Saturday October 25th 2014



Video of the day: London Bus Tour

Moritz Oberholzer is a director and editor from London and Zurich.  This little piece of London from a bus made us miss the place just a little more than usual.


Lowrider Coloring Book by Dokument Press

Growing up in Southern California, Lowriders were a culture you had to belong to, to fully experience.  Even being Latina did not count if you were not part of La Familia.   So it is interesting to see Lowrider cultural crossover that has transcended the decades, while the basic aesthetics of the cars remain the same.

With its own video, the Lowrider Coloring Book expands the audience.  Take a look to get an understanding of the compelling nature of a car culture that dates back to the thirties with its hopped up hydraulics and amazing paint jobs.

Then, apply your own version on paper.

You can get the coloring book here.


Jay Shells is a Metropolitan Etiquette Authority




We live in times of constant information, constant movement, constant change.  Perhaps it is not surprising that social manners and etiquette have taken a back seat to bad behavior.  And perhaps we should not be surprised when our bad behavior is now called out by artists acting as contemporary Emily Posts.




Enter Jason Shelowitz, or as he is known on the street, Jay Shells.   His Subway Etiquette Campaign caught our eye for it’s very simple, yet needed reminders in public places; namely the New York Subway System and public streets.


Shells says:

I surveyed 100 people on their top pet-peeves (not service related) while riding the Subway. I narrowed the results down to the top ten most occurring issues and rewrote them as a sort of list of rules. I designed posters in the style of the Service Changes posters we see everyday and silkscreened about 40 of each (400 total).

Jay Shells’ latest street missive, care of the Metropolitan Etiquette Authority is this little reminder (below) to pay attention while walking.  Afterall your Facebook status update can wait!

According to Shells “there are four different messages”, be sure to let us know if you see them around.


Katsuyo Aoki’s Predictive Dreams are Ceramic Wonders

According to the saying, we can only predict two things in life: death and taxes.

Katsuyo Aoki‘s Predictive Dreams tend to be prescient of the former.

Though the remnants of this death are a tad more elegant than one imagines our actual skeletal remains.

Based on historical backgrounds, ideas, myths, and allegories, the work makes us stop and consider the story of each piece.

Says Aoki of the work, “…the several decorative styles and forms I cite simultaneously hold divine and vulgar meaning in the present age, having an irrational quality that contradict each other, which I feel express an important aspect in the contemporary age in which we live.”

We would have to agree.

Enjoy this video of Katsuyo Aoki’s work, though language may be an issue, the images are universal.

Post inspired by my friends at

Social Influencers or How Groups Condition, Conscious or Not.

 “A psychologist at a girl’s college asked the members of his class to compliment any girl wearing red. Within a week, the cafeteria was a blaze of red. None of the girls were aware of being influenced, although they did notice that the atmosphere was more friendly. A class at the University of Minnesota is reported to have conditioned their psychology professor a week after he told them about learning without awareness. Every time he moved toward the right side of the room, they paid more attention and laughed more uproariously at his jokes, until apparently they were able to condition him right out the door.”

– W. Lambert Gardiner, Psychology: A Story of a Search, 1970  Image:  Martin Beckett

Mark Changizi: How Not to Get Absorbed in Someone Else’s Abdomen

Mark Changizi and I met on Stumbleupon. His work with the science of creativity, the harnessing of the brain (he just released a new book), and his general intelligence caught my eye immediately.  As I have mentioned here before, Stumbleupon has been a constant source of likemindedness since discovering it in 2007.

Mark and I have been talking about sharing his content on mixingreality for a while.  So yesterday when he commented on my Facebook page with a link to an article he wrote in 2009, I had to suggest this as his initial offering.

Do you ever get caught up in someone else’s life?  Ever spend more energy on someone else’s success, and less on your own?  Human nature, right?  Changizi breaks it down as only a cognitive scientist can.  So with no further ado, I present Mark Changizi’s essay:

How Not to Get Absorbed in Someone Else’s Abdomen.

Male anglerfish are born with an innate desire to not exist. As soon as a male reaches maturity, he acquires an urge to find a female, sink his teeth into her, and grow into her. This evolved because anglerfish live in the dark ocean abyss with few mating opportunities. By giving up his life to be part of the female, the male can reproduce more often. It’s not clear he can appreciate all the sex he’s getting, however, because much of his body and brain atrophies and fuses with her body. Nevertheless, that’s where male anglerfish want to be – that’s a full male anglerfish life. And you thought you had problems. At least you’re not partially absorbed in someone else’s abdomen. Let’s toast our fortune: We are not male anglerfish!

Or are we? Although we have no innate drive to stick our heads into the sides of other people, we do have a drive to stick our heads into groups of people – into communities, tribes, villages and clubs. We’re social primates, and a full human life is centered on the communities we’re in, and our place within them. There aren’t many hermits, and most that are probably wish they weren’t. Communities of people have bulls-eyes on them that are irresistible to us humans. Although communities are necessary for a full life – e.g., family, bowling league, and civil war reenactment society – there are some communities that are especially damaging to one’s creative health. Creative communities – they are the creativity killers. For scientists, for example, their female anglerfish is the community of scientists, a community which is creative as a whole, but which tends to snuff out the creativity of individuals within it. Not only are these creative communities dangerous to one’s creativity, but they seductively attract creativity-seeking individuals into them like moths to a creativity-scorching flame.

That creative communities are alluring to the aspiring creativity maven is not surprising: we all want friends who understand what we do and appreciate our accomplishments. What is surprising, and is not widely recognized, is the extent to which these creative communities are destructive. The problem for the male anglerfish is that his entire world becomes shrunken down, from a three-dimensional world of objects and adventures to a zero-dimensional world of gamete-release. The problem for us is that we’re equipped with a brain that, upon being placed within a community, reacts by severely shrinking its view of the world. Once the psychological transformation has completed, one’s view of the world has become so radically constricted that one cannot see the world beyond the community.

The source of this shrinkage is something called “adaptation,” or “habituation.” When you walk from a bright sunny street to a dimly lit pub, the pub initially feels entirely dark inside. After a while, however, your eyes habituate to the low light level, and you see it as highly varied in light level: it looks dark inside that mouse-hole in the wall, bright where the uncovered light bulb is, and, scattered around the room, you see dozens of other light-levels spanning the dark-light range. This is clearly advantageous for you, because you effectively began as blind in the pub, and minutes later could see. In order to make it happen, though, you underwent a kind of “world shrinkage,” in particular a kind of “luminance shrinkage,” where luminance refers to the amount of light coming toward your eye from different directions around you. When you first entered the pub, all the differing luminance levels in the pub were treated by your visual system as pretty much the same, namely “very very dark”; at that point in time your eyes were habituated to the wide world of luminances found on a sunny day outside. The “sunny” world of luminances differs in two respects from the “pub” world of luminances. First, the average luminance in sunny world is much higher than that in pub world. Second, and more important for our purposes here, sunny world has a much wider range of luminances than in pub world – from the high luminance of a sun-reflecting car windshield to the low luminance of the gaps in a sewer grating. Our eyes have the ability not only to adapt to new light levels (e.g., high versus low), but also to new levels of variability (e.g., wide versus narrow). When you habituate from sunny world to pub world, your eyes and visual system treat the tiny range of luminance levels found in pub world as if they are just as wide as the range of luminances found in sunny world. Your entire perceptual space for brightness has shrunk down to apply to what is a miniscule world in terms of luminance. This kind of world shrinkage is one of the many engineering features that make mammals like us so effective. All our senses are built with these adaptation mechanisms at work, and not just for simple features like luminance or color, but also complex images like faces.

In fact, our heads are teeming with world-shrinking mechanisms that go far beyond our senses, invading the way we think and reason. When we enter a creative community, varieties of adaptation mechanisms are automatically elicited inside us, helping to illuminate the intellectual world inside the community. Ideas within the community that were impossible for us to distinguish become stark oppositions. Similar mechanisms are played out for our social world – the hierarchies we care to climb, and the people we care to impress. At first we don’t appreciate the status differences within the hierarchy, even if we abstractly know them; but eventually we come to “feel” the gulf between each tier. While having these mechanisms is fundamental to our success in tribes, and was thus selected for, our creative integrity was not on the evolutionary ledger. Creative communities are dank pubs, and once we’ve optimized ourselves to living on the inside, our full range of reasoning is brought to bear on a narrow spectrum of ideas, a spectrum that we’re under the illusion is as wide as it can be. And so we don’t realize the world has shrunk at all.

Originally published here on September 18, 2009.  Reprinted with kind permission by changizi.  We look forward to more of his generosity.

Mark Changizi is Director of Human Cognition at 2AI, and the author of The Vision Revolution (Benbella Books, 2009) and Harnessed: How Language and Music Mimicked Nature and Transformed Ape to Man (Benbella Books, 2011). His first book was The Brain from 25000 Feet (Springer, 2003), and he is aloof.

Vincent Kohler’s Turnaround Series of Artful Baseball Bats

Baseball is the quintessential American game.  In fact, many non-Yanks I know, look at the game, and wonder at its pace, its simplicity, its invisible complexity, and scratch their heads.

Full disclosure:  I am not a baseball fan.  But I love beautifully worked wood sculpture.

Vincent Kohler’s series, Turnaround has just a hint of irony.  He turns wood on a lathe in seemingly endless combinations creating baseball bats you have never seen before.

Utilizing more than classic maple to create his pieces, Kohler presents us with objects of desire beyond a baseball player’s obsession.  He suggests art in the object as well as the game.

As the season comes down to the end of summer, it seems just the moment to present  Kohler’s work, with only the slightest tongue in cheek.

Download a PDF about the series and read more about the work, see more images, and enjoy some baseball background herevia

Banksy’s Documentary: The Antics Roadshow

We love street art here at mixingreality.

So when a friend sent us Banksy’s new doc, we had to check it, and now we have to share.  Without further ado, (though you might want to skip to :55) Banksy’s The Antics Roadshow:

Biblio: Typographic Bookends Thought Through by Jack Curry

Are you an avid book collector with overflowing shelves, a love of typography, and need to conquer the clutter?  Well then,  Jack Curry has a solution for you:


Problem: In the summer of 2010 I found that my bookshelves were getting to the point of needing proper bookends to keep everything in order. Naturally being typographically inclined, I began searching around for type-centric bookends. However, after much searching I was unable to find anything that caught my eye – lots of woodblock letters or “A & Z” bookend sets, but nothing worth breaking out the credit card for.

Solution: I’m a designer. I design things. Why not design myself some bookends?

Method: I’ve always had this lingering memory from when I was a kid of the big, orange bookends in my dad’s office. I was especially fixated on the way that the shape of the base seemed to have been punched neatly from the body, leaving a radiused rectangle in the upright plane of the bookend. This very concept seemed extremely economical; each unit could be cut from a single sheet of metal, then the base would be formed from the counter space. Leaning on knowledge from my house numbers project – Dash – I knew the type of perforations needed to properly bend stainless steel while keeping it structurally sound.

Process: Using some off-the-shelf black bookends as a reference, I began figuring out how each letter would begin to look if used in the given framework.

Letterforms with open counters – such as A, H, K, et al – lent themselves easily to this system; however, characters with closed bottoms – such as B, C, D, E, et al – proved to be trickier to manage. After several different directions – including a foray into making the entire set proportional as opposed to monospaced (a development which did not last long) – I came to the conclusion that the best solution would be to simply have the foundation of these forms contain both sides of the base, which would swing out in opposite directions; not unlike a gymnast doing forward splits. Using this dual-system of base formation, the letterforms could remain the same width, and the weight-bearing ability of the bookend would not be compromised.

A test batch of letters (spelling out “READ”) were then cut from 16 gauge stainless steel and powder-coated in classic library orange – just like dad used to have.

I’m happy to report that my books have ceased falling over unexpectedly.

Thanks, Jack!

Britain’s Channel 4: Street Summer & the Street Tag App

Definition – Tag: a personal signature, usually vandalism with spraypaint, but can be any graffiti.

Have you ever wanted to tag something?   You know, go out with a spray can and create on a wall or building…but the vandalism part of it gets the better of you?

As part of their Street Summer series, Britain’s Channel 4 has come up with a way to empower the tagger in all of us…while avoiding the vandalism.  Street Tag is a form of augmented reality in a can.

These days, street art plays to a generally broad audience, well beyond urban centers with plenty of street players, taggers and graf artists.

Studio wall tagged with Spray Tag

My computer screen.


We certainly love street art here at mixingreality.  So we tried it out…it’s no Banksy…but with some practice, perhaps there is a tagger in the making.

Do be sure to check out Street Summer series on Britain’s Channel 4 site.  They have a myriad of great programs, videos and art from the UK’s street scene.

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