Art

Artist Cai Guo­-Qiang Sends a 500-Meter Ladder of Fire into the Sky Above China

August 12, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Sky Ladder, realized at Huiyu Island Harbour, Quanzhou, Fujian, June 15, 2015 at 4:49 am, approximately 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Photos by Lin Yi & Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio.

In the early morning hours of June 15, a huge white balloon filled with 6,200 cubic meters of helium slowly ascended into the sky above Huiyu Island Harbour, Quanzhou, China. Attached to it was a 500-meter long ladder coated completely with quick burning fuses and gold fireworks that was then ignighted by artist Cai Guo­-Qiang (previously) who has become known for his ambitious pyrotechnic artworks.

Titled Sky Ladder, the piece burned for approxmiately 2 minutes and 30 seconds above the harbor and was the fourth and final attempt to realize the performance. Guo­-Qiang had earlier attempted Sky Ladder in Bath (1994), Shanghai (2001), and in Los Angeles (2012), to varying degrees of success, but never considered his vision complete until now. He first imagined a ladder of fire as a child and has pursued the idea for 21 years. He shares about this last successful iteration of the event:

Behind Sky Ladder lies a clear childhood dream of mine. Despite all life’s twists and turns, I have always been determined to realize it. My earlier proposals were either more abstract or ceremonial. Sky Ladder today is tender, and touches my heart deeply: it carries affection for my hometown, my relatives and my friends. In contrast to my other attempts, which set the ignition time at dusk, this time the ladder rose toward the morning sun, carrying hope. For me, this not only means a return but also the start of a new journey.

Unfortunately there’s no official video of the performance available yet, but a few shaky cell phone videos have emerged. You can see more images of the performance on the artist’s website. All photos by Lin Yi and Wen-You Cai courtesy Cai Studio. (via Booooooom)

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Art

Paint, Oil, Milk, and Honey Mix in this Surreal Macro Video of Swirling Liquids by Thomas Blanchard

August 12, 2015

Christopher Jobson

It turns out that watching paint mix is a heck of a lot more interesting than watching paint dry. French director Thomas Blanchard shot this lovely short of colored paints, oil, milk, and honey as they mix and bead under a macro lens. He says the video is intended as “an analogy of feelings such as anger, love, sadness and joy [as they] they mix and eventually ease.” If you liked this also check out similar liquid experiments by Ruslan Khasanov.

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Photography

Terra Flamma: Stunning Long-Exposure Photographs of California Wildfires by Stuart Palley

August 11, 2015

Christopher Jobson

The El Portal Fire burns on a hillside  in the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park on Sunday evening July 27, 2014. The community of El Portal was under a mandatory evacuation. By Tuesday the blaze had burned nearly 3,000 acres.  Long exposure image.

The El Portal Fire burns on a hillside in the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park on Sunday evening July 27, 2014. The community of El Portal was under a mandatory evacuation. By Tuesday the blaze had burned nearly 3,000 acres. Long exposure image.

The Etiwanda Fire burns shortly after dusk on April 30, 2014 in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Long exposure image.

The Etiwanda Fire burns shortly after dusk on April 30, 2014 in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Long exposure image.

The news of deadly wildfires ravaging California has been as awe-inspiring as it is terrifying. Great swaths of forests, mountains, fields, and entire neighborhoods can be incinerated in moments leaving nothing unscathed. For the last few years, Los Angeles-based photographer Stuart Palley has been shooting these fires as they rage across Southern California as part of a series he calls Terra Flamma.

More than just capturing flames or firefighters, Palley focuses instead on the entire landscape surrounding each event. By utilizing long exposure techniques he incorporates trails of sparks, the lights of firefighting aircraft, and even the stars above to create images that speak more to the strange beauty of wildfires than simple editorial documentation.

Though Palley often jumps at the opportunity to photograph a fire at a moment’s notice, he’s also well prepared. He takes a number of precautions including completion of the US Forestry Service’s “Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior” to better ensure his safety.

You can follow more of Palley’s work on Instagram. (via PetaPixel)

The French Fire burns overnight in the Sierra National Forest near the town of North Fork, CA on August 1st, 2014. The blaze was burning in steep, rugged, and remote terrain.

The French Fire burns overnight in the Sierra National Forest near the town of North Fork, CA on August 1st, 2014. The blaze was burning in steep, rugged, and remote terrain.

The Way Fire burns on August 19, 2014 in the Sierra National Forest near Kernville, CA overnight.  Long exposure image.

The Way Fire burns on August 19, 2014 in the Sierra National Forest near Kernville, CA overnight. Long exposure image.

The Meadow Fire burns overnight near Half Dome in Yosemite National Park early Monday September 8, 2014. As of Wednesday the fire had burned over 4,500 acres and was 10% contained.  Long exposure image.

The Meadow Fire burns overnight near Half Dome in Yosemite National Park early Monday September 8, 2014. As of Wednesday the fire had burned over 4,500 acres and was 10% contained. Long exposure image.

The Shirley Fire burns at night off of Old State Rd near Lake Isabella, CA while a helicopter circles overhead and crews work on a slopover. Long exposure image.  The Shirley Fire burns overnight near Lake Isabella, CA on the evening of June 15, 2014. By morning the fire had burned 2200 acres and was 10% contained. At least two structures were lost. Date 20140615 Date 20140615

The Shirley Fire burns at night off of Old State Rd near Lake Isabella, CA while a helicopter circles overhead and crews work on a slopover. Long exposure image.

The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Thursday June 18, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 10,000 acres and was 5% contained. The Lake Fire burns along it's northern flank at night in the San Bernardino National Forest Late Thursday night. The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Thursday June 18, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 10,000 acres and was 5% contained.

The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Thursday June 18, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 10,000 acres and was 5% contained. The Lake Fire burns along its northern flank at night in the San Bernardino National Forest Late Thursday night.

The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Thursday June 18, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 10,000 acres and was 5% contained. The Lake Fire burns along it's northern flank at night in the San Bernardino National Forest Late Thursday night. The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Thursday June 18, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 10,000 acres and was 5% contained.

The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Thursday June 18, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 10,000 acres and was 5% contained. The Lake Fire burns along its northern flank at night in the San Bernardino National Forest Late Thursday night.

The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Thursday June 18, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 10,000 acres and was 5% contained. The Lake Fire burns along it's northern flank at night in the San Bernardino National Forest Late Thursday night. The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Thursday June 18, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 10,000 acres and was 5% contained.

The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Thursday June 18, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 10,000 acres and was 5% contained. The Lake Fire burns along its northern flank at night in the San Bernardino National Forest Late Thursday night.

The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Friday June 19, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 13,000 acres and was 10% contained.

The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Friday June 19, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 13,000 acres and was 10% contained.

The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Friday June 19, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 13,000 acres and was 10% contained.

The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Friday June 19, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 13,000 acres and was 10% contained.

 

 



History Illustration

The World’s Oldest Multicolored Printed Book Has Been Opened and Digitized for the First Time

August 11, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

All images courtesy Cambridge University Library

All images courtesy of Cambridge University Library

The earliest example of multicolor printing is now available for the public eye, digitally available through Cambridge University Library’s Digital Library site. The 17th century book, Manual of Calligraphy and Painting (Shi zhu zhai shu hua pu), is so fragile that it was previously forbidden to be opened, its contents a total mystery before its recent digitization.

The book was created in 1633 by Ten Bamboo Studio and is the earliest known example of polychrome xylography, invented by Hu Zhengyan. The technique, also referred to as douban, uses several printing blocks applied in succession with different inks to achieve the appearance of a hand-painted watercolor. The Cambridge site explains that the although the skill required to achieve such douban prints is admirable, the gradations of color within the book are what led to its reputation as “perhaps the most beautiful set of prints ever made.”

The manual contains eight categories showcasing birds, plumbs, orchids, bamboos, fruit, stones, ink drawings and miscellany. All of these sections of the manual are contained in the original “butterfly binding,” and has been identified to be the finest copy in the original binding by a leading scholar.

In addition to Shi zhu zhai shu hua pu, the library has also digitized other selections from its Chinese collections including the oracle bones (the earliest surviving examples of Chinese writing anywhere in the world), a Buddhist text dated between 1127 and 1175, and a 14th century banknote that threatens forgers with decapitation. (via Hyperallergic)

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Animation Art Design

Artist Charles Young Completes Work on Daily Paper Model Project After Designing 365 Structures

August 10, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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It’s daunting to witness the labor poured into a 365-day creative project, be it taking a daily photo, doing a quick sketch, or even writing a few lines. Edinburgh-based artist Charles Young (previously) gets particularly high marks for completing his daily paper model project that he started a year ago today as a way to explore design, architecture, and model building.

Every single one of his 365 models were designed, cut, and assembled daily using 220gsm watercolour paper and PVA glue, with many of the structures incorporating moving components that Young photographed to create quick animations. The pieces are frequently infused with bits of whimsy and ingenuity, probably the result of any undertaking requiring so many different random ideas. Although he’s now stopped working, Young hopes to eventually display the cityscape somewhere in its entirety. You can find more of his paper architecture on Etsy.

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Art Design

The Incredible Pencraft of Jake Weidmann, the World’s Youngest Master Penman

August 10, 2015

Christopher Jobson

When in school, artist and penman Jake Weidmann watched as his classmates typed their notes in laptops. Weidmann instead took the old-fashioned approach and wrote everything longhand with pen and paper, using every opportunity to practice and perfect his exquisite penmanship. The hard work quickly paid off he’s now one of only a dozen people designated as a master penman—not to mention the youngest by three decades.

This new video from Uproxx profiles Weidman has he talks a bit about his process and shows off some of his delicate pencraft, much more of which you can see on his website where he also shares his paintings, drawings, and sculptural work. (via Sploid)

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Photography Science

A Pair of Butterflies Photographed While Sipping on Turtle Tears in Ecuador

August 10, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Apparently if you’re a thirsty butterfly, one option available to you is a refreshing sip of turtle tears. No, this isn’t a staged photo masquerading as science, it’s an unusual behavior known as lachryphagy (tear drinking), and is one of several ways butterflies obtain moisture and nutrients. Captured here by Ama la Vida TV, this photo shows two Dryas iulia drinking tears from the eyes of a few turtles. The photo won the 2014 Wikimedia Picture of the Year. (via Laughing Squid, Twisted Sifter)