Joris Laarman Lab – Design in the Digital Age, at the High Museum (Photo Challenge: Tour Guide)

Come see the future: Joris Laarman Lab – Design in the Digital Age encompasses a search for beauty as well as functionality, art in addition to technology, and includes maker-chairs, a bio-luminescent lamp, and yes, an exhibit on start-up company MX3D’s 3D-printing project to build a pedestrian bridge across an Amsterdam canal.

These elegant chairs were cast in 3D printed molds. They were designed using computer software based on the work of German professor Dr. Claus Mattheck, utilizing growth patterns of bones and trees to provide minimal structure for maximum strength.

Bone Rocker - beige noir marble and synthetic resin - Joris Laarman Lab - High Museum Atlanta GA 2018

Bone Rocker, Beige Noir marble and synthetic resin, 2007.

Bone Chair - marble and resin - Joris Laarman Labs - High Museum exhibit 2018

Bone Armchair, Carrara marble and synthetic resin, 2007.

As beautiful as they are, I have to admit, the first thing I thought was “What about the dust?” The second thing I thought was “The spiders would love these.”  Apparently I am too plebeian to have lovely minimalist chairs. They are gorgeous museum pieces, and if found in a home, it would be the home of someone with maid service.

Then I wondered about comfort. When I was in my 30’s (like these designers) that didn’t worry me at all. I loved my Arts-and-Crafts oak furniture with square sides and hard seats, and scoffed at comments about discomfort because who cared? — it looked good. Now I put pillows on everything, even one of Sam’s Eames chairs, to his dismay.

This robotic arm is building three “Digital Matter” tables from metal cubes that are 3D versions of pixels, large, medium, and small. (they’re “voxels” — volumetric pixels)

Still from video - Joris Laarman Lab - assembling Digital Matter Tables - photo from High Museum exhibit, Atlanta GA

Joris Laarman Lab – robot assembling Digital Matter Tables – photo still taken from exhibition video – High Museum exhibit, Atlanta GA, 2018

The three “Digital Matter” tables were commissioned by the High in 2011 and are now in the permanent collection — if soaked in acetone, the pieces separate and can be used to build something new. “Wow,” I thought, “that would have solved so many of my downsizing issues.”  It’s been slow work to clear the hoard while honoring my quest to be environmentally correct, and get stuff reused or recycled instead of taken to a landfill. 

Three Digital Matter Tables - High Museum, Atlanta GA - Joris Laarman Labs

With three sizes of cubes, the tables have graduating resolution. 

Here’s a detail of the middle table —

Digital Matter Tables/detail - Joris Laarman Labs -High Museum Atlanta GA

The ornamentation is a tribute to “Super Mario”, but up top, there’s a tip of the hat to Pac-Man…

Digital Matter tables - pac man detail - Joris Laarman Lab - High Museum Atlanta GAAnd here I go with “Art Museum Eyes” again — leaving the exhibition I saw this view out the window —

Cousins Building - art museum eyes

There’s far more in this innovative (and fun) exhibition than I can communicate in one blog post, so if you’re near Atlanta, come and see it for yourself. If you can’t make it by closing on May 13, come anyway, the High’s permanent collection features more work from Joris Laarman Lab than any museum outside the Netherlands.

High Museum of Art, Atlanta GA, Feb 18-May 13, 2018.

I wonder how many reconstituted tables it would take to make a building? We may find out. There are projects afoot …


More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Tour Guide

More on the exhibition



Grief, Tree-hugging, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved

We love being close enough to walk to Piedmont Park, and on a walk last November, happened upon this sign, surrounded by trees that each had their own ribbon and “Hug Me” label attached —

Piedmont Park: Hug a Tree sign

Kate’s Club Memory Walk

The signs were up in preparation for an event the next day, sponsored by Kate’s Club, an organization that helps grieving children honor the memories of their loved ones who have died.

Hug Me Tree-sign

And who could resist a tree with a “Hug Me” sign?

We have absent loved ones, too, so we took the opportunity for some tree hugging. And yes, we also love trees, so there was some dual purpose hugging going on.

Treehugger in action - Piedmont Park

Treehugger in action – Piedmont Park – No trees were harmed in the making of this photograph.

There are other, perhaps less poignant, reasons for tree-hugging… when I left my house in Kansas City to move to Georgia, I had my own parting ceremony. It was January 1, the start of a new year, and I was leaving for a new city. I walked all around the yard in the snow, taking a circuitous path to hug each of the trees good bye.

Those trees were a large part of the reason I bought the house, and it was hard to leave them. I would have hugged the trees when I sold my house here too, but the frantic rush of last-minute packing left me with no time to spare.

Do you suppose the new home-owners would notice if I came sneaking over sometime and hugged their trees?


*tree hugger — A slang, sometimes derogatory, term for environmentalists; someone who loves the environment and believes it needs to be protected for the benefit of ourselves and generations to come.

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved

More on Kate’s Club; the Memory Walk is held in coordination with National Children’s Grief Awareness Day.

Home, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Variations on a Theme

“Home”- where is it?  The question has been on my mind since selling the house where I lived for a couple of decades, the house I worked so hard to downsize.  Two trips to the Midwest over the holidays, and a recent post by blogger Mabel Kwong made me think even more about the concept of home.

little bitty Kansas City

I call this “little bitty Kansas City”

When I fly into Kansas City I like to get a seat on the right side of the plane, so I can see downtown. It doesn’t look like much from this altitude, but Kansas City was my home for a couple of decades too. I loved it, and only moved because I had to, to keep my job. Here are some variations on the road home to Kansas City.

Missouri river at Kansas City

Bridges over the Missouri River, a gloomy day just before Thanksgiving.

Here’s the “Big Muddy” — the Missouri River. Yes, Kansas City is in the state of Missouri. If you’re one of the people who asks me if I’m going to Kansas for the holidays, I forgive you.

Missouri River north of Kansas City

I love looking for patterns in the fields.

The river is not always so well behaved. The year we moved was a flood year. In one of those boxes I’ll find in my storage bin (someday, maybe) I have a trove of aerial photos of the river swollen in flood.

Snow after Christmas- Kansas City 2017

By Christmas, there were patterns in the snow.

Flying into Kansas City

Here’s a photo from back in October when it was still green…the first week of October is my favorite time to be in the country. The leaves are just starting to turn, the light is slanting, and the air is never clearer than on an October day.

I’m one of the few people left on the planet who’s still enthusiastic about looking down from an airplane, no matter where I’m going. The Midwest may still be one of the places that seems like home to me, but from the air, the whole Earth is home.

Where is home for you?

More on the Big Muddy

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Variations on a Theme


Water, Swans, Loess Bluffs, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene

Funny, there’s one thing so many serene images have in common: water. Doesn’t everyone long for a lakeside/seaside/brookside view? Is it because we are 60% water, born swimming, and all little mermaids at heart? Perhaps it’s because that’s where we came from, historically speaking (you know, crawling out of the primordial soup and all)?

Here are some somewhat-serene swans at Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri last week —

Swans - Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

Swan silhouettes in the evening light.

Swans - Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

Getting nibbley…

Swans - Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

Swans - Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

Still, sometimes there’s trouble in paradise.

Vacation trips are so much more enjoyable now that I don’t have to worry about my house. Water is not so peaceful and serene if it is leaking in the basement, for example.

Swans - Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

I kept trying for ‘seven swans a-swimming’ but six is the best I could do.

Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Mound City MO

Look closely at the sky. Your screen isn’t dirty – there are geese flying in for the evening.

But back to the primordial soup — I’ve always thought it would be fun to come up with a recipe, something to have for dinner when feeling primeval or dining in a single cell. Pasta in little amoeba shapes would be tasty, oh, and spiralized vegetables, and maybe some asparagus for its weird look.

What would you put in your primordial soup?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene

More on the Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge (aka Squaw Creek)

Why I love October, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Glow

I was hoping the pineapple sage would bloom before I closed on my house. I was in luck —

Bee on pineapple sage

Iphonography: one of the last photos I took before moving.

Now there’s pineapple sage and bee synchronicity with this week’s photo challenge — I see that someone else loves October for the same reasons I do.

There’s nothing like a clear blue October day for glowing light. This one’s from yesterday afternoon at Squaw Creek (now Loess Hills National Wildlife Preserve near Mound City MO) —

A Pile of Pelicans

A pile of pelicans

It’s not just October, I love September too — and was happy to get to see my toad lilies bloom one more time. Toad Lily bloom

Plus, this year for the first time there were babies, hundreds of them! They made a carpet of little plants around the mother plant, and bloomed – each one just a leaf with a bloom.

But remember the pineapple sage? Hummingbirds like it too – though they are not so obliging as to hold still for their photo op.

Hummingbird on pineapple sage

How do you love October?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Glow


The Whitney Biennial, 2017 (Catching up with the Past Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflecting)

Want to know what these people are looking at?  We’re in New York at the Whitney Biennial in March, and it’s hard to know whether to look up, down, out, or over.

Samara Golden - The Meat Grinder's Iron Clothes, 2017 Whitney Biennial, NYC

Samara Golden – The Meat Grinder’s Iron Clothes, 2017 Whitney Biennial, NYC

Here’s a view from the platform —

Samara Golden - The Meat Grinder's Iron Clothes, 2017 Whitney Biennial, NYC

Samara Golden – The Meat Grinder’s Iron Clothes, 2017 Whitney Biennial

You can tell this is a huge and site-specific installation, but even standing there in it, I couldn’t tell exactly how many floors were part of it and how many were illusions. The sky was down, or was it up? The traffic was up (and down) and the Hudson River was out (wasn’t it?). To each side were floors of sculpted interiors – with stratified layers of furniture, office, and institutional space, some nightmarish. Were they all even right-side up? I don’t think so.

Samara Golden - The Meat Grinder's Iron Clothes, 2017 Whitney Biennial

The clouds and the traffic, along with the occasional helicopter, provided movement. It was hypnotic. With so much going on, I didn’t take in the social commentary until I read about it. Not unusual, since I’m all about the visual when it comes to looking at art.

Like many recent exhibitions, this year’s Whitney Biennial was strong on social concerns. Suffice it to say that those layers were meant to provoke thoughts of social as well as visual stratification, referring to inequality and our political climate. I’ll share more images from this year’s exhibition in future posts.

How about it – do you look for the social implications or for the visual when you’re reflecting on art?


More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflecting

More on the Whitney Museum


Warm Winter, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience

Nothing contributes to a little outdoor ambience like a 70-degree weekend. Out for a walk last Sunday, I finally stopped to appreciate the design of this raised walkway in Piedmont Park…Raised walkway in Piedmont Park, Atlanta GA

Looking  back, and back again ….


And here’s a little Atlanta Beltline ambience from Saturday…

Sign painting, restaurant on the Beltline, Atlanta GA

Touching up, sign painting on the Atlanta Beltline: New Year, New Food

And on the home front: outdoor ambience from yesterday. This squirrel found something tasty on the rim of a flower pot in my back yard. This pot-licking went on for several minutes.


Or maybe it was some kind of new squirrel-yoga?

squirrel-dsc00046Of course warm days in January can affect our feelings in less positive ways too — waking thoughts of climate change. There’s always a niggling fear beneath the delight with warmer temperatures. But this is the South, so there’s some chance it’s not that unusual. I’m hoping it’s just what we Mid-westerners used to call the “January Thaw”.

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience and the January Thaw

P.S. – what should I be feeding that squirrel?