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Link About It: This Week's Picks

Spray-on waterproofing, the fight for LGBTQ rights in photos and exploding Disney princesses in our look at the web this week

by CH Editors in Link About It on 29 June 2013

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1. Robot Drawing Machines

Creating new forms of art by exploring new mediums including glow paint and coding, Chicago-based multimedia artist Harvey Moon is best known for his homemade robot drawing machines. The thought process behind which is particularly fascinating: favoring Arduino-powered, algorithm-reading machines over using the physical body to "extend our system beyond our own hands… and augment the physical world." This video interview focuses less on the technology while posing provocative questions on age-old concepts—who is really making the work and what happens when the artist relinquishes control and authority?

2. The Visual Funhouse

Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich, who cites Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch as inspirations, is known for playing with perception and boundaries. Commissioned by the Barbican in London, his newest installation, "Dalston House," is a giant three-dimensional optical illusion that defies gravity. Rather than just being eye candy, Erlich's piece implores visitors to crawl all over it; using their entire bodies to create intricate poses that complete the illusion that one is climbing or dangling from a prewar Victorian-era house. The secret lies in a large angled mirror that reflects the façade painted on the street.

3. Noah McDonough for Krink

NYC's Krink, made famous for their high quality markers and paints, recently invited professional illustrator and graffiti writer Noah McDonough to their studio to flex his skills and try out some of Krink's products. The result is truly remarkable. McDonough, known for his classic style with meticulous attention to detail and shading, created a massive 5 x 12 foot tag with only a modified Krink ink marker. McDonough cut off the tip of the marker to create a perfect circle, which he used to create a pointillism-inspired shading technique using a series of dots. Krink created a limited series of signed prints featuring the work available from their webstore.

4. Self Obliteration

Eighty-four year old artist Yayoi Kusama has voluntarily lived and painted in a psychiatric clinic since the '70s. Nowness recently made a video that showcases her work, which she calls "Self Obliteration," and her process as a revelation of her inner-psychic reality. She says that painting keeps her going. The obsessive cast on her mind, audible in her voice and the way she talks in circles, is likewise visible in her polka-dotted paintings which will continue to appear in galleries around the world.

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5. The Early Struggle for LGBTQ Rights, in Photos

Normally known for its internet-humor lists and meme-inspiring GIFs, Buzzfeed released a list of 19 moving photos of the early struggle for LGBTQ rights. In light of LGBTQ Pride Month, Pride Weekend here in NYC and recent Supreme Court rulings on marriage equality, the photos provide rich, inspiring context to the progress of LGBTQ rights. With photos ranging from the 1960s to the early '80s, the human face of the struggle is well represented.

6. "Place of Retreat"

Vitra teamed up with celebrated architect Renzo Piano to produce a modular cabin called the Diogene. The structure can serve as a weekend house, an office outside the office or a guest room. A group of them could even create an informal hotel. Renzo explains, "Diogene provides you with what you really need and no more"—perfect for any retreat. The future of this project's production is to be decided soon.

7. Global Yodel

This community of local travel experts prides itself on sharing worldwide cultures from places that its contributors call home. These insiders bring photography, video, writing and design to those with a passion for exploration, and they've recently launched a shop for their vibrant prints. If you're a creative expert on the culture of your city, share your home with Global Yodel and make it someone else's destination.

8. Exploding Disney Princesses

Simone Rovellini used his post-production editing skills to create "Exploding Disney Princesses"—a video compilation featuring Princess Jasmine, Ariel and more showing the classic animation characters in song, only to have to their heads explode cleanly at the most climatic moments. The humor comes from impeccable timing, the indiscernible video editing and the horrified looks from the little animal witnesses. You also may never see Snow White in the same light again.

9. Spray On, Liquids Off

Recently released spray-on liquid-repelling material NeverWet truly lives up to its name. The jaw-dropping material first made its rounds on the web a few years ago, but now the product is finally on the market—just in time for summer. Simply spray on and keep all manner of liquids at bay—from mustard on your white shirt to water on your smartphone. The technology is a sight to behold and something we're looking forward to putting to use.

10. Circumventive Organs

Artist Agatha Haines' new series "Circumventive Organs" could easily be mistaken for a research scientist's patent-pending medical invention. A deeper look at her make-believe, but potentially possible, hybrid human organs uncovers a creative response to humans and their relationship with medical technology, whether it is a new prosthetic or pacemaker. In one example, Haines uses parts from an electric eel to create a defibrillating organ that could prevent heart attacks.

11. WalkNYC

Walking is often the best way to get around the city, but getting one's bearings is not always easy—especially when surrounded by skyscrapers. The NYC Department of Transportation is unveiling a new series of pedestrian-oriented maps in select neighborhood throughout the city aimed at helping walkers orient themselves. Instead of depicting north as up like most maps, WalkNYC uses the perspective of the person looking at the map. Such projects have already been successful in London, where winding streets make navigation difficult. Design aficionados take note, the city partnered with creative firm Pentagram for a unique yet useful color scheme and even developed a new version of Helvetica specific to the signs.

12. Turning Off Parkinson's

Andrew Johnson suffers from Parkinson's Disease and its crippling symptoms, but deep brain stimulation surgery has completely changed his life. It's not a cure, but his video shows that DBS surgery, which involved implanting a motor in his brain that links to a pacemaker, lets him move steadily throughout the day and fights off incessant tremors. In this remarkable video, watch him literally switch his symptoms on and off—"It's life changing."

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