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In addition to the stunning art installations at Beakerhead, the annual event brings together brilliant minds from all over the world.  This year, one of the keynote speakers was Mark Stevenson, a London-based British author, businessman, public speaker and futurologist.  He is also one of the Senior Advisers to Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Earth Challenge.

As I sat in the audience during his presentation, I was on the edge of my seat when Stevenson brought up two topics that we often feature on My Modern Met - renewable energy and 3D printing.  He envisages a world where renewable…

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The new KINDL—Centre for Contemporary Art recently opened its doors in Berlin with a site-specific installation titled Kitfox Experimental, created by St. Gallen, Switzerland-based artist Roman Signer. The title of the piece refers to the aircraft used in the installation, which dangles from the former brewery complex's 20-meter high ceiling in a dizzying display.

"An airplane hangs about four meters above the ground with its nose pointing downward—a lightweight aircraft," Signer describes his work. "Then there are powerful fans on the walls that cause the plane to move, since it is hanging from a joint that can be turned very easily. And so the wind is supposed to cause the airplane to turn, as if it were spinning in a nosedive as it plummeted downward." Caught in a suction of constant movement, the…

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Magnificent Landscapes Dominated by Powerful Storms

Since a very young age, Arizona-based Mike Olbinski has been obsessed with weather. As a professional photographer, he has since translated that passion into mind-blowing images filled with the life and energy of nature. Olbinski creates dynamic photographs, from stark desert landscapes to bustling cityscapes, where storms consume the earth.

The artist is surrounded by all kinds of extraordinary wonders and he shows no fear as he ventures towards the bad weather rather than away from it! Through his lens, he documents powerful lightning striking to the ground and ominous skies as billowing storm clouds roll in. "The summers in Arizona bring the monsoon thunderstorms, and they are a blast to chase. We get amazing clouds, awesome dust storms, and serious amounts of lightning," explains Olbinski.…

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Serene Luminescent Waterfall Paintings by Hiroshi Senju

Internationally acclaimed Japanese artist Hiroshi Senju is known for his large-scale paintings of waterfalls painted in the tradition of nihonga, a traditional Japanese style that uses pigments ground from natural materials such as minerals and shells. The New York-based artist's series Nightfall is a departure from his usual style, as Senju used acrylic and fluorescent pigments on Japanese mulberry paper to create the gorgeous forms of cascading waterfalls.

While the paintings are beautiful in every light, they truly shine in the darkness. The fluorescent materials make the artwork glow with a ghostly aura, transforming the serene nature scene into a mysterious, almost supernatural nighttime landscape. Water gushes from the undepicted top of the waterfall, flowing…

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It's easy to become impatient while waiting to cross a busy intersection. Recently, the original smart car company, Smart, designed this clever and interactive sign to entertain pedestrians while waiting to safely cross the street.

Installed in Lisbon, Portugal, The Dancing Traffic Light actually shows off the dance moves of people in real time. Individuals are invited to enter a large booth located nearby. First, they choose their own music and then, when the light turns red, the music begins to play and every dance move is translated into a little red dancing figure on the street corner.

Instead of hurrying across the street in front of a speeding car or a moving bus, pedestrians found themselves captivated by the silly movements featured on the…

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Brilliantly Clear Nightscape Photos by Nicholas Roemmelt

For the Austria-based photographer and dentist Nicholas Roemmelt, inspiring nature scenes start in his own backyard - all he has to do is strap on a backpack and walk toward the mountains. From it and other travels, he captures gorgeous images of tranquil, scenic views. His nightscape photography reveals a countless amount of bright stars set against a dark, brilliantly-purple and blue sky.

Roemmelt says that he fell in love with working at night because it seems to have its own rules and a magical appearance. This type of photography has long exposure times and requires the patience of the photographer. It’s well worth the trouble, though. The results are pictures of the galaxy uninterrupted from urban light pollution as well as majestic rock formations that have an incredible presence once the sun goes down. In a fast pace world that always seems to be on the go,…

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This clever collection of stylized portraits are composed of multiple polygons meshed together into a single graphic representation. Paris-based artist Vladan Filipovic used a digital low poly technique to produce the Star Wars series, which features a number of characters including Darth Vader, Chewbacca, C-3P0, and Yoda.

In each geometric portrait, mostly triangular shapes of various colors and shades fit perfectly together into recognizable arrangements. Filipovic set the illustrations on a vibrant background and paired each character with a distinctive phrase from the movies. Fans will instantly recognize statements like Vader's "Don't underestimate the Force," as well as Yoda's "Do or do not. There is no try."

Vladan…

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UK-based artist Tom Hare created the Cherry Tree House, a large-scale structure woven from thin boughs of wood into a beautifully spherical shape. The organic sculpture sits amongst the branches of a tree in the backyard of a private residence. At nighttime, illuminated with lights that reveal the intricate form and texture, the Cherry Tree House truly comes to life, taking on the appearance of a magical home for creatures like fairies high in the treetops.

According to the artist, his medium of choice is willow for its many special properties. "There's something about willow that’s evocative. The smell, the texture, the way it moves," he says. "The connection with nature, through coppicing and transferring observations into design, can be a humbling experience, and a physical one too."

Photos by Daniel Castledine…
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Cape Town, South Africa-based artist Lorraine Loots has an incredible eye for detail. In her series, called 365 Postcards for Ants, Loots plans to produce a miniature painting every day for an entire year. She uses a small, round stencil to establish the boundaries of the work and then, with a very thin paintbrush or finely tipped pencil and a magnifying glass, she creates a variety of intricate plants, animals, landscapes, and objects on a very small scale.

To select the content, Loots found that an interactive process was more enjoyable than simply choosing subject matter by herself. "At first it was just me doing my thing, doing my paintings, but then people started booking [sentimental] dates [for paintings to be done on that day]," she explained. "I think that the pressure became more and I wanted to create something that people loved as…

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After seeing a photo of a salt flat in a guidebook about Bolivia, Tokyo-based photographer Asako Shimizu dreamt of one day seeing the magnificent sight in person. A decade later, in 2006, Shimizu finally had the chance to travel to the South American country, where she found her way to Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world at over 4,000 square miles. There, inspired by the spectacular image of the seemingly endless horizon, as well as her relationship with the Earth standing at the elevation of 12,000 feet above sea level, Shimizu captured a series of stunning photographs titled On Her Skin.

The photos, which were shot using a Hasselblad 500 C/M film camera, show the unfiltered beauty of the salt flat. The gorgeous blue hues of the clear sky are reflected in the thin surface of water gathered on top of the plain, creating a seamless, mirrored vision of…

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So, maybe you’ve swam in the deep end of the swimming pool, but certainly not one like Y-40 The Deep Joy. Just how deep is it? Well, it measures 21 x 18 meters (69 x 59 feet) and has a maximum depth of 40 meters (131 feet). That’s the equivalent of diving the height of a 12-storey building! With specs like that, there's no surprise that it’s the world’s deepest swimming pool.

Architect Emanuele Boaretto designed the Y-40 for the Hotel Terme Millepini in Montegrotto Terme, Italy, where it was created with the ambition of becoming the “best swimming pool in the world.” It’s currently open year round and offers plenty of things to do. Stay at the hotel and partake in scuba diving, free diving, aqua fitness, and other water-centric activities.…

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Italian studio Truly Design recently completed a project that combines the magic of optical illusion with a street art style. The four creatives that make up the practice originally bonded over graffiti during their teenage years. They used this passion and skill to create Vanitas, a large artwork that’s spread among many sand-colored rectangular forms.

Truly Design painted subjects that have to do with science and technology: a human skull, a butterfly, and a spaceship are just a few. It’s all fractured on different sections of the outdoor boxes, and depending on your vantage point, things either look disjointed or like one cohesive piece. Sometimes, everything seems to exist on a single plane, but we know that it's just the studio cleverly fooling our eyes.

Vanitas was created for the public exhibition Art on Science and hosted by the…

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We’ve marveled over a number of beautiful staircases recently, and the Risa by Norwegian architect Tron Meyer is no different. The modern spiral staircase is made entirely from locally-sourced laminated wood that’s formed into graceful, curving steps. Normally, you’d see something like this constructed in concrete or steel; Meyer’s creation breaks conventions while also implementing a design that increases the amount of walkable surface area.

The Risa staircase features a smooth, sleek look where each component fans out and flows into a larger form. Its steps are precisely cut using computer-controlled machinery, and they are comprised of three sections which are later combined to form a single piece. The lower area of the step is carved in a concave shape that adds a unique visual…

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Ventura County, California-based photographer Christopher J. Rivera explores extraordinary worlds of fantasy in his spectacular conceptual photography. Although only 21 years old, Rivera has developed a mature sense of storytelling in his work, often crafting a larger narrative and writing a few lines of prose to accompany each photograph. The result is an impressive portfolio of images as compelling as they are visually stunning.

Rivera's photos are marked by recurring themes like magic, natural elements, and the surreal. A young man battles plumes of ominous darkness with a shining wand in one image, giving a nod to the wizardry of Harry Potter. Another photo features a sorcerer clothed in black, a flock of crows swirling around him. Several shots incorporate mastery of the elements, as figures are consumed by fire, fly through the air, or appear to defy gravity in…

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Many of us spend most of our day sitting down and have probably heard about how detrimental it is to our health. A standing desk is great way to combat the negative effects of sitting, but not everyone wants to buy an entirely new piece of furniture. The LIFT by Phoenix-based company iSkelter is a solution to this problem. They’ve created a smaller, portable accessory that will transform your conventional desk into a standing one. So, you reap the health benefits and keep yourself organized with its handy added features.

This easily adaptable, two-layered add-on allows you to stand for as long as you like; when it’s time to rest, simply adjust the height to a comfortable sitting level. The LIFT is made from sustainable bamboo wood and comes in Natural (light) or Hazelnut (dark) colors that will fit within a variety of decorating schemes.

Each LIFT comes equipped with…

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For French illustrator Troqman, the world is a stage to display artwork that he calls “cartoon bombing.” The artist travels with a spiral-bound sketch pad and draws amusingly-exaggerated pictures that cleverly interact with their environment. Troqman has placed his handiwork in grocery store freezers, on the ledge of buildings, and even in the bathroom.

The small cartoon characters do remarkable things thanks to some well-considered placement. We see these people “vacuuming” up crumbs that are nearly their size, sitting in a tiny boat on a massive river, and trying to escape the confines of a bike lock. Troqman’s quick drawing style and portable materials means that he can craft these illustrations on the fly and delight those passing by.…

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What do you get when you put together an illustrator, his Bull Terrier, and some white walls? An imaginative series of portraits starring the adorable pup, of course! Rafael Mantesso, who works as an editor-in-chief for a Brazilian gastronomy marketing website, has turned to Instagram to document his doodling adventures with his dog, Jimmy Choo (named by his ex-wife, who was a stylist).

After his divorce, Mantesso was left with just his Bull Terrier and an empty white house, so he decided to fill the space with creative illustrations. Jimmy Choo was more than happy to help, as he happily posed for photos after a simple "Stay" command. Using blank walls, a marker, and sometimes silly props, Mantesso turned his dog into a flying superhero, a…

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The Manhattan Project is a rare and unique collection of portraits that feature scientists who were closely tied to the creation of the world's first nuclear weapon. Created by American artist Noah Scalin, each piece was meticulously designed out of hundreds of matchsticks and effectively portrays people like Einstein and Oppenheimer. After building each portrait, Scalin then burned the intricately arranged faces so that the final results were a pile of ashy remnants where the crisp faces once stood. 

Scalin presents each piece as a diptych of before and after the burning phase. The series is an exploration of ephemerality and the influence that scientists can have on our daily lives. According to the artist, "The resulting burned afterimages are reminiscent of the permanent nuclear shadows of the victims of the atomic…

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The Most Breathtaking Visuals at Beakerhead 2014

For five days in mid-September, Beakerhead throws an extraordinary five-day-long smash-up filled with extraordinary art, memorizing street installations, and thought-provoking talks.  Events are spread throughout different locations in Calgary, which started this past Wednesday and just finished up yesterday. I had the honor of attending last year's inaugural event, which featured the former Commander of the International Space Station Chris Hadfield, and I can tell you personally, it was truly spectacular.  

Just like last year, Beakerhead put on an amazing visual display around the city.  One thing you can always count on - they always go big.  Take for example, El Pulpo Mecanico, a giant two-story mechanical octopus that had thousands of people mesmerized…

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One way to draw attention to those annoying potholes on your block is to turn the problem into a clever photo project. A creative group of friends, called Z999, created this hilarious photo series as a way to raise awareness of the poor road conditions in the Lithuanian city of Kaunas.

Professional photographers Arturas Artiusenka and Eurika Balciute documented the group as they stood around a selection of muddy-water-filled holes while doing a variety of out-of-place things like brushing their teeth in bathrobes, showering, fishing, and gazing at stars while enjoying a bottle of champagne. The everyday activities appear perfectly normal other than the fact that they are set around a dirty, problematic hole in the pavement. The playful collection was intended to draw attention to the issue while also making people laugh. The group certainly succeeded in…

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