Learn more about the Life in a Lifebulb. This artist duo created a similar project with hanging bulbs. These tiny environments can be created in your own home. Read more about how to create your own terrariums in this PDF. Or vivarium.
World Science Festival this week in NYC. From May 29 - June 1. Learn about our crumbling environment, the beginning of time, the nature of humanity and culture, string theory quantum physics, modern dance, mathemagicians (not joking), and parallel universes. Dozens and dozens of events at venues across the island of Manhattan. List of all events. Learn something before the summer sun starts to decay your mind.
This last weekend I took the train from Grand Central Station to Appalachian Trail in upstate New York. It's a surprisingly easy trip to make and a great way to get away from the city for the weekend and camp out. You can catch a train from Grand Central at 7:30 or 9:30 AM on Saturday and then return at 2:45, 4:45, or 7:15 PM on Sunday. The train ride is just a little more than an hour. The stop is just a little platform that you see above. Just an old-timey train stop without amenities. But you land right on the trail and you're ready to hike. Check out the MTA for the exact info on train times. And here's info on getting to the trail from the Appalachian Trail Conservatory. If you follow the trail south. You'll go over some hills and pass the Dover Oak (pictured below) which is about 3,000 years old.
Martin and Osa Johnson were adventurers from the great state of Kansas. The state motto of Kansas is Ad Astra per Aspera - to the stars and beyond. And these explorers from my native state lived up to the motto. From 1917 to death of Martin in 1937, the Johnsons traveled the globe from the South Pacific and across the African continent. They documented their adventures both in books and on film. They captured and recorded "exotic" wildlife and people never before witnessed by insular American eyes. The films such as Among the Cannibal Isles of the South Seas, Trailing African Wild Animals, Congorilla, and Baboona definitely carry the cultural prejudices and Western entitlement of the era. But they also capture an era of wonder and discovery that is forever lost.
You can learn more about the Johnson's by visiting the Martin and Osa Johnson Museum in Chanute, Kansas where their treasures are on display and their films are regularly screened. Much information and many dvds and copies of their books are available on the museum's website. A wealth of stills from their films can be found at the George Eastman House. These Midwestern adventurers shaped ethnographic film and helped establish the genre of wildlife documentary, forever fixating our engagement with the unknown, the new and the bizarre.
Here are the cryptic instructions to view the prehistoric beasts getting it on - meet at the bus stop -
Sunday, May 18, 6 pm - 8 pm
Horseshoe Crab Mating at Dead Horse Bay
with Sharon Seitz
Join us for a twilight walk along the shores of Dead Horse Bay for this once-a-year occurrence. Along the Eastern seaboard in late May and early June, at the time of the full and new moons, throngs of horseshoe crabs descend on the shoreline to spawn. Come see this fascinating spectacle and learn about these creatures, which have not changed in over 300 million years.
*Meet at the bus stop across the street from the entrance to Floyd Bennett Field. 2/5 train to Flatbush Avenue (last stop) then Q35 bus on Flatbush Avenue. Get off at stop right before the Marine Parkway Bridge. By car: Belt Parkway to Exit 11S (Flatbush Avenue South). Take Flatbush Avenue for 1.3 miles. Entrance on (Flatbush Avenue South). Take Flatbush Avenue for 1.3 miles. Entrance on left side at traffic light just before the toll plaza. Park inside the park, on the right by a small building, cross Flatbush to meet at bus stop.
Composer John Luther Adams has created a new light and sound installation at the University of Alaska's Museum of the North.
From the New Yorker article (which also features embedded musical compositions by Adams) - “The Place Where You Go to Listen”—a kind of infinite musical work that is controlled by natural events occurring in real time. The title refers to Naalagiagvik, a place on the coast of the Arctic Ocean where, according to legend, a spiritually attuned Inupiaq woman went to hear the voices of birds, whales, and unseen things around her. In keeping with that magical idea, the mechanism of “The Place” translates raw data into music: information from seismological, meteorological, and geomagnetic stations in various parts of Alaska is fed into a computer and transformed into an intricate, vibrantly colored field of electronic sound."
Read this piece by John Luther Adams from his website.
Listen to Public Radio International's Living on Earth segment about the piece.
Talking Heads - The Big Country
David Byrne and Creative Time present Playing The Building.
"Playing the Building, a 9,000-square-foot, interactive, site-specific installation by David Byrne, will transform the interior of the landmark Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan into a massive sound sculpture that all visitors are invited to sit and “play.” Byrne’s project will consist of a retrofitted antique organ placed in the center of the building’s cavernous second-floor gallery that will control a series of devices attached to its structural features—metal beams, plumbing, electrical conduits, and heating and water pipes. These machines will vibrate, strike, and blow across the building elements, triggering unique harmonics and producing finely tuned sounds. As Byrne explains, it is an elaborate system for “activating the sound-producing qualities that are inherent in all materials.”
Creative Time Press PDF.
The piece opens to the public May 31 and runs until August 10.
I couldn't help but be reminded of Tim Hawkinson's Uberorgan. I witnessed the enormous, industrial internal organ pipe organ while visiting the Getty Museum. Hawkinson's ridiculous huge and wonderful organ ran off a script like a player piano. Byrne's notion of visitors actually manipulating the monstrous, cavernous sounds is a fun twist on gigantic installation as participatory sound piece.
Read more about Uberorgan.
The giant noise bagpipe bladders fill the room.
Uberorgan's sheet music.
Art opening this weekend at the Scandinavia House- From Another Shore: Recent Icelandic Art. I have a secret, harbored love for all things Iceland. The music, the landscape, the sagas. I've been planning my clandestine retreat to the country for sometime next summer. We come from the land of the ice and snow, From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow. The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands, to fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming! I've previously written on the hidden folks, trolls and such, of Iceland in this post.
Regarding the art show, I'm particularly fond of Hrafnkell Sigurðsson's tent photographs. Olafur Eliasson has also managed to sneak a piece into this show. But I'll warrant him the current overexposure. The MoMA and PS1 exhibitions are truly something special.
At least, it looks like it's not going to rain. A couple of things going on this weekend. Kentucky Derby today. Looks like the odds are good on Cool Coal Man, but don't count out the solid odds on Colonel John. View Updated Odds. I might harvest some of the mint we're growing in our backyard for a nice mint julep.
The weather isn't that hospitable, but the Sakura Matsuri cherry blossom festival at the Brooklyn Botanical is always a welcome start to spring. A slew of Japan related activities and performances are on deck for this weekend, but I prefer to enjoy the cherry blossoms and some prime people watching.