So you’re at the museum, and deep down in the sub-basement right next to the restrooms you happen to discover an enormous machine that looks like it was pulled from the Aliens II movie set. And then you notice you can insert a dollar, and suddenly the machine whirs to life and pipes hot, neon green plasticine into a mold in front of your very eyes as you inahale noxious fumes. Within moments you’re in the possession of a bona-fide neon green submarine, a memento of your visit to the museum that smells strange for days. Be Your Own Souvenir by Barcelona-based blablabLAB is just like that, except a trillion times more awesome. Using custom software developed using openFrameworks and openKinect, visitors film themselves in front of 3 kinect sensors for a full 360-degree scan and within moments a 3D printer known as a RepRap machine spits out a little army guy version of themselves. Every museum in the world should have one of these in their sub-basement, though they can probably install this by the front door. (via vimeo)
I thought I’d seen every type of book carving imaginable, until I ran across these jaw dropping creations by Guy Laramee. His works are so sculptural, so movingly natural in their form, they’ve really touched me. His works are inspired by a fascination with so-called progress in society: a thinking which says the book is dead, libraries are obsolete and technology is the only way of the future. His thoughts:
“One might say: so what? Do we really believe that “new technologies” will change anything concerning our existential dilemma, our human condition? And even if we could change the content of all the books on earth, would this change anything in relation to the domination of analytical knowledge over intuitive knowledge? What is it in ourselves that insists on grabbing, on casting the flow of experience into concepts?”
Carving into the discarded stacks of books, he has created fantastic, romantic landscapes which remind us that though our fascinations and the value we put on different ideas have changed, we as a species have not evolved that much.
“Mountains of disused knowledge return to what they really are: mountains. They erode a bit more and they become hills. Then they flatten and become fields where apparently nothing is happening. Piles of obsolete encyclopedias return to that which does not need to say anything, that which simply IS. Fogs and clouds erase everything we know, everything we think we are.”
See more of his beautifully meditative works at guylaramee.com.
Google introduces Google Music, with a complete suite of music services (including Music Store) to public. All the music purchased from the store and other files will be stored on the cloud. Google is attemptiong to take on cloud music storage services iTunes Match and Amazon Cloud Player.
Features of Google Music Cloud :
List of available features of Google Music service.
- Music files uploaded to the cloud should be in MP3 file format with 320kbps bitrate.
- Files with Digital Rights Management (DRM) will not be uploaded.
- Before purchasing any track, a preview of 90 seconds will be available.
- Free access to exclusive tracks of popular artists is readily available.
- All the purchased songs or albums can be shared with friends via Google+.
- Free song of the day will be featured on store.
Using Google Music store is similar to iTunes Match and Amazon Cloud Player, purchase your favorite song and upload it to cloud. A new web version of music player which is compatible with all browsers and iOS is also announced by Google.
Screenshots of Google Music Store :
Google Music Overview
Google Music Library
Free Song of the day
This entire Google Music service is limited to users in United States. Google Music Store is now available in the Android Market, can use in on any device with Android 2.2 or higher OS. Google didn’t cleared its Music service availability to other countries in the World.
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For 16 days straight, from dawn to dusk, five highly determined Montreal-based artists (who make up the artist run collective A’shop) worked on a graffiti mural of a Mother Nature-esque Madonna or a modern-day version of “Our Lady of Grace.” Inspired by Czech Art Nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha, the crew created this breathtakingly beautiful five story mural using 500 cans of spray paint in over 50 different colors.
“We been doing graffiti for a long time but this is our first large project involving the whole team,” Fluke of A’shop told The Montreal Gazette. “We’re always busy with other projects so we’ve never really had time to let [the reactions to] them sink in. But this mural was just so big and also our last of the season. It was challenge, took us out of our comfort zone. We wanted to try something more classic.”
The city gave the group complete control of the project and, luckily, the public ended up loving it. “The main thing that struck us was the public’s reaction while we were painting the mural. Some people gave us the cold shoulder at first, thinking we were painting an ad. Then when they realized we were reviving an old wall with a mural, they were came back to see us everyday. That really fueled us. Within days we had the whole community involved. People invited us for lunch and the Jamaicans at the local barber shop were giving us high-fives!”
Fluke said that he hopes this project will encourage other city boroughs to consider murals of their own. “Our city has way too much gray. So I hope this [mural] kickstarts a mural campaign.”
To really appreciate the time and effort that went into this massive mural, here are some progress shots that were taken over the 16 day period.
What is the idea behind this piece? What does it represent?
The idea was to step out of our comfort zone and show the public what graffiti artists can be capable of. There is an amazing amount of quality work being produced within Montreal’s graffiti scene. Unfortunately, bad press and political strategies often only show the “negative” side of it, creating unneeded friction between citizens and our culture. Graffiti as a form of visual language can be hard to comprehend for most. We thought it would be interesting to paint this mural in a more common language, using imagery that anyone can understand, initiating dialogue and building bridges. For this, we chose to inspire ourselves from Alphonse Mucha, father of Art Nouveau (1860-1939), a style of art that most people know or have seen before. Of course, we gave it our own flavor and used N.D.G as the main theme. The end product being our take on “La Notre-Dame-de-Grâce” or “Our Lady of Grace.”
How did you decide on the “Lady of Grace” subject?
“Our Lady of Grace” English for “Notre-Dame-de-Grâce” (N.D.G) is the name of a residential neighborhood of Montreal located in the city’s west-end, where the mural was painted. We decided to bring this fictional character to life so that this borough could have an iconic symbol of its own.
How much work went into prepping for this mural?
We spent a few weeks figuring out the concept, planning the layout , collecting sponsors and gathering references that represent the neighborhood.
How did you get permission from the city to do this?
Through Help from the City of Montreal and the borough, Prevention N.D.G. – a local not-for-profit that works with the community – the city came up with a budget that was meant to be used in the context of beautifying an area and, though that can be done in many ways, we decided to propose this mural as a means to bringing some color to a gray part of town. After many months of negotiation and preparation, we finally got the ok on our project and got to work.
How do you think the mural turned out? Were you all happy with it?
We’re all very happy with the end result. The crazy part is that we’re more motivated now than ever and realize that this is only the tip of the iceberg for what we have planned for future projects.
Have you participated in any similar projects in Montreal or elsewhere?
We have been painting murals for a long time and most of them for free. Nowadays, we generally get commissioned by the commercial and private sectors. We’ve done similar projects in Europe and in different parts of Canada but this is the first time that we’ve had the opportunity to work on a community project in our own city that allowed us full control over our creation.
Do you think the city should finance more projects like the one in N.D.G? Why?
Absolutely, because it’s a gain for everyone. What better way to regain dead space.
Although graffiti communities are close knit and we often share similar values, the reasons why we do graffiti in the first place are not always the same. Some want their name out there and have little need for the artistic side of it. For others, there is a creative process. If we don’t acknowledge it and support it, we are preventing these people form potentially doing great things as artists.
Austria’s Green Lake: The park that becomes a lake for the summer
The emerald green waters of this mountain lake offer some of the most unique diving in landlocked Austria.
On the bed of the lake underwater explorers will discover fish swimming though the branches of trees, a floor covered in grass, benches, bridges and a landscape that looks like it belongs overground.
And that’s because for half of the year it is overground.
Changing of the seasons: Left, how the park looks during the autumn and winter months with a shallow layer of water at its lowest part, and right, divers flood in to explore the area in a totally different way in the summer
This is the Green Lake in Tragoess, Styria, which sits at the foot of snow-capped Hochschwab mountains.
Throughout the frozen winter months the area is almost completely dry and is used as a county park. It is a particular favourite site for hikers.
But as soon as the temperatures begin to rise in spring, the ice and snow on the mountaintops begins to melt and runs down into the basin of land below.
The park fills up with ice-cold crystal clear water, which gets its distinctive green colouring from the grass and foliage beneath.
The water levels rise from about one or two metres deep in the winter to as much as 10 metres in the late spring and early summer.
The waters are at their highest in June when it becomes a mecca for divers keen to explore the rare phenomenon, before the waters recede at the end of July.
Life-size zombies crawling out of a 1,800-pound giant pumpkin? You have to face it, Halloween carved pumpkins don’t get a lot cooler than that.
A crowd of Halloween fans gathered at the New York Botanical Garden, the other day, to see pumpkin-carving master Ray Villafane work his magic on the world’s biggest pumpkin. Ray, an established artist known also for his incredible toy and sand sculptor, had something special in mind for this year’s event, and it’s safe to say zombie fans were pleased with his idea. He used two of the largest pumpkins from this year’s harvest, one of them a record-holder, to create a creepy scene featuring zombies covered in pumpkin guts crawling out of a giant squash. Ray spent hours painstakingly carving his undead work of art, but his efforts were generously rewarded with cheering and clapping.
Ray Villafane used Brant and Eleanor Bordsen’s 1,693 pound pumpkin to create the zombies, while Kelsey and Jim Bryson’s 1,818.5 pound orange monster was used as the base they’re crawling out of. If you’re in the New York area and love scary pumpkin carvings, be sure to drop by the New York Botanical Garden, where Villafane’s masterpiece will be on display through Halloween.
Get a pen and mark a dot on your hands. It can be on your palm or anywhere that you will notice it throughout the day.
Throughout the day, ask yourself if you are dreaming whenever you notice the dot.
This technique is called a “Reality Check”.
Each time you see the dot, don’t just say “Of course I’m not dreaming”. Really think about it and analyze your surroundings. Otherwise, you’ll dismiss the question in your sleep.
The way to check if you are dreaming is to look at any text or numbers around you (eg. a book, sign, clock face, etc), then look away for 5 seconds. Then look back. If it changed, then you are dreaming.
What happens is that you are essentially testing your environment to see if you are dreaming. This habit carries over into your dream world after you have fallen asleep. If you do this enough and it becomes a daily routine, then eventually you will begin asking yourself if you are dreaming while you are in the dream. This is what sparks the lucidity.
Start keeping a dream journal. Keep it at your bedside and write down any dream you have the minute you wake up from it. When you keep a dream journal, you will notice that you begin to remember more dreams and you remember them more vividly. A lucid dream is a pretty exciting experience, but what good are they if you forget you had one when you wake up the following morning. Improve your dream recall by always keeping a dream journal!