Bruce Sterling's short story "The Beachcomber of Novi Kotor" is a monologue by a rogue Montenegran artist-roboticist, delivered at the 85th Venice Biennale, in a world where climate change has made venices out of all the world's low-lying cities, where Montenegro has been plunged into economic collapse by the precipitous departure of the neo-Czarist Russian oligarchs whose tourist trade it depended on. Read the rest
Last spring, we went to Venice to celebrate my wife's birthday and took a boat to the Biennale, which was pretty disappointing, with one notable exception: 'The Key in the Hand,' Chiharu Shiota's installation at the Japan pavilion, which took our breath away. Read the rest
Los Angeles police are searching for the identity of this burglar, who accidentally shot and published a selfie with his victim's iPhone. Read the rest
This map shows exactly which parts of Venice are falling into the water the fastest, and which ones are holding up--suggesting the who, what and where of blame and praise. Betsy Mason, at Wired, reports on what satellite imaging reveals about the sinking city:
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They conclude that the average background sinking is around 1 millimeter per year. The more acute man-made sinking ranged up to 10 millimeters a year (shown in red on the map above on the first slide), but in some places human activity actually reduces the natural sinking (shown in green).
Hylozoic Ground, a Canadian art installation that was exhibited at the Venice Biennale, sounds like a really lovely, immersive environment. One warning: if you're the sort of person who's allergic to obscure, overwrought "artist's statements," the site may frustrate you -- it took me about 50 clicks before I found a screen that actually stated, in simple text, what the installation was. Which is a pity, because it's pretty cool and I can't think of a single reason not to tell people about it. For your convenience, I've pasted it here for you:
Tens of thousands of lightweight digitally-fabricated components are fitted with microprocessors and proximity sensors that react to human presence. This responsive environment functions like a giant lung that breathes in and out around its occupants. Arrays of touch sensors and shape-memory alloy actuators (a type of non-motorized kinetic mechanism) create waves of empathic motion, luring visitors into the eerie shimmering depths of a mythical landscape, a fragile forest of light.
(Thanks, Dad!) Read the rest