A Diverse Eye Chart.

Click for GIANT size.

Click for GIANT size.

This amazing eye chart was put together by George Mayerle, in 1907.

This fantastic eye chart — measuring 22 by 28 inches with a positive version on one side and negative on the other — is the work of German optometrist and American Optometric Association member George Mayerle, who was working in San Francisco at end of the nineteenth century, just when optometry was beginning to professionalise. The chart was a culmination of his many years of practice and, according to Mayerle, its distinctive international angle served also to reflect the diversity and immigration which lay at the heart of the city in which he worked. At the time it was advertised as “the only chart published that can be used by people of any nationality”. Stephen P. Rice, from the National Library of Medicine (who house this copy presented here), explains just how throughly thought through the different aspects of the chart were as regards the aim to be as inclusive as possible:

Running through the middle of the chart, the seven vertical panels test for acuity of vision with characters in the Roman alphabet (for English, German, and other European readers) and also in Japanese, Chinese, Russian, and Hebrew. A panel in the center replaces the alphabetic characters with symbols for children and adults who were illiterate or who could not read any of the other writing systems offered. Directly above the center panel is a version of the radiant dial that tests for astigmatism. On either side of that are lines that test the muscular strength of the eyes. Finally, across the bottom, boxes test for color vision, a feature intended especially (according to one advertisement) for those working on railroads and steamboats.

You can also see and download this wonderful chart here.  Via The Public Domain.

That Prayer Is Badly Designed!

Hideously designed bumper sticker.

Tony Perkins, president of the anti-LGBTQ group Family Research Council, urged FRC Action members to join him in praying that God grants wisdom and protection to President Trump and to display a “PRAY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP” bumper sticker on their vehicles so others do the same.

They don’t need to pray for the Tiny Tyrant, they need to pray for a better bumper sticker designer, that thing is awful. Really awful. You could choose a high school student at random, and I’m pretty sure they’d do a better job than this mess. This sticker is like an advertisement of how to do design wrong in every way. Part of the FRC letter reads:

I’m not ashamed to say it: I PRAY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP!

You too, I’m sure!

I can tell you firsthand, Donald Trump needs and appreciates our prayers—for God’s wisdom and guidance, for His grace and protection, and for His will to be done and our nation blessed to the glory of God.

As committed followers of Jesus Christ, we are directed to pray for the leaders God has placed in authority across our land. All Americans—especially God’s people—could probably use a gentle reminder in these troubled times.

I’m not in the ‘god’s people’ category, so I’d thank you to keep your “gentle reminder” to yourself, especially when that reminder is a glaring monument to ugly design and bad taste. That’s the sort of thing, that seen while on the road, can result in an hour long rant about people who think there’s nothing at all to that there design business. Aaarrrgggh. Anyroad, going by your own holy book, you aren’t supposed to be announcing your prayers or making a big public deal about them. It’s amazing how you christian assholes never pay attention to that bit.

The letter, which goes on for quite a while, includes a custom tailored petition. Here’s a bit:

…your personal petition will let our leaders in Washington know that you’re not only praying for President Trump but also for them to pass the conservative agenda WE voted for last November!

Specifically, it lets them know which issues – the ones you check off – that you’re praying for them to work on with President Trump to enact, including:

Repealing ObamaCare.
Defunding abortion giant Planned Parenthood.
Reforming the tax code to make it more family friendly.
Standing with the nation of Israel.
Repealing provisions of the Johnson Amendment which prevent Christian pastors from speaking out on many key issues deemed “political” by the IRS.
Restoring religious liberty for all Americans, including:
-Small business owners declining to help celebrate same-sex weddings.
-Doctors and nurses refusing to perform abortions.
-Military chaplains refusing to deny their Christian faith.

You can read the full letter at RWW.

A Climbable Bookshelf.

Oh do I ever have bookshelf and house envy right now. Raging envy. This is such a good idea! And all that spaciousness and light!

Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves are lovely, and can act as a robust focal point in any home. But accessing the high shelves can be a problem. The common side-kick has always been ladders, which can also add character and charm. But for smaller homes like in Japan they can be a nuisance, occupying too much space for not enough usage. But Japanese architect Shinsuke Fujii came up with a simple, yet brilliant solution that solves another problem too: earthquake safety.

The “House in Shinyoshida,” as it’s called, named for the neighborhood in Yokohama where it stands, was conceived shortly after the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake. The client, who happened to be an avid book lover, approached Fujii with the task to design a home around a large bookshelf that’s both easily accessible but also one that won’t spill all the books if there’s ever a tremor.

The solution was to slant the entire western-facing façade and create a built-in slanted bookshelf whose shelves also function as a ladder.

You can read and see more at Spoon & Tamago.

Earthworm Pavilion.

Nature Concert Hall is an interactive, educational multi-media event on nature and sustainable development held each year in a different location in Latvia. Every year is curated with a particular species as its “mascot” and Didzis Jaunzems Architecture was asked to base this year’s pavilion on the earthworm.

The architects responded with a structure designed to tell the story of the earthworm and its underground world. Three openings cut into the pavilion imitate worm-holes, while the sinuous patterning on the dark background reflects the creatures in their subterranean habitat.

[…]

“After the event there are absolutely no marks of the event that happened at the site day before – a completely empty and clean floodplain is left, contrary to the garbage-covered fields that are left after any other traditional festival,” added the architect.

The various elements of science, visual art, music, and dramaturgy included in the festival work holistically to tell the story of the earthworm in nature, ultimately aiming to not only give visitors new knowledge about nature, but to also motivate them to take action for environmental protection.

You can read all about this fascinating project here, and there’s video! Have a wonder filled wander.

Katerina Kamprani: The Uncomfortable.

Katerina Kamprani has some very interesting and entertaining work:

All the objects you will see in this website are deliberately designed to annoy you.

This project started after I failed to finish my studies in industrial design around 2011 and it has continued to grow ever since. My goal is to deconstruct the invisible design language of simple everyday objects and tweak their fundamental properties in order to surprise you and make you laugh. But also to help you appreciate the complexity and depth of interactions with the simplest of objects around us. As a poor designer I have started the project by making conceptual 3d visualisations, but recently I have decided to spend all my savings to produce prototypes, because what would the world be if there were no Uncomfortable objects out there?

Many of these did make me laugh, but there was also a sense of cynical despair, because if these objects were marketed, people would buy them. The concrete umbrella would become a popular garden ornament. The thick buttons would become a new anti-fashion fashion statement. The wineglass would become a new party drinking game favourite. The chain fork would become fashionable jewelry. Ms. Kamprani is in Athens, but here in uStates, people have become such slaves to marketing, I don’t think there would be a problem in selling any of Ms. Kamprani’s prototypes. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see unscrupulous people taking advantage.

You can visit Ms. Kamprani’s site to see more.

Cool Stuff Friday.

Photos: Niklas Adrian Vindelev.

Instead of accelerating the demise of traditional craftsmanship, what if digital tools enhanced it and expanded the possibilities of what we can make?What if an architect could use a digital tool — a CNC machine, say — to create something with a distinctly human quality? How might the machine be applied to skills such as woodwork and metalwork? Could it be used to make objects with the aesthetic appeal, including the touch and feel, of a handmade object? Could it also make objects that can be scaled — objects with applicability to architecture?

These were the timely questions that three architects recently explored as residents at SPACE10  — IKEA’S external future-living lab. With a shared interest in exploring how digital tools can be applied to traditional techniques — and the potential of a CNC milling machine in particular — Yuan Chieh Yang, Benas Burdulis, and Emil Froege together found answers in three very different but eye-opening ways.

You can read and see more at Space10.

If you’re in Ottawa, consider Indigenous Walks.

Indigenous Walks is a walk and talk through downtown Ottawa exploring landscape, architecture, art and monuments through an Indigenous perspective.

The character Danerys Targaryen finally returned to Westeros on Sunday night’s Game of Thrones Season 7 premiere, but the actress, Emilia Clarke, shot the scene on a Northern Irish beach called Downhill Strand. Much of what viewers know as Westeros, in fact, is actually Northern Ireland, including parts of Winterfell, Slaver’s Bay, and the Kingsroad—all thanks to the nation’s open tracts of land and many surviving castles. To draw attention to this fact, Ireland’s tourism board commissioned a massive tapestry that details every episode of the series.

The 66-meter-long artwork is on display at the Ulster Museum in Belfast. A group of artisans including the museum’s director, Katherine Thomson, are embroidering each meter with characters and symbols that summarize each one of the episodes preceding Sunday’s “Dragonstone.” As Season 7 progresses, they’ll add more yardage to the tapestry to reflect new developments on the HBO juggernaut. By the end of season 7 it will be 77 meters long.

You can read and see more at The Creators Project.

Cool Stuff Friday.

Alexey Kondakov.

Ukranian multimedia artist Alexey Kondakov flexes his Photoshop prowess to take characters from classical paintings and transport them into everyday  scenes in his series “Art History in Contemporary Life”. The ongoing project sees the artist take banal photographs of contemporary urban life — from subway cars to waiting rooms and trash-filled alleyways, and inserting figures from paintings by the likes of Bouguereau and Holbein. In doing so, Kondakov creates a playful meditation on the nature of time, overlapping époques and cultural contexts. See more of his work on his Facebook page.

You can see more at iGNANT.

File this under Want. As a whole house full of want. It’s a chair which is also a bookshelf, which is in turn, part of the larger bookshelf. This is brilliance. You can see much more and read all about it at iGNANT.

Danli Hu.

A thought-provoking project by interactive designer Danli Hu reminds us that reality has never been concrete. Made for Hu’s graduate program in Design and Technology at New York’s Parson’s the New School, Touching the Void allows users to feel objects that aren’t really there.

“Humans are visual animals; we rely on our eyes and believe the world is exactly like what we see. We think an object physically exists in our real world because we can perceive it with our eyes and feel it with our hands. Creating a virtual object, which is unseeable but provides physical sensations despite its invisibility, challenges people’s definition about virtual and reality,” explains Hu on her website.

You can see and read more at The Creators Project.

A Perfect Summer Fan.

I could use a good, beautiful summer fan, given that are temps are in the withering range.* These not only express a specific concept, they are also part a very old papermaking process, and with my deep and abiding love for paper, makes this an even more enticing item.

Komorebi (木漏れ日) is one of those uniquely untranslatable Japanese words. It means “sunlight filtering through the tree leaves” and embodies a poetic appreciation for nature and its changing seasons. Capturing that aesthetic, and embedding it into a beautiful handheld fan (uchiwa), is designer Kotoko Hirata, who created the Komorebi Uchiwa.

Escape the summer heat with this beautiful handheld fan made from Echizen Washi paper, a traditional Japanese craft with a 1500-year history. Artisans steeped in the tradition create leaf patterns by hand so when sunlight hits the fan a silhouette of tree leaves appear. It’s a lovely reminder that there are ways of appreciating the summer, rather than escape into air conditioning.

Once the paper is completed it’s transported to Kyoto where fan makers, known for their kyo-uchiwa, create the radial wooden skeleton of the fan and merge it with the paper.

More at Spoon & Tamago, where you can buy this beautiful fan.

*On the bright side, this is the quietest 4th ever, with none of the months of assholes setting off fireworks preceding it. The silence is lovely.

From Babadook to BabaDong.

Well, there’s scary for you. :D

Behold the BabaDong, a high quality silicone dildo. The Babadong has a sturdy base, so you can strap it on and take it anywhere! Don’t worry if it gets dirty on your adventures (which it most likely will…) because the BabaDong is dishwasher safe! The BabaDong has a length of 7.5 inches from base to tip and a girth of 5 3/4 in. around it thickest part. This campaign is for PRE-ORDERS. The BabaDong will only go into production if the minimum goal is met. IF NOT EVERYONE WILL BE REFUNDED.

If you’d like to read more about this project, and/or support it, head on over to the BabaDong gofundme page.

Pollution Popsicles.

All images © Hung I-chen of Polluted Water Popsicles.

Initially appearing to be a new artisanal food trend, these popsicles are actually a creative approach to spreading awareness of Taiwan’s issue of water pollution. The project, entitled ‘Polluted Water Popsicles’, was initiated by Hung I-chen, Guo Yi-hui and Cheng Yu-ti–a group of art students from the National Taiwan University of the Arts. To create the popsicles, the young artists collected water samples from 100 locations in Taiwan, with each sewage specimen then frozen and set in polyester resin for preservation. The project is successful in its innovative and deceptive conceptual approach–each counterfeit ice treat contains waste and domestic refuse extracted from the samples, 90% of which was plastic. The students also designed wrappers for the popsicles, and their work has been recognised by the Young Pin Design Award, as well as being exhibited at Taipei World Trade Center’s Young Designers Exhibition 2017.

All images © Hung I-chen of Polluted Water Popsicles.

Polluted Water Popsicles.  Via iGNANT.

Cool Stuff Friday.

Archive Dreaming from Refik Anadol on Vimeo.

Archive Dreaming, a stunning project, and one I hope becomes a reality before I die, because it would be an amazing experience! You can read all about this, and see more at The Creators Project.

Minutiae Photos.

There’s a new app in town, but it’s not like other social media in any way. This one is to document entirely mundane moments of your life, and you don’t get to do it at any given time.

Thus was born Minutiae, an anonymous photo-sharing app that, unlike uber-serious photography apps, encourages people to embrace the boring and mundane instead of meticulously sculpting the digital replica of their everyday lives.

Once a day, at random, all participants receive an alert to take a photo simultaneously, regardless of time zone. After taking the photo, the user is paired with a random stranger somewhere in the world who also just took a photo, and they are given 60 seconds to browse their chronological timeline or that of the stranger with whom they were matched. When the minute expires, the app shuts down, and the users must wait for the next alert to use the app again. Beyond the anonymity and its focus on the quotidian, Minutiae also prevents users from following anyone.

Despite Minutiae being a fully functioning app, Adolfsson and Wilson agreed that it should really be an artwork in and of itself. As Wilson tells Creators, it helped that they had a bit of a Swedish Arts Council funding instead of venture capital, so they were able to make what they see as a collective embrace of global mundanity.

“Our thesis is not that social media is ‘bad,’ just that it ends up making us look at the world, and documenting our experiences, in a very particular way,” says Wilson. “Through our use of Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat, etc., we are in the continuous process (often unconsciously) of refining filters that determine how we capture our lives… Minutiae frees us from this pressure to perform since you no longer have the option to choose what you are documenting—connections are singular and random.”

Another way Minutiae frees users, according to Adolfsson, is by restricting the time spent on the app to one minute per day. This flies right in the face most apps, which are designed to keep users locked in for as long as possible, or returning again and again like an addict.

“The app is a tool to help participants document their own in-between moments of life,” says Adolfsson. “The type of moments that we usually don’t think of as important enough to capture.”

You can see and read more at The Creators Project. Minutiae.

Metalliferous Streams from Eric Bellefeuille on Vimeo. All I have is WOW.

Paris at night by Roberto Estupinián.

Amazing, exquisite photos of Paris at Night.