Photography Science

Tainted with Manufactured Objects, Slime Molds and Spores Grow Into Unnaturally Striking Compositions

September 24, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Dasha Plesen, shared with permission

Moscow-based artist and mold enthusiast Daria Fedorova intervenes in natural decomposition processes, accentuating textures and colors and pushing the boundaries of science and art. The artist, who works as Dasha Plesen, laces petri dishes with various bacterias and other organisms before placing extra elements like fluffy balls, sugars, and sprinkles in the container. These manufactured additions impede the growths to produce myriad shades and structures and cultivate otherworldly compositions of unnaturally saturated colors, patches of fuzz, and flared coils of slime all within in a single vessel.

Forgoing antibiotics or other treatments that would save the fungi and spores from ruin, Plesen’s works take between three and four weeks to materialize. She tells Colossal that the ongoing project began with “the idea of microbiological mapping of our surroundings,” explaining:

We are all swimming in the ocean of tiny spores and organisms, breathing them in, and carrying them on the top of our skin and inside the body. I was interested in this parallel between the physical world we can see and touch and also another physical world, which also presents, but is kind of metaphysical, invisible, somewhere between the air layers, vibrations, energies, nature.

Whether displaying stacked rows of spores or a bubbly rim, the resulting studies are ripe with questions about human imposition, the artificial, cyclical processes, and the inherent beauty of decay. Explore a larger collection of Plesen’s works on Behance and Instagram. (via Trendland)

 

 

 



Art

Seven Origami Animals Transform New York City's Garment District into a Vibrant Menagerie

September 24, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images by Alexandre Ayer/Diversity Pictures for the Garment District Alliance, shared with permission

Thanks to Gerardo Gomez-Martinez (aka Hacer), the public plazas on Broadway in New York City’s Garment District are now a zoo of origami-style animals. The Mexican-American artist installed a series of powder-coated steel sculptures that loom over dining areas and walkways as part of Transformations. Commissioned by The Garment District Alliance, the project consists of seven creatures that vary in size, including a yellow dog, a magenta elephant,  a green bear cub, and two turquoise rabbits and coyotes, one of which extends 14 feet from nose to tail.

If you’re in Manhattan, stop by the plazas between 36th and 39th streets before November 23 to see the bold animals in person. (thnx, Laura!)

 

 

 



Photography

Ghostly Aerial Photos Frame Isolated and Abandoned Houses Scattered Across North America

September 24, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Brendon Burton, shared with permission

In his ongoing series titled Thin Places, Portland-based photographer Brendon Burton documents battered houses that stand alone in barren fields, amidst an encroaching marsh, or at the edge of the mountain. The decrepit structures have been Burton’s preferred subject matter since 2011 when he began seeking abandoned buildings across the continent that exude a sense of impermanence and the uncanny. “This series is for the sake of satisfying my curiosity about the past and exploring isolated parts of North America. It mixes archeology with fantasy,” he says.

Derived from Celtic culture, Thin Places refers to locales “where heaven and earth grow thin,” Burton says. “Traditionally, the term was meant as a place one would feel closer to God, or something otherworldly. In a more modern sense, it’s a form of liminality, areas that feel transitory.” Each property is shot with a drone, offering a detached view of the once-occupied spaces and a brief encounter with their former use. “What makes people leave, and what keeps things standing? How much of a life gets left along with it?” he asks.

Burton plans to visit Appalachia next, and you can follow his travels on Behance and Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 

 



Craft

An Origami Knight Equipped with a Sword and Shield Materializes from a Single Sheet of Paper

September 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Juho Könkkölä, shared with permission

Earlier this year, Finnish artist Juho Könkkölä folded an incredibly elaborate samurai from a single sheet of paper, and now he’s crafted another intricate warrior of his own design. Standing 18 centimeters tall, the sword- and shield-toting figure demanded 41 hours of work using wet and dry origami techniques.

Könkkölä started with a 68 x 68-centimeter sheet of Wenzhou rice paper that he scored and folded to capture the protective bands on the shoulders and hips and the exact placement of individual plates. “One of the greatest challenges in this figure was the stark contrast between the shield and the sword; the sword has over 50(!) layers inside the palm of the figure, whereas the shield has only one layer on a large surface,” he writes on Instagram.

Könkkölä also filmed his entire process, so you can watch the knight take shape in the timelapse video below.

 

 

 



Design

A Photographer Captures a Dwindling Herd of Elephant Slides Across Taiwan

September 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Pi Cheng Hsiu, shared with permission

Wander into a playground in Taiwan, and you might stumble upon an elephant in the midst of basketball courts and swingsets. Vintage slides shaped like the lumbering animal were once popular in the country, and although the equipment is generally out of use because it doesn’t match current regulations, the eclectic designs remain a fixture in both abandoned and thriving playgrounds. Photographer Pi Cheng Hsiu documents these quirky creations by the hundreds—in addition to similarly shaped animals like seahorses and giraffes—and you can find a vast array of colors and styles on Instagram. You also might enjoy these elephants squeezed into tight spots. (via Present & Correct)

 

 

 



Documentary History

A Heartening Documentary Follows the Community Harvesting Ice in Minnesota's North Woods

September 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

Each winter in Ely, Minnesota, a crew treks out onto a frozen lake to cut hefty blocks of ice from its surface. They haul the thick chunks to storage, where they’re stacked, covered in sawdust, and preserved for use the rest of the year, a once-necessary method of refrigeration rarely applied today. Consisting of dozens of people, some who have been dedicated to the cause for decades and others who joined in the last year or two, the team engages in the age-old practice of harvesting the frozen blocks at the property of legendary explorer and preservationist Will Steger.

Produced by Gravity Films and directed by Nathaniel Schmidt, “Ice Ball” follows the crew throughout two seasons as they endure below freezing temperatures, a typical condition for Minnesota winters that made filming extra challenging, at the explorer’s sustainable enclave in the North Woods. The short documentary spotlights the community that’s gathered around Steger since his Arctic expeditions and chronicles their devotion to more sustainable ways of living.

As the disastrous effects of the climate crisis accelerate, historic methods like the ice harvest reduce the reliance on carbon-based energy sources and offer an urgent alternative. “All of the ice shelves that I’ve traveled on in the polar regions, north and south, they’re not there anymore. We’re at this crisis now, the human race and the planet. We’re going to have to innovate out of it, and this is what it’s about,” Steger says.

According to Short of the Week, Schmidt is currently working on a feature-length documentary about the life of a Wiradjuri woman. It’s slated for release next August, and in the meantime, you can find more of his work on Vimeo.