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Art

Dense Installations by Max Hooper Schneider Feature Vibrant Landscapes Scattered with Human Objects

December 6, 2019

Grace Ebert

Max Hooper Schneider‘s formal training in marine biology and landscape architecture is apparent in his recent installation titled “Hammer Projects.” Schneider’s work features rich landscapes overflowing with colorful natural elements that are interspersed with human objects, like a container of cheese balls, a rusting rifle, and strings of beaded necklaces.

The Hammer Museum describes the Los Angeles-based artist’s work as an attempt to decenter the human experience and challenge assumptions about how and why we classify objects. Through his installations, Schneider explores dichotomous relationships—like the human and nonhuman, construction and destruction, and the political and the personal—that traditionally have informed daily life.

If you’re in Los Angeles, you can see Schneider’s work at the Hammer Museum through February 2, 2020. Otherwise, follow him on Instagram.

 

 



Photography Science

Colored Micrographs Magnify Pollen Seeds, Plant Cells, and Leaf Structures in Photographs by Rob Kesseler

December 5, 2019

Grace Ebert

All photographs (c) Rob Kesseler, shared with permission

Using scanning electron microscopy and a mix of microscopic, scientific, digital, and manual processes, artist Rob Kesseler develops colored micrographs of the intricate patterns within pollen and seed grains, plant cells, and leaf structures. The highly magnified photographs feature specifics of cellular composition that are undetectable without magnification.

Kesseler tells Colossal that as a child, his father gifted him a microscope, marking a pivotal moment in his creative career. “What the microscope gave me was an unprecedented view of nature, a second vision,” he writes, “and awareness that there existed another world of forms, colours and patterns beyond what I could normally see.” The artist says his use of color is inspired by the time he spends researching and observing, and that just like nature, he employs it to attract attention.

Kesseler calls the intersection between art and science “a process and a product, a morphogenetic synthesis of two expansive cultures and a way of examining the world through a series of filters.” And he has hope for the relationship between the two disciplines, saying, “I like to think we are entering a new age where after a century of separation, artists and scientists are again working together, sharing ideas that reflect our age.”

Currently the chair of Arts, Design and Science at Central Saint Martins, Kesseler also is a fellow of the Linnean Society, the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Microscopical Society. His most recent work includes a project with journalist Mathew Tucker of the BBC and a collaboration with Dr. Louise Hughes at Oxford Instruments. Both deal with the impacts of climate change on the plant world.

You can find more of Kesseler’s painstakingly created photographs on his Instagram and in his books featuring pollen, seeds, and fruit. (thnx, Mike!)

 

 



Design Science

Returning to Roots: A New Book Highlights How Indigenous Practices Can Create More Sustainable Technology

December 3, 2019

Grace Ebert

A young fisherman walks under a living root bridge at Mawlynnong village, India. In the relentless damp of Meghalaya’s jungles the Khasi people have used the trainable roots of rubber trees to grow Jingkieng Dieng Jri living root bridges over rivers for centuries. Copyright: © Amos Chapple

Self-described designer, activist, academic, and author Julia Watson is trying to quash the boundary between native practices and technology in a new book that explores the ways indigenous wisdom can combat the high-tech approach to design and fighting climate change. In Lo—TEK Design by Radical Indigenism, Watson shares knowledge that transcends generations and cultures in an attempt to debunk the myth that indigenous approaches are primitive and far removed from current conceptions of technology. Throughout its more than 400 pages, the book explores ideas from 20 countries, including Peru, the Philippines, Tanzania, Kenya, Iran, Iraq, India, and Indonesia, about how to tackle more sustainable technology and design. It also contains a forward from anthropologist Wade Davis.

Watson founded Julia Watson Studio, an urban design studio, in addition to co-founding “A Future Studio,” described as a collective of conscious designers. She also teaches urban design at Harvard and Columbia University. Lo—TEK is scheduled to be released this month by Taschen. If you liked this, check out the recently published Primitive Technology: A Survivalist’s Guide to Building Tools, Shelters, and More in the Wild.

 

A view over the sacred Mahagiri rice terraces, a small portion of the one thousand year old agrarian system known as the subak, which is unique to the island of Bali, Indonesia. Copyright: © David Lazar

 

In the Southern Wetlands of Iraq, an entire Ma’dan house known as a mudhif, which is built entirely of qasab reed without using mortar or nails, can be taken down and re-erected in a day. Copyright: © Jassim Alasadi

 

Built by the Tofinu, the city of Ganvie meaning ‘we survived’ floats on Lake Nokoué surrounded by a radiating reef system of twelve thousand acadja fish pens. Copyright: © Iwan Baan

 

 

 

 



Art Photography

Majestic Trees in Serene Finnish Landscapes Photographed by Mikko Lagerstedt

November 30, 2019

Andrew LaSane

All photographs © Mikko Lagerstedt and shared with permission of the artist

Photographer Mikko Lagerstedt (previously) has once again captured the quiet beauty of his native Finland with a recent series centered around trees. Ethereal skies, virgin snow, and seemingly isolated pockets of nature serve as backdrops to twisted trunks and outstretched branches. Taken from Lapland to Southern Finland, the images speak to qualities of beauty and of resilience.

Lagerstedt was first inspired to capture these dreamy landscapes when he witnessed one first-hand while en route to a relative’s cabin. His images often showcase nature with little to no sunlight which gives them a sense of calm and stillness. The t r e e s series is comprised of photographs taken between 2018 and 2019 and edited using Photoshop and Lightroom. “My goal is to convey the feeling I had when I was photographing the subjects…to appreciate the never-ending beauty of trees,” Lagerstedt tells Colossal. “In our lives, we rarely recognize them, yet trees surround us with their beauty. They tell us many stories about life and the struggle to survive in harsh conditions.”

To see more of his work, follow Lagerstedt on Instagram and check out his portfolio on Behance.

 

 



Art Photography

The Children of Gaia Emerge from Ecological Crises in Photographs by Fabrice Monteiro

October 26, 2019

Andrew LaSane

The Prophecy #7, Fabrice Monteiro. Baryt prints in color, images courtesy of the artist.

For his multiyear project titled “The Prophecy,” Belgian-Beninese photographer Fabrice Monteiro confronts global issues of ecological devastation. The striking images in the project combine haute couture, spiritual figures, and staged scenes of pollution and decimation.

Made in collaboration with Senegalese fashion designer Doulsy and set primarily in Africa, the series took Monteiro two years to complete. Models representing the children of the Earth Goddess Gaia (known as djinn) are dressed in costumes fashioned to look like the environmental ruin and refuse that surrounds them. Consumer debris like fishing nets and plastic bags form elaborate gowns, headdresses, and garbage accessories that anchor the djinn to the trashed landscapes. All thirteen photographs in the series are currently being shown together for the first time in the United States at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Prophecy #1

The exhibition was organized to coincide with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s 18-month “Interrogating the Plantationocene” Sawyer Seminar. James Wehn, the Van Vleck Curator of Works on Paper at the museum, says that Chazen director Amy Gillain and Professors at the university selected Monteiro’s project “for the compelling way in which the photographs provoke critical conversations about issues central to the seminar.” The course runs through May 2020, while the exhibition of Monteiro’s photographs will end on January 5, 2020.

To see more of Fabrice Monteiro’s unique blend of photo journalism and fashion photography, check out his online portfolio and follow him on Instagram.

The Prophecy #2

The Prophecy #3

The Prophecy #8

The Prophecy #4

The Prophecy #5

The Prophecy #6

The Prophecy #9

 

 



History Illustration Science

All 435 Illustrations from John J Audubon’s ‘Birds of America’ Are Available for Free Download

October 22, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Pinnated Grouse, plate 186

If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to download free high resolution images of 435 bird illustrations, you’re finally in the right place. The National Audubon Society has recently made John James Audubon’s seminal Birds of America available to the public in a downloadable digital library (signing up for their email list is a prerequisite).

Birds of America was printed between 1827 and 1838, and was filled prints created from hand-engraved plates based on Audubon’s original watercolor paintings. In addition to the prints, each bird’s page also includes a recording of the animal’s call, plus extensive written texts from the period of the book’s printing.

Audubon is widely lauded as the individual who brought an awareness and appreciation of birds’ beauty and fragility; the National Audubon Society has been active since 1905. Explore more of the Society’s current conservation efforts, as well as ways to get involved, on their website. (via Open Culture)

Roseate Spoonbill, plate 321

American Magpie, plate 357

Sharp-tailed Finch, plate 149

Sooty Tern, plate 235

Summer, or Wood Duck, plate 206

Spotted Grouse, plate 176

American Flamingo, plate 431

 

 



Photography

Stunning Shots Take Top Prizes in the 2019 Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year Contest

October 17, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Land of the eagle by Audun Rikardsen, Norway. Winner 2019, Behaviour: Birds. All images © their respective photographers, and shared courtesy of Natural History Museum, London

This week, London’s Natural History Museum announced the winners of its 55th Wildlife Photographer of the Year showcase. More than 48,000 amateur and professional photographers from 100 countries shared their best shots and a jury of nine experts selected the winners. Some of this year’s jurors included Kathy Moran, Senior Editor for Natural History at National Geographic Magazine; nature photographer Theo Bosboom; Melissa Dale, Acting Director of Photography at The Nature Conservancy; conservation photojournalist Paul Hilton; and writer and editor Rosamund ‘Roz’ Kidman Cox OBE, who chaired the committee.

The nineteen winners were selected across categories including animal behavior of mammals, birds, and invertebrates, along with animal portraits, plants and fungi, earth’s environment, and special categories for youth and emerging photographers. We’ve included 10 of our favorites here, including a golden eagle about to land by Audun Rikardsen, a life-or-death duel between a marmot and a fox by Yongqing Bao, and a hummingbird hawkmoth caught mid-sip by Thomas Easterbrook. To see more of the top finishers, check out our September coverage of this year’s finalists, and see the full show at the Natural History Museum in London now through May 31, 2020. Submissions for the 2020 competition open on October 21, 2019.

The architectural army by Daniel Kronauer, USA. Winner 2019, Behaviour: Invertebrates

The equal match by Ingo Arndt, Germany. Joint Winner 2019, Behaviour: Mammals

Tapestry of life by Zorica Kovacevic, Serbia/USA. Winner 2019, Plants and Fungi

Snow-plateau nomads by Shangzhen Fan China. Winner 2019, Animals in Their Environment

The moment by Yongqing Bao, China. Joint Winner 2019, Behaviour: Mammals

Early riser by Riccardo Marchgiani, Italy. Winner 2019, 15-17 years old

Face of deception by Ripan Biswas, India. Winner 2019, Animal Portraits

The huddle by Stefan Christmann, Germany. Winner 2019, Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio Award

Humming surprise by Thomas Easterbrook, UK. Winner 2019, 10 years and under