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Archive for the ‘Design and Art’ Category

… And because it is quite a exploit to make this short but very beautiful movie.

Featuring Madeleine Graham, star of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and music from London Grammar, Corey’s film highlights the threats of climate change through stunning choreography against the spellbinding backdrop of the Antarctic.

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The BBC writes about “The world’s oldest working planetarium“. The man who built this planetarium must have been very special, very smart and pretty handy – would you tackle such an endeavour?

Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are missing, of course, because they hadn’t been discovered when Eisinga hammered in the final nail in 1781. Even so, it is astonishing: a Baroque theatre for stargazers, crowning the living room of a modest wool comber who lived shortly after the Dutch Golden Age. All told, an unfathomable undertaking considering Eisinga quit school aged 12.

The Royal Eise Eisinga Planetarium is the world’s oldest working planetarium (Credit: The Royal Eise Eisinga Planetarium)

Franeker isn’t exactly a household name, even for those of us who, like me, have traveled to the Friesland province in the Netherlands. But the city is not just home to the house of Eise Eisinga, who built the planetarium mentioned in the BBC article, but is also the birthplace of Jan Hendrik Oort, the man who gave his name to the Oort Cloud surrounding the solar system. I am putting Franeker on my list of destinations for a future weekend trip – it would also give me a good reason to drive over the famous Afsluitdijk.

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I like this post from Signal vs. Noise, especially today (yup, it’s my birthday, and I’m… older than 25, let’s say).

The Bedroom, by Vincent van Gogh, 1888.
Get more details by clicking on the picture.

I think the world puts too much focus on the Picassos and the young phenoms. We overlook the Cézannes. The folks who took a while to experiment on getting better and better and who never stopped.

The thing I take from this is that if you find yourself still experimenting in life. If you don’t have it all figured out. If you’re 30, 40, 50, 60 and still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up…

There’s still plenty of room and time to get better. Your peak is still ahead.

Thank you for the encouragement, Nathan Kontny!

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A lava lamp is something from the late 1960’s – they were quite a rage when when I was a teenager. Today, lava lamps are a tool for cryptographers – at least at Cloudflare, a provider of a significant piece of Internet infrastructure.

In their blog post “Randomness 101: LavaRand in Production“, Cloudflare explains how they use a collection of lava lamps to generate random numbers.

LavaRand is a system that uses lava lamps as a secondary source of randomness for our production servers. A wall of lava lamps in the lobby of our San Francisco office provides an unpredictable input to a camera aimed at the wall. A video feed from the camera is fed into a CSPRNG, and that CSPRNG provides a stream of random values that can be used as an extra source of randomness by our production servers. Since the flow of the “lava” in a lava lamp is very unpredictable, “measuring” the lamps by taking footage of them is a good way to obtain unpredictable randomness. Computers store images as very large numbers, so we can use them as the input to a CSPRNG just like any other number.

If you don’t want to read the whole blog post, just have a look at this video on Youtube:

Click the image to go to Youtube

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Last night, Philip Catherine celebrated his 75th birthday with a splendid concert at Flagey. I wasn’t present in the concert hall, but the organisers were kind enough to offer a free live stream. The whole evening I have been whistling and humming, enjoying fine jazz from a great combo, including Bert Joris on trumpet and Jerry Brown on drums.

I snatched a image from the live stream to illustrate this post…

I have a few of his records in my collection, but I’m ready for more after hearing what this guitar player is still capable of at 75. Live long and prosper, Philip!

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The title of the piece is what grabbed my attention: “The Mechanics of History“. You won’t see the mechanics of history, though. It’s just a simple piece of modern dance, accentuated by the music of Philip Glass.

Click to see the performance on Youtube
(Via BoingBoing)

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Remember the time when you managed to get your BBC Computer (or your Amiga or Spectrum or …) to output sounds? Did you ever get to composing songs? Or even just replaying well known melodies?

Click the image and for details and samples!

I never went much beyond “making sounds”. Pawel Zadroźniak, however, went a lot further. He’s using 64 floppy drives, 8 hard disks and 2 scanners to play songs. Meet the Floppotron, and be amazed!

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Normally I wouldn’t blog about cars – I prefer motorcycles or even bikes. But this one is special. Very special. I owned one when I was a kid, although mine was just a Dinky Toy, of course. But it was the most beautiful car I knew then, even beating the Batcar in coolness.

And now Jaguar has converted a 50-year original E-type into an electric car, that drives like the original, just a bit faster! Too bad I don’t have the money to buy one. But I would love to drive one for a day, somewhere in the countryside on a good summer day…

Ars Technica – Jaguar has restored this old E-type with an electric upgrade

Ars Technica – Jaguar has restored this old E-type with an electric upgrade

Thanks, Ars Technica, for telling me about this car!

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It’s not a real motorcycle, but it does not look like a bicycle either: it’s the prototype of an e-bike that is unlike any e-bike you have seen before. The curved lines and the attention to detail give it a special kind of beauty, and I wouldn’t mind trying one out. Have a look at the video on the company’s website to understand what I’m writing about ;-)

Check out the Avionics website by clicking on the image

In the words of the founders of Avionics: “This is our vision of the future combined with a memory of the past“:

More than 100 years ago, electric vehicles started the worldwide revolution and introduced civilization to a higher level of transportation. For some reason, people considered petroleum to be the better product to move their machines. They forgot about the potential of electricity to start their engines. Luckily times are changing. Nowadays electricity comes back to motorization in great style, enriched with high technology…

We’ll see how they fare on Indiegogo, starting somewhere in September.

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On June 16th, 2017, the Aboriginal Art Museum Utrecht (Utrecht, Netherlands) closed its doors. The AAMU was a private initiative, started by a few collectors, and supported by a few sponsors and lots of volunteers. My wife and I visited the AAMU last year, and appreciated it for its wide range of works. According to the last annual report, there wasn’t enough money to keep the museum open, and an arrangement was found to transfer the collection of some 800 works to the National Museum for World Cultures.

Just a sample of one of the works of the AAMU, as shown on the remaining homepage of the site today…

Sadly enough, such a transfer of the collection ignores the fact that the AAMU was so much more than a collection. The museum also included an art shop, a small video theatre, and a little bar plus terrace. Not to mention the fact that it was located in the historical centre of Utrecht, smack in the middle of the busy centre of the town. We had intended to go back to the AAMU, to check out the new offerings of the museum ánd the shop. That plan will no longer work. I guess we’ll have to return to Australia…

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If I had an Apple Watch, I absolutely would need to have this charging stand!

Image of the Elago Vintage W3 Apple Watch Stand

The Elago Vintage W3 Apple Watch Stand

Thanks for pointing this out, BoingBoing (Clever Apple Watch stand that looks like an Apple Macintosh) !

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Why was I reading Byte Magazine in those days ? Because my Serbo-Croatian language skills amount to exactly zero. But these computer magazine covers from the 1980’s and 1990’s are certainly worth a look, if only for nostalgia’s sake. Just have a look at this example from September 1987.

Cover of Racunari, September 1987

Click on the image to see more “Yugoslavian Computer Magazine Cover Girls of the 1980s-90s

See that Sinclair Spectrum on the girls lap? See the mention of the BBC Archimedes, which launched in 1987 – I could not afford one at the time… Anyway, a few (actually, many!) of the other covers are a lot “racier”, if you understand my meaning – and I’m not talking about the speed of the microprocessors.

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Mozart Rocks! Or at least this portrait does! (thank you, BoingBoing).

Mozart is clearly at home in these modern times ;-)

Mozart is clearly at home in these modern times ;-)

The reason for this celebration? “Giant 200-CD ‘Mozart 225’ Box Set is a Surprisingly Hot Seller“, 225 years after Mozart died. I’m a big fan of Mozart’s music, but I will not buy a single box with all  his compositions. I want to make my own choices. Mozart may have been a musical genius, but that does not mean I have to like every single note he wrote.

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Just as in February 2014 and November 2014, I had the privilege of a guided tour at the Belfius Art Gallery yesterday evening. The current exhibition, called “Recollection – Art & Fashion“, focuses on the relationship between art and fashion. It combines 17th century paintings with contemporary clothes, shows paintings by a fashion designer, next to one of his designs, and more. Everything “packaged” in a setting that combines lots of textile in various forms with video loops.

Click the photo to see the rest of my impressions on Flickr

Click the photo to see the rest of my impressions on Flickr

I won’t try to answer the question: “Is fashion an art form?“. But the the exhibition makes it abundantly clear that art inspires fashion, and that fashion inspires artists. The way all the works are presented on the 32nd floor of the Rogier Tower in Brussels made it a worthwhile visit – recommended!

If you want to visit the Gallery, hop over to the Belfius Art Gallery website and reserve your spot – the gallery is only open for the public by reservation on a limited number of dates from now until April 2017.

By the way, if you visit this post after April 2017, don’t try the Gallery link. Belfius apparently has not yet found a way to archive its past exhibitions, as I have just found out while revisiting my 2014 posts on the subject…

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I have started a fixed place to gather a few essential bookmarks about Australian Aboriginal art, because our trip there in 2015 made quite an impression on us. Nothing fancy, just bookmarks that I know are worth a visit if you care about the subject.

"Emu Dreaming" by Narelle Nakamarra Nelson

“Emu Dreaming” by Narelle Nakamarra Nelson

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