Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘art’

25 NOVEMBER, 2011

A Mosaic Time-Lapse Visualization of the Sky for an Entire Year

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Syncing the celeste, or how to touch the fabric of time.

Since ancient times, the sky has been an object of fixation for humanity. Just recently, we’ve explored some delightful DIY guides to cloudwatching and stargazing, but artist Ken Murphy has taken it to another level. For the past 365 days, he’s pointed his lens to the sky, using a custom camera rig affixed atop the Exploratorium museum on the edge of San Francisco Bay, and captured an image every 10 seconds. The result is A History of the Sky — a mesmerizing mosaic of time-lapse movies, each containing a 24-hour period, synced and arranged chronologically in a (slightly more mathematically convenient than the 365-day calendar) grid of 360 total rectangles.

(Full-screen is your friend here.)

Time-lapse movies are compelling because they give us a glimpse of events that are continually occurring around us, but at a rate normally far too slow to for us to observe directly. A History of the Sky enables the viewer to appreciate the rhythms of weather, the lengthening and shortening of days, and other atmospheric events on an immediate aesthetic level: the clouds, fog, wind, and rain form a rich visual texture, and sunrises and sunsets cascade across the screen.” ~ Ken Murphy

The project is a living piece — the camera continues to collect images and integrate them with the mosaic daily, resulting in a different visualization every day reflective of the most recent 360 days.

For more astounding art based on the weather, don’t forget TED Fellow Nathalie Miebach’s striking musical weather data sculptures.

via The Creators Project

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25 NOVEMBER, 2011

Farm Anatomy: Julia Rothman’s Illustrated Guide to Country Life

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What comb styles have to do with cow plumbing and mapping autumn frost.

It really does seem to be the season of exiting food-relatedreleases. From the ever-talented Julia Rothman — she of Drawn In and The Exquisite Book fame, and one of the most original illustrators working today — comes Farm Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of Country Life, a charming illustrated guide to the intricate microcosm that underpins your dinner plate. From how to properly milk a cow to a taxonomy of squash varieties and faming tools to a morphology of barn cupolas, Rothman’s warm drawings are bound to entertain, educate (did you know that a one-year-old goat is called a ‘yearling’ and you can use cornflower to dye wool blue?), and instill in you newfound awe and fascination with rural life.

And as if the striking illustrations weren’t enough of a feat, most of the type in the book was handwritten, with the exception of the introduction and metadata font, which Rothman created from her handwriting.

The book was inspired by Rothman’s first visit to the farm on which her husband, Matt, grew up, which left the born-and-bred New Yorker artist wide-eyed and wonderstruck.

Working on this book has given me a chance to learn more about what it’s like to live off the land and to better understand Matt’s roots. In small ways I hope to bring the ideals and traditions he grew up on back into our daily lives.” ~ Julia Rothman

The last pages of the book feature Rothman’s meticulous biography, which not only pleases the attribution crusader in me but also tickles my Rube Goldberg curiosity as a fascinating rabbit hole of a reading list, featuring such esoteric treats as Storey’s Illustrated Breed Guide to Sheep, Goats, Cattle, and Pigs, Amish Quilt Patterns, 500 Treasured Country Recipes, and Country Wisdom & Know-How .

Utterly charming and thoroughly researched, Farm Anatomy is one of those rare treats that speak to your eyes and your heart, and in the process manage to expand your mind.

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23 NOVEMBER, 2011

A Book of Sleep

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“Some sleep with both eyes open, they don’t even blink!”

This week, I buckled down for my grueling (but delightful) annual roundup of the year’s best children’s and picture books. I’ve also been spending lots of time with a certain owl-loving friend and sleeping very little. The confluence of these reminded me of a lovely 2009 children’s book titled A Book of Sleep — the American debut of Korean illustrator Il Sung Na, whose beautifully textured drawings tell the poetic, quiet story of creatures going to rest.

When the sky grows dark
and the moon glows bright,
everyone goes to sleep . . .
except for the watchful owl!”

A delight for the wee ones, A Book of Sleep is also the charming, earnest, snark-free parallel to Goodnight iPad, extending a gentle reminder for us grown-ups to close our eyes, unplug, and surrender to the quiet.

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