In Chichibu, Japan, two hours northwest of Tokyo, there’s an odd museum; perhaps the only one of its kind. It’s called the Chinsekikan (which means hall of curious rocks) and it houses over 1700 rocks that resemble human faces.
The museum houses all kinds of jinmenseki, or rock with a human face, including celebrity lookalikes like Elvis Presley. And according to a 2013 post on Kotaku, there are also movie and video game character rocks like E.T., Donkey Kong and Nemo.
According to the Sankei, the museum is currently run by Yoshiko Hayama, the wife of the original owner who passed away in 2010. But it was his rock collection that started it all. An avid collector, the late Shozo Hayama spent 50 years collecting rocks that looked like faces. His only requirement was that nature be the only artist.
There are currently so many rocks on display that some don’t even have names. So the owner occasionally invites visitors to name the rocks. The Chichibu Chinsekikan (Gmap) is a 10-min walk from Kagemori Station. However, it’s recommended that you call ahead if you plan to visit because the museum is known to unexpectedly close for personal reasons. You can explore more photos on Another Tokyo and Yukawa.net. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
Head curator, Yoshiko Hayama.
Performing the role of a scientist, Benjamin Maus and Prokop Bartonicek’s kinetic machine Jller selects and sorts pebbles found on a 6 1/2 x 13 foot platform into a grid organized by geologic age. Without assistance, Jller analyzes the stones’ appearance to understand their correct placement, then transports them to the correct location.
All of the rocks for the project were extracted from a German river of the machine’s own name, pebbles that are either the result of erosion in the Alps or have been transported by glaciers. Because the history of this sample location within the river is known, it is a relatively straightforward process to assign each stone its geological age. To do this, Jller first analyzes an image of the stone it selects, extracting information like dominant color, color composition, lines, layers, patterns, grain, and surface texture. The machine then places the stones in alignment of age and type by sucking them into an industrial vacuum gripper and dropping them in the correct location within the grid.
The project is part of ongoing research in the field of industrial automation and historical geology, and was presented last December as a part of the exhibition “Ignorance” at Ex Post in Prague. The full video of the project can be seen below.
As part of his Celestial Series, Chicago-based digital artist David Brodeur rendered an alien world filled with berry-like plants, glowing crystals, and candy shaped orbs that sprout from the ground. Despite their exotic designs, Brodeur relies on common colors of familiar fruits to create this Willy Wonka-esque habitat where you can’t help but want to reach out and gobble everything up. You can see more from the series on Behance, and he also posts a new digital piece each day on Instagram.
“Roca del elefante, Heimaey, Islas Vestman, Suðurland, Islandia, 2014-08-17, DD 036” by Diego Delso. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Apropos of nothing, here’s a few photos of a natural rock formation off the coast of Iceland that looks like an imposing elephant with its trunk dipped in the Atlantic. Located on the island of Heimaey, the mountainous shape appears to be formed mostly from basalt rock that has the uncanny appearance of wrinkled elephant skin. You can see few more shots over on Flickr. (thnx, Amber!)
Splitting his time between Kanagawa, Japan and Dusseldorf, Germany, artist Ramon Todo (previously) is known for his small sculptures of rocks and books embedded with polished layers of glass. Todo’s decision to seamlessly introduce disparate materials into a single object creates an unusual intention, as if these objects have always existed this way. The random pieces of obsidian, fossils, volcanic basalt, and old books are suddenly redefined, or as Beautiful/Decay’s Genista Jurgens puts it: “By inserting something alien into these pieces, Todo is effectively rewriting their history, and the place that these objects hold in the world.”
Todo will have a number of new pieces on view with MA2 Gallery at EXPO CHICAGO starting next week. He also has a number of atworks available through Artsy and you can flip through additional glass books clicking the small arrows on MA2 Gallery’s website.
Surrounding an exhibition at Maker City LA, artist Paige Smith A.K.A. a common name (previously), began to install new crystalized rock formations around the streets of LA. The geodesic rock formations which she refers to as urban geodes are created mostly with paper and spray paint or cast resin in random cracks and crevices around the city. She’s also installed geodes in Spain, Istanbul, Jordan, South Korea, and elsewhere around the world over the last few years. For the most up-to-date news on her geological street art you can follow smith on Instagram.