Friday, April 29, 2011

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation

I just found this wonderful place I would love to visit someday. The original story appeared on

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation in Scotland is open to visitors one day a year (May 3, I think). You can see some great photos collected here.

The garden can be found at the base of these marvellous steps leading down from the original eighteenth century manor house with a Victorian addition, an octagonal folly-library.

Open to the public only one day a year, the Garden of Cosmic Speculation takes science and maths as its inspiration. Quite simply, there isn’t another garden like it in the world.

The shapes of science and nature come together in this wondrous place. The steel curves of science stand in front of those provided so generously by nature. Yet in a small time you can find yourself face to face with the wonders of a black hole.

The garden was set up by Charles Jencks, together with his late wife Maggie Keswick and is located at Portrack House near Dumfries. That’s in Scotland, by the way! It was set up in 1989 without the usual ideas people have when they create a garden. Horticultural displays very much take second place in this garden. Instead, it is designed with ideas in mind – and to provoke thought (or at least speculation) about the very nature of things.

Around the garden one can find amazing sculptures on themes such as this - the DNA helix in giganitic metallic glory.

Fractals and black holes abound, so be careful where you tread! Even thelandscaping explores the mysteries of science.

The garden comes replete with elegant manmade lakes which were designed by Maggie Keswick. The natural features of the garden blend and bond beautifully with the arches, contours, curls and bends of the science represented here. Symmetry, chaos and the tumult of nature and science combined.

The garden is open this year on May 2. Get there at the crack of dawn, however if you are thinking of paying a visit. Each year the local roads come to a virtual standstill by midmorning, such is the interest generated by this wonderful place.

Many people wish the garden was open for more than one twenty four hour period each year – but at the end of the day it is a private garden created by private individuals. All is not lost, however. It seems that recently, Mr Jencks met with Professors Peter Higgs and Rolf-Dieter Heuer. The latter is the Director General of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. We know it as CERN, the place with that big collider thingamajig.

The two scientists hope that they may be able to replicate the Garden of Cosmic Speculation at CERN, or at least something very much like it. You can hardly blame them for wanting to reproduce something so stunning for more public viewing.

Via and additional photos Here

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New Use for Old Books

I've posted about art from cut up old pulp books previously, but here are some new ideas for those old books. I found these on the Neatorama site, and they have a few more that I didn't post here.

Brian Dettmer uses a similar medium as Thomas Allen. Only instead of photographing the covers of books that he has moved into position, he instead cuts away at pictures inside of books until the many layers of pages form an all new image. The results are amazingly detailed and strikingly beautiful.

on the big scale uses for leftover books, you can build entire structures with them. While Slovakian artist Matej Krén’s building inside The Museum of Modern Art in Bologna may not be structurally sound enough to exist outside another building

One of the coolest things about using a book as a planter is the fact that you’re using something that was once a living plant to provide care for another plant. I wish I could tell you more about these cool planters, but the company that makes them, Gartenkultur, is Italian and their website doesn’t have an English language version. Using the Google translator though, I was able to discern that they use some kind of insulating materials to ensure the plant can be watered without ruining the book.

Artist Jim Rosenau specializes in making bookshelves and book cases from old books. Why bother chopping down trees to make wood for these book holders when you already have all the materials you need in your pile of books to get rid of?

If you have a lot of books and need a desk, you’re in luck. All it takes to turn a bunch of books into desk is a nice heavy slab of wood or glass in order to press down on the volumes and give you a smooth writing surface. The Brunswick Bound bookstore of Melbourne is equipped with these stylish and incredibly inexpensive desks.

While these books hanging from the ceiling may not provide any useful function, they do look really cool and will certainly make a home with really high ceilings feel a lot more personal and cozy. The original art installation is by Richard Wentworth, but if you wanted to adapt this to your own home, I’m sure some fishing line and a drill would be all you would need.

For something with a substantially smaller book investment, these paperback chairs by artist David Karoff are always a good option. He designed them for a Rhode Island bookstore called Myopic Books, so since they were made to be used by customers on a regular basis, they’re probably quite comfortable.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I found some great examples of dollar bill art on
"At some of my newest favorite sites like Collection Studio, Visboo, Defaced, Slummo, If It's Hip It's Here, Deviant Art, The Heist, Greedmont Park and Heated Fornication, I found more than just dollar bills with messages written on them. I found artwork. Granted, it's artwork that is considered a federal crime and in no way do I condone the desecration of American cash, but let's say for entertainment's sake that it is pretty cool. On that C-note, enjoy this gallery of defamed currency."
The following are the ones I really like on uproxx

(This and a few other pieces are from a collection by tattoo artist Scott Campbell, who carves designs into stacks of cash. It's a little bit more impressive than simply drawing Spider-Man over George Washington's face.)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fun with hotel rooms

Comedian Brett Kreischer is apparently in the habit of leaving surprises for the hotel maid.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Jean-François Rauzier

The hyperphoto realism of Jean-François Rauzier. When you got to his online portfolio, you can zoom-in almost so close into his pieces, and it still retains a crisp sharpness to it.

Fascinated by photography since childhood, Jean-François Rauzier starts his studies in the “Ecole Nationale Louis Lumière” in 1976. For 30 years, he has been exploring painting, sculpting, asphalt… Enriched by the learning of the commercial photography he practiced, pionner of the numerical collection, he invented the “Hyperphoto” concept, which enabled him to fulfill his approach.

Jean-François Rauzier was immediately captivated by numerical photography when it penetrated the professional market 15 years ago. He has been exploring the multiple opportunities offered by computer’s retouching since then, turning himself into a “virtual” painter.

In 2002, he created the “Hyperphoto”, a concept which enables him to deal with the impossible: to combine both infinitely big and infinitely small things in one same image, out of time.

To simulate the illusion of reality, Jean-François Rauzier first had to cope with all the inherent limits inherent of the photographic and technological equipment.

He found his way by juxtaposing, duplicating, twisting images with Photoshop, making it possible for him to reproduce human vision more accurately. This way, he generated a genuine numerical puzzle, in which the pieces, cut out, “drawn again”, come up along on top of the imagination of the artist.

From this technique is issued numerous fascinating and unusual details on which the spectator can dwell on.

The multitude of images invite the spectators to an inside journey, in dream-like, fantastic and timeless worlds. These worlds are filled with icons and references born of the artist’s cultural hall of fame.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Solar System Scope

Pretty cool interactive tool of our solar system. You can adjust dates and times, for real-time celestial positions. Check it out and have fun!