Climate Crisis

Finland’s Helsingin Sanomat newspaper has created a free and downloadable variable font that aims to make the urgency of climate change tangible by mirroring the declining amount of Arctic sea ice in its disappearing letterforms. While a regular typeface has certain pre-determined styles like bold or italic, the Climate Crisis Font allows users to adjust its font weight with the help of a sliding timescale.This allows them to select any year between 1979 when satellite measurements of Arctic ice first began and 2050, by which time it is expected to have shrunk by 30 per cent.

In 1979, the font, much like the ice, is at its thickest, with extra bold characters and what Helsingin Sanomat‘s art director Tuomas Jääskeläinen describes as “icy sharp edges”. But as the years go by, the silhouette of the letters becomes ever more curved and thin as if they were melting away or sinki ng into the ocean.The exact weight of the font at any point is based on historical data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), as well as future projections released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

 

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your secret belief in perpetual spring

IN PERPETUAL SPRING

Amy Gerstler

Gardens are also good places
to sulk. You pass beds of
spiky voodoo lilies
and trip over the roots
of a sweet gum tree,
in search of medieval
plants whose leaves,
when they drop off
turn into birds
if they fall on land,
and colored carp if they
plop into water.
Suddenly the archetypal
human desire for peace
with every other species
wells up in you. The lion
and the lamb cuddling up.
The snake and the snail, kissing.
Even the prick of the thistle,
queen of the weeds, revives
your secret belief
in perpetual spring,
your faith that for every hurt
there is a leaf to cure it.
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On the Fiery Edge of Oblivion

Just when I managed to pull myself away from obsessively checking in on the Fagradalsfjall volcanic eruption in Iceland, the local band Kaleo released this astonishing music video. The performance video for Skinny was filmed live during a volcanic eruption in southwestern Iceland.

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Mystery, History & some Cartography

One of the joys of being vaccinated against Covid-19 has been the ability to return to bookstore browsing. On my most recent visit to our local indie bookshop (shout out to Newtown Bookshop ) I picked up a copy of Cara Black’s latest criminally fun excursion to Paris. Leafing through the novel before adding it to my to be read pile, I noticed that the book had a terrific Paris 1940 map that highlighted locations in the book. And I was chuffed to note that the map was the work of Valencia, Spain-based illustrator and map designer Mike Hall, who consistently creates all sorts of cartographic designs and artwork for numerous publications. Take a gander at his website, I’m sure you’ll recognize some of his excellent work.

Here’s what Hall had to say about the project:

I was commissioned by the publishers Soho Press to create this illustrated period-style map of Paris for the endpapers of the novel “Three Hours In Paris” by Cara Black (published in April 2020), a thriller set in the French capital during the Nazi occupation in World War II. The map displays eighteen locations around the city that are key to the plot, each illustrated by simple pen sketches, as well as famous landmarks. The brief required the design to resemble tourist guide maps of the 1930s-1940s. To achieve this, I used a limited colour palette and period-style typefaces for the text labels (Brandon Grotesque and Clarendon); I was also careful to ensure that the detail was correct for the period, researching plans of Paris from the 1930s and omitting any modern-day details or landmarks that didn’t exist until later, such as the Périphérique orbital motorway. As a further illustrative touch and to relate to the theme of the story, I had the idea of creating the illusion of pins and string connecting to the illustration bubbles, in the manner of maps created by detectives in their investigations.

 

Posted in Art, Books, Europe, History, Maps, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

This book can help save the Planet

The international retail giant Ikea has published a cookbook for creative cooking with recycled food waste called The ScrapsBook and it’s available to download for free.

IKEA has created The ScrapsBook, in collaboration with chefs from across North America. This cookbook is dedicated to cooking with the little things we usually throw away. Or, as we like to call it, “scrapcooking.”

Scrapcooking is about finding the beautiful possibilities in that banana peel, radish top, or even the chicken bones you’re about to toss, and make the most of everything available to you. It’s little things like these that can add up to make a big difference.

Here’s a trailer:

 

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Flipping Brilliant

If you ever wax nostalgic for the old iconic railway station flipboards like the one pictured above from Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, you are going to love this story.

Chee-Kit Lai, founder of Mobile Studio Architects, has created what may be the world’s largest flipbook at Kanazawa Art Center in Japan. Installed in the center’s garden, the flipbook basically scales up the split-flap display technology used in old-school rail station departure boards. Gallery visitors can operate it via a large mechanical crank. Turning the crank rotates the book to flip the pages, setting in motion a hand-drawn animated sequence showing a kingfisher bird diving into water.

The individual animation frames were created by 100 participants in art workshops, held locally in Tokyo and online, with illustrations final received from contributors in Kyoto, Hiroshima, Nagano and London.

The animation shows the moment a kingfisher bird dives into the water to catch a fish. As the bird dives into the water it breaks the blank surface of the drawing to create a splash of colors. You can see how the flipbook was created and watch it in action via the film below.

Posted in Animation, Art, Asia, Books, Museums | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Was Mordor actually in Siberia

I haven’t watched much classic Soviet-era Russian television, but I imagine that little of the content was as weird as the recently rediscovered version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Embedded below are parts 1 and 2 of the production that has had the fans buzzing this past week. Even if you’re not a huge fan, it’s worth a look for the crazy, lo-fi special effects and oddball Soviet interpretations of the classic fantasy tale. This crazy made-for-TV movie was re-titled Khranteli  or The Keepers. Fans of Soviet era rock music will want to check it out just for the soundtrack.

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Irish Blessings

© Grant Snider Incidental Comics

 

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Don’t Panic : The Answer Is Still 42

The indie publisher Unbound is preparing to release the crowdfunded book  42: The Wildly Improbably Ideas of Douglas Adams, featuring unseen notes, scripts and ideas from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy author.

The book consists of excerpts from 67 boxes full of notebooks, letters, scripts, working notes speeches, to-do lists and poems, which were loaned by Adams’ family to his old Cambridge college, St John’s. The book will also feature letters to Adams written by friends, colleagues and fans, including Stephen Fry, John Lloyd, Neil Gaiman, Caitlin Moran, Dirk Maggs, Sue Freestone, Michael Nesmith, Mark Carwardine and Margo Buchanan.

Developed in association with Adams’s estate and family, the book will be a full-color, large-format hardback, reproducing extracts from the archive, presented with explanatory notes. The book will follow his career from early collaborations with Graham Chapman, to his work on “Doctor Who”, through the Hitchhiker years,  his non-fiction book Last Chance to See and his later digital work. Alongside this are details of projects that never came to fruition like a proposed “dark ride” at Chessington World of Adventures. It will be edited by Kevin Jon Davies, and is now live on Kickstarter .

The  Kickstarter synopsis explains: “When Adams was alive, many of the things that we take for granted today like the iPhone, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter did not exist, and the majority of people accessed the internet through very slow dial-up connections. But the combination of Adams’ deep fascination with technology and his unique imagination meant that many of his wildly improbable ideas are now reality. As far back as 1995, he suggested that computers needed to stop being giant hulks of metal and disappear into the things around us to make them smarter. Seven years before the Kindle was invented he correctly realised, ‘The real electronic book will be a standalone device which connects wirelessly to the net.’ He even correctly guessed the rise of multiplayer online game like Fortnite: ‘We tend to think of these games… as things that happen between a player and a machine… What I think will happen is gradually the machine comes out of it – or merely becomes the medium through which people play with each other.’

“The archive has a number of documents that reveal Adams’ feelings about the toil of writing. One page of erratically typed notes outlines his struggles: ‘Today I am monumentally fed up with the idea of writing. I haven’t actually written anything for two days, and that makes me fed up as well’. The same page reveals his struggles with the legacy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: ‘Arthur Dent is a burk. He does not interest me. Ford Prefect is a burk. He does not interest me. Zaphod Beeblebrox is a burk. He does not interest me. Marvin is a burk. He does not interest me. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a burk. It does not interest me.’ But then, in typical Adamsesque fashion, his complaining quickly morphs into an imagined conversation with a giant dragon called Lionel.

“Elsewhere, his ‘General Note to Myself’ is motivational: ‘Writing isn’t so bad really when you get through the worry. Forget about the worry, just press on. Don’t be embarrassed about the bad bits. Don’t strain at them… But writing can be good. You attack it, don’t let it attack you. You can get pleasure out of it. You can certainly do very well for yourself with it.”

Commenting on the new project, Douglas Adams’s family said: “What Douglas loved more than a good idea was sharing a good idea, and whether it was the 1st or 100th time you had heard it, his obvious delight never diminished. We have enjoyed working with Unbound to share some of that delight with you.”

 

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Does Your Library Hold The Secret To Happiness

If you visit Travel Between The Pages on a regular basis, you probably have noticed that I am a big-time evangelist for libraries and that I really like infographics. The graphics below show how libraries can help patrons not only learn much-needed skills but also live happier lives and be creative in trying new things. They were designed and published back in 2018 as an outcome of projects running within the UK’s innovation fund Libraries: Opportunities for Everyone (LOFE).

The infographics demonstrate what the library services learned from the projects. Backed by facts, statistics, and opinions from project participants, they are a source of inspiration for library proponents. You can read the full evaluation of the LOFE project here.

 

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