The quest to find evidence of extraterrestrial life has largely focused on the hunt for exo-planets and watery moons, but in the 20th century it was all about finding technosignatures. Largely comprised of radio signals and/or microwaves, technosignatures present not only an opportunity to find alien life, but intelligent alien life. Representatives from NASA, SETI, the Planetary Science Institute, and large research universities held a three-day conference in Houston to re-examine this avenue, astoundingly due to pressure from Congress in support of these efforts. Maybe it has something to do with .
Star-Studded Design Team Reimagines Claude Debussy’s Only Opera, Pelléas et Mélisande
A new incarnation of Pelléas et Mélisande, the only opera ever completed by Claude Debussy, in 1902, is a feast for the eyes—literally. Current-day directors and choreographers and envisioned the production as a window into the human soul. “The libretto is so much about vision that we thought to make the story unfold inside an eyeball,” Jalet explains.
From Fringe Idea to Mainstream Imperative: The Future of Design Depends on Biomimicry
Over the Earth's 3.8 billion-year history, plants and animals have come up with ingenious design solutions to keep them alive and thriving. Today, the idea of looking to nature to improve the functionality and sustainability of humanity’s creations is gaining steam in the architecture, design, and engineering industries. It's called biomimicry and it's here to stay.
Public transit: it’s ubiquitous, divisive, and apparently meme-worthy. Numtots, or members of the Facebook group “New Urbanist Memes for Transit-Oriented Teens,” are an international group of millennials whose big ideas about improving city life all use the Internet’s favorite means of communication. Although seemingly niche, the group has over 100,000 active members.
WeLive Aims to Disrupt Sad, Anonymous City Living Next
WeWork, the co-working company that has almost single-handedly redefined the modern workplace, isn’t content to simply make the traditional office obsolete. It has recently turned its eye toward the residential sphere with their newest project, WeLive, an optimized and amenity-heavy half-apartment, half-college dorm setup where there’s free beer in the laundry room. So, what's it actually like to live there?
House-Flipping Has Come to the Virtual World
One of the best parts of The Sims, the wildly popular life simulation video game, is building and renovating the house the Sims inhabit. Finally, there’s a game that lets players focus exclusively on that pursuit without the mundane life stuff, like getting a job or taking a shower. House Flipper, available on Steam for under $20, allows players to flip a fixer-upper in impressively rendered virtual detail with complete creative control.
Direct-to-consumer mattress brand Casper may be best known for igniting the “mattress-in-a-box” craze, but the company, which recently hit $600 million in revenue, has launched a branded nap destination dubbed the Dreamery right next to its NYC flagship. For a small fee, visitors receive an immersive napping experience on a Casper mattress (don’t worry, the sheets are changed every 45 minutes). It may seem indulgent to some, but Casper believes it’s tapping an unfilled niche and plans to bring Dreamery outposts to airports and office spaces.
In 2022, You Can Finally Step Inside a Studio Ghibli Movie
Celebrated Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli, helmed by co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, has unveiled visualizations for a theme park slated for completion in 2022. The nearly 500-acre attraction will feature recreations of the 19th-century European brick architecture that takes pride of place in such beloved films as Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Howl’s Moving Castle. No designers have been named yet, but Studio Ghibli asserts that the end result will respect Japan’s historical origins and natural environment.
Konnichiwa, Hello Kitty Shinkansen!
From keychains to bullet trains, Hello Kitty is one successful cartoon cat. The expressionless feline made her shinkansen debut this year on a pink-and-white train that will whisk commuters and tourists between Fukuoka and Osaka. Everything from the windows, seat covers, flooring, and even a specialized photo-op carriage are decked out with Hello Kitty decorations.
Formerly trained as an architect, and with a stint at Dutch firm UN Studio under his belt, creative director Jeffrey Johnson brings his architectural training and fascination to The Arrivals, creating garments named after prominent architects and engineered for city living. Johnson and his business partner Kal Vepuri have collaborated with 3M and independent Italian tanneries to create waterproof and rubberized materials, keeping in line with what Johnson calls “the requirement of function and the challenge of form.”
Emojis Double as Gargoyles
In the Dutch city of Amersfoot, on the façade of a perfectly normal brick structure, Attika Architekten emblazoned 22 emoji roundels. The commonly used text messaging symbols have traversed that formally solid line between digital and analog visual representation. What was formerly meant to quickly communicate emotional states has now been uplifted to a state of permanence once reserved for heads of state and religious icons.
What Will the Jobs of the Future Be?
As humanity plunges further into the 21st century, the question of what kind of new occupations people will be able to pursue sometimes gets lost in all the wild speculation about future products. A group of artists from AKQA and Misk Global Forum decided to try their hand at imaging the employment possibilities in the year 2030, based on several panels at the World Economic Forum.
Want to trip without the hallucinogens? Consider Chrysalis from last year’s Coachella, the art and music festival held in California’s Coachella Valley. Engineered by San Francisco firm Obscura Digital, the 120-foot psychedelic VR dome featured 108 speakers, 15 projectors, and 500 seats to create an immersive experience centered on the birth of a butterfly. The immersive aspects of Chrysalis required an unprecedented two teams, an entirely automated self-adjustment system, and fifteen cameras instead of the usual two.
Ever Been in a Semi-Anechoic Chamber?
Doug Wheeler’s 1971 PSAD Synthetic Desert III, installed at the Guggenheim Museum in 2017, creates an immersive optical and acoustic experience. It's designed as a “semi-anechoic chamber” that nullifies sound and creates the impression of unfolding space. Created with engineering firm Arup, the latest incarnation of Synthetic Desert is made up of mostly Basotect®, a muffling foam used to eliminate noise in subways and elevators.
Jeff Koons and Snapchat Create First Location-Based AR Lens
Despite falling shares, Snapchat continues to unveil new app-exclusive augmented reality features, including a collaboration with Jeff Koons. The American artist lent Snapchat virtual versions of his most well-known works, including Balloon Dog, Swan, Rabbit, and Play-Doh, which are set to appear across the globe in specific locations such as Central Park, the Sydney Opera House, and Champ de Mars, essentially creating a traveling VR sculpture park. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel presents the Koons project as an inherently democratic “art for the people” endeavor, explaining that “the fact we can bring these ginormous sculptures anywhere in the world is just the beginning of inspiring young people all over the world to create with our cameras.”