Science

Oyster Mushrooms Sprout from The Pages of a New Book About Fungi

May 13, 2020

Grace Ebert

Image © Merlin Sheldrake

Biologist and author Merlin Sheldrake is using a particularly self-referential marketing strategy for his new book Entangled Life. In a recent Instagram post, Sheldrake announced the mycelium-based project’s release with an image of the text literally bursting with fungi. “Here it is being devoured by Pleurotus, or oyster mushrooms. Pleurotus can digest many things, from crude oil to used cigarette butts, and is also delicious. Now Pleurotus has eaten Entangled Life, I can eat the Pleurotus, and so eat my words,” he writes. You can purchase your own (untarnished) copy from Bookshop.

 

 



Art

A Gleaming Series of Pressed-Glass Ducks Sculpted into Pools of Water

May 13, 2020

Anna Marks

“Compassion” (2017), press glass, hot sculpted. All images © Jennifer Halvorson

In artist Jennifer Halvorson’s (previously) collection of lustrous glass sculptures, there sits a group of glossy ducks. In some of her pieces, the water the birds sit within pours over the side, and each shiny piece looks wet to the touch as if it has dripped or melted into its shape. 

Halvorson’s ducks are part of her pressed glass collection, which features a variety of light blue and chocolate brown sculptures that either are facing each other, swimming apart, or have their tails lifted up in the air as though they are diving to catch fish. They comprise her exploration into the history and process of factory pressed glass, and her work explores innovative ways of working with the medium.

Halvorson began her glasswork practice in 2007 when she was a Fulbright Fellow and began studying at Danmarks Designskole, a Danish Design School in Copenhagen. “For two weeks my glass course resided in Sweden, visiting various glass factories and studying at Riksglasskolan, the national school of glass in Orrefors,” she says. For Halvorson, the factory visits were influential in shaping her artistry. Developing an understanding of the medium and accessing production on a large scale enabled her to learn and appreciate a variety of glasswork techniques.

After her graduate studies, Halvorson was awarded a residency at Wheaton Arts in Millville, New Jersey, which houses the Museum of American Glass. Featured within the museum’s walls are historical machines and molds. “This was the first time I was taught and participated in a press production run,” says Halvorson. “Driving home to the Midwest after this residency, I stopped at Fenton Art Glass Company in West Virginia. At this time (2010), the factory was still operating, and I was able to view how efficiently the teams worked to create multiples.”

Three years since her visit to the company, Halvorson purchased a glass press machine—called Beatrix—from George Fenton, along with three cast-iron press molds. “Since then, I have learned how to operate the machine, acquired 15 molds, and received a grant to design and manufacture a new mold,” she explains.

Halvorson’s glass ducks are one of her most successful pressed sculpture series and originally were designed by the factory to cover a small dish. “Soon after the form is pressed, I alter the duck’s gaze to give the form a character,” says the artist.  “After the glass production group cools, I form groupings to create narratives.” Then, Halvorson warms the pieces back up and works in more detail by pouring more material. “The fresh ladle of glass contrasts the factory press glass process and aesthetic and also gives the ducks an amorphic water puddle to swim,” she explains.

From her explorations into traditional pressed glass, Halvorson currently is working on two larger compositions: a stepping sock and plant leaves. Similarly to her ducks, Halvorson will combine pressed glass-making with contemporary techniques, a process which she also will bring to her new co-teaching position at the glass design course at Ball State University. See more of her process on Instagram.

 

“Above and Below” (2017), press glass, hot sculpted, 11 x 9 x 4.5 inches

“Affection” (2017), press glass, hot sculpted, 11 x 7 x 4 inches

“Confrontation” (2017), press glass, hot sculpted, 15 x 9 x 4 inches

“Feast” (2017), press glass, hot sculpted, 12.5 x 10 x 4 inches

“Convention” (2017), press glass, hot sculpted

“Neglect” (2017), press glass, hot sculpted

“Devotion” (2017), pressed glass, hot sculpted, 8 x 7.5 x 4 inches

 

 



Animation Art

A Carnivalesque Short Film by Fernando Livschitz Imagines a Buoyant Vienna

May 13, 2020

Grace Ebert

Vienna is like…,” a new animated short by Fernando Livschitz (previously), brings a heavy dose of the absurd to the Austrian capital. The director, who’s from Argentina and heads Black Sheep Films, captures an imagined Vienna in which historic buildings float in the air and a massive, multicolored slinky connects public transit cars. Watch the full animation that’s set to a circus-style tune below, and head to Vimeo and Instagram, where Livschitz shares more of his amusing films.

 

 

 



Design

Corrugated Steel Shelves Line a Church-Turned-Poetry-Shop in Shanghai

May 12, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Wutopia Lab

Peer inside Shanghai’s St. Nicholas, an Orthodox church from 1932, and you won’t see pews or traditional iconography. Thanks to architectural firm Wutopia Lab, the renovated building now serves as a shrine to verse. Titled “Church in Church,” the 388 square-meter structure holds Sinan Books Poetry Store, which boasts more than 1,000 volumes written in multiple languages. They’re displayed on steel shelves weighing 45 tons that contrast the ornate facades, high archways, and ceiling-bound frescoes of the original architecture.

In a conversation with ArchDaily, Wutopia Lab said the Chinese city’s mandates to preserve historical features restricted the project. The result is a light-filled space for Shanghai’s poetry community.

It should have an independent spirituality and should not be based on the religion of the old site. Given the fact that the dome could not be transformed, I used bookshelf to create a new structure as a Church in the old building Church. This is ‘Church in Church,’ a sanctuary for modern people was born in where once a sanctuary of faith.

For shoppers who need a snack after browsing, there are two cafes on the east and west sides of the building. For more of Wutopia Lab’s poetic designs, head to Instagram. You also might like these similarly transformed bookstores in the Netherlands and Buenos Aires. (via Trendland)

 

 

 



Art

Seamlessly Tour 37 Artists’ Studios From Around the World in a Successive Compilation

May 12, 2020

Grace Ebert

Berlin-based artist Falk Lehmann, who’s better known as AKUT (previously), recently decided to funnel the energy he would have been using during this time for exhibitions and festivals toward a collaborative project intended to connect artists around the world. After feeling cut off from his previously robust social and professional life, AKUT tasked 37 artists living in 30 different cities with creating “Isolated,” a short film that glimpses into each of their studios.

Participants—keep an eye out for Paola Delfín, Andreas Englund, Bezt, and others we’ve mentioned on Colossal—provided four-second clips spanning their workspace and some in-progress pieces before framing a digital screen, which provides the landscape to dive into the next studio in a chain-like series. AKUT said that while the initial shooting technique was simple, lining up and editing the different videos proved more difficult.

The finished short film came out as a proof for the principle of mentalism. Sliding through the contrasting and inspiring studios as lively spaces in constant use by the respective artists felt refreshing and very comforting to me. It symbolizes the connection of all individuals being part of a universal infinite, living mind, in which you don’t necessarily need to check in physically.

To see more of AKUT’s quarantine activities, follow him on Instagram. You also might want to check out this socially distant performance and another global initiative to bring artists together. (via Street Art News)

 

 

 



Design Illustration

Once Complete, Magic Puzzles Reveal an Optical Illusion and Secret Narrative

May 12, 2020

Grace Ebert

“The Mystic Maze” by Boya Sun. All images © Max Temkin, shared with permission

When Max Temkin was considering his latest project, Magic Puzzles, he wanted to ensure that the most exciting moment wasn’t inserting the last piece. The Chicago-based designer, who’s behind games like Cards Against Humanity, worked with artists Boya Sun, Felicia Chiao (previously), and Sarah Becan to create 1,000-piece jigsaws that have an added surprise: “When you receive the box, there’s a big envelope that says, ‘Don’t open this until you’re done with the puzzle.’ When you finish the puzzle and open that up, it starts the magical ending and makes some cool surprises available,” Temkin says. Once users complete the mythical landscapes and fantastical scenes—and open the envelope—an optical illusion and final narrative reveal themselves.

As an added bonus, each individual piece has its own miniature picture of a figure, building, or scene. “To make the magical ending work right, we had to customize the shape of every single piece in all three puzzles. While we were at it, we also made sure that the individual puzzle-piece shapes highlighted the cool art details instead of cutting them in half,” Temkin writes. Fifty eggs are hidden throughout each work, offering a treasure hunt, too.

Because the jigsaw pieces required extreme precision for the surprise ending to work correctly, the designer said that he had to collaborate with the factory on a new die-cutting technique. “Some of the roughly 3,000 blades that make up our dies actually had to be precise to within 0.1 millimeter—30 times more precise than a regular puzzle,” he said.

To get a Magic Puzzle for yourself, back the project on Kickstarter, and keep up with Temkin’s innovative projects on Instagram.

 

“The Sunny City” by Felicia Chiao

“The Happy Isles” by Sarah Becan

 

 



Art Photography

Homegrown Botanics Collaged into Conflict-Ridden Figures by Artist Meggan Joy

May 11, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Meggan Joy, shared with permission

For Meggan Joy to begin creating her flowery assemblages, she first has to plant the seeds. The Seattle-based artist cultivates a plot in a community garden throughout the summer months, tending to each fern and vibrant petal. Once her patch is in full bloom, she captures thousands of individual photographs of her rooted plants before combining them into allegorical digital collages of the female body. Birds, butterflies, and other visitors to her garden make an appearance, as well.

Her latest series, Battle Cry, depicts women in the midst of conflict. Imbued with action, each figure is comprised of layers of the living world that are derived from both the opened flowers and the powerful bodily poses. “Color and texture form each woman’s shape, and from the photographs of once-living individual things, portraits of ethereal beings begin to emerge,” the artist says. A snake wraps itself around one figure’s neck, while two others are twisted among flowing ribbon, merging notions of natural beauty and strength.

Joy’s work will be on view at J. Rinehart Gallery in Seattle from June 13 to July 25, with a virtual opening on June 13. Take a peek at her studio, which includes a walk through her garden plot, in the video below, and follow her textured compositions on Instagram.