After working for a biotech lab in Vancouver, BC, science “nerd” Tania Hennessy, originally from New Zealand, decided to start making jewelry based on the molecular structure of various vices, such as cocaine, heroin, and LSD.
“Overdose” molecular necklace
Hennessy laser-cuts her 3D designer drugs from lightweight stainless steel in various finishes, and the results are quite stunning. In some cases, Hennessy combines the addictive molecules, such as LSD and MDMA (a practice known as “candy flipping” if you’re into that kind of thing), to create a wearable drug cocktail without all the nasty side effects. Hennessy even created a piece called “Overdose” (pictured above) that combines the molecular images of the following drugs: LSD, psilocybin (psychedelic mushrooms), cocaine, DMT (the powerful psychedelic dimethyltryptamine), THC (marijuana), and MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly). Trippy.
“LSD” molecular necklace
There are also a few less life-threatening vices in Hennessy’s collection such as chocolate and caffeine, as well good-vibe neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, among others. The pieces in Hennessy’s collection will run you anywhere from $25 to $95 and can be purchased on her website, Aroha Silhouettes. More images of Hennessy’s druggy designs follow.
English-speakers might say “existential despair,” among a number of different terms. Germans refer to Weltschmerz. As is often the case, the French have the perfect term to represent a somewhat intellectualized world-weariness that positively cries out for a pack of Gitanes. The term is ennui, and it’s so useful that we’ve incorporated it into our language. Using a French term gives the depression that extra bit of useless panache.
A game designer named Josh Millard has created the perfect Nintendo-style game to match that mood—it is called Ennuigi, and in it you can “spend some time with a depressed, laconic Luigi as he chain smokes and wanders through a crumbling Mushroom Kingdom, ruminating on ontology, ethics, family, identity, and the mistakes he and his brother have made.”
That’s right. You can walk left or right, but jumping? Jumping is not consistent with ennui!
Ennuigi in mid-rumination
Here’s Millard’s fuller description of the game:
This is a shot at a collection of ideas I had a few years ago, about looking critically at the universe of Super Mario Bros. in light of the total lack of explicit narrative in the original game in particular. Who are these strange men? What motivates them? By what right do they wreak the havoc they do on this strange place? What do they feel about where they are and what they’re doing?
And so, this is one lens through which to look at all that, with Luigi, the second brother, the also-ran, as a complicit onlooker, wandering now through some fractured, rotting liminal place in this strange world, reflecting on it all in scattered fragments.
The slow, tinny music is a perfect complement to this dreary, Beckettian video game.
Suntory is possibly best known to American moviegoers as the client that brought “Bob Harris” to Japan to film a commercial, in Sofia Coppola’s 2003 gem Lost in Translation. It’s Japan’s oldest whisky distillery, and if that causes you suppose that it is in any way dusty or not keeping up with the current trends in whiskeyology, note that just last year its Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 secured the award for “Best Whisky in the World.”
Not only that, Suntory recently announced that it intends to send some of its delightful spirits to age in outer space. They suspect that the zero-gravity environment may result in nothing less than the smoothest whiskey ever produced.
Suntory will be sending six varieties of whiskey, aged for 10, 18, and 21 years, along with recently distilled beverages, to outer space as part of an experiment. Their theory is that the weightlessness of space will result in a smoother aged whiskey than is possible to attain on Earth. Employees at JAXA’s Tsukuba City Space Center in Ibaraki Prefecture recently prepared glass flasks that will be used to transport the spirits when Konotori Vehicle 5 (HTV-5) launches from JAXA’s Tanegashima Space Center on August 16.
The whiskey samples will be left on the International Space Station for an unspecified number of years before being brought home to be inspected. Unfortunately for drink connoisseurs, Suntory has already stated that they have no plans to sell space whiskey as a product to the general public.
“No plans” is discouraging but that sounds like, if it goes as well as they hope, they’ll be selling it as soon as they can make it work. Now I’m envisaging an Alien or Independence Day-type movie where the first contact with sinister extraterrestrials occurs when they chance upon a satellite full of delicious Suntory product and they invade Earth in order to…... party on a grander scale with the geniuses who developed it.
Supplying more fun than can reasonably be expected at the optician’s, these intriguing lenses created by Hungarian designer Bence Agoston for a 3D printer enable psychedelic visual experiences while requiring the insertion of round optical lenses into the waiting slots—the effects include “a landscape modified by combinations of colors and patterns.” Anyone who remembers Dr. Timothy Leary might hear in those words connection to good ol’ lysergic acid diethylamide, which, even in this age of rampant drug legalization, is still a Schedule I controlled substance.
The glasses came about through a class project in which each student was assigned another student for whom they were tasked with designing some personal object. Agoston and his classmate quickly found a connection in music, so he looked to design an item that would enhance the experience of listening to music. Said Agoston,
The person for whom I was designing, whose name I pulled from a hat, first had to get to know each other to see if we could find a common point. I interviewed my “client” and luckily he really likes music and he always listens to music while he is traveling. That became the point for our connection because I also love music, but I just listen to it, really a first stage kind of activity. When embarking on this project my goal was to take it to a second stage and give the user a way to experience music by both listening to it and altering their visual experience of it.
The frames are 3D-printed in ABS plastic and can accept up to three of the set of six patterned lenses. The lenses can be rotated in relationship to each other to provide a virtually endless array of psychedelic viewing experiences, which work especially well when looking out of the window of a moving vehicle. The glasses also partially obscure vision, so it’s quite clear that the glasses should in all instances be worn by passengers, not drivers.
Amusingly, Agoston based his selection of colors to use in his lenses on colors most often found on album covers featuring indie psychedelic music, but he may come up with different series of colors for other kinds of music.
When I first saw this video, I was sure that it was shot in London—in 1966 that’s where the crazy fashion energy was, after all. But no, it wasn’t London at all, it was actually New York. I reckon that Matthew Weiner now wants to re-do Season 5 of Mad Men in its entirety just to find a way to work in these incredible bridal fashions. After all, that’s about when Don marries Megan, right? Such a wasted opportunity!!
A terrific find from Kelly Faircloth at Jezebel. The AP Archive headline for this clip is “Futuristic and outlandish fashions for brides from 1966,” but you really can’t beat Jezebel’s triumphant invocation of “SPACE BRIDES”!
These designs came from Edythe Vincent at Alfred Angelo—Vincent was actually Angelo’s wife, appropriately enough. I’m not 100% sure but I believe that the promotional text for this presentation ran,
Bridal gown for weddings in outer space! Styled by for Alfred Angelo’s “Bridal Fashions in the Year 2000” collection. Mod mini skirt of open air knit crochet stitch and vinyl plastic, with boots to match. The sky diver’s helmet lends an authentic feeling of jet propulsion for the forward look of the 21st century
Faircloth recommends scoring this wholly soundless bit of fashion footage (more than 8 minutes long!) with David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” Nailed it…...
In March DM reported on activists in Germany who, seeking to discourage drunken revelers from urinating in public, had applied special liquid-repelling paint to certain walls which would have the effect of redirecting the stream back towards, say, the malefactor’s own pant legs.
Today the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the city of San Francisco is using the identical technique. Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru commented, “We are piloting it to see if we can discourage people from peeing at many of our hot spots. ... Nobody wants to smell urine. We are trying different things to try to make San Francisco smell nice and look beautiful.”
[Nuru] demonstrated a painted wall’s effectiveness at the 16th Street Bart Plaza Thursday. A sign reading, “Hold it! This wall is not a public restroom. Please respect San Francisco and seek relief in an appropriate place,” hung above it. It doesn’t explicitly state that the wall will fire back, so some surprises are in store.
“Watch your shoes over there, brother,” Nuru said, spraying water from a plastic bottle against the pee-proof wall. The liquid splashed right back, soaking the bottom of his pants. “The team that did the testing, they were excited because the liquid bounces back more than we thought it would. Anything we can do to deter people is a good thing.”
The experiment in Hamburg’s St. Pauli neighborhood captured the attention of San Francisco officials. “Based on Hamburg, we know this pilot program is going to work,” Nuru said. “It will reduce the number of people using the walls. I really think it will deter them.”
The paint was applied in “nine urine-repellent walls in the Tenderloin, the Mission and South of Market,” with more to come. We can’t tell you where in San Francisco you are safe from the splattery technique, so we advise taking your binge drinking habits to Oakland for the time being.
Here’s a video from San Francisco Public Works demonstrating the paint:
Multi-talented musician, designer, and hacker Martin Backes from Germany has designed a robot to croon a pop ballad like a superstar from the ‘90s. As Backes writes,
“What do machines sing of?” is a fully automated machine, which endlessly sings number-one ballads from the 1990s. As the computer program performs these emotionally loaded songs, it attempts to apply the appropriate human sentiments. This behavior of the device seems to reflect a desire, on the part of the machine, to become sophisticated enough to have its very own personality.
In comments, Backes explained that the sounds were generated by digital signal processing, or DSP: “the sound is generated by the real time synthesis language called SuperCollider, same for the Visuals, so you have to write code. There`s almost no Audio FX or something like this, its basically a sine wave, the most artificial sound.” You can find out more about the device on Backes’ website.
The results are strangely impressive; even if the enunciation of the words isn’t always ideal, at least in the case of Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You,” the computer does a good job of matching her vocal range and expression.
Unfortunately, the robot’s repertoire consists of only five songs:
We train an artificial neural network by showing it millions of training examples and gradually adjusting the network parameters until it gives the classifications we want. The network typically consists of 10-30 stacked layers of artificial neurons. Each image is fed into the input layer, which then talks to the next layer, until eventually the “output” layer is reached. The network’s “answer” comes from this final output layer.
Ok, I don’t understand any of that, but the point is, there is now open-source software you can use to turn your photos into surreal android dreams. Naturally, people immediately fed this exotic algorithm porn, and while the results are not sexy, they are pretty captivating.
Technically all the naughty bits in these examples are obscured by horrifying animal heads and delirium-inducing swirls and whatnot, but I’m not going so far as to say this fever dream is “safe for work.” Psychedelic nightmare porn is still porn. I think.
My favorite is the one below—can you spot the pygmy hippo? (No, I mean a literal pygmy hippo, you perv.)
I was aware of Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock when I was growing up partly because my dad was sort of in the futurology business himself; he was an analyst at the Hudson Institute under Herman Kahn from the mid-1970s through the late 1980s, which specialized in the project of using trends to generate scenarios about the future—where a certain kind of counterintuitive reasoning usefully pushed back against the excesses of the alarmist left, as represented by Toffler and The Limits to Growth by the Club of Rome. (Kahn was a brilliant man who is mostly forgotten today, but was prominent enough that he was partly the basis for the character of Dr. Strangelove and was also mordantly represented, after a fashion, by the Walter Matthau character “Professor Groeteschele” in the 1964 movie Fail Safe.)
Anyway, around our household Toffler was sometimes mentioned as a crass popularizer of a particularly doomy form of techno-futurism that sought to cash in on qualms over technology in the society at large. This marvelous 1972 documentary about Toffler’s book was directed by Alex Grasshoff and features the voice and image of Orson Welles to a remarkable extent. Insofar as the movie accurately represents the book (Toffler co-wrote the doc, so I have no reason to imagine it doesn’t), it shows the content to be pretty half-baked at best. One feels for poor Orson having to read this stuff, but it’s better than frozen peas, I suppose.
Future Shock is about “a sickness ... that comes from too much change in too short a time.” We’re suffering terrible stresses because we have begun to live in “the pre-cooked, pre-packaged, plastic-wrapped, instant society.” Now surely there is something to this—technology in our lives does move awfully fast, and it’s natural to worry about the problems of disposability and transience. But the documentary has a habit of dressing up good news as bad news, mainly in order to scare inattentive dupes, as in the following:
A chemistry professor recently stated that he couldn’t pass today’s examinations because at least two-thirds of the questions require knowledge that didn’t even exist when he graduated from Oxford in the early thirties.
Oh no!! You’re saying we’ve learned so much about the chemical makeup of life (and also, developed ways to improve life) that ... it’s harder to absorb the information—how terrible!!!! A little later, quite similarly, you can hear Welles’ voice warn us of the dangers of the “disposability of … people” as follows: “Thousands of people are alive today only because they carry inside them electronic devices, plastic parts, transplanted organs.” (So wait: this point about extending people’s lives via technology is a “bad” thing because of ... the “disposability of people”? Huh?)
There’s no trend that can’t be dressed up as a terribly important problem that you should be very worried about. At one point the documentary discusses “the mobile society ... the rate of change reflecting the fact that where we live means less and less as we breed a new race of nomads.” This segues, hilariously, to an idealized montage of young people hitchhiking, which is one notable midcentury activity that is all but extinct today. So ... yeah, not so much.
One of the best and most amusing sequences comes around 17 minutes in, in the discussion of “modular bodies.” There is a marvelous bit depicting our taken-for-granted ability to change our skin color at will—the montage features the lobby of an office building in which a number of the people have blue, gold, or unnaturally pasty white skin.
Oh, if you want to see Toffler himself he pops up around the 38th minute.
I shouldn’t neglect to mention the gloriously schlocky production values of the movie, lots of weirdo sci-fi music and some cheesy video effects that are by now dated. As documentaries go, let’s just say it’s got some Logan’s Run in its DNA.
After the jump, a remarkable “educational companion” published to promote the movie…..
If you need any other reason today to marvel at the universe we all inhabit, witness someone actually etching a round tortilla with a laser cutter and playing (extremely noise-buried) music. This most certainly expands the horizons of Record Store Day to include your taquerias and Mexican grocery stores, but you have to be somewhat of an artisan to pull it off. The Instructables site recommends uncooked flour shells over corn, less lumpy in texture than cooked flour and uncooked/cooked corn. Canasta brand is one of the more findable makes, and the 9” diameter allows for a lengthier tune (I supposed a smaller tortilla can be used for a Minor Threat or Minutemen song).
One big difference though is the playback between 45 RPM and 78 RPM; as you can tell by this etching of “Macarena,” the melody is barely audible through the gunk, though one can definitely make out the chorus when played at 45 RPM.
More clips, including the laser-etching process, after the jump…