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History Photography

Orbital Planes: A New Photography Book by Roland Miller Documents the Final Years of NASA's Shuttle Program

October 6, 2021

Christopher Jobson

Commander’s Console, Space Shuttle Endeavor, Orbiter Processing Facility 2, NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

Fine art photographer Roland Miller (previously) has been documenting America’s space program for more than 30 years, obtaining exclusive access to the interior spaces of orbiters and rockets, as well as manufacturing, testing, and launch facilities around the United States. The Utah-based photographer has captured a singular vision of the space program with a hybrid of abstract and documentary imagery, from macro details of fabricated elements to spectacular shuttle launches at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

In his newest book Orbital Planes, Miller focuses entirely on the waning years of NASA’s shuttle program, a project he embarked on starting in 2008. More than just documentation of the machine’s construction or photographs of pivotal launches, though, his work is an artistic interpretation of the shuttle program in its entirety. Miller shares:

Along with the images in the book are my accounts of interactions with the Space Shuttle program and its personnel. I approached this subject in the a hybrid style of documentary and abstract imagery to tell a more complete story. […] Orbital Planes is the result of that photography work. My hope is that Orbital Planes will give the reader their own personal view of the Space Shuttle and the technology and facilities that helped it fly.

Orbital Planes will be published in 2022, and Miller is supporting the project with a Kickstarter that includes a variety of signed prints found in the book. You can follow more of his work on Instagram.

 

ISS Airlock and Hatch, Space Shuttle Discovery, Orbiter Processing Facility 1, NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

Discovery Label, Space Shuttle Discovery, Vehicle Assembly Building, NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

Fuselage Flag and Wing, Space Shuttle Discovery, Vehicle Assembly Building ,NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

External Tank and SRB Frustum, Space Shuttle Atlantis, STS-125, Launch Pad 39A, NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

Launch Belly View, Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-133, Launch Pad 39A, NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

RSS Rolled Back, Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-133, Launch Pad 39A, NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

STATES, Space Shuttle Atlantis, STS-135, Final Rollover, NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

 

 



Art

Eerie Graphite Drawings Encase Aliens and Sci-Fi Experiments in Looming Stacked Towers

September 21, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Engineering Consciousness.” All images James Lipnickas, shared with permission

New Haven, Connecticut-based artist James Lipnickas conjures towering sci-fi structures filled with futuristic labs, clashes with aliens, and massive laser beams shooting from rooftops. Working in graphite, Lipnickas uses heavy shading to shroud his architectural renderings in mystery and unfamiliarity as tentacled creatures crack through the walls and humans become science experiments. “This series really grew out of my interest in advanced technologies integrating with humans and how it shapes us moving forward,” he says.

Amidst the machines and eerie contraptions, the artist interrupts each building with a level containing a garden bed or an illuminated tree grove. “The future holds many unknowns (technology and lifeforms).  We can’t forget the natural world while we move further from it,” he says.

Before the end of the year, Lipnickas will show some of his works at Chicago’s Vertical Gallery and in a few virtual exhibitions with WOW x WOW. You can find more of his drawings, and keep an eye out for an expansion of the series shown here, on his Instagram. (via Jeroen Apers)

 

“Through Different Identities” (2021)

“Way of the Future” (2021)

“Intelligent Machines” (2021)

“More than Human” (2021)

“A Simulated Reality”

“Techno Human” (2021)

 

 



Art Design Illustration

David Shrigley Designs a Collection of Phone Cases and Tech Accessories with His Signature Witty Illustrations

May 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Casetify

David Shrigley’s famously dry sense of humor and satirical quips grace a new collection of phone cases and other accessories. The British artist (previously) is collaborating with Casetify on a forthcoming line—it includes a dozen iPhone cases, plus Apple Watch bands, AirPods covers, stands, chargers, in addition to sleek laptop sleeves and bags—featuring his signature bold drawings alongside reminders to “be nice” and “work hard, play hard, eat a huge pizza.” One illustration, the pastel wolf, is even designed to howl a custom phrase.

As part of the collaboration, 100 limited-edition black mirror cases printed with a multi-color “There are no rules” will be released through a lottery, which you can enter starting next week on Casetify’s site. The rest of the designs go on sale on May 25. (via It’s Nice That)

 

 

 

 



Art

Digital Renderings Collage 3D Objects into Futuristic Self-Portraits by Artist Omar Aqil

May 13, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Omar Aqil, shared with permission

Lahore, Pakistan-based artist Omar Aqil (previously) digitally assembles technology, 3D objects, and textured masses into figurative collages for his series Self-Portraits 2050. The futuristic characters all sport a pair of glasses but are otherwise distinct, sometimes conveyed through sleek geometric shapes stacked into facial features and others sprouting whimsical florals and various organic elements. Experimentation and play are at the heart of this new series—which Aqil refers to as “profile pictures”—and his practice overall, resulting in an eclectic collection of self-portraits rooted in the current digital era.

Find more of the artist’s sculptural renderings, which include a variety of abstracted figures and colorful assemblages, on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Design

350 Layers of Coiled Clay Form an Organic Low-Carbon Home Made Through 3D-Printing

April 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © WASP

Last summer, The New York Times Magazine published a series of articles declaring that climate migration—a global exodus that’s predicted to displace between 50 and 300 million people worldwide—has begun. As more regions surrounding the equator become uninhabitable due to rising temperatures, crop losses, and disasters, entire populations will be forced to relocate to regions with more stable environments and economies. This impending movement coupled with an ongoing lack of affordable housing has sparked a wave of conversation about how best to remedy the looming crisis.

As a partial antidote, a Bologna-based studio, Mario Cucinella Architects, teamed up with the 3D-printing company WASP to design a low-carbon home that’s easily and quickly reproduced. Called “Tecla,” the prototype is a pair of sloping domes that can be built in only 200 hours using an average of six kilowatt-hours of energy. It’s made of 350 layers of coiled clay, which is sourced from a nearby river, that serves as thermal insulation for the earthen structure complete with a living area, kitchen, and sleeping quarters. Two skylights embedded in the roof of the 4.2-meter-tall domes allow light to enter the 60-square-meter space.

A short video from WASP documents the construction technique in Massa Lombarda, which involves two synchronized printing arms that glide back and forth to layer the walls. Producing almost no waste, the process is adaptable to other raw materials, making it a viable option for housing beyond the Italian region.

Find a larger collection of Mario Cucinella Architects’ and WASP’s climate-focused projects and looks into their processes on Instagram. You also might enjoy this 3D-printed home by Rael San Fratello. (via Dezeen)

 

 

 



History Science

Researchers Digitally Unfold a Renaissance-Era Letter Using X-Ray Technology

March 4, 2021

Grace Ebert

A 3D rendering of the letter as it unfolds. All images via Unlocking History Research Group archive

Three centuries after it was penned, the contents hidden inside a Renaissance-era letter plucked from a trunk at The Hague are finally readable. The correspondence, which we now know was likely spurred by questions about an inheritance, was part of a larger collection of nearly 600 letterlocked notes, a complex method that involves meticulously folding, rolling, tucking, and adhering the paper into its own envelope. Prior to the advent of other sealing practices, this security measure ensured that no one transporting the note became privy to its contents.

According to an article in Nature, a group of MIT researchers, who work as Unlocking History, digitally unraveled the letter, which otherwise would have to be opened by cutting through the paper, damaging the object and potentially leaving it unreadable. Instead, they employed a particularly sensitive X‐ray microtomography scanner designed for dental practices, including mapping the exact mineral content of teeth. After scanning the paper, researchers constructed 3D models alongside an algorithm built to determine specific folding patterns, allowing them to open the note without physically altering the artifact.

Dated July 31, 1697, the letter contained a request for a death certificate from a man named Jacques Sennacques to his cousin Pierre Le Pers, who lived at The Hague. “His request issued, Sennacques then spends the rest of the letter asking for news of the family and commending his cousin to the graces of God,” researchers said. “We do not know exactly why Le Pers did not receive Sennacques’ letter, but given the itinerancy of merchants, it is likely that Le Pers had moved on.” It’s unclear why this letter or the hundreds of others, which are written in Dutch, English, French, Italian, Latin, and Spanish, never reached their recipients.

Head to Vimeo to watch Unlocking History unfold replicas of infamous and fictional correspondence—the collection spans from Mary Queen of Scots to Harry Potter to Beethoven—and dive further into the practice on the group’s site, where you’ll find folding guides, a lengthy history, and an entire archive of discreet missives. (via Science Alert)

Update: This article originally stated that the letter was written six centuries ago, not three.

The scanned letter from July 31, 1697

Digital rendering of the letter as it unfolds

The trunk at The Hague that contains hundreds of letterlocked notes