Monday, February 29, 2016

Be Unexpected

"“No matter what, expect the unexpected. And whenever possible BE the unexpected.”
--Lynda Barry

Friday, February 26, 2016

BEAUTY: Installation--Claire Morgan

Claire Morgan (previously here) has created another lovely piece using torn, multicolored polythene fragments. Called Act of God, this luminous sphere was shown at the Kunst-Station Sankt Peter Köln in Cologne, Germany. Is it descending into the space, trailing a comet tail--or was the sphere present and it is disassembling and ascending upward?

Images by Christopher Clem Franken

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Currently watching...

..."The Magicians" on Syfy while I have had the stomach flu for several days. This bug hit me hard and I was really not in a position to do much of anything but catch up on what's on the DVR in between naps (um, very long naps).

Maybe it's because I have been steeped in that weird, sick, delirium/fever dream way of looking at reality when one is ill but the show just struck me right. Based on author Lev Grossman's Magic Trilogy (THE MAGICIANS, THE MAGICIAN KING and THE MAGICIAN'S LAND), the story could be compared to a cross between the Harry Potter and Narnia books but with clear adult themes. I've not read the books, but I can see the comparison. Yet it feels a little unfair to suggest such an idea because somehow it all seems fresh. Quentin Coldwater (played by Jason Ralph) grew up reading a series of books called "Fillory and Further," about three British siblings who can enter a magical realm through a tall case clock (invoking Narnia) and spends his life longing for a sense of magic here and now. He gets his wish when he is summoned to Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy where he learns that, indeed, magic is real and that there is a reason he feels a connection to the books he loves.

The story presents the actual practice of magic not in a Harry Potter way, but more in a Harry Dresden way (previously here) in which magic is a physical act that requires energy. To create something, that something must come from something else. And Newton's Third Law plays a big role too: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." It's fun to see "magic" more as science than impossibility. After all, Arthur Clarke himself suggested that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Go to the official website at Syfy to watch the first four episodes if your DVR can't find them...

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

BEAUTY: Interior Design--Crosby Street Loft by David Howell and Melissa Pinto

Architect David Howell and interior designer Melissa Pinto are resopnsible for this marvelous loft in New York City. What strikes me right about this loft is how the pair managed to avoid the usual loft clichés by eschewing the "recycled industrial" look, which, don't get me wrong, can be nice. But Howell and Pinto played more with a sense of turn-of-the-century New York City Beaux Arts seen through a modern lens: I love how the dark wood paneling, fluted columns, and furnishings give the loft a feeling of luxury that most modern lofts do not have. And of course I love the Heath Ceramic tiles (previously here) in the main bathroom.

From the website description of the project:
"The Crosby street loft building is located on a cobblestone block in the Soho Cast Iron Historic District. Built in 1882, it was formerly a department store, and converted in 2001 to a 10-unit loft condominium. Our renovation of a second floor loft retains and celebrates many of the original details, including generous, open spaces, 14 foot plus ceiling heights, Corinthian-style columns, and a continuous 120 foot exposed brick wall with integrated archways. The design was a collaborative process, integrating elements discovered on the client’s world travels. Design features include a 12 foot tall glass lounge, two fireplaces, Control4 smart home system, a stone, cold-rolled steel and custom walnut cabinet kitchen and living room, and a luxurious master suite reminiscent of a 5-star hotel."

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sleep in Van Gogh's Bedroom

To promote its current show "Van Gogh's Bedrooms," The Art Institute of Chicago has created a replica of Van Gogh's bedroom at Arles which he painted three times. The museum is bringing together all three paintings in an historic showing.

The replica bedroom is listed on Airbnb here and is actually available for nightly stays! The listing is amusingly written from the point of view of the master himself:

"I'm charging $10 for no other reason than that I need to buy paint. However, I will be happy to provide you with tickets to my exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. "

Van Gogh painted this room three different times. The Art Institute's site elaborates:

Vincent van Gogh’s bedroom in Arles is arguably the most famous chambre in the history of art. It also held special significance for the artist, who created three distinct paintings of this intimate space from 1888 to 1889. This exhibition—presented only at the Art Institute of Chicago—brings together all three versions of The Bedroom for the first time in North America, offering a pioneering and in-depth study of their making and meaning to Van Gogh in his relentless quest for home.

Van Gogh painted his first Bedroom just after moving into his beloved “Yellow House” in Arles, France, in 1888. He was so enamored with the work, now in the collection of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, that after water damage threatened its stability, he became determined to preserve the composition by painting a second version while at an asylum in Saint-Rémy in 1889. Identical in scale and yet distinct from the original, that second work is now one of the icons of the Art Institute’s permanent collection. Van Gogh created a smaller third version, now at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, as a gift for his mother and sister a few weeks after making the second. While the three paintings at first appear almost identical, when examined closely, each reveals distinct and unique details.

Monday, February 15, 2016

"This is what happens when you reply to spam email" by James Veitch

This has been making the rounds so forgive me if you have already seen it, but I can't resist posting. Comedian James Veitch gave a brilliant, hilarious TED Talk in Switzerland 2 months ago about replying to spam email. His story is tickling. I did a similar thing to a telemarketer recently where I replied to everything he said with, "That sounds interesting. Tell me more." When he ran out of things to say, I asked him to start over! Halfway through the second round, he realized he'd been had and hung up on me!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

For Valentine's Day: In Love

To my husband: Happy Valentine's Day. I love you...

If I asked you now
Will you be my prince
Will you lay down your armour

And be with me forever

When you open me
All the power in me moves
How you want to see
All the depths of me real

When you open me
All the power in me moves
I feel real

I love you

Love you

When I look into your eyes
There's a danger inside
When I see the edge
I can never hide

See me runnin', runnin', running... you...
...from you... you

There's a strange love inside
It's getting louder, louder, louder, louder, louder
There's a danger I can't hide
Who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am

I'm in love!
I'm in love!
I'm in love!
I'm in love!
I'm in love!
I'm in love!
I'm in love!
I'm in love!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

BEAUTY: Installation--Leon Tarasewicz

For the exhibit "Polish Painting of the 21st Century," artist Leon Tarasewicz painted the Grand Staircase at the Zachęta-National Gallery of Art in Warsaw. I love the technicolor aspect of this delightful installation... and I'm always a sucker for the spattering technique.

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.