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revolution water cycle video thumbnail

Pop-ups, Paper Cuts and the Water Cycle

revolution water cycle video thumbnailYet another graphic interpretation of the water cycle? Yes, but this one’s truly special. Revolution is a stop-motion animated pop-up book by Chris Turner, Helen Friel and Jess Deacon that illustrates the familiar travels of a water drop with an uncommon aesthetic approach.

It’s a short one minute and forty-five seconds in length, but long on the tenacity and skill needed to create it – see for yourself on the companion “Making of Revolution” video. (My hands felt sticky just watching it!)

 

Public Art and the Beauty of Sewage Treatment

Most of us have a love-hate relationship with mandatory public art funding. Sometimes the results are seriously wonderful and sometimes they’re seriously silly…money well-spent, or money mis-spent.

Wooden walkway, mountains and outfall: Image of the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution control plant by photographer-in-residence Robert Dawson (Robert Dawson via mercurynews.com)

This public art project in my view is seriously wonderful. Noted environmental photographer Robert Dawson has spent the past year as the “photographer-in-residence” at the San Jose/Santa Clara sewage treatment plant, a $65,000 project made possible by a city public art ordinance which sets aside 1% funding of selected capital improvement projects for public art.

This is a fantastic proposition as this plant, one of the largest such facilities in California, serves 1.5 million people who’d probably like to have a look at they’ve paid for, as well as what they will be paying for over the next couple decades as the facility embarks on a major 15-year renovation.

A strange conundrum for those who must convince the public to fund large water projects is the fact that most of the infrastructure is invisible to the public (until a pipe bursts). Out of sight, out of mind. Public art is a wonderful way to illustrate that there’s a lot more involved in this process after the dirty water goes down one’s drain.

Many believe that what’s needed to fix crumbling water infrastructure is more money and more engineering. For starters, I think we could use more artists.

Read more about this project and view more photos at mercurynews.com, via Aquafornia
See more of Robert Dawson’s portfolio, which includes the fantastic Global Water Project and Water in the West.

What’s a Fountain Without Water?

That’s the subject of a personal photo project I’ve been working on this past month. In Kansas City, Missouri (the urban counterpart to my suburban Shangri-la) 47 public fountains will be turned on April 6th, the city’s annual “Fountain Day.”

kansas city mo dry muse of missouri fountain

In Kansas City, MO: The Muse of Missouri, dry.

In 2009, severe budget problems drove city officials to threaten that that the fountains would remain dry due to lack of funds. Political grandstanding, maybe, but the citizenry greeted the proposal harshly and vocally. This year there were no such attacks on the fountains, although other basic city services will see budget cuts and/or rate increases (including water).

What’s a fountain without water? It’s not like a wallet without money; it’s more like a soul without joy.

(If you can’t view the slideshow below (Internet Explorer users, probably talkin’ about YOU) visit the full set on my Flickr page.)


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Yosemite February Fire Fall: A Hot Photo Op

It’s a good thing I read Aquafornia or I might never have known about the odd, rare and spectacular illusion known as the Yosemite “Fire Fall”… which actually involves no fire whatsoever.

Left, Horsetail Falls-Yosemite, by dlr9000 on Flickr

In Yosemite there is an almost non-existent waterfall called “Horsetail Falls.” During the last two weeks in February if conditions are perfect, photographers and spectators can witness what appears to be molten lava spilling over the Falls, but what is, in fact, an illusion caused by the angle of the sun.

“Perfect conditions” means first, sunlight in a clear, perfect sky (despite the clouds and storms that are common in Winter.) Second, there’s just a two-week window; the setting sun is positioned correctly ONLY during the last two weeks of February. Last, there must be water trickling over the falls.

Those with luck and patience will be rewarded with spectacular photos such as these. Hot to try? Learn a few of the basics here.

By howardignatius on Flickr

By daleberts on Flickr

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Questions

Via Elton J. Mello (@medindoagua on Twitter) we were directed to the incredible Flickr pool “Water…Oceans, Lakes, Rivers, Creeks” with 26,249 members and a visual feast of 360,000+ photos.

Including this mesmerizing shot by Gilderic, The Mystery City… a very different and more spiritual perspective on urban water and its place in a city’s “soul.” What lies beneath the surface is more elusive and mysterious than a mass of molecules, don’t you think? Just as we might strain to see into the building’s windows, we also keep trying to see below that shining, reflected surface.

The mysteries of the city are hidden.

Deep into its houses and buildings.

Deep into the reflections on the waters of the river.

Deep into the soul of its people.

Les mystères de la ville se dérobent.

A l’abri dans les maisons et des bâtiments.

Dans les reflets flottant à la surface du fleuve.

Dans le coeur et l’âme des ses habitants.

La Meuse, à Liège (the river Meuse, Liege)

Word Up: The Photography of Shinichi Maruyama

Born in Japan and now working in New York, artist and photographer Shinichi Maruyama engineers the collision of water and black India ink and captures the moment that the two meet at 7,500th of a second. Recent advancements in strobe light technology enable these stunning abstract images, where the camera can record the extraordinary detail of physical events that occur faster than our eyes can perceive them.

The series Kusho, which means “writing in the sky,” is reminiscent of Japanese calligraphy but executed in the air rather than on the flat surface of paper, using a variety of techniques to achieve a range of effects. Maruyama observes, “Not knowing what you are going to get impresses me strongly. We do now know what we have until we look at the actual photography.”

View the gallery of Kusho images at Shinichi Maruyama’s website

Information on Shinichi Maruyama via Bruce Silverstein Gallery

Kusho Installation View, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, NY

Kusho Installation View, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, NY

Kusho Installation View, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York

Kusho Installation View, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York

A Curiouser Alice in Waterland

If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Everything is what is isn’t in the surrealistic world of Alice in Waterland, Elena Kalis‘s stunning re-interpretation of the Lewis Carroll classic imagined beneath the water’s surface. (Via CityofSkies.com and Yatzer.com)

This Russian-born artist, now living in the Bahamas, specializes in underwater photography; with her daughter as model and muse she has recreated the story in a fresh, new fantastical way.

From an interview with Elena Kalis on Yatzer.com, the artist notes:

Alice in Wonderland is timeless. It’s open to interpretations and it’s up to you to make them. I decided to make it for a few reasons: this is my all time favorite book, my daughter Sacha is the same age as Alice (10) and very good at modeling underwater and, finally, the story itself seems like from some lucid different place…(underwater perhaps ?)




All photos © Elena Kalis

Can you Spare a Square for Art?

If only I had the time to sit down, think and reflect, share my thoughts with others…wait, perhaps I “doo!”

Artinloo is a collaborative photo project where people express what’s on their minds while alone in the loo. Why the restroom? As the site explains,

Because it is one of the few places in the world where people are almost unproductive and really alone with themselves!

If you’re unwilling to stand for the sake of art, here are the guidelines for making a submission:

1. Once alone in the loo, express on a piece of toilet paper what you are thinking about at that moment. 2. Be as original/sensible/artistic/humoristic as possible when you personalize your piece of toilet paper. The goal is to break the taboo surrounding this room and to evoke emotion and create discussion. 3. Once finished, take a photo of your creation and email it at artinloo@gmail.com.

Some inspiration to get you started:

Profits are Up for Ypsilanti Water Tower Photog

The unusual design of the Ypsilanti, Michigan Water Tower has sparked many a debate since it was erected (ha ha) in 1889. While the tower is a historic landmark, city officials bristle at the mention of its giggle-inducing architecture.

Enter Ann Arbor photographer, Shela Palkoski (shown here posing near the  tower). She has made entrepreneurial hay by re-interpreting the old joke with a bad-taste postcard which has sold thousands of copies in the past two years. In a July, 2007 story on blog.mlive.com, she says,

“I used to live across the street from the water tower and had to walk past it,” said Palkoski, who works under the name Miss SheLa. “I figure I’ve had a vision of that image for about five years, and I thought, ‘I’ve gotta do it before someone else does.'”

The cards show the legs of a woman in a short skirt, high heels and fishnet stockings standing over the tower. And the image has city leaders struggling to find a diplomatic way to react to the innuendo.

“The water tower has a historic marker,” said Mayor Paul Schreiber. “And it’s a very interesting thing if you look at the stonework.

OK, Mr. Mayor, you’ve got a point, but it’s hard, you know?

Here’s the text from the tower’s historical marker:

Day laborers constructed this water tower which was completed in 1890 at a cost of $21,435.63. The tower and the city waterworks supplied 471 customers in the first year. An ordinance passed on April 14, 1898 established a yearly rate schedule. Rates were based on the number of faucets in use, the type of business that customers operated and the livestock they owned. A residence with one tap was charged $5.00; a private bathtub cost an extra $2.00. Saloon keepers paid $7.00 for one faucet, $3.00 for each additional faucet and $1.00 for each billiard table. Each cow a person owned cost $1.00. People who failed to pay their bill were subject to a $50.00 fine and ninety days in the county jail. Until 1956 this structure was the only water tower in the Ypsilanti water system.