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A Stopgap as Design Curiosities becomes Curiosity and Curiosities

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In an effort to bring more unique and thoughtful content to our site we’ve been discussing and working on what changes we need to make. As those changes are taking place behind the scenes, and to let you know that we are still here, you can find us at Curiosity and Curiosities. We are sharing visual content as a stopgap for this transition.

 

 

 

 

Observed: JR au Louvre

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Last week, French street artist JR completed his latest piece at the Musée du Louvre. He is known for his large-scale photographic pastes where the importance and meaning of the work lies in the locale. This particular piece opened with a 24-hour event over the weekend that included workshops, films, and music/visual performances—most notably for me, Nils Frahm and Ólafur Arnalds. From a certain vantage point, the artwork blends the iconic pyramid into the facade of the Pavillon Sully behind it. JR au Louvre will remain on view until June 27th.

Violaine and Jérémy, a Paris based studio, designed and illustrated the poster for the exhibition and daylong event. It’s such a well executed piece, and a work of art in itself. It seems as much care has gone into their online presence, and is a great representation of how designers should be showcasing their work. It has quickly become one of my favorite portfolios.

Curiosities: Photographs of Mount St. Helens Erupting

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On May 18, 1980 Mount St. Helens erupted, becoming the first major volcanic eruption in the States since 1915. Keith Stoffel was attending the Yakima Gem and Mineral Show as a representative of the Division of Geology and Earth Resources for the Washington Department of Natural Resources (WA DNR). He and his wife Dorothy charted a plane that day with pilot Bruce Judson, unknowing of what was to come. From their vantage point they watched the volcano erupt, narrowly escaping thanks to the efforts of Judson. They captured a few photographs (including the one above) and Keith later summarized what he saw in a WA DNR paper (PDF):

Within a matter of seconds, perhaps 15 seconds, the whole north side of the summit crater began to move instantaneously. As we were looking directly down on the summit crater, everything north of a line drawn east-west across the northern side of the summit crater began to move as one gigantic mass. The nature of movement was eerie, like nothing we had ever seen before. The entire mass began to ripple and churn up, without moving laterally. Then the entire north side of the summit began sliding to the north along a deep-seated slide plane. I was amazed and excited with the realization that we were watching this landslide of unbelievable proportions slide down the north side of the mountain toward Spirit Lake. We took pictures of this slide sequence occurring, but before we could snap off more than a few pictures, a huge explosion blasted out of the detachment plane. We neither felt nor heard a thing, even though we were just east of the summit at this time. Dorothy saw the southern portion of the summit crater begin to crumble and slide to the north just after the initial explosion.

From our viewpoint, the initial cloud appeared to mushroom laterally to the north and plunge down. Within seconds, the cloud had mushroomed enough to obscure our view. At about this time, the realization of the enormous size of the eruption hit us, and we focused our attention on getting out of there.

They were not the only plane in the sky that day. A private plane flown by a former fighter pilot had been divereted to Seattle with his family, on return from vacation. In no apparent danger, he flew near the eruption and captured these photographs. His Grandson recently shared them (r/pics), but doesn’t have all the details of the day at the present.

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Observed: Noémie Goudal

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Noémie Goudal has created a strange mix of fiction and reality in her photographs. Some are hand-made objects while others are digitally manipulated structures from real photographs that she prints. Goudal doesn’t hide these fabrications, and on study and inspection they stare at you. Even though you can see the deceptions, they are based in reality. Perception is a funny thing sometimes.

Curiosities: Library of Dust by David Maisel

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These photographs are a part of David Maisel’s book titled Library of Dust. It documents canisters of patient remains at Orgeon State Hospital. The stigma of mental illness left many of these individuals forgotten and abandoned, even after death. The Oregon State Insane Asylum, it’s name upon opening in 1883, amassed 3,500 canisters of unclaimed remains from 1913 until 1971—a result of displaced burial grounds. Unfortunately, the remains were shuffled around and stored poorly. Exposed to moisture their contents leaked and their surfaces decayed. Maisel documented the transformed canisters, along with other found objects. A beautiful series no doubt, filled with bright mineral tones and textures, but one filled with deep sadness.

(Referenced A haunting memorial in ‘Library of Dust’)