"So I saw many planets, and they looked just a little bit brighter than they do from Earth." –Sally Ride


Oof… on a far more serious astronaut-related note, healing the news just broke that Sally Ride has died at the age of 61, order of  pancreatic cancer.

Ride was an American physicist and a NASA astronaut. In 1983, cialis at the age of 32, she became the first American woman (and the youngest American citizen at that time), to enter space.


"We are on the fucking moon."

Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket!

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via BoingBoing

(The Ambient 4: On Land soundtrack makes it extra special, somehow.)

Stereo Skifcha (aka Dubstep Cat)

Greetings, comrades! As you may have noticed, things have been a bit slow ’round these here parts this week, owing to ComicKHAAAAN… and humidity. Lots of amazing posts imminent, though.

Meantime, there’s this:

Thanks, Argos!

Living Pictures: Stunning Images of SDCC 2012, Captured with the Lytro Camera

Heads up: all of the images in this post are interactive! Click ’em and see!

Comic-Con International in San Diego (which, of coursehas been discussed with familial snark and affection by Coilhouse countless times before) wasn’t always the star-studded, geek-chic event that it is today. (By any chance, does anybody out there remember when Nerd Prom truly was purely a comics con?  Back in the day, there were a few hundred participants, and they held it in the basement of the US Grant Hotel down in the Gaslamp District. That was over forty years ago.) And yet, some thing never change. To this very day, beyond the shiny veneer of celebrity panels and million-dollar television studio booths, the true hallmarks of Comic-Con —celebration and revelry in comic book and sci-fi culture— can be found by those of us who know where to look.

From gore FX makeup, to minute veins painted onto a character model, to carefully-curated contact lenses and fangs as part of the perfect cosplay costume, the heart and soul of our beloved Nerd Prom is found in the details, thanks to the legions of creative and energetic (if somewhat unsettlingly aromatic) people who come together every year to bring our favorite elements of geek culture to brilliant life.

Many folks who are unable to attend SDCC, as well as those of us who do attend and want to revisit, often (re)experience the Con through pictures and video. Traditionally, during and directly after the four-day event, the internet is flooded with sweeping panoramic shots of crowds surging through the main exhibit halls, macros of various booth displays, perfunctory celebrity panel shots, and camera phone candids of inspiring (or perplexing! or horrifying!) costumed revelers. However, this year, something entirely different is beginning to crop up, imagery-wise.

The pictures you’re looking at are examples of Con-craziness captured by a new photographic system from a Silicon Valley start-up called Lytro.  These are single-exposure photographs that can be refocused and manipulated after the fact; think of Lytro as technology’s first attempt at bringing us Harry Potter’s moving newspaper pictures! Unlike a conventional camera that captures a single plane of light, the Lytro camera captures the entire light field.

From the Lytro site: “The way we communicate visually is evolving rapidly, and people’s expectations are changing in lockstep. Light field cameras offer astonishing capabilities. They allow both the picture taker and the viewer to focus pictures after they’re snapped, shift their perspective of the scene, and even switch seamlessly between 2D and 3D views. With these amazing capabilities, pictures become immersive, interactive visual stories that were never before possible – they become living pictures.” And, as you can see, here are some slices of the Comic-Con experience, presented in a series of living pictures. 

Last weekend, I caught up to Eric Cheng, Lytro’s Director of Photography, in the chaotic main convention hall. Hunkered down behind a trio of enormous trolls at the Weta Booth while thousands of people milled around us, Cheng kindly took the time to explain a bit about the tech, showed off a slew of incredible shots he and his cohorts has been taking at the Con, and we discussed why the Lytro is especially perfect for capturing visually dense, action-packed memories at events like SDCC.

Print Artifacts on Skin: The Tattoo Art of Xoïl

French artist Xoïl (who also goes by Loïc) creates surreal, hyper-detailed tattoos that evoke collage, typography, and stencil art. Xoïl’s tattoos assemble the artifacts of print into tight, chaotic compositions that include torn paper textures, moire patterns, dot-matrix designs, chicken scratch, watercolor washes, dripping ink, bleeding markers and accidental-looking smudges of paint. These permanent “imperfections” are striking to behold.

File this under: “tattoo artists that make one want to buy plane tickets” (previously in this category: Guy le Tattooer)

[via glukkake]

Fe Maidens are the Champions

[Editors’ note: We first met the delightful Numidas Prasarn last year at the Coilhouse Ball in NYC. Numi is a Brooklyn-based artist and producer who has cut her teeth on a multitude of mediums and roles in the fashion and photography worlds. She’s obsessed with fashion theory, and with creating avenues for people to gain aesthetic control of their lives/find their voices. You can find her on Twitter @OhThatNumi, and at her portfolio site, numiempire.com.]

Fe Maidens, setting up for competition. (via)

There has been a fair amount of rage surrounding sexism and the science/engineering/tech/VG industries in recent months, and for good reason. Controversies such as the harassment connected to Anita Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter campaign, the Boston API Jam , the Dell Moderator debacle, and even this NY Times Article with its baffling “Men invented the Internet” opener (read Xeni Jardin’s great reply on the subject), coincidentally about a sexual harassment suit in a Silicon Valley firm, make it hard to ignore. And while the backlash that follows these controversies brings out scores of positive support and appropriate outrage, the stories of othering and exclusion remain. The truth is, finding a positive female role model in these industries is difficult for outsiders (and sadly, some insiders), largely because their contributions are downplayed, or even silenced.

So how do we make sure the next generation gets fair play? This film is aiming to give some people hope:

Click image to be taken to full-screen player at the official DLG website.

Drive Like a Girl is a short documentary following the Fe Maidens (sometimes called the Fe26 Iron Maidens)– an all-girl robotics team from the Bronx High School of Science. Regional champions in the robotics competition held by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the Iron Maidens had six weeks to build and program two robots and compete in a male-dominated tournament.

On one hand it’s refreshing to see these young girls unabashedly go for it, suppored by an organization that encourages them to explore. Their excitement is infectious. On the other hand, it’s heartbreaking watching these high-schoolers confront the same issues they are bound face as they continue down their paths. It starts early, and it starts small.

Or… perhaps it’s a little more sad knowing that the professional world is sometimes exactly like high school.

Robinson Deschamps' Akiza

Akiza as Cheree Furiosa, the mascot of les Furieux

Who is Akiza?

Once upon a time in 2003, a graphic artist and calligrapher named Robinson Deschamps did a series of illustrations for an organization with a temperamental printer. The quirks of their machinery meant that Deschamps could not use colors or even grey levels; the illustrations had to be in black and white. He did the project, delighted with the challenge of the restraints, and in the process created several characters. Of those characters, it was the strange little Akiza-girl who caught Deschamps’ imagination.

Porn Art

The first Akiza is the girl with the iconic face, whose world consists of wires and signage and bits of architecture. She is diminutive, and playful, and fetishy, and asexual all at once.

Akiza has several siblings in the form of tributes that Deschamps crafts, dressing her in faces inspired by Amélie Nothomb or the works of Pierre Molinier.

Model on Bicycle, inspired by Molinier

Geekquality: Where All Geeks Are Created Equal

Our longtime contributor and multi-talented friend Tanya Virodova has been keeping even more busy than usual, thanks to her relatively new role as the Managing Editor of Geekquality, a lively collaborative blog venture she co-founded in late 2011 with several other bad-ass, beautiful people.

Tanya tells us that the idea for Geekquality emerged last year when several of the founding editors met for the first time at the first annual Geek Girl Con in Seattle, Washington. Since that time, they’ve been steadily building/ramping up their online presence. Nowadays, the Geekquality venture is a thriving example of diverse collaborative writing and online community-building.

With staff members hailing from both the West and East coasts of the United States –all geeks and vocal participants in online communities and united by a “love/hate relationship with geeky media”– Geekquality, in addition to celebrating examples of inclusivity and diversity in geek culture, addresses its writers’ mutual, ever-growing dissatisfaction with a frequent lack of intersectionality and diversity both in current geek media and in many fandom communities. This from a group statement emailed to Coilhouse by their editorial team:

“Being a nerd isn’t really so much a choice as it is a facet of your person. How you live, consume, and interpret your experience, however, most certainly is a matter of informed choice. All of us have been disappointed to find that often, analysis that challenges beloved content and creators is dismissed as unproductive and overly negative, when it’s actually critically important. The geek is indeed inheriting the earth, and it’s up to geeks to make sure our influence is not a negative and exclusive one.”

“Talking about video games, comic books, TV shows, movies, etc and pointing out flaws in writing or casting, accuracy in representation of unique perspectives, and general discussion of what could be done better sometimes are met with an arms crossed, head-shaking refusal to admit that some pop culture thing we love can also be flawed. While we are all united by our geekdom, there can still be more inclusion from lenses of feminism, sex and gender, race, ability, and various cultural perspectives.”

Jodie Landon LOLZ!

Ben Frost's "By the Throat" and a Brief History of Noise

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’re pleased to introduce Steen Comer, a writer, video artist, art coder, and all-purpose memetic engineer. He is currently in the Bay Area, geographically speaking, although he frequently makes trips to parallel universes for research purposes. Steen is easily found by looking just about anywhere for “mediapathic”.  

Depending on your personal experience, the idea of “noise music” could be considered a contradiction in terms. Within what we winkingly refer to as “The Western Musical Tradition”, “noise” is considered something to be avoided, something that detracts from the experience of the music as the artist intended. But readers of Coilhouse know that this is an idea as outdated as the notion that “the artist” is a monolithic Wagner working in a vacuum. We no longer listen to music in opera houses with perfectly tuned acoustics, we listen in crappy white earbuds that we have cranked up to try to cover the traffic noise.

And, in fact, we never did have the perfectly tuned theatre; that was always a Platonic ideal of acoustic experience; it never really existed. Artists like Cage and Stockhausen knew this, of course, and intentionally and explicitly dealt with it. Industrial music, of course, took this idea and ran with it, as a part of its program of total deconstruction of control systems. Many reading this will have at least attempted to listen to music by Einstürzende Neubauten, often considered the godfathers of industrial noise. If that song happened to be “Let’s do it a Dada” off of Alles Wieder Offen, you heard Blixa extend a friendly nod to “Signore Russolo”.

Luigi Russolo’s Intonarumori.

That would be Luigi Russolo, who wrote a Futurist manifesto that suggested using elements of the urban landscape in music, including “Screeching, Creaking, Rustling, Buzzing, Crackling, Scraping….” This was in 1913. The thread is long and tangled, and continues to this day.

Beyond the world of music, though, there’s a growing awareness of error as form. The Glitch Art movement is most obvious example of this, where artists are using procedural techniques to add intentional errors to images and video. Generally the results look kind of 8 bit and pixelated, because, well, most digital art is made of pixels…

One Engine, Rebuilt In 3000 Pictures

As someone who spent most of his childhood disassembling and (most times) reassembling anything given to him that contained moving parts, this video from YouTube user nothinghereok is nigh orgasmic. Over eleven months, he stripped down, cleaned, and rebuilt a Triumph Spitfire engine, documenting the process in three thousand pictures which, in turn, make for one amazing stop-motion video. And if you are (or were) anything like how I described myself at the beginning of this post, the ending is something you’ll appreciate.

Via Colossal