As part of a new exhibition in Venice that explores the relationship between cities and inhabitants, digital artist and illustrator Istvan (previously) created a series of city maps that seem to bleed into their surroundings. The works aren’t scientific by any means, but are meant as a representation of how cities might affect the local environment. The maps were created digitally and printed on large slabs of acrylic glass for display as part of Contemporary Venice through January 2015. You can see much more over on Behance.
Installed earlier this month on the western coastline of New Providence in Nassau, Bahamas, “Ocean Atlas,” is the lastest underwater sculpture by artist Jason deCaires Taylor (previously), known for his pioneering effort to build submerged sculpture parks in oceans around the world. Taylor’s cement figures are constructed with a sustainable pH-neutral material that encourages the growth of coral and other marine wildlife, effectively forming an artificial reef that draws tourists away from diving hotspots in over-stressed areas.
Towering 18 feet tall and weighing in at more than 60 tons, Ocean Atlas is reportedly the largest sculpture ever deployed underwater. The artwork depicts a local Bahamian girl carrying the weight of the ocean above her in reference to the Ancient Greek myth of Atlas, the primordial Titan who held up the celestial spheres. The piece was commissioned by B.R.E.E.F (Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation), as part of an ongoing effort to build an underwater sculpture garden in honor of its founder, Sir Nicholas Nuttal. You can see a bit more over on Atlas Obscura and at the Creator’s Project, who are working on a documentary about the piece.
Update: Creator’s Project just published their coverage of Ocean Atlas.
Michael Kerbow is an artist based in San Francisco who works in a variety of mediums including painting, assemblage, drawing and digital photography. Of particular note are his large oil and acrylic paintings that depict surreal and at times nightmarish visions of the future, where industry and human development has grown without regulation or care for the environment. Kerbow shares via email:
My work explores the way in which we engage with our surroundings and the possible consequences our actions have upon the world in which we live. Through my work I attempt to question the rationale of our choices, and try to reveal the dichotomy that may exist between what we desire and what we manifest. Recently my work has focused upon the mechanisms that power our society and examines how they may influence the construct for a possible future.
Nestled in Northeast India next to the Brahmaputra River sits Majuli Island, a giant sandbar that happens to be the largest river island on Earth, home to some 150,000 people. It is also the location of the 1,360 acre Molai Forest, one of the most unusual woodlands in the world for the incredible fact that it was planted by a single man. Since 1979, forestry worker Jadav Payeng has dedicated his life to planting trees on the island, creating a forest that has surpassed the scale of New York’s Central Park.
While home to such a large population, rapidly increasing erosion over the last 100 years has reduced the land mass of Majuli Island to less than half. Spurred by the dire situation, Payeng transformed himself into a modern day Johnny Appleseed and singlehandedly planted thousands upon thousands of plants, including 300 hectares of bamboo.
Payeng’s work has been credited with significantly fortifying the island, while providing a habitat for several endangered animals which have returned to the area; a herd of nearly 100 elephants (which has now given birth to an additional ten), Bengal tigers, and a species of vulture that hasn’t been seen on the island in over 40 years. Gives you more than a little hope for the world, doesn’t it?
Filmmaker William Douglas McMaster recently wrote and directed this beautiful documentary short titled Forest Man from the perspective of Payeng’s friend, photographer Jitu Kalita. The project was funded in part last year through Kickstarter. The video is a bit longer than what we usually see here on Colossal, but completely worth your time. (via Gizmodo)
Our Changing Seas III is the third piece in a series of large-scale ceramic coral reef sculptures by artist Courtney Mattison. The sprawling installation is entirely hand-built and is meant to show the devastating transition coral reefs endure when faced with climate change, a process called bleaching. She shares via email:
At its heart, this piece celebrates my favorite aesthetic aspects of a healthy coral reef surrounded by the sterile white skeletons of bleached corals swirling like the rotating winds of a cyclone. There is still time for corals to recover even from the point of bleaching if we act quickly to decrease the threats we impose. Perhaps if my work can influence viewers to appreciate the fragile beauty of our endangered coral reef ecosystems, we will act more wholeheartedly to help them recover and even thrive.
In this clip shot yesterday by members of the Assumption Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness in Louisiana, an entire stand of trees is suddenly swallowed by an underwater sinkhole above a collapsing salt mine. The sinkhole is part of an ongoing environmental disaster in Bayou Corne, and efforts are underway to prevent it from spreading, however it has already forced the evacuation of an entire town. (via Stellar)
The Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas is considered one of the crowning examples of organic architecture, a philosophy credited to Frank Lloyd Wright that promotes a harmony between the natural world and human habitation. The non-denominational chapel was designed in 1980 by an apprentice of Wright’s, architect E. Fay Jones, who employed the use of steel and glass to create a weightless, almost translucent structure that offers sweeping views in all directions of the surrounding Ozark habitat. In keeping with the organic design of the chapel Fay asked that no construction element be larger than what two people could carry through the woods by hand.
Recently a power company has applied to build a 48-mile high voltage transmission line through Northwest Arkansas that will cut through the woods right next to the chapel, shattering the views and serenity offered by the extremely unique building that was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. For those interested, the Arkansas Public Service Commission is accepting comments from the public regarding the proposed power line construction. You can also read much more over on Hyperallergic.