Date Archives June 2012

Andrea Wan imagines improbable architecture, anatomy.

Paintings by Andrea Wan

Painting by Andrea Wan

Paintings by Andrea Wan

These are paintings by Vancouver/Berlin based artist Andrea Wan has many recurring themes in her work, but what stands out to me are the blocky fragments of architecture. Andrea studied illustration in Denmark, which seems to come across in her illustrations. The way she characterizes the houses and the color palettes she chooses are really wonderful to take in. You can read interviews with Andrea here here and here, where she talks about the differences between illustration and photography.

‘Shadow’ – A New Track by Wild Nothing

Wild Nothing by Shawn Brackbill

Wild Nothing’s Gemini was easily one of my favorite albums of 2010 so I was excited to read that on August 27th Jack Tatum will be releasing his follow-up album Nocturne. Recently signed to the UK-label Bella Union, Tatum’s new LP is being billed by them as a “window into Tatum’s ‘ideal world’ of pop music”. He describes it by saying “I don’t think it’s going to be a secret to anyone that I care about pop music, but it’s definitely more my sense of what pop music used to be or even what pop music would be in my ideal world.”

If Gemini was an album written in a bedroom, then Nocturne is a different beast all together. Pieced together as Jack perfected his craft on the road, the album is said to be filled with gentle harmonies, orchestrated synths and Tatum’s unique wandering voice. Certainly if the lead single Shadow is anything to go by then we’re definitely in for a treat. It’s a song which shows that over the last few years his sound has really matured yet none of the original charm from his first release seems to have been lost. I know for a fact that come August 27th I’m bound to be down at my local record store!

A wooden dome created for debate, designed by Bureau Detours

A dome built by Bureau Detours to debate public housing in Denmark

A dome built by Bureau Detours to debate public housing in Denmark

A dome built by Bureau Detours to debate public housing in Denmark

This dome, designed by Bureau Detours, was built in the Danish town of Alligne. The dome is a temporary space designed to host debates about the Danish public housing system, the same agency that commissioned the dome’s construction. Now that the dome is up, there is a movement to keep the dome permanently. If kept around, I’m not sure if the dome would age gracefully or not; maybe that’s beside the point. For now, the city has a pretty exciting place to debate what is perhaps not a very exciting subject. It’s funny to see such formal complexity finished with simple timber boards, but the effect of light filtering through the boards is quite nice.

A LEGO man boldly goes where few regular men have gone before

Lego man launched into space

Lego man launched into space

Earlier this year, two Toronto high school students, Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad, launched a tiny LEGO man to the very edges of space itself. Thankfully the crafty duo strapped a camera to the balloon, allowing us to enjoy the LEGO man’s epic journey.

Near the apex of the journey, the familiar blue sky gives way to an inky black, just before the balloon bursts and Ho’s and Muhammad’s rig starts its descent. The video and equipment eventually were recovered after falling back down to Earth.

An astrophysicist at the University of Toronto, Michael Reid, said what Ho and Muhammad were able to achieve is extraordinary.

“There are people that are doing it, but I haven’t seen many examples of 17-year-old kids doing it,” Reid said. “It’s a pretty impressive accomplishment.”

Space Suit of the Week

Life Magazine Scott Carpenter

Life Magazine Scott Carpenter

Astronaut Gregory Manchess

Astronaut Gregory Manchess

I recently ran across these charming photographs of Mercury Astronaut Scott Carpenter and his beautiful American family that were published in Life magazine in 1962. I was particularly keen on the second photograph of little Candy Carpenter, with her Prince Valiant haircut, as she spoke with her father in the capsule after he successfully landed. Candy’s eyes are so focused and full of life.

The eyes in Gregory Manchess’ portrait of Scott Carpenter are almost identical. The bright reflections bouncing off his helmet can’t obscure those same focused eyes. In his artist statement, Manchess reflects, “As a kid, I was always looking skyward, staring out into interstellar space from behind the atmospheric face mask of Earth. I feel a kinship with these explorers. Perhaps it’s the promise of all that discovery.” A kinship that is also seen in the eyes of Candy Carpenter.

‘Genesis’ by Grimes

Grimes, photo by John London

Canada always seems to be providing the US with tremendous stuff and I guess Claire Boucher AKA Grimes is another one of those exports. This is a girl after my own heart: A former McGill Russian lit student, she gave up on college to pursue music fully. Montreal seems to be burgeoning with creativity at all times and Genesis, one of the many standout tracks of her latest release, is a weird mutation of pop and 80s ambient. The lyrics are delightfully abstract; “My heart will never feel / Will never see / Will never know.” It can seem trite but when its washed in with overdubs and synths, hell, it’s a beautiful assertion of limitations both physical and self-imposed.

E-Reader with butterfly wings

Qualcomm Mirasol color e-ink display

Qualcomm has recently been trying to advance e-reader technology, though they’ve been getting their inspiration from a rather unique place: butterfly wings. Their Mirasol color e-ink display uses “tiny mirrors to refract light in a way that is reminiscent of irridescent butterfly wings.” It’s not quite up to par with let’s say, a Retina display, and the colors are a bit washed out, but it’s still interesting to see technology being inspired by nature.

Get the full run down over on Technology Review.

Incredible pencil drawings by Kate Atkin

Kate Atkin 'Young Contemporaries' - Installation view

Kate Atkin 'Traffic Island' (2006)

Kate Atkin 'Topographica' at Turnpike Gallery, April 2008

These incredible pencil drawings are by the artist Kate Atkin. The London-based artist creates large images – capturing richly textured forms with amazing detail and beauty. Taking photography as her starting point she quickly moves on to allow the drawings to unfold and develop in a more organic and impressionistic style.

Chiefly rendered in black and white, Atkin’s drawings are often huge in scale and are no-doubt labour-intensive. In an interview with The Guardian she noted that from a distance the images seem to have “a sort of geography” to them, “yet close up a lot of [the] work is teeming and chaotic.” The resulting combination in really wonderful and something I imagine looks even more impressive in real life. More images of Atkin’s work can be viewed online here.