Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

This week, Chinese dissident artist and human rights activist Ai WeiWei launched a multi-site, crowdfunded project in New York City titled “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors”. The three centerpieces of the project utilize metal fencing materials and are located in Manhattan and Queens. Ai chose the name from the famous Robert Frost poem “Mending Walls” to provoke public reaction in the U.S. to Trump’s plans limiting immigration and for building a ridiculous border wall with Mexico.

The artist, who spent more than a decade during the last century living and working in NYC, pointedly installed a gold-painted, cage-like structure at the southeast corner of Central Park not far from tangerine Mussolini’s personal tower.

The second major installation is a mirrored passageway framed by the monumental Washington Square Arch in Greenwich Village. The powerful piece incorporated the outlines of two human figures embracing.

Located in Queens, the third major component of “Good Fences” is a literal fence that surrounds the Unisphere steel globe that was built for the 1964 New York World’s Fair.

The citywide project will run through February 2018 and also includes dozens of smaller installations around New York’s five boroughs, such as decorated kiosks, lampposts, and bus shelters also highlighting the plight of immigrants.

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Bookstore Taboo

Tabook is an amusing short film that takes on the silliness of cultural taboos. In Amsterdam-based director Dario van Vree’s animated short a young woman endures the pitfalls of book browsing in a puritanical society. The cheeky film was created with 2d animation and paper art backgrounds. Please note that some may find it NSFW.

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Libraries On Wheels

Rural communities in Zimbabwe seldom have their own libraries, so in 1995 educator Obadiah Mayo founded the Rural Libraries & Resources Development Programme to bring books to the countryside. Today, his organization has fifteen donkey-powered mobile library carts that each carry up to 1,200 books. Three of the rolling libraries even have solar panels to power on-board computers.

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Monsters In Philadelphia

With Frankenstein and Dracula, Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker created two of history’s most memorable monsters. Two hundred years after Frankenstein was published, pages from Mary Shelley’s manuscript will make their only appearance in the United States, to be displayed for the first time alongside Philadelphia’s famed Rosenbach Museum and Library’s collection of Bram Stoker’s notes for Dracula, accompanied by 19th-century scientific, medical, and literary works. These Gothic literary giants emerged from the technological developments, medical breakthroughs, and environmental disasters that characterized the beginning and end of the 19th century, when the novels were written.

Frankenstein & Dracula: Gothic Monsters, Modern Science will explore the pressing scientific and ethical questions that compelled these authors to imagine their monsters, creating stories that still haunt us today.The exhibition gallery features an interactive experience designed to emphasize the connection between the novels by Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker and the scientific and ethical questions of the present day.The experience begins at a kiosk in the gallery that places the visitor in the role of a scientist tasked with defeating one of three modern monsters by creating new technology or modifying a living organism. After concluding an experiment, visitors may opt into learning more about the medical history that influenced Bram Stoker’s tale or about the science and ethics of contemporary epidemiology.

The Rosenbach, which is located on Delancey Place in the Rittenhouse Square district, is an all too frequently overlooked gem. If you love books, be sure to make time for this extraordinary institution.

h/t to the Rosenbach for the information on this special exhibition and the images.

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Isn’t It Romantic

England’s famed Lake District has recently been recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage region, but it has long attracted literary tourists and nature lovers. The Craig Manor Hotel on beautiful Lake Windermere has produced the charming infographic below to appeal to biblio-tourists and devotees of 19th century romantic writers.

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Kafka Meets The Matrix

Mexican writer/director Pablo Calvillo’s animated short film Inksect is an intense Kafkaesque vision of a dystopian future where books are burned. Still, there’s some hope for bibliophiles in this surreal world captured in an engaging and original animation style. Be sure to watch it in full screen HD.

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This Is Real Street Art

Isafjördur is a small city in the extreme northwest corner of Iceland. It’s a remote place with a population of just 2,600 year-round residents, but like the rest of the country it has been experiencing a tourism boom. And with the visitors, traffic problems arrived. To protect local pedestrians, and rambling tourists too, the city partnered with Vegamálun to create eye-catching crosswalks to slow drivers down a bit. Seems like a good concept that would work everywhere.

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Sleep Is For The Weak

Over the years I’ve tried ever possible gimmick to manage to get some sleep while flying. As a life-long insomniac, air travel usually means a sleep-less night, or at best fitful tossing, turning and squirming in an uncomfortable seat. Even when I’ve had the cushy opportunity to fly First or Business Class, sleep more often than not is elusive. The infographic below, from the international job placement firm Work The World, does however provide some good tips for you normal travelers.

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Not Exactly True

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Switzerland: Another Reason To Visit

Just in case you needed another good reason to consider a trip to Switzerland, on October 21st the Camille Bloch chocolate company will open its new chocolate museum and tasting center near the firm’s headquarters in the village of Courtelay.

Devotees of Swiss chocolate—still the world’s best as far as I’m concerned—will be well acquainted with the Camille Bloch line of delectable treats. The family-run company, in business since 1929, produces lots of popular chocolates, including the terrific Ragusa and Torino bars. And don’t get me started on their liqueur-filled chocolates.

So, if you’re on a chocolate-themed trip to Switzerland, it’s worth a detour to Courtelay, in the Bernese Jura near the French border, for a museum visit, chocolate tasting, and factory tour.

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