art

Skycats

This week has been pretty crazy (in a good way, though!), so I was thrilled to stumble across Gemma Correll’s genius “Skycats” series in the midst of all the madness. Her comics are so cute and witty—I couldn’t help but laugh out loud and smile at her illustrations.

Some of my favorites:

how long is this flight again? how long were you in africa for, exactly? who are you waving at? awkward

Check out Correll’s complete “Skycats” seriesВ and be sure to follow her Tumblr for more awesome illos!

(Images via Gemma Correll’s Tumblr)

Foreign Words

With my trip to Buenos Aires just a few weeks away, I’ve rekindled my Spanish studies. I’ve dug out my notebook filled with conjugations, grammar rules and definitions, and resumed listening to the “Coffee Break Spanish” podcast, every day on the subway. I can feel my slight grasp on the language returning.

Studying Spanish every day has reminded me of this wonderful Maptia blog post I came across a few weeks ago. It contains 11 illustrations of words in other languages that have no English equivalents.

Some of my favorites:

Culaccino

goya

sobremesa

Iktsuarpok

The comments on the post are just as interesting! Readers have noted other fantastic words that we could use in English—like mahmihlapinatapai, which is “a look shared by two people, each wishing that the other will offer something that they both desire but are unwilling to suggest or offer themselves,” in theВ Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego.

I’ll try to drop that one into conversation!

(Illustrations via Maptia)

You’re Gonna Hear Me…

the serengeti lion

Sorry, couldn’t resist! And it doesn’t help that I’ve been listening to that song nonstop, for weeks.

But in all seriousness, definitely check out National Geographic‘s “The Serengeti Lion.” During several trips to the Serengeti between July 2011 and January 2013, photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols and videographer Nathan Williamson used cameras mounted on remote control cars to get super up close to lions. The result: amazing access to the big cats. (And their cubs!)

The footage is truly amazing, as is the portal they built to display it. You really feel like you can reach out and pet the majestic felines!

Enjoy—and happy Friday!

(Image via WNYC)

Voice Tunnel

This looks super-cool.

voice tunnel

“Voice Tunnel” is the signature art installation at this year’s Summer Streets. (Three Saturdays when nearly seven miles of NYC streets are closed to cars, and open to pedestrians and bikers.)

Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer lined the Park Avenue Tunnel,В which runs from 33rd to 42nd Street, with 300 theatrical spotlights and 150 speakers. Pedestrians who pass through can speak into an intercom that records and loops their voices—and affects the brightness of the lights. The result will be constantly changing light and sound patterns.

I appreciate how understated the installation seems—how it utilizes the space but doesn’t completely take it over. Because for me, one of the coolest parts of experiencing it would just be walking through the tunnel.

Turns out, that was one of Lozano-Hemmer’s goals. As he puts it, in the video below:

I wanted to do something that would not be a big intervention because the tunnel, itself, is quite pretty—the beautiful sort of rock shapes, the metal cladding. You feel special just walking into it.

Will definitely have to check it out.

(Photo by Julie Hau via Summer Streets’ Facebook page; video by NYC DOT via Transportation Nation’s Tumblr. Summer Streets are August 3, 10 and 17.)

Landfillharmonic

I don’t know too much about Paraguay, beyond the fact that I want to visit it. The country is less of a mainstream tourist destination than its neighbors, Brazil and Argentina—which makes it all the more appealing to me. And after learning about the “Los Reciclados” orchestra,” I want to go there even more.

Just outside of Asuncion, Paraguay’s capital, is Cateura, a slum built upon a garbage dump. To give its young residents a hopeful alternative to the poverty and strife around them, local music teacher Favio Chavez started a youth orchestra—where every instrument is handmade from trash from the landfill.

Cellos are crafted from oil drums, flutes from water pipes. But what’s most astounding is how good these instruments sound. Check out the video below to see how Chavez and “Cola,” a trash picker, create the instruments, and hear the kids play—it’s truly amazing!

(Landfillharmonic, a documentary about the orchestra, is scheduled to be released next year)

Faux Inflatable Ducks

Remember that amazing, giant inflatable rubber duck that was hanging out in Sydney Harbor a while back? It’s still making its way around the world—Florentijn Hofman’s sculpture also made a stop in Hong Kong this year:

duck_hong kong 1

duck_hong kong 2

(How I wish I could have seen it in my second favorite city!)

But the funny thing is, since then,В China’s knockoff industry has been churning out look-a-like ducks. Though Chinese officials aren’t thrilled about that, at least 10 replicas have been spotted inВ Wenzhou

Visitors look at a scaled replica of the rubber duck by Dutch conceptual artist Florentijn Hofman as employees try to pull it upright on a lake at a park in Shenyang

Shanghai…

A scaled replica of the "Rubber Duck" by Dutch conceptual artist Florentijn Hofman is seen along a street next to a vendor waiting for customers in Shanghai

and Luoyang, to name a few places.

A labourer walks in water after setting up a scaled replica of the rubber duck, by Dutch conceptual artist Hofman, on an artificial lake in Luoyang

I’m wondering how many more are floating (ha) around out there!

(Top two photos viaВ Florentijn Hofman; bottom three by Reuters via Atlantic Cities)

Runways of the World

This is pretty astounding.

Using data from ourairports.com, James Davenport,В a Ph.D. candidate in astronomy at the University of Washington, plotted the locations of 45,132 runways around the world. The result: a map of the world.В (I know it’s a little hard to see, so please click on the image to view the high res version.)

airports of the world

As Davenport puts it:

Think about that number for a moment: there areВ at leastВ 45,000 places to land an airplane!В These range from small dirt fields to LAX, and the data seems to be more complete in the USA. Still, runways on every continent, seemingly every country.

Incredible!

I wholeheartedly agree.

(Image by James Davenport)