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The Moon Arts Project

An Artistic Snapshot of Humanity is Headed to the Moon

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The Moon Arts Project

Our planet’s Moon is already home to an Andy Warhol doodle, two abandoned golf balls, and a message from the Queen herself. Later this year, it will become the final resting place for hundreds of new items, some of which are arguably even more peculiar.

The MoonArk, a four-chambered, 8-inch-tall snapshot of contemporary culture, will hitch a ride to the moon via the Space X Falcon 9 rocket as one of the privately-funded Moon missions in competition for the Google Lunar Xprize. The structure’s four sections represent the Earth, Metasphere, Moon, and Ether, respectively. Inside will be a collection of diverse pieces of art, including microscopic sculptures, DNA from a genetically modified goat, and a mural of photos an artist texted to his wife over a five-year period. The whole thing will be held together by an aluminum exoskeleton, each facet of which is based on the ratios of the golden triangle. In order to keep fuel costs down, the MoonArk’s four chambers will weigh less than 6 ounces.

Similar artistic time capsules, like the Golden Record aboard the Voyager, have been launched into space in the past—but unlike those capsules, some of which are still traveling, this project is unique in that it will eventually be stationary. According to the MoonArk’s webpage, the sculpture will reside on the Moon’s surface for “potentially billions of years.”

Lowry Burgess, the project's leader and one of its over 200 artists, told NPR he hopes the capsule will eventually be discovered by a species more evolved than our own. Among his contributions to the project is a single drop from a vial containing the blood from 33 different artists, as well as one from a similar mixture of samples from the world’s rivers.

After the MoonArk takes off later this year, space art enthusiasts will still be able to visit a copy exhibited here on Earth. 

[h/t: NPR]

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Courtesy Chronicle Books
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Design
Inside This Pop-Up Book Are a Planetarium, a Speaker, a Decoder Ring, and More
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Courtesy Chronicle Books

Designer Kelli Anderson's new book is for more than just reading. This Book Is a Planetarium is really a collection of paper gadgets. With each thick, card stock page you turn, another surprise pops out.

"This book concisely explains—and actively demonstrates with six functional pop-up paper contraptions—the science at play in our everyday world," the book's back cover explains. It turns out, there's a whole lot you can do with a few pieces of paper and a little bit of imagination.

A book is open to reveal a spiralgraph inside.
Courtesy Chronicle Books

There's the eponymous planetarium, a paper dome that you can use with your cell phone's flashlight to project constellations onto the ceiling. There's a conical speaker, which you can use to amplify a smaller music player. There's a spiralgraph you can use to make geometric designs. There's a basic cipher you can use to encode and decode secret messages, and on its reverse side, a calendar. There's a stringed musical instrument you can play on. All are miniature, functional machines that can expand your perceptions of what a simple piece of paper can become.

The cover of This Book Is a Planetarium
Courtesy Chronicle Books
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Noriyuki Saitoh
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Art
Japanese Artist Crafts Intricate Insects Using Bamboo
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Noriyuki Saitoh

Not everyone finds insects beautiful. Some people think of them as scary, disturbing, or downright disgusting. But when Japanese artist Noriyuki Saitoh looks at a discarded cicada shell or a feeding praying mantis, he sees inspiration for his next creation.

Saitoh’s sculptures, spotted over at Colossal, are crafted by hand from bamboo. He uses the natural material to make some incredibly lifelike pieces. In one example, three wasps perch on a piece of honeycomb. In another, two mating dragonflies create a heart shape with their abdomens.

The figures he creates aren’t meant to be exact replicas of real insects. Rather, Saitoh starts his process with a list of dimensions and allows room for creativity when fine-tuning the appearances. The sense of movement and level of detail he puts into each sculpture is what makes them look so convincing.

You can browse the artist’s work on his website or follow him on social media for more stunning samples from his portfolio.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

[h/t Colossal]

All images courtesy of Noriyuki Saitoh.

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