Inside my brain: lasers and gold

Inside my brain: lasers and gold

This was going to be a triumphant article about a stellar idea, a struggle of problem solving, learning curves, dangerous lasers, and the final, exuberant splendid result in all its plasticky-golden glory. Yeah, well… The idea! …so the idea: to laser engrave a bunch of slices of my brain in transparent acrylic, stack them… it ...
Streetart II

Streetart II

There are some amazingly talented artists around here ...
The car cemetery

The car cemetery

Pretty deep in the Swedish woods, there is a narrow gravel road. At the end of this gravel road, is a deserted smallholding. All around this delapidated farm, there are cars. Hundreds and hundreds; in various states of decay. Cars from the 40ties, 50ties, 60ties, 70ties and probably 80ties. The car cemetery. It is here, ...
Wondrously whimsical: the unsought finding

Wondrously whimsical: the unsought finding

What was your thesis about? I don't really get that question. People know I did my master at the Institute of Informatics, faculty of mathematics and natural sciences. To most people, that is enough to get their eyes to glaze over. "Computerstuff", "hard science", "mathematics" are words connected to that. Zeros and ones. Onion-shaped Asbergers-kids ...
The Internet of dangerous Shit

The Internet of dangerous Shit

I am not a Luddite, I promise. But we are drowning in the Internet of Shit. *checks wrist*ah yes i seem to be thirsty pic.twitter.com/lNTQVZ4INu— Internet of Shit (@internetofshit) October 17, 2016 We are producing awful products at a frightening rate. Not only is it hard to find a real need for bluetooth-connected inlay shoe ...
Merit Ptah: a woman not Marie Curie

Merit Ptah: a woman not Marie Curie

It is embarrassing. There is this question "name a female scientist, not counting Marie Curie". I cannot really do it. I can say "oh.. you know, that lady .. whatshername...". I can do Ada Lovelace (1815 - 1852), the "mother" of computer programming. Which is sad on so many levels: she lived not that long ...
The voyage of the Karluk – polar disaster

The voyage of the Karluk – polar disaster

We know the stories: heroics, suffering, death of exploration in polar regions. Amazing feats, hunger and stamina and team work. As for the story of the Canadian Arctic Expedition of 1913–16; not so much. It is a story of bad planning, bad preparations, egos, death and men divided and (probably) murder. Some years ago, I read ...
Darwin: murdering a fox, not helping a frog

Darwin: murdering a fox, not helping a frog

“A fox (Canis fulvipes (Lycalopex fulvipes)), of a kind said to be peculiar to the island, and very rare in it, and which is a new species, was sitting on the rocks. He was so intently absorbed in watching the work of the officers, that I was able, by quietly walking up behind, to knock ...
http://industrial-archaeology.org/

A Glance at Industrial Archaeology

Industry has been more than a simple influence on our society, environment and landscape. It has shaped who we are and where we live, and it has brought about social change on an unprecedented scale in an unbelievably short period of time. But Chronos doesn't discriminate and buries it all, so a discipline emerged after World War II (when the retooling of ...
Ressurecting the naturalist

Ressurecting the naturalist

Scientists don't pick flowers. They collect specimens. – myself :) Resurrecting the naturalist: Few people will identify with the term "naturalist". A lot of people love nature, go for walks, strolls, hike; do a little gardening. Gawking at majestic scenery; snowcapped mountains, endless deserts, dense rainforests. Munching on strawberries. Strawberries are not berries, by the way. Coffee ...
Audubon's birds, up for grabs

Audubon’s birds, up for grabs

Audubon's birds have been released to Public Domain! John James Audubon's book Birds of America is usually listed among the rarest books in existence. The reason for this is that the French ornithologist used the laborious technique of hand-coloured etched and aquatint plates, which means that there only about 200 complete sets done. A set fetched £7.3m at auction ...
Collective delusions: pareidolia, religion and invisible pink unicorns

Collective delusions: pareidolia, religion and invisible pink unicorns

This site is pretty much dedicated to the things we see, touch, record and create. But there are plenty of things people "see" that are not there. In troubled individuals, we call it delusions, hallucinations and we medicate. If enough people "see it" (and construct elaborate narratives around it) we call it religion. To see the face ...
Blasphemous Theories About the First Americans

Blasphemous Theories About the First Americans

The ice bridge through which the first American settlers came from Asia was neither made of ice nor a bridge. And according to new evidence, it might have not been the only way in which the continent was populated. Previously dismissed blasphemous theories about the first Americans are enjoying a come-back, and it's finally time ...
The Painted Skulls of Hallstatt

The Painted Skulls of Hallstatt

In the town of Hallstatt there is an Ossuary called Beinhaus, or Bone House. Places of second burial were not uncommon in the Eastern Alps, but Hallstatt is special: It contains  the most remarkable collections of painted skulls, anywhere. The Beinhaus is located in the basement of the Church of Saint Michael, which stands high above ...
The Great Exhibition of 1851

The Great Exhibition of 1851

I was once walking around Crystal Palace Park, waiting for a movie festival to begin, when a man approached me and my friend and asked us if we had seen the dinosaurs. We were confused at first, but he quickly pointed at some massive and frankly strange-looking sculptures that were spread around the park. Only ...
The fabric of Africa

The fabric of Africa

In 2012, the New York times published an article called "Africa's fabric is Dutch". And although there is currently an intense relationship between African consumers and traders, the story of African textiles goes well beyond Vlisco's double-sided, wax-printed cotton fabric. This fantastic short article made me realize that the image of the "naked African" is one too common, ...
Stealing posters

Stealing posters

They say in art the greatest compliment is to be copied, and the greatest compliment for poster design is when your poster gets stolen. It seems that print posters are dying. Now we have digital screens that cycle – for the most part – commercials. Should we care? Are posters merely something arty people and graphic ...
Maria Sibylla Merian: illustrating the natural world

Maria Sibylla Merian: illustrating the natural world

Maria Sibylla Merian (1647 – 1717) was a remarkable woman in many ways. She was a very talented scientific illustrator and had a passion for insects. According to David Attenborough, she contributed immensely to taxonomy in entomology and the understanding of metamorphosis, and she was the first person who travelled on purely scientific grounds. Though she was ...
Kurt Vonnegut: the shape of stories

Kurt Vonnegut: the shape of stories

Been an avid reader of Kurt Vonnegut for a years. Magic, mad, brilliant. I found this visualisation by mayaeilam fascinating (though I would have liked to see the visuals more in the Vonnegutian tratdition of doodlyness, and not quite so sleek-ish). From now on, stories will not be the same... by mayaeilam ...
Historic photos of New Zealand's Kauri wood bloom

Historic photos of New Zealand’s Kauri wood bloom

When I was living in New Zealand, one of my favourite walks was just up the road, to one of Auckland's many natural reserves. You only needed ten or fifteen minutes to get to the top of a small hill. On it, a beautiful Kauri tree solemnly awaited. The sight was impressive, a giant among its normal-sized ...
Here be Dragons

Here be Dragons

You have probably heard the expression, and most likely associate it with images of old maps covered in drawings of sea serpents and other mythological creatures. But what are exactly those creatures living on the margins, and how did they get there? Pack your bags and jump on board. But aware, though, for Here be Dragons. Despite its popularity, there ...
Islamic art and the patterns of the infinite

Islamic art and the patterns of the infinite

It's difficult, if not impossible, to determine what exactly encompasses Islamic art. The term is not specific to a religion, place, time or even a field, and instead spans over 1400 years and receives influences from Roman, early Christian, Byzantine and even Chinese art. Although some think Islamic art is a false concept, the similarities between pieces of the Islamic world ...
Colour guide anno 1692

Colour guide anno 1692

A dutch artist – known only as A. Boogert – created a book of colour in 1692. Describing the use of colour in painting, s/he created an 800-page book with instructions on how to create hues and tones. It blows my mind, actually. The work, the meticulousness, the systematics, and not least: a book like that would ...
Illuminating letter D

Illuminating letter D

As mentioned in a previous post, I have dragged out some old tools and materials and started gilding again. In my previous life as a bookbinder, I bought a very old gilder's cushion that actually sits on top of a drawer. I have not seen this anywhere else; it seems a well spent USD30. Supposedly, ...
Bertrand Russell - in praise of idleness

Bertrand Russell – in praise of idleness

We are caught in the "cult of efficiency" where only the economic benefits of knowledge or the increase in power over others which these may bring, are valued. The notion that the desirable activities are those that bring profit has made everything topsy-turvy. Technically not very visual, here are some thoughts from Bertrand Russell on ...
W. B. Gould: artist and convict

W. B. Gould: artist and convict

William Buelow Gould (1801 – 1853) was an English artist convicted for stealing a coat and was sentenced to seven years of labour in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania). He constantly got into trouble, also in the penal colonies, and was regularly punished for offences such as drunkenness, petty theft and forgery. His talent, however, got him assigned as a house ...
Ernst Haeckel: art and science through the microscope

Ernst Haeckel: art and science through the microscope

Ernst Haeckel (1834 – 1919) was what we call a renaissance man. He was a professor, biologist, philosopher, physician, naturalist and artist. His contribution to biology, evolutionary theory and art is still mind-boggling; we owe a great deal of biological understanding and terminology to him. He was a great promoter of Darwin's theory of evolution, ...
Cholera map, Broad street

Images in the time of cholera

In 1854 there was a cholera epidemic in London. The accepted theory at the time was that illness and epidemics spread through the "miasma", a form of "bad air", pollution and smell emanating from decomposing organic matter. The mechanics of germs was not understood. Dr. John Snow was sceptical to the miasma theory, but not entirely grasping germ mechanics, ...
1854: geographical distribution of indigenous vegetations

David Rumsey collection: mapping history I

David Rumsey's gigantic collection of historical and modern maps, schematics, timelines, data visualisations, diagrams, history, time, sciences, religion is a never-ending source of wonder and inspirations. It is a bit of a trap, as I can spend days wandering around in the magical world of visualisations of history, science, culture, religion. Looking at the older ...
Wilton dipthych

The colour blue – the devil, the virgin and the red dyers’ bribes

Today, blue is probably the most popular colour around. We associate good things with it, it represents all sorts of positive things: air, sea, freshness, calm, and a few not so; feeling blue, blue monday. At least in this day and age, blue get a good deal of attention. But it was not always so. Prehistory ...
da Vinci: love

da Vinci: love

One has no right to love or hate anything if one has not acquired a thorough knowledge of its nature. Great love springs from great knowledge of the beloved object, and if you know it but little you will be able to love it only a little or not at all. – Leonardo da Vinci ...
Michael Cain, cochineal uniform

The colour red – the story of E120

The colour red – the story of E120: In the series of useless facts and trivia, here's the story of food additive E120, also known as carmine or crimson. It's in your food, lipstick, sweets, meat, clothes, drinks and makeup. Chances are, you'll find it in anything reddish that is not naturally red (forget ketchup ...
Albrecht Dürer

Bow to the masters: learning from Albrecht Dürer

No better way than to learn from the masters. These are freehand drawings after the work of Albrecht Dürer: Dürer had apparently never seen a rhinoceros, so the drawing is what he did after having the animal described ...
da Vinci: flight

da Vinci: flight

Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return. – Leonardo da Vinci ...
Ernst Haeckel

Bow to the masters: learning from Ernst Haeckel

  There is no better way to learn, than to study what the masters studied. Even though Haeckel might have been a little too creative in some of his visual analysis, he is up there with the best of them ...
Leonardo da Vinci drawing drapery

Bow to the masters: learning from Leonardo da Vinci

These are drawn from a book with Leonardo da Vinci's sketches; all in pencil.There is no better way than to learn from the masters.   ...
da Vinci: the development of a complete mind

da Vinci: the development of a complete mind

Principles for the Development of a Complete Mind: Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses – especially learn how to see. Realise that everything connects to everything else. – Leonardo da Vinci ...
Multivariable visualisation: tracing 40 generations

Multivariable visualisation: tracing 40 generations

A while ago, on a whim, i did some digging into my grandmothers family tree. I found more than I bargained for, as described in the post Noble genealogy. And I decided to make a family tree... A family tree of more then five generations soon gets complicated and it becomes impossible to keep track ...
What good old days?

What good old days?

Note: this is a post I wrote a few years ago, but it is still valid. I have been reading Design Observer on and off for a few years. Sometimes it's desperately navel-gazing, sometimes is preaching to the already converted, sometimes it's talking to a few insiders. Sometimes, it is good. The last time I ...