As part of my continuing experiments in visual perception, I set out to create a series of simple linocut prints that use an “after image” optical illusion to create an image literally completed only in the viewer’s head.
No matter what happens during the night, the sun always returns. Pretty much every human who has ever lived has seen it burst over the horizon.
It’s a strange combination of being common enough to ignore and so incredible there is nothing else like it: the perfect recipe for a cliche. Continue reading
I wore blue-blocker sunglasses to see what the world looked like without blue. For exactly one month.
What would it be like to see blue again for the first time?
I was excited to find out. With little fanfare, I removed the sunglasses Continue reading
I recently re-discovered classic BluBlocker sunglasses, and wondered what would happen if I wore them around the clock. I’ve been wearing them for nearly three weeks.
As the sun sets each summer evening, it sends a shimmering pig up the side of a tall storage building down the street. At first, the pig looks like it’s standing on the sidewalk, then it ascends the wall and fades as the sun disappears.
Brian noticed and identified it a few years ago. I still remember him standing at the window of our apartment, calling me to “come look, there’s a Continue reading
I have an inanimate object in my life: it is an unbroken Brazilian agate geode.
I’m hand-sanding all the way through it with sandpaper (read more about the project here) and have spent so much time with it that it’s taken on a life of its own.
Here are five ways my unbroken geode has come to life.
1. I’m afraid it will “die” by falling and breaking and the water leaking out.
The geode has water at its center, like an alien being with a Continue reading
There is a finite amount of water on the earth, endlessly cycling through everywhere water goes, from rain to groundwater to sweat to vapor to ice to the sea and back again.
The water that I drank this morning may have been in a sewer pipe last year. It might have seeped through the pores of a neanderthal. But water trapped inside a geode, like a pouch of buried gold coins, has been out Continue reading
“I’m a vexillologist,” an older gentlemen said to me on the BART train platform, “and I’ve never seen that.”
He handed me his card. Vexillology is the study of flag symbolism.
I was on my way to the Oakland Women’s March carrying a large American flag that I had handmade several years ago. I’d never taken it out of my studio. The flag is regulation-sized (3×5 feet) and totally official, except that I reversed the colors: the blue star field turned light yellow, red turned turquoise, and white turned black.
The Inverse U.S Flag Illusion
The inverse U.S. flag is a classic optical illusion, and I’d first come across it in a book of visual Continue reading
Exploring something fully sometimes requires destroying it, like the dissection of a cadaver or the excavation of an archaeological site. Once the secrets it holds have been revealed, it can never be put back together.
Geodes–plain-looking, round rocks whose hollow insides are lined with crystals–are ubiquitous enough in museum stores and gem shops that they are easy to overlook. Small, glittering geode slices are found in jewelry; larger ones often quartered for bookends, and the largest are propped up for photo ops. Its designs are occasionally used in mating rituals–e.g., lips and cakes–of high-ranking humans.
A little over a year ago, I stumbled upon a “Break your own geode kit” on Amazon for $24.95. I’m not affiliated with whatever industrial complex is able to Continue reading
What hard-to-reach places can an inspection camera reveal?
An inspection camera, also called an endoscope or a borescope, is a camera attached to the end of a flexible tube. It can go places a larger camera wouldn’t dare. Continue reading