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Experience the Stop-by-Stop Sounds of the London Underground

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iStock

Thanks to a new sound project, you can have the sonic experience of taking the London Underground without ever leaving your house. As The Guardian reports, The Next Station—a site created by the international sound art project Cities and Memory and the London Sound Survey—is a tour of the city’s iconic transportation system in the form of audio recordings. With The Next Station, you can experience the crowds, the trains, announcers, musicians, and other aural ephemera heard by millions of commuters every day. 

Over the course of three months, the creators recorded audio in and around 55 London Underground stations, from people offering free hugs outside Brixton station to the hum of Bank station's escalators. Artists, sound designers, and musicians—not all of them from London or even the UK—then tinkered with the recordings to create 100 reimagined versions of the original Underground sounds. These remixed soundscapes are available for listening in an interactive map of the Tube, organized by the stations at which they were originally recorded. Though each has a title that explains the main sounds included, like “Bank station, passages, and escalators,” there’s often a bit of a surprise inside, like a subway musician’s killer guitar solo.

In New York City, sound artists have been more interested in adding soundscapes to subway stations than extracting them. LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy has lobbied for years to create an underground sound art project where turnstiles would be equipped with different beeping sounds to create electronic orchestras unique to each station. Alas, the city’s subway administrators have not been receptive. 

Joyful as subway soundscapes are, the sounds of underground transport are rarely pleasant. Subways are often so loud that, over time, they can damage your hearing, and the New York City system has had dangerous noise levels (over 90 decibels) for years. By contrast, San Francisco’s BART has average noise levels of 79 decibels within its train compartments, close to the maximum allowed by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, but still under the limit. While high noise levels are fine in the short-term, over long periods of time (such as every day on your commute for years), loud noise can permanently damage your hearing. Better to enjoy the sounds of city transit safely from your computer.

[h/t The Guardian]

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Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
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Barack Obama Taps Kehinde Wiley to Paint His Official Presidential Portrait
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Kehinde Wiley
Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Kehinde Wiley, an American artist known for his grand portraits of African-American subjects, has painted Michael Jackson, Ice-T, and The Notorious B.I.G. in his work. Now the artist will have the honor of adding Barack Obama to that list. According to the Smithsonian, the former president has selected Wiley to paint his official presidential portrait, which will hang in the National Portrait Gallery.

Wiley’s portraits typically depict black people in powerful poses. Sometimes he models his work after classic paintings, as was the case with "Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps.” The subjects are often dressed in hip-hop-style clothing and placed against decorative backdrops.

Portrait by Kehinde Wiley
"Le Roi a la Chasse"
Kehinde Wiley, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

Smithsonian also announced that Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald has been chosen by former first lady Michelle Obama to paint her portrait for the gallery. Like Wiley, Sherald uses her work to challenge stereotypes of African-Americans in art.

“The Portrait Gallery is absolutely delighted that Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have agreed to create the official portraits of our former president and first lady,” Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said in a press release. “Both have achieved enormous success as artists, but even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century.”

The tradition of the president and first lady posing for portraits for the National Portrait Gallery dates back to George H.W. Bush. Both Wiley’s and Sherald’s pieces will be revealed in early 2018 as permanent additions to the gallery in Washington, D.C.

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Made.com
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Art
What the Homes of the Future Will Look Like, According to Kids
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Made.com

Ask a futurist what the house of tomorrow will feature and she might mention automatic appliances and robot assistants. Ask a kid the same question and you’ll get answers that are slightly more creative, but not altogether impractical. That’s what Made.com discovered when they launched Homes of the Future, a project that had kids draw illustrations of futuristic homes that served as the basis for professional 3D renderings.

According to Co.Design, the UK-based furniture retailer recruited children ages 4 to 12 to submit their architectural ideas. The doodles, sketched in pen, marker, and colored pencil, showcase the grade-schoolers' imaginations. Paired with each picture is concept art made with a 3D illustrator that shows what the homes might look like in the real world.

The designs range from colorful and whimsical to coldly realistic. In one blueprint, drawn by Ameen, age 10, a neighborhood of rainbow buildings and flowers float among the clouds. Another sketch by Ellis, age 7, shows a “home built to last” with titanium, bricks, a steel roof, and bulletproof windows. Some kids seemed less concerned with durability than they were with the tastiness of the infrastructure. Cherry-flavored bricks, candy windows, and a giant jelly slide were just some of the features built into the future homes. Sustainability was also a major theme, with solar panels appearing on two of the houses.

Check out the original artwork and the 3D versions of their ideas below.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of Made.com.

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