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Volume 354

Art comes in all shapes and sizes. We’re showcasing the full spectrum in this week’s coolsh*t, from microscopic masterpieces to a gargantuan gorilla. We’ve also got Xbox Shutterstock, cycling recycling, and a massive head telling you to pipe down.


Oh, 2016. We hardly knew thee. Back when the most memorable catastrophe was the admittedly tragic loss of a single gorilla in a Cincinnati zoo. That might be a slightly revised view of history, but the point remains: Harambe’s death sent shockwaves around the world and produced about half a decade’s worth of meme content. Now, the magnificent beast has reappeared in New York, immortalised as a 17-foot bronze statue who clearly wants all the smoke, as he’s staring down the famous Charging Bull in Manhattan’s financial district. It would also appear that he intends to stay for a while, because he’s brought 10,000 bananas with him – which is meant to symbolize that Wall Street has ‘gone bananas’. I’m not sure about that metaphor though, as that kind of sounds like a good thing. If somebody told you, “Your investment has gone bananas!”, I imagine you’d expect that to be followed by cheers and attaboys, not “…so we’re going to have to repossess your house”. Regardless, it sure is nice to see Harambe thriving centre-stage once more. #Justice4Harambe

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New Yorkers don’t mess about. They decided that one obnoxiously large statue wasn’t enough, so they erected this monster librarian on the side of the Hudson River. Dwarfing Harambe at over 80-feet-tall, the shhh-ing sculpture was created by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, who has become a seminal figure for his gigantic artworks that are intended to reflect on our inner tranquillity. Although clearly he’s never been ‘shhh’d’, as that’s perhaps the greatest incitement to violence known to man. However, the work can be interpreted in a number of ways. It could be an ode to the ‘Stop Snitching Movement’, for instance. But it also carries some useful life advice. Thinking about discussing politics with your aging relatives this Christmas? Think of the statue. Want to tell someone about the ‘crazy dream’ you had last night? Think of the statue.  Do you like to talk to nigh-on strangers about your spiritual journey? Think of the statue. Ahhh. And just like that, the world is peaceful again.

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Consolation Vacation.

Why take a vacation when you’ve got a PlayStation? Who needs the sun and the sea when you’ve got a Nintendo Wii? Why go to Ibiza when you could just play FIFA? Ok, that’s enough of that. Some bloke’s holiday got cancelled, so rather than moping around and feeling sorry for himself, he decided to go on holiday in a video game. Hopefully you’d already gathered that from those annoying couplets. Pascal Greco is a French photographer who had his trip to Iceland vanquished by the ol’ Rona, so he went down to his local MediaMarkt and picked up a copy Death Stranding – which is apparently a game about a courier, but of the Middle Ages Mordor variety, not the DPD variety. Heaven forbid it be of the Hermes variety, which I assume would just entail launching packages marked ‘fragile’ over peoples’ gates. Greco went on a photographic trip through the virtual Icelandic transplant and has just released the collection. So, is this street photography in the digital age? An innovative new form of expression? Or just some bloke playing a video game while eating Doritos? You decide.

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Bark Bikes.

Travelling around on wooden contraptions doesn’t exactly sound like the cutting edge of technology, but stay with us. This isn’t quite the same as going back to eating soup out of a hollowed-out tortoise shell. People did do that, right? Anyhow, Spanish studio Arquimaña have released the ‘Openbike’ this week, which is made out of plywood and can be downloaded from the internet and built by anyone for free. Sound too good to be true? Well, that’s because it is – slightly. It’s free to download, but you will then have to take the drawings and instructions to a digital fabrication workshop (Fablab) in order to get it assembled. Still, that’s much cheaper than buying a new bike – probably. The design is intended to act as a ‘manifesto on sustainable urbanism’ while also democratising technology that allows us all to make our footprints a little less carbon-y. And it even comes with a storage rack, so you can transport all the soy milk, mung bean paste, and acai berries that you could dream of.

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Is That it?

As it turns out, a micro artist isn’t just a dwarf with a paint brush – it actually refers to people such as David A. Lindon, who creates absurdly small works of art. So small indeed that they comfortably fit in the eye of a needle. And clearly size isn’t everything, as he’s just managed to flog a collection for 90 grand. Not bad, especially considering he was a part-timer until only recently. In 2018, David quit his day job as an engineer to give his full time and commitment to creating these miniscule masterpieces. That explains the no-doubt steady hand required to recreate Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ the size of a grain of rice. The collection of 6 historical masterpieces, as well as a collection of 6 more works – notably including Freddie Mercury dancing on a pin prick – will be displayed in an exhibition beginning on October 29th. Don’t forget your spectacles for that one.

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realsh*t: Activism for Sale.

Performative. Opportunistic. Wokewashing. These are words that have become synonymous with brand activism. But is there a way that a brand can get involved with a cause while avoiding these grubby connotations? Are there any currently getting it right? Is it even worth trying?

We spoke to SELFHOOD about some of the issues they care about, and how they think brands can add to the conversation, without getting in the way.

Real People, Real Time… Realsh*t.

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