British illustrator Stephen Biesty is a master of “engineering art” — remarkably intricate and detailed yet imaginative drawings of building, vessel and vehicle cross-sections, historical panoramas, castle cutaways, inside-out views and other fascinating intersections of architecture, art and egineering. A prolific author, his books are a treasure trove of curiosity and delight. Our favorites: Incredible Cross-Sections, a magnificent tome of spreads with cutaway illustrations of the hidden architecture of 18 iconic structures, from a Gothic cathedral to a coal mine to the space shuttle, and Incredible Body, a stunning children’s collection of anatomical cross-sections, in which tiny tunnelers embark upon a fascinating journey of the systems and organs of the human body.
Last year, actor Rainn Wilson surprised us with his insightful and utterly un-Dwightlike thoughts on creativity. As it turns out, Wilson is scholar of human nature and the creative process. His newish book, SoulPancake: Chew on Life’s Big Questions, explores the human condition from a rich and fascinating array of angles, spanning life and death, art and creativity, sex and relationships, the brain and the soul, science and technology, and just about everything in between.
When I got so well-known for The Office, I just wanted to create something positive on the Internet. There’s so much crap out there. I wanted to create something really positive and uplifting, and this blends philosophy, creativity and spirituality.” ~ Rainn Wilson
Beautifully written and exquisitely designed, the book is based on Wilson’s site of the same name (another fine addition to our running count of blog-turned-book successstories) and is the product of his collaboration with social media entrepreneur Devon Gundry, photographer and writer Golriz Lucina, and award-winning journalist Shabnam Mogharabi.
With stunning art by nearly 100 up-and-coming artists and designers, as well as essays by like creative thinkers and doers like Amy Sedaris (whom you know we love)a, David Lynch, Jesse Dylan, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, Josh Ritter and Saul Williams, the book is a remarkable feat of philosophical inquiry and creative discovery.
SoulPancake: Chew on Life’s Big Questions is a treasure trove of insights, poems, art, quotes and thought starters on pretty much everything that matters in life — a visually astounding and conceptually compelling journey into being human.
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We’re big believers in remix culture and the idea that creativity is combinatorial. Last fall, we featured the first installment in filmmaker Kirby Ferguson’s Everything is a Remix — a four-part documentary about the history of sampling and collaborative creation. This week, he’s back with the second episode, this time squaring in on movies to demonstrate that even the most critically acclaimed films, those hailed as masterpieces of originality, borrow heavily from other creative products — an idea we’ve already seen to be true in art, music, graphic design and animation.
We’ve got stories that have been told, retold, transformed, referenced, and subverted since the dawn of cinema.
To illustrate his point, Ferguson goes after the monolith of modern cult cinema, Star Wars, and traces its many surprisingly direct influences across everything from mythology to the Flash Gordon series of the 1930s to the work of iconic Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.
Even now, Star Wars endures as a work of impressive imagination. But many of its individual components are as recognizable as the samples in a remix.”
And in true meta fashion, Ferguson collaborated with Robert Grigsby Wilson on a visual “case study” dissecting Kill Bill and exploring the many other films that influenced Tarantino’s blockbuster.
Ferguson’s work is incredibly important in making sense of today’s ever-evolving ecosystem of creativity, originality and derivative work, and perhaps a step towards inspiring and informing new, attuned legislation that fosters remix culture and collaborative creation rather than hindering it, so please consider supporting him with a modest donation — we did.
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What balloons have to do with civic engagement and open-source cities.
We love public space, that priceless petri dish of human interaction. It’s the lifeblood of any city, and the reason we left LA for New York. Unfortunately, much of it remains un- or underutilized, with cities failing to engage people in interacting with and in public space.
To prevent this disconnect when inaugurating its Quartier des Spectacles, the city of Montréal came up with an exceptionally inspired solution: The Museum of Possibilities — a wonderful daylong pop-up installation inviting visitors to share their dreams and visions for the future of the space by jotting down their ideas on pieces of paper and attaching them to colorful balloons.
Others could then vote on the ideas with stickers, collectively choosing the best visions for their shared space.
More than a mere art installation, The Museum of Possibilities became a playful yet actionable poll of public opinion, turning the possibilities into probabilities as the people of Montréal told their city, directly and tangibly, what they’d like to do with the space — a sort of physical, life-sized version of Give a Minute.
UPDATE: Per the comment below, the team behind the project has kindly stepped up: Melissa Mogiat, Mouna Andraos and Kelsey Snook. Find them and more of their fantastic work at Living With Our Time.
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