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Overnight, Bulgaria's Capital Gets the City's First Monuments to Women

Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, has plenty of historic monuments to men. But there are no statues of real, historic women in the city (as opposed to symbols like “a mother”). In the entire city, only 6 percent of memorials, like plaques, honor a female figure at all, according to official city data. But, on March 24, seven new monuments seemed to pop up overnight, Mashable reports.

MONUMENT #1—an art piece by Irina Tomova-Erka—highlights the lack of women’s accomplishments celebrated throughout the city by adding new, neon-colored busts of female figures. Well, just one figure, actually—the artist herself.

"The sculptures are a portrait of me, as I wanted to take a strong personal, public stance as a contemporary woman and artist,” Tomova-Erka says in a press release. “However, they are also anonymous, as they do not bear my name. They are only marked by a sign ‘The first monument of a woman in Sofia’. In these sculptures I am every woman. With this work, I want to give women what they are entitled to, but have been denied for decades—a place, visibility and recognition.”

The project is a collaboration between the artist, a human rights organization called the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, a human-rights organization, and the Fine Acts art collective. The busts were placed in central locations around the city during the middle of the night.

In April, the Tomova-Erka busts will be on display in an art gallery. After the exhibition ends, they’ll be auctioned off, with the proceeds going to fund a real monument to a historic woman of Sofia.

Sofia isn’t the only city to have a paucity of statues of famous women from history. New York City has only five monuments to historic women throughout the city—while there are 23 statues honoring men in Central Park alone.

Monuments to female figures tend to honor fictional or symbolic women, like Alice in Wonderland or Mother Goose. In the UK, campaigns pushing better representation of women in public art have led to plans for at least three new statues of women in northern England over the next few years.

Some cities are making slightly faster progress, though—several cities throughout Spain are rechristening streets that had been named for members of Francisco Franco’s fascist dictatorship to honor notable women instead.

[h/t Mashable]

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Dan Bell
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Design
A Cartographer Is Mapping All of the UK’s National Parks, J.R.R. Tolkien-Style
Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park
Dan Bell

Cartographer Dan Bell makes national parks into fantasy lands. Bell, who lives near Lake District National Park in England, is currently on a mission to draw every national park in the UK in the style of the maps in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Kottke.org reports.

The project began in September 2017, when Bell posted his own hand-drawn version of a Middle Earth map online. He received such a positive response that he decided to apply the fantasy style to real world locations. He has completed 11 out of the UK’s 15 parks so far. Once he finishes, he hopes to tackle the U.S. National Park system, too. (He already has Yellowstone National Park down.)

Bell has done various other maps in the same style, including ones for London and Game of Thrones’s Westeros, and he commissions, in case you have your own special locale that could use the Tolkien treatment. Check out a few of his park maps below.

A close-up of a map for Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park in central England
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Cairngorms National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Cairngorms National Park in Scotland
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Lake District National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Lake District National Park in England
Dan Bell

You can buy prints of the maps here.

[h/t Kottke.org]

All images by Dan Bell

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iStock
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Art
The Simple Optical Illusion That Makes an Image Look Like It's Drawing Itself
iStock
iStock

Artist James Nolan Gandy invents robot arms that sketch intricate mathematical shapes with pen and paper. When viewed in real time, the effect is impressive. But it becomes even more so when the videos are sped up in a timelapse. If you look closely in the video below, the illustration appears to materialize faster than the robot can put the design to paper. Gizmodo recently explained how the illusion works to make it look like parts of the sketch are forming before the machine has time to draw them.

The optical illusion isn’t an example of tricky image editing: It’s the result of something called the wagon wheel effect. You can observe this in a car wheel accelerating down the highway or in propeller blades lifting up a helicopter. If an object makes enough rotations per second, it can appear to slow down, move backwards, or even stand still.

This is especially apparent on film. Every “moving image” we see on a screen is an illusion caused by the brain filling in the gaps between a sequence of still images. In the case of the timelapse video below, the camera captured the right amount of images, in the right order, to depict the pen as moving more slowly than it did in real life. But unlike the pen, the drawing formed throughout the video isn't subject to the wagon-wheel effect, so it still appears to move at full speed. This difference makes it look like the sketch is drawing itself, no pen required.

Gandy frequently shares behind-the-scenes videos of his mechanical art on his Instagram page. You can check out some of his non-timelapse clips like the one below to better understand how his machines work, then visit his website to browse and purchase the art made by his 'bots.

And if you think his stuff is impressive, make sure to explore some of the incredible art robots have made in the past.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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