Paint/Illust./Mix-Media · Public Space

Behold Broken Fingaz

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Israeli street artist crew, Broken Fingaz. Love them.

Earthly/Geo/Astro · Photographics · Public Space

The Strange and Surreal Beauty of Show Caves Around the World

austinirving

Human beings have been drawn to caves for hundreds of thousands of years, using them as shelters, burial sites, and places of worship since the beginning of mankind. Nowadays, many of these geological formations have been turned into “show caves”—natural caves managed by government or commercial organizations that have been modified to accommodate tourism. Los Angeles-based photographer Austin Irving has been documenting such caverns for years in her series Show Caves, traveling all over the United States and Southeast Asia to photograph these natural wonders turned into tourist attractions.

Irving’s images show the obvious evidence of human intervention in these underground spaces. Using a large-format camera, the photographer captures the grotesque beauty of show caves, depicting manmade additions like artificial lighting, gift stands, concrete paths, and steel doors standing in stark contrast with the natural rocks, craggy overhangs, and darkness of the caverns.

“What excites me about this subject matter is the fact that these natural spaces have been curated to cater to the physical needs of sightseers as well as our collective idea of what a cave should look like,” Irving says. Commenting on the tension between nature and clearly manmade utilitarian modifications like elevators and doors, she adds, “I’m just really drawn to this contrast between nature and what we have done to make it accessible for a money giving public.”

Text and Images via My Modern Met

Earthly/Geo/Astro · Public Space · Science · Vital-Edible-Health

How Much is the Earth Worth? Putting a Price Tag on Nature’s Defenses

A group led by Dr. Robert Costanza has calculated the value of the world’s ecosystems…the group’s most recent estimate puts the yearly value at $142.7 trillion.

“I think this is a very important piece of science,” said Douglas J. McCauley of the University of California, Santa Barbara. That’s particularly high praise coming from Dr. McCauley, who has been a scathing critic of Dr. Costanza’s attempt to put price tags on ecosystem services.

“This paper reads to me like an annual financial report for Planet Earth,” Dr. McCauley said. “We learn whether the dollar value of Earth’s major assets have gone up or down.”

The group last calculated this value back in 1997 and it rose sharply over the past 17 years, even as those natural habitats are disappearing. Dr. Costanza and his colleagues estimate that the world’s reefs shrank from 240,000 square miles in 1997 to 108,000 in 2011.

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Read Full Article at the NYTimes

Public Space · Science · Technology

Catalytic Coating Makes Pollution-Eating Billboards

I write in praise of air. I was six or five
when a conjurer opened my knotted fist
and I held in my palm the whole of the sky.
I’ve carried it with me ever since.

That is the opening stanza from “In Praise of Air” by British poet, playwright and novelist Simon Armitage.

There’s beauty to this poem that goes beyond the ideas it conveys and the careful craftsmanship of the writer. The work doesn’t just praise the air, it clears it.

Or, more accurately, the 65-foot-high banner upon which the poem is printed clears it. That’s because the material is coated with nanotechnology that chews up airborne pollutants.

In Praise of Air, a collaboration between Armitage and physical chemistry professor Tony Ryan, has been unfurled on a building at the University of Sheffield in the UK to bring attention to Ryan’s innovation.

Text and Image via TXCHNOLOGIST. Read full article at the TXCHNOLOGIST

Earthly/Geo/Astro · Public Space · Social/Politics · Technology · Videos

A Visual History of Satellites: The ‘extended urbanization’ of space.

Right now, there about 1,100 satellites whizzing above our heads performing various functions like observation, communication, and spying. There are roughly another 2,600 doing nothing, as they died or were turned off a long time ago.

How did each of these satellites get up there? And what nations are responsible for sending up the bulk of them?

The answers come in the form of this bewitching visualization of satellite launches from 1957 – the year Russia debuted Sputnik 1 – to the present day. (The animation starts at 2:10; be sure to watch in HD.) Launch sites pop up as yellow circles as the years roll by, sending rockets, represented as individual lines, flying into space with one or more satellites aboard.

Read Full article at CityLab

Architectonic · Public Space · Videos

The London Evolution Animation

Digital Media · Public Space · Social/Politics

AirChat: Free Communications for Everyone

Airchat is a free communication tool, free as in ‘free beer’ and free as in ‘Jeremy Hammond must be freed’. It doesn’t need the internet infrastructure, nor does it need a cellphone network, instead it relies on any available radio link (or any device capable of transmitting audio – we even made a prototype working with light/laser based transmissions).

This project was conceived not only from our lessons learned in the Egyptian, Libyan and Syrian revolutions, but also from the experience of OccupyWallStreet and Plaza del Sol. We have considered the availability of extremely cheap modern radio devices (like those handhelds produced in China), to start thinking about new ways in which people can free themselves from expensive, commercial, government controlled and highly surveilled infrastructure.

AirChat is not only our modest draft or proposal for such a dream, but it is a working PoC you can use today. we hope you will enjoy it and we also hope that you too will be able to feel the beauty of free communications, free communications as in ‘free beer’ and free communications as in ‘free yourself and your people forever’.

All text and images via Airchat.