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June 18, 2018

"Snowman" — Peter Fischli and David Weiss

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From the New York Times:

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This summer, "Snowman," a sculpture composed of an actual snowman encased in a glass-door freezer, by Peter Fischli (Swiss, b. 1952) and his longtime collaborator David Weiss (Swiss, 1946–2012), comes to the Museum of Modern Art's Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden as part of Fischli's Artist's Choice presentation.

Here, Fischli borrows a question inscribed on a painting presented outdoors by artist Ben Vautier (French, b. 1935): "If everything is sculpture why make sculpture?"

Initiated in 1989, the Artist's Choice series invites contemporary artists to organize exhibitions drawn from MoMA’s collection.

"Snowman" (2016) is an updated version of a 1987 site-specific work by Fischli and Weiss that was commissioned by a German thermic power plant whose energy — in the form of heat, paradoxically — was used to keep the snowman perpetually frozen.

Though a snowman is, as Fischli observes, a "sculpture that almost anyone can make" simply by rolling three spheres of snow and setting them atop one another, Fischli and Weiss's "Snowman" is dependent on a technically complex apparatus for its year-round subsistence.

Over the course of three decades of collaboration, Fischli and Weiss explored and exploited contradictions such as this one and investigated the extraordinary potential of ordinary objects and situations.

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Wait a sec... what's that book* I'm remembering?

*Fair warning: very graphic, violent, and scary

June 18, 2018 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Centuries before Fruit Roll-Ups, there was T'tu Lavash

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From Atlas Obscura:

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T’tu lavash ("t’-TOO lah-VAHSH"), a traditional fruit leather found throughout Armenia, resembles a super-sized Fruit Roll-Up.

The sight of it will likely delight any child hooked on the popular American snack brand, as vendors often sell t’tu lavash in sheets far too big to fit inside a lunchbox.

Made by sun-drying pureed fruit such as plums, grapes, or apricots, t’tu lavash also lacks the additives found in many processed fruit snacks.

The name means "sour lavash," a reference to the thin, easily rolled flatbread that's a staple of Armenian cuisine. 

T’tu lavash, also called pastegh or bastegh, isn't just a tasty treat; it's an ancient, practical food storage solution for a country blessed with fruit. (Locals are particularly proud of the Armenian apricot, Prunus armeniaca, which is a national symbol.)

The fruit leather can be eaten plain or wrapped around nuts for a heartier snack.

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Strips of t’tu lavash are also mixed with fried onions to make a traditional soup called t’ghit, which is served with lavash bread.

Look for t'tu lavash in markets and street-side snack stalls.

Similar fruit leathers are called "tklapi" in Georgia, "lavashak" in Iran, "pestil" in Turkey, and "amerdeen" or "qamar el deen" in Lebanon, Syria, and other Arabic-speaking countries.

June 18, 2018 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Square Off — Robotic Chessboard

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Wrote Dylan Love in the Wall Street Journal:

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Thanks to an innovative new chess set dubbed Square Off, we can dispense with the pixels and play real-time chess on a physical board again, no matter our geographical distance.

Old-school purists might argue that the pervasiveness of online chess has ruined the game's tactile appeal.

Instead of pushing beautifully carved pieces across a painted board, most players nowadays drag and drop computer icons — a mouse click is the only tangible element.

But, like something out of "Harry Potter," Square Off uses motors and magnets to glide an opponent's solid pieces over its rosewood surface, restoring an experience many players thought might be lost to technology.

Paired to smartphones via Bluetooth, the boards speak to one another over the internet.

When I make a calculated move in Austin, Texas, Danny's board reflects the strategy in Searcy, Arkansas.

When he counters, his piece eerily parades across my board while the motor quietly hums.

Square Off remembers each figure's position and smartly navigates the pieces around each other; captured men automatically drift to the board's edge.

Moves can also be made on the Square Off app, allowing you to face opponents who don't own a board.

Playing face-to-face over a board still offers higher quality chess — but it isn't necessarily growing the game, said Daniel Rensch, an International Master and VP of content for the online community chess.com.

He sees Square Off as "an amazing bridge" that combines the strengths of online and real-world games.

Lacking a suitable challenger? Square Off also presents itself as a chess gym for one, an always-ready sparring partner for aspiring grandmasters.

With 20 different difficulty levels to ascend, players can work independently on improving their game, battling Square Off's invisible A.I. chess engine on a completely physical board.

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 $329.

June 18, 2018 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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