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)
First: watch the shaky video, it’s all spoilers here on out.
On first view of this clip by Benjamin Dalsgaard Hughes, I was convinced the skewed perspective of the painting was some kind of digital trick on an HD display, somewhat similar to the dancing shadows we saw a few months ago. But then, the sudden disorienting reveal. What! This particular optical illusion is what’s known as reverse perspective painting, where objects (usually rooms) are painted on a physically skewed surface resulting in images that appear in reverse when viewed head on.
The painting above is by Brian Williams and is currently on view as part of a show on 3D art that just opened at The Gallery Ice in Windsor. Perhaps the most well-known artist working with forced perspective is Patrick Hughes. Here he is discussing his own work at Flowers Gallery a few years ago. Love the bit at the end where the entire crowd is squatting up and down to view the painting.
On its most basic level, this is a five minute video of a guy making a few pairs of scissors by hand. But what could have been a mundane shoot of a master craftsman using archaic tools to create common household objects, is completely elevated by filmmaker Shaun Bloodworth into something strikingly beautiful. The film’s subject, Cliff Denton, is one of the world’s last “putters” (literally “a putter togetherer of scissors”) who works at Ernest Wright & Sons in Sheffield, a company that has been hand-making scissors and shears for 112 years. Watch and be transfixed. Is this another example of autonomous sensory meridian response? Music by The Black Dog. (via Devour)
Since we last visited with Italian illustrator and graphic designer Marcello Barenghi last year, his wildly popular YouTube channel has gone into overdrive with a new photorealistic drawing tutorial almost every week. From soda cans and body parts to games and insects, he skillfully renders each piece using colored pencils and markers resulting a final object that looks like it could be grabbed right off the page. See more of his 150+ drawings right here.
From 2012-2013 Gucci Japan produced an online video series called “Hand” that payed homage to 35 artists and designers who eschew modern mass-production in favor of traditional techniques. One of the most impressive videos is an example of Japanese marquetry demonstrated by Noboru Honma, where geometric mosaics of wood are cut into razor-thin veneers for application on boxes or other decorative objects.
According to Jesus Diaz over at Gizmodo, when viewed with headphones and at full-screen, this video may be an example of autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), a perceptual phenomenon that’s described on Wikipedia as “a distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation in the head, scalp, back, or peripheral regions of the body in response to visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, and/or cognitive stimuli.” So, what’s the verdict, does this Japanese marquetry make your spine tingle!? Or maybe this calligraphy video? Or what about competitive wood planing? Anything? (via Spoon & Tamago, Sploid)
Freelance designer and stop-motion animator Micaël Reynaud (previously) creates animated GIFs unlike any we’ve seen. His process involves the use of video techniques like slit-scanning, time-lapse, and various forms of masking to create what he refers to as “hypnotic very short films.” Indeed many of these animations are pulled from fully realized videos which you can watch over on his Vimeo channel. Reynaud’s work has not gone unnoticed in the art world, the pigeon GIF above was a finalist in the first Saatchi Gallery Motion Photography competition, and he recently won the 2014 Giphoscope International Art GIF contest. You can scroll through dozens of his creations over on Google+.