Spirit is a bone_ 8

Facial recognition lends itself to creepy digital portraits

You shouldn’t have to carry ID when you go to grab a coffee. Coffee is not a controlled substance, though it sure is wonderful (and possibly addictive). That does not stop nominally just societies from demanding that their citizens identify themselves while out and about. Inevitably, the burden of these policies is unevenly shouldered by different groups. This problem could easily solved by no longer demanding that citizens identify themselves at every turn. There are, however, two problems with such a proposal. First: Good luck getting municipal politicians and police forces to agree. Second: The elimination of identification requirements means…

The Playground Project

Your favorite playground is actually a work of art, apparently

A Swiss art exhibition center finds sophistication and the potential for modern art in a most seemingly ordinary place: children’s playgrounds. The Kunsthalle Zürich, a center known for seeking to break boundaries in art by redefining its concepts, has begun crowdfunding The Playground Project, a book that will explore the history of playgrounds and exhibit photographs of what the center deems the most beautiful playgrounds in the world. The project for the book was conceived after the center began planning an exhibition where it would transform several spaces into playgrounds; the accompanying book is an attempt to immortalize those spaces…

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What’s to be done with Britain’s weird sea forts?

In 1942, two years after the Battle of Britain, the question of how to deter or fend off future German attacks on the British Isles remained urgent. How else to account for the Maunsell Forts, a series of structures in the Thames and Mersey estuaries that sat atop pylons and served as platforms for guns to shoot down German warplanes. Some of the forts look like what you’d get if the Walkers from the original Star Wars films tried to walk on water. What is to be done with these forts, which sit in various states of disrepair and were…


Now this is a videogame worthy of Beksinski’s haunting paintings

If you look upon the mournful, decaying figure sat atop that webbed plinth above and don’t immediately think of Zdzisław Beksiński then you aren’t familiar with his work. And if that’s the case then you might not fully realize the appeal of Scorn, the videogame that this concept art informs. Time to change that. What Beksiński did with bone haunts. He was a Polish artist, best known for his many paintings, especially the gothic fantasy that dripped from his brush during the 1970s and 1980s. But Beksiński’s gothic fantasy isn’t like any other: forget about crows, full moons, and vampires. He rarely spoke…


Fine art gets an 8-bit inspired make-over

Édouard Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe was rejected by the Paris Salon when he submitted it in 1863. In fact, so may paintings were rejected that year that the Emperor Napoleon III decided to create the alternative event where these works could be seen and judged by the public at large.  This “Salon of the Refused,” despite including the now historic work of Manet and others, was treated more like a freakshow of aesthetics than a showcase of France’s avant-garde. The public’s mockery of Manet’s paintings was ongoing, as were allusions in his work to the prostitution scene in late…


Go Sunset a Watchman

This past summer saw, within a month of each other, the arrival of two of the year’s most unwanted works: Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman and Tale of Tale’s Sunset. No one asked for, and no one is celebrating, Watchman’s publication. Leaving aside the troubling context surrounding the “discovery” of the book’s manuscript and the alleged role Lee’s caretaker had in its release, there is always an uncomfortable silence after the shattering of an idol. That’s despite the deconsecration of Atticus Finch being especially timely in the context of, say, the swell of the Black Lives Matter movement. In…


Asami Shigemitsu and the importance of earnest creativity

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Asami Shigemitsu is nothing if not enthusiastic about her art. A freelance video director and illustrator, Shigemitsu is a graduate of the Kyoto Seika University School of Design. She’s had success with creating commissioned illustrations for various organizations and directing a number of music videos for independent Japanese artists. She’s also a big fan of gaming and film, and finds them to be particularly influential on her work. Her directorial style relies heavily on strong color palettes, using bold monochromatic tones to give the visuals a striking look. Using a variety…

CS: GO Noclip Exhibition

Beyond the veil of Counter-Strike

Robert What wants to take Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (2012) back from the people who made it—yes, Valve. Despite the multiplayer first-person shooter proving enormously popular, What wants to see it undergo a conceptual transformation; from a series of static, made-to-look-real maps made for online competition to “dynamic spaces of artistic contemplation and social interaction where interesting events spontaneously emerge.” He has a theory but, before that, he has a gallery of tailored images called the “CS:GO Noclip Exhibition” that attempts to unravel it. In total, the gallery includes 396 screenshots from around Global Offensive‘s many maps, all taken and curated by What himself. These screenshots make use…


A love letter to the stony architecture of Ico

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. In Ruins (PC, Mac) TOM BETTS The craggy, mysterious ruins of Ico’s fortress-like castle are known for their wind-blown eeriness. Tom Betts has taken that game’s architecture and used its melancholy character as a model for one of his experiments into procedural generation. The idea, he says, is to interpret the work of Romantic landscape painters, such as Thomas Cole and Caspar David Friedrich, as a sublime videogame. The result is an island of broken ramparts, cold beaches, and overgrown pathways that lead to crumbling…