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Art

Organic, Sunrise Gradients Mask Front Pages of The New York Times by Artist Sho Shibuya

June 30, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Sho Shibuya, shared with permission

For many people, blocking out the news has meant logging off of Twitter and resisting the urge to check every breaking update. But Sho Shibuya has taken a more literal approach to the stress-reducing action. The Brooklyn-based artist and founder of the design studio Placeholder has taken to painting over the front page of The New York Times with vibrant gradients that mimic the day’s sunrise.

Beginning in March when cities began to lock down, Shibuya realized that his sensory perceptions of the world changed. “Some days passed and I realized that from the small windows of my studio, I could not hear the sounds of honking cars or people shouting,” he says. “I could hear the birds chirping energetically and sound of wind in the trees, and I looked up and saw the bright sky, beautiful as ever despite the changed world beneath it.”

Shibuya began to photograph the sunrise each morning, recreating each rich gradient in acrylic. His color choices are inspired largely by the Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hiroshige, who was commended for his bokashi gradient technique and signature blue tones. Each of Shibuya’s works maintains the header and date of the publication. “I started to capture the moment in the newspaper, contrasting the anxiety of the news with the serenity of the sky, creating a record of my new normal,” he says. “Their front page has always been a time capsule of a day in history, so it made sense to use history as the canvas because the paintings are meant to capture a moment in time.”

The spirit of the project is that maybe, even after the pandemic subsides, people can continue some of the generosity and peace we discovered in ourselves and that the sky reminds us of every day with a sunrise through a small window. If one thing the news has made clear, we need generosity and peace for all people now more than ever.

To follow the daily record, check out Shibuya’s Instagram, where he shares updates on the optimistic series. (via Spoon & Tamago)

 

 

 



Science

A Decade of Sun: A New Timelapse Chronicles Ten Years of the Enormous Star

June 29, 2020

Grace Ebert

Most experts advise against staring at the sun for more than a few seconds, and yet, a new timelapse from NASA lets viewers peer into the fiery mass for an entire decade. During the course of ten years, the Solar Dynamics Observatory took more than 425 million images of the massive star that were captured .75 seconds apart. Aggregated into an hour-long compilation titled “A Decade of Sun,” the photographs provide visual evidence of how the giant orb functions and its influence on the rest of the solar system. Each image was captured at a wavelength of 17.1 nanometers, or one-billionth of a meter, to show the exterior atmospheric layer that’s called the corona.

NASA has shared on YouTube a list of notable moments, including an appearance by Venus and an iconic interruption in 2012. Most of the dark spots in the video are a result of the earth or moon passing in between the Solar Dynamics Observatory and blocking its view, although there was a longer lapse in 2016 due to an equipment malfunction. When the spacecraft was recalibrating its tools, the sun shifts to one side of the screen.

Head to YouTube to dive into more of NASA’s explorations into outer space.

 

 

 



Animation

Kukuschka: An Ambitious Bird Passionately Follows the Sun in a Windy Stop-Motion Short by Dina Velikovskaya

April 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

For Kukuschka, motherhood is a hindrance. In a stop-motion film bearing her name, the avian character dreams of reaching the sun. She travels the beige dunes each day and braves the wind gusts that blow her gauzy clothing. When her similarly dressed baby breaks out of its shell, she tries to continue on her journey to follow the glowing orb, before slowing to a lope to find care for her child.

Created by Russian animator and director Dina Velikovskaya, the stop-motion film is an effort to complicate traditional notions of parenthood. Velikovskaya told Short of the Week that “Kukuschka” represents “women who ha(ve) dreams and how motherhood can be an obstacle to them.” Throughout the emotional production, the mother-baby duo struggle to coexist in their sand-filled world.

Since it was released in 2016, “Kukuschka” has garnered worldwide attention, winning Best Animated Comedy from the EACG Animation Festival in San Francisco and Best Director at the New Horizon Film Festival and National Animation Premium “IKARUS.” For more Kukuschka and the other avian puppets, check out the animator’s Instagram, where the characters periodically visit coffee shops and parks.

 

 



Photography

Sinister Sunrise Captured by Photographer Elias Chasiotis During an Eclipse in Qatar

January 3, 2020

Andrew LaSane

All images © Elias Chasiotis

Athens-based photographer Elias Chasiotis was visiting Qatar in late December 2019 when he captured a photo of an annular eclipse that has since gone viral. Taken at sunrise as a part of a series, the image shows the moon covering the center of a red sun. The timing of the photograph turns the crimson star into curved horns emerging from the horizon.

A self-identified astrophotographer and amateur astronomer, Chasiotis tells Colossal that the conditions were hazy on the morning of December 26 when the photographs were taken. The haze gave the sun its red glow, but as NASA astronomer explained on the Astronomy Picture of the Day blog, the Earth’s atmosphere helped create the full image: “The dark circle near the top of the atmospherically-reddened Sun is the Moon — but so is the dark peak just below it. This is because along the way, the Earth’s atmosphere had an inversion layer of unusually warm air which acted like a gigantic lens and created a second image.”

Chasiotis continued to photograph the eclipse as the sun rose, writing on Facebook that the “annular phase was blocked by clouds, but the red crescent sunrise was the most awesome sunrise I’ve ever seen!”

 

 



Photography Science

Tiny Ice Crystals Simulate a Halo Around the Sun in Photograph by Michael Schneider

December 12, 2019

Grace Ebert

Photo by Michael Schneider, shared with permission

On a November trip to the Arosa mountains in the Swiss Alps, Michael Schneider snapped a photo using his iPhone 11. The Zurich-based photographer and writer says the image he captured as the fog dissipated shows small ice crystals in the clouds, which break up the sunlight. The crystals’ insides reflect the sun, which is then broken again as it leaves the inside chamber, resulting in the halo of light.

Gizmodo’s Mika McKinnon elucidated the phenomenon when a similar shot was taken a few years ago.

Ice halos happen when tiny crystals of ice are suspended in the sky. The crystals can be high up in cirrus clouds, or closer to the ground as diamond dust or ice fog. Like raindrops scatter light into rainbows, the crystals of ice can reflect and refract light, acting as mirrors or prisms depending on the shape of the crystal and the incident angle of the light.

You can find an analysis by Mark McCaughrean of the atmospheric optics at work in the image below. Keep up with Schneider’s travel writing and the frozen landscapes he frequents on his Instagram. (via Kottke)

Photo annotation by Mark McCaughrean

 

 



Art

An Enormous Red Sun Will Shine Above the Streets of New York in Thanksgiving Parade Balloon by Yayoi Kusama

November 28, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

If you haven’t had a chance to experience a Yayoi Kusama piece in person, the iconic Japanese artist will be debuting a sun-themed balloon in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Kusama (previously), whose wide-ranging work across a long career includes her wildly popular infinity rooms and large-scale polka dotted objects, has designed “Love Flies Up to the Sky” to be floated along the streets of Manhattan. The red balloon, hand-painted with white and yellow dots and a blue face, joins “more than 1,500 dancers and cheerleaders, close to 1,000 clowns, almost 30 parade floats, and a dozen marching bands,” according to NYCTourist.com. Kusama is the first female artist to be commissioned by the parade to create a ballon as part of their Blue Sky Gallery program, joining a roster that has included KAWS, Jeff Koons, Tim Burton, and FriendsWithYou, among others. (via Hyperallergic)

Update: The Kusama balloon was grounded because of weather.