Sunday, December 16, 2012

There's a whale, there's a whale.

Have you heard about 52 Hertz whale?

Illustration from Chad Geran's book "Do you know what I am?"

Back in 1992. scientists have tracked this whale for the first time. He has been named "52 Hertz" or the world's loneliest whale because he is the only whale to sing at 52 Hertz frequency. All other whales sing at frequencies which range from 15 to 25 Hertz. This means 52 Hertz is unable to communicate with other whales as his "special language"  is unknown to them. Apparently, this whale doesn't follow any known migration route but is a lonely fellow who travels the oceans alone. At least he has been doing so for 20 years now, since he was first tracked down.
There is a documentary being shot about him, called "Finding 52: The search for the loneliest whale in the world" which is to be released in 2013. Can't wait to see it.

-"What sort of fish are you?"
-"I'm not a fish at all."
-"What are you if you're not a fish? You certainly look like a fish!"
-"I certainly don't feel like a fish!"

Oh, and do you know what "whale tail" is?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Next stop Wonderpuff.

10 or more years ago a movie called "Next Stop Wonderland" was aired on one of the local TV channels ever so often . I remember watching it every time it aired and I'm not a fan of romantic comedies but this movie had something enchanting, despite many weak points and cliches in the script.

The movie is about a life of a bitter lonely young woman and there's a parallel story about the balloon fish called "Puff". The woman encounters men who keep trying to present themselves as something which they are not, they keep trying to self-inflate themselves, just like the balloon fish, in order to conquer the female. I adored that witty symbolic function of the balloon fish and that is how I became interested in this unusual fish species.

via Gooseflash

So balloon fish or puffer fish or blow fish can puff themselves two or three times their normal size. Puffing helps them defend from predators by turning into an inedible ball and also helps them attract the partner in the mating season.
Almost every balloon fish contains tetrodotoxin, a substance which is deadly to humans. In Japan, meat of a balloon fish called "fugu" is considered to be a delicacy and the dish is prepared by the specially trained chefs. Just one wrong cut in the dish preparation and the outcome is lethal. Would you try it? I would.

The story I have read at Spoon&Tomago seems so unreal , that I choose to believe in it.
Apparently, Yoji Ookata, the underwater photographer, had discovered a perfectly symmetrical pattern in the sand while diving near the coast of Japan and decided to bring a camera crew there to investigate it.

Images courtesy: Yoji Ookata

They started rolling the cameras, observed the spot day and night, and it turned out that the creator of this incredible piece of art was one tiny balloon fish. Yes. One tiny male balloon fish made this in an attempt to attract females for mating. Attracted by the grooves and ridges, female puffer fish would find their way to the male puffer fish where they would mate and lay eggs in the center of the circle. Here's the artist creating the artwork, using just his flapping fin:

Images courtesy: Yoji Ookata

After the romantic part, I'll be ending the post with another story about Puff. This time Puff is a little curious puffer fish who is easily captivated with light and everything new....

Monday, November 5, 2012


Production and emission of light produced by a chemical reaction in living organisms is one of the most beautiful things to be seen in nature. Many sea creatures have this ability, some fungus, insects, worms and some bacteria also.

Students at Montana State University of Art in collaboration with Center for Biofilm Engineering , did an astonishing project back in 2002./2003. They made bioluminescent paintings using billions of bioluminescent bacteria.

Copyright 2002. MSU-Bozeman Bioglyphs Project

They placed the bacteria in special dishes, practically painting with an invisible ink which would become visible after 24 hours because that's how long it took for the bacteria to multiply exponentially. Only when multiplied, these bacteria would start to illuminate. I think it's such an unusual characteristic and quite a mystery for these organisms to emit the light only when in community and not when they are alone.

After several days, the light production would reach its peak and then gradually start to decline. And that's how long the exhibition of the paintings had lasted.

And so, after exactly one year, completely by accident, I finally discover where Balam Acab got his photo from:

Copyright 2003. MSU-Bozeman Bioglyphs Project

Thursday, October 25, 2012


If you have preserved the kid within you, and I'll presume that you have, then one of the best feelings for you is jumping on a trampoline. If you ask me, trampolines should not be in the kids parks only, they should be in the offices too. In ones that have very high ceilings, of course.

This is why Atelier Zündel Cristea's project caught my attention.

via ATZ

No, unfortunately this cutie hasn't been built. This is Atelier Zündel Cristea's proposal for this year's ArchTriump's "Bridge in Paris Contest", which has just won the third prize. So, an inflatable bridge with giant trampolines where one can "bounce" itself from one side of the river to another. That sounds perfect to me. Plus Paris already has bridges which are necessary for the normal flow of the vehicular and pedestrians traffic but what they are really lacking is a bridge which helps you play with the gravity. I still can't figure out why this hasn't won the first prize. Oh well...

Trampolining is also a serious competitive sport in which gymnasts perform different acrobatics while jumping on trampoline. I adore the multiple exposure shots of gymnasts on trampoline which J.R.Eyerman, the photographer, made back in the 60's while working for LIFE Magazine.

© Time Inc. via
© Time Inc. via
© Time Inc. via

If you happen to come across a trampoline these days, don't miss out on it !


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Magical Zimoun.

As I was sharing my love for kinetic art with one very special person, she introduced Zimoun to me. I became completely enchanted by his work and so I felt the need to further share the discovery.

Zimoun is an artist from Switzerland. He uses very simple elements such as cardboard, plastic bags, motors, cotton balls etc. to create intelligent and graceful sound sculptures. His minimalistic constructions, chaotic and perfectly ordered at the same time, produce monotone, yet impressively harmonious noise.

His work is reduced and abstract but still has the power to surprise. Each installation develops its own behavior through sound and motion so it resembles a live creature.

You may want to check more on Zimoun here.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Yasutoki Kariya, an art student from Japan who has been nominated for Mitsubishi Junior Designer Award 2012, has found a beautiful way to present Newton's third law of motion using bulbs. 
In a playful visual way, the installation represents the transfer of kinetic energy but instead of the swinging spheres of Newton's cradle, 11 computer programmed light bulbs are hanging from the strings . The installation is entitled Asobi which means "play".


From this minimalistic bulb installation to another , as equally impressive, but less minimalistic... 

Photos via Incandescent Cloud

CLOUD is an interactive installation created by Caitlind Brown for Nuit Blanche, an arts festival in Calgary, Canada. The festival was held on the 15th of September, lasted for one night only and the visitors had a chance to interact with the CLOUD by pulling strings attached to over 6 000 bulbs, turning the lights on and off, thus illuminating and darkening parts of the cloud. 

Now be patient and have a look at the hypnotic Ballet of the Bulbs:

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bicycle built for 2 or 2.000 ?

You surely remember the iconic scene from Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" when Hal slowly sings the song "Daisy Bell" at the moment of his deactivation.

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do,
I'm half crazy all for the love of you.
It won't be a stylish marriage --
I can't afford a carriage,
But you'd look sweet upon the seat
Of a bicycle built for two.

"Daisy Bell: A bicycle built for two" was composed in 1892. by Harry Dacre.
But what some people don't know is that Daisy Bell was the first song sung by a computer back in 1961, when the newly invented musical speech synthesis was presented at Bell Labs. Max Mathews, pioneer in computer music, and his two other colleagues were proud to present IBM 7094, as first singing computer. Coincidentally, on that day Arthur C.Clarke was visiting a friend at Bell Labs so he witnessed this historical moment. Being under this impression, Kubrick and him decided that HAL 9000 should sing "Daisy Bell" in the movie. To me, this is one of the creepiest scenes ever made.

Inspired by this story, in 2009. artists Aaron Koblin and Daniel Massey carried out one fascinating project. They had gathered voice recordings of 2088 people singing Daisy Bell, using Amazon's Mechanical Turk.The witty thing is that in this case man was imitating the computer because participants were asked to imitate the recording of a computer singing Daisy Bell. Also, participants were never told what was the idea behind this, so they became a part of one big sound puzzle without knowing the full context of the project.

Listen to Bicycle Built For Two Thousand here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Industrial beauty.

Bernd and Hilla Becher spent their lives photographing industrial objects such as water towers, silos, gas tanks, mine bunkers, blast furnaces etc.

At the time they started taking photos of these man-made industrial creatures, they didn't even know which one was exactly what. They just felt the urge to somehow save them from the complete oblivion because at some point of time they had witnessed the demolition of many of these objects and they feared that in the future there might not be any remains of the industrial age. So this is how they started their journey.

 Blast Furnaces, 
© Bernd and Hilla Becher

Gas Tanks,
© Bernd and Hilla Becher

Bechers traveled around Germany, England, France, Belgium and USA, documenting different industrial shapes which became their fascination. Objects from the same group, built with the same purpose, seemed so similar, yet when put together in a group, so different.

Their photographs were very carefully planned and made with distinctive precision. For example, objects needed to appear isolated from their environment, there were never any shadows in their photos and the shot was always made from an objective point of view. To achieve this, they sometimes needed to wait for weeks just to get the right amount of light.

Winding Towers,
© Bernd and Hilla Becher

Bernd and Hilla Becher are my heroes. I am completely obsessed with industrial objects. I see hypnotizing beauty in them. Walking through Völklingen Ironworks, a plant located in the German town of VölklingenSaarland, to me was like walking through Disneyland. 

© dee.dee
© dee.dee

Völklingen Ironworks was built and equipped in the 19th and 20th centuries and has remained intact. It was closed down in 1986. and has been declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. 

Völklingen complex is enormous. When you go deep down into the heart of the plant, you can see where raw materials were stored and how they were transported into the blast furnaces. What's completely fascinating is that on each corner you see something interesting: pipes and tubes, hanging chains and wires, oversized machinery, tracks and gears, all this covered with rust and layers of paint peeling off , giving everything around you an admirable range of different colors and textures. 

© dee.dee
© dee.dee
© dee.dee

Visit to the highest platforms is breath taking. Only there you can actually grasp the size of the whole complex and from there you also get an incredible panoramic view of the surrounding area. 

There's also a part of the plant which is turned into an art gallery where different temporary exhibitions take place. This is one of the most wonderful settings for showcasing art that I have ever seen. 

I was at Völklingen Ironworks for four or five hours but I could have easily spent the whole day there.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"we are all dots" experience.

When I was writing about Yayoi Kusama before, I only imagined the feeling of seeing her work in person.

Few weeks ago, as I was passing by the Louis Vuitton shop window, I realized that there she was. Yayoi herself. Actually the wax version of her.

Photo: BFA, Joe Schildhorn

I later read about this year's collaboration between Louis Vuitton and the 83 year old Yayoi Kusama.

I honestly couldn't believe how intense the feeling of looking at some shop window could be. Standing there in front of it, you are practically sucked into Yayoi's mind which becomes quite an unsettling experience but you somehow don't want to leave that place.

Just a few days after this, I went to a museum to see the current exhibition of Jean Prouvé's works and figured that I could see the permanent exhibition as well, which I didn't really know what it consisted of. Cruising around the museum, I saw a big cube which people were entering and decided to check it. As I was stepping into it, I came to realization that it is something that I had read about before. I was entering one of Yayoi Kusama's Infinity rooms.

The magical feeling of infinity is created by hundreds of small LED lights which are reflected by the mirrors around you and water beneath you. As with the shop window, here you have that same feeling of never wanting to leave the place, only much stronger.

Every thing existing on the physical plane is an exteriorization of thought, which must be balanced through the one who issued the thought, and in accordance with that one’s responsibility, at the conjunction of time, condition, and place.

~Harold W. Percival

Saturday, July 14, 2012

sit back.relax.enjoy the flight.

I've noticed one thing about being at the airport.

In the departure area, I always feel great. I love flying so I'm usually excited about the flight and relaxed at the same time. I also feel like having all the time in the world. On the other hand, at the arrival zone, I tend to hurry, feel nervous and quite disoriented. What helps in developing these negative feelings are those endless corridors, escalators which usually take you downwards and long passport control lines. I think every airport should try to make the arrival area more welcoming for freshly landed travelers. For me, some sort of intriguing art piece would do the trick.

So I started exploring and discovered that many airports have implemented this idea of welcoming their passengers with fascinating art pieces which really have the power of turning your thoughts in another direction. Here are my favorites.

First, Toronto Pearson Airport: "Earthbound-Unbound", installation from 2003. by Ingo Maurer.

Endless number of cubes floating in a giant water tank. This actually reminds me of one of my favorite toys when I was a kid. It was a small water tank with colorful rings floating around and the aim was to put those rings onto two needles with the help of water pressure.

Photo via svele/nebo on Flickr

The second favorite, San Hose Airport, the "eCloud" installation from 2010, designed by artists Dan GoodsNik Hafermaas, and Aaron Koblin.

eCloud consists of hundreds of panels, similar to the computer screen, which fade from opaque to transparent states. The cloud actually "listens" to the real weather conditions from around the world and every few minutes the cloud depicts the weather in a different city and a nearby dynamic display shows the detailed weather data for that city. So at certain times, the cloud can appear as an angry thundercloud and in the next moment it can appear as fog.

Photo via Dan Goods

And finally,  Singapore Changi Airport, "Kinetic Rain" from 2012, designed by ART+COM.

Kinetic Rain is composed of 1.216 perfectly sculpted,bronze droplets hanging from the steel ropes whose hypnotic moves are powered by a computer-controlled motor hidden in the ceiling.

Photos via ART+COM
"Kinetic Rain" Changi Airport Singapore from ART+COM on Vimeo.

This is claimed to be the world's largest kinetic sculpture at the moment. Not really sure if that is the truth but it doesn't really matter. I definitely wouldn't mind being stuck at Singapore Airport and watching this for hours.

Friday, June 29, 2012

feminine vs. masculine

I have some x-rays lying around my apartment and I was wondering what to do with them. I don't want to throw them away as I feel that somehow they are a part of me. I also recently talked to a friend of mine about this and it turns out she also has some x-rays which she would like to turn into some sort of art.

This has inspired me to start wondering around, to see what people do with their x-rays, and the discovery which completely blew my mind was Matthew Cox's art.

Feet,  image © Matthew Cox
Blowing Hair,  image © Matthew Cox
Orchid With Crucifix,  image © Matthew Cox

In Matthew's art , the embroidery and medical x-rays collide.

Two completely diverse materials: cloth and plastic. On one hand, there's the embroidery as a traditional, decorative craft which requires intensive manual work and on the other, modern x-ray shot which is created without any aesthetic intentions in just a few seconds.

Embroidery seems so gentle and feminine and the x-rays appear so emotionless and masculine. Combined together they are hauntingly beautiful.

Pigtails, image © Matthew Cox

Wadding Knees, image © Matthew Cox

Music video for Brazilian pop band Pato Fu wraps this up nicely.

Monday, June 11, 2012

My brain is bigger than yours.

This time my Internet digging has led me to the first robot celebrity of the 1930s. Meet Elektro :

photos via Retronaut

I actually got interested in a song by Meat Beat Manifesto called Original Control,Version 2 ( don't ask why ) and I wanted to find out where those "I am Elektro" and "My brain is bigger than yours" samples come from. This led me to the story about Elektro.

I Am Electro by Meat Beat Manifesto on Grooveshark

So, Elektro was a robot built by Westinghouse Electric Corporation which was a manufacturer of clothing irons and ovens. What fascinates me is the fact that this company had such a marvelous strategy for promoting itself. They've financed Elektro's production and then showed him off at the New York World's Fair in 1939. where the robot would amuse the crowd with its skills during a 20 minute show every hour. And he was a huge hit ! The crowd loved him.

Elektro's skills included walking, moving his arms and fingers, recognizing colors, making lame jokes, blowing balloons and also smoking cigars. He was made to be a "cool" party robot.
During the 50s he went on a tour, becoming one of the icons of popular culture at that time. And then , in the late 60s he was completely forgotten. He ended up in one of engineer's basement. Years and years later, the engineer's son discovered the robot , resembled and cleaned it so Elektro is now safe in Mansfield Memorial Museum. 
But what hit me today while reading all this was the fact that four years ago, when I was visiting The Atomium in Brussels, I wasn't even aware of the fact that I shook hands with a celebrity.

Yes, there he is, Elektro himself ( well actually his replica but that's irrelevant for this story ! ). And there I am, holding his hand, at that time completely unaware of the story about this robot. He was a part of a huge display in The Atomium which celebrated the history of World's Fairs. To me, in that moment, he was a cool vintage robot which I had to touch but now that I know the story behind Elektro, I can fully appreciate the captured moment.