Photo by M. Elsevier Stokmans; Boeddhamummie (Drents Museum)
(MMC / Jan van Esch)
What looks like a traditional statue of Buddha dating back to the 11th or 12th century was recently revealed to be quite a bit more. A CT scan and endoscopy carried out by the Netherlands-based Drents Museum at the Meander Medical Centre in Amersfoort, showed the ancient reliquary fully encases the mummified remains of a Buddhist master known as Liuquan of the Chinese Meditation School. While it was known beforehand the remains of a person were inside, another startling discovery was made during the scan: where the organs had been removed prior to mummification, researches discovered rolls of paper scraps covered in Chinese writing.
Israeli ceramicist Ronit Baranga‘s “body of work” is unsettling, to say the least. Sculpted from clay, realistic fingers emerge from plates while mouths lurk inside cups. The gnarled fingers and lips seem poised for action. We would most certainly hesitate before using any of these for fear of being bitten.
The mouth is an interesting element for ceramic tableware as its main purpose, at least conventionally, has been to carry food and drink until it reaches the mouth. “I chose to deal with ‘mouth’ as a metaphoric connotation to a border gate,” said Baranga in an interview late last year. “A border between the inner body and the external environment surrounding it.”
If you asked me when the history of bootleg music began, I would have assumed it arrived with the invention of the cassette tape, something small, inexpensive and portable that was easily duplicated in any garage from deck A to deck B. In reality, widespread bootlegging dates back even further, to the 1950s in the Soviet Union where music lovers, desperate for banned Western tunes, devised an ingenious way to print their own records. The only problem was the scarcity of vinyl.
Desperate times called for desperate measures. With the aid of a special device, people started pressing banned jazz and rock n’ roll music on thick radiographs scavenged from the dumpsters of hospitals. X-rays were plentiful (not to mention cheap), and while the records could only be pressed on a single side, the music they produced using a standard turntable was passable. The recordings even had a catchy name: bone music. From an interview with author Anya von Bremzen via NPR:
“They would cut the X-ray into a crude circle with manicure scissors and use a cigarette to burn a hole. You’d have Elvis on the lungs, Duke Ellington on Aunt Masha’s brain scan—forbidden Western music captured on the interiors of Soviet citizens.”
By 1958 the authorities caught on and the act of making x-ray records was made illegal. It wasn’t long before the largest distribution networks of illicit bone music were discovered and shut down. You can see more scans of bone music over on this page created by Jozsef Hajdu, and FastCo has a great article about the entire phenomenon. (via Junk Culture, NPR, FastCo)
Although the meaning behind these oil paintings by Atsushi Koyama is somewhat ambiguous, it’s easy to appreciate the exactness of his paintbrush that colorfully and elegantly depicts mechanical diagrams mixed with anatomical illustrations. Born in Tokyo, Koyama holds both a BFA in art from Tama Art University and a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Tokyo University of Science, so it’s no surprise to see a confluence of both backgrounds in his artwork. You can see more paintings from the last few years over at Frantic Gallery. (via Dark Silence in Suburbia, Hayden’s Magazine)
Switzerland-based illustrator and artist Christo Dagorov created this unusual series of pencil drawings that transform the texture of lips into trees, the aerial layout of a city, and even other human forms. You can see more of his work here. (via I Need a Guide)
Artist Emil Alzamora (previously) explores the human body through his figurative sculptures that distort, inflate, elongate, and deconstruct physical forms in order to reveal emotional situations and narratives. Alzamora works with a variety of materials including bronze, gypsum, concrete, and other ceramic materials to create pieces with smooth, almost non-descript surfaces to instead draw attention to shape and scale. Born in Peru, he began sculpting in the fall of 1998 in New York at the Polich Tallix fine art foundry, and has since exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, most recently at Expo Chicago and the International Sculpture Symposium In Icheon in South Korea. You can see more of his work on Facebook and on Instagram. (via Dark Silence in Suburbia)