies were. Anthony Zinonos is the perfect example of this, having featured on the site previously he’s updated his portfolio with some really cool bits and bobs.

  11. List

    There’s something very fun and raw about Jessica Hans’ vases and her approach to ceramics in general. Based in Philadelphia, she’s had a longstanding interest in foraging and raw materials since university; this has carried over into her ceramics work, which in the past has seen her driving to clay sites, digging her materials out of the ground and then firing them in their original state to see what would happen.

  12. Listt

    “To be an artist and for anyone to care vaguely about what you do is a great thing,” says street artist Moose in this fascinating new Nissan campaign, but his work is more important than most. As the inventor of reverse graffiti – whereby he uses a high-powered pressure washer to stencil imagery in the dirt that accumulates in our cities – Moose’s work asks questions about our attitudes to pollution in a very creative way.

  13. List

    To stare into a Danny Fox painting is like waking up in a world written by Charles Bukowski on a particularly heavy bender. There’s sex and drinking and guns, plus boxers and strippers and cowboys; here a horse, there a tiger. It’s intense and unnerving and exciting, but although there’s something very contemporary about Danny’s paintings, his rise to prominence owes a great deal to the support of a more well-established artist (an age-old route for up-and-coming artistic stars).