Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Honoring the Black oystermen of NYC, designing comfier airplanes, growing plants in darkness and more

Traditional Japanese Garments Merge with Unusual Natural Materials in New Exhibition

From now through 11 September, the Minneapolis Institute of Art will showcase Dressed by Nature: Textiles of Japan, an exhibition that features over 120 Japanese textiles crafted from unexpected natural materials like banana leaf, nettle, hemp and even fish skin. “Exhibitions on the dress of Japan always focus on the silk kimono and clothes worn by the aristocracy,” curator Andreas Marks tells The Art Newspaper. “Dressed by Nature instead celebrates the inventiveness and beauty of folk traditions and clothes worn in everyday life.” As such, the garments are contextualized by historic photographs, paintings, woodblock prints and video clips. Of particular note is a 19th-century woman’s fish skin festival coat (aka a hukht) that is made by the Nivkh people of Sakhalin Island after repurposing the skins of the carp and salmon that the community fished for food. Read more about the fascinating show at The Art Newspaper.

Image courtesy of John R. Van Derlip Fund/Mary Griggs Burke Endowment Fund/Thomas Murray Collection

Scientists Engineer Plants to Grow in Total Darkness

New research published in the journal Nature Food reveals that scientists have invented a way for plants to grow in total darkness. To do so, researchers used a process called artificial photosynthesis, where they fed acetate to plants as a carbon source, allowing them to bypass natural photosynthesis. They tested this on yeast, green algae, fungal mycelium, cowpea, tomato, tobacco, rice, canola and green pea, finding that all of them grew in the dark—with some actually growing more efficiently than in sunlight. Yeast, for instance, was 18 times more efficient. This artificial process could be a game-changer for the environment, as food as well as products like plastic alternatives, hydrogen fuel and methanol can be made more sustainably. “Using artificial photosynthesis approaches to produce food could be a paradigm shift for how we feed people,” says Robert Jinkerson, an author of the study. “By increasing the efficiency of food production, less land is needed, lessening the impact agriculture has on the environment.” Learn more about this breakthrough at New Atlas.

Image courtesy of Marcus Harland-Dunaway/UCR

NYC’s the Real Mother Shuckers Honors the Legacy of Black Oystermen

Moody (aka 37-year-old Ben Harney Jr) founded Brooklyn’s only oyster cart, the Real Mother Shuckers, in 2019 as a way to return oysters to their former ubiquity. Although most people associate the shellfish with upscale dining, oysters used to be widespread in New York during the 1800s, from street stalls selling oyster snacks to raw bars in the basements of buildings. Many of these oyster cellars were owned by African Americans, including the prominent Thomas Downing, who not only sold oysters but also became one of the wealthiest men in the city by doing so. In returning oysters to the street along with classic mignonettes or yuzu and green apple dressings, Moody honors the Black oystermen who were instrumental in building this legacy. “New York was the oyster capital of the world. And we’re eating hot dogs?” he asks The New York Times, where you can learn more about his mission and delectable offerings.

Image courtesy of Douglas Segars/The New York Times

Air New Zealand’s Economy Class Skynest Sleep Pods Promise Comfier Flights

Air New Zealand unveiled their plans for the future of flying which include Skynest sleep pods. These lie-flat options for travelers in economy are structured as “six single bunks split over three levels, complete with privacy curtains.” Passengers can book them to sleep mid-flight, along with a “pillow, sheets, blanket and ear plugs, as well as lighting designed to be suitable for sleeping.” They will be available for four hours at a time. There will also be snack stations, a business-class suite with a sliding door, new fabrics and color schemes drawn from the hues of the tūī—a bird native to New Zealand. The changes are mostly driven by the fact that many destinations outside the country are a good 10+ hours away. The company’s CEO Greg Foran says, “New Zealand’s location puts us in a unique position to lead on the ultra-long-haul travel experience. We have zeroed in on sleep, comfort and wellness because we know how important it is for our customers to arrive well-rested. Whether they are heading straight into a meeting, or to their first holiday hotspot—they want to hit the ground running.” Read more about the amenities, rolling out in 2024, at Stuff.

Image courtesy of Air New Zealand

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily in Link and on social media, and rounded up every Saturday morning. Hero image courtesy of Minneapolis Institute of Art