The University of New Mexico’s digital collections host an extensive archive of vintage cutaway illustrations of nuclear reactors from around the world. These illustrations first appeared in Nuclear Engineering International as inserts in the magazine from the 1950s to the 1990s, and were often on display in nuclear engineers’ offices. Upon noticing the degradation of the illustrations over time, one engineer named Ron Knief decided to pursue the digitization of all 105 diagrams published by the magazine. The resolution of these images is incredibly sharp, and you can get a closer, more detailed look at the illustrations by visiting UNM’s archive, where you’ll also find many more colorful and thoughtfully designed posters that shed light on and satisfy some curiosity about these controversial energy reservoirs. (via gizmodo)
The village of Nagoro is remote location hidden in the valley of Shikoku, Japan. Its small town charm remains enchanting, but its lack of work possibilities has driven its residents to leave for big cities in search for a better life. Nagoro is slowly shrinking.
“When I was a child there was a dam here, there was a company, and hundreds of people used to live here.”
In hopes that she could bring back life to her now desolated hometown of Nagoro, Japanese artist Ayano Tsukimi comes up an unexpected solution.
Tsukimi has populated the village with dolls, each representing a former villager. Around 350 of the giant dolls now reside in and around Nagoro, replacing those that died or abandoned the village years ago.
“I don’t like making weird dolls, but people who blend into the scenery.”
In a recent documentary titled The Valley Of Dolls, director Fritz Schumann explores Tsukimi’s doll-filled world, highlighting the time and artistry that goes into making the figures, and explaining her motivations. (via The Verge)
In his first eleven years of life, the Serbian artist Dušan Krtolica has already exhibited his drawings at two nation-wide solo shows. He began his drawing career at two-years-old, displaying an astounding visual ability; since then, the prodigy has focussed his efforts on depicting wildlife and natural worlds, both existing and extinct. As with the notebooks of Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci, Krtolica’s pages are filled to their edges with rich anatomical and zoological studies. Though passionate about drawing, the fifth-grader hopes someday to pursue his passion for animals by becoming a zoologist.
Krtolica’s drawings magically marry a childlike sense of wonder with a more seasoned visual precision; though startlingly detailed and studiously seen, his work maintains a frenetic and unabashed curiosity. His ocean floors and vast jungles are seemingly blessed with creatures of different periods, as if more mature and evolved animals could intermingle with primordial beasts. The bodies of animals overlap in the midst of a wonderful chaos, and an armed knight is envisioned with the same degree of specificity as a tiny beetle.
Though powerfully scientific and unfalteringly observant, Krtolica’s images contain within their borders an ineffable quality of life and vitality, as seen through the rubbing of hybrid wings, the weaving of a spider web. The artist possesses both the awe-filled eye of a child and the technical ability to render his imaginings on paper, and that is a truly magical combination indeed. Take a look. (via Demilked)
When you see a photograph of a monument, often it’s just of the sculpture itself and not within the context of the larger landscape. It gives the appearance that these colossal constructions live within their own world. Photographer Fabrice Fouillet shatters this illusion in his series titled Colosses, in which he zooms out and provides us with what’s surrounding these massive creations. Many times, they make the monument appear less special and more ordinary.
Fouilllet explains his thinking behind the photographs:
The series “Colosses” is a study of the landscape embracing those monumental commemorative statues. Although hugeness is appealing, exhilarating or even fascinating, I was first intrigued by the human need to build gigantic declarations. Then I asked myself how such works could be connected to their surroundings. How can they fit in the landscape, despite their excessive dimensions and their fundamental symbolic and traditional functions?
That is why I chose to photograph the statute from a standpoint outside their formal surroundings (touristic or religious) and to favor a more detached view, watching them from the sidelines. This detachment enabled me to offer a wider view of the landscape and to place the monuments in a more contemporary dimension.
The statues that are surrounded by nature fit more comfortably in their environment. It feels less chaotic and a more peaceful place, in line with the intention of many religious practices. But, even when they are among shopping centers, you can’t ignore the stunning presence that these monuments have. (Via Flavorwire)
The Taiwanese photographer Yung Cheng Lin presents the female body in unusual, erotic and sometimes absurd ways; his surreal, staged images capture a raw sensuality that oscillates between the fantastic and the grotesque. Here, women are seen initially as objects of desire, but they contort their bodies in ways that defy objectification and veer into abstraction.
Lin’s images, wrought with sexual tension, are at times uncomfortable to look at; a girl grips a box of milk, and its liquid ejaculates on and into her ear. Another woman holds a ripened, banana, which we might assume to be symbolic of the phallus, between her thighs; a finger penetrates and abstracted mound of flesh. A replica of the Mona Lisa sits between a woman’s legs, the part of hair mimicking a vulvar shape. The viewer, often seeing these female subjects from above, feel like strange voyeurs, peering into intimate rituals undetected.
Amidst Lin’s exploration of sexuality is a growing sense of anxiety that may be read perhaps a fear of female sexual power. A rose intimately penetrates a woman’s throat, and her head falls back and out of the frame as if in pleasure. But this symbolic intercourse is foreboding, dangerous: the flower is dead, wilted, and blood trickles down the model’s neck. Dead bugs infest the sets, sitting atop bananas and dangling from blood-red threads, signifying impending decay. Like drone bees who flock to mate with their queen only to die after the moment of fertilization, the insects fall at the feet of women. Take a look. (via Lost at E Minor and White Zine)
The incredible sand sculptures of Carl Jara more closely resemble ancient carved marble or surrealist daydreams than they do ordinary sand castles. His giant creations can reach an astounding height of fifteen feet, delightfully dwarfing beach goers and casting shadows across the sand. Jara has won several local, national, and international competitions with his powerful work.
Jara’s sculptural content seems to take a cue from his medium; each piece is devastatingly impermanent, fragile and vulnerable in the face of waves and rain. The carefully-constructed form of the sculptures express a similar evanescent quality, appearing as if they might vanish at any moment. The human body is split in two, and the flesh magically loses its materiality, intermingling with draped fabric. Here, bisecting the nude form is as simple unzipping a zipper that lines the torso; in this surreal realm, it appears as though we may shed our physical, mortal bodies like clothing.
And yet, somehow these images suggest a spiritual permanence of the creative self. Though the human figure is shown as transient, and although the artwork will surely vanish with the tides, Jara’s body of work hints at an invisible and unknown infinity. A man opens himself, revealing countless tiny selves arranged like Russian dolls. A piece titled Infinity presents a man, a philosopher maybe, holding unending manifestations of his own thought within a large, curved palm. Like grains of sand, we humans will one day be washed away, but in some surreal universe, our identities will be repeated, remembered time and again. (via Colossal)
The group 1,600 of exquisitely crafted papier-mâché panda bears have already travelled to and occupied cities like Paris, Berlin, Rome, and TaiPei; next month, they will overtake ten Hong Kong historical landmarks and tourist sites. As part of the Pandas on Tour project, these cuddly creatures are crafted from recycled materials by the French artist Paulo Grangeon in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund, PMQ, and All Rights Reserved. Each sculpture has an important statement to make: there are less than 1,600 pandas living in the wild. Grangeon’s small creatures, with their wide eyes and round bodies, are easily be displayed side-by-side, providing a halting vision of the endangered species.
Human forces have forced the panda bears in a state of emergency; mining, tourism, and global warming have all contributed to the distraction of animal habitat in Chinese forests. Wild panda conservation is crucial, as the animals can rarely be convinced to mate in captivity.
Believe it or not, humans have a biological impetus for wanting to protect the species. Pandas have proven to be the most beloved animal for their resemblance to human babies; they too have wide eyes and their paws contain a “pseudo thumb.” Grangeon’s touching creatures are imbued with the tender hearts we recognize in the animals they represent. With poignantly cartoonish eyes, round ears, and emotive facial expressions, the papier-mâché figures inspire a whole lot of empathy. To learn how you can help the panda bears, visit WWF or the Smithsonian’s Giant Panda Conservation Fund. (via HuffPost, Time, and Design Boom)
Rose-Lynn Fisher - whose anatomical bee photographs we have previously featured - has recently completed a series of images she calls “The Topography of Tears” that represent a study of 100 types of tears photographed through a microscope. During a difficult time that yielded a copious amount of tears, Fisher began to wonder if her grief tears looked the same as onion tears when viewed under a microscope. Using her own and others’ tears, Fisher was able to create a varied landscape of tear structures, demonstrating the diversity to be found within tear types. Fisher’s images almost resemble aerial views, these tear structures fractally resonating with larger scale structures found in the world.
Fisher says, “Tears are the medium of our most primal language in moments as unrelenting as death, as basic as hunger, and as complex as a rite of passage. They are the evidence of our inner life overflowing its boundaries, spilling over into consciousness. Wordless and spontaneous, they release us to the possibility of realignment, reunion, catharsis: shedding tears, shedding old skin. It’s as though each one of our tears carries a microcosm of the collective human experience, like one drop of an ocean.” (via smithsonian mag)