Friday, August 23, 2013

Amazing Snakelike Installation Spans 100 Feet Long

This snakelike piece is a 100-foot-long installation created by sculptor and furniture-maker Barbara Holmes. The California-based artist produced the complex arrangement using lath (narrow strips of straight-grain wood) collected from the San Francisco city dump.
Simply called Untitled No. 5, the piece consists of scraps that are assembled into a lively three-dimensional structure. Throughout the room, the fragmented parts fan out and naturally blend together into one coherent and organized composition. The color variations in the weathered wood produce a visual texture and spark a curiosity about the previous purpose of each piece of reclaimed material, while the circular shapes curve, bounce, climb, and splatter along the walls and floors, consuming the space and taking on a life of its own.
In much of her work, Holmes transforms discarded materials into unexpected forms. She says, "I believe the emotional state of awe and wonder is an essential part of human experience. As an artist I enjoy transforming and recontexualizing materials, often reworking the ubiquitous into something unique and the banal into something of intrigue. By making objects that thwart easy definition, I create an open environment to encounter the work while experiencing something novel."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Beautifully Bird Nests From the 20th Century

Nature is filled with such fascinating animals that create everything from magnificently designed spiderwebs to mystifying cocoons. In particular, San Francisco-based photographer Sharon Beals is interested in birds and how they build their nests. Over the course of two centuries, egg and nest specimens have been collected and preserved and many of the samples featured here are specifically from the Cornell Museum of Vertebrates.
In her series, entitled Bird Nests, Beals documents the preserved artifacts which visually demonstrate the resourcefulness of birds who transform sticks, twigs, human and animal hair, moss, lichen, feathers, mud, and found human objects into snug little homes. By isolating the constructions on a rich black background, the artist invites her viewers to explore the intricate design of each structure. In addition to the nests, many unhatched eggs have been preserved, evoking a sympathetic sense of loss for those birds who were not meant to be a part of this world.
Beals says, "Survival for so many birds is tenuous in a modern world where habitat loss is as common as the next housing development, and even subtle changes in climate can affect food supply. It is my hope that capturing the detailed art form of the nests in these photographs will gain appreciation for their builders, and inspire their protection."

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Transportation System - Tel Aviv's Futuristic Skytrain

While public transportation yields many benefits for population dense cities, there are also a number of downsides to it, such as congestion, environmental impact, and the high cost to the city. A new type of public transit system is being developed by NASA and Skytran to bring the future one step closer and revolutionize city transportation. The Skytran consists of levitating pods that will travel on a series of suspended rails. Taking riders exactly where they need to go, the system aims to free up traffic congestion and be faster than current systems of public transit, while being environmentally safe.
The technology behind Skytran is extremely eco-friendly. Magnetic levitation coupled with solar-panels mounted on the guideways act as a constant power source resulting in a nearly energy net-neutral scheme. This isn't the only advantage of Skytran, however. The pods will be available 24/7 and can be called through smartphone applications. The rider simply inputs their destination and is swiftly carried to it while remaining free to read or work. Another big advantage of this system is that, unlike subways and metros that are costly and require heavy construction, the railway for the Skytran can be easily and cheaply expanded throughout the city by taking full advantage of unused air space.
To learn more about this innovative concept, set to premiere in Tel Aviv sometime in the near future, check out the video below.

Amazing Billowing Colorful Clouds of Smoke

Pop! is a visually exciting series by Texas-based photographer Irby Pace that reinterprets the look of oft-seen open fields, long roads, vast bodies of water, shrouded alleyways, and various desolate landscapes. Pace's refreshing take on landscape photography incorporates the use of artificial clouds, often seen in surreal, conceptual photography to give the ordinary subject a kick. The clever creative uses helium balloons, string, and smoke canisters typically used in paintball machines to create the mysterious clouds of color smoke in each of his images. They add a vibrant life to their respective settings as they billow against the horizon.
Pace explains, "With Pop! I am creating another way to view the traditional landscape through photography. I am painting the sky with clouds of colored smoke which are released via canisters that I am levitating into the physical space." He adds, "As a child I would take things apart and figure how they would function only to put them back together again or how to make them do something else. When approaching art making I am bringing this same childhood obsession, how can I use technology to turn art on it’s head. With my work I want to continue to mix classical art techniques and imbued it with new technology."

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Believe This Body is 700-Years-Old

Road workers discovered an extremely well preserved, 700-year-old mummy that dates back to the Ming Dynasty – “the ruling power in China between 1368 and 1644.” Inside the coffin, there was also bones, ceramics, ancient writings and other relics.
Director of the Museum of Taizhou, Wang Weiyin, told Xinhua that the mummy’s clothes are made mostly of silk, with a little cotton. He said usually silk and cotton are very hard to preserve and excavations found that this mummifying technology was used only at very high-profile funerals.
The first finding of the Ming Dynasty in Taizhou dates from May 1979 and led the opening of the museum. At that time the bodies were also found intact, but due to lack of experience of archaeologists only clothing, belts and clamps could be preserved.
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