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March 14, 2013

Bizarro World Wall Clock Runs Backwards

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From their world to ours.

What took so long?

Black or Red.

$8.85.

[via reader dc3]

March 14, 2013 at 08:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Vladimir Nabokov on "Lolita"

The author discusses his 1955 novel on "Close-Up" on CBC.

The Modern Library ranked "Lolita" the fourth most important novel published in English during the 20th century.

Rarified air indeed.

March 14, 2013 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Novinkus (New!) Stickers

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"With this stack of 50 stickers of various sizes and colors you can in no time mark 'New!' everything in your workplace or at home."

Made in Russia, land of my ancestors.

Apply within.

March 14, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"We Buy White Albums" — Rutherford Chang on why the same is different

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Allan Kozinn's February 22, 2013 New York Times story about artist Rutherford Chang (above) explored his obsession with the Beatles' 1968 "White Album."

Below, excerpts from the Times piece.

On a rainy afternoon recently Rutherford Chang sat at a desk near the window of the Recess Gallery in SoHo, listening to "The Beatles" — the two-disc set, released in 1968, and commonly known as "The White Album," and showing a visitor a computer printout listing of several hundred copies of the album he owns.

Mr. Chang, a soft-spoken, 33-year-old artist who was born in Houston and grew up in California, is fascinated with "The White Album," particularly with first-edition copies. As readers of a certain age will recall, the original release sported an embossed title, and each copy carried a serial number, as if it were a limited edition. Actually, about three million numbered copies were printed in the United States before EMI stopped numbering them in 1970. The embossed title was replaced with gray printing in 1975.

Through March 9 Mr. Chang is presiding over "We Buy White Albums," an installation at Recess devoted to this fascination and its artistic ramifications.

"I was interested in the different ways that the covers aged," said Mr. Chang, holding up one as an example. "Being an all-white cover, the changes are apparent. The serial numbers made collecting them seem natural, and the more I got, the more interesting it became. As you see, many of them are written on, and each has a story. The accumulation of the stories is part of it. But it's also about how the physical object — the record — just doesn’t exist anymore" in an age when music is sold through downloaded files.

Mr. Chang… has set up his installation as an old-fashioned record shop — albeit one that stocks only one title, and doesn't sell copies.

A square, red neon sign in the gallery's window gives the show’s title, and a wall is lined with racks holding copies of "The White Album" — some in near-mint condition, others bearing former owners' names, psychedelic renderings of "The Beatles," colorful drawings or, in many cases, patterns created by rotting cardboard (which also contributed an atmospheric hint of mildew).

A long table bearing record bins runs through the gallery, with a turntable and amplifier at each end, and divider cards noting the serial numbers in each section. The lowest-numbered copy Mr. Chang has is 13539. The highest is A3129174 — although that one is the cover only; the discs are missing.

He has bought many of these discs online and from used record shops; others have been donated. He said that the most he has paid for a copy is $20, although he was recently offered copy No. 100. "I was afraid even to ask the price," he said.

In a way, Mr. Chang's project is an artwork about an artwork. "The White Album" jacket was designed by the British Pop artist Richard Hamilton, who proposed its almost entirely blank cover as a deliberately minimalist response to the elaborate jacket of the band’s previous album, "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band." It was Hamilton's idea to use the group’s name as the title (the album was originally to have been called “A Doll’s House,” after the Ibsen play), and to print the song titles on the inner gatefold rather than on the back cover.

The embossing and sequential numbering were his ideas as well, as was the notion of including a photo collage poster and individual portraits of the four Beatles as inserts. He also anticipated Mr. Chang’s ideas about how the album would become weathered: he proposed including a coffee stain, but the idea was dropped when the ring proved difficult to reproduce properly.

Printing this seemingly simple cover proved surprisingly difficult. One of the main American printers, Queens Litho, printed the spine information and the inner gatefold, and then sent the cover slicks to Brooklyn, where they were embossed and numbered. A third plant, on Long Island, affixed the slicks to cardboard jackets, which were then sent to a pressing plant in Scranton, Pa., where the discs were pressed. (Covers were also produced in the Midwest and on the West Coast.) The process is a measure of how far EMI was willing to go to keep the Beatles happy.

Mr. Chang said that the final element of his project will be a recording on which several hundred copies of "The White Album" — that is, every copy he listens to during the show — are electronically overlaid. He will also produce an image made of several hundred overlaid covers.

He plans to continue collecting copies, although he has scant hope of obtaining more than a small fraction of the three million numbered sets.

"Right now I have 694 copies," Mr. Chang said, and then looked at a flat, 12- by 12-inch cardboard mailer, just arrived, on his desk. "This will be No. 695."

March 14, 2013 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Glass Box — Range Life II

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Designed by Jonah Takagi.

F

From the website: 

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C

Now available individually, Glass Box was originally conceived as a component of the architectural coffee table Range Life II.

With references to Mies van der Rohe and modernist architectural form — as well as the band Pavement — Range Life II is composed of several smaller elements from a variety of materials.

Any of the four pieces can be used on their own, in combinations of two or three, or assemble the complete set to create a large sculptural centerpiece sure to make any space unique.

UV-bonded tempered glass.

24"W x 14"L x 14"H.

...................................

$2,455.

March 14, 2013 at 04:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How the Slinky Buckles — "A series of experiments shed light on 'overcurvature'"

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As opposed to haute couture.

But I digress.

Below, excerpts from Evelyn Lamb's March 2013 Scientific American article.

Camping enthusiasts and aspiring modern sculptors take heed: researchers have achieved a breakthrough in understanding and controlling overcurvature, which is found in such disparate settings as pop-up tents, DNA plasmids and curved origami. Overcurvature occurs when a ring is too curved to lie flat in a plane the way a normal circle does. For example, if you detached a segment of a Slinky and connected its ends to make a closed loop, you would have a hard time getting the whole thing to lie flat on the floor. The intrinsic curvature of the Slinky would cause the ring to buckle and assume a three-dimensional saddle shape.

In fact, the Slinky played a major role in this research project, the results of which were published in the journal Nature Communications last December. After observing overcurved rings of various sizes and materials, the researchers found a family of curves with fairly simple mathematical descriptions that they believed would model the shapes these overcurved rings take in space. They used loops made from portions of plastic Slinkys as the setting for precise measurements and found that their predicted curves were indeed what they observed in the Slinkys. "It was really surprising to us," says Alain Jonas, a materials scientist at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, who led the research. "It was this experience where you find something and it actually fits!"

The paper includes an efficient pathway for folding pop-up tents and other overcurved rings, as shown in the illustration above. To fold a ring into three loops, place your hands on opposite sides of the ring. As you lift up, bring your hands together and grab the opposite sides in one hand. Use your free hand to coax the two opposite sides down and toward each other to form a saddle shape. At both the top and the bottom, push one side over the other and collapse the loops together.

The proposal differs from the approach that people usually take. It requires more energy initially but uses less overall. "It's not very intuitive when you do it," Jonas says, "but that's what the physics of the problem wants." After performing the research, he borrowed a friend's tent to practice the technique and his colleagues had developed. It was a success.

March 14, 2013 at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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