Link About It: This Week’s Picks

A profile of a successful education system, international art news, paramedical tattooing and more

The Mental Magic of Paramedical Tattoos

Tattoos, though cosmetic in nature, have a diverse and longstanding history of significant purpose. For Eternal Ink Tattoo Studio owner Eric Catalano, an unexpected request led to a moment of discovery: while tattooing fingernails on a man that lost the tips of two fingers in a construction accident, he realized the restorative power of a new medium dubbed paramedical tattooing. Since, he’s tattooed discolored or malformed parts of lips to match the rest, added areolas onto the breasts of cancer survivors, and illustrated plenty more fingernails. And he does it all at no cost to the recipient thanks to a successful GoFundMe campaign. Read more about the confidence-healing medium at The New York Times.

Bomb-Sniffing Cyborg Grasshoppers

Dogs and even pigs have long been heralded as having the ultimate snout—one capable of detecting bombs, drugs, truffles, and even human beings through thick brush and dense soil. But, courtesy of a bit of high-tech engineering, cyborg grasshoppers may be the ultimate nose after all. Researchers at the University of Missouri inserted electrodes into the antennal lobes of each grasshopper (the “brain” of the operation, where 50,000 neurons send their signals) and monitored which neurons fired when the bugs were exposed to explosive components like TNT and DNT. Then the researchers recorded which fired when they were exposed to almond oil. They proved different, implying that grasshoppers could be a useful, minute frontline assistant. Read more at the New Scientist.

La Bisbal, Spain’s Chocolate Factory Turned Residence

From the bones of a former chocolate factory, rising three stories on a historic block dating back to the late nineteenth century, architects Anna and Eugeni Bach fashioned a light-filled residence. The architects preserved the building’s stone-bearing facade and embarked upon different design directions for each of the floors within—from supporting a Catalan vault on the ground floor to employing large logs beneath brick and ceramic tile on the roof. Once industrial and now the home and studio of a family, everything has been adapted for private use, including the outdoor space. See more stunning photos at designboom.

Assembly-Free “Origami” Furniture

Degrees of Freedom carefully designs and produces assembly-free furniture and decor. Helmed by former Space X engineer Brian Ignaut, the ingenious brand’s pieces unfold into legs, and then require a mere rotation before they can be used. Right now, Ignaut builds the prototypes himself, which drives prices up for consumers. But, his goal is to get the final cost to something more affordable. Considering the practicality of lamps and tables that require no extra pieces, daunting instructions, or excess packaging (they pack flat), there is sure to be demand should Ignaut take his passion project mainstream. Read more at Core77.

Farewell to Cut, Copy, and Paste Inventor Larry Tesler

An Apple, Xerox, Amazon, Yahoo, and 23AndMe alum—and an early researcher in the field of artificial intelligence—Larry Tesler may not be as well-known as early computing icons like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Steve Wozniak, but his impact on the industry remains important today. Tesler popularized the tools cut, copy, and paste while working on Xerox PARC’s mouse-driven user interface—specifically an app within it called Gypsy, one of the first word processors. It’s difficult to imagine any system without those tools or an option to access them with a paired mouse or trackpad. Thus, Tesler’s mark may prove eternal. Read more about him at Gizmodo.

Political Pop Artist Peter Saul’s Powerful “Crime and Punishment” Exhibition at New Museum

More than 60 paintings from 86-year-old artist—and Pop Art progenitor—Peter Saul speak from the walls of New Museum in the retrospective Crime and Punishment. Each, pulled from 50 years of work, offers a societal critique so sharp—but sometimes masked in cartoonish comedy and color—that one might not feel the attack. Through racism and violence, political ineptness and corruption, Saul pokes and prods at public figures and tragic events. It’s a powerful show where works from decades past feel just as relevant as recent paintings. Read more about the show, and through an interview with Saul, at the Guardian.

Art Basel Hong Kong’s Online Replacement

Although Art Basel canceled this year’s Hong Kong iteration (and offered a 75% refund to participants), in response to the coronavirus deaths on mainland China, the organization sought an alternative for galleries that relied on revenue from the annual event. Thus, an online fair was born that will take place in viewing rooms on Art Basel’s website and the fair’s app. This service will be available to exhibitors at no additional cost and will include VIP days (18-19 March) before general sales run (20-25 March). Both David Zwirner and Gagosian galleries have utilized online viewing rooms since 2018 to great success. Read more about the service at ARTnews.

Scandinavia’s Successful Education Model

Favoring a more comprehensive educational model that emphasizes humanistic and technical training, studies conclude that Nordic nations raise citizens that are intelligent (in the traditional sense), more internally aware, prideful for their nation, and capable of viewing a situation from another’s eyes. Governments in countries like Sweden, Denmark and Norway aim to make “lifelong learning a part of the natural fabric of society,” and it has paid off. This is a society that’s still largely ethnically homogeneous, but its success has come to fruition through a combination of commitment to state, “bildung” (a German word for their system’s emphasis on emotional, moral, civic and intellectual development), and diversity. Read more at The New York Times.

A Formafantasma-Designed Exhibition at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum

For the Rijksmuseum’s current exhibition, Caravaggio-Bernini. Baroque in Rome, the Netherlands-based multidisciplinary design duo Formafantasma produced the striking exhibit space. Using muted shades of blue, yellow, peach and pink; traditional textiles from Kvadrat; and an overall simple presentation, the studio emphasizes the 70 paintings and sculptures (by Caravaggio, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and a handful of others) against the beautiful setting. See more of the exhibition at designboom, and learn more about the studio in our 2018 video, Studio Formafantasma on Creative Collaboration.

Bollywood’s First Openly Gay Main Character

A first for India’s film industry, the forthcoming major release Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan (Be Extra Careful About Marriage) will feature an openly gay man as its primary protagonist. The romantic comedy depicts the character working through his family’s disdain for his sexuality—a powerful move for Bollywood, as its home nation only made being gay permissible by law in 2018. India’s LGBTQ+ community still faces discrimination and direct opposition from generational audiences who simply refuse to respect individuals who are out. Read more at the Advocate.

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily in Link and on social media, and rounded up every Saturday morning.