Plastic Bag Animals

baloon animal, plastic bag animal, plastic bag art, Wooster Collective, New York, NYC, Brooklyn, Manhattan

When someone mentions street art, you immediately think of graffiti, or an overpriced commissioned piece purchased with your tax dollars. I’ll save the discussion regarding the merits and pitfalls of graffiti for a later date, but generally speaking I accept it as an artform. Further, I have absolutely no problem with Olafur Eliasson profiting from NYC’s desire to have him create their latest public art installation – Waterfalls. All that being said, public art displays do not need to be illegal or ridiculously cost prohibitive for them to be considered great. The case in point is a strange new phenomena spotted by members of the Wooster Collective. Some creative soul is making Plastic Bag Animals, and affixing them to air vents attached to NYC’s Subway lines. When a train passes by, the immediate rush of air fills the plastic shell, bringing the animal to life for a brief amount of time. I can’t wait for someone to capture more images of these awesome critters in the wild. I’m predicting an outbreak of Plastic Bag Animals, as soon as the right people in other cities take notice.

Muxtape

With the advent of digital media and file sharing on a global scale, my glorious collection of mix tapes now take up residence alongside a vintage VHS player, and pair of platform shoes. Back in the day, the mixtape was a snapshot of its creators life, conveyed through a compilation of carefully selected artists and songs. Many mixtape enthusiasts believe that by carefully selecting and ordering the tracks in a mix, an artistic statement can be created that is greater than the sum of its individual songs. Nowadays, kids are plugged into their iPods and Blackberry’s, where dynamic playlists reign supreme. Sure you can pass along your favorite playlist to a friend, but who’s to say they’ll play your selected tracks in the right order, or even substitute in one of their favorites. Blasphemy!

mixtape, muxtape, digital mixtape, electronic mixtape, oldschool mixtape, cassette mixtape, digital cassette

It seems as though everything old is new again (well sort of), as Muxtape is a throwback to the way things used to be. This new online compilation service allows users to upload their own songs and share them with the rest of the world. To create your own Muxtape, users must sign their life away and save Muxtape from any sort of liability stemming from illegal use of copy written content. This isn’t a social tool, or a service that grants you access to other peoples uploaded content for your own mixtapes, but rather Muxtape is merely an online service that lets you indulge in a bit of old school mixtapology. So if you’re interested in going on an auditory adventure, strap on your helmet, sit back and get lost in someone’s finely tuned mix. They truly are works of art.

mixtape, muxtape, digital mixtape, electronic mixtape, oldschool mixtape, cassette mixtape, digital cassette

Earth Hour 2008

Earth Hour, turn off challenge, save the planet, energy conservation, sustainable

Today’s post has little to do with design, however I simply could not pass up the opportunity to give a shout out to Earth Hour; taking place tonight in case you didn’t know. As we featured one of NYC’s newest green buildings yesterday, hopefully it served as a reminder of today’s special event. If not, here’s the general idea. Everyone around the world is encouraged to turn off their lights, gadgets, and anything else that is electrically powered from 8pm until 9pm this evening. Turning off and tuning out for an hour isn’t going to re-freeze the icecaps, or spontaneously encourage rainforests to sprout up, but it’s still important. The fact of the matter is, every little bit helps, and by participating, you’re increasing awareness about energy consumption and its’ impact on the earth. With this understanding, hopefully more of us will make small changes that will benefit the environment. So, turn off your lights, stop using plastic bags, walk to work on Monday, and encourage others to follow your outstanding example.

High Line 23

High Line 23, or HL23, is a new green building from Neil M. Denari Architects that is currently under construction in the Chelsea art gallery district on Manhattan’s west side. The structure is a 14 floor mixed use of gallery space and posh condominiums with amazing views of the evolving High Line elevated park preservation and green space reuse project. With an impressively small footprint of just 40’ x 99’ and a multitude of green building technologies, HL23’s cantilevered silhouette is made even more exquisite by the expected achievement of LEED Gold certification.

Neil M. Denari Architects, High Line 23, High Line, HL23, Manhattan, Chelsea, condominium

“The building’s geometry is an ambitious response to the development site’s limited space, maximizing zoning restrictions and expanding the possibilities out over the park. Naturally ventilated and daylit spaces fill 11 residential condominiums fitted with water conserving fixtures, energy efficient appliances and low VOC materials. Reused and recycled materials are incorporated throughout the structure and 75% of construction waste will be reused and recycled to be diverted from landfills.”

Neil M. Denari Architects, High Line 23, High Line, HL23, Manhattan, Chelsea, condominium

A high-performance building envelope and highly reflective roofing material will decrease HL23’s heat and energy loads, as well as help moderate urban heat island effect. From its tiny footprint, HL23 towers skyward housing 39,000 square feet with homes between 1,850 and 3,600 s.f., including a top floor penthouse that will run $10.5 million. While among the leading architects of his time, Denari will count High Line 23 as his first free-standing building when completed in late 2009 – an enduring green design trend that we can’t get enough of.

Untooned

Pixeloo, untooned, realistic cartoon, cartoon people, Homer Simpson, Mario, Mario and Luigi

Oftentimes we stumble across new things, that make us say “why didn’t I think of that.” When I discovered Pixeloo, and his unbelievable “untooned” creations, my initial reaction was pure shock and amazement. The fine detail and disgustingly realistic transformation of cartoon representations of Mario and Homer Simpson is truly amazing. Luigi’s better half is depicted with a huge bulbous nose, ears that could sense a mile away, and the softest doe eyes you’ll ever see. Springfield’s finest nuclear technician is seen with huge bulging eyes, little cauliflower ears, and a seemingly malformed skull. Both are true to their inspiration, and I for one can’t wait for Pixeloo’s future untooned masterpieces.

Orquideorama

Orquideorama, Plan B Architects, honeycomb architecture, honeycomb structure, Medellin, Columbia

It’s been a while since we featured an architectural find from Dubai, so I’m pleased to say that today’s structure comes all the way from Medellin, Colombia. The botanical gardens known as “Orquideorama” represents a relationship between architecture and living organisms. In this project, organic materials combine on two distinct levels, and each lets you define a different aspect of the project. On one hand, there is a micro-scale, which centres around the organization of materials and structures of natural life. Otherwise, the macro-scale of life forms encourages the your visual interpretation of the intersection of man made and natural environments.

Orquideorama, Plan B Architects, honeycomb architecture, honeycomb structure, Medellin, Columbia

When creating this botanical sanctuary, Plan B Architects focused on flexible laws and geometric patterns (honeycomb), which form a structure they’ve dubbed the flower-tree. The repetitive use of hexagons allows the audience to easily imagine the growth and expansion of the project, the future orientation of foliage and geometry of the earth below. Orquideorama is to be constructed in the same way that a garden is planted: a flower/hexagon grows next to the other, until it becomes a part of an entire forest of flowers/hexagons.

Sweded

If you followed the advice of numerous movie critics, you probably didn’t check out the new Michel Gondry film titled “Be Kind Rewind.” How unfortunate for you, because this movie was truly special. Rather than drop some serious spoilers on you, I will sum up the movie with one word: sweded. What’s that you ask? The process of sweding is best defined as the recreation of a movie using limited budgets and low quality technology. Sweded movies are celebrated for their creativity, humour, and extremely condensed length, while the latter can vastly improve the most boring cinematic flop.

Michel Gondry, Be Kind Rewind, sweded, sweeded, Jack Black, Mos Def, video remake, movie remake, home camera movie

Be Kind Rewind may not have founded this new phenomenon, but it did put a name to the process. The promotion of this movie included an online message from Jack Black who asked fans to create their own sweded masterpieces. These fan generated videos were then uploaded by their creators onto YouTube for your enjoyment. Again, these creations are not meant to be professional, serious, or even entirely true to their cinematic roots. With that basic understanding in mind, go check out what sweding is all about, and if you’re game, perhaps then you can give Gondry’s new flick a chance while it is still in theatres, or at least put it on your list of movies to rent. Let the sweding begin!

Michel Gondry, Be Kind Rewind, sweded, sweeded, Jack Black, Mos Def, video remake, movie remake, home camera movie

Atari, Since 1972

From Atari.com’s historical archives: “It all began in 1972 with Atari creator Nolan Bushnell’s dream of creating electronic games which would harness a television set or rastor display as a playing field. Nolan took advantage of his amusement park background and experience with electronics and created what would grow to be Atari. In the very beginning, Atari started out with arcade machines such as PONG and Computer Space. Many of the most popular hits in the arcade bore the Atari Fuji logo, such as Asteroids, Missile Command, Pole Position, and Lunar Lander, and home entertainment was no different. PONG by Atari was the most popular home video unit of the time. Soon Nolan realized that Atari must bring a versatile gaming console to market, which could play an entire line of cartridge-based games.” The rest is, as we say, history.

Atari, gaming console, Atari game, Atari ad, Atari advertisement, 8-bit ad, 8-bit advertisement

Atari lost out in the console wars long ago, but they maintain a modest reputation in the gaming world thanks to their software. Behind titles such as Roller Coaster Tycoon, and Unreal Tournament 2004, Atari’s new games are played on everything from the Xbox 360 to the Wii. Sure they’ve fallen far from their glory days, but these new print ads remind us of the company’s contribution to the gaming industry. No matter how realistic new technology becomes, we must always remember how it started.

2007 Bestee Winners

Yet another Sunday is upon us, and Spring is here along with Easter eggs and inlaws. This weekend we’re also celebrating the “Bestees“, the new annual award handed our by our favorite t-shirt collective, Threadless. “The Bestees recognize significant achievement in various categories of Threadless participation, acknowledging the important work of the entire community. This not only includes the amazing designers, but also bloggers, sloganeers, and gallery photographers – all of whom make Threadless an ultra-awesome and mega-rewarding place to interact! Established in 2007, the Bestees will henceforth be a yearly event to anticipate and celebrate. So participate!”

Threadless, Threadless Tees, Bestees, Best T-Shirt, T-Shirt Awards, Award Winning T-Shirt, Threadless awards

We first discovered Threadless nearly ago, in April 2007. This community-driven apparel company allows designers to submit their work, which is reviewed and ultimately selected for print by the community. Top notch designs sell out quick, however they’ve been known to re-print highly desired threads from time to time. Winning entries included slogans such as “I listen to bands that don’t even exit yet”, to a collection of the best movie spoilers, as well as a heard of rhino’s preparing the perfect counter attack. Be sure to check out all the Bestees, and while your at it, today’s the last day to order one of the $9 tees from their spring cleaning sale. I ordered four, and can’t wait to wear them around as true works of art.

Threadless, Threadless Tees, Bestees, Best T-Shirt, T-Shirt Awards, Award Winning T-Shirt, Threadless awards

100 Days of Monsters

Last week we featured Andrew Bell, an artist who is consumed with painting cartoon-like monsters. While researching this artistic niche, we came across a similar dude who produced a daily monster over the course of 100 days. While Bell’s portfolio includes over 1,200 creatures, the 100-monster project is equally as interesting. Enter Stefan G. Bucher, who filmed himself drawing a ghastly critter through a process that’s both accidental and intentional. Beginning with a Rorschach smudge, he adds ink and paint embellishments to transform it into a singular, rivetingly repulsive creature. The videos are sped up so the whole process seems to occur in seconds, while commenters are invited to provide origin stories for the hypothetical fiends.

Stefan G. Bucher, Stefan Bucher, 100 Days of Monsters, monster project

When the smoke settled after the 100 days of monsters, fans from all corners of the globe continued to submit stories about the trials and triumphs of each unique monster. This ultimately urged Boucher to combine his art with the work of his audience, thereby creating his newly released book entitled “100 Days of Monsters“. This coffee table showpiece also includes a companion DVD containing movies of each of the beasts being drawn, as well as additional commentary from various respected artisans. Priced at under $20, it’s a steal.

Stefan G. Bucher, Stefan Bucher, 100 Days of Monsters, monster project

Singing Ringing Tree

Singing Ringing Tree, Mike Tonkin, Anna Liu, sculpture, installation, art

From a distance it resembles a tornado of metal pipes, and as you approach the eerie random sounds make you believe that you’ve stumbled upon the wreckage of an alien spacecraft. Fret not earthlings, for this sound sculpture located in Lancashire, England, is the creation of architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu. Known as the Singing Ringing Tree, it stands tall on Crown Point, which is land that was previously occupied by radio towers. The architect’s intent was to construct a pseudo-functional piece of art that would recognize the lands history.

Singing Ringing Tree, Mike Tonkin, Anna Liu, sculpture, installation, art

Completed in 2006, it is part of the series of four sculptures within the Panopticons arts and regeneration project. The project “was set up to erect a series of 21st-century landmarks, or Panopticons (structures providing a comprehensive view), as symbols of the renaissance of the area. The tree is constructed of stacked pipes of varying lengths. As the wind passes different length pipes in different layers, the tree sings random chords. Each time you sit under the shelter of the tree you will hear a new original song that is driven by mother nature. Although sometimes criticized for it’s inability to carry a tune, the Singing Ringing Tree is the ultimate lawn ornament. Check it out on YouTube.

Matt Stuart

Matt Stuart, photographer, photography, street photo, urban photo, iN-PUBLIC

Matt Stuart shoots street photography and commercial work in merry old London. As you can see in these images his work often portrays humorous juxtopositions and split second surreality. Of his craft, Stuart claims: “I am not sure which came first, being nosey or an interest in ‘street photography’, but a fascination with people and the way they live their lives is why I enjoy the business so much.” Although one could argue that many of his shots are somewhat staged, the fact of that matter is that they are all works of art. His site seems to have a limited portfolio, however Stuart is known to display his work at iN-PUBLIC.

Matt Stuart, photographer, photography, street photo, urban photo, iN-PUBLIC

In a lengthy interview with fellow photographer, Blake Andrews, Stuart describes the process required to capture his famed “pigeon feet” photo (above and to the right). “This is one of my favorite photos and one that I get most compliments on. I shot it in Trafalgar Square. I knelt down on the step and focused my camera on the white wall in the background. I was hoping to get lots of black legs walking along in various graphic shapes. I had been bent over with my bum in the air for about half an hour when a rather confident pigeon walked past. I instinctively shot this frame but as I was doing it I noticed something had happened with the human legs as well. It all happened so quickly that I wasn’t exactly sure what I had got but something felt right. When I received my contact sheets back I was delighted to have found the legs within the legs and the way that the coats mimicked the pigeon’s tail. I like to think that humans aren’t the only ones that need to get up early to go to work.”

OFT

We’ve shown you prefab housing before. From the now boring myriad of shipping container options, to unlikely alternatives such as the m-ch, the selections are repetitive and outrageously pricey. Therefore it’s a welcome change when a new product is unveiled, and in this case, Sand & Birch Design have created a new way of conceptualizing modular housing. OFT is a compartmentalized space that is characterized by units, which are adaptable to your changeable necessities. Its’ creators recognized that as people’s needs change, so to does their optimum living space. In essence OFT serves as a temporary, just-in-time (JIT) housing option, allowing you to add or subtract space to your home.

OFT, Sand & Birch Design, modular housing, modular home, modular house, temporary house, temporary home

According to Sand & Birch Design, “the name OFT comes from the word Loft, in which it has been taken out the “L”, that has to be meant like the dimension “Large”. The OFT is in fact of limited dimensions in its basic composition, but it easily lends itself as a temporary house for those with visiting in-laws, or perhaps as a home-office in your garden.” Such customization usually carries a hefty price tag, however in OFT’s case, it’s creators envision rental, and community sharing as means to reduce overall costs. Whether or not OFT makes it to a backyard near you, it’s certainly an improvement over yesteryear’s version of low cost temporary housing – trailer parks.

OFT, Sand & Birch Design, modular housing, modular home, modular house, temporary house, temporary home

Nomad Yurt

A yurt is a portable, wood lattice-framed dwelling that is still used today by nomadic herders on the steppes of Central Asia. They’re also all the rage amongst the granola crunching, treehugging, eco-conscious crowd. All one needs is a spot of land, or even a rooftop patio, where you can erect your very own yurt-based oasis. In the past, traditional Yurts have been hard to come by, but as they’ve grown in popularity, numerous companies are jumping on the bandwagon. Ecoshack is a seasoned veteran in this market, while their new Nomad Yurt is touted as the Cadillac of yurts (minus emissions of course).

Nomad Yurt, ecoshack, yurt

Ecoshack’s sales pitch is apt, as it reads “Circular living = good living”. The Nomad only takes an hour or so to set up with a little practice and fits very nicely in the back of a small truck. Measuring 12 feet wide and 7 feet tall, with a roomy circular interior, a central opening for sunlight and breeze, and a rich material palette. The $8,000 Nomad “create a unique — even magical — experience of rest and relaxation for those who inhabit them. Used for centuries, perfect for today.”

Nomad Yurt, ecoshack, yurt

Hillary Obama

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, ADivertido, United States of America, President, Presidential Election, election

Strap on your helmet, and get ready to embark on a magnificent work week. Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and we have a 4-day Easter Weekend to look forward to as well. Turning our attention back to the US Presidential race, we’re focusing on some amazing imagery by ADivertido. They’re showing off their Photoshop skills with an unbelievable mashup of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Whether or not you think this unlikely partnership is a good idea, “why choose if you can combine?”

Museum of Bad Art

The Sunday, we aren’t following the typical roundup mishmash format of past weeks. Instead, we’re focusing our attention on the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA), a community-based, private institution dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and celebration of bad art in all its forms and in all its glory. Since 1994, MOBA has been putting on exhibits and growing their collection, which now totals over 400 pieces. Rather than focus in on any one of the fabulous works; not a snide remark, I’d rather you explore the collection and see for yourself. Make no mistake, just because it’s deemed unfit for the Louvre, does not mean that this art is not worth celebrating.

Museum of Bad Art, MOBA, bad art, terrible art, horrible art

Each piece is accompanied by the sort of descriptive narrative, which helps you to fully appreciate and celebrate this type of art. In the past MOBA has been accused of commissioning people to produce terrible works, as well as selecting pieces that were meant to serve as stage props rather than carefully crafted art. However MOBA maintains their innocence, and states that all submissions have to be honest and sincerely sub par. And, if you can believe it, they only accept about 10 per cent of the submissions they receive. For more information, be sure to check out CBC Radio One’s Q podcast, where Jian Ghomeshi sits down with the Permanent Acting Interim Executive Director of MOBA.

Museum of Bad Art, MOBA, bad art, terrible art, horrible art

The Mill

Public art displays are often placed in major metropolitan centres where they are guaranteed visibility by the largest possible audience, thereby increasing overall awareness of the arts, and also as a pseudo-justification for the expense. In Canada, few civic leaders would ever approve the outlandish cost for a piece of art, if it meant that only a miniority of citizens could ever lay eyes on it. With this basic reasoning in mind, I was amazed when I came across the Halikonlahti Green Art collection, which supports remote exhibits around the Bay of Halikko, Finland. Launched in 2006 with a trio of exhibitions exploring art and ecology in the Baltic Sea Region, the collection has since grown to include additional works that celebrate the environment.

The Mill, Halikonlahti Green Art, Bay of Halikko, Finland, Baltic Sea Region, art installation, Sami Rintala, Janne Saario

One such piece that really stands out is “The Mill“, which was created by Finnish architect and artist Sami Rintala, and architecture student Janne Saario. Located on the Halikko river in the south western province of Finland, The Mill serves as a modern wilderness shelter, which includes fireplaces and sleeping platforms for canoeists. The middle section houses a waterwheel, which harnesses the raw power of the stream to produce renewable energy for use in the shelter. From a distance, Rintala and Saario’s work appears to be an unfinished covered bridge, but the outdoor enthusiast will certainly see its’ value during cold downpours. As this artistic shelter could also play a critical role in life saving scenarios, I’d say it’s well worth the cost, regardless of how many people ever lay eyes on it.

The Mill, Halikonlahti Green Art, Bay of Halikko, Finland, Baltic Sea Region, art installation, Sami Rintala, Janne Saario

Daniel Tierney

I am still not sure how to classify this next artist’s work, as he produces photographs and paintings that form larger sculptures, which are put on display as massive installations. Armed with tape, yarn and his trusty airbrush, Daniel Tierney is a self taught tarot card reader, with a penchant for poker, and obvious knack for whatever we’re calling his work. If required to describe his work to a stranger Tierney says: “it’s something you didn’t know you already knew until you saw it: familiar and strange. It’s how you would tie your shoes if you melted your hands to a plastic truck. It’s where you would go if you could be everywhere at once. It’s a dark place where neon fires light the walls.” Confused? Don’t worry you’re not alone. Let’s delve a bit deeper into his mystical rabbit hole.

Daniel Tierney, sculpture, installation, artist, space, surrealism, optical illusion

Tierney’s work depicts a confined visual space, which collapses and at times multiplies into a crystalline form. Space is not surreal or an illusion, a window or a mirror, but rather it’s more akin to a door though which similarities can be found to the meta/physical world. “His paintings and objects, within the shallow corridor of a few feet, attempt to dig an infinite space towards what real and imagined spaces present themselves to be in spite of, and created by, the messengers of history, media, and condition.” Tierney says that “a new piece isn’t attached to anything so it’s very special. It’s dirty. Incomplete. Rough in as many ways possible and more than likely it’s some sort of Frankenstein where the ideas that run through everything I make take a new form and sort of staggers into the woods. From there I just chase after it hurling chunks of butter and hope the fat kid takes the bait.”

Daniel Tierney, sculpture, installation, artist, space, surrealism, optical illusion

Hydro-Net

It seems as though whenever we mention something new and exciting from the world of architecture, it comes out of Dubai. So when I discovered Hydro-Net, I was thrilled that this visually stunning and thought-provoking project was destined to become the new San Fransisco treat. San Fran is touted as one of the greenest cities in the US, but this new concept from IwamotoScott Architects would completely remake the city into an iconic ecotopia by 2108.

Hydro-Net, IwamotoScott, ecotopia, algae, sustainable energy, Lisa Iwamoto, Craig ScottSan Fransisco

Hydro-Net is a full-scale urban system that combines the most innovative green technologies with the city’s unique climate and geologic conditions, to produce a compelling vision for the future. The project has the potential to bring the city-by-the-bay into the 22nd Century with “algae-harvesting towers, geothermal energy ‘mushrooms’, and fog catchers which distill fresh water from San Frans infamous fog”. Creators also envision an extensive network of above ground and underground systems that fulfil infrastructural needs for the movement of people, water, hover-cars, and renewable energy.

Hydro-Net, IwamotoScott, ecotopia, algae, sustainable energy, Lisa Iwamoto, Craig ScottSan Fransisco

“The walls of the network would consist of carbon nanotubes walls, which would store and distribute the hydrogen generated by algae. The hydrogen would in turn be used as fuel to run hover-cars in the underground tunnels. The network also includes fog catchers that harvest air moisture, ecotowers, and more”. Sound crazy? Designers Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott, the partners of San Francisco-based design firm IwamotoScott, don’t think so. The concept recently won the $10,000 grand prize for their entry in the City of the Future competition, organized by the History Channel.

The Creatures in my Head

Today we’re focusing on the work of Andrew Bell, an artist influenced by skateboard culture, with experience in top creative positions at industry giants Nickelodeon, and Marvel Comics. After several years of climbing the ranks, Andrew decided that he needed some other outlet for his creativity. He needed to create something that existed in the real world, and not just on monitors and discs. Andrew began to doodle between computer crashes, at meetings, and on the subway. Combining his computer skills with his renewed passion for drawing, he created a website where he forced himself to draw one every single day in an effort to resuscitate his traditional skills.

Andrew Bell, artist, painting, graphic designer, Marvel Comics, Nickelodeon, Creatures in my Head

This little project, entitled “The Creatures in my Head“, is a smashing success that will take you days to get through. Thanks to the encouragement of friends, family and online fans he’s created an original drawing every day for three years straight, being late only once due to a massive East Coast blackout! To date Andrew has over 1,200 original creatures under his belt (or in his head, as the case may be). Be sure to check out his most recent series titled “Burning Desire“, as well as free wallpapers, figures and more.

Andrew Bell, artist, painting, graphic designer, Marvel Comics, Nickelodeon, Creatures in my Head

DIY Solar Cells

For many eco-conscious consumers, the huge drawback to adopting greener energy solutions is the crippling expense. But as is the case with most things, prices tend to go down with time. If you’re a big fan of solar power, but aren’t convinced by expensive, clunky solar panels, there’s a new option just for you option: print your own on an inkjet! Konarka Technologies has just debuted a printable solar panel film that uses your inkjet printer to manufacture paper-thin photovoltaic solar cells. Using the existing and very simple technologies of your inkjet printer, Konarka has essentially replaced ink cartridges with solar cell material, and paper with a thin flexible sheet of plastic.

Konarka Technologies, photovaltaic, solar cells, ink cartridges, solar ink jet cartridge

According to the company, the process creates solar cells which are almost as good as the massive silicon ones, created with much more advanced technologies. However, these inkjet babies are much much cheaper. “Demonstrating the use of inkjet printing technology as a fabrication tool for highly efficient solar cells and sensors with small area requirements is a major milestone,” stated Rick Hess, president and CEO at Konarka. Unfortunately we probably won’t be seeing the “do-it-yourself inkjet-solar-panel” option flying off the shelves just yet, as it’s currently only feasible for large productions of solar cells. However, it does mean that if the uptake of this technology happens relatively quickly, we could be seeing more affordable solar alternatives in the near future.

Konarka Technologies, photovaltaic, solar cells, ink cartridges, solar ink jet cartridge

Hunting Trophies

Taxidermy refers to the barbaric art of stuffing and mounting animal carcasses in lifelike positions of perverted preservation. Not perverted in a sexual sense, but a in ridiculous sense as the best way to preserve life is to ensure survival rather than collect slaughtered trophies for your own personal amusement. Hunting Trophies is a new collection featuring the most frequently used species in taxidermy, which is mainly deer and cats. Instead of being real taxidermied animals they are chests of modified Sony AIBO robodogs. As you approach the installation, the robots turn their heads in your direction, their eyes light up, and if you come too close, the robot suddenly growls. The closer you get, the more aggressive its behaviour. If you walk fast facing the wall of trophies, you’ll be met with more anger and protest.

Sony, AIBO, robot, robot dog, robodog, dead robot, robot head, robot animal head

“The idea of the Animal-Machine has long been overshadowed by the idea of a pain-feeling animal. Peter Singer argues that because animals have the ability to experience pain and suffering, they should be granted the same moral considerations as any other sentient being. Besides, these trophies raise new issues about the robots’ quality, function and integration into society: Are they different robots species? Rare species facing extinction? Are they the testimony of a future world where androids would be facing extinction? Or where they would have supplanted real animals such as in Philip K.Dick’s vision? Will we need a Susan Calvin, the robo-psychologist of Asimov’s novels?”

Sony, AIBO, robot, robot dog, robodog, dead robot, robot head, robot animal head

Sunday Ad-ventures

Welcome to the end of yet another fast and furious week, where we accomplished more than humanly possible. Our latest project Kingstonist.com has officially launched, and is receiving great reviews as well as a substantial amount of traffic. Some of this success can be attributed to clever yet subtle advertising around town, so in light of this, today we’ll showcase a diverse mix of print ads. Starting off with Levi’s and their 100% organic cotton eco Jeans, where the models remind me of the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz. What do scarecrows hate more than people with brains? I’m guessing the flame of Olympic spirit, which Adidas showcases in their “Impossible is Nothing” series. The strength in numbers and collective imagery will make you do a double take, but the next one will surely make you cringe. Sleep Before You Drive, is a safety awareness campaign that depicts horrific accidents caused by people who should not be operating motor vehicles, or couches, or beds. Not sure about hammocks though.

print advertisements, print ads, poster ads, print ad campaign

We’re halfway through the ad-venture, and I hope you’re taking the time to click on all these links, as there are multiple variations of each print set therein. Toyota really doesn’t need to advertise for the Prius, however their series entitled “Well, at least he drives a prius, right?“, suggests that we can forgive mobsters and adulterers if they make eco-friendly car purchases. A second great anti-smoking campaign we found this week, compares deaths caused by smoking cigarette to terrorism related fatalities. A heavy reference, but the imagery is very effective. Last but not least, a viral bit of ad busting by The Billboard Liberation Front, who altered AT&T’s billboards to demonstrate their unspoken relationship with the National Security Agency. Until next time, your phones are tapped.

print advertisements, print ads, poster ads, print ad campaign

A Deathstar in Dubai

If you’re sick of hearing the words Dubai and architecture in the same sentence put up your hand. It’s not as though I dislike the new radical buildings being created in the dessert oasis, however I am disappointed that I have to go halfway around the world to see them all. The silver lining is that these new buildings are concentrated in one region, so people can cross off umpteen must see buildings when they visit Dubai. Even so, a new massive island of architectural goodness reminds me of a galaxy that’s far, far away. I sense something. A presence I’ve not felt since…

Rem Koolhaas, deathstar, death star, orb, mini city, Dubai

The 1.5-billion-square-foot Waterfront City designed by Rem Koolhaas, is a self-contained city resting atop a man made island. Divided into 25 identical blocks, the island will be populated by a mix of tall and squat towers punctuated by more fantastic buildings, like a spiraling 82-story tower, and a 44-story sphere. The orb shaped deathstar will serve as a mini-city within the larger island city. Complete with a sprawling network of escalator tubes, and other elements plucked from the pages of science fiction, it makes me wonder when Dubai will say enough is enough.

Rem Koolhaas, deathstar, death star, orb, mini city, Dubai

The Zoo de Vincennes

How many times have you wished that you could discover a remote island, inhabited by animals and maybe a few Ewoks, who’ve never seen a human being? Sure the scenario is akin to the premise of Jurassic Park or King Kong, but what if you could see these creatures in their natural environment, free from the limited enclosures of a zoo? A new zoological park in Vincennes, France, designed by Paris architects Beckmann N’Thepe will do just that, with what they call “simulated geology”. Artificial earthforms will contain simulated environments within which animals will frolic and perhaps hunt one another for your viewing pleasure. Although entirely manmade, it’s better than your standard zoo.

The Zoo de Vincennes, Beckmann N'Thepe, France, simulated geology, biozones

The complex will be situated on 15 hectares containing six distinct “biozones,” and will run entirely on solar power. The park’s biozones include the savannah, the equatorial African rain forest, Patagonia, French Guiana, Madagascar, and Europe. Looking inwards from the perimeter, the landscape will offer views of geodesic bubbles, lush vegetation, as well as huge cliffs suited for cougars and bighorn sheep. Guests will be able to walk on pathways through safe areas, while views of more carnivorous creatures will be available through a few inches of reinforced plexi glass. Because the roaming areas are so large, viewing windows won’t guarantee you the perfect view of a lioness and her cubs, which makes it all the more precious when you are able to spy these critters. Again, although the Zoo de Vincennes is artificial, it demonstrates an improved commitment to preserve the animal kingdom.

The Zoo de Vincennes, Beckmann N'Thepe, France, simulated geology, biozones

Mike Rea

Warp back to your high school shop class, and you can probably recall that spice rack, or bird house you built and gave to your mom. Where did it ever end up? In the garbage, or perhaps the fireplace. I often wonder if our ancestors are rolling over in their graves because our generation never mastered the dovetail, or built a freaking arc to save the world from the Cloverfield monster. Well we can all breathe a sigh of relief thanks to artist Mike Rea, who has mastered wood working to such a degree that he’s teaching truants such as Jeff Spicoli how to make the perfect wooden smoking aid.

Mike Rea, wood working, wooden sculpture, wooden art, wood art, tree art

Mike began his career as a painter, and after graduating from college he switched to sculpting large wooden masterpieces. The only thing Mike dislikes about his sculptures is that they are difficult to transport from place to place, which has required him to go on many long road trips to deliver his work for an exhibit. Drawing inspiration from motion pictures including Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Arc, Mike’s skill shines through in every angle of his work. With a $100 a month wood habit, this is one artist who isn’t going to garner a lot of respect from the treehugging Greenpeace crowd.

Mike Rea, wood working, wooden sculpture, wooden art, wood art, tree art

Smoking Kills

Here’s a newsflash for those of you who’ve been living under a rock for the past few decades, smoking will kill you. There are so many disturbing stories related to the history of smoking, from Doctor’s who once prescribe cigarettes to their patients, to the accommodation of smoking in places such as airplanes and college classrooms. Society has made a great deal of progress towards curbing tobacco consumption and acceptance, but we’ve still got a ways to go. When I first saw this print ad from Saatchi & Saatchi, I was reminded of the fresco ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It’s depiction of scores of people falling to their death from a cancer stick, gives me chills in that the nico-demons are winning the war. Preachiness aside, we must do more to stop this tragic trend. Live long and prosper.

Saatchi & Saatchi, smoking kills, anti-smoking ad, advertisement, cigarette butt

Svalbard Global Seed Vault

Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 black comedy “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”, is one of many films that depicts the ultimate doomsday. In an effort to safeguard the world’s seed collection from a real catastrophe, scientists have established a remote facility in Norway as an insurance policy for the world’s food supply. Seed Vault is a frozen fortress nestled in the Svalbard mountains, which contains duplicate samples of 300 million types of seeds. The permafrost and thick rock that encase the facility will ensure that even without electricity, the samples will remain frozen until the end of time.

Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Svalbard mountain

The vault’s outward appearance is a stark, minimalist column that juts out from the snow covered rock face. A 400-foot tunnel awaits the last man on earth on the other side of the entrance. At the end of line there are two separate vaults, each containing a massive maze of shelves for storing boxes, which are organized via the central registry. Herein lies the ultimate prize, pharmaceutical grade envelopes stuffed with 500 seeds of every plant variety known to hummankind. As amazing as Seed Vault is, you probably don’t want to see it in person as that would indicate that you’re the last man on earth.

Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Svalbard mountain

Linc

Everywhere you look businesses are cashing in on greening everything from houses to cars and consumer gadgets. While some manufacturers truly care about the environment, others offer up a few eco-friendly products because it’s the trendy and profitable thing to do. The Greener Grass is a group that does not fall into the latter category, as they “use resources to initiate positive change by opening discourse, connecting people, and becoming a conduit for new thinking and discussion that leads to positive outcomes.” So when tasked to come up with a recyclable cell phone, the group put their heads together and created Linc, a conceptual all in one device/service that reduces e-waste.

Linc, greener grass, concept phone, sustainable smart phone, recycled cell phone, e-waste

Linc is a typical touch screen smart phone with all the connectivity and features you have come to expect. It’s a cell phone complete with media player, web browser, GPS and ample storage, that communicates via Bluetooth, WiFi, and the latest 3G network. I’m really liking the huge touch screen display that wraps around ever so slightly to the top edge. The Greener Grass want Linc to be leased to consumers as a service, not a product. In this respect, consumers would use the device for as long as they want, and when it comes time to upgrade, they recycle it and receive a new next generation model. Linc truly changes the entire paradigm of the production and consumption model today. If implemented, a concept such as this could improve environmental health by reducing e-waste.

Linc, greener grass, concept phone, sustainable smart phone, recycled cell phone, e-waste

Sunday Home Invasion

Another week has come and gone, and if you can believe it, March is upon us and warmer weather is just on the horizon. For those of you itching to do some Spring cleaning, this Sunday edition is for you, as we’re focusing our attention on ideas to spruce up your humble abode. I think that few of us truly need to buy more stuff, so consider these offerings as inspiration for creating the perfect nest. While digging out of your attic or crawlspace, perhaps you have enough scraps to come up with something similar to the reclaimed sculptures of Bennett Robot Works. If unique is definitely your thing, then browse the catalog from 1%, a company that manufactures only 100 of each product. Their Fruit Template is a fresh take on displaying produce, though I’m sure one could fashion their own model out of cardboard. A cool product for entertaining is Tetrice, a mold that encourages guests to play with their drinks. Dammit, I need a straight line because I’m only getting those squiggly shapes!

fruit template, tetrice, Bennett Robot Works, Art. Lebedev Studio, TaskWatch, creative bookshelf

Are you missing appointments and deadlines because you suffer from cluttered home office syndrome? If so, then perhaps you’d benefit from Art. Lebedev Studio’s TaskWatch whiteboard, which is one of those “duh, why didn’t I think of that” ideas.” For casual readers looking to jazz up the presentation of their book collection, check out these 30 magnificent bookshelf solutions. For the serious bookworms and Librarians who need an ark to house their literary collection, borrow a page from Veronika and Sebastian’s book-lined staircase.

fruit template, tetrice, Bennett Robot Works, Art. Lebedev Studio, TaskWatch, creative bookshelf

Filmport

You know where Hollywood is, and probably know where Bollywood is, but chances are you’ve never heard of TO-llywood. Studios have filmed titles including: the XMen trilogy, 300, Resident Evil, Capote, and The Day After Tomorrow, in whole or in part in Canada. Further, the Toronto Film Festival has become a world class event, drawing in celebrities, paparazzi as well as top notch studio and indie flicks. If all that wasn’t enough, the ‘Big Smoke’ will confirm Canada as key player in the biz with a new gazillion-dollar movie studio, complete with multiple sound stages, private screening rooms, and all the posh amenities those underpaid movie stars deserve. Sadly there are no rehab centres on site.

Filmport, movie lot, Will Alsop, Quadrangle Architect, Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Without further adieu, images of Filmport’s premier facility have been released. Designed by Will Alsop in association with Toronto-based firm, Quadrangle Architect, the centre has a sleek red exterior and enveloping curved form. The iconic building will be an active and exciting meeting and working environment for everyone doing industry-related business in TO-llywood. I can already here the cries of those who opposed similar non-traditional designs of T-Dot’s outstanding landmarks, which include OCAD (pic / site) and the new addition to the ROM (pic / site). Keep an eye out for updates on this exciting project.

Filmport, movie lot, Will Alsop, Quadrangle Architect, Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF, Toronto, Ontario, Canada