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science

The Greek natural philosophers, the alchemists, believed that the transformation of substances in nature was possible. They believed that nature strives for perfection and that therefore all earthly metals would one day turn into gold. And so they searched for a "philosopher's stone" that would transform simple base metals into precious gold.⁠ Remarkably, after the discovery of radioactivity in 1925, gold was actually produced from base metals for the first time. Such transmutation is possible in particle accelerators or nuclear reactors, but the production costs currently exceed the market price of gold many times over.⁠ Jana Hartmann's work is a photographic research on the scientific exploration and conquest of nature from the beginnings of alchemy to the present day. In her photographic works, she takes up various themes that have aroused the curiosity of researchers throughout history, such as the concept of matter. With the aesthetic verve of her motifs - including references to alchemical symbolism, scientific experiments, natural history exhibits and self-built studio models - she entices curiosity about the scientific context.⁠ The photo book Mastering the Elements juxtaposes her photographic references with the results of her extensive research of alchemical writings, accounts by contemporary scientists and articles on the ethics of science, initiating a fascinating dialogue between different narrative perspectives - the visual artistic, the allegorical alchemical, the philosophical and the scientific.⁠ For the artist, the message we can take from the alchemists is a holistic view of the world in which man and nature, spirit and matter are closely interwoven.   Buy...

About ten years ago, Mathias de Lattre's interest in psychedelics led him to start researching psilocybin, a naturally occurring hallucinogenic substance produced by about 180 species of mushrooms. He had an intuition that these fungi could provide an alternative to the psychiatric treatment of his mother, who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. His search took him from prehistoric cave paintings in France to traditional medicinal practices in the Peruvian jungle to psilocybin researchers in London and Zurich. Through text and images, Mother's Therapy brings together science and humanity.⁠   Buy...

60 years ago, world leaders agreed to leave Antarctica free of war, weapons and nuclear waste. They declared that the uninhabited continent with no indigenous population, twice the size of Australia and 98% ice, should not belong to any country and instead be dedicated to community science. Additional rules to prevent companies from mining minerals and drilling for oil made Antarctica the largest protected area in the world. Now climate change is eroding that success story. ⁠ But higher temperatures aren't the only threat to the pristine natural environment; in recent years, the continent has become a contested territory, concealing resources that could prove irresistible in a world with an ever-growing population.⁠ ⁠ On the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica, Antarctic Resolution offers a high-resolution image of this hyper-surveilled yet neglected continent. In contrast to the fragmented view offered by Big Data companies, the book is a holistic study of the continent’s unique geography, unparalleled scientific potential, contemporary geopolitical significance, experimental governance system, and extreme inhabitation model. A transnational network of multidisciplinary polar experts – represented in the form of authored texts, photographic essays, and data-based visual portfolios – reveals the intricate web of growing economic and strategic interests, tensions, and international rivalries, which are normally enveloped in darkness, as is the continent for six months of the year.   Buy...

For a long time, sustainable products had the reputation of being unsexy, aesthetically somewhere between a tie-dyed T-shirt and a haystack. But these times are fortunately over. Sustainability, longevity and circularity are not only in demand as properties, but also their visibility within the material.⁠ At ECAL students of product design, established materials specialists, manufacturers and researchers came together with the aim of exploring and defining the aesthetic potential of a new generation of sustainable materials. The result of this research-through-design project is a series of fourteen case studies involving the development of materials made from textile waste, recycled paper, rubber granulate or vegetable fibers such as algae, rice husks, hemp, flax and wood. The resulting new materials can be shaped, pressed, woven or welded and offer future designers a range of practical tools and applied knowledge about the methods of analyzing and processing seminal materials, utilizing their advantageous qualities and developing functional, yet aesthetically intriguing objects.⁠ Buy...

Do you know the work of Forensic Architecture? If not, then be prepared to get your mind blown! Connecting real cases of human rights and environmental violations with the tools used in architecture and design, this studio creates a Wolpertinger of art and real evidence which is then used in some of the biggest court cases and tribunals of recent years. ⁠ ⁠ From makeshift satellites constructed with a simple kite, a plastic bottle, some rubber band and a camera, documenting evidence of Bedouin inhabitation in the Negev desert where Bedouin ownership is contested; to reading the "fingerprints" of smoke clouds left behind by missile strikes; to training AI to identify teargas canisters in Hong Kong; to rebuilding whole rooms in 3D to verify the testimony of witnesses - Forensic Architecture is often challenged by voices declaring in an exhibition "This is evidence, not art!" or in a trial "This is art, not evidence!". Truth is, that exhibiting their work in art exhibitions draws international attention to cases that States or big corporations would only too gladly keep unnoticed. It helps victims be heard and get access to a public stage. It also sheds light on injustices, corruption and failures of our political systems. Which is the basis for change. But the fragments of truth are so meticulously and creatively collected, investigated and displayed that they all too often are also the missing proof in a trial. So what is it now? Art or Evidence? One of our all-time-favorite magazines mono.kultur set out to shed light on the manyfold works through an in depth interview with founder Eyal Weizman. And while you should absolutely read this heart stopping issue of mono.kultur we can already say that Forensic Architecture is the answer to the question what happens when art has real-world consequences.⁠   Buy...

We know the universe had a beginning. But what happens at the end of the story? Our universe could collapse in upon itself, or rip itself apart, or even – in the next five minutes – succumb to an inescapable expanding bubble of doom. With lively wit and humor, astrophysicist Katie Mack takes us on a mind-bending tour through each of the cosmos’ possible finales: the Big Crunch, Heat Death, Vacuum Decay, the Big Rip and the Bounce.⁠ This captivating story of cosmic escapism examines a mesmerizing yet unfamiliar physics landscape while sharing the excitement a leading astrophysicist feels when thinking about the universe and our place in it. Amid stellar explosions and bouncing universes, Mack shows that even though we puny humans have no chance of changing how it all ends, we can at least begin to understand it. The End of Everything (astrophysically speaking) is a wildly fun, surprisingly upbeat ride to the farthest reaches of all that we know.⁠ Buy...