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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’)

Observed: Urban Symmetry by Zsolt Hlinka

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Urban Symmetry is a clever series by Zsolt Hlinka that documents buildings on the banks of the River Danube. What you see, however, is not quite a true reality. Photographed and isolated from their surroundings, these buildings are halved and reflected making them perfectly symmetrical. The new fictitious buildings look otherworldly, especially when placed on their uniform backgrounds. You can see more of Urban Symmetry on Hlinka’s portfolio, along with some of his new work called Central Illisions.

Observed: Faculty Department

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A personal photography project by Justin Chung, Faculty Department documents homes and workspaces of creatives. They are not just tours of spaces however, they are something more. Chung, inspired by the work, was most intrigued by how spaces and people’s daily lives contributed to productivity and happiness. The preface of the book contains the details of development, from photographs of Chung’s workspace to typeface choice. It is something that is atypical, but is very fitting given the book’s subject. They have recently released the overrun copies of the limited edition book, you can find them at Faculty Department.

※ The photographs of Faculty Department were taken by Nicole Shultz for Design Curiosities.

Observed: A Century of Artifice

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Constantly, I’m drawn to the work of designers who are also artists. Michael Cina (Art | Design) sits in this overlap, also finding himself in a collaboration with Ghostly International, a long-term partnership that is not often common in design. You can see Cina in his work at Ghostly, but the converse is just as true. Recently, in conjunction with VSCO, Cina has produced a limited edition book to document 100 album covers and concept art, titled A Century of Artifice. “My hope is that it will give the viewer a unique glimpse into the diverse work I have done in the last six years with Ghostly. It is really a special thing when an artist and company can work hand in hand… I feel that the sum is greater than the parts, and this book will show the thought that I put into each project.”

※ The photographs of A Century of Artifice were taken by Nicole Shultz for Design Curiosities.

Curiosities: The Fiction Landscapes

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These photographs once had purpose much more meaningful than the content they captured. Associations of a moment, a period of life. When orphaned, that meaning is lost as it was tied to the creator. J. Frede collects forgotten landscapes and arranges them together, creating new and imagined places. Spanning different times and different continents, Frede creates a “dialog about how the land beneath our feet is connected to the land beneath our loved ones feet possibly thousands of miles away.” Read more about his project, The Fiction Landscapes, and view more on his portfolio.