Spencer Byles Does Nature Better Than Thoreau

For most urbanites, it’s hard to see the forest as anything other than a tangle of dirt, bugs and mess. But where we see fear, artist and sculptor Spencer Byles sees a canvas. Indeed, Byles spent a year in three unmanaged French forests, where he utilized only natural and local materials to create amazing works of art amid the living landscapes.

Blending seamlessly with the environment, there is no map or itinerary to find these surreal works of art. Your only means of seeing any of these pieces in person is to wander one of the three forests–La Colle Sur Loup, Villeneuve Loubet and Mougins, respectively–and stumble upon them.

Byles’ secretive installations are done for a specific purpose, not just artistic pretension. In his eyes, not disclosing where his works are keeps the area from being invaded, and the forest from suffering the effects the human public would leave on the living canvas.

Tapping fully into the circle of life, part of the works’ beauty stems from its temporal nature. Over time, the forest will gradually recapture the structures and Byles’ physical imprint on his surroundings will be lost.

Byles recently spoke to Bored Panda about his process and art. “I had been making sculptures with found materials in forests at different times over 10 years,” Byles says. “I felt I needed to concentrate on one large project and produce good quality photographs of each sculpture…I set out with no particular plan and had no expectation how it might evolve. I responded in different ways to each location and worked on at least 20 sculptures at one time. I worked spontaneously without any drawings or planned design.”

Paralleling his lack of disclosure on his works’ physical location, Byles is equally fine with not sharing his views on his art’s meaning. “I prefer not to share my thoughts in regards to what each sculpture represents to me. They don’t have names either. It’s up to the viewer regards what he or she might feel or see.”

Given the fact that his materials couldn’t be found in an art store, one might think that a project as elaborate as this would pose a number of challenges. But in Byles’ eyes, this simply isn’t the case. “It’s a dream,” he said. “There are irritants like mosquitoes and the heat during July and August where I slow down. The winters are mild and I construct large canopy shelters in many places to shelter in from heavy rain. But this is all part of the experience.”

The hardest part was working alone each day for the whole year. “I am a very social person but within a short time I began to enjoy and really value the long days alone in the nature,” he mused.

Bedlam: The Real Horror Story Asylum

If you were to visit the Bethlem Royal Hospital circa the 15th Century, it would look like a scene out of American Horror Story. Bethlem was the only institution in Europe that handled society’s “rejects”–namely the mentally or criminally ill–for the vast majority of European history. It did not, however, treat patients with a kind and affirming hand. Quite the opposite happened: patients were subjected to horrendous cruelty, experimentation, neglect and humiliation — all of which was entirely socially acceptable up until the 20th century.

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Inside The Colorful World Of Drag

Drag Profile Closeup

Source: WordPress

In any society, peculiar institutions tend to grow up that only have relevance—or make any sense at all—within the context of that society. The unique subculture of Drag, for example, came out of the sexual revolution of the 1960s and ’70s, and it developed so rapidly into its own little universe—with its own rules and taboos, customs and conventions—that even somebody born just a generation earlier would have a hard time understanding it. What began as men dressing in women’s clothing, partly as a sexual kink and partly as an expression of personal identity, has morphed into a full-scale community which, despite its deep links to gay and transsexual cultures, is distinct and independent from either.

Modern Drag (dibs on the magazine name) is largely centered around live stage performances in which men dress as outrageous caricatures of women and lip-synch Lil’ Kim for what are sometimes huge audiences. The audience members, and the performers they’ve come to cheer for, may be gay, straight, or bisexual. They may identify as men, women, or mind-your-own-business. Some performers are doing it for the money, some for the fame, and still others because a team of horses couldn’t stop them from doing it. They are, in other words, Drag queens.

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Drag Profile Closeup

Source: Img Kid

Drag Profile Vintage

Like most subcultures which suddenly become visible, Drag has deep roots. The kind of cross-dressing practiced in the 19th century seems mostly to have been a personal matter, though stage performances were being enjoyed by the end of the century. Source: On Se Croyait Chic

Drag Profile Dark Dress

Most of the time, these burlesques were intended for humorous effect or as incidental elements in a larger performance. Drag, as a unique genre of performing arts, only really developed somewhat after the demise of Vaudeville. Still, pretty dress. Source: Pinterest

Drag Profile Julian Elting

Julian Elting was a gigantic Vaudeville star and one of the few such performers to make the breakthrough into silent films. Here he is in the 1910 film An Adventuress, expressing the hidden desire to choke out an enemy while wearing an elegant silk number with lace at the collar. Source: The Julian Elting Project

Drag Profile Elting

Source: People Check

Drag Profile Makeup Test

No discussion of Drag can go far before Divine comes up. The liberated spirit the world knew as Divine was born Harris Glenn Milstead, in Baltimore of all places, in 1945. As a kid, Glenn was lucky enough to have the corrupting influence of a close friendship with John Waters, who reportedly gave him the name he'd be known by for the rest of his life. Source: The Back Lot

Drag Profile Pink Flamingos

Before Divine mugged the underground film scene in the 1960s and '70s, Drag queens almost always tried to pass as totally convincing women. Drag was essentially a live-action female impersonation. Divine dragged that out and shot it. Huge in every way, Divine practically invented modern Drag by tearing her character loose from "realism" and cooking up a persona which was clearly intended to be a loud, brash, raunchy man in makeup and an evening gown. Nobody ever mistook Divine for a woman, nor were they supposed to. Drag had arrived in the modern age. Source: The Daily Beast

Divine Mens Clothes

By all accounts, Glenn was a gentle and loving person offstage. This picture, by the way, was taken by Andy Warhol; that's how relevant Divine was. Source: Daily Mail

Drag Profile Chick Fil A

He's still relevant. Here's a mural with Chick-fil-A's president rendered in Divine's makeup as a political protest. Source: Ash Vegas

Drag Profile Hairspray

Glenn and John at the premiere of their breakout hit Hairspray. Three weeks after this picture, Glenn was dead from an enlarged heart. Source: The Baltimore Sun

Drag Profile Catsuit

Another pioneer in Drag is RuPaul, seen here wearing a small quantity of body paint in lieu of clothes. Source: The Huffington Post

Drag Profile RuPaul

RuPaul helped put the nail in the lid of "female impersonation" by going right over the top and declaring: "I do not impersonate females! How many women do you know who wear seven-inch heels, four-foot wigs, and skintight dresses?" Source: Us Magazine

Drag Profile Festival Winners

Much of Drag's appeal is in the crafting of a special persona, behind which normally inhibited performers can go completely overboard with extravagant costumes, makeup, and stage antics. This has fueled an ever-spiraling race to the top of Fabulous Mountain, which hasn't stopped yet. Source: Drag Queens Of The World

Drag Profile Flag

Source: Img Kid

Drag Profile Piano

Source: Dragaholic

Drag Profile Drunk Drag

Drag has its own aesthetic, in which the most beautiful thing you can be is a brash alcoholic with an attitude and a smart mouth. Here, Mary Edith Pitts verbally abuses an audience full of people who paid for tickets. Source: YouTube

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The 10 Most Powerful Oscars Speeches Ever

Oscars Statue

Source: NBC

The Oscars has always been rife with political controversy and emotional turmoil. Whether you like it or not, Oscar winners often use their time at the dais to make a plea for change or to expound on their own political views. In these videos, we see ten of the most controversial, emotional, and memorable Oscars speeches of all time:

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Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando refuses the Oscar for his portrayal of Vito Corleone, allowing Sacheen Littlefeather to take the stage to speak about the rights of Native Americans and the Wounded Knee Incident of 1973.

Sally Field

Sally Field shows real human vulnerability in this famous speech when receiving her first Oscar for her leading role in Places In The Heart.

Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin receives this honorary award for his groundbreaking work in film, perhaps most notably for his portrayal of an unwitting despot in The Great Dictator.

Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer shows incredible humility and gratitude after winning the Oscar for her role as Minny Jackson in The Help.

Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks sheds tears for two of his lost mentors, who happen to be gay, after winning Best Actor for his portrayal of a gay man afflicted by AIDS in the movie Philadelphia.

Michael Moore

Michael Moore lashes out against what he calls 'a fictitious president' and 'a fictitious war' in this controversial 2003 Oscar acceptance speech following his win for Bowling For Columbine.

John Legend and Common

John Legend and Common make an impassioned speech after winning the Oscar for Best Original Song, talking about race and mass incarceration, saying 'the struggle for justice is now'.

Vanessa Redgrave

In this shocking speech, Vanessa Redgrave speaks out against violence in Palestine after her win for Julia, a 1977 film portraying the plight of two Jewish women who meet to conspire against Nazi Germany.

Patricia Arquette

Patricia Arquette makes a passionate plea for equal rights for women, condemning the gender pay gap in Hollywood after her win for Boyhood.

Dustin Lance Black

Dustin Lance Black reassures his fellow gay and lesbian artists that they too 'will have equal rights' after winning Best Original Screenplay for Milk.

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If these videos inspired you, then you must check out our post exploring the greatest speeches in human history.

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