In Japanese, the word shokunin literally translates "craftsman" or "artisan," but its meaning goes deeper. In Japanese culture, the term implies a deep commitment to mastery and excellence. A true shokunin is often on a lifelong mission.
Ryan Neil is an American shokunin, devoted to the art of bonsai. He has worked in the field for nearly 20 years, including six years as an apprentice in Japan. He manipulates trees, ripping and twisting them, to make living art forms.
In this short film, we meet Neil and learn a little about his bonsai practice. Enjoy:
New research from the World Wildlife Fund is giving us a rare glimpse into the world of the mysterious minke whale. The WWF worked with Australian Antarctic researchers to tag minke whales with cameras for the first time, watching where and how the animals feed.
The camera attaches to the whale's body with suction cups. In the case of the video below, the camera accidentally slid down the side of the minke whale's body, providing an unexpected look at the way its throat moves as it feeds.
Minke whales are one of the smallest baleen whales, but they're still pretty substantial animals, growing 30 to 35 feet long and weighing up to 20,000 pounds. Unlike other baleen whales, though, they're small enough to maneuver in tight spaces like within sea ice, a helpful adaptation for living in Antarctic waters. They feed by lunging through the sea, gulping huge amounts of water along with krill and small fish, and then filtering the mix through their baleen.
The WWF video shows just how quickly the minke can process this treat-laden water. The whale could lunge, process, and lunge again every 10 seconds. "He was like a Pac-Man continuously feeding," Ari Friedlaender, the lead scientist on the project, described in a press statement.
The video research, conducted under the International Whaling Commission's Southern Ocean Research Partnership, is part of WWF's efforts to protect critical feeding areas for whales in the region.
If that's not enough whale for you, you can also watch the full 13-minute research video below:
These surreal installations are made entirely of tape. They're the creation of artist Darel Carey, who has made it his mission to "dimensionalize" flat surfaces into 3D topographies. See more of his trippy tape art on Instagram.