John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.
This sofa would really tie an (autopsy) room together.
The people of Paris could be forgiven for thinking there's a serial killer afoot with a severe dislike of furniture. In a Cronenbergian melding of inanimate matter and grisly viscera, chairs, mattresses, and even a toilet have appeared on the city's sidewalks bearing heinous wounds and oozing crimson fluid into the gutters.
These are the disturbing creations of Lor-K, a 27-year-old Parisian artist who's built a bloody volume of work called "Objecticide." (She embarked on the series in 2012, though it's now getting renewed press at Urbanshit.) Lor-K stalked the streets for months looking for abandoned objects. She then went to work with slicing and smashing tools—ripping out stuffing and rending sheet metal—before completing the murder scenes with acrylic and three shades of spray paint to mimic the coagulation of gore.
"I am inspired by our waste, our bins—from what we reject in the city on our own sidewalks," Lor-K emails. "I think they perfectly reflect our consumer society." (What this gruesome art says about her own feelings on consumerism probably isn't good.) Once she finishes a deathly makeover, she'll leave it sitting there to startle pedestrians until some strong-stomached person takes it away. "They are usually picked up by cleaner's men," she says, "or destroyed by curious passers-by."