Link About It: This Week’s Picks

O-faces around the globe, the image of a black hole, a font to improve memory and more

Butterfly Wings Explored Through Chris Perani’s Marco Photography

Layer upon layer of  iridescent scales, running along multicolored hairs, are revealed through Chris Perani’s marco photography of butterfly wings. The photographer employs a 10x microscope objective affixed to a 200mm lens in order to get such precision. The findings are perhaps unsurprisingly exquisite and thoroughly mesmerizing, but Perani’s method is certainly notable. See more imagery at Colossal, where Perani outlines his process further.

Pierpaolo Piccioli’s Renaissance Painting-Inspired Collection for Moncler

For Italian luxury skiwear brand Moncler, Valentino’s acclaimed creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli has delivered a capsule collection that harks back to the forms of early-Renaissance paintings. The full-body, lightweight down-filled-nylon pieces—zip-up hooded capes, layered over padded skirts and paired with gloves—are out today. According to Piccioli, it’s “an uttermost expression of my taste and a very personal effort.” To exemplify the inspiration, textile designer and photographer Suzanne Jongmans released an art series that puts the pieces in classic frame. See more of the imagery at designboom.

Orgasm Faces Around the World

According to a study published this week by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesit seems orgasmic facial expressions vary depending on where in the world you’re from. When asked to decide which face was mid-climax, participants from Western cultures decided an orgasm looked more excited and outward (signified by an open mouth and wide-eyes) while Eastern participants believed that an orgasm looked like closed mouth smiles and gentle release. Read more about what their answers signify culturally on Ars Technica.

Yayoi Kusama’s Work From a Different Angle

Much of Yayoi Kusama‘s work draws inspiration from her lifelong hallucinations, obsessive-compulsive behavior and fears, with her narratives oftentimes firmly based around mental health. While the brilliant artist has, more recently, been reduced to and stereotyped as a “wacky” Japanese artist who makes installations that result in selfie mania, Kusama’s works and process are so much more. For World Mental Health Day this year, Jyni Ong at It’s Nice That explores Kusama’s work through a different lens. As Ong writes, “Yayoi’s immense creative output seems deeply therapeutic and intuitive to her sense of self-expression. However, there is also something to be said in how she uses her external expression of art as a means to further understand her inner-self.” Read more at It’s Nice That.

The Only American Company Making Paper Straws

Paper straws got a bad reputation as flimsy and funky-tasting, thanks in part to versions produced in China. But Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Aardvark returned to paper straw production in 2007, when demand required that they start up again (they invented the paper straw back in 1888). Not only are the products “green,” they’re also ideal to use. Much of the process behind them is secret, and the plant is close-doored, but a few things are known. First, the straws are sustainable—produced with paper sourced from trees Aardvark grows themselves. Second, demand is skyrocketing right now, according to David Rhodes, the company’s global business director. For those looking for plastic alternatives, this is one worth trying for yourself. Read more at Bloomberg.

Assembling an Image of the Shadow of a Black Hole

In a mind-boggling excerpt from Seth Fletcher’s book Einstein’s Shadow: A Black Hole, a Band of Astronomers, and the Quest to See the Unseeable (published by Ecco), the author probes the meticulous process behind the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). In fact, a series of collaborative data sets collected in 2017 by eight telescopes around the planet, the EHT aims to create an image of the shadow of a black hole using vast amounts of cross-referenced and corroborated information. Fletcher’s insight and prose captivates as much the scientific developments, and the excerpt—published by the New York Times Magazine—frequently stuns with unimaginable facts.

Moog’s First Polysynth in 35 Years

In a short film featuring Dev Hynes, Mark Ronson and Ryuichi Sakamoto, among others, Moog teased the release of its first polysynth in 35 years. The Moog One (available in eight-voice ($5,999) or 16-voice ($7,999) versions) features three VCOs, two independent analog filters and a revamped collection of native effects. Moog hopes the new additions will allow users to form “deeply layered, evolving soundscapes.” Read more about the release and the rest of Moog’s upcoming products at Fact.

Long-Lost Eames Radio Design Realized

Vitra is bringing a long-lost Eames design to life: a molded plywood framed radio. With holes for speakers and a few knobs for tuning, the device has been made in an edition of 999, with the first 50 available at the MoMA Design Store. The design was never realized during the ’40s, when it was initially drawn up, because the design was deemed “too modern.” Now, with the help of Vitra and the office’s current director (and the duo’s grandson), the design is for sale—with WiFi and bluetooth capabilities included. Read more at Fast Company.

This Font Might Improve Your Memory

A new typeface—the result of a collaboration between RMIT University’s design school and its behavioral business lab—may increase the amount of information we retain from reading. Called Sans Forgetica, it was conceptualized for students cramming for big exams. With lots of backward slants and gaps, the type makes use of a design principle called “desirable difficulty” which slows the reader down, resulting in more retention and employs “deeper cognitive processing.” Read more at It’s Nice That.

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Yayoi Kusama’s Work From a Different Angle

Much of Yayoi Kusama‘s work draws inspiration from her lifelong hallucinations, obsessive-compulsive behavior and fears, with her narratives oftentimes firmly based around mental health. While the brilliant artist has, more recently, been reduced to and stereotyped as a “wacky” Japanese artist who makes installations that result in selfie mania, Kusama’s works and process are so much more. For World Mental Health Day this year, Jyni Ong at It’s …

Link About It: This Week’s Picks

A farewell to Mirka Mora, welcoming the common weed, Kusama-designed skateboards and more

Limited Edition Yayoi Kusama Skateboards are Coming to MoMA’s Online Store

This October, MoMA will release a limited run of skateboards (500 each of two styles) designed by the beloved Yayoi Kusama. The designs Yellow Trees (1994) and Dots Obsession (2018) are classic Kusama—all spots and bright colors. Though this isn’t a first for either party (MoMA has released similar pieces based on works by Warhol and Basquiat, and Kusama made a custom Infinity Mirror Skate Deck in 2017), it is an exciting, hand-painted (Kusama painted over the digital renderings because she felt they needed to be altered a bit) drop for collectors and skaters alike to covet. Read more about the upcoming release on It’s Nice That.

Farewell, Mirka Mora

Beloved French-born, Australia-based artist Mirka Mora has died at 90 years old. After surviving the Holocaust, Mora and her husband arrived in Melbourne in 1951 and helped to pioneer a thriving arts scene in the city and beyond—specifically through her public works and association with the Heide Museum of Modern Art. Her vibrant works can be seen at Flinders St Station, St Kilda Pier, and in her own former restaurant—the Melbourne icon Tolarno. Mora’s colorful and magical work spanned painting, illustration, ceramics and more. In a 2014 interview with the ABC, she said, “Other people like to paint when they’re unhappy, but I’m not because I’m depending on my brain and my brain must be clear and beautiful. I like to be on my own because you have to grab invisible things and make them visible.” Read more at the ABC.

Common Weeds Yield Unexpected Meals and Bouquets

“This is the era of the formerly unwanted plant,” Ligaya Mishan writes. The common weed holds no nutritional or aesthetic value in traditional settings, but adventurous chefs and florists are finding a place for weeds alongside traditionally more grand flowers and ingredients. The switch is being attributed to a broader cultural moment—that our perception of beauty is changing. Weeds are an intrusive species that finds its way into places it isn’t welcome. And their presence—in nature, in bouquets, in dishes—is synonymous with perseverance, diligence, and the adage of the underdog. Danish-born chef Esben Holmboe Bang says, “A wild dandelion is as coveted as a white truffle.” Read more about the common weed’s welcoming party at the New York Times.

Dover Street Market Thrives in Defiance

Dover Street Market, founded by couple, and heads of line Comme des Garçons, Rei Kawakubo and Adrian Joffe, has found success in the retail space by defying the setting, methods, and stocking practices of traditional stores. Their brand coexists in each of Dover Street Market’s six locations with competitors and upstarts alike; streetwear, luxury, and everyday items are placed throughout the store like a bazaar: “Dover Street Market groups most of its single-brand spaces, which make up the majority of the floor plan, by creator, giving each designer permission to dream up site-specific installations. As long as they put up panels to protect walls and conform to strict size requirements, almost anything goes,” Alexandra Marshall of the Wall Street Journal writes. But the idea has become more than just a retail space; the hospitality of Kawakubo and Joffe has helped launch brands like Gosha Rubchinskiy and Jacquemus, and their fluid business style has remained relentless through trends and market crashes alike. Read more in-depth analysis at the Wall Street Journal.

Autonomous Air-Taxis May Only Be a Few Years Away

SkyRyse, a start-up founded by 28-year-old Mark Groden, is set on bringing an autonomous air-taxi to the market within the next decade. Other, larger companies (like Uber and Volocopter) share the same goal, but SkyRyse is expediting the process by installing autonomous technology into pre-existing aircrafts. Skipping the exhausting process of building out an expensive fleet, their to-market goal is much more attainable—meaning we may see pilot-less planes offering rides like Uber or Lyft in the air sooner than expected. And, the idea is in good hands: former employees from NASA, Space-X, and Boeing have jumped on board to helm the project. Read more at CNBC.

NBA Loosens Rules on Sneakers

In another move in the NBA’s efforts toward being the most player-oriented professional sports league, the association will adopt a free-for-all policy in regard to sneakers. This move will allow players to wear any colored sneakers, whenever they please—moving on from the 51% rule which required the sneaker to be 51% white if the team were home and 51% black if the team were away. Since Nike took the helm on jersey design last year, they have made it a goal to broaden team’s looks and color palettes. So, no longer does a team have to have a white home or a black away jersey—it can be green, or blue, or red, or cream (and the sneakers players wear no longer have to match). Read more about the change on ESPN.

An Onslaught of New Beverages That Defy Existing Categorization

Beyond soda, “a proliferation of beverages that don’t fit within traditional drink categories is creating tough choices for retailers, confusion for shoppers and a challenge for manufacturers,” Jennifer Maloney and Julie Jargon of the Wall Street Journal explain. From Pepsi’s offer to buy SodaStream to drinks like cold-brew coffee and kombucha defying  shopping aisle organization, consumer tastes are changing. The market has a tidal wave of new drinks as beverage giants jostle outside of their comfort zones to embrace a wane in regular sugar drinks and an interest in more experimental flavors and combinations. Read more about the industry’s fluctuations at the Wall Street Journal.

Father Turns Son’s Illustrations Into Crazy, Lifelike Animals

As children seek to replicate what inspires them in the outside world, they seem to capture it through the distortion of imagination—and developing skills. Since 2016, an artist (known only as Tom) has been turning his son’s doodles into lifelike but (obviously) anatomically-incorrect images, much to the delight of others. They’ve been posted to Instagram under Things I Have Drawn and even become a book. See more of these absurd and wonderful creatures, and learn more about the family, at designboom.

The Digital Future of Music Festivals

As new music festivals are announced and older ones fold, one thing remains consistent: attendance numbers are lower and ticket prices are higher than ever. Larger festivals don’t necessarily translate to digital content well: stages are lit for immediate impact, aren’t designed with secondary audiences in mind, and render livestreams and ripped videos almost unwatchable. Pickathon—a 3,500-ticket festival on an 80-acre farm just south of Portland, Oregon—is catering to its in-person and internet audience. The festival is adorned with installations and extraordinary stages built to let the festival’s 500-person production team, led by founder Zale Schoenborn, capture video and images to create a year’s worth of content that they hope to monetize on YouTube and Netflix to balance out their costs and hopefully break even. Read more about Schoenborn’s efforts on The Ringer.

Augmented Reality Camera Systems Give Tank Crews 360-Degree Visibility

From inside the belly of Ukrainian military tanks, VR headsets are granting operational crews real-time views of everything on the outside—no longer limiting pilots to small vision ports. Through multiple infrared cameras, this “Distributed Aperture System,” adds a “See-Through” technology to the notoriously clunky, armored vehicles. As Popular Mechanic notes, the key here is actually consumer electronics, specifically Microsoft’s Hololens mixed reality device. And it just so happens to make the outfitting process quite inexpensive. Learn more about how it all works at Popular Mechanics.

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