Category Archives: Art

Ecology meets Art

Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (16 February 1834 – 9 August 1919) was a German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor, marine biologist, and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology”. He was heavily influenced by Alexander von Humboldt, about whom I recently read a book called The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf (highly recommended, by the way).

Haeckel is most well-known for his incredibly detailed and beautiful drawings of radiolarians and other Kunstformen der Natur (art forms in nature). Recently, a new book with his drawings was published:

The Guardian: Ernst Haeckel: the art of evolution – in pictures.

“The influential evolutionary scientist, who coined such terms as ‘stem cell’ and ‘ecology’, was also a virtuoso illustrator. The editor of a new book celebrating this work introduces some highlights.”

Creative Review: Feast your eyes on the art of Ernst Haeckel. “A new book from Taschen compiles 450 drawings, watercolours and sketches of living organisms by artist and biologist Ernst Haeckel.”

The book is fairly costly, but if you prefer a cheaper, sort of do-it-yourself version, there’s always the Art Forms in Nature: Coloring Book. ;-)

Und für Menschen, die der deutschen Sprache mächtig sind, existiert eine HTML-Version von Kunstformen der Natur (vollständige elektronische Faksimile-Ausgabe). Dort kann man sich einzelne Tafeln anschauen oder zum Ausdrucken herunterladen. Es gibt auch eine tar-Datei mit allen Tafeln (16MB) sowie das komplette Buch als PDF (272MB).

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“She takes marginal characters and makes them the most robust people in the movie.”

The New York Times: Frances McDormand’s Difficult Women. “The actor has built a career, and a passionate fan base, playing supporting roles; now, at 60, she has become an unconventional star.” By Jordan Kisner.

“Frances McDormand, or Fran, as she is called in regular life, cuts a handsome figure on the street. She is 60 and sexy in the manner of women who have achieved total self-possession. She eschews makeup unless she is working, doesn’t dye her hair and despises the nips, tucks and lifts that have become routine for women of her profession. Her clothes are well made — she loves clothes — but utilitarian and comfortable. On this day she was wearing loose-legged cropped pants, black-and-peach sneakers, a navy sweater and a thin headband shoved in and out of uncombed hair as the mood struck.

She doesn’t do press junkets, and for most of the 20 years since she won a Best Actress Academy Award for playing Marge Gunderson, the tremendously pregnant, improbably cheerful police detective in “Fargo,” she has refused interviews. Her publicist explained to me that his job is to politely tell people to go away.”

“Queen to E5!”

The British Museum: Curator’s Corner (Season 2 Episode 9): Irving Finkel and the Chamber of Chessmen. “Curator Irving Finkel recounts a magical adventure with The Lewis Chessmen. Content warning: wizard’s chess.”

André and I visited Lewis (& Harris) during our trip to Scotland this summer and happened upon the place where the Lewis Chessmen were found. I don’t play chess, but loved these figures. Our B&B on Lewis had resin replicas as decorative items on the breakfast tables, and we saw larger replicas carved from stone as doorstop or garden decorations. Unfortunately they were too heavy for our suitcase, or I would have bought one for our own garden.

Waddling like a duck

Have you ever heard of a dance called Pantsula?

Take a look at this: Pantsula Dance 2013 – filmed by Streetcorner Films (YouTube, 4:37min) or this: Pantsula dancers! South Africa (YouTube, 4:52min).

The Soweto Skeleton Movers pantsula jive South Africa street performers – Breakin’ Convention 2016 (YouTube, 11:12min) take this dance to another level.

There are a lot more videos in this Pantsula Dance South Africa channel.

If you want to learn the Pantsula yourself, watch this Pantsula Dance Tutorial by “Life In Progress” (YouTube, 3:07min).