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Dances and Branches: Colossal’s Most-Read Stories of 2021

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Dances and Branches: Colossal’s Most-Read Stories of 2021

December 29, 2021

Colossal

We spent the last year collaborating with creatives from every corner of the planet to publish nearly 700 articles and interviews that range from art, design, and photography to science and history. As we plan our coverage for 2022, we’re looking back at some of the stories you read most (thank you!). And in case you missed it, make sure you check out Colossal’s favorite short films and books from 2021, too.

Nine Massive Waves of Deadwood Surge Across a Forest Floor Near Hamburg

Between November 2020 and March 2021, Jo?rg Gla?scher gathered deadwood and constructed nine massive crests that overwhelm the forest floor in undulating layers of branches and twigs.

Mammoth Straw Creatures Populate Japanese Farmland in the Annual Wara Art Festival

Enormous tarantulas, eagles, and dinosaur-like creatures occupy Japan’s Niigata Prefecture as part of the Wara Art Festival, a summertime event that displays massive animals and mythical creations fashioned from the rice crop’s leftover straw.

An Intimate Photographic Series Glimpses the Lives of the Children Who Fish in Ghana’s Lake Volta

Photographer Jeremy Snell unveils the more sinister side of Ghana’s Lake Volta through an intimate and profound series documenting the lives of the children working in the region.

‘Beneath the Bird Feeder’ Documents the Spectacular Wildlife Visiting a Wintertime Food Source

During the winter months of late 2020 into early 2021, Carla Rhodes photographed a diverse cast of cold-weather adventurers, including a brilliant northern cardinal, numerous pairs of mourning doves, and furry little field mice, that visited her birdfeeder.

Impasto Marks and Thick Dabs of Paint Render Dreamy Landscapes in Rich Layers of Color

Russian artist Anastasia Trusova works in a style she terms “textured graphic impressionism” that involves deftly layering acrylic paints into lush foliage, clouds, and fields of wildflowers.

A Restored Vermeer Painting Reveals a Hidden Cupid Artwork Hanging in the Background

2021 changed the way we understand a 17th-century painting by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. What was once thought to be a somewhat glum depiction of a young girl was revealed to be an amorous portrayal complete with a naked Cupid in the background.

Cheeky Busts by Gerard Mas Are Sculpted with a Contemporary Twist

The women artist Gerard Mas sculpts are spirited and unconventional as they blow a wad of bubblegum, sport visible tan lines, or unabashedly dig in their noses. Each corset-clad figure is steeped in humor and wit as it casts a contemporary light on the traditional form.

Herds of Life-Sized Elephants Roam Through London’s Parks for a Global Conservation Project

Sixty migrating elephants passed between Piccadilly and Buckingham Palace in London’s Green Park earlier this year as one of nine herds roaming throughout the city. The lumbering creatures are part of a collaboration that explores how humans can better live alongside animals.

Ceramic Mosaics Mend Cracked Sidewalks, Potholes, and Buildings in Vibrant Interventions by Ememem

Throughout his home city of Lyon, Ememem is known as “the pavement surgeon” because he repairs gouged sidewalks with colorful mosaics.

A Mesmerizing Dance Performance for the Paralympics Hand-Off Ceremony Choreographed by Sadeck Waff

As part of a closing hand-off ceremony for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, choreographer Sadeck Waff worked with 128 performers in a dizzying performance focused on arms and hands.

Chicago’s Manual Cinema Reveals How Its Shadow Puppets Became a Defining Feature of the New ‘Candyman’

Nia DaCosta’s Candyman is deeply rooted in Chicago’s history and draws in local artists, like the talented team at Manual Cinema. Colossal editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson interviewed co-artistic director Drew Dir when the film was released to discuss the unprecedented process of using shadow puppets in a blockbuster live-action film, experimenting with the technical limits of the medium, and conveying a story of racism and trauma.

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, help support our interview series, gain access to partner discounts, and much more. Join now!

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SpaceWalk: a Spectacular Rollercoaster-Esque Staircase Loops Through a South Korean Park

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#public art
#sculpture
#stairs
#steel

SpaceWalk: A Spectacular Rollercoaster-Esque Staircase Loops Through a South Korean Park

January 27, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images (C) Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth

Towering 70-meters above ground at its highest point, “SpaceWalk” is the latest undulating sculpture by Hamburg-based artists Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth. The monumental staircase winds in loops and elevations similar to that of a rollercoaster throughout Hwanho Park in Pohang, South Korea, and is almost entirely accessible for pedestrians except for the innermost circuit. It’s the largest contemporary public sculpture ever installed in the country.

A follow-up to the pair’s 2011 project “Tiger & Turtle – Magic Mountain” in Duisburg, Germany, “SpaceWalk” is built of galvanized and stainless steels atop a cement foundation and embedded rows of LED lights. “At night in particular, the brightly-illuminated walkway appears like a sigil drawn in the sky, appearing to represent different things depending on where one is standing,” Mutter and Genth say. “Thus, the sculpture also references local mythology and a tradition of sky-gazing and also makes playful use of relativity.”

Pedestrians enter the work at a central staircase, which breaks into two paths: one gently sloped walkway leads to a view of Yeongil Bay and the surrounding city, while the other is a steeper climb through a helix. Both are designed to mimic an otherworldly experience. “The title ‘SpaceWalk’ is taken from the terminology of outer space missions. It describes the act of exiting the space vehicle in the weightlessness of outer space. More literally, ‘SpaceWalk’ can be understood to mean ‘a walk through space,'” they say.

For more of the duo’s architectural projects, head to their site. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

#public art
#sculpture
#stairs
#steel

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, help support our interview series, gain access to partner discounts, and much more. Join now!

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Archeologists Unearth a Roman Glass Bowl Dating Back 2,000 Years in Pristine Condition

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#archaeology
#bowls
#glass

Archeologists Unearth a Roman Glass Bowl Dating Back 2,000 Years in Pristine Condition

January 27, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy Marieke Mom, shared with permission

Sitting a few miles from the German border, Nijmegen is the oldest city in The Netherlands, and after a recent archeological dig, it’s also the site that unearthed a stunningly preserved bowl made of blue glass. The pristine finding, which is estimated to be about 2,000 years old, is from the agricultural Bataven settlement that once populated the region. Featuring diagonal ridges, the translucent vessel was made by pouring molten glass into a mold, sculpting the stripes while the material was liquid, and using metal oxide to produce the vibrant blue. Archeologists uncovered it without a single chip or crack.

Around the time the bowl was procured, Nijmegen was an early Roman military camp and later, the first to be named a municipium, or Roman city. Archeologist Pepjin van de Geer, who led the excavation, told the De Stentor that while it’s possible the vessel was created in a German glass workshop in cities like Cologne or Xanten, it’s also likely that the Batavians traded cattle hides to procure it. In addition to the piece, van de Geer’s team has also uncovered human bones, pitchers, cups, and other precious goods like jewelry, which indicates the site was once a burial ground. (via Hyperallergic)

The excavation site

#archaeology
#bowls
#glass

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, help support our interview series, gain access to partner discounts, and much more. Join now!

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PlayStation Plus Offers Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep, UFC 4 in February

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Image: Gearbox Software/2K

Planet Coaster for PS5 rounds out the list

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