1. A Greener Way to Make Blue Jeans
While the majority of blue jeans are dyed with synthetically produced indigo, researchers at the University of California have potentially discovered a way to make the process more eco-friendly—and the answer is bacteria. Instead of adding to the many chemicals (including formaldehyde) released during the now-traditional practice, scientists created a strain of E. coli bacteria which only needs to have an enzyme added to dye the cotton. That said, many designers are returning to natural indigo dye—which results in richer colors and a much happier environment. Read more at Smithsonian Mag.
2. Farewell, Ursula K Le Guin
With a career spanning almost 50 years, science fiction and fantasy writer Ursula K Le Guin has passed away at 88 years old. Perhaps best known for her “Earthsea” series (which began with 1968’s “A Wizard of Earthsea”), Le Guin was proud to be part of the sci-fi and fantasy genre. The worlds she created avoid the basic lessons of good and evil, rather she used metaphors and tropes to explore very real issues surrounding politics, the environment, gender, sexuality and religion. One standout novel “The Left Hand of Darkness,” takes place on planet of Gethen, where inhabitants have no fixed gender—or are “ambisexual.” The novel explored the ways in which gender and sexual identity influence and are influenced by society. Le Guin leaves behind an important legacy that will live on forever. Read more at the Guardian. Also take a look at her letter rejecting an offer to write a blurb for an all-male sci-fi anthology.
3. Leandro Erlich “Twists” Le Bon Marché’s Escalators
Beginning with clouds floating within the outside windows of the iconic Parisian department store Le Bon Marché, Argentine artist Leandro Erlich has created an imaginative wonderland-like installation. Perhaps the most eye-catching part of his transformation (which includes controlling the light) happens to be the twists and turns he lends the store’s escalators—which culminate in one giant knot. Known as “Sous le ciel,” the temporary artwork will run through 18 February.
4. The Museum of Selfies
Before dismissing selfies as entirely narcissistic or lowbrow, a quick reminder that this art form has a history that dates back 40,000 years and some of the most celebrated artists of all time created a lot of them—from Rembrandt to Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Vincent van Gogh and more. From 1 April to 31 May in LA, a pop-up exhibition about and for self-portraits—aptly named The Museum of Selfies—will be open to the public. While exploring the phenomenon throughout history and culture, the “interactive museum” is also a little tongue-in-cheek and humorous.
5. David Shrigley’s New Work at London Restaurant Sketch
While the bathroom at Sketch seems to be the most Instagrammed place in London, there’s much more to the restaurant. Namely, the largest number of original drawings artist David Shrigley has ever exhibited in one place. Recently, Shrigley updated the walls at Sketch with some 91 new works—some which break away from the original black and white theme by including splashes of bold hues. Take a look at some of the cheeky, sometimes trenchant, artworks at It’s Nice That.
6. Winning Proposals For Plastic Replacement
With ideas varying from renewable materials composed of agricultural by-products and food waste to magnetic additives and compostable organic layering, five concepts were each awarded $200,000 to enable them to enter a 12-month accelerator program. The goal: develop plastic alternatives. The winners of this Circular Materials Challenge were announced at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. It’s one portion of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastics Economy Innovation Prize, which aims to discover ways for reducing the number of plastics that enter the ocean annually. Read more about all five winners at Dezeen.
7. “Mudbound” Cinematographer Rachel Morrison Makes Oscar History
The first female director of photography to receive an Oscar nomination, Rachel Morrison has shattered another glass ceiling in the film industry—one that’s held for 90 years. Called out for her work on “Mudbound,” Morrison has already won the New York Film Critics Circle’s cinematography award and received a few other acknowledgments. The film, which debuted at Sundance in 2017, has also landed a slew of nominations. Morrison’s visuals can next be seen in the highly-anticipated Marvel film “Black Panther.”
8. The Brains Behind Toiletpaper are Rebranding OKCupid
OKCupid’s new ad campaign plays with the acronym DTF (down to fuck), all the while overhauling the dating app’s identity. Attempting to reclaim DTF by replacing the F with various other activities—from the wholesome “Down To Fall Head Over Heels” to “Down To Four-Twenty” and “Down to Filter Out the Far Right”—OKCupid also seems to be taking a few shots at hook-up apps. The campaign was created by Maurizio Cattelan and photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari (aka the team behind Toiletpaper) and will be gracing the NYC subway in the coming months. See more at The Cut.