Archive for April 2011
While the never-ending slew of new technology that bombards us everyday can sometimes feel overwhelming, complicated, and unnecessary, every so often a product comes along that we at GLIMPSE simply love. Take for example, the SkyProdigy, a point-and-shoot telescope.
SkyProdigy is for people who would love to gaze at the stars but are hesitant to even touch a telescope for fear of breaking something very expensive. You just have to point it towards the sky, push a button, and voila! An incredible view of the moon or the North Star is at your fingertips.
While SkyProdigy doesn’t come out until July, it’s great that astronomy is being made more accessible. Citizen astronomers will love that they can now capture the stunning views their telescopes provide on their iPhones thanks to the ingenuity of the Magnilux Adapter. It seems it’s never been easier to add ‘amateur astronomer’ to your title.
Dutch artist M.C. Escher created the Waterfall lithograph (pictured above) in 1961. Escher is responsible for some of the most well-known and beautifully mind-boggling optical illusions out there. By combining precise artistic skill with a deep understanding of mathematics, his designs explore impossibility and infinity. Escher’s work challenges our perception and forces us to look at the world in more abstract terms.
We at GLIMPSE love a good DIY project. It’s always a nice feeling to look at that bookshelf or bracelet you spent the afternoon toiling over and think to yourself, “Hey, I made that and it’s not half bad!” We also happen to love optical illusions. So imagine our delight when GLIMPSE Helvetica film discussion panelist Dyana Weissman shared with us the (now infamous) video of a do-it-yourself Escher’s Waterfall.
While we would love to believe this man somehow reversed the laws of gravity in his garage, we have a feeling some good editing and computer-generated water may have helped him out. But we could be wrong! Either way he built a pretty amazing structure that has baffled about three million people. His triumphant thumbs-up at the end of the video seems more than appropriate.
For those who like to see the procedure behind the product (How It’s Made, anyone?), you just might love this essay. Type designer (and GLIMPSE Helvetica film discussion panelist) David Jonathan Ross wrote about his thought-process behind a few typefaces he created. Ross explores the impact and importance of each letter’s relationship with thick and thin strokes, writing with a passion that makes it truly enjoyable to read.
For me, the relationship of thicks and thins is more abstract. While stroke and gesture are interesting subjects, what fascinates me is how any thick/thin relationship can define the vocabulary of shapes in a typeface, and how those shapes can in turn produce unexpected textures and rhythms of black and white. This fascination has served as the jumping off point for three of my typefaces, each one approaching stress and contrast in a different way.
Ross’s essay is featured on the blog “I Love Typography.” You can read the rest of his piece here.
The idea of infinity can be difficult to wrap our minds around—it’s been talked about in math classes and used in many a hyperbole, but the idea of ‘forever’ is still so abstract. Now you can experience a glimpse of visual infinity for yourself with National Geographic’s “Infinite Photograph.” At first it just looks like a single picture. But with a single click, you find out it’s made of countless other pictures. You keep clicking only to find out each of those pictures is made of more pictures. And those pictures? Yup, just more pictures. Try and stop clicking. Go ahead. Believe us—it’s not that easy. And because this is National Geographic, each photograph is stunning.
The photo mosaic dates not too far back in the late twentieth century. Both Robert Silvers and Joseph Francis pioneered the art form through computer programming. The effect is a sort of meta-art, with some pretty incredible results. The concept of a mosaic has roots in pointillism, an art form popular during the 1800s. Pointillism is a painting technique where many small dots are created in patterns to produce a larger, single image. This, along with photo mosaics, are great representations of interconnectedness, the breakdown of how all the parts contribute to a whole.
The most recent Infinite Photo is one of marine and terrestrial life on the South Pacific island of Mo‘orea. Besides being an excellent way to kill ten minutes of your time at the office or wherever you may be, it’s also quite educational. By continuing to click on an individual photo (more clicking!), you’ll learn a specie’s common and scientific name. This photograph is a physical, interactive, beautiful representation of infinity. And it’s awesome.