Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Gerrit Rietveld reissued, a virtual reality gender swap, NASA in art and more in our weekly look at the web


1. Paper Planes

Designer Luca Iaconi-Stewart has crafted a stunning 1:60 scale replica airplane model of an Air India 777-300ER from bits of manila folders. Over five years he measured, cut and glued tiny pieces together to construct what might be the most advanced paper airplane to date. The detail work, both internally and externally, is extraordinary and elements like doorways and the landing gear are—incredibly—retractable. His obsession even brought him to drop out of school to finish the project, a demonstration of pure talent and dedication.

2. The Macallan’s $631,850 Whisky

At a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong, Scotch Whisky brand The Macallan has set a staggering new record for the most expensive single malt ever sold. They stripped the record from themselves; having sold another spirit for $460,000 in 2010. There were only four six-liter Imperiale “M” Decanters made by Lalique in conjunction with The Macallan, and the liquid within has been highly praised to date—all warranting such a steep price. And to sweeten it all, proceeds from the sale will benefit Hong Kong charities.

3. Write A House: Detroit

As a ray of light in a city often focused on because of its turmoil,
Detroit’s Write A House literary campaign
hopes to draw a new generation of writers to the city with recently
renovated homes. By employing the Young Detroit Builders organization, the
program aims to teach youth the skill of carpentry while revitalizing
a rough neighborhood at the same time, with the end result being an
encouraging, self-sustaining writers’ community.

4. The Sun at Night

Artists David Henckel and Dan Wilkinson’s latest project has taken the UK by storm. Their 30-minute film and visual art installation “The Sun at Night” uses NASA imagery to portray a year in the life of the sun. A spherical projection of the rotating star set to ambient, foreboding music is equal parts science and art, and the film (shown exclusively at night) manages to be both beautiful and eerie. The installation began in Preston before reaching millions on the BBC and later drawing crowds in London.


5. Bottled Cocktails Surge

More and more, drinkers are accepting that if they’re made well, pre-bottled cocktails can actually taste good. But this isn’t a new idea; it’s actually a historic concept that died out during Prohibition. Craft brands are ushering in the return; recognizing that you can age a mixed cocktail like any other spirit, and bartenders will still have control with the final flourishes. Now even bartenders are embracing the notion, both as a valuable time-saver at a crowded watering hole and as an opportunity for greater alcohol explorations.

6. Love is a Data Field

LA-based PhD student Chris McKinlay was unsatisfied with OkCupid’s matchmaking algorithms and decided to take matters into his own hands. Using his knowledge of applied math, he hacked the dating site to help destiny garner better results. Check out Wired’s in-depth article to find out if he ended up finding true love.

7. “Magic Hats”

The creative team at NYC-based agency Alldayeveryday continues to impress in interesting ways. Their latest video project “Magic Hats” was shot on Vilakazi street in the Soweto area of Johannesburg—a street that was once home to Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the late Nelson Mandela. The performers Jabu and JR have been dancing on the same corner since they were kids, and are known for their pantsula-style dance that is unique to the area. Director Jake Summer captures their skill and lighthearted yet concentrated vibe with ease and grace in a short piece that is sure to bring a smile.

8. Early Days of NASA: In Photos

With space tourism a growing industry and the Mars Rover’s journey to the Red Planet captivating the world, interest in space is the highest it’s been in decades. A recent exhibition in London, “For All Mankind” reveals over a hundred rare photos from NASA’s first pursuit of a successful manned moon landing, spanning from 1964 to 1983. The photos—all shot on film—offer both an intimate glimpse into the experience of the astronauts and also a broader perspective on the sheer tenacity and pioneering spirit of NASA’s cavalier beginnings.


9. Bio Art & Design Award: Open Call

Art and science are often perceived as mutually exclusive, especially within the public education system. The newly renamed Bio Art & Design Award, however, is offering €25,000 grants to the top three ideas that “push the boundaries of research application and creative expression,” and is encouraging designers and artists to delve into the latest research in the life sciences. Past winners included a “bulletproof skin” project that raised ethical questions about the advancement of technological innovations. Send in submissions by 2 February 2014—or start planning for next year’s competition—and get a leg up by learning more about the awards through We Make Money Not Art’s behind-the-scenes interview.

10. Faces of Miley

Amid the life-sized teddy bears, twerking and product placement in Miley Cyrus’ hit music video “We Can’t Stop,” Rhizome staff writer Jacob Gaboury managed to identify the CGI face from Fred Parke’s 1974 University of Utah dissertation research. In the ’70s, the University of Utah was one of the leading research centers for computer graphics in the country and Parke was one of the earliest researchers to digitize the human face. How academia research ended up in a mainstream pop music video is still unsolved but one thing is certain: Parke told Rhizome that he did not receive any compensation for its use in the music video.

11. Gerrit Rietveld’s Steltman Chair Reissued

During his lifetime, Dutch furniture designer and architect Gerrit
Reitveld became known for his involvement in The Netherlands’ De
Stijl modernist movement. One of his most iconic designs is the Steltman Chair, originally designed
for a Dutch jeweler in 1963. Made of three self-supporting
right angle elements, the chair is a true wonder—and is now
being produced again for the first time in over 50 years by his grandson, Egbert Rietveld.

12. 37 Years in Space OST

While infographics can show the patterns hidden in large, complex amounts of data, the speeding paths of cosmic particles, however, aren’t so easy to visualize. Instead, Domenico Vicinanza of European high-speed data network Géant translated the data sent back from NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 spacecrafts into music. The resulting five-minute piece sounds like a hybrid between a Phillip Glass opera and an American Express commercial, but data sonification isn’t just for giggles—in this case, changes, trends and peaks hidden in the information content were much easier to listen out for than to see.


13. Underwater Oxygen Respirator

Imagine the ability to explore underwater without the need for
cumbersome oxygen tanks. Designer Jeabyun Yeon has
created the Triton Oxygen Respirator, a device
that extracts oxygen from water and converts it to into breathable
air—like a fish gill. While just a concept at this point, the clever
design is an impressive step in making this idea a reality.

14. Virtual Reality Gender Swap

An art installation aptly titled, “The Machine to be Another” uses virtual reality technology to allow people to experience the first person perspective of another human—in this instance a man and a woman. Participants synchronize their movements to enhance the idea of an identity change. For example, a normally barrel chested man runs his hands down his hairy chest while a svelte woman across the room does the same—each seeing the other’s perspective. For a closer look check out the short video detailing some of the participants’ experiences with a few slightly NSFW moments.

15. Artistry of Birds in Flight

Using the program After Effects, artist Dennis Hlynsky has made visible the flight paths of birds overhead. In his recently released video series, the sky squiggles with movement as indicator lines trail the winged creatures—much like the contrails of jets. With power lines as a resting point, and sound as the stimulus, every so often the sky blackens with a mass surge of charted flight. There’s something very magical about seeing the unexpected and, at times, illogical patterns.

16. LEGO Film Development Lab

With a few sets of LEGO Mindstorms and DIY panache, Dutch
photographer Jan van den Broek skillfully built an astonishing semi-automatic film processing station. Using a
self-propelled car on a track atop five developing chemical stations,
the film is transferred through each step unmanned, from pre-wash and
developer to fixer and stabilizer.

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily on Twitter and published weekly every Saturday morning.