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Design Science

The Ocean Cleanup Conceptualizes Its Third Massive Apparatus to Remove Trash from the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’

September 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

Sadly known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a wide swath of ocean between the U.S. coast and Japan is an enormous vortex of trash. A gyre, or system of currents, surrounds the area and sucks debris and litter into its rotation, trapping hundreds of millions of kilograms of plastic waste within its 20 million square kilometers.

Back in 2018, The Ocean Cleanup engineered a slow-moving apparatus called System 001 designed to wade through the patch to retrieve garbage with a massive net. The nonprofit, which wants to remove 90 percent of floating plastic by 2040, is now conceptualizing its third iteration of the machine that will be the largest and most efficient model to date. “When it comes to cleaning the oceans, size matters,” a statement about the new technology says. “Bigger systems mean fewer support vessels, which are the main cost driver (and the main carbon emitter) in our operations. In short, bigger systems mean a lower cost per kilogram.” System 002 removed more than 100,000 kilograms of plastic as of July 2022.

In a newly produced concept video, The Ocean Cleanup suggests that System 3 will now be comprised of three vessels that rely on drones to identify waste hotspots. The ships will haul a massive 2,500-meter wide and four-meter deep net system that sweeps the targeted areas to gather debris and funnel it to a sizable retention zone. Once collected and hauled from the water, the waste is organized into shipping containers and sent for recycling or repurposing.

The Ocean Cleanup plans to create a fleet of ten System 03 machines in the coming months, which the organization estimates will be powerful enough to restore much of the area. You can follow its progress on Twitter and Instagram, and head to its site for occasional live streams.

 

A rendering of the retention zone

A rendering of the net

A rendering of the net

 

 



Design

A Giant Sharpener Creates Playful Pendant Lights That Mimic Colored Pencil Shavings

September 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Nanako Kume, shared with permission

Nanako Kume’s pendant lights would look perfectly at home in an elementary classroom or art studio. The Tokyo-based designer is behind a playful collection of fixtures that layers colored-pencil-style wood shavings into whimsical lampshades.

To create the works, Kume developed a large sharpener operable with a hand-crank. A short film by Yunosuke Ishibashi chronicles her process, which includes whittling a piece of lumber into a hexagon, spray painting its exterior, and soaking the material in water to make it pliable. Once inserted into the sharpener and shaved, the jagged, pigmented edges evocative of a colored pencil emerge and are coiled into suspended shades.

Kume plans to make some of the collection available for purchase, so keep an eye on her Instagram for updates. (via designboom)

 

 

 



Art Documentary History

‘Beyond the Visible,’ a Documentary Illuminating the Life and Work of Hilma af Klint, Is Free to Stream

September 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

Released in 2020, an acclaimed documentary serves as a corrective to the art historical record. Beyond the Visible spotlights the life and work of the pioneering Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (1862–1944), an obscure figure during her lifetime whose colorful abstract works predate those of famed male artists like Vasily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian. Directed by Halina Dyrschka, the feature-length documentary centers on af Klint’s groundbreaking practice and the spiritual, scientific, and natural phenomena that inspired her work.

Beyond the Visible is currently available to stream for free on Kino Lorber’s YouTube, which is a trove of art history and culture. To learn more about af Klint’s legacy and view her expansive oeuvre, pick up The Complete Catalogue Raisonné: Volumes I-VII. (via Open Culture)

 

 

 



Music Photography

A Dizzying Zoetrope Flashes Scenes of Portugal Through a Train Window

September 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

Irish director and animator Kevin McGloughlin (previously) and his brother Páraic (aka the McGloughlin Brothers) recently collaborated on a new short film that speeds through urban and rural regions of Portugal with an eye toward recurring structures and patterns. The music video for Bonobo’s new single “ATK,” the zoetrope flashes a series of photos at an incredibly fast pace, appearing to capture the scenes from the window of a train. Spliced into a dizzying sequence, the animation reveals a range of cohesive elements from the lines of terracotta roofing and ceramic tiles with colorful motifs to skinny streets that flicker in rapid succession.

Watch more mesmerizing compilations by the McGloughlin Brothers on Vimeo.

 

 

 



Art Documentary

A Powerful Documentary Captures the Life and Work of Artist Yvonne Shortt Who is Legally Blind

September 8, 2022

Grace Ebert

Retinitis pigmentosa is a rare genetic disease that breaks down the retina and causes vision loss as it progresses. Like many with the condition, Yvonne Shortt was diagnosed as a child when she realized that her sight was different from those in her family when they wandered into dark movie theaters or looked at the stars at night, and she struggled to do the same.

Now legally blind as an adult, Shortt cultivates a visual art practice that involves shaping figurative busts from clay, moss, grasses, and other natural materials. “I make a face of a little girl, and I make that face for hours until I feel her breathing. I thought, if I can’t see, will I have that connection with it?” she says of experiencing her vision slowly diminish. “But there’s the tactility, the wetness of the clay, how it dries. I realized that I can still make objects even with my eyes closed.”

Filmmaker James Robinson dives into Shortt’s story in one part of the documentary series Adapt-Ability, produced by The New York Times. The film chronicles how Shortt experienced the progression of the disease and offers a simulation of what the world looks like from her body as she gradually loses clarity and her peripheral vision. Robinson explains:

Unlike the stereotype of the blind living in a lightless world, Ms. Shortt, like most other legally blind people, lives a nuanced existence between those who see well and those who can’t see a thing… She can see some things some of the time, depending on various factors, including the amount of ambient light, her distance from the object and the object’s location in her field of vision.

Although the condition has necessitated life adjustments like the use of a white cane, Shortt has come to understand her limitations as a benefit to her art, her other senses, and her ability to find compassion for those around her. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Photography Science

Masters of Disguise: Sly Insects From Costa Rica to Malaysia Show Off Their Expert Camouflages

August 31, 2022

Grace Ebert

Nature’s propensity for survival continuously manifests in surprising ways, and thanks to David Weiller (previously), we’re able to witness some of the most clever disguises of the insect world. The photographer captures a wide array of critters and their deceptive traits, from the Malaysian geometer moth and its expert camouflage as a dead leaf to the lichen katydid, which mimics the stringy filamentous lichen from which it draws its name. Weiller’s YouTube is a trove of exceptional imitations, including glimpses of the seemingly invisible bagworm moth caterpillar and the lappet moth caterpillar that appears to show off a cheesy grin.