Tag Archives: water

The Vanishing Stepwells of India: A New Book by Victoria Lautman Documents the Fading Relics of Subterranean Wells 

Van Talab Baoli. Amer, Rajasthan. c. 1600/19th Century.

Scattered across India’s vast landscape of ancient architecture including temples, mosques, and palaces are an often overlooked relic of historic infrastructure called stepwells. These subterranean buildings, once numbered in the thousands, were originally dug into the landscape so residents could easily access water. Over time, stepwells grew increasingly elaborate in their construction, morphing from modest rock-cut holes into fully functional Hindu temples with ornate columns, stairwells, and shrines. Each well now serves as a fading structural fingerprint, diverse and unique as the communities that designed and built them.

Chicago journalist Victoria Lautman first peeked over the edge of a stepwell some 30 years ago and was immediately transfixed at the idea of staring down into an architectural wonder as opposed to looking up. She has since dedicated much of the last five years criss-crossing India over several years to locate and photograph as many wells as possible. We first mentioned Lautman’s discoveries back in 2015, after which she resumed trips to India to locate an additional 60 wells, bringing the grand total to over 200 sites she’s personally visited and documented.

“Descending into the earth is a profound experience, one in which sweltering heat turns to enveloping cool, and noises become hushed,” she writes about encountering the wells.

After centuries of neglect some stepwells are in perilous condition or have vanished altogether, while others have been thoughtfully maintained by surrounding communities or governments who recognize their significance and possess the will (and funding) to restore them. In an attempt to preserve their legacy, Lautman has gathered a visual tour of 75 of the more unique and interesting wells in a new book titled The Vanishing Stepwells of India. The book includes not only her original photography, but also her impressions about each well and the precise GPS coordinates of their locations.

It remains to be seen if the renewed interest in stepwells, as well as the accompanying tourist dollars, will drive the change to save them. “In the long-run,” Lautman tells Colossal, “I think the most helpful thing for stepwells is simply acknowledging their existence in history and guidebooks, through classes and specialized tours, and finally just seeing them up close, embedded in the landscape.” Another way to explore the wells is through the Atlas of Stepwells, a website where enthusiasts can share their own discoveries.

The Vanishing Stepwells of India with a foreword by Divay Gupta, is published by Merrell and is available now.

Ramkund. Bhuj, Gujarat. Mid-18th Century (c. 700 CE).

Mukundpura Baoli. Mukundpura, Haryana c. 1650.

Ujala Baoli Mandu. Madhya Pradesh. Late 15th/early 16th century.

Chand Baori. Abhaneri, Rajasthan. c. 800 ce/18th Century.

Batris Kotha Vav. Kaoadvanj, Gujarat c. 1120.

Dada Harir Vav. Asarwa. c. 1499

Navghan Kuvo. Junagadh, Gujarat. 4th/6th/Mid-11th Century.


See related posts on Colossal about , , , .

Aqueous Roses and Liquid Blooms Photographed by Mark Mawson 

In his latest photographic series, London-based photographer Mark Mawson takes us underwater to the epicenter of swirling vortexes and explosions of colorful dye. Each image captures a brief split-second moment requiring extreme precision and choreography to create a perfect swirl or bloom. You can follow more of photographic and video work on Instagram and see more from “Flowers and Swirls” on his website.

See related posts on Colossal about , .

Drippy Calligraphy Experiments by Seb Lester 

A video posted by Seb Lester (@seblester) on

Calligraphy master Seb Lester (previously) has been sharing quick videos of watery handwriting experiments on his Instagram account. Each word or phrase begins with a scribble of water or an array of droplets to which he then uses a dropper to apply color. Seen here are some highlights but it hardly even scratches the surface. Much more here. (via Quipsologies)

A video posted by Seb Lester (@seblester) on

A video posted by Seb Lester (@seblester) on

A video posted by Seb Lester (@seblester) on

A video posted by Seb Lester (@seblester) on

See related posts on Colossal about , , , , .

New Light Paintings That Capture the Movement of Kayaking and Canoeing by Stephen Orlando 

stephenorlando_16_01

Stephen Orlando (previously here and here) captures traces of movement through time, securing LED lights to rowing paddles and even violin bows. The result is a technicolor landscape—curved patterns hovering just above the water’s edge in his newest group of lake and ocean-side imagery. Recently the Canadian-based photographer has produced photos in his home province of Ontario, as well as around Newfoundland and next to Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Floating Piers this summer in Italy. You can see more of Orlando’s time-based light experiments on his Instagram and Facebook.

stephenorlando_16_06

stephenorlando_16_03

stephenorlando_16_05

stephenorlando_16_02

stephenorlando_16_04

stephenorlando_16_09

stephenorlando_16_07

stephenorlando_16_08

See related posts on Colossal about , , , .

Uncanny Photographs of Iridescent Oil Spills by Fabian Oefner 

oil-1

As part of an ongoing effort to explore the visual effects of iridescence, artist Fabian Oefner (previously) created a new photographic series titled Oil Spill. To create the images he used a syringe to drip small drops of oil into a black reservoir containing water. As the oil expanded into plumes he captured the images you see here reminiscent of giant fires, irises, or exploding stars. You can see more from the series on Behance.

oil-2

oil-3

oil-4

oil-5

oil-6

oil-7

See related posts on Colossal about , , .

An Interactive Pond of Computer-Generated Koi Fish Designed by teamLab 

koi

Wading calf-deep into what looks like an infinite pool of water, visitors to Tokyo’s Odaiba Minna no YUME-TAIRIKU 2016 festival walk slowly through teamLab‘s (previously) latest light mapping installation. A shallow pool of water is completely surrounded by mirrored ceiling and walls, highlighting the psychedelic nature of the thousands of computer generated koi fish that are projected around the viewer’s feet. The fish change speeds as they navigate the waters, often crashing into observers and bursting into scattered flowers upon contact.

The interactive installation is one of four large-scale immersive experiences produced by the Japanese art collective for the festival which is on view through August 31, 2016. You can see images of the other installations on the festival’s website and watch the koi fish in action in a video produced by teamLab below. (via Culture N Lifestyle)

teamLab_01

teamLab_07

teamLab_06

teamLab_03

teamLab_02

teamLab_05

teamLab_04

teamLab_08

See related posts on Colossal about , , , , , .

Page 1 of 161234...»