Move Mountain: A New Stop-Motion Short from Kirsten Lepore 

Move Mountain is the latest stop-motion masterpiece from animator Kirsten Lepore (previously here and here) who explains the narrative as “a story about illness, perseverance, and our connection to everything around us.” The short is Lepore’s CalArts graduate thesis film and represents countless hours of labor detailed in this making of video. Outstanding work. (via Booooooom)

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Flowers in Progress: Scientific Illustrator Taunts Us with Spring 

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Scientific illustrator and artist Noel Badges Pugh has an incredible knack for drawing flora and fauna. He recently illustrated an entire field guide about bees and keeps a regular Tumblr, Art in Progress & Completion, where he posts these tantalizing drawings of buds and blooms. Maybe it’s because this is the coldest winter in 30 years, but I’m spending the rest of my day looking at these. (via Gaks)

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Dollface: Bizarre Portraits Made from Repurposed Toy Parts by Freya Jobbins 

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Using dismembered plastic parts from old dolls and other toys, artist Freya Jobbins assembles these exceedingly strange portraits of people and pop culture icons. Chances are when viewing these you fall firmly into one of two camps: the highly amused or the highly disturbed. Regardless, it’s hard to deny the incredible amount of labor that goes into each piece, from the exploration of form and the use of color to make each anatomical amalgamation.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa and raised in West Sydney, Jobbins is influenced in part by Guiseppe Archimboldo’s fruit and vegetable paintings as well as Ron Mueck’s oversized humans. You can see more freaky faces over in Jobbin’s online gallery and on Facebook. (via Juxtapoz, FastCo)

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900-Year-Old Coded Viking Message Carved on Wood Fragment Finally Solved, It Says “Kiss Me” [Updated] 

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Photo by Jonas Nordby via forskning.no

For the past several years researchers have been trying to crack a Viking rune alphabet known as Jötunvillur, a perplexing code dating back to the 11th or 12th century that’s been found in some 80 inscriptions including the scratched piece of wood found above. Recently runologist (!) Jonas Nordby from the University of Oslo managed to crack the code and discovered the secret message etched into this particular 900-year-old object reads “Kiss me.” Via Medievalists.net:

For the jötunvillur code, one would replace the original runic character with the last sound of the rune name. For example, the rune for ‘f’, pronounced fe, would be turned into an ‘e’, while the rune for ‘k’, pronounced kaun, became ‘n’.

“It’s like solving a puzzle,” said Nordby to the Norwegian website forskning.no. “Gradually I began to see a pattern in what was apparently meaningless combinations of runes.”

However, those thinking that the coded runes will reveal deep secrets of the Norse will be disappointed. The messages found so far seem to be either used in learning or have a playful tone. In one case the message was ‘Kiss me’. Nordby explains “We have little reason to believe that rune codes should hide sensitive messages, people often wrote short everyday messages.”

The act of coding secret messages appears to have been a leisure activity amongst the Vikings, as some of the other translated inscriptions turned out to be playful taunts at the person doing the decoding. The story was originally reported on forskning.no. (via Erik Kwakkel, Neatorama)

Update: Ida Kvittingen wrote to clarify several aspects of this piece that appears to have been lost in translation from the original article in Forskning.no. Specifically:

The inscription “kiss me” is NOT written using the jötunvillur code. This is a well-known code called cipher runes. Nordby did not crack this code, it was deciphered by others years ago. In my article, it is used as an example of how people often used codes in everyday messages. […] Only 9 of the 80 or so runic writings that Nordby investigated are written using the jötunvillur code.

For further information you can see more the article in an English version on ScienceNordic.

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