Artist creates a living quilt to commemorate Santa Rosa fires

September 4, 2019 by  
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Memorials and national landmarks are common across the country as a way to respectfully remember events of historical relevance. This often takes the form of a statue or plaque, but following the Santa Rosa fires in October 2017, one artist took her own approach to honor the community following the devastation in the form of a living quilt . With a grant initiated and awarded by the city of Santa Rosa Public Art Program, artist Jane Ingram Allen completed the public art project, which took form in colorful plants grown in the design of a handmade quilt. The outline for the quilt consisted not of your typical fabric squares, but handmade paper. The pattern was then enhanced with seeds embedded into the pulp to match the quilt design. Related: New York Botanical Garden’s new artist residencies connect people with plants The “Living Quilt for Santa Rosa” incorporates the traditional “Wild Geese” pattern. A variety of colors are integrated into the living quilt, and each color uses a different source material and subsequently matches to a wildflower of the same color. Blue is comprised of a pulp made from recycled denim; matching flowers include the California Bluebell and other mixed blue wildflowers. Abaca, a type of fiber from banana leaves, is colored with a non-toxic fiber reactive dye and used for the yellow and orange shades. White also stems from the uncolored abaca and marries well with Baby’s Breath and white poppies. All of the materials, from wildflowers to the dyes, are eco-friendly and biodegradable while offering the hope of continued life for many seasons to come. Although Allen is credited for the work, the project was completed with the help of community members who laid out the paper, planted the seeds and built the “headboard” and “footboard” from locally harvested branches. During the time of construction, air pollution and burnt trees still plagued the area. The original work was dedicated at Rincon Ridge Park in Santa Rosa, California in the fall of 2018, but what began as a temporary art installation just might bloom into a long-term testament to the resolution of both the land and the citizens. The idea to commemorate the destruction from the fires with life in flowers represents the regrowth, perseverance and tenacity of the Santa Rosa community as they recover. + Jane Ingram Allen Photography by Timothy S. Allen via Jane Ingram Allen

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Artist creates a living quilt to commemorate Santa Rosa fires

Artist submerges 24 portraits underwater to raise attention about our plastic waste

August 29, 2019 by  
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It’s common knowledge that our oceans are suffocating because of our addiction to plastics . But there are some eco-warriors, like Austrian artist Andreas Franke , who are determined to bring more visual attention to the burgeoning issue, all in the name of saving our planet. Franke has recently installed Plastic Ocean, a project that saw 24 portraits of various people being drowned in a sea of plastic, submerged into the depths of the actual sea off the coast of Key West. Although the world seems to be on board with reducing our plastic waste , the action to actually doing it is moving at a snail’s pace. To instigate change, Franke decided to create a series of portraits that depict various people being drowned by plastic objects. Related: Recycled plastic art installation asserts that water is a human right in D.C. Not only are the images provocative for their message about how our oceans are being converted into massive trash dumps, but the collection also features a series of generations. By using images of tiny babies, toddlers and adults, the message is clear: there is an urgency here that cannot be overlooked if we want to provide a safer world for the next generation. The underwater art exhibition was installed on the wreckage site of the USS Vandenberg off the coast of Key West, where divers from around the world were invited to check out the installation. The exhibition ran until late August. Now, the artworks are being prepared for a land-based exhibit (location to be announced). After four months at sea, the artwork is covered with a unique patina, which was left as-is to give visitors to the upcoming exhibition a small glimpse into the beauty of the ocean. Franke hopes this small detail, along with the installation’s overall message, will inspire people to do their part in helping the cause. + Andreas Franke + Plastic Ocean Gallery Via Matador Network Images via Plastic Ocean Gallery

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Artist submerges 24 portraits underwater to raise attention about our plastic waste

A new mural in Italy addresses affordable, clean energy

August 7, 2019 by  
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Italian coffee company Lavazza has commissioned artists to paint murals based on sustainability. The latest, by Barcelona-based artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada, now graces a building in Turin, Italy. The eye-catching mural addresses the goal of affordable and clean energy. The United Nations ’ goal of transforming Earth by 2030 inspired Lavazza’s initiative, “TOward 2030 – What are You Doing?” As Lavazza’s website explains, “17 photographic portraits, 17 ambassadors, 17 Sustainable Development goals: the Lavazza calendar becomes an artistic megaphone for the U.N. 2030 planet safeguarding challenge.” Each artist will depict a different U.N. goal . Related: Recycled plastic art installation asserts that water is a human right in D.C. “I created this mural to bring awareness to the need of ensuring access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all,” he said in a press release. “The girl in the mural touches the icon button for the Toward 2030 goal No. 7 and lets loose a flow of clean energy . The piece alludes to the importance of acting now to assure a positive outcome. We must think toward our world’s future and the environmental conditions that our children will inherit.” The artist notes that three billion people — 41 percent of the global population — still cook with high-polluting fuel . One billion people lack electricity. “Electricity in the first world is still mainly obtained from polluting fuels,” Gerada said. “Our future energy sources must be clean and renewable.” Gerada has been an important artist for the last 20 years. As essayist and curator Ivan de la Nuez put it, “Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada has his own singular space in contemporary art .” De la Nuez has watched Gerada’s work evolve. “His work hasn’t left behind the classical arguments of the urban art practice, but he has moved away from some of its most common mistakes: the egotistical excess of graffiti, the loudness and the invasive aesthetics, to move into a calmer and more reflective space.” Over the last decade, Gerada has completed commissions around the world, from Morocco to Argentina to Texas and now Turin. Other international artists involved in the Lavazza project include Vesod, Zed1, Gomez, The Hula and Louis Masai. + Gerada Art Photography by Alessandro Genitori via Gerada Art

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The Lightyear One electric car uses solar panels for a boost of energy

August 7, 2019 by  
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The new generation of electric cars is on its way with the Lightyear One, a vehicle capable of using solar energy to charge while on the road. Currently in the prototype phase, the solar panel-covered vehicle is due to hit the streets in 2021. The Lightyear One was developed by a group of designers deeply entrenched in the field of solar vehicles. The prior University of Eindhoven students won the World Solar Challenge race three times with their “Stella” solar cars before focusing on a retail, road-worthy version. Related: Toyota is testing a new Prius model that runs on solar power The sleek Italian design is sure to draw attention, especially with the 5 square meters of solar panels mounted to the roof and hood, an addition that draws enough power for 12kmh per hour, or about 7.5 miles per hour of additional charge. It doesn’t sound like much, and in travel terms, it’s not, but it’s a step toward a completely solar car. In reality, the solar panel boost isn’t going to be the main source of power, so it can be charged like a regular electric car, except a lot faster. The Lightyear One can handle 60kW of fast charging, providing it 507 km or 315 miles of charge per hour. Perhaps the area where the Lightyear One is really making headlines is the total range of around 450 miles without recharging. That well exceeds Tesla’s current record of around 370 miles with the Model S. Like the Tesla, the Lightyear One hopes to appeal to the sports car enthusiast with a lightweight and sleek design. Then, there’s the fact that it jumps from 0 to 60 in around 10 seconds. The high-performance and efficient qualities mean that any charging station can provide a faster charge in less time compared to the competition. Unlike Tesla and other electric car manufacturers, the price for the Lightyear One is out of reach for many consumers. The initial models are available for pre-sale now at a cost of around $135,000. If you’re not ready to commit, you can expect a $170,000 price tag when it hits the mainstream retail market. + Lightyear One Via The Verge Images via Lightyear One

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The Lightyear One electric car uses solar panels for a boost of energy

The Lightyear One electric car uses solar panels for a boost of energy

August 7, 2019 by  
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The new generation of electric cars is on its way with the Lightyear One, a vehicle capable of using solar energy to charge while on the road. Currently in the prototype phase, the solar panel-covered vehicle is due to hit the streets in 2021. The Lightyear One was developed by a group of designers deeply entrenched in the field of solar vehicles. The prior University of Eindhoven students won the World Solar Challenge race three times with their “Stella” solar cars before focusing on a retail, road-worthy version. Related: Toyota is testing a new Prius model that runs on solar power The sleek Italian design is sure to draw attention, especially with the 5 square meters of solar panels mounted to the roof and hood, an addition that draws enough power for 12kmh per hour, or about 7.5 miles per hour of additional charge. It doesn’t sound like much, and in travel terms, it’s not, but it’s a step toward a completely solar car. In reality, the solar panel boost isn’t going to be the main source of power, so it can be charged like a regular electric car, except a lot faster. The Lightyear One can handle 60kW of fast charging, providing it 507 km or 315 miles of charge per hour. Perhaps the area where the Lightyear One is really making headlines is the total range of around 450 miles without recharging. That well exceeds Tesla’s current record of around 370 miles with the Model S. Like the Tesla, the Lightyear One hopes to appeal to the sports car enthusiast with a lightweight and sleek design. Then, there’s the fact that it jumps from 0 to 60 in around 10 seconds. The high-performance and efficient qualities mean that any charging station can provide a faster charge in less time compared to the competition. Unlike Tesla and other electric car manufacturers, the price for the Lightyear One is out of reach for many consumers. The initial models are available for pre-sale now at a cost of around $135,000. If you’re not ready to commit, you can expect a $170,000 price tag when it hits the mainstream retail market. + Lightyear One Via The Verge Images via Lightyear One

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The Lightyear One electric car uses solar panels for a boost of energy

Giant totems in Poland warn against climate change catastrophe

July 18, 2019 by  
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In the heart of Pozna?, Poland, artist Alicja Bia?a and architect Iwo Borkowicz have installed Totemy , a series of giant sculptures designed to raise awareness about climate change and environmental issues. Located beneath the MVRDV -design Baltyk building, the massive totems derive their bold patterns, vibrant colors and shapes from statistics on pressing environmental topics, from deforestation to air pollution to plastic production. Each sculpture features a QR code that passersby can scan to access a website explaining the meaning behind each sculpture. Measuring nearly 30 feet tall in height, each timber Totemy sculpture was constructed and painted by hand by Bia?a with help from local wood workers and community members. During the design process, Bia?a opened her workshop to the public for weekly open studios where the community could contribute their ideas to the project. Given the amount of community involvement, the sculpture location beneath the Baltyk building was fitting: the building, which was formerly a cinema , had long served as a place where people would gather to discuss political ideas. Related: Daniel Libeskind unveils climate change-inspired sculptures at Paleis Het Loo “The two designers aimed to use public space as a direct confrontation with facts and statistics, able to reach a wider public than would typically be afforded by museums, galleries and conventional art spaces,” the Totemy press release noted. “We wanted to address the public at large and at an everyday level,” Bia?a explained. “Passersby on the street and tram will catch out of the corner of their eye a flash of strong colors and be reminded of the current state of our world.” The popularity of the Totemy project in Poland has garnered interest in other cities and abroad. Bia?a and Borkowicz plan to take the concept to other countries to spur dialogue about climate change and environmental issues. + Totemy Images via Alicja Bia?a

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Study shows reusable menstrual cups are safe and just as effective as tampons, pads

July 18, 2019 by  
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Reusable menstrual cups have been around for decades, but they are just starting to pick up in popularity. Most people can’t shake their familiar comfort with tampons and pads, but a new study indicates that the cup is just as effective as the disposables and has no health risks. If you can get past the learning curve and “ick” factor, the menstrual cup is one of the easiest and most sustainable options for your period. Reusable cups are typically made from silicone or rubber and are inserted into the vagina. The cup stays put via suction against the vaginal walls. A finger must be inserted to break the suction, and then the user removes the cup, empties its contents, washes it and reinserts it. It can stay for up to 12 hours. The initial cost of cups might seem expensive, around $40 USD, but they last up to 10 years. Related: 5 eco-friendly menstrual products that also protect women’s health The study in The Lancet Public Health used data from more than 3,000 people around the world and proved that the cup is safe and effective. Not only are there no associated health risks, including vaginal infection or discharge, but the cups are light, compact and easy to travel with. Once you get past the initial sticker price, cups are one of the most affordable options and could be helpful for people in poor and rural communities. “People in non-profits assume that [the cups are] not suitable,” said Mandu Reid, founder of The Cup Effect , which trains people how to use cup. “That’s based on presumptions about these women’s preferences. That they wouldn’t like them because they have to be inserted or because they don’t want to touch their own menstrual blood.” There is certainly an “ick” factor to get past and some challenges in areas with limited access to clean water ; however, the study found that 73 percent of first-time users expressed a willingness to continue using it. + The Lancet Public Health Via NPR Image via Shutterstock

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Study shows reusable menstrual cups are safe and just as effective as tampons, pads

This massive Sun Ray could sustainably power 220 homes in Melbourne

July 17, 2018 by  
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What if renewable energy infrastructure could be both functional and beautiful? Exploring that notion is Italian architectural practice Antonio Maccà, who designed ‘Sun Ray,’ a massive solar collector that could generate enough energy to power 220 Melbourne homes — with approximately 1,100 MWh of electricity produced annually. Shortlisted for this year’s Land Art Generator Initiative Melbourne design competition, the conceptual design was conceived as a symbol for the future of sustainable energy that also doubles as public artwork. Envisioned for the City of Port Phillip in Melbourne , Sun Ray consists of a series of flat mirrors — each with a single-axis tracking system — laid out in a round shape with a diameter of 279 feet and elevated atop slender steel columns. To capture the sun’s energy, Antonio Maccà tapped into linear Fresnel reflector technology, in which mirrors are used to focus sunlight onto a solar receiver. A power block tucked underground transforms the solar energy into electricity before feeding it into the city power grid. “Sun Ray is a new symbol of renewable energy, lighting the way to the State of Victoria’s zero- greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target,” explained Antonio Maccà in his project statement. “It is also a cultural attractor for Melbourne, an investigation of light as a physical and symbolic source of illumination for life. It is a place for reflection, relaxation, learning and play — and it is a linear Fresnel reflector solar power plant that provides heat and electricity for hundreds of homes in St Kilda.” Related: This gigantic solar hourglass could power 1,000 Danish homes Residents and visitors can interact with the Sun Ray by using it as a shade canopy. The 50 primary mirror lines cast shade over the public park space, while the mirrors create a constantly changing play of light and shadow as they turn to track the sun. The winning design of the 2018 Land Art Generator Initiative Melbourne will be announced on October 11. + Land Art Generator Initiative Renderings by Antonio Maccà

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This massive Sun Ray could sustainably power 220 homes in Melbourne

Gigantic murals of local flora sprout on buildings around the world

February 13, 2018 by  
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These larger-than-life plant murals bring buildings back to nature – and they’re popping up all over the world. Muralist Mona Caron creates these intricate artworks by selecting plants native to each city and teaming up with local and international organizations to bring them to life, while also bringing a variety of social and environmental causes to public attention. The San Francisco -based artist selects plants that she finds in each city where she paints and uses them as symbolic references to local history and social issues. Her work both celebrates nature and examines current issues. She describes her Weeds series as a tribute to the resilience of all those beings who no one made room for, were not part of the plan, and yet keep coming back, pushing through and rising up. Related: Artists are turning the U.S.-Mexico border fence into the world’s longest peace-themed mural “Weeds break through even the hardest cement, the most seemingly invincible constraints, reconnecting earth to sky, like life to its dreams,” Caron explains. “It’s happening everywhere at the margins of things, we’re just not paying attention.” + Mona Caron Via This is Colossal

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Gigantic murals of local flora sprout on buildings around the world

Memorizing light installation is powered by visitors’ collective heartbeat

December 28, 2017 by  
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Artist Pablo González Vargas  created a massive light installation that reacts to the collective heartbeat of its viewers. Ilumina is a 37-foot tall art sculpture that invites spectators to plug into a heart monitor and meditate while they watch the tower. As the viewers’ individual heartbeats begin to merge into a “collective state of coherence,” the tower’s lights begin to shine as they rise up the structure, resulting in a vibrant majestic glow. Working under the ethos that “We are all Connected. We are the Universe,” Ilumina – which made its debut this year at Burning Man – invites the viewer to connect to themselves, each other and the universe. A series of hi-tech lounge chairs surround the immense art installation . Once seated, each participant is asked to connect the heart monitor to their earlobe as they join in the three-minute meditation exercise. Related: Entering this mind-blowing mirrored room is like walking inside a diamond Using a unique algorithm technology, the individual collective heart rhythms are then measured to find the state of coherence, at which point, the lights, and music begin to react. The deeper the state of collective coherence, the brighter Ilumina shines. + Pablo González Vargas + Ilumina Images via Ilumina

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Memorizing light installation is powered by visitors’ collective heartbeat

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