Friday, February 12, 2016

"When You Sing" by School of Seven Bells

Ever since my post a few days ago about the new School of Seven Bells release, I have been on a School of Seven Bells kick. And I have been returning again and again to their amazing song "When You Sing" from their album "Ghostory." It starts in a dreamy, ambient space but launches into a driving, powerful trajectory while still retaining a gauzy drone--and the contrast between the dynamic rhythm and Alejandra Dehaza's floating, smooth, long tones is delicious.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Proven: Black Holes and Gravitational Waves!

This is fantastic news. Just think: if we could come to an understanding of dark matter, there's no telling what we could accomplish and create.

Gravitational waves from black holes detected
By Pallab Ghosh
Science correspondent, BBC News

Scientists are claiming a stunning discovery in their quest to fully understand gravity.

They have observed the warping of space-time generated by the collision of two black holes more than a billion light-years from Earth.

The international team says the first detection of these gravitational waves will usher in a new era for astronomy.

It is the culmination of decades of searching and could ultimately offer a window on the Big Bang.

Being able to detect gravitational waves enables astronomers finally to probe what they call "dark Universe" - the majority part of the cosmos that is invisible to the light telescopes in use today.

Not only will they be able to investigate black holes and strange objects known as neutron stars (giant suns that have collapsed to the size of cities), they should also be able to "look" much deeper into the Universe - and thus farther back in time. It may even be possible eventually to sense the moment of the Big Bang.

Read the full article here:

BEAUTY: Digital Photography--Bjørg-Elise Tuppen

Photographer Bjørg-Elise Tuppen has created a series of compelling images based on the mythology and folklore of her native Norway. These portraits of creatures from Norse legends are fascinating.

Top to bottom:

1. Nøkken--Nøkken is an eerie male creature that dwells in rivers, ponds and lakes. He has been common in Norwegian folklore since Norse time and is a manifestation of the dangers associated to water. He can shift shape and is known to lure people to him and drown them.The only way to protect yourself against Nøkken is to call him by his name. He is especially powerful after sunset.

2. Vidofnir--According to Norse Mythology the eagle Vidofnir sits at the top of the world tree Yggdrasil.

3. Alver--The earliest description of Alver (Elves) appears in Norse Mythology. Here they are described as demigod creatures of nature and fertility. They can both cause and heal illnesses in humans. The Scandinavian elves were of human size and associated with fertility.

4. Dauing--In Norse folklore a Dauing is a dead person who has come back to haunt the living.

5. Huldra--In Norwegian folklore Huldra is a seductive forest creature who lure men into the forest with her singing. From the front she is beautiful, but she has a cow’s tail and her back is hollow. If she is betrayed, she will punish her victims severely.

6. Draugen--In Norwegian folklore Draugen is a walking dead, the ghost of a fisherman who died at sea, and was not buried in holy ground. He brought death to those who saw him and would also sometimes try to pull his victims down into the dark sea.

7. Light Elf--In Norse mythology Light Elves were minor gods of nature. They were the opposite of Dark Elves, who are evil and caused nightmares.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"Overcome" 'by Laura Mvula

In collaboration with legendary musician and producer Nile Rodgers, the lovely Laura Mvula sings "Overcome" from her new album "The Dreaming Room" out May 6, 2016.
Watch how she gets more and more gold and gets more and more feathers throughout the she turns into the spirit of a bird...


When your heart is broken down
And your head don't reach the sky
Take your broken wings and fly

When your head is heavy, low
And the tears they keep falling
Take your broken feet and run

With the world upon your shoulders
Nowhere left to hide
Keep your head up carry on

It ain't no time to die
Even though we suffer
Come together we pray

Round the mountain all God's children run

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Air Bonsai

These magical, floating bonsai plants are made by Hoshinchu, a company based in Kyushu in northern Japan. The electrified base creates a magnetic field that supports the small moss ball or ceramic bowl in which the bonsai grows.

They are available through a Kickstarter campaign. Visit the Hoshinchu website or their Kickstarter page, both linked below:

Monday, February 8, 2016

"Ablaze," "On My Heart" and "Open Your Eyes" by School of Seven Bells

OH. MY. GOD. I love School of Seven Bells and I am thrilled they are releasing a new album called "SVIIB" on February 26th, 2016. I have missed hearing the gloriously compelling, dreamy, layered sounds and the gorgeous voice of Alejandra Dehaza. But the new album is released in the dark shadow of the death of her bandmate-friend-partner Benjamin Curtis who sadly passed away at the waaaaaaay-too-young age of 35 from cancer. The album was recorded in 2012, with all of Curtis' work completed. He died in 2013, and Dehaza finished the album alone; after three years, she is finally ready to release the end result. The thought of that makes me quite emotional.

So School of Seven Bells is now a solo act and while Dehaza will certainly continue to make music, we wonder if it will be under the School of Seven Bells name...

Sunday, February 7, 2016

BEAUTY: Installation--Norwood Viviano

Norwood Viviano has created "Global Cities," a conceptually complex art installation that has to do with charting the alarming population growth of humanity around the world over the course of history. In order to illustrate this idea, he has used blown glass pendants. The bottom tip of each one represents when the population of a given area was non-existent or quite small. As our eyes move up the pendant, the shape expands outward expressing the growth in the area. Sometimes the shape shrinks in and expands back out...sometimes more than once (prompting one to wonder about such things as plagues, famines, and shifting economies). But they nearly uniformly end up ballooned out so the resulting object somewhat resembles a spinning top.

The glass pendants themselves are beautiful art objects color coded for the purpose of this project: the oldest cities are rendered in black, the next oldest are purple, and the newest are blue (Viviano measured the age of each city based on the point at which each was given the name under which it’s generally, presently known). Notice in the installation photos below that each piece is hung over its corresponding region or city on a map of the globe. The level top of all glass pieces are hung at the same height indicating the present day (level since this is where the "graph" ends). With this vertical time line, one can see that some areas have had a human presence from quite early on in history: some of the bottom stalactites are very long and thin indicating that the population of that area stayed sparse for centuries. But some areas don't get started until much later and so have short tails. The oldest urban center is identified as Rome and has the tallest silhouette, while the youngest, and shortest, belongs to Shenzen, China.

It's a fascinating three dimensional abstract expression of our migration and existence, and a visual representation of the instability of such a population model. It's no accident that the population of each city is made of glass, a material that can shatter and break...

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Journey

“You know so much, it's making you cry
You refuse to talk but you think like mad”
--David Bowie, Love Is Lost

“The realization that life is taking its course, even without you, is an intense human experience; it shows the finiteness of personality.”
--Mark Manders

“Living life means we bear the traces of its passage across us, and our passage through it.”
--Alexander Fury, fashion journalist

“The truth is, of course, that there is no journey. We are arriving and departing all at the same time.”
--David Bowie

Friday, February 5, 2016

noma Is Moving!

noma, the phenomenal Danish restaurant that captured the number one position on the coveted "50 Best Restaurants In The World" list not once or twice but a staggering FOUR times (previously here), has BIG plans for the coming year. Founder and head chef René Redzepi is going to be shuttering the old dockside location in central Copenhagen--the final service is New Year's Eve 2016--and will reopen noma in 2017 at a new location in the Christiania neighborhood. The plan is for a restaurant with an urban farm: a greenhouse is to go on top of the new space, and Redzepi has said that part of the farm will "float" on a nearby waterway.

But the true--and truly exciting--changes are coming with the concept of the menu itself. In the marvelously inspiring film seen below, Redzepi outlines a new approach for noma. The idea is to shift away from a static menu that features the ingredients of the region. Redzepi says he realizes that "distilling our landscape onto plates of food is a very complex task." His instinct all along has been to "sculpt cuisine," and true food imagination and creativity comes from that approach.

But with that in mind, noma is now adopting a thrilling seasonal menu. However, this is no ordinary seasonal menu. Instead of the traditional four seasons we usually identify, he and his team have identified THREE distinct Nordic seasons, which still supports the regional food idea...only more refined. Redzepi elaborates that the first season is Winter in January, February, March, and April when the ground is frozen. The kitchen will turn to the ocean to present a condensed menu of sea proteins supported by a generous winter larder and whatever hardy plants survive the frost.

Spring rolls in around May through a bit of September (with admitted micro-seasons) and the restaurant will feature a vegetarian menu, showcasing the glorious bounty of the earth. The menu will expand and although each course will be smaller, there will be much more of them.

And finally, Redzepi considers Autumn to span September through December and the source of food will be the Scandinavian forest with its riches of mushrooms, berries, nuts, and wild game. Again, the menu will condense and feature fewer but richer flavors.

What I find most exciting though, and this is the designer in me talking, is that Redzepi has said not only will the food change with each season, but the cutlery, plateware, and table settings will reflect the mood and sense of each season as well! What a gorgeous that I practice in my own life and design. Please watch the beautiful video below for sublime inspiration.

If you are in--or are going to be in--Copenhagen, try to snag a seating at noma for their last year in their original historic location. And if you can't get there in 2016, there will be a spectacular new noma in 2017! From Redzepi's description, I bet they are going to take first place once again on the 50 Best list!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

BEAUTY: Painting--Alex Beck

Perhaps it is because I have friends who have recently lost or are in the process of losing their parents, which of course naturally brings up the deaths of my own parents, but Alex Beck's series "Jack & Ethel" is quite touching. It seems to examine a trip an older couple--someone's parents (or grandparents)--took to Hoover Damn, but the clear, snapshot quality juxtaposed against a kaleidoscopic sense of memory should make us all realize how subjective our lives are. They are ours. The people and loved ones who populate our lives are ours. We want them and need them. And we miss them so when they are gone, when all we have left are snapshots (the kind we take with a camera) and memories (the kind of snapshots we take with our eyes and minds and hearts)...

Top to bottom: Friends, Lover, and Curtains' Stop and Smell the Patterns; Symbiotic Jack & Ethel; Passing Thru; Pit Stop 59; Hoover Traffic; Hoover; Obituary

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Mid-Winter 2016

We are halfway through winter. Soon, we will be celebrating the Spring Equinox, equal lengths of day and night. But for now, the sun continues its climb...

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

"Wide Open" by The Chemical Brothers with Beck

Stunning special effect in this video for "Wide Open," a melancholy dance song by The Chemical Brothers (previously here) with Beck (previously here and here) on vocals. I am reminded of the ceramic work of Jennifer McCurdy (previously here) and the special effect of the AI robot in "Ex Machina" (here).

Monday, February 1, 2016

"I Am Chemistry" by Yeasayer

Yeasayer from Brooklyn sing the strange, entrancing "I Am Chemistry"--the accompanying disturbing video of a universe of deformed claymation figures is just as entrancing (it reminds me a lot of Ridley Scott's "Prometheus," previously here). From their forthcoming release "Amen & Goodbye" released on April 1, 2016.

Things grow from other things.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

BEAUTY: Painting--Richard Estes

After I posted the nostalgic diner images of Pam Ingalls here, I was reminded of the works of painter Richard Estes whose incredible photorealist oil on canvas pieces often show diners...
I love how Ingalls' work is loose and Impressionistic and Estes' is so precise and tight.

Remember these are paintings, not photographs. In a way, Estes' work reminds me of Paper Moon Graphics which I posted about here.

Top to bottom: Grand Luncheonette; Cafeteria at Madison Square Garden; Central Savings; Diner; Double Self Portrait; Eat'n Time; Jone's Diner; Nedick's

Saturday, January 30, 2016

BEAUTY: Interiors--Kitchens With Lamps

As an interior designer, one of the things I just love to see in a kitchen is a table lamp! It is an unexpected element that brings a layer of warmth and home to an otherwise possibly sterile area of the house.

Friday, January 29, 2016

BEAUTY: Painting--Andrew Hem

The floating people and dream-like narratives in Andrew Hem's work resonates with me deeply. Some days I can barely keep my feet on the ground.

Top to bottom: A frame; Civic; Close to the edge; Flipper; Igloolik; In a little tent; It will eventually drift; Lost and found; Quiet; Tell the world I'm coming home