Last week Japanese botanic artist Makoto Azuma attempted to go where most artists only dream of going: to space. In a project titled Exbiotanica, last week Azuma and his crew traveled to Black Rock Desert outside Gerlach, Nevada. In the dead of night Azuma’s project began. The team launched two of Azuma’s artworks – a 50-year old pine suspended from a metal frame and an arrangement of flowers – into the stratosphere using a large helium balloon. The entire project was documented, revealing some surreal photographs of plants floating above planet earth. “The best thing about this project is that space is so foreign to most of us,” says John Powell of JP Aerospace. “So seeing a familiar object like a bouquet of flowers flying above Earth domesticates space, and the idea of traveling into it.” (syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
This delicate series of sculpted plants is part of a project by artist Camila Carlow titled Eye Heart Spleen. The photographic project is comprised of 13 images representing human organs constructed from plants and flowers. From Carlow’s statement about the project:
The most fascinating and intricate of biological structures, yet we rarely pay heed to the organs inside our body. Regardless of whether we fill ourselves with toxins or nourishing food, whether we exercise or not—our organs sustain us, working away effortlessly and unnoticed.
In a similar way, plants flourishing in the urban environment are a testament to nature’s indifference to our goings on. They grow out of the sides of buildings, in brick walls and between the cracks in concrete, despite of the traffic and pollution.
Camila Carlow is a Guatemalan-born artist based in Bristol, England, and she works in a range of mediums from photography and painting as well as cinematography. Several of the Eye Heart Spleen photos are available as prints in her shop. (via Sweet Station)
Plant care comes in many forms. For some of us it’s enough to keep a few potted plants hanging on for dear life on a windowsill, while others indulge in the joy of pushing lawnmower around every few weeks, or maybe even keeping a garden. But John Brooker of Norfolk had a horticultural vision unlike the rest of us. For the past 13 years he’s hacked and trimmed and molded the 150ft-long (45.7m) hedge outside his Frizzleton Farm property into a massive dragon complete with flowing tail and wings. Photographer Damien McFadden (also on Facebook) recently stopped by to snap these fantastic photos of Brooker at work. All images courtesy the photographer. (via Neatorama, BBC)
You might remember an awesome app mentioned here a few months ago from the creative team over at Tinybop called The Human Body. The educational app takes you deep inside the, erm, bowels of the human body using artwork from illustrator and designer Kelli Anderson. Less than a year later we get to see the latest addition to Tinybop’s Explorer’s Library series, Plants.
The educational title lets you explore two interactive dioramas (forest and desert) illustrated by Marie Caudry where you learn about the lifecycle of plants and how they interact with the rest of the world. Tundra and grassland biomes coming soon.
What happens when you apply of love of small things to an art form that’s already all about small things? In recent years Bonsai—Japan’s art form of growing miniature trees in miniature planters—has undergone a miniaturization trend. Industry experts consider bonsai plants less than 3 cm (about 1 inch) to be particularly difficult, but artists have taken on the challenge, creating tiny plants and tiny planters that, literally, are at your fingertips. It’s given rise to a new category, known as cho-mini bonsai, or ultra-small bonsai.
It’s no secret that the Japanese excel at making things smaller, whether it’s automobiles, electronics or food. In fact, Japan’s love of small things can be found in literature dating back over a 1,000 years. When it comes to the land of the rising sun, it’s clear that beauty comes in small packages. (via Archie McPhee, RocketNews24)
These beautiful lights were designed by cinematographer Takao Inoue as part of a small exhibition on display at Milano Salone earlier this year. The lights are made from real dandelions that have been suspended inside an acrylic block with a miniature OLED light embedded within the stem. The TAMPOPO OLED (tampopo is Japanese for dandelion) is now available through Tokyo Somewhere. You can read more on Spoon & Tamago and catch a brief interview with the designer on Lost at E Minor. (via Spoon & Tamago)
La Llareta (up to 3,000 years old; Atacama Desert, Chile)
Spruce Gran Picea #0909 – 11A07 (9,550 years old; Fulufjället, Sweden)
Welwitschia Mirabilis #0707-22411 (2,000 years old; Namib-Naukluft Desert, Namibia)
Antarctic Moss #0212-7B33 (5,500 years old; Elephant Island, Antarctica)
Jōmon Sugi, Japanese Cedar #0704-002 (2,180-7,000 years old; Yakushima, Japan
Underground Forest #0707-10333 (13,000 years old; Pretoria South Africa) DECEASED
Since 2004, Brooklyn-based contemporary artist Rachel Sussman has researched, collaborated with biologists, and braved some of the world’s harshest climates from Antarctica to the Mojave Desert in order to photograph the oldest continuously living organisms on Earth. This includes plants like Pando, the “Trembling Giant,” a colony of aspens in Utah with a massive underground root system estimated to be around 80,000 years old. Or the dense Llareta plants in South America that grow 1.5 centimeters anually and live over 3,000 years. This is the realm of life where time is measured in millennia, and where despite such astonishing longevity, ecosystems are now threatened due to climate change and human encroachment.
Sussman’s photographs have now been gathered together for the first time in The Oldest Living Things in the World, a new book published by the University of Chicago Press. Sitting at the intersection of art, science, and travelogue, the book details her adventures in tracking down each subject and relays the valuable scientific work done by scientists to understand them. It includes 124 photographs, 30 essays, infographics and forewords by Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Carl Zimmer.