You’ve seen the perfect arcs of boiling water solidified mid-throw, and perhaps this frozen speeding sign that duplicated itself over 2019’s Polar Vortex, but have you seen ghost apples? Thanks to a Facebook post by farm manager Andrew Sietsma, the phenomenon has captivated the internet, leaving commenters to marvel at the sight of these glass-like specimens that remain after apples have rotted from their icy exterior. Sietsema told CNN that this winter the weather in western Michigan was “just cold enough that the ice covering the apple hadn’t melted yet, but it was warm enough that the apple inside turned to complete mush (apples have a lower freezing point than water).” Jonagolds are one of Sietsema’s favorite apple varieties, but on the farm they are now referred to as “Jonaghosts.” (via Reddit and Bored Panda)
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In Becoming, a time-lapse film by Jan van IJken (previously), a single cell splits. Then it splits again, and again, and again, morphing and quivering as new quadrants continually appear and divide. The cell belongs to an alpine newt, and during most of its transition from a single cell zygote to hatched larva it looks remarkably like a sunny-side up egg. The film’s rapid timeline condenses four weeks of growth into six minutes, presenting a speedy and awe-inspiring glimpse at how we all begin.
“I wanted to capture the origin of life,” van IJken tells Colossal. “What is particularly interesting I think, is that the basics of embryonic development are the same for all animals, including us. I think the way we develop is a true miracle. In my film you can see individual cells move to the place where they belong in the embryo. How is this possible? It is all managed by a precise internal clockwork in each individual cell.”
Van IJken used time-lapse photography and video in combination with a trinocular microscope to precisely observe the details of the newt’s development. You can view more of his work, including a trailer for his first film Facing Animals, on Vimeo.
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Over the last two weeks, Redditors have been slowly but steadily breaking the internet’s space-time continuum with a series of recursive paintings. The fateful catalyst was posted on Reddit two weeks ago, with a photo of a woman (the Redditor’s mother) holding a painting of a bird, her second painting ever. The photo’s caption, “My mom painted this and said no one would like it. It’s her 2nd painting,” inspired another user to paint a painting of the woman holding her painting, captioned “I painted somebody’s mom,” and mayhem ensued from there.
Each successive painting includes a caption chronicling their location in the multi-branched series. The result is a fascinating chain of events that connects online and offline experiences, and has gotten more than a few some-time painters back at their brushes. You can follow the progress of this real-life meme via Nick Kapur on Twitter.
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A simple mixture of corn syrup, dish detergent, and water creates magical winter snow globes when blown into bubbles on snow. Frosty shapes dance across the fragile transparent bubbles, starting out as distant stars that expand and almost tesselate to form a continuous surface pattern. The straightforward yet delicate DIY project is dramatically documented by Ontario-based nature photographer Don Komarechka in his short film “Winter’s Magic.” Komarechka’s video features the best clips from over 400 takes that were originally shot for the BBC’s Forces of Nature documentary series. The artist works in macro, landscape, and nature photography. He also teaches workshops, and sells prints of his work, from snowflakes to spiders, on his website. For the curious, Komarechka explains the process and the technical aspects of the project on YouTube. (via The Kid Should See This)
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As 2018 draws to a close we decided to take a look back at the most popular artworks, photographs, and yes, hydraulic press pieces we’ve published over the last 12 months. Although 2018 was the year Banksy shredded a painting in front of a live audience, hundreds of other incredible feats of films, art, and design have also caught our attention, including Julie Gautier’s beautiful choreographed video inside the world’s deepest pool, the concentric earth-based mandalas of James Brunt, or our continued admiration of Reuben Wu’s drone-assisted landscape photography. Take a look below to see top posts from this past year, from our tenth most viewed piece, to the design object that takes the spot at number one.
This year we discovered our obsession with hydraulic press videos, specifically clips from Finnish factory owners Lauri and Anni’s Hydraulic Press Channel. The pair sets their press to exert over 2,175 pounds of pressure per square inch—smashing crayons, cheese, soap, and other semi-malleable objects into unrecognizable and often colorful tubes that spring out from the every direction.
Using glass cylinders and a variety of vessels, photographer Suzanne Saroff fractures the perspective of foods like eggplants, fish, and ripe bananas. The unique viewpoints shorten or elongate the provided edibles, creating distorted scenes that produce a creative glimpse at common fruits and meats.
Street photographer Jonathan Higbee walks the street of New York City prepped to capture unique and coincidental moments. Often graphic elements from vans, murals, and signage will be the key features that interact with everyday passersby, like the wide-mouthed shark and what appears to be a frightened pigeon in the snapshot above.
Although we covered LEGO projects or products five times in 2018, our most popular piece that looked at the stackable bricks was a campaign developed by Asawin Tejasakulsin, a senior art director at Ogilvy & Mather in Bangkok, Thailand. The designer imaged playful scenarios in which LEGO bricks interact with the real world, such as a whale bursting from the side of a bookshelf, or a fire-breathing dragon heating a pot of soup.
Our sixth most popular post came just days after the New Year when photographer Jonathan Nimerfroh captured Jamie Briard surfing on partially frozen waves just off the shore of Nantucket. Although the rare phenomenon of slurry-like waves might only be seen once in someone’s lifetime, Nimerfroh has been able to shoot the effect twice over the last few years.
British land artist James Brunt arranges and balances rocks, leaves, sticks, and other natural materials he finds within the landscape near his home in Yorkshire, England. After arranging each object into mandala-like spirals and concentric circles, Brunt photographs his creation and allows nature to again take hold of the materials.
Moments after Sotheby’s sold a previously unseen version of Banksy’s Girl With Balloon for over 1.3 million dollars, the canvas begin to shred itself into strips as it fell through its ornate frame. After the surprising incident, which had been orchestrated by the infamously secretive artist, he took to Instagram for a follow-up statement to the event saying the piece was “Going, going, gone…”
We are longtime fans of photographer Reuben Wu, who uses the aide of drones as aerial light sources to create incredible images of natural and manmade landscapes across the globe, including the brilliant blue rivers of molten sulfur in Indonesian volcanoes, and the thousands of glistening mirrors that compose Nevada’s SolarReserve. For his ongoing series Lux Noctis, Wu used light from his GPS-enabled drones to create a halo effect around cliffs and crests which are only perceptible in the resulting photograph.
This year Julie Gautier released AMA, a short film which is directed and performed by the deep sea diver and filmmaker. Gautier dives, twists, and dances within the world’s deepest pool, presenting captivating choreography nearly 130 feet underwater.
And finally, our most popular post from 2018 was a paper product created by the Japanese company Triad, whose main line of business is producing architectural models. Omoshiroi Blocks are stacks of laser-cut paper that when removed, reveal fantastic sites such as Kyoto’s Kiyomizudera Temple, Tokyo’s Asakusa Temple and Tokyo Tower.
Our editors want to extend a thank you for reading all of the pieces we have explored, obsessed over, and covered in 2018. We look forward to the spectacular artworks, science discoveries, short films, and other intriguing visuals that will be created and discovered in 2019!
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Japanese paper engineer Haruki Nakamura (previously) continues to design delightful toys using simple materials. A friendly armadillo curls into a self-protective ball at the touch of a finger, and a sleepy boy emerges, ready to sleepwalk, in “Astral Projection.” Nakamura uses rubber bands and carefully held points of paper tension to spark the jumpy movements of his characters, and sells kits so you can make your own endless entertainment. The artist only sells within Japan on his website, but this Penguin Bomb toy is available on Amazon.
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British artist Sue Austin creates multimedia, performance, and installation art, using her wheelchair as a means to explore new patterns of movement. In 2012, Austin was commissioned to create a series of multimedia events as part of that year’s Cultural Olympiad, in conjunction with the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. The result, titled “Creating the Spectacle!” is a spectacular immersive dance performance and underwater exploration, which was shot near Sharm el Sheik, Egypt by Norman Lomax of Moving Content. You can watch a portion of the film below.
In the film, Austin uses her arms to guide her through the water, and she wears a summery dress with her long hair flowing freely, as she navigates through schools of fish and past massive coral reefs. Her underwater wheelchair is adapted from a standard-issue National Health Service chair, with battery powered propellers and perspex aerofoils to control turns. Austin hopes that the adaptations will be more widely available at diving centers in the future to make diving more inclusive.
A statement on her website explains, “she aims to find dramatic and powerful ways to re-position disability and Disability Arts as the ‘Hidden Secret’. She argues that this ‘secret’, if explored, valued and then shared, can act to heal the divisions created in the social psyche by cultural dichotomies that define the ‘disabled’ as ‘other’.”
Austin first performed with her underwater wheelchair in Dorset, U.K. in 2012, and has since performed, shown films, and spoken around the world about her art practice. You can learn more about Austin and her organization Freewheeling, on her website, and watch her TED Talk here. (via #WOMENSART)
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Editor's Picks: Photography
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.