Per Aspera ad Astra

I am always charmed by the wonderful mural artwork from France’s Seth Globepainter aka Julien Malland. He recently helped the launch of a terrific street art initiative in the Ukraine called “Mural Social Club”. The ambitious project is bringing internationally known street artists to Kiev and other Ukrainian cities to create original artwork for schools and educational institutions. Supported by UNICEF and the Sky Art Foundation, the project aims to offer children a chance to experience art in their daily lives.

Malland has already completed a powerful piece called “Per Aspera ad Astra”—Latin for through hardship to the stars—on a school in Kiev. And, he finished a project on a war-damaged school in Dombas titled “Swing”. You can discover more about the project and see the other murals here.

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Poetry on the Shore

Poetry on the Shore is an extraordinary project created by Edinburgh Scotland-based multidisciplinary designer Yuxi Liu. Her AI driven autonomous robot travels beaches leaving poems in the sand. Equipped with sensors that allow it to navigate independently, the robot translates its environmental perceptions into poems.

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Dublin Pubs Immortalized

Heineken has commissioned the Dutch pottery company Royal Goedewaagen to create original beer taps for three Dublin pubs in the form of miniature models of each venue. Royal Goedewaagen created scaled models of The Stag’s Head on Dame Court, John Kehoe’s on South Anne Street and The Grand Central on O’Connell Street. Models were hand carved and painted in Dutch Delft Blue and are now used to serve Heineken in each pub. It’s a clever way to showcase both the Dutch beer and Royal Goedewaagen’s 400-year-old pottery technique. For my part, I don’t get why anyone would go to Dublin to drink Dutch lager; just saying.

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Hashtag Paris

If you have every been to Paris, you know that making efficient use of the city’s Metro system can be the key to a successful visit. With that thought in mind, Berlin-based journalist and amateur map-maker Tim Fischer has created a clever and useful Paris Metro map that replaces the names of 100 popular Metro stations with hashtags based on the most frequent Instagram tags in the area.

While some of the hashtags are self-evident, such as #pontdesarts and #monalisa, others like #badaboum and #silencio may require some research. Each of the tags that Fischer has chosen is based on Instagrams within 300 meters of the Metro stop.

You can try out an interactive version of the Paris map here. 

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Underground Library

The New York Public Library has partnered with the MTA and New York State to create the Subway Library project. Transit riders will have access to free e-books and other digital downloads this summer—and they won’t even need a library card.

To access the free reading materials, users will need to download the NYPL’s SimplyE app or connect via wifi in any subway station. And to mark the project launch, a number of subway cars running on the E and F train lines have been decked out to resemble rooms in the city’s main library. You can find out more right here.

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All Roads Lead To Rome

University of Chicago geography major Sasha Trubetskoy created this clever metro map-styled visualization of major Roman roads circa 125 AD. Although he admits to taking some liberties with road names, it’s a brilliant idea. You can learn more about his project on his blog.

h/t to Cameron Booth and Jools Stone


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It’s Still 1984

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It’s Always 1984 Somewhere

This week marks the 68th anniversary of the publication of George Orwell’s iconic dystopian novel 1984. In the extraordinary political environment that we now find ourselves, with Orwellian Newspeak the policy of the U.S. government and “alternative facts” flouted by an illegitimate regime, the novel takes on even greater relevance.

The publication of 1984 was marked in London by a live streamed reading of the book from cover to cover. The YouTube video below offers a terrific opportunity to revisit the seminal work.

NB: the reading doesn’t fully get underway until about 13 minutes into the video.

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Pulp Fictions

Imagine your favorite iconic novels such as Robinson Crusoe or Wuthering Heights with a pulp fiction makeover. Well, there’s a publisher reworking the classic in a pulp style.

Pulp! The Classics is a new imprint from the UK publisher Old Castle Books, which is reissuing lots of famous works of fiction with very tongue-in-cheek pulp fiction-type covers. You can see all of the titles and order copies on the publisher’s website or from Amazon.

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Print Is Dead Is Dead

I am no Luddite, but I do love an old-school print publication. So, I was chuffed to find that Kodak, the 129 year-old photographic film company has launched its first print journal.

Kodachrome, named for the iconic 35mm color film, is a limited edition publication covering art, film, photography, music, design, writing, and analog culture. So far, the inaugural issue seems to be available only from Kodak directly, but may reach the newsstands soon. I’m looking forward to seeing more.


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