History

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Design History

A Modern Solar-Powered Home Built Within the Ruins of an 18th-Century Farmhouse

May 9, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Architects Nathanael Dorent and Lily Jencks recently collaborated to build a sleek, modern home within the existing ruins of an 18th-century farmhouse. The home is built on a hill that overlooks more than 50 miles of Scotland’s pastoral fields and combines elements of both the old and new world. The structure features white, futuristic walls that wind throughout the length of its interior, which is completely powered by exterior solar panels. Although there are some updated elements, the structure still sits within the original stones of the farmhouse, and is topped by a pitched roof similar to the one that would have sheltered the old Scottish house.

While building the structure, Dorent and Jencks used their admiration of specific views seen from the farmhouse as inspiration for custom windows. One particular oval opening in the wall looks directly onto a nearby field of cows perfectly set against a backdrop of rolling hills. You can learn more about the new home and the philosophy behind its construction on Dorent’s website. (via Fubiz)

 

 



History

Century-Old Film Footage Edited to Present a More Dynamic View of New York City Life in the Early 1900’s

May 1, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Videographer Guy Jones edits century-old film to more accurately match the video standards of the present day. For the black and white clip of New York City in 1911 shown above, Jones slowed down the film’s original speed and added ambient sound to match the activity seen on the city’s streets. The subtle additions allow for a more engaging experience when viewing of the 20th-century footage, and presents the urban milieu in a more realistic light.

This particular film print was created by the Swedish company Svenska Biografteatern during a trip to America, and remains in mint condition. You can see more of Jones’s edits of films from the late 19th-century to mid-1900s, like this video of Victorian street traffic galloping down the Champs-Élysées, on his Youtube channel. (via Twisted Sifter)

 

 



Art History

A Seamstress’s Autobiographical Text Embroidered Onto Her 19th-Century Straitjacket

April 3, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

German seamstress Agnes Richter (1844–1918) was a patient at the Heidelberg Psychiatric Clinic during the 1890s. While held at the asylum she would densely embroider her standard issue straitjacket, stitching the object with words, phrases, and diaristic entries in deutsche schrift, an old German script. The layers of language make it difficult to distinguish a beginning or end to the writing, and only fragmented phrases have been deciphered from the jacket such as “I am not big,” “I wish to read,” and “I plunge headlong into disaster.”

The object is a part of the Prinzhorn Collection at the University of Heidelberg Psychiatric Clinic, named after collector and psychiatrist Hans Prinzhorn. The collection contains over 5,000 paintings, wooden sculptures, sketches, and other art-based ephemera from patients at the hospital, collected by the psychiatrist during the early 20th-century. This vast collection of work made by psychiatric patients has had a major influence on a modern understanding of “outsider art,” or the artwork created by self-taught artists who have had little to no contact with the mainstream art world.

Over a century later, the jacket remains a powerful item, a lasting object that showcases how one woman transformed a sterile and impersonal garment into a rich record of her life’s journey. (via #WOMENSART)

Update: Sources vary as to whether this article of clothing was Richter’s straitjacket, a regular jacket, or part of a non-restrictive institutional uniform.

Left image via This Is Not Modern Art tumblr, right image via The Lulubird

 

 



Animation Design History

Ancient Ruins Reconstructed with Architectural GIFs

March 23, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Parthenon, Greece

Today, views of the world’s ancient architectural wonders are firmly based in their current state of ruin, leaving to visitors’ imaginations the original glory of structures like the Parthenon, Pyramid of the Sun, and Temple of Luxor. NeoMam, in a project for Expedia, has resurrected several ancient buildings through a series of gifs. In a matter of seconds, centuries of natural and intentional damage and decay are reversed to reveal a rare glimpse at what the original structures would have looked like. The creative contractors behind the labor-intensive renderings are Maja Wrońska (previously) and her husband Przemek Sobiecki, who works as This Is Render.  (via designboom)

Pyramid of the Sun, Mexico

Temple of Largo Argentina, Rome

Nohoch Mul Pyramid (Coba), Mexico

Temple of Luxor, Egypt

Temple of Jupiter, Italy

Hadrian’s Wall, England

 

 



History Photography

Over 30,000 Negatives Discovered in Russian Artist’s Attic Reveal a Lifetime of Hidden Photography

March 19, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Russian artist and theater critic Masha Ivashintsova (1942-2000) lived a secret life as a photographer, taking over 30,000 photographs in her lifetime without ever showing a soul. It wasn’t until years after her death in 2000 that her daughter Asya Ivashintsova-Melkumyan stumbled upon her vast collection of negatives while cleaning out the attic. The photographs showcase an astounding look into the inner world of Ivashintsova, while also providing a glimpse of everyday life in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) from the 1960-1999.

Ivashintosova was heavily engaged in the city’s underground poetry and photography movement, yet never showed anyone her images, poetry, or personal writing during her lifetime. Ivashintsova-Melkumyan shares a quote from one of her mother’s diary entries that hints at the reasoning behind her hidden artistic life, “I loved without memory: is that not an epigraph to the book, which does not exist? I never had a memory for myself, but always for others.”

“I see my mother as a genius,” explains Ivashintsova-Melkumyan, “but she never saw herself as one—and never let anybody else see her for what she really was.”

Some have referred to Ivashintsova as the Russian Vivian Maier, an American photographer and caregiver whose extensive collection of negatives was discovered in Chicago after her death in 2009. A group of close family friends are working to scan the entirety of Ivashintsova’s life’s work. You can view more of her recently discovered images on this website and Instagram specifically created to share her legacy. (via PetaPixel)

 

 



Art History

Archaeologists Discover What May Be the World’s Oldest Crayon

March 13, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Archaeologists working on a site near an ancient lake in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, UK say they may have discovered one of the earliest examples of a crayon. The reddish-brown piece of ochre is thought to have been used 10,000 years ago to color animal skins or produce artwork during the Mesolithic period.

The oblong discovery is just 22 mm long and 7 mm wide, yet shows a heavily striated surface where it was most likely scraped to create red pigment. One side of the tool is sharpened, another hint that the piece was used to draw or color. Dr. Andy Needham from the University of York’s Department of Archaeology explained the discovery helps archaeologists understand how significant color might have been to the hunter-gatherers of the Mesolithic period.

“For me it is a very significant object and helps us build a bigger picture of what life was like in the area; it suggests it would have been a very colourful place,” said Needham in a press release.

This has been a year of many art historical firsts. Within the last few months our knowledge of Greek civilization has been completely altered by the discovery of this tiny carved stone, and archaeologists found the first known use of a smiley face on an off-white jug in Southern Turkey. You can read more about the discovery of the ochre crayon, and other pieces found near the ancient lake in North Yorkshire, in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. (via Hyperallergic)

 

 

 



Design History

In 1848 A French Commune Built an Interconnected Treehouse Cabaret Based on Swiss Family Robinson

February 20, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

For over a century, Parisians were drawn out of the city and into the neighboring village of Le Plessis-Piquet to experience charming summer evenings among the township’s tall trees. What started as open air dancehalls called “guinguettes,” turned into treehouse cabarets after restaurant proprietor Joseph Gueusquin built Le Grand Robinson in 1848.

Inspired by the treehouse described in The Swiss Family Robinson, the unique establishment hoisted visitors to the top branches of a thick chestnut tree to dine dozens of feet above their fellow revelers. Over the next few decades copycat restaurants began popping up in trees across town, hosting donkey races and building tall tree swings to persuade diners away from their numerous competitors. This crop of new treetop guinguettes forced Gueusquin to rename his lounge “Le Vrai de Arbre Robinson” (The Real Robinson Tree) in 1888, which ensured customers knew they were dining at the original treehouse of Le Plessis-Piquet.

In 1909, after 60 years of booming success with the popular treehouses, the town changed its name to Le Plessis-Robinson. Today none of the Parisian suburb’s treetop bars remain (the last shut its doors in 1976), however the memory of treetop revelry remains in the few forgotten boards tacked to the town’s tall trees. (via Jeroen Apers)