Design Science

The Ocean Cleanup Conceptualizes Its Third Massive Apparatus to Remove Trash from the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’

September 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

Sadly known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a wide swath of ocean between the U.S. coast and Japan is an enormous vortex of trash. A gyre, or system of currents, surrounds the area and sucks debris and litter into its rotation, trapping hundreds of millions of kilograms of plastic waste within its 20 million square kilometers.

Back in 2018, The Ocean Cleanup engineered a slow-moving apparatus called System 001 designed to wade through the patch to retrieve garbage with a massive net. The nonprofit, which wants to remove 90 percent of floating plastic by 2040, is now conceptualizing its third iteration of the machine that will be the largest and most efficient model to date. “When it comes to cleaning the oceans, size matters,” a statement about the new technology says. “Bigger systems mean fewer support vessels, which are the main cost driver (and the main carbon emitter) in our operations. In short, bigger systems mean a lower cost per kilogram.” System 002 removed more than 100,000 kilograms of plastic as of July 2022.

In a newly produced concept video, The Ocean Cleanup suggests that System 3 will now be comprised of three vessels that rely on drones to identify waste hotspots. The ships will haul a massive 2,500-meter wide and four-meter deep net system that sweeps the targeted areas to gather debris and funnel it to a sizable retention zone. Once collected and hauled from the water, the waste is organized into shipping containers and sent for recycling or repurposing.

The Ocean Cleanup plans to create a fleet of ten System 03 machines in the coming months, which the organization estimates will be powerful enough to restore much of the area. You can follow its progress on Twitter and Instagram, and head to its site for occasional live streams.

 

A rendering of the retention zone

A rendering of the net

A rendering of the net

 

 



Design

A Giant Sharpener Creates Playful Pendant Lights That Mimic Colored Pencil Shavings

September 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Nanako Kume, shared with permission

Nanako Kume’s pendant lights would look perfectly at home in an elementary classroom or art studio. The Tokyo-based designer is behind a playful collection of fixtures that layers colored-pencil-style wood shavings into whimsical lampshades.

To create the works, Kume developed a large sharpener operable with a hand-crank. A short film by Yunosuke Ishibashi chronicles her process, which includes whittling a piece of lumber into a hexagon, spray painting its exterior, and soaking the material in water to make it pliable. Once inserted into the sharpener and shaved, the jagged, pigmented edges evocative of a colored pencil emerge and are coiled into suspended shades.

Kume plans to make some of the collection available for purchase, so keep an eye on her Instagram for updates. (via designboom)

 

 

 



Art

Innumerable Layers of Glass Evoke Movement in Nature in K. William Lequier’s Sculptures

September 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Vestige.” All images by Gerard Roy, © K. William LeQuier, shared with permission

Crashing waves and ice crystals sprawling across a window pane are two of the naturally occurring motions reflected in the works of K. William LeQuier (previously). Based in Readsboro, Vermont, LeQuier carefully layers carved sheet glass into delicate sculptures that twist and writhe atop minimal black armature. The overlapped material varies in opacity, with the outer details often appearing paler in color and the dense portions emitting a blue-green hue.

LeQuier shares that he’s been experimenting with aspects of perspective and depth to create the illusion of three dimensions despite working within a narrow field. Find an archive of the artist’s work on his site.

 

“Risen”

“Untitled”

“Gala”

“Coriolis”

“Perigean Spring”

“Breaker”

“Synergy”

 

 



Art Documentary History

‘Beyond the Visible,’ a Documentary Illuminating the Life and Work of Hilma af Klint, Is Free to Stream

September 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

Released in 2020, an acclaimed documentary serves as a corrective to the art historical record. Beyond the Visible spotlights the life and work of the pioneering Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (1862–1944), an obscure figure during her lifetime whose colorful abstract works predate those of famed male artists like Vasily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian. Directed by Halina Dyrschka, the feature-length documentary centers on af Klint’s groundbreaking practice and the spiritual, scientific, and natural phenomena that inspired her work.

Beyond the Visible is currently available to stream for free on Kino Lorber’s YouTube, which is a trove of art history and culture. To learn more about af Klint’s legacy and view her expansive oeuvre, pick up The Complete Catalogue Raisonné: Volumes I-VII. (via Open Culture)

 

 

 



Design History Photography

Photos by Noritaka Minami Document the Famed Nakagin Capsule Tower Prior to Demolition

September 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

“B1004” (2011). All images © Noritaka Minami, shared with permission

An icon of Japanese Metabolism, the Nakagin Capsule Tower stood in the Ginza neighborhood of Tokyo from 1972 until it was demolished earlier this year. Conceived by the famed designer Kisho Kurokawa, the building featured two central concrete towers, with 140 individual pods slotted into the main structures. A circular window allowed light into the small modules, which were created with the intention that they could be removed and replaced as needed.

This flexibility was an essential component of Metabolist architecture, which fused the concept of megastructures with organic growth, meaning many of the designs of the period embraced prefabrication for its ability to “regenerate” every few decades. Unfortunately for the Nakagain Capsule Tower, though, structural issues prevented the pods from being easily swapped, and the building fell quickly into a state of disrepair.

 

“Facade” (2010)

Until it was disassembled back in April, the complex served as a beacon of the pre-war movement that began in the 1960s and was one of the few remaining structures of its kind—Kurokawa’s similarly futuristic Capsule Hosue K is still in use in Nagano woods. Today, some of the tower’s capsules are being shipped to museums and institutions or converted into single accommodations, and one company is also working to digitally preserve the building.

Artist Noritaka Minami documented the complex prior to demolition, and his photographs of the facade and residential units are on view this week as part of 1972/Accumulations at MAS Context Reading Room in Chicago. Framing the living quarters from the same angle, the images compare the structural similarities and personal effects of each space. The photos, most of which Minami took between 2010 and 2021, capture a certain intimacy within the austere uniformity and preserve what once was an architectural innovation.

1972/Accumulations runs from September 22 to December 8. See more of the series on Minami’s site.

 

“A503” (2017)

“Artificial Land” (2021)

“A703” (2017)

“B605” (2021)

“B807” (2021)

“B702” (2012)

“A905” (2018)

 

 



Art

Folkloric Portraits in Acrylic by Artist Paul Lewin Envision an Afrofuturistic World

September 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Convergence” (2022), acrylic on wood, 24 x 30 inches. All images © Paul Lewin, shared with permission

For Jamaica-born, Miami-based artist Paul Lewin, painting portraits of resilient, unafraid women is a way to process and manifest a lineage. “My work tells the story of me,” he says in a statement. “Each of my paintings is created in a process similar to dreaming. Meditation and dreams were very important tools in the creative process of my ancestors. I like to think of it as traveling inside to the place where my inspirations, emotions, genetic memory, and unconscious thoughts all collide.”

Working in neutral tones and colors evocative of the tropics, Lewin envisions figures within the speculative realm of Afrofuturism. Geometric motifs and symbols reference diasporic folklore and ritual and adorn the subjects’ faces and torsos. Hoods of fur, snake-like coils, and feathers shroud their bodies, using organic details to frame their silhouettes and convey the intrinsic connections between humanity and nature. Rendered on canvas or wood panel, each work is rooted in the transfer of energy and how legacies are passed through generations.

Prints, stickers, and other goods are available in Lewin’s shop. Visit Instagram for more of his works and glimpses into his process.

 

“Nala” (2022), acrylic on wood, 24 x 30 inches

“Habitation” (2022), acrylic on wood, 24 x 30 inches

Left: “Proxima Centauri” (2022), acrylic on wood, 24 x 30 inches. Right: “Ritual” (2022), acrylic on wood, 24 x 30 inches

“Nomad” (2022), acrylic on wood, 24 x 30 inches

“Nexus,” acrylic on wood cutout by Joe Koontz

Left: “Kianga” (2019), acrylic on canvas, 20 x 24 inches. Right: Cover art for “How Long till Black Future Month” (2021), acrylic on canvas, 20 x 24 inches

Lewin with his mural at UC Santa Cruz