In the past years, bee populations have been devastated by something scientists are calling Colony Collapse Disorder, causing a global crisis for humans and other animals. Sam Dreoge, a biologist at U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, catalogs hundreds of bee species in his lab. As the head of the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab, Dreoge produces stunning high-resolution images that capture the diversity and spellbinding beauty the fascinating and helpful little creatures.
Dreoge’s photographs, which are used to identify and track bee populations, are often magnified up to five times the actual size of the insect. Focusing on minuscule details normally only visible under a microscope, most of the pieces are composites of numerous images, shot at multiple ranges with a 60 millimeter macro lens. Each image is also carefully edited, scrubbed of specks of dust. In preparation for the photo shoots, each bee specimen undergoes a bath in warm water and dish soap, after which they are carefully blow-dried to showcase their astoundingly beautiful, vibrant hair.
Dreoge’s images of bees read like the technological age’s answer to Leonardo da Vinci, who studied and sometimes killed insect specimens for the dual purpose of art and science. Research like this always raises ethical flags, but that moral question becomes more complicated when we are confronted with environmental crises like CCD. Bee populations are effected by parasites as well as problems caused by humans, like pesticides and climate change; it’s imperative that we find a way to save these miraculous animals, and Dreoge’s work could go a long way. What do you think? (via Smithsonian and Colossal)
Artist Bailey Henderson creates intricate sculptures depicting fantastic beasts that have been portrayed in medieval maps. Each creature is stylized and made to detail the original image accurately. The texture found in her sculptures mirror the lines in an illustration, like the mythological beings actually jumped right off the pages of a medieval map. These monstrous creatures are often hybrids of two real animals, such as a whale and an eagle, or a dragon and an iguana. Henderson is deeply interested in mythology as well as cartography, which influenced her to make her series Monstorum Marines. Each sculpture is named after its given mythological name, such as Ziphius, the creature that resembles an orca whale, and Porcus Marinus, who is a cross-breed of a boar and a fish. Henderson goes on to describe what the creatures were believed to be and even how they did to kill their victims. Her narrative of the sculpture titled Cockatrice, is both fascinating and entertaining.
A cockatrice is a mythical beast, originating in the 14th century. It the hind quarters of a serpent or dragon, and the front quarters of a chicken. It was believed to deliver a deathly stare, or kill by breathing on its victims.
Henderson’s incredible skill in sculpting is only matched in her painting talent. Cast bronze is the material used to form each claw, tail, and beak in this magnificent series. Acrylic paint and powdered pigments is used to transform the cast metal into majestic beasts full of color and life. Each layer of scales, feathery hair, and powerful wing is created with such attentive detail, that each of Henderson’s unimaginable creatures truly come to life.
Though it might look like any other Polish chapel from the outside, the Kaplica Czaszek chapel sets itself apart: behind a humble pair of wooden doors, it contains the bones of thousands. After visiting shallow grave sites commemorating the fallen soldiers and civilians killed in the Silesian Wars, the Thirty Years’ War, plagues, and cholera, a local priest named Vaclav Tomasek collected and cleaned skeletal remains, embedding them in the chapel walls.
Constructed between 1776 and 1804, the building’s architecture stunningly deconstructs the human skeleton; skulls and leg bones are meticulously arranged over the ceilings and walls, while other bones are hidden behind a trapdoor and kept in a crypt. The repetitive patterns that emerge from a single human bone laid out a thousand times over serves to remind us of our connectedness; while each individual femur or cranium stands in for a deceased individual, it takes on a deeper, more universal meaning as part of this expertly-constructed whole.
Within this celebration of oneness, Tomasek set apart strange and unusual bones, placing them on the church altar. Alongside the skull of a mayor and the chapel founder, sits a skull morphed by syphilis, one of a rumored giant, and a few penetrated by bullets. In this way, the structure daringly elevates the macabre—and those who suffered from uncommon maladies—to the spiritual level of relics left behind by local religious and political leaders.
Within the context of the church and its representations of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, the remains offer a potent juxtaposition between the spiritual and the corporeal. Visitors cannot escape this powerful reminder of mortality, but if they so wish, they are poignantly invited to consider the possibility of salvation and eternal life. (via Lost at E Minor and Smithsonian Magazine)
Anita Fontaine has created a brand new iPhone app that lets you unlock secret narratives as you travel through gardens. As you walk through the Fairyland-like map your iPhone displays, you can travel to specific destinations, that, when you succesfully arrive uncover the next part of a hidden story. It’s like a video game treasure map for adults- and I love the concept of layering another reality over the existing one, creating a brand new history that complicates our understandings of space, time and truth. Video after the jump explaining it more in depth!
Los Angeles based artist Chadwick Gibson makes sculpture/devices that border on usability and absurdity by making the innards of various playground-use balls visible in his “Time Out Series” (can you still play tennis when your tennis balls are flipped inside out?), and combining the functionalities and inherent experiences in an elevator and a guillotine with the piece “Speed of Judgment” (mimicking a beheading followed by the sensation of floating above ones headless body).
At the live show for Flying Lotus‘ ‘You’re Dead’ tour, audience members were treated to a visual spectacle few were expecting. Using his artist name of Strangeloop, David Wexler joined forces with John King (Timeboy), not only to produce hypnotizing visual art, but to transform the whole experience of FlyLo’s new stage show. Calling the sculpture Layer³ (pronounced Layer Cubed), this multi-screen set up is an expansion of an earlier project called Layer 3.
Working under the label Brainfeeder, Ellison and Wexler reconnected and began combining their respective talents of creating memorizing tunes and animations. Recognizing that most moments we remember are cinematic ones, Ellison knew he wanted a strong visual component to his stage show. With none of the animations pre-programmed, Timeboy and Strangeloop are responding to FlyLo’s tunes in real time, trying to visually produce something that reinforces the audio experience. Wexler describes the logistics of making the animation cube:
It’s essentially two projectors—a rear projected screen and a front projected screen. You can get a certain amount of three-dimensionality because we have a foreground projection, Flying Lotus performing in the mid-ground, and a background projection. (Source)
For FlyLo, to play in between the screens and not be able to engage with the audience in a conventional way allows him to delve into his set more; really trying to communicate the story he wants to tell through his music. He is trying to find the place that reminds him of being a kid, and wants to transport his fans to the same magical place he loves.
I think as we get older that idea of magic is taken from us, there’s just less and less of it as we get older. I really try to dabble in things that feel magical. (Source)
(Via The Creator’s Project)
Whether David Mesguich is creating sculptures or painting with watercolors, he maintains a basic color palette, heavy in contrasting blacks, whites, greys, and tones of sepia. His geometric sculptures of faces and people look like they were printed from a 3D printer. This conception gives his figures a digital effect that, when paired with the size, gaze, warp effects, or placement of them, has the potential to unsettle a viewer. This effect is even more pronounced when considered alongside Mesguich’s cardboard CCTV camera sculptures,100 of which he placed in various locations around Marseille. This idea of surveillance is even depicted throughout his watercolor paintings that represent scenes of city life, usually related to mobility and movement. Mesguich’s work seeks to challenge “modes of control” by addressing the “transparency of windows and shadows.”