Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Thomas Heatherwick: the Cauldron and a Retrospective

The English designer takes Steve Rose through his retrospective show Heatherwick Studio: Designing the Extraordinary, which runs at London's V&A until 30 September

Thomas Heatherwick is a designer architect from London and the man behind the Olympic Cauldron.

 The cauldron was lit on 27 July at the end of the end of the Olympics opening ceremony, which was directed by Danny Boyle.
The design of the cauldron had been one of the most closely-guarded secrets of the opening ceremony. When the competing delegations arrived in London, they each received a copper petal, inscribed with the name of their country and the words ‘XXX Olympiad London 2012’. They carried these petals into the stadium during the opening ceremony before laying them down on the cauldron. When all the petals had been laid down, the seven torchbearers each ignited a single tiny flame within one of the copper petals on the ground, triggering the ignition of all 204 petals. The Cauldron’s long, stainless-steel stems then rose towards each other and converged to form one single flame.
Lots more on Heatherwick here
The cauldron being lit here

Thursday, 19 July 2012

This Exquisite Forest at Tate Modern

This Exquisite Forest is an online collaborative art project that lets users create short animations that build off one another as they explore a specific theme. The result is a collection of branching narratives resembling trees.

To provide inspiration, eight artists whose work already hangs in the Tate Modern, including Olafur Elliason and Julian Opie, have created digital, animated saplings for others to grow, along with instructions (Elliason's instructions: "Be energy (not about energy); Use yellow often, but not always; Show that light is life; Exercise empathetic attention; Share this with friends.") These artist trees will be curated, with submissions vetted by Koblin and co, but "the rest of it's open: people can submit whatever they want and it will instantly go up," Koblin says.

The best animations will show on large video screens in the Tate Modern over the next six months in the collection galleries on Level 3 at Tate Modern, beginning on July 23, 2012. There is a digital drawing station in the Gallery or connect from your own computer (but.....do you have Google Chrome?!)

The project was conceived by Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin, and produced by Google and Tate. It makes extensive use of Google Chrome’s HTML5 and JavaScript support, as well as Google App Engine and Google Cloud Storage.

Monday, 16 July 2012

dishonesty and other issues in The CRITICAL COMMONS

 SCALAR  is a web based authoring and publishing tool that 'makes it easy for authors to write significant sized born-digital scholarship online. Scalar enables users to assemble media from multiple sources and juxtapose them with their own writing in a variety of ways, with minimal technical expertise required'.

Part of the SCALAR toolset is access to Critical Commons a repository of copyright cleared audio visual materials.

Do you want to illustrate Deleuze with a clip from Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) or read the lecture, view the clips pertaining to Synthetic Sexuality: The Allure of Humanity and the Subversion of Perfection' ? Or  (see the image above ) view a scene from a Simpsons episode about issues of stealing to make a point in your study of economics ? They are all available from The Critical Commons.

The largest subset within the Critical Commons media database is produced by a senior lecturer in Economics at Penn State University and author of the book Economics in the Movies, Dirk Mateer and comprises a huge collection of clips from popular culture that illustrate principles of economics, ranging from game theory to opportunity cost. Dirk's database is called the  "Econ Media Library" . Go here to understand the concept of price elasticity of demand and leveraging elastic demand by laughing as Butters from South Park decides to sell hugs for $2 when he discovers that not everyone can afford kisses at the kissing booth for $5. 

Critical Commons is  well worth a visit whatever your subject area.

Monday, 9 July 2012

travel to World Wonders from home

Would you like to take a journey on the Rhaetian Railway through the Swiss Alps? Or perhaps you’d prefer to explore the mosaics of Pompeii in Italy. Or gaze upon the nine-story Roman aqueduct in Segovia, Spain. Or track down the Aboriginal rock art at Kakadu National Park in Australia.
Google Street View has left the road and photographed some of the world’s most impressive monuments and parks. Launched at the end of May in Madrid, the World Wonders Project is the latest creation from the Paris-based Google Cultural Institute, a wing of the company that aims to spread culture and history to users around the globe.
To scan inside the Nijo Castle in Kyoto and traverse the grounds of Stonehenge, Google had to ditch its typical car-mounted scanners. Instead it created image-capture equipment suitable for adapted tricycles and vertical trolleys that can be pushed around to capture indoor sites. These trikes globe-trotted for a whole year, sailing down the Amazon River and sitting atop the Glacier Express train in Switzerland.

To document 132 heritage sites worldwide, the Google team has partnered with content providers such as UNESCO, the World Monuments Fund, and Getty Images The site is  geared towards educational uses , as both students and teachers can download free lesson plans and presentations.
Google World Wonders Project is here

A related video explains the background

Another Google Cultural Institute project launched early last year was The Art Project a collaboration with 17 museums and covering  about 1,000 works of art. In April 2012 , the updated version contained 32,000 artworks from 155 museums. The institute has also digitized Nelson Mandela’s archives, the Dead Sea scrolls, and documents and photos from the Yad Vashem Centre for Holocaust research.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Green Building Standard 'The Living Building Challenge' wins award

The Living Building Challenge has won the 2012Buckminster Fuller Challenge an annual international design Challenge awarding $100,000 to support the development and implementation of a strategy that has significant potential to solve humanity's most pressing problems.
Published by The International Living Future Institute,  a non-governmental organization (NGO) in America The Living Building Challenge is an intensive green building standard that seeks to define the highest possible level of environmental performance.
Whether the project is a single building, a park, a college campus or even a complete neighborhood community, Living Building Challenge provides a framework for design, construction and the symbiotic relationship between people and all aspects of the built environment.It has five imperatives, each of which has to be met and maintained for a full 12 months before a building can be certified as “living.” Those imperatives are as follows: a building has to generate all of its own, renewable energy on-site; a living building has to capture and treatall of its own water; only non-toxic and sustainably-sourced construction materials may be used; buildings have to be placed on already-developed sites in order to reduce urban sprawl; and finally, a living building must be beautiful and inspiring to its occupants and others.
More than 140 projects have registered around the world since the Challenge was first released as a certification program in 2006