In the last decade Iris Scott has completed nearly 500 canvases, mostly in oils, using her fingers rather than brushes. “When I see an artwork that makes me gasp — a painting by Artemisia Gentileschi, Klimt, or Picasso, for example — my head exits time, space melts, and the moment stretches into a new dimension of hyper-reality,” she writes. “That is a very important sensation: it is the awe of understanding that a human did this, and it empowers you to believe you can do something profound, too.”
Artist Katie Holten has created a New York City Tree Alphabet, a Latin alphabet in which each letter is assigned a drawing of an existing city tree or one that will be planted as a result of the changing climate. There’s a free font that you can play with here and download here.
Holten had planned to plant messages around the city using real trees last spring, and invited people to make suggestions, though I don’t know which were ultimately chosen. “Right now, we’re leaving it completely wide open, so we’ve no idea what messages we’ll be planting,” she told Fast Company in March. “I’m excited to see what people send us. People have been suggesting words like ‘Dream,’ ‘Hope,’ and ‘Peace.’ But we’re also receiving longer messages, love letters, poems, and short stories. We’re curious to see how we could translate a long text into a grove of planted trees. It’s an exciting challenge and we can make up the rules as we go along, so anything could happen.”
The hydraulophone is a “woodwater” instrument: By fingering holes, the player stops the flow of of a fluid, but in this case the fluid is water. (The actual sound-producing mechanism can vary.)
Because the spray can obscure the finger holes, they’re sometimes marked in Braille, and the whole instrument can be built into a hot tub for use in cold weather.
The 2018 Halloween parade in Kawasaki, Japan, included a procession of famous paintings. The group took home the year’s grand prize, around $4,400. (The last entry is a reference to Cecilia Giménez’s 2012 failed restoration attempt of Elías García Martínez’s Ecce Homo.)
In 1999, ex-Pogues banjoist Jem Finer composed a piece of music that will take 1,000 years to perform. It’s been playing continuously at Bow Creek Lighthouse at Trinity Buoy Wharf on the north bank of the Thames since midnight on Jan. 1, 2000, and will continue until Dec. 31, 2999. (Shown here is an excerpt of 1,000 minutes performed live in 2009 at the Roundhouse in London.)
The piece is essentially a computer-administered series of variations on a core composition that’s 20 minutes and 20 seconds long; the current rendition is played on Tibetan singing bowls and gongs, but in principle it might be played on any instrument and indeed by any means; the conclusion of the piece might be mediated by technologies, and certainly will be by people, that don’t exist today.
It can be heard at various listening stations around the United Kingdom, and a mobile app is available that plays a version synchronized with the Trinity Buoy Wharf performance.
French conductor Louis-Antoine Jullien was the son of a violinist, who at the time of the boy’s baptism had been invited to play with the Sisteron Philharmonic Society. When he decided to ask one of the orchestra to be the boy’s godfather, all 36 members wanted to be considered.
So the boy was baptized Louis George Maurice Adolphe Roche Albert Abel Antonio Alexandre Noë Jean Lucien Daniel Eugène Joseph-le-brun Joseph-Barême Thomas Thomas Thomas-Thomas Pierre Arbon Pierre-Maurel Barthélemi Artus Alphonse Bertrand Dieudonné Emanuel Josué Vincent Luc Michel Jules-de-la-plane Jules-Bazin Julio César Jullien.
12/20/2019 UPDATE: In 2009 all 11 cricketers playing for England’s Dewsbury Young Stars were named Patel. “A lot of our team originate from India,” club secretary Yunus Patel told the Mirror, “but none of the players are related and it’s just a coincidence.” (Thanks, Nick.)
Hungarian engineer Paul von Jankó offered this alternative to the traditional keyboard layout in 1882. Within each row, the notes ascend by whole steps, and each vertical column of identical-sounding keys is a half-step in pitch from its neighbors. This means that each chord and scale gets the same fingering regardless of key, and wide stretches aren’t as necessary. The example above has four rows, but the full Jankó keyboard has six:
This is all appealingly sensible, but music educators were skeptical and performers were reluctant to learn the new fingerings, so manufacturers stayed away. Today it’s largely a curiosity.