Glass bugs

Ah. Microbiology. Dontcha just love it?

Yeah – me too. And so does artist Luke Jerram – he’s made some amazing glass sculptures of protozoa, bacteria and viruses:

Made to contemplate the global impact of each disease, the artworks were created as alternative representations of viruses to the artificially coloured imagery we receive through the media. In fact, viruses have no colour as they are smaller than the wavelength of light. By extracting the colour from the imagery and creating jewel like beautiful sculptures in glass, a complex tension has arisen between the artworks’ beauty and what they represent.

Personally, I couldn’t see the “complex tension” – that sounds a bit unnecessarily arty-farty to me. But they are pretty special to look at:


Ecoli_sculptureThat’s a T4 Bacteriophage at the top, and my old friend E.coli on the bottom – check out those flagellae – hello big boy! But of course, they’re (thankfully) not actual size. The real things are far smaller then this, hence “micro”biology. I know you knew that.

There are a whole lot more images to look at on Luke’s website too: SARS, HIV, Smallpox, Malaria etc etc.

The beautifully detailed collection has now been bought for permanent exhibition at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Art v Jobs

New from Northamptonshire County Council – which just last year cut 900 jobs as part of a £69,000,000 package of budget savings comes “STITCH – A new art installation”.

As part of the countywide GLOBAL FOOTPRINT project, artist Jo Fairfax and the FLOW team will deliver a new laser art installation – STITCH – in Northamptonshire. A new art installation that binds together the historic villages of Earls Barton and Wollaston with a 3 miles long laser beam.

This path of light skims across the beautiful Nene valley pinpointing two prestigious boot and shoe-making factories, Barker Shoes and Griggs, home of Dr Martens.

Glorious – and surely worth every single penny.

We’ve mentioned before that art projects and installations could be considered as a complete waste of money. For example, Cape Town insists on funding the annual Infecting the City arts festival, during which:

City “treasures”, including King Edward’s statue on the Grand Parade, were covered in clingwrap and trees on the station forecourt were draped in toilet paper.

despite having a housing backlog of around 500,000 people.

One can only wonder what those individuals made redundant by Northamptonshire County Council think of this:

ambitious countywide programme of contemporary ‘living heritage’ events and exhibitions, using visual and digital arts to showcase and celebrate Northamptonshire’s defining cultural heritage and identity.

What a load of cobblers.

Get Real, V&A

Oh dear. Someone is unhappy. And it’s about this:

Do you, like me, see a smiling sculpture made up of several thousand plastic crates, constantly updated to represent the Cape Town Zeitgeist? Or, maybe like Chris Andrews of University Estate (via today’s Cape Times’ letters page), you see a

…crass assemblage of Coca-Cola crates at the V&A Waterfront… a monument to mediocrity, global exploitation and humankind’s dysfunctional health and disregard for our treasured eco-heritage.

Wow. Steady on, Chris Andrews. I recognise that this could be classed as “art”, and therefore there are no right and wrong answers here. And I also completely respect your right to express your opinion.

But seriously? I’m really not sure how you managed to get from a friendly looking heap of red plastic to blaming the V&A Waterfront for all of mankind’s worst traits. A stretch of note.

I sense that you don’t like the crate man. Does his Olympic gold medal really scream “mediocrity” to you? Does the way he sits so jauntily between the fishing port and the dry dock make you honestly make you wonder about how we’re collectively not looking after our bodies? Or is it perhaps his smile that invokes a sharp sense of injustice regarding our alleged lack of respect for the planet?

Look, I know where you’re coming from. Art is emotive. It is meant to challenge. Why, the first time I saw Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa in 1988, I was immediately hit with intense and disconcerting feelings over society’s treatment of the poor, the exploitation of dogs working at Singapore Airport, the appalling lack of praise afforded to Kylie Minogue and extreme disappointment at the average life span of a standard 60W incandescent light bulb.

And yet, when I voiced these feelings, I was shouted down. People said I was reading too much into 0.4081 square metres of oil on canvas. Looking back, I don’t really blame them. They were right.
I guess some people are saying the same to you about your views on the crate man. And I don’t really blame them either.

Your letter continues:

So not cool. Away with this eyesore, V&A – in the Design Capital of the World, what were you thinking?

I hate people that begin sentences like that with “So”. So unnecessary.

For your information, Chris Andrews, Crateman was revealed just ahead of the World Cup in 2010. South Korean capital Seoul was the World Design Capital in 2010. Additionally, a quick check of any sort of reasonable fact book or interweb site (I suggest or would indicate that the Finnish city of Helsinki is the current (2012) World Design Capital.

From your statement, am I to therefore understand that the V&A have installed an equally hideous (in your view) monstrosity somewhere in Finland? What on earth would prompt them to do that? Is that where my car parking cash is going?

Suddenly I can understand your anger.

But no, Chris Andrews. Cape Town will become World Design Capital in 2014, when sculptures made of Coke crates and the like will surely be de rigour.

I know. So not cool.

UPDATE: See anib’s comment below and look at her Helsinki pics.

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands…

Lines you never thought you’d be writing on your blog:

Orville the cat’s nine lives ran out after being hit by a car last year; but rather than simply paying his respects and burying him peacefully, Orville’s owner Bart Jansen has turned him into a work of art.

Orville’s body has been stuffed, poked, prodded and turned into a remote control helicopter.

In fact, let’s just run that by you (and me) one more time:

Orville’s body has been stuffed, poked, prodded and turned into a remote control helicopter.

Here’s the story. If only there was a picture. Wait, there is!

Amazing. If only there was a video.

No – seriously?

Admit it. You’re looking at Felix and you’re thinking about jet engines, aren’t you?


Via deleteyourself (see the blogroll):


Today is the summer solstice, which is a perfect day to announce my latest internet “art” project.

I wrote a program that takes a picture outside of my office window every 5 minutes. It uploads the photo to a server and then analyzes the sky portion to figure out what the average sky color is at that time. The site is a constantly updating mosaic and record of the sky over New York City, and I think it looks pretty awesome.

I’m looking to expand this project across the globe. If you have a cool view and wouldn’t mind running the program hooked up to a webcam all day, get in touch.

As you may have heard, I’m not too big on art, but this is rather cool. Hover over any bit of the mosaic and the image from Mike’s window appears:

Surely someone from Cape Town must have a decent enough office view to warrant giving this a go?