Using the medium of porcelain, artist Lei Xue’s series Drinking Tea (2001-2003) may be read as a commentary on how the production of commodities impacts the environment. It is a cluster of crushed cans, the intricate blue images distorted by grooves and bends, crushed into indiscernible shapes.
The environmental impact of creating porcelain goods includes extensive fresh water usage. As a result, the water put into the ground or rivers cause pollution. As well, air-borne particles from the sanding down of shapes impair breathing within the factories. Quantities of fluorine and lead are also potentially prone to leaking into the water or soil, around porcelain factory grounds. There are attempts to make this process more sustainable though. A recent paper suggested that is it possible to recycle up to 80% of the original water used in making porcelain commodities, towards the productions of the next batch.
This is where the conceptual message of the piece goes deeper. Aluminum cans are recyclable, so why shouldn’t the process of creating porcelain goods (or any goods for that matter) be? The artist’s work echoes the consciousness of the new generation, a more eco-friendly generation, attempting to find equilibrium between commodity and conservation. It is a juxtaposition of tradition and evolution in the world of goods production.
Snapping #petselfiez with @jermzlee & Norm
Since the advent of the digital camera, people have been snapping the one-handed self-portraits that the world has come to know as “selfies.”
As the popularity of the selfie has grown around the globe, it was only a matter of time before animals started getting in on the trend.
Enter Jeremy Veach (@jermzlee) and his adorable pug Norm. Norm snapped his first selfie a few months ago and posted it with a new #petselfiez tag, differentiating it from other selfies on Instagram. Says Jeremy, “my followers loved it so I kept it going!”
Since Norm’s first selfie, nearly 900 other animals have been inspired to share their own selfies with the #petselfiez hashtag.
Jeremy has some advice for humans that want to help their animals take the perfect selfie: “My best tip is to prop your pet up so one paw is on your leg while you hold the other paw towards your camera.”
"Our Instagram experience has been crazy and so much fun!" says Jeremy. Norm, himself, has become a bit of a celebrity in his hometown of Seattle. "I have been walking around the streets of Seattle and have had people recognize Norm and want a picture with him."
For anyone who has grown up around LEGOs, you know how much fun they are to build and play with. LEGOs’ versatility allows you to make anything out of them, with enough patience and imagination. You might also know how much it hurts when you step on one. In the case of one of Pelling Lab’s 2011 projects, however, if you stepped on these LEGOs, you just might kill them.
Pelling Lab, a ‘laboratory for biophysical manipulation’, has genetically modified these LEGO minifig sculptures to become ‘semi-living’. As viewed from the close-up image, the green fluorescent glow they emanate is actually a living skin, constructed from combining human cells with jellyfish DNA and altered to glow green. The intensity of the green light is due to the high density of cells that coat the LEGO figurine. The process used to fully grow these synthetic skins takes only a few weeks, and is ‘easily manufactured and modified’ by Pelling Lab for separate “scientific” purposes. Not only do these minifigs demonstrate the adaptability and applications of mixing artificial DNA, but also manage to anthropomorphize LEGO a little more by adding some real ‘life’ into them.
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