Olha and Hanna Dovhan (previously) are the creative minds behind the adorable felt sculptures of Manooni. Whimsical and endlessly cheerful, the small family units, pairs of pears, and coupled avocados are needle felted with wool and finished with tiny grins.
Based in Ukraine, the Dovhans have spent the majority of the war in Lviv, although their mother, who is also part of the Manooni team, remains with family members in the now Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhia region. The sisters brought some of their materials with them to finish projects that were already underway and have been raising money for Ukrainians in need via Patreon. “Unfortunately, the war is not over, and we can’t leave behind people who are suffering from this terrible invasion,” Olha tells Colossal.
You can support Manooni’s work by shopping available pieces on Instagram.
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In the Luganda language, the word nsenene describes the long-horned grasshoppers that are the backbone of a robust industry in Uganda. The nocturnal insects are a crunchy delicacy, often served boiled or fried, and are harvested in incredible quantities during the rainy seasons in May and November. A poetic documentary directed and produced by Michelle Coomber follows locals as they set up precarious traps and gather hordes of the crickets under the nighttime sky.
Narrated by a grasshopper hunter named Ibrah, “Nsenene” peers through the darkness and smoke from a nearby fire to illuminate the collection process. The insects are attracted to bright bulbs strung up around tall iron panels, which stun the crickets and drop them into the open drums at the base. “We add smoke so the light makes a lens in the sky, and the grasshoppers get drunk on the smoke. They fall into the barrels like fat raindrops on a tin roof,” the narrator says.
The noisy crickets, though, are also imbued in lore. “There are so many beliefs, like, if a pregnant woman ate them, her child would have a grasshopper head,” says Ibrah, whose family has participated in the industry for generations. “Some people believe they come from water in the lakes. Others say they emerge from the soil like ants. I believe they’re not from this world.”
Coomber has garnered multiple awards for “Nsenene” from Raindance, Sydney Short Film Festival, and Fargo Film Festival, to name a few, and you can watch more of her works on her site and Vimeo. (via Short of the Week)
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Six times stronger than steel and using an estimated 50 times less energy to produce, bamboo is at the forefront of sustainable architecture. The durable material is central to recent projects like a latticed welcome center in Vietnam and this swelling canopy offering respite from the elements of the Karst Mountains, two constructions that accentuate the plant’s organic shape and sturdy qualities.
A new book published by Princeton Architectural Press highlights fourteen homes around the world built with the perennial grass. Written by author and architectural historian William Richards, Bamboo Contemporary explores a vast array of styles and techniques, ranging from sleek remodels with the material to the lavish home in Bali fabricated by the firm behind this spiraling school. “In design circles, bamboo has been heralded as the material of the future—a pliable solution for architects seeking sustainable methods and materials. For many architects and builders along the equatorial band, bamboo’s past is just as rich. It’s both new and nothing new at the same time,” Richards writes in the introduction.
Containing structural renderings and photos for each project, the 256-page volume is an insightful and forward-looking consideration of the architects working toward a more environmentally conscious future. Explore more by picking up a copy of Bamboo Contemporary from Princeton Architectural Press.
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In many parts of the world, a warm summer evening sets the stage for a familiar sight: the lightning bug. Through a phenomenon called bioluminescence, these winged beetles generate chemical reactions in a part of their abdomen known as the lantern to produce flickers of light. Of more than 2,000 species found throughout the world, only a handful coordinate their flashes into patterns and are known as synchronous fireflies. Filmmaker Sriram Murali captured a rare gathering of billions of these insects at the Anamalai Tiger Reserve in western Tamil Nadu, India.
Through a combination of moving image and time-lapse photography, Murali recorded countless specimens amidst the trees as they produce glowing pulses, which relay across the forest in expansive, wave-like signals. The color, brightness, and length of the light emitted is specific to each species, and as a part of the insects’ mating display, it helps males and females to recognize one another. Darkness is a necessary ingredient in the success of this ritual.
For the past ten years, Murali has been working to raise awareness of light pollution through a series of documentaries. Focusing on the reserve and its nighttime fauna, he hopes to highlight the significant role that darkness plays in the natural world. He has been collaborating with scientists and forest officials at the wildlife reserve as part of a project spearheaded by Deputy Director M.G. Ganesan to study the ecology of the park and identify the different species of firefly present there.
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Austin-based gallery and print studio Sebastian Foster has a new addition to its roster, Tennessee-based artist Mia Bergeron. To celebrate her joining the gallery, they’re releasing a collection of limited-edition prints of the artist’s dreamlike, dualistic works.
A classically trained oil painter, Bergeron uses modern techniques and concepts to create layered pieces. She often oscillates between the fictitious and the observed, blending the realities of the physical world with the fanciful and imaginative. Through phantasmic figures and mundane domesticity turned eerie, Bergeron explores seemingly disparate sentiments within a single work, whether through the contrasts between curiosity and loss, longing and presence, or emptiness and saturation.
Add Bergeron’s ethereal renderings to your collection by heading to the Sebastian Foster site. The gallery also represents numerous artists previously featured on Colossal, including Grant Haffner, Jeremy Miranda, Sabine Timm, and Diana Sudyka, who have originals and prints available, as well.
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Hundreds of Melting Ice Figures Echo the Intensifying Threat of the Climate Crisis in Néle Azevedo’s Public Works
Ephemerality has always been at the center of Néle Azevedo’s practice. The Brazilian artist is known globally for “Minimum Monument,” a collection of small ice figures that melt in situ.
First exhibited in São Paulo in 2005, the installation, which Azevedo dubs an “urban art action,” has found its way to cities like Paris, Belfast, Lima, and Porto. In each iteration, the artist carves hundreds of 20-centimeter-tall figures seated with their ankles crossed and places them atop outdoor steps and in public spaces. The faceless sculptures drip and pool into small puddles as time passes, which initially was Azevedo’s way of critiquing public monuments and taking “into account the history of the defeated, the anonymous, to bring to light our mortal condition.” The impermanence of the frozen substance directly contrasts the enduring nature of bronze, stone, and other materials typically used for statues and commemorative works.
With the intensifying climate crisis, though, the piece has acquired new meaning as a literal reflection of global warming and the way life will soon disappear from the planet. A statement about the decades-long project explains:
This urgency requires a paradigm shift in the development of governments of all nations to think of another model of development outside the current level of consumption. These threats also finally put Western man in his place, his fate is along with the destiny of the planet, he is not the “king” of nature, but a constituent element of it. We are nature.
A successor to “Minimum Monument,” Azevedo’s “Suspended State” (shown below) similarly gathers more than 1,000 ice figures and dangles them over pots, bowls, and other kitchenware equipped with microphones. “The sound is very important because it invokes that disappearance,” the artist tells Great Big Story. “The melting sculptures (create) a connection between a subjective self and a collective consciousness.”
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Highlights below. For the full collection click here.