Artist creates life-sized replica of Parthenon using 100,000 banned books

July 7, 2017 by  
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Argentine artist Marta Minujín has created a life-sized replica of the Parthenon using 100,000 banned books from around the world. The massive book art installation is a replica of the famous Greek temple where democracy was born. However, the location of the ambitious project is more than just a symbolic statement – its located on Friedrichsplatz in Kassel, Germany where over 2,000 books were burned in one day by Nazis in 1933. During the “Aktion wider den undeutschen Geist” (Campaign against the Un-German Spirit), which took place on May 19, 1933, some 2,000 books were burned in the Friedrichsplatz. Minujín says that her installation, which is part of a 100-day art event called Documenta 14, was inspired by the “aesthetic and political ideals of the first democracy” and meant to be a modern-day tribute to democracy. According to the artist, creating the building out of banned books is a symbol of resistance to the ongoing persecution of freedom of speech. Related: Glowing circle made from thousands of recycled notebooks celebrate Bilbao’s book festival The artist worked with students from Kassel University to identify almost 200 book titles that have been banned at some point in history. She then put out a call for people around the world to donate their own copies of the books to be used in the art project . She received hundreds of thousands of books that were wrapped in plastic to protect them from the elements while allowing them to be easily identified. The Parthenon of Books will be on display until mid-September. + Marta Minujín Via This is Colossal Images via Documenta 14

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Artist creates life-sized replica of Parthenon using 100,000 banned books

Ai Weiwei and Shepard Fairey launch skateboard protest art for Trump’s 100th day

April 27, 2017 by  
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Artist-activists Ai Weiwei and Shepard Fairey have teamed up to launch a new series of artwork today in response to the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency. The pieces are printed on an intriguing medium: limited-edition skateboards. The collection is debuting at The Skateroom , a social entrepreneurship initiative that uses funds from its custom, fine-art skateboard decks to support at-risk youth. This is the second time The Skateroom has worked with Ai Weiwei , a contemporary artist and political activist whose work has drawn the ire of Chinese government on more than one occasion. His Study of Perspective collection showcases a series of photos shot between 1995 and 2003, with the artist flipping the finger at iconic landmarks and symbols of authority across the globe. Though it’s not a new series, the spirit of ideological opposition is one that remains especially relevant in today’s political climate – and the piece The Skateroom has chosen to highlight takes aim directly at the White House. LA-based street artist Shepard Fairey , perhaps best known for his iconic and controversial Obama “HOPE” posters , has also adapted one of his existing political works for The Skateroom. No Future is a simple, black and white stenciled image that denounces hate speech and propaganda – two subjects that have become disturbingly urgent in this new era of fake news and “alternative facts.” Related: Creepy Skull Sculptures Rise from the Remains of Dead Skateboards The collaboration with both artists makes perfect sense – Weiwei and Fairey have both attempted throughout their careers to use art as a force for positive social change, so The Skateroom’s mission is a clear match. These politically-charged works will debut at Art Market San Francisco from April 27th-29th, and will be available to purchase at The Skateroom online store. The Ai Weiwei print is available in a limited edition run of 666 hand screen-printed 7-ply Canadian maple skateboards, the first 66 of which will be signed by the artist and priced at $3,000 each. The Shepard Fairy edition will be slightly more limited, with only 450 skateboards available, priced at $450 a piece. + The Skateroom Images courtesy of The Skateroom

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Ai Weiwei and Shepard Fairey launch skateboard protest art for Trump’s 100th day

NASA unveils inflatable greenhouse for sustainable farming on Mars

April 27, 2017 by  
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A group of researchers from the University of Arizona, in collaboration with NASA scientists, have created an innovative inflatable greenhouse to help feed astronauts on other planets. The Prototype Lunar/Mars Greenhouse project would allow astronauts on deep space missions access to healthy, fresh food year-round. The greenhouse is made of an inflatable material and functions as a closed loop, integrated with the astronaut’s life support systems. The carbon dioxide released by the astronauts is used to support the plants, which convert it into oxygen while also providing a source of food. Water to grow the plants would be brought along or gathered on site, depending on whether the site had ice or liquid water nearby. Then the water would be oxygenated and infused with nutrient salts, continuously slowing across the root zone of the plants. The entire process is designed to mimic the resources that plants would have access to on Earth, in order to give them the optimal conditions for growth. Research is still ongoing to determine which plants, seeds, and other materials would be most suitable for use on the moon or Mars . Related: Trump plans to strip NASA’s earth science division, promote mission to Mars The plants would need to be protected from the harsh radiation of space on a planet without Earth’s protective atmosphere, so the greenhouses would likely be buried under the ground for protection, and the plants would be fueled by special lighting instead of natural sunlight. Scientists have had success both with LED lighting and light concentrators that use fiber optic bundles to channel natural sunlight from the outside. While the current experiments with the greenhouse are taking place on Earth, astronauts on the International Space Station have been experimenting with the practical challenges of growing food in space. NASA’s Veggie Plant Growth System was the first American fresh-food growth experiment on the station back in 2014. + Prototype Lunar Greenhouse

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Artists build treehouse ‘Visitor Center’ at Mexican border

February 6, 2017 by  
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Putting a sardonic, yet poignant twist to typical welcoming centers seen in national parks, Japanese artist collective, Chim?Pom has created a “U.S.A Visitor’s Center” on the Tijuana border. The treehouse shack is perched high in a tree overlooking the border wall that separates Tijuana from San Diego, California. The “Visitors Center” is a rickety wooden structure that sits precariously among the feeble tree limbs located on a family home in Colonia Libertad area. The desolate Mexican neighborhood has seen countless amounts of Mexican migrants pass through on their way to cross the border. The artist collective, (formed in Tokyo in 2005) met the owners, whose self-built house sits adjacent to the treehouse, while visiting Mexico last year. Related: Apartments made out of re-used materials pop-up in protest of the housing crisis in Munich The Japanese team installed the protest art installation last July as a metaphor of the “unreachable USA”. One of the artists in the collective, Ellie, was previously denied entry into the country when working with a Japanese TV crew. In an interview with Hyperallergic, Chim?Pom explained the inspiration behind the project, “National parks like the Grand Canyon have visitor centers to learn about places that you cannot enter. In Tijuana, there are many people who cannot enter the US. So for people like them and Ellie, this is a USA Visitor Center to think about what America is.” In clear view of the treehouse, the artists also placed a white cross on the American side of the border. With a little help from the community, Chim?Pom scaled the border wall to place the cross there as a symbolic gesture to liberty. Next to the cross, the artists dug a circular hole paying tribute to a previous installation. Both of the installations, “Libertad” and “The Ground” represent a place of “in-betweenness and uncertainty”, a state many immigrants can relate to these days under Donald Trump’s immigration ban . Both of the US-based installations will most likely be removed soon by authorities, but the Visitor’s Center is on private land, hopefully ensuring a little longevity. “Since it’s a center to view ‘Libertad’ and ‘The Grounds,’ it’s essentially like an art gallery, but once those two works are removed it won’t have that function,” Chim?Pom said. “But you’ll still be able to look over the US, and if a new wall is built, you would be able to see the construction.” + Chim?Pom Via Hyperallergic Photography via Chim?Pom and MUJIN-TO Production. Lead photo by Osamu Matsuda.

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Artists build treehouse ‘Visitor Center’ at Mexican border

Ai Weiwei covers Berlin concert hall with 14,000 refugee life jackets

February 15, 2016 by  
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SelgasCano reuses museum pavilion as a school for Africa’s largest urban slum

February 15, 2016 by  
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