Bees Encase Raw-Material Embroideries with Honeycomb in New Encaustic Works by Ava Roth
September 18, 2020

When Ava Roth adds the last stitch grasping horsehair or porcupine quills to her embroidered artworks, she passes the fibrous material on to her black-and-yellow counterparts. The Toronto-based artist collaborates with bees to encase her mixed-media pieces in waxy honeycomb. What emerges are organic artworks that consider interspecies interactions and the beauty that such meetings can garner.
Since 2019, Roth has been expanding the wooden frames of her works to twice the size as previous projects. More Continue reading

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Mesmerizing Shots of Distant Galaxies and Aurorae Top the Astronomy Photographer of the Year Contest
September 16, 2020

The 2020 Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest gathers a trove of sublime shots capturing otherwise unseen phenomena and distant fixtures of outer space. With more than 5,000 entries from six continents, the 12th annual competition includes Nicolas Lefaudeux’s photograph of the Andromeda Galaxy two million light-years away, one by Rafael Schmall that frames the lit trails of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites, and another of the Aurora Borealis reflecting on the ice by Kristina Makeeva (previously). More Continue reading

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Overview Timelapse: A New Book Documents Vast Changes to the Earth’s Surface by Human Hands
August 27, 2020

In a follow-up to the 2016 book Overview featuring stunning imagery of the Earth from above, Overview Timelapse: How We Change the Earth takes a critical look at the numerous ways humans have completely altered the surface of our planet in a very short time through urban development, climate change, and deforestation. Overview founder Benjamin Grant and writer Timothy Dougherty have teamed up to examine some 250 new satellite images that capture the remarkable changes currently taking place all around us from a dramatic macro perspective. More Continue reading

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Watch An Unusual Ensemble of Insects Take Flight in Extreme Slow Motion
August 21, 2020


In what’s believed to be the first footage of its kind, a stunningly slow-motion video by Dr. Adrian Smith captures a rare group of insects just as they lift off the ground. The NC State assistant professor utilized a black light to attract unusual insects, like a plume moth, eastern firefly, and a rosy maple moth that, as Smith notes, resembles “a flying muppet.” He then recorded the creatures’ flight maneuvers at 3,200 fps to capture their unique wing movements, which he explains during each step. More Continue reading

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Page Through a Fantastical Compendium of the World’s First Color Illustrations of Marine Life
August 17, 2020

In the early 18th century, publisher, bookseller, and apparent fish enthusiast Louis Renard compiled the seminal compendium of color-illustrated ichthyological studies. The volume contains more than 450 species rendered in vibrant hues that, while somewhat anatomically accurate, feature embellishments in color and characteristics. From beak-like mouths to extraordinarily patterned skins, the vast illustrations of marine life are unusual, bizarre, and sometimes psychedelic. One of the most fantastical illustrations even depicts a mermaid (shown below). More Continue reading

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An Astronaut and Photographer Collaboratively Document NASA’s Vast International Space Station in a New Book
August 13, 2020

In what is believed to be the first collaboration between an Earth-bound artist and an astronaut in space, photographer Roland Miller and engineer Paolo Nespoli have recorded the momentous journey of NASA’s International Space Station (ISS). The two have been working together during the last few years to document the current technologies and sights of modern space travel. They’ve shot extraordinary photographs of an ocean blanketed with clouds, the wire labyrinths lining the vehicle, and astronaut’s bulging suits and helmets.   More Continue reading

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Bright Comet NEOWISE Captured Shooting Above Mount Hood by Photographer Lester Tsai
July 16, 2020

Throughout July, Comet NEOWISE has been visible to those in the northern hemisphere as it orbits the sun. Portland-based photographer Lester Tsai recently traveled to Mount Hood to capture the phenomena as it shoots over Oregon’s highest mountain in a remarkable set of images. One of the brightest comets in decades, NEOWISE won’t make another appearance in the inner solar system for 6,800 years.
Tsai recounted the experience, describing the necessary preparation and the efforts to determine the frozen object’s probable visibility. More Continue reading

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Oyster Mushrooms Sprout from The Pages of a New Book About Fungi
May 13, 2020

Biologist and author Merlin Sheldrake is using a particularly self-referential marketing strategy for his new book Entangled Life. In a recent Instagram post, Sheldrake announced the mycelium-based project’s release with an image of the text literally bursting with fungi. “Here it is being devoured by Pleurotus, or oyster mushrooms. Pleurotus can digest many things, from crude oil to used cigarette butts, and is also delicious. Now Pleurotus has eaten Entangled Life, I can eat the Pleurotus, and so eat my words,” he writes. More Continue reading

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Luminescent Zip-Tie Formations Are Shaped into Futuristic Organic Life by Artist Elisabeth Picard
May 1, 2020

Montreal-based artist Elisabeth Picard curls, fans, and locks together hundreds of zip-ties into tremendously formed glowing sculptures and undulating installations. The futuristic artworks merge geological and organic elements with science fiction to create abstract formations that the artist likens to “landscapes, minerals, plants, micro-organisms, and sea creatures.”
Picard tells Colossal that since she began working with the nylon links in 2011, she’s used more than 300,000 ties. The artist hand-dyes each piece with pastels, earth tones, and sometimes fluorescent hues that will later glow under UV light and add depth with shadows. More Continue reading

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Millions of Monarchs Swarm Fake Hummingbird As It Captures Spectacular Footage of Their Flight
April 30, 2020

With its clementine-colored wings bordered with black lines and white spots, the monarch, also known as Danaus Plexippus, is a widely recognizable insect. As the weather changes and gets cooler, the monarchs migrate from their breeding grounds in Canada and the northern United States and fly to central Mexico, where they form clustered colonies on oyamel fir trees to conserve heat until the days grow longer and they migrate north once again.  More Continue reading

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Intrusive Clowns, Preserved Cats, and Centuries-Old Hair: Museums Are Sharing Their Creepiest Objects
April 23, 2020

If you’re not into clowns, taxidermied creatures, or centuries-old piles of hair, you probably should avoid the #CreepiestObject hashtag on Twitter. In recent days, museums worldwide have been digging into their nightmare-inducing archives to uncover the most disturbing pieces their collections have to offer. Findings include a preserved mermaid-like animal, a cross-section of a pregnant cat, and a children’s toy that’s rumored to move on its own.
Similar to the virtual bouquets and the challenge to recreate famous artworks, the movement is one of the ways shuttered museums are engaging with—and now terrifying—their quarantined audiences. More Continue reading

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Geometric Insects Navigate Sparse Flora in Pastel Illustrations by Hoàng Hoàng
April 5, 2020

Based in Ho Chi Minh City, graphic designer and illustrator Hoàng Hoàng merges science and art into a series of illustrations that mimic both insects in their natural habitats and those pinned in display cases for preservation. The Insect World Collection is comprised of varicolored stripes, semicircles, and other angular shapes that form multi-hued wings and rotund bodies. Set on pastel backgrounds, each arthropod features both Vietnamese and English translations of the insects’ common and scientific names. More Continue reading

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Get a Meteorite-Speckled Slab of the Moon’s Surface Made with NASA Data
March 28, 2020

Most of us will never get to touch the moon’s outer crust, but a new project by DeskSpace lets people pretend they’ve got a little portion of the crater-covered satellite sitting on their desks or hung up on their walls. Designed using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Lunar Surface is a square piece of portland concrete that’s natural bubbles form ridges and dips that mimic the divets caused by meteorites.
The astronomical project commemorates humans’ first steps on the moon. More Continue reading

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Elimination of Boat Traffic in Italy Attracts Wildlife and Creates Clear Water in the Canals
March 20, 2020

 
Articles and op-eds have been circling the internet during the last few weeks comparing the global response to the coronavirus outbreak to that of the climate crisis. Fast Company published an article outlining potential measures to slow environmental destruction that would be analogous to those being taken to stop the virus. A piece in the New York Times even explicitly ties the two crises together, speaking to the connections between air pollution and respiratory illness. More Continue reading

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