These were shot with my smartphone through the windshield yesterday, driving south from Spokane to Moscow, Idaho. If I'd pulled out my good camera and pulled off the road to shoot, we might never have arrived.
This is the Palouse region, which comprises eastern Washington, the border of Idaho, and a bit of Oregon, and it's just gorgeous. You can find much better images than mine out there.
Perhaps taking a cue from the excellent RSA Animate videos, Dark Matters from PHD Comics is a six-minute video of a couple guys (apparently recorded at the playground or something) talking about dark matter and what physicists know and don't know.
This subject matter -- nighttime tableaux in decaying urban environments devoid of people -- dominates his work. They seem like three-dimensional versions of Hopper's "Nighthawks," with the customers gone and the workers in a back room. His pieces are often based on a real location, but mixed with memories of other places and fictional addenda that feel right.
His latest work is his most elaborate. Canal St. Cross-Section shows three levels of a Manhattan street, with two subway stations (a favorite scene of his) and street-level views of a pizza place, a foam rubber store, and more. Windows cut into either side allow views the reveal the detailed finery of his work.
Wolfson makes everything himself, using plastic, cardboard, metal, various lighting, and whatever else is needed. Though it's roughly two feet square, it took 18 months to complete (more than twice as long as most other pieces he's made). It's a remarkable accomplishment, and I'm sorry I won't be in New York to see it on display at Museum of Arts and Design, which has a whole show of miniatures and dioramas coming up.
If we think of large public carpets at all, we regard them as vast functional surfaces that are engineered to withstand and hide the abuse of thousands of dirty shoes, heavy carts, and spilled liquids. In the best cases, however, they can be highly considered design objects, enormous canvases of repeating patterns that subliminally provide behavioral and aesthetics cues. Good Magazine points to two articles that illustrate the use of carpet design to achieve specific ends.
In the Daily Mail, Claire Bates shows us the garish and almost psychedelic design of Las Vegas carpets. These amazing patterns were created specifically to overstimulate the overstimulated, because if you're sleeping, you're not gambling. They provide no rest for weary eyes, compelling you to look back up and direct your attention to the spinning wheels and green-felt tables that are slowly taking your money. (Shown above: the cartoon paisley design at the Bellagio.)
In Icon, George Pendle provides the visual and psychological opposite: airport carpets. The muted colors and subtle patterns found in airports can calm the harried and comfort the weary. He decries the "crimes against design" as airports choose undistinguished patterns or remove carpets entirely, but he fortunately provides a few examples of well-designed carpets. (Shown: The whorl pattern found in the Phoenix airport, which may reference the dangerous wind vortices that plague pilots there.)
Love this time-lapse video compilation (by YouTuber stumptownfilms) from the protests in Madison, Wisconsin. Tens of thousands of people are motivated enough to walk around in the falling snow, and yet there is a lot of joy in these faces from people making history and sharing a cause.
Here is some astoundingly beautiful work, combining engineering, craft, and art. In this Make video, Reuben Heyday Margolis (love that name!) is shown in his workshop and with one of his installations. He visits Urban Ore in Berkeley, and we see the process of making a new, large-scale wave piece, Yellow Wiggle. It's an inspiring ten minutes. Check out his website to see his other work.
A carnet de voyage is a travel diary, which forms the framework for this beautifully made, Oscar-nominated animated short by Bastien Dubois. We get to look into the journal of Dubois's trip to Madagascar, including a trek to a remote village where our white adventurer gets to observe famadihana, the Malagasy "turning of the bones" ritual, in which family members rewrap the bodies of their departed relatives in a festival of music and dancing.
I especially like the various animation styles used throughout, including what looks like rotoscoping.