Amazing Science

Extreme Temperatures Breed Glassy Hollow Forms Called ‘Ghost Apples’

February 15, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

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)

 

 



Art

Swirling Abstract Portraits by Firelei Báez Explore Identity in Diasporic Societies

February 14, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Sans-Souci” (2015), acrylic and ink on linen, 108 x 74 inches (274.3 x 188 cm)

Using acrylic, gouache, ink, and graphite, artist Firelei Báez creates intricate portraits that blur the boundaries between abstraction, realism, and surrealism. Báez forms human figures with skin comprised of swirling bursts of color and pattern, while meticulously rendered strands of hair and piercing eyes anchor the vibrant abstracted shapes as people. In a statement on her website, the artist’s practice is described as “a convergence of interest in anthropology, science fiction, black female subjectivity and women’s work; her art explores the humor and fantasy involved in self-making within diasporic societies.”

Báez was born in the Dominican Republic and now lives and works in New York, where she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Cooper Union’s School of Art and Hunter College, respectively. She was recently commissioned by New York’s Metro Transit Authority to create an elaborate mosaic mural. The colorful multi-part work is part of a station redesign in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.

Báez has exhibited widely and her first solo show in the Netherlands is on view through May 12, 2019 at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam. You can keep up with her latest work and creative endeavors on Instagram.

“Memory Board Listening (June 7th)” (2015), acrylic and Sennelier ink on YUPO paper, 40 x 30 inches (101.6 x 76.2 cm)

Vessel of Genealogies” (2016, acrylic), graphite and ink on paper, 40.5 x 70 inches (102.9 x 177.8 cm)

“To See Beyond It And To Access the Places That We Know Lie Outside Its Walls” (2015), Gouache and ink on paper, 84.5 x 50 inches (213.4 x 127 cm)

L: “Wanderlust Demanding Recompense” (2016), acrylic and ink on paper, 93 x 52 inches (236.2 x 132.1 cm) / R: “Ciguapa Pantera” (2015), acrylic and ink on paper, 95 x 69 inches (241.3 x 165.1 cm)

“Becoming New (A Tignon For Mami Wata)” (2016), acrylic on canvas 48 x 34 inches (121.9 x 86.4 cm)

“Patterns Of Resistance”

Of Love Possessed (Lessons on Alterity For G.D. and F.G At A Local BSS)” (2016), acrylic on Yupo paper
71 x 56 inches (180.3 x 142.2 cm)

 

 



Photography

Intertwined and Contorted Figures Form Surreal New Portraits by Brooke DiDonato

February 14, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Brooklyn-based photographer Brooke DiDonato (previously) poses bodies in twisting forms, skewing the viewer’s perception of where one body ends and the next begins. DiDonato also combines subjects and scenes in surreal ways that question the division between human and nature, presenting limbs popping up from a field of sun-baked crops, or capturing a stream of bountiful flowers spilling generously out of an open spout.

The above image of two men’s intertwined bodies was inspired by a previous image DiDonato made for a shoe campaign that featured two separate subjects wearing the same pair of shoes. She wanted to revisit this concept while incorporating full bodies to play on the idea that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

A selection of DiDonato’s images from her series “As Usual” is included in The Fence, one of the largest traveling photography exhibitions in the world. Upcoming locations for the open-air experience are Boston, Denver, Houston, and Calgary, Canada. You can keep up-to-date with her portraits and other images by visiting her website or Instagram.

 

 



Art

Colorful Strands of Thread and Beads Highlight the Contours of Human Skulls

February 14, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Jim F. Faure, who goes by Jim Skull, introduces his decades-long practice with his pseudonym. The Paris-based sculptor focuses exclusively on human skulls. Using innumerable strands of colorful thread, Murano glass beads, rope, and even porcupine quills, Faure creates an entirely new “skin” for the skeletal forms. Each skull’s covering also trails off into dramatic cascades that shape-shift depending on how the skull is displayed.

Faure transforms the surface of an object that often strikes fear into a visually enticing decorative object, inviting the viewer to study the divots and contours of our shared anatomical structure. In an artist statement, the sculptor cites his upbringing in New Caledonia in the South Pacific, followed by wide-ranging international travels in New Zealand, India, and Hong Kong as informing his fascination with the ritual and cultural aspects of the human experience. You can see more of Faure’s work on his website.

 

 



Design History

A Dozen New Stamps Celebrate Leonardo da Vinci’s Drawings

February 13, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

The head of Leda (c.1505–08), on view at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

The innovative yet timeless drawings of Leonardo da Vinci will soon be arriving in mailboxes around the U.K., thanks for a special stamp release marking the quincentennial anniversary of the Italian artist’s death. In tandem with the special stamp edition, twelve cultural institutions throughout the United Kingdom will be showcasing a total of 144 of da Vinci’s works in the dispersed show Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing. The exhibitions opened at the beginning of February and are on view through May 6, 2019 in Glasgow, Cardiff, Bristol, Leeds, and other U.K. cities. Stamp sets are available from Royal Mail. (via artnet)

The skull sectioned (1489), on view at Ulster Museum, Belfast

A star-of-Bethlehem and other plants (c.1506–12), on view at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow

Studies of cats (c.1517–18) on view at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

The skeleton (c.1510–11) on view at Cymru/National Museum Wales, Cardiff

The fall of light on a face (c.1488), on view at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

The head of St. Philip (c.1495) on view at Millennium Gallery, Sheffield

The skeleton (c.1510–11) on view at Cymru/National Museum Wales, Cardiff

 

 



Art

A Programmable 8-Bit Computer Created Using Traditional Embroidery Techniques and Materials

February 13, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

The Embroidered Computer by Irene Posch and Ebru Kurbak doesn’t look like what you might expect when you think of a computer. Instead, the work looks like an elegantly embroidered textile, complete with glass and magnetic beads and a meandering pattern of copper wire. The materials have conductive properties which are arranged in specific patterns to create electronic functions. Gold pieces on top of the magnetic beads flip depending on the program, switching sides as different signals are channeled through the embroidered work.

“Traditionally purely decorative, [the work’s patterns] defines their function,” explained Posch on her website. “They lay bare core digital routines usually hidden in black boxes. Users are invited to interact with the piece in programming the textile to compute for them.”

The piece is a reference to the historic similarity between textile creation and computing, for example the Jacquard loom being an important influence on the evolution of computing hardware. Posch is a researcher and artist with a background in media and computer science who explores the how technological seeps into the fields of art and craft, and Kurbak is an artist and designer who investigates the hidden politics of everyday spaces and routines. You can learn more about their work and partnerships here or here. (via Kottke)

 

 



Design Food

Dazzling Gradients and Geometric Designs Baked into New Pies and Tarts by Lauren Ko

February 13, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Seattle-based pie baker Lauren Ko (previously) has a multitude of non-edible inspirations that influence her creative pastry designs, including textile patterns, architecture, and string art. These elements are woven into her colorful, and often geometric, fruit pies and tarts topped with thin, undulating strips of apples, precisely placed pomegranate seeds, and triangles of radiating strawberries. Often Ko will color a portion of her dough with natural food dyes like beet butter to add even more color to the finished dessert. You can learn step-by-step instructions for how Ko creates her enticing sweets in this video made by Tasty, and follow the evolution of her pies on Instagram.

\

 

 

A Colossal

Highlight

Animal Multi-Tool