Design Photography Science
‘Open Circuits’ Slices Everyday Electronics to Reveal Their Surprisingly Stunning Insides
Whether the invisible circuitry that powers our phones or the bundled cables that transport sound and data, it’s easy to appreciate common technologies for their functional purposes and simplification of daily life. A recently released book from No Starch Press, though, treasures these components for the artistry of their engineering and highlights the intricacy and elegance inherent within each design.
Open Circuits: The Inner Beauty of Electronic Components features photographs of 130 technologies cross-cut or altered to reveal their otherwise hidden elements. Written by Windell Oskay and Eric Schlaepfer, the book features a vast array of objects like headphone jacks, HDMI cables, and even retro neon lamps as it offers nearly impossible glimpses for those of us interested in keeping our devices intact. Each page is both a dive into technological history and an ode to the evolution and aesthetics of electronics themselves.
Although Open Circuits is currently back-ordered on Bookshop, the publisher says that more copies should be available within the coming weeks. Until then, check out the book’s site and watch the making-of video below. (via Kottke)
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After Sitting in Storage for More Than Three Decades, an Art Amusement Park Is Finally Going On Tour
In the summer of 1987, a carnival like no other popped up for thirteen weeks on a public green in Hamburg, Germany. Walking through a gate featuring an oversized painting by Sonia Delaunay, visitors entered the world of Luna Luna, an amusement park brimming with rides and kiosks designed by some of the most recognizable names in 20th century art history like David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, and Salvador Dalí, to name a few. Altogether, thirty-five artists were invited to create new works for the fairground, which was slated for a global tour, including a Ferris wheel by Jean-Michel Basquiat and a carousel by Keith Haring.
Luna Luna saw nearly a quarter of a million visitors in its first—and only—summer. A change of ownership after its initial installation trapped the project in a legal battle, and it was instead locked away in storage. It was more than three decades before it was seen again. In 2022, a team of creatives organized to buy the contents of the original presentation, restore it, and launch a multi-city tour starting in 2024. To mark this new chapter, Phaidon has also re-issued Luna Luna: The Art Amusement Park, a book first published in 1987 that includes numerous photographs and documentation along with cover drawings commissioned by the artists.
At Luna Luna, art was for all. The book’s author, Austrian artist and curator André Heller, described that the ethos behind the project was that art “should come in unconventional guises and be brought to those who might not ordinarily seek it out in more predictable settings.” The artist-designed environment was an opportunity to imagine a kind of art utopia, drawing on the nostalgic popularity of amusement parks as places of entertainment and escape for people of all ages. The Luna Luna team aims to pick up where the original edition left off, evolving and incorporating new commissions from innovative and influential artists working today.
While the components of the park are currently being restored in Los Angeles, you can grab a copy of the book on Bookshop. Find more information on Luna Luna’s website, and follow on Instagram for updates about the upcoming tour.
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Shift Happens: A Forthcoming Book Catalogs the 150-Year History of the Keyboard
What if QWERTY wasn’t the standard keyboard layout? A forthcoming book by Chicago-based designer and writer Marcin Wichary examines the now-ubiquitous format and how it came to dominate modern technology.
Fully funded a few hours after launching on Kickstarter, Shift Happens documents 150 years of keyboard history from early analog typewriters to the pixelated versions on our phones. The 1,200-page book is split into two volumes that encompass a broad array of innovations and feuds from “the Shift Wars of the 1880s (and) Nobel-prize winner Arthur Schawlow using a laser to build the best typo eraser (to) August Dvorak—and many others—trying to dethrone QWERTY (and) Margaret Longley and Lenore Fenton perfecting touch typing.”
Seven years in the making, the book features 1,300 photos of devices and typists at work, some of which document collections and archives that have never been seen before. Wichary emphasizes the cultural implications of the commonplace objects, saying he focused on the people behind the technology. “I wanted a book that told all the personal stories about keyboards tied in with a historical, social, and political context,” he shares.
To grab a copy of Shift Happens, head to Kickstarter, and follow Wichary on Mastodon for updates on the project.
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Fairytale Scenes Nestle Between the Covers of Isobelle Ouzman’s Altered Books
Open one of Isobelle Ouzman’s books, and you’ll be transported to a whimsical world of flora and fauna. The Bratislava-based artist (previously) carves pages of found novels and other tomes into intricate paper labyrinths of forests and meadows. Often occupied by a lone hare or fox, the fairytale scenes are imbued with a quiet, calm sense of mystery about the machinations of the imagined environments and their inhabitants.
Ouzman shares that she gravitates toward mass-produced volumes in poor condition. “Book size, depth, and paper texture play a big role in my decision as well, and I often need to hold a book in my hands before I can visualise a new artwork,” she says. The carving and drawing process depends on both the physical object and the intended narrative, taking between three weeks and three months to complete.
Find an archive of Ouzman’s works and glimpses into her process on her site and Instagram, and shop prints on Etsy.
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A New Monograph Follows the Evolution of Wangechi Mutu’s Mythologizing Practice
A new monograph published by Phaidon delves into the multi-faceted work of Kenyan-American artist Wangechi Mutu (previously). The first of its kind, the volume packs hundreds of artworks, glimpses into Mutu’s Nairobi studio, and her own writings within its 160 pages. Known for mythologizing, the artist often incorporates found, organic materials like soil, feathers, bone, and ephemera into her collages and sculptures. The works broadly explore gender, sexuality, politics, and the natural world through expressive, hybrid figures imbued with otherworldly lore.
To coincide with the book’s release, Phaidon has a limited-edition print available featuring Mutu’s dreamlike “WaterSpirit washed Pelican.” Explore an archive of her works on Instagram.
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From Junk Drawers to Phone Books, Artist Bernie Kaminski Captures the Nostalgia of Banal Items Through Papier-Mâché
A stack of worn phone books, a neatly folded button-up, and a junk drawer filled with receipts, batteries, and takeout remnants capture the playful nostalgia of Bernie Kaminski’s papier-mâché sculptures. The artist, who began working with the humble craft after his daughter brought home a seahorse she made in school, is driven largely by curiosity and a desire to explore the potential of the material, and he tends to recreate the objects he finds around his home. An orange dutch oven sits atop a shelving unit stocked with pantry items and cookbooks, for example, and books like Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White and John Berger’s A Painter of Our Time find their place among other classic texts.
Kaminski gravitates toward authentic interpretations of generally banal items, although the subtle ripples and creases of the material remain visible. He generally coats a cardboard and tape base with the wet papier-mâché, before letting it dry and painting on logos, signatures, and other details. Imbued with a playful sense of nostalgia, the sculptures “look fake in a way that somehow reflects how I feel about the real thing,” the artist tells It’s Nice That.
Be sure to visit Kaminski’s Instagram for an archive of the lighthearted wares. (via Kottke)
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