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State_Of_Emergency_Axis Mundi_1.jpg
homeless 1.jpg
Kaaba St. Peters 1.jpg
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sexbot rugs 2_72 dpi.jpg
Transform_1a.jpg
This is not a bridge _4.jpg
Shelf -3_1.jpg
Test 3.jpg
Soldier Oil Field.jpg
gold-boullion-tiles.JPG
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ICONOCLAST COMPETITION Central Park


MANNAHATTA PLATEAU
FOR FREDRICK LAW OLMSTED
A Re-Enchantment for a Post-apocalyptic Ecology

"Reality is not always probable, or likely" 
-Jorge Luis Borges

The MANNAHATTA PLATEAU presents a dynamic ecological vision of nature integrated with urbanism. The ravaged original surface of Central Park is left as a regenerating wilderness, a temple to the raw power of nature. Built over it is a green mega-structure, a plateau that supports a raised parkland consisting of a patchwork of abundantly diverse interconnecting environmental zones.

The bold, linear aesthetic of the plateau offers a new perspective upon the wilderness that lies partially revealed beneath its cut-out surface. The 200ft high structure is inscribed by the lines and scale of the city itself — the typical Manhattan building lot (25x100ft) serves as the basic modular. The street grid is celebrated by being projected across the park’s surface, yet the rigid geometry of urban forms is broken down into sub-sections defined by the flowing lines of nature. In addition, supporting structures containing vertical circulation are clad in glass that directs light back onto the dystopic landscape below, whilst optically blurring the distinction between nature and architecture.

The plateau is infused with plants native to the region to re-establish the island of "Mannahatta" prior to the Dutch colonization. These plants form the basis of wild meadows, wetlands, wildlife refuges and insect habitats. Sustainable agricultural zones, including hydroponic farming enabled by rainwater harvesting, feature hanging gardens of local species of fruits and vegetables pollinated by nearby bee colonies. The plateau also foregrounds renewable energy sources, such as solar tiles, Wattway pathways (solar roads) and windmills oriented toward the prevailing wind.

The aesthetic of the plateau manifests an underlying conceptual scheme. As with Gilles Deleuze’s "A Thousand Plateaus", this structure allows us to envision the conception of the plateau as a ‘patchwork’ of dynamic juxtapositions that foster endless new connections. Unexpected juxtapositions and extensive circulation pathways are created between diverse zones for theatre, cinema and music, visual arts and local history, as well as activities such as hiking, swimming and ice-skating.

The MANNAHATTA PLATEAU uses its aesthetic to bring the diverse elements of nature and urban design into dynamic co-existence. As this project matures, new organic connections and cross-pollinations will occur between the revived Mannahatta plateau and the unplanned wilderness of Central Park beneath, creating a new ecological future from two versions of the past.

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ICONOCLAST COMPETITION Central Park


MANNAHATTA PLATEAU
FOR FREDRICK LAW OLMSTED
A Re-Enchantment for a Post-apocalyptic Ecology

"Reality is not always probable, or likely" 
-Jorge Luis Borges

The MANNAHATTA PLATEAU presents a dynamic ecological vision of nature integrated with urbanism. The ravaged original surface of Central Park is left as a regenerating wilderness, a temple to the raw power of nature. Built over it is a green mega-structure, a plateau that supports a raised parkland consisting of a patchwork of abundantly diverse interconnecting environmental zones.

The bold, linear aesthetic of the plateau offers a new perspective upon the wilderness that lies partially revealed beneath its cut-out surface. The 200ft high structure is inscribed by the lines and scale of the city itself — the typical Manhattan building lot (25x100ft) serves as the basic modular. The street grid is celebrated by being projected across the park’s surface, yet the rigid geometry of urban forms is broken down into sub-sections defined by the flowing lines of nature. In addition, supporting structures containing vertical circulation are clad in glass that directs light back onto the dystopic landscape below, whilst optically blurring the distinction between nature and architecture.

The plateau is infused with plants native to the region to re-establish the island of "Mannahatta" prior to the Dutch colonization. These plants form the basis of wild meadows, wetlands, wildlife refuges and insect habitats. Sustainable agricultural zones, including hydroponic farming enabled by rainwater harvesting, feature hanging gardens of local species of fruits and vegetables pollinated by nearby bee colonies. The plateau also foregrounds renewable energy sources, such as solar tiles, Wattway pathways (solar roads) and windmills oriented toward the prevailing wind.

The aesthetic of the plateau manifests an underlying conceptual scheme. As with Gilles Deleuze’s "A Thousand Plateaus", this structure allows us to envision the conception of the plateau as a ‘patchwork’ of dynamic juxtapositions that foster endless new connections. Unexpected juxtapositions and extensive circulation pathways are created between diverse zones for theatre, cinema and music, visual arts and local history, as well as activities such as hiking, swimming and ice-skating.

The MANNAHATTA PLATEAU uses its aesthetic to bring the diverse elements of nature and urban design into dynamic co-existence. As this project matures, new organic connections and cross-pollinations will occur between the revived Mannahatta plateau and the unplanned wilderness of Central Park beneath, creating a new ecological future from two versions of the past.

Winning entry for LA+ ICONOCLAST COMPETITION TO REDESIGN CENTRAL PARK 2018 (sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania)

MANNAHATTA PLATEAU FOR FREDERICK LAW OLMSTED: A Re-Enchantment for a Post-apocalyptic Ecology

”Reality is not always probable, or likely”
-Jorge Luis Borges

The MANNAHATTA PLATEAU presents a dynamic ecological vision of nature integrated with urbanism. The ravaged original surface of Central Park is left as a regenerating wilderness, a temple to the raw power of nature. Built over it is a green mega-structure, a plateau that supports a raised parkland consisting of a patchwork of abundantly diverse interconnecting environmental zones.

The bold, linear aesthetic of the plateau offers a new perspective upon the wilderness that lies partially revealed beneath its cut-out surface. The 200ft high structure is inscribed by the lines and scale of the city itself — the typical Manhattan building lot (25x100ft) serves as the basic modular. The street grid is celebrated by being projected across the park’s surface, yet the rigid geometry of urban forms is broken down into sub-sections defined by the flowing lines of nature. In addition, supporting structures containing vertical circulation are clad in glass that directs light back onto the dystopic landscape below, whilst optically blurring the distinction between nature and architecture.

The plateau is infused with plants native to the region to re-establish the island of "Mannahatta" prior to the Dutch colonization. These plants form the basis of wild meadows, wetlands, wildlife refuges and insect habitats. Sustainable agricultural zones, including hydroponic farming enabled by rainwater harvesting, feature hanging gardens of local species of fruits and vegetables pollinated by nearby bee colonies. The plateau also foregrounds renewable energy sources, such as solar tiles, Wattway pathways (solar roads) and windmills oriented toward the prevailing wind.

The aesthetic of the plateau manifests an underlying conceptual scheme. As with Gilles Deleuze’s "A Thousand Plateaus", this structure allows us to envision the conception of the plateau as a ‘patchwork’ of dynamic juxtapositions that foster endless new connections. Unexpected juxtapositions and extensive circulation pathways are created between diverse zones for theatre, cinema and music, visual arts and local history, as well as activities such as hiking, swimming and ice-skating.

The MANNAHATTA PLATEAU uses its aesthetic to bring the diverse elements of nature and urban design into dynamic co-existence. As this project matures, new organic connections and cross-pollinations will occur between the revived Mannahatta plateau and the unplanned wilderness of Central Park beneath, creating a new ecological future from two versions of the past.
- Dr. Jane Partner

Design: John Beckmann, Hannah LaSota + Laeticia Hervy
Visualizations and collages: John Beckmann, Laeticia Hervy, Ashley Lam and Alyssa Egnew
© 2018 Axis Mundi Design LLC

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AMERICA: State of Emergency


AMERICA: State of Emergency is a deafening auditory and visual assault on the senses, an immersive environment of pure mayhem. It consists of a series of film projections on four walls, of police cars, fire trucks and emergency service vehicle’s flashing lights and sirens on a 20 minute loop at 120 decibels.Concept: John Beckmann | MoFO Projects
© 2017-2018, Axis Mundi Design LLC

AMERICA: State of Emergency


AMERICA: State of Emergency is a deafening auditory and visual assault on the senses, an immersive environment of pure mayhem. It consists of a series of film projections on four walls, of police cars, fire trucks and emergency service vehicle’s flashing lights and sirens on a 20 minute loop at 120 decibels.Concept: John Beckmann | MoFO Projects
© 2017-2018, Axis Mundi Design LLC

“It's getting faster, moving faster now, it's getting out of hand,
On the tenth floor, down the back stairs, it's a no man's land,
Lights are flashing, cars are crashing, getting frequent now”
- Joy Division, Disorder


AMERICA: State of Emergency is a deafening auditory and visual assault on the senses, an immersive environment of chaos and mayhem. Two perfectly fused NYPD Police Cruisers sit at the center of a series of film projections, which start with one flashing light in the east and slowly take over the four walls with a discordant collage of police cars, fire trucks and emergency service vehicles’ flashing lights and sirens. The projections gradually build in intensity from thrilling to terrifying as the colors become more hallucinatory, images break down to abstraction, flashing lights morph into dazzling strobes and the soundtrack rises to an mind numbing 120 decibels.

This installation is a machine for accelerating the transformation of news coverage into panic. The projections use found footage in homage to director Kenneth Anger’s stylized, hypnotic vision. The films mimic public hysteria caused by media over-saturation, causing rational judgement to give way to fear. The two merged police cars behave as if they are themselves immaterial projections that can pass through each other as easily as light. In a world where the real and the virtual become indistinguishable, the police cars seem to speed through each other, ominously merging into the shape of a post-truth crucifixion accident.

Concept and Design: John Beckmann | FOMO Projects
Visualization: 3DRS
Run Time: 23 minutes
© 2017-2018 Axis Mundi Design LLC.

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Visible Invisible


Visible Invisible


Visible Invisible

In the future no human being is to find
peace in the enjoyment of happiness
if others beside him are unhappy”
- Rudolf Steiner

What if we looked at the most unfortunate in society with the attentive gaze that we use for looking at art?

As Marcel Duchamp showed with his revolutionary urinal, the gallery space can enable us to look at familiar, mundane objects in a completely new way, finding beauty where we might habitually see ugliness. The contemporary gallery has since developed into a pristine white cube that shuts out the rest of the world to allow us a heightened sensory experience of aesthetic meditation. Galleries are seen as modern places of worship, but these white walls also have a darker side as spaces of social exclusion. They are the preserve of a glossy social elite and of a ruthless big business that is entirely divorced from broader social realities.

Research has shown that the brain registers the sight of homeless people on the street in the same way that it processes inanimate objects, failing to fully recognize them as fellow human beings. John Beckmann asks whether a more socially conscious kind of art can use the logic of found objects to prompt us to look at homeless people in a new way: with the sensitivity, openness and respect that art requires of us. ‘Visible Invisible’ invites those who are most marginal in society, and from whom we regularly avert our eyes, into the space where we look most carefully of all. We are therefore forced to look at what we so often do not wish to see.

Concept and Design: John Beckmann | FOMO Projects
Collages: John Beckmann, and Luna Huang
© 2019 Axis Mundi Design LLC.

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Kaaba Displaced


The Kaaba Displaced, is an on-going series of architectural "thought experiments" whereby the holy Kaaba in Mecca has been relocated to a variety of different sites around the world. The new locations, the Piazza St. Pietro in Vatican City, Rome, and the Washington Monument in Washington, DC. for example, radically confronts belief systems and opens up new unexpected relationships between religion, meaning and site.

Kaaba Displaced


The Kaaba Displaced, is an on-going series of architectural "thought experiments" whereby the holy Kaaba in Mecca has been relocated to a variety of different sites around the world. The new locations, the Piazza St. Pietro in Vatican City, Rome, and the Washington Monument in Washington, DC. for example, radically confronts belief systems and opens up new unexpected relationships between religion, meaning and site.

The Kaaba Displaced is an on-going series of architectural "thought experiments" whereby the holy Kaaba in Mecca has been relocated to a variety of different sites around the world. The new locations, the Piazza St. Pietro in Vatican City, Rome, and the Washington Monument in Washington, DC. for example, radically confronts belief systems and opens up new unexpected relationships between religion, meaning and site.

Concept: John Beckmann | FOMO Projects
Images: Melodie Vasseur
© 2017 Axis Mundi Design LLC.

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Omnia Vanitas


What started as a humorous riff on a podiatrist client’s plastic anatomical foot model becomes a contemporary contemplation on the theme of vanity, which has occupied artists from the Netherlandish painters of the 16th and 17th centuries right through to Marilyn Minter, whose work revels in the seamy, dirty underbelly of the fashion world. The flayed rawness of bones exposes the transience and vulnerability of human existence, which is emphasized by the fact that it is also a cheap plastic simulacrum of the real thing. 

Omnia Vanitas


What started as a humorous riff on a podiatrist client’s plastic anatomical foot model becomes a contemporary contemplation on the theme of vanity, which has occupied artists from the Netherlandish painters of the 16th and 17th centuries right through to Marilyn Minter, whose work revels in the seamy, dirty underbelly of the fashion world. The flayed rawness of bones exposes the transience and vulnerability of human existence, which is emphasized by the fact that it is also a cheap plastic simulacrum of the real thing. 

Omnia Vanitas

What started as a humorous riff on a podiatrist client’s plastic anatomical foot model becomes a contemporary contemplation on the theme of vanity, which has occupied artists from the Netherlandish painters of the 16th and 17th centuries right through to Marilyn Minter, whose work revels in the seamy, dirty underbelly of the fashion world. The flayed rawness of bones exposes the transience and vulnerability of human existence, which is emphasized by the fact that it is also a cheap plastic simulacrum of the real thing. Slipping this ugliness into a glamorous stiletto with rhinestone-encrusted silver straps spotlights how futile—and in this case painfully deforming—are our attempts to dress up the inescapable truth. This glitz-over-guts sculpture is as barbed as it is humorous.

Concept: John Beckmann | FOMO Projects
Image: Jessica Marvin
Photography: Jeffrey Hornstein
© 2012 Axis Mundi Design LLC

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SexBot Bearskin Rugs


SexBot Bearskin Rugs


SexBot Bearskin Rugs (Talking Variants)

It's coming from the feel
That this ain't exactly real
Or it's real, but it ain't exactly there”
- Leonard Cohen, Democracy

These unsettling works present us with luxurious furnishings for a contemporary dystopia of unrestrained pleasure. As well as commenting on the depersonalised commodification of sex, each piece subverts the long artistic tradition of erotic associations between fur and the nude. Old master paintings often depicted naked skin against fur to evoke a hypersensitised body that the viewer is invited to imagine touching – a trope that inspired Sacher-Masoch’s scandalous novel ‘Venus in Furs’, and that lives on in the cinematic fantasy of a Bond girl reclining in a fireside pile of animal skins.

John Beckmann’s lushly disturbing rework of this familiar softcore theme fuses the woman herself into the rug. Flayed and splayed, she gratifies a desire for domination: here is a woman guaranteed to let a man walk all over her.  Her eyes are open, but she has no interiority, she is simply a surface that is constantly available for tactile pleasure. A deft reference to the fetishism of Allen Jones’ bondage furniture combines with the surrealism of Meret Oppenheim’s fur-lined teacup, but there is also a more primal reference to prehistoric gender politics: hunting a woman like big game makes her the ultimate trophy girlfriend.

These hybrid female effigies are entirely inhuman. Their animal aspect speaks to our lingering cultural associations between women and animals, with the double-headed rug resembling a specimen in a cabinet of curiosities, suggesting a mutant threesome resembling an erotic reimagining of the Chapman Brothers. But it is the futuristic dimension of these works that is ultimately the most sinister. The rugs contain biometric sensors so that when they are stepped on their AI heads whisper “sweet nothings.” These submissive sexual cyborgs evoke the smart homes of the future that will be increasingly programmed to service our every need.

Suzy, James and Lucy. Limited Edition of 3
Materials: Silicone rubber, human hair, bio-metric sensors, bear hide and computer chip

Concept and Design: John Beckmann | FOMO Projects
Collages: John Beckmann, with Luna Huang and Dalal AlSahaf
© 2018 Axis Mundi Design LLC. 

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Volkswagen Mutations


Cars form the building blocks of numerous prominent contemporary artworks, compelling because of their associations with freedom, prosperity, and status. The common characteristic of these works is that the vehicles are de-glamorized and de-aestheticized. Cars are buried as dystopian monoliths by Ant Farm, dismantled by John Chamberlain, stripped down by Walter De Maria and inflated by Edwin Wurm.

Taking inspiration from auto-designer J Mays’s experimental redesign of the Beetle that transposed its front and rear, this work extends the design process into a surrealist game. The cars have a particular affinity with Hans Bellmer’s dissected and recombined cut-and-shut bodies, where two sets of legs might converge into a single headless torso. The application of these seemingly organic mutations to industrial forms is equally unsettling, transforming the familiar into the uncanny.

In reimagining surrealist sensuality and Dadaist mischief for the contemporary moment, this work challenges the supremacy of Jeff Koons’ sterile reproductions and proposes a daring new approach to re-working found objects. In an art world that so often fetishizes the truth-value of the ugly, we are dared to be unafraid of beauty and pleasure, and reminded that art and design are just as closely conjoined as the fused elements of these sculptures. Concept: John Beckmann | MoFO Projects
© 2017-2018, Axis Mundi Design LLC

Volkswagen Mutations


Cars form the building blocks of numerous prominent contemporary artworks, compelling because of their associations with freedom, prosperity, and status. The common characteristic of these works is that the vehicles are de-glamorized and de-aestheticized. Cars are buried as dystopian monoliths by Ant Farm, dismantled by John Chamberlain, stripped down by Walter De Maria and inflated by Edwin Wurm.

Taking inspiration from auto-designer J Mays’s experimental redesign of the Beetle that transposed its front and rear, this work extends the design process into a surrealist game. The cars have a particular affinity with Hans Bellmer’s dissected and recombined cut-and-shut bodies, where two sets of legs might converge into a single headless torso. The application of these seemingly organic mutations to industrial forms is equally unsettling, transforming the familiar into the uncanny.

In reimagining surrealist sensuality and Dadaist mischief for the contemporary moment, this work challenges the supremacy of Jeff Koons’ sterile reproductions and proposes a daring new approach to re-working found objects. In an art world that so often fetishizes the truth-value of the ugly, we are dared to be unafraid of beauty and pleasure, and reminded that art and design are just as closely conjoined as the fused elements of these sculptures. Concept: John Beckmann | MoFO Projects
© 2017-2018, Axis Mundi Design LLC

VW Mutations

This playfully subversive proposal takes one of the most famous design icons and transforms it into a new work that issues a challenge to some of the most important norms of contemporary art. The VW beetle has a loaded history. The Volkswagen company (meaning ‘people’s car’) was established in 1932 by the German Labor Front under Adolf Hitler.  Ferdinand Porsche’s Beetle design was chosen by Hitler as the means to fulfill his desire that every idealized German family should have a car. The Nazi-flag-red forms in the VW Mutations demand that we take a new perspective.

Cars form the building blocks of numerous prominent contemporary artworks, compelling because of their associations with freedom, prosperity, and status. The common characteristic of these works is that the vehicles are de-glamorized and de-aestheticized. Cars are buried as dystopian monoliths by Ant Farm, dismantled by John Chamberlain, stripped down by Walter De Maria and inflated by Edwin Wurm.

Taking inspiration from auto-designer J Mays’s experimental redesign of the Beetle that transposed its front and rear, this work extends the design process into a surrealist game. The cars have a particular affinity with Hans Bellmer’s dissected and recombined cut-and-shut bodies, where two sets of legs might converge into a single headless torso. The application of these seemingly organic mutations to industrial forms is equally unsettling, transforming the familiar into the uncanny.

In reimagining surrealist sensuality and Dadaist mischief for the contemporary moment, this work challenges the supremacy of Jeff Koons’ sterile reproductions and proposes a daring new approach to re-working found objects. In an art world that so often fetishizes the truth-value of the ugly, we are dared to be unafraid of beauty and pleasure, and reminded that art and design are just as closely conjoined as the fused elements of these sculptures.

Materials: Volkswagen Beetle, Type 1, 1966

Concept and Design: John Beckmann | FOMO Projects
Visualization: 3DS
© 2018 Axis Mundi Design LLC. 

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This is Not a Bridge


This is Not a Bridge


This is Not a Bridge

This paradoxical work takes the largest and most politically controversial architectural project of our time and transforms it into the worlds longest conceptual sculpture. ‘This is Not a Bridge’ refers back to the roots of text in conceptual art by echoing Magritte’s seminal surrealist painting 'The Treachery of Images' (1928/9), where the caption ‘this is not a pipe’ alerts the viewer to our casual acceptance of the illusionism inherent in visual representation – and teaches us to always question what art shows us.

John Beckmann’s provocative vision applies the surrealist logic of this semiotic game playing to the greatest challenge facing contemporary 
architects. Its immaculately poised ambivalence leaves the viewer with their own game of interpretation. Is the stenciled text a defiant statement of the wall’s unashamed purpose to divide? Or is it a protest that laments the edifice’s failure to connect the people and communities that it separates? Both opposing interpretations are based on a common acknowledgement of the power of architectural forms to shape social structures.

This is Not a Bridge’ also makes reference to other contemporary artworks that place words on buildings as a means to raise wider social questions. Banksy’s stenciled graffiti superimposes satire onto the urban landscape, whilst Jenny Holzer’s temporary projections wrap grand public buildings in enigmatic text. In the stark, imposing world of ‘This is Not a Bridge’ we are left to consider the ways in which architecture can manifest political agendas, and the potential of buildings to impact upon our own assumptions and lives.

Concept and Design: John Beckmann | FOMO Projects
Collages: John Beckmann and Luna Huang
© 2018 Axis Mundi Design LLC. 

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Cloud Furniture


Cloud Furniture

Design: John Beckmann | MoFO Projects
Axis Mundi Design LLC. © 2018

Cloud Furniture


Cloud Furniture

Design: John Beckmann | MoFO Projects
Axis Mundi Design LLC. © 2018

Cloud Furniture

The Cloud Furniture series is inspired by organic forms found in nature. The original idea came from doing a rubbing (frottage) over the grain patterns and knots found in an slab of ancient wood. The technique was developed by Max Ernst in drawings made from 1925. Frottage is the French word for rubbing. Ernst was inspired by an ancient wooden floor where the grain of the planks had been accentuated by many years of scrubbing. The patterns of the graining suggested strange images to him. From 1925 he captured these by laying sheets of paper on the floor and then rubbing over them with a soft pencil.

Materials: Lacquered laser cut aluminum and expanded steel mesh

Design: John Beckmann | FOMO Projects
Visualization: 3DS
© 2018-2019 Axis Mundi Design LLC. 

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Air Force One


Air Force One


Air Force One

This work explores the role of design in constructing American national identity. Donald Trump has commissioned two new Air Force One jets from Boeing and is taking the opportunity to personally oversee a redesign of the planes. The jets have had the same iconic livery since 1962, when the Kennedys worked with Raymond Loewy to put together a sleek and stylish look to represent the USA overseas: sophisticated shades of blue were combined with a typeface inspired by the original Declaration of Independence.

Trump wants to make it ‘more American’ by changing the scheme to ‘red, white and blue’. But as Twitter quickly pointed out, Russia’s presidential plane, amongst others, already uses the same colours. The new designs are yet to be revealed, but it has been claimed that Trump has asked for larger planes with bigger beds and softer towels.

So what is the President imagining? In John Beckmann’s lavish collages, the pimped-up planes reflect Trump’s ubiquitous fusion of political office with personal aggrandizement. The jet thrusts through the air between a pair of perpetually splayed legs like a rocket-launcher of machismo, the ultimate phallic extension. The blinged-up interior shows just as vividly that political power equals personal pleasure, from the opulence of the strip-show bed to the literal-minded enjoyment of artist Allen Jones’ subversive bondage chairs. This is a playground of superficial glamour where Trump can engage in ego battles with like-minded world leaders through styleless excess.

Concept and Design: John Beckmann | FOMO Projects
Visualization: 3DS
Collage: John Beckmann and Miray Akbulut
© 2018 Axis Mundi Design LLC.

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Toy Soldier Barricades


The threat to just about any place in the world where crowds tend to gather has never been greater. Barricades—of concrete, metal, razor wire, and other materials—have become commonplace presences around national monuments, cultural institutions and the epicenters of governmental and financial power. 

Toy Soldier Barricades


The threat to just about any place in the world where crowds tend to gather has never been greater. Barricades—of concrete, metal, razor wire, and other materials—have become commonplace presences around national monuments, cultural institutions and the epicenters of governmental and financial power. 

Toy Soldier Barricade

The threat to just about any place in the world where crowds tend to gather has never been greater. Barricades—of concrete, metal, razor wire, and other materials—have become commonplace presences around national monuments, cultural institutions and the epicenters of governmental and financial power. Axis Mundi proposes to literally animate the barricade concept, making it more dynamic, through the versatile use of 7 to 10 toy soldier shapes in oversized attack-formation poses that would be cast from bronze or fabricated in polished stainless steel. These forms immediately arouse nostalgia and patriotism cultivated in the childhoods of many, as well as the sense of security we associated with them when we were young. For those opposed to warlike playthings, the barrels have been left hollow to offer receptacles for flowers. They can be deployed in closed-rank phalanxes or spread out strategically depending on the level of threat. Their sculptural presence not only enlivens mundane, standard-issue barricades, but also serves to incite contemplation of war, our sense of imminent danger and the forces that we imagine represent it, our own ideas of protection and safety…the list of possible inquiries is endless.

Designed by: John Beckmann and Lane Lamerson, with Nick Messerlian, Alyssa Egnew | FOMO Projects
© 2008-2018, Axis Mundi Design LLC.

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Oligarch Bullion Tiles


A metaphor for a culture of money gone wild and reckless, these gold bullion tiles provide an especially acerbic commentary on the growing wealth gap. 

Oligarch Bullion Tiles


A metaphor for a culture of money gone wild and reckless, these gold bullion tiles provide an especially acerbic commentary on the growing wealth gap. 

Oligarch Bullion Tiles

A metaphor for a culture of money gone wild and reckless, these gold bullion tiles provide an especially acerbic commentary on the growing wealth gap. As gold bullion implies the value behind currency, these tiles wryly point to the “one percent’s” inflated self-image and sense of worth. It’s the sort of excess an evil genius like Goldfinger would have in his bathroom. The tiles also telegraph the way in which decoration and design have become new forms of pornography for the global elite.

By making them out of porcelain and covering them with a gold metallic glaze, they instantly and wittily become democratic objects, enabling anyone to maintain the fantasy of having a powder room that looks like a miniature Fort Knox. At the same time, they also allude to desire and trophies, to the way we worship money and celebrity and secretly aspire to the hedonistic life they lead.

Concept and Design: John Beckmann | MoFO Projects
Renderings: Silvia Tosques
© 2015 Axis Mundi Design LLC

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Orgone Factories


Orgone Factories


Orgone Factories For Wilhelm Reich (An on-going ‘thought experiment’ in Post-Fictional Histories)

I am well aware of the fact that the human race has known about the existence of a universal energy related to life for many ages.
However, the basic task of natural science consisted of making this energy usable.”
- Wilhelm Reich

Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich (1897–1957), moved to New York in 1939, and shortly after arriving coined the term "orgone"—from "orgasm" and "organism"—for a biological energy he said he had discovered, which he said others called God.

Reich designed a device called a cloudbuster (or cloud buster) which He believed could produce rain by manipulating what he called "orgone energy" present in the atmosphere.

The cloudbuster was intended to be used in a way similar to a lightning rod: focusing it on a location in the sky and grounding it in some material that was presumed to absorb orgone—such as a body of water—would draw the orgone energy out of the atmosphere, causing the formation of clouds and rain. Reich conducted dozens of experiments with the cloudbuster, calling the research "Cosmic orgone engineering".

A cloudbuster consists of an array of parallel hollow metal tubes which are connected at the rear to a series of flexible metal hoses which are equal or slightly smaller in diameter to the parallel tubes. Alternatively, the rear of the tubes are joined together to a single large diameter pipe and flexible metal hose. The open end of these hoses are placed in water, which Reich believed to be a natural orgone absorber. The pipes can be aimed into areas of the sky to draw energy to the ground like a lightning rod.

Concept and Design: John Beckmann | FOMO Projects
Collages: John Beckmann and Dalal AlSahaf
© 2018 Axis Mundi Design LLC. 

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Rabbit Hole


Cloud Bookshelves

Design: John Beckmann | MoFO Projects
Axis Mundi Design LLC. © 2018

Rabbit Hole


Cloud Bookshelves

Design: John Beckmann | MoFO Projects
Axis Mundi Design LLC. © 2018

Rabbit Hole

And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you're going to fall
Tell 'em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call
Call Alice
When she was just small”
- Grace Slick, White Rabbit

In their seminal work, A Thousand Plateaus, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari introduce the notion of "holey space.” Holey space is a space of complexity, ambiguity, hybridity, contradiction and otherness. The metaphor of holeyness evokes the subterranean – tunnels, caves, mines, sewers and burrows – with connotations of clandestine and illegal activity, and of the unknown. 

John Beckmann applies this subversive thinking to an empty art gallery that is filled with rabbits frolicking around, artificial burrows and escape hatches for gallery visitors. Here an apparently Alice-in-Wonderland aesthetic masks something more challenging and profound. This is entirely in keeping with "Alice in Wonderland" itself: a surreal fictional world where nothing is as it seems, and where, according to Lewis Carroll, it's playfulness masks a deep philosophical intent to question the functioning of logic and the nature of reality itself.

"Rabbit Hole" is dense with artistic references. The flamboyant architectural fantasias of M.C. Escher and Piranesi exist in tension with intimations of the dizzying installations of Yayoi Kusama, whose swarming spots have here been dug out into holes. There are resonances too with artists like Robert Gober, Jonathan Latiano and Henrique Oliviera who rupture gallery walls and floors, treating them as part of their sculptural material. Ladders evoke a rich heritage of meaning about aspiration and ascent. Symbolically ladders (Jacobs ladder) link earth with heaven and the underworld. The ancient game 'Snakes and Ladders' enacts the ups and downs of karmic rebirth, while artists from the visionary William Blake, Joseph Beuys to Louise Bourgeois have used this mundane object to represent spiritual ascent or psychological evolution.

"Rabbit Hole" fuses these diverse ideas into an architectural installation and performance that raises questions about the contemporary art world. Is it really a powerful underworld of counter-cultural subversion whose liminal spaces allow people to move beyond society's status quo? Or is it a warren of anxiety, self-reference and solipsism? I suppose it’s both.

Concept and Design: John Beckmann | FOMO Projects
Visualization: 3DS
© 2018 Axis Mundi Design LLC.

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Body Count


Body Count


Body Count | Iraq Memorial

The crimes of the U.S. throughout the world have been systematic, constant, clinical, remorseless, and fully documented but nobody talks about them.
- Harold Pinter

Estimates of the casualties from the conflict in Iraq (beginning with the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, and the ensuing occupation and insurgency) have come in many forms, and the accuracy of the information available on different types of Iraq War casualties varies greatly.

Credible estimates of Iraq War casualties range from 151,000 violent deaths as of June 2006 (per the Iraq Family Health Survey) to 461,000 total deaths as of June 2011 (per PLOS Medicine 2013), over 60% of them violent. Other disputed estimates, such as the 2006 Lancet study and the 2007 Opinion Research Business (ORB) survey—which likely overestimate mortality—put the numbers as high as 655,000 total deaths as of June 2006 (over 90% of them violent) and 1.2 million violent deaths as of August 2007 respectively. Meanwhile, body counts—which likely underestimate mortality—put the numbers as low as 110,600 violent deaths as of April 2009.

Concept and Design: John Beckmann | FOMO Projects
© 2019 Axis Mundi Design LLC. 

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Crosswalk


Crosswalk


Crosswalk

Crosswalk was created on the spot from found objects, discarded shopping bags and clothing in the vicinity of the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Materials: Metal cart, insulated jacket, luggage and various plastic bags

Concept and Design: John Beckmann | FOMO Projects
Sculpture: John Beckmann
© 2019 Axis Mundi Design LLC.

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Concept and Design: John Beckmann | FOMO Projects
Collages: John Beckmann and Luna Huang
© 2018 Axis Mundi Design LLC. 

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Gumby Chair and Lamp


Gumby Chair and Lamp


Part of the goal of the designer is to bring into being forms that are completely new and modern. Such a feat is often inspired by the invention of new technologies and materials (think Frank Gehry’s titanium undulations, inconceivable even just 25 years ago). At Axis Mundi, 3D printing—which has enabled the concept of transubstantiation to move from the stuff of religious mystery and science fiction into actuality—makes possible the conceptualization of these essential, minimalist and (like Gumby himself) flexible furniture pieces. Rotational molded thermoplastic, another modern innovation, will then make the line a corporal reality.

Designed by John Beckmann, with Jake George
© 2013 Axis Mundi Design LLC