Weird Universe


Postmortem Tattoo Preservation

The National Association for the Preservation of Skin Art recently launched. Its mission is to preserve the tattoos of any of its members who have died. They claim they have a "new proprietary process" of preservation which helps them to do this.

Of course, to preserve the tattoo, it first has to be removed. The Association doesn't send someone out to do this. Instead, they ship a kit to the funeral home and have them do it. The end result is a nicely framed piece of tattooed human skin.

We've discussed postmortem tattoo preservation before here on WU. For instance, we've noted that as far back as 1950 the Imperial University of Tokyo was collecting tattooed skins. And more recently, tattoo enthusiast Geoff Ostling bequeathed his skin to the National Gallery in Canberra.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Oct 07, 2015 | Comments (10)
Category: Art, Death, Skin and Skin Conditions

Fine Art on Billboards

1963: In response to polls indicating that a majority of the public disliked billboards along highways and were in favor of banning them, the O'Mealia Outdoor Advertising Corp. began displaying fine art masterpieces on a handful of its billboards throughout New Jersey. The idea was to show that billboards could be educational and instructive, and that they should be thought of as "the public's art gallery." Among the masterpieces displayed were Da Vinci's Mona Lisa and Gainsborough's Blue Boy.

Cute idea, but it must have been difficult for motorists to fully appreciate a masterpiece as they sped by it at 60 mph. Perhaps those stuck in traffic jams could admire the art.

link: Popular Science - Oct 1965
Posted By: Alex | Date: Thu Sep 24, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Art, Museums, 1960's

Unfit Bits

Tega Brain and Surya Mattu have come up with an "art project" (Unfit Bits) that gives people practical tips on how to cheat fitness trackers, such as the Fitbit. Why would you want to cheat a fitness tracker? Perhaps because your employer is offering a financial incentive to wear the tracker and is then monitoring your data and sharing that data with an insurance company. So screw them. Take their money and supply them with a stream of bogus data.

The cheat methods are as easy as tying the tracker to a pendulum or to the branch of a tree, to make it think you're walking around when you're really slouching in front of the TV. Notes Mattu, "We’re putting this kind of trust into devices that are very simple. Unfit Bits shows how silly the data is from these kinds of sensors." More info at

Unfit Bits from Surya Mattu on Vimeo.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Sep 23, 2015 | Comments (9)
Category: Art, Exercise and Fitness, Technology

Putin painted by boob

The latest in boob art. Russian artist Irina Romanovskaya says she's been painting portraits of Russian political leaders, including Vladimir Putin, using her boobs. She notes that "Paintings painted with breasts sell well and for a lot."

However, this isn't easy money. "Using your breasts to paint is more complicated, it's labor intensive and slow," she says. "Any mistake can mean you have to start all over again."

In the video below, she demonstrates the process, and it's not how I imagined it would be, being that it's surprisingly safe for work. Actually, I'm not really sure what she's doing in the video, because she's talking in Russian, but I assume she's demonstrating the process.

More info at Moscow Times and The Art Newspaper. Also check out Romanovskaya's blog for more examples of her work.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Sep 22, 2015 | Comments (6)
Category: Art

Rainbow City

Palmitas Mexico has been beautified by Germen Crew, described as an alternative art group, at the government's request. The rainbow paint job is having great effects on the city too, including a reduction in crime. Sounds like a good idea well implemented.

Insect Art

If you've seen an insect in a movie, there's a good chance it was a prop made by insect artist Graham Owen. He specializes in the "design and fabrication of intricate life-size insect replicas" that are frequently used in movies and TV shows. His most famous insect might be the fly that tormented Walter White in an episode of Breaking Bad.

A recent article about him offers more details about his art and career. And the article included this piece of info, which was new to me:

While the nature of real insects makes them difficult to use, there is another reason Owen’s replicas are in high demand: American Humane Association guidelines prohibit dead insects from being filmed, he said.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Sep 04, 2015 | Comments (6)
Category: Art, Insects, Movies

Fascinating Illusion

Its awesome how realistic this looks when it is finished and fascinating how it is done as well.
Posted By: patty | Date: Wed Aug 26, 2015 | Comments (3)
Category: Art, Skulls, Bones and Skeletons

Marriage via Quantum Entanglement

Jonathon Keats (conceptual artist, experimental philosopher, and friend of WU) is back with a new project. He's setting up an installation in Las Vegas that will be "applying quantum physics to love" by allowing people to bond to each other via quantum entanglement rather than a traditional marriage contract. Sounds perfect for Vegas. Will definitely check it out next time I'm there. Some details below from his press release, and there's also an article about it at Fast Company:

The process of nuptial entanglement developed by Mr. Keats entails no contractual paperwork. The process is unsupervised. There are no restrictions on who may be entangled to whom or how many people may be conjoined. People wishing to become entangled need merely show up at the Art Motel in downtown Las Vegas, where the entanglement apparatus will be operational for the entire Life Is Beautiful Festival, from Friday, September 25th to Sunday, September 27th. "We've negotiated an exclusive offering," says Art Motel organizer John Doffing. After that, the quantum chamber is expected to become a permanent nuptial suite in one of the city's fanciest casino hotels. A product line will also be launched, including entangled wedding bands, champagne and bubble bath.

For Life Is Beautiful, the entanglement apparatus will be situated in a sunny motel window. Exposed to the full spectrum of solar radiation, a nonlinear crystal will entangle photons. The entangled photons will be scattered by thousands of hanging mirrors and prisms, and the photoelectric effect will translate their entangled state to the bodies of people who wish to be united, reclining on a floor covered in throw pillows. "It's even easier than getting a sun tan," asserts Mr. Keats, who is now happily entangled with his wife. "And no need for a wedding gown or tux. In fact, the less clothing you wear, the more entangled you're likely to get."

Posted By: Alex | Date: Thu Aug 06, 2015 | Comments (8)
Category: Art, Science, Marriage

Hank Robar’s Toilet Art

Back in 2004, Hank Robar wanted to get a property he owned in Potsdam, NY rezoned so that he could open a donut store there. His application was rejected, and in response Robar created a "toilet garden" — which consisted of rows of old toilets with poles behind them. The toilets had flowers in them. The 'toilet garden' was apparently allowed under local zoning laws because it was "art."

Since 2004, Robar has battled with the local government over other properties, and as a result Potsdam has been home to a number of his toilet gardens. He's currently in the process of creating a new one.

Robar's toilet art has sparked some lively debate in the community about what exactly qualifies as art.

Update: It says here that Robar's toilets are legal not because they're art, per se, but because they have flowers in them, so he can claim that they're planter boxes, which are allowed under zoning laws. Also, he's not the only guy who's thought of displaying toilets as a protest against local government.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon Jul 27, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Art
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.