I’ve been living in my mind for the last couple of weeks. A lot of over-analyzing past relationships and interactions. A lot of self reflection. It’s keeping me awake at night. It’s taking a bit of a toll on me.
“Flowers aren’t just beautiful to show on tables,” said Azuma Makoto, a 38-year-old artist based in Tokyo. His latest installation piece, if you could call it that, takes this statement to the extreme. Two botanical objects — “Shiki 1,” a Japanese white pine bonsai suspended from a metal frame, and an untitled arrangement of orchids, hydrangeas, lilies and irises, among other blossoms — were launched into the stratosphere on July 15, 2014 in Black Rock Desert outside Gerlach, Nevada, a site made famous for its hosting of the annual Burning Man festival. ”I wanted to see the movement and beauty of plants and flowers suspended in space,” Makoto explained that morning.
To accomplish this mission, titled Exobiotanica, Makoto and his 10-person crew teamed with Sacramento-based JP Aerospace — “America’s Other Space Program” — a volunteer-based organization that constructs and sends vessels into orbit. JP’s owner and founder, John Powell, started launching things into the upper atmosphere in 1977, when he was still a teenager. “The best thing about this project is that space is so foreign to most of us,” says Powell, “so seeing a familiar object like a bouquet of flowers flying above Earth domesticates space, and the idea of traveling into it.”
The expedition started in the dead of night, at 2 a.m. One hour later, Azuma was already building a bouquet with about 30 varieties of flowers. He started with an aerial plant tied to a six-rod axis and studiously added peace lilies, poppy seed pods, dahlias, hydrangeas, orchids, bromeliads and a meaty burgundy heliconia. “I am using brightly colored flowers from around the world so that they contrast against the darkness of space,” he said. The scent of the flowers was stronger and more concentrated in the dry desert breeze than in their humid, natural environments, and the launch site was redolent with their perfume. Azuma worked quietly, until the metal rods were covered completely with plants. Then he directed his attention to his bonsai. For this particular project, Azuma chose a 50-year-old pine from his collection of more than 100 specimens, and flew it over from Tokyo in a special box.
Using Styrofoam and a very light metal frame, Powell and his volunteers had created two devices to attach the bonsai and the flowers, which would launch separately. JP’s volunteers and Azuma’s team worked to calibrate still cameras, donated by Fuji Film for this project, and six Go Pro video cameras tied in a ball that would record the trip into the stratosphere and back in 360 degrees. There were two different tracking systems on each device, one a Spot GPS tracker that would help locate the vessel once it fell down back to Earth, and the other that recorded altitude and distance traveled from the launch site.
After both pieces went up, Azuma embraced his team warmly and smiled. “I always wanted to travel to space,” he said. “This is a dream come true.”Tags: #Azuma Makoto #Shiki 1 #Exobiotanica #reposting for my sanity
I can’t wait to wither away during this semester with school uptown, work downtown & living upstate.
Tags: #The Smithsonian #J Dilla #James Dewitt Yancey #Ma Dukes #Dr. Robert Moog
The Smithsonian is currently building its Museum Of African American History, and it will include Dilla’s MPC and his custom-made Moog synthesizer (one of the last Moog synths that Dr. Robert Moog personally built for someone).
"I’d prefer to win the World Cup than the Ballon d’Or. I would give all my personal records to be a world champion." — Lionel MessiTags: #Lionel Messi
Cyanometer, c. 1789, an instrument that measures the blueness of a sky.
Being an open honest empathetic person who never lacks conviction behind my words and feelings will always be more important to me than being cold and aloof or always trying to keep up the appearance of not caring so I come off as cool.
I run into less and less people who are able to quit playing it cool and just be for real and just be scared and just be fucking lonely and just be on the fucking edge for a moment. Like, let the storm cook up and let it cool down on it’s own – as opposed to people that just stand in the middle of a thunderstorm and say, “This isn’t happening. I’m not really wet.”
福田平八郎 漣 1932