BTC: Hans Reichel’s Daxophone

One of the more unique looking, and easily one of the most unique sounding musical instruments ever invented, Hans Reichel’s daxophone is sure to put some spring in your step and some giggles in your face this fine morning:

A bowed musical instrument that falls into the category of “friction idiophones“, the daxophone consists of a long, thin wooden blade notched into a wooden block containing one or more contact (piezo) mics, often attached to a tripod. In addition to being bowed, daxophones can be plucked or struck, conducting sounds the same way “a struck ruler halfway off a table does”, with each vibration moving through a “tongue” of wood into the instrument’s wood block base, which acts as a resonator for the contact mics contained inside.

Depending on the shape and grain of each wooden tongue, and how they are manipulated, all manner of uncanny (and often hilarious) warbling, moaning, grumbling, yodeling, spluttering, rasping, growling, yowling sounds can be coaxed from these oddly human-sounding pieces of wood. (The daxophone’s name comes from the use of a stopper block of wood called the “dax”, which is fretted on one side to produce fixed pitches, while the other side is curved and smooth, allowing a performer to shift more fluidly from one note into the next.)

A variety of daxophone tongues. (Via

Generously, Reichel offers extensive downloadable plans for his invention on his website so that other woodworkers can create daxophones of their very own.

Visit to find out more about this, and countless other experimental instruments and musicians. Also worth checking out:

MadInSpain 2011 Via Toch Studio

Toch Studio’s opening titles for MadInSpain, an annual design conference in Madrid that took place at the beginning of this month. Taking the theme of madness, the team created an unnerving animation featuring tumorous protrusions erupting from the back of their subject’s head. Balloon-like, they float in mid-air, connected by gnarled and knotted cords. Creepy and clinical, it’s a clever, if unsettling, representation of creativity.

Thanks, John!

Marc Giai-Miniet’s Existential Dreamhouses

Le grand digérant (Digesting the great)  No. 4, 102 x 162 x 15

“Giai-Miniet is what’d you get if Kafka had designed Barbie dreamhouses.” (via)

Dreamhouses?  Perhaps more like maisons de cauchemars.   Marc Giai-Miniet‘s painstakingly detailed, mixed-media shadow-box installations are  reminiscent of  a vaguely ominous, fading nightmare; a slumbering visitation to a childhood home,  dilapidated and abandoned,  darkened corridors permeated with a surreal atmosphere of dusty déjà-vu.

Ominous,  fantastical, and yet on some level that barely registers  – these ‘boxes’ are familiar and comforting in a way unique to those corners in which we have previously peeked and will explore once more when we are slumbering and our subconscious holds sway.  Again and again we will wind through our own personal, chaotic and connected dreamhouses –  and M. Giai-Miniet appears to know  this full well.

Born in 1946 in Trappes, France, Marc Giai-Miniet studied at the l’Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, a distinguished national school of Fine Arts in Paris, France. He is currently the Secretary of the Salon de Mai, a gallery founded in Paris with the purpose of encouraging and exhibiting younger abstract artists.

Marc Giai-Miniet, photo by Sylvie Giai-Miniet

According to Giai-Miniet (though run through Google translator) :

“The ‘boxes’ have appeared relatively late in my work as a painter, as a natural and necessary, and have become an inseparable part, a double play. Reminiscent of my teenage desire to do theater, and perhaps even the deepest yet my memories of childhood games pitched battles between miniature electric trains and installed under the table in the family dining room.  These “boxes”, from their manufacture in the years 92 – 93, repeated the themes of my paintings: the brainwashing scene, visit the mummies, stirring transfusions and various larvae.  Small characters were cardboard cut out of the ballet and existential irony of my painting.  Over work, buildings are becoming increasingly large, the characters have disappeared and books, whole libraries have taken place in conjunction with laboratories, storage rooms, waiting or interrogation cells, stairs, corridors, furnaces, sewers or outbound docks … I understand that the books burned, and figured, were painful metaphor of human life, both mind and matter and inexorably doomed to their fate. . For not only the books can be burned but sometimes transmitted through knowledge, they we “burn”, we transform, we accompany or lead us astray … in a vision became ‘existential.’ ”

Grande Boîte Blanche, 130 x 130 x 11

Magic Highway USA

I suspect that when many Americans think of The Future, it looks like something envisioned by Disney; all moving sidewalks, flying cars, and abodes akin to The Monsanto House of the Future. “Magic Highway USA” doesn’t stray too far from these established tropes. There are still the flying cars and moving sidewalks but there are also truly fantastical items like giant machines that build bridges into the thin air underneath them out of quick drying concrete mixtures or machines the melt tunnels into mountains using The Power of the Atom. On the other hand, it also vaguely hints at devices very much like modern GPS units. And unsurprisingly, considering the mindset at the time, there are highways everywhere, vast networks of roadways crisscrossing the globe, enabling you and your family to drive through the Taj Mahal or up the Great Sphinx’s nose. A spiderweb of automotive activity, always on the move, never stopping. Welcome to The Future.

Via Paperwalker : Super Punch

Revisiting The House of Collection

Photo by Trevor Tondro for The New York Times

Two urban faery friends of ours in Williamsburg, ladies who have cultivated one of the most unique and enchanting domiciles you’ll ever see, are attracting a lot of attention, lately! Coilhouse first posted about Paige Stevenson and her Brooklyn loft, now called The House of Collection, in Feb of 2008. Since that time, the ever-inspiring Paige and her consummately luminous domestic partner, Ms. Ahnika Meyer-Delirium, have been working (and playing) toward making their wondrous 2000 square-foot loft more vibrant than ever.

Paige’s interview with All That We’ve Met last month is sure to inspire. Even more recently, the New York Times’ in-depth coverage of the House of Collection, –which features both Paige and Ahnika discussing their kindhearted philosophies of life and decor–  offers a gorgeous tour of their abode. An excerpt from that article, titled “In Williamsburg, a Live-In Cabinet of Curiosities“:

It’s the way objects are deployed — all over the place, in large quantities and with a sense of play — that makes for something unexpected. A mounted deer’s head is one thing. A deer’s head with a pink brocade eye patch, false eyelashes and a glittery nose is another.

Likewise, grouping all the plants in the living room, even when it’s a room as large as theirs, makes an impact. “People sort of melt open,” Ms. Meyer said. “They feel as though they’re in a magical fairyland. But they also feel at home.”

The House of Collection is rich in such contrasts, a place cozy and vast, one that is urban but, thanks to the greenery, the farm tools and animal forms, has a country feel. It’s fitting for a couple who are both very domestic and deeply unconventional.

Photo by Trevor Tondro for The New York Times

New York City can sometimes feel like an especially cold and aloof realm… yet the HoC is as warm, welcoming and accepting a place as you are ever likely to observe.

Ah, you beauties! Well done.

“The funkiest UFO in the galaxy is about to land in Chocolate City.”

News vis M. S. le Despencer, thanks!

Best lead to a new article EVER, right?

Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, which will open its doors at in 2015, has acquired Parliament’s Funkadelic Mothership (the second incarnation, that is — the first having long-since departed for other galaxies).

The legendary stage prop will serve as a crucial building block of the museum’s permanent display permanent music exhibition. Via Funk Music News:

When the band lowered the Mothership from the rafters of the Capital Centre in Landover in 1977, the response was rapturous. Not only was it instantly stunning — it felt like a cosmic metaphor for the sense of possibility that followed the civil rights movement.

That symbolism isn’t lost on the Smithsonian.

“With large iconic objects like this, we can tap into . . . themes of movement and liberation that are a constant in African-American culture,” says Dwandalyn R. Reece, curator of music and performing arts for the museum. “The Mothership as this mode of transport really fits into this musical trope in African American culture about travel and transit.”

It will be exhibited alongside other artifacts from American music history — Louis Armstrong’s trumpet, James Brown’s stage costumes, Lena Horne’s evening gowns. But it will be the only spaceship.

YES!! “Free your mind and come fly with me… it’s hip! On the Mothership. Swing down, sweet chariot, stop, and let me ride…”

Making Time

Philip Andelman’s meditation on the manufacturing process of the hourglass. Designed by Marc Newson’s for Ikepod, it is made from borosilicate glass and filled with millions of stainless steel “nanoballs”. Adnelman filmed this at the Glaskeller factory in Basel, Switzerland and the entire process is fascinating — a hypnotic sequence of whirling machinery and fire set to Philip Glass’s “Opening”. It’s so fascinating, in fact, that I almost wish there was some exposition if only to explain just how they measure out the aforementioned nanoballs so that each glass accurately metes out its allotted dosage of time.

Via Bioephemera : Brainiac

MK12 Does it Again. (FITC 2011 Title Film)

After more than a decade, ruddily engorged by countless commercial and artistic coups d’états, the Kansas City-based design and filmmaking collective known as MK12 still excels at chewing bubblegum and kicking ass and making the baby Jebus cry. PROOF:

(Via MK12 co-founder, Matt Fraction.)

FITC is a design and technology events company that celebrated their 10th annual flagship event in Toronto just last week. MK12 produced this brief-but-brutal animated title film to mark the occasion. Indelibly. In your shuddering brainmeats. For all eternity. Nnnngh.

Pipe dream of the day: MK12 makes a full-length movie in cahoots with Al Columbia.

Plastik Wrap and Zoetica Ebb Present: GHST RDR

Photo: Allan Amato. Clothes: Plastik Wrap. Models: Zoetica Ebb and Ulorin Vex. Hair: Adriana Mireles.

via Haute Macabre:

After months of excruciating antici…pation, decease Zoetica Ebb and Plastik Wrap have released a preview of their collaborative effort.

Titled GHST RDR, health the tailored top and square skirt combo is inspired by strict riding jackets of the Victorian era, clinic Anime and the dark punk aesthetic. Classic tailoring and details such as pleats, draping and structured sleeves are vivified with modern materials and adjustable straps.

The mini collection, made entirely in Canada, will be available for custom orders at on May 9th.

Shapeways Presents 3D Printed Strandbeests by Theo Jansen

Anybody remember this breathless 2007 Coilhouse post about Dutch kinetic artist Theo Jansen and his awe-inspiring Strandbeests? Eeee! So incredible.

Animaris Geneticus Parvus

Jansen’s kinetic creatures have evolved quite a bit since then, and as of this month, the wonderful 3D printing company Shapeways has made a small version of Animaris Geneticus Parvus, available for purchase through their site.

These wee baby Beests, born from one of Jansen’s original behemoth windwalker designs, are “printed already assembled and [work] right after birth from the machine! No other production method can do this!” (Is 3D printing technology trippy, or what?) Apparently there are more Beests in development as well.

Watch and squee: