Circuit Bending

Nick sent us a bunch of youtube links about the art of circuit bending. He writes:

there is a hobby that nobody talks about called circuit bending. It's great fun, I've done it a few times and I've got a few friends that are really into it. Circuit bending is the act of cracking open a musical toy,radio, tape machine, cd player, walkie-talkie etc. and hapazardly/randomly poking around the ciruit board with a couple of wires to get unique sounds out of whatever you're "bending". You then solder the wire at the points you want and voila, you have a brand new musical insrument. Some people get really crazy with it and add new parts like light sensors, switches, buttons etc. and get some really wild effects.

This reminds me of a dream I've had for years. I want to hack into one of those Big Mouth Billy Bass animatronic toys and make it sing "Let the Eagle Soar" by John Ashcroft. It would be the ultimate piece of kitsch. I guess that makes me a would-be circuit bender. But I don't have the skills to make it happen. Also, I doubt my wife would allow me to keep it in the house.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Sep 02, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Art, Music, Technology

What is the world’s largest work of art?

It's a question I've wondered about before. (I once posted about it on the Museum of Hoaxes.) The possible record holders include:

1) a 1½ mile-wide eye created by Tom Van Sant in the Mojave Desert back in 1996 1980. It was made by placing mirrors in the desert whose reflection could be seen by a satellite passing overhead.

2) A 7-mile-long pencil drawing created by thousands of volunteers on an 800-pound roll of paper back in 1991.

But there's a new challenger. An artist calling himself "Ando" created a sketch that occupies 4 million square meters of desert in the Australian Outback. It shows a Stockman (an Australian Cowboy). He calls it "Mundi Man" and claims it's the largest work of art.

Four million square meters would be about 1.2 miles in length on each side, which would make it smaller than Van Sant's eye. So I don't think Ando does hold the record.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Sep 02, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category: Art, World Records

Slinky Dance

Why do I imagine this is how everyone dances in the universe of Jim Woodring's imagination...?

Posted By: Paul - Tue Aug 26, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Aliens, Art, Performance Art, Toys, Dance

Third Eye Camera

Designed by Wayne Martin Belger:

4”x5” camera made from Aluminium, Titanium, Brass, Silver, Gem Stones and a 150 year old skull of a 13 year old girl. Light and time enters at the third eye, exposing the film in the middle of the skull.

But does it come with a tripod?

Posted By: Alex - Thu Aug 21, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, Photography and Photographers, Technology

Six Faces of FATE

Please enjoy this imagery from one of the spiritual ancestors of WEIRD UNIVERSE, FATE MAGAZINE.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Thu Aug 21, 2008 - Comments (11)
Category: Art, Eccentrics, Forteana, Magazines, Paranormal, Pop Culture, Unsolved Mysteries, 1950s, Yesterday’s Tomorrows

The Portland Acupuncture Project

Artist Adam Kuby wants to heal Portland -- by using acupuncture. He would literally stick giant needles into the ground at various sites around the city. He writes:

Think of the city as a body the way traditional Chinese medicine does-- not only as a physical entity but also as a system of energy that flows in distinct pathways called meridians. The energy, or Qi, needs to be in balance. If a person's Qi is out of balance, disease can set in. The same could be true for a city. This project explores the junction between art, regional planning, the environment, asian medicine and the health of a city. A single 23 ft tall acupuncture needle was inserted at the South Waterfront for the month of March. A city-wide installation of many such needles is possible in the future.

Kuby has a bunch of photoshopped pictures on his site showing what his project would look like, should it ever be completed.

Some of his other art proposals are interesting. For instance, I like his "Cliff Dwelling" idea, which would involve adding an artificial rock ledge to the side of a skyscraper as a nesting place for peregrine falcons. People could watch the birds from inside the building, but unlike a zoo the birds would be free while the humans would be confined. (Thanks to Cranky Media Guy)

Posted By: Alex - Wed Aug 20, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, Medicine, Regionalism

The Matrix on Broadway


Keanu Reeves is slated to recreate his epic role as cyber-savior Neo in the all-dancing, all-singing Broadway production of The Matrix. Directed by Julie Taymor, choreography by Kristi Yamaguchi, music by Brian Eno.

Not buying that explanation for this photo? You skeptic! Well, in that case, find out who the sunglass-wearing, cassocked dancer is here.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Aug 16, 2008 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, Surrealism, Education, Entertainment, Dance, Religion, Theater and Stage

Giant Turd Floats Away

Chuck announces he's going to take a day off from posting the daily weird news feed, and, as if on cue, a giant inflatable turd breaks loose from its moorings, brings down a power line, and breaks a window. Paul McCarthy's giant inflatable turd, no less.

Things fall apart. The centre cannot hold...

Posted By: Alex - Tue Aug 12, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Art, Scatology

Eugênio Hirsch

Discovering traces of a forgotten surrealist/pop artist is always nice and weird. That's why I'm happy to present here some data on Eugênio Hirsch--a name I believe will be little-known to English-speaking art-lovers.

I took the liberty of having Google translate his Spanish Wikipedia entry, and then cleaned up the text a bit.

Eugênio Hirsch (Vienna, 1923 - Rio de Janeiro, September 23 2001) was a visual artist of Austrian origin, considered one of the pioneers of Brazilian graphic design.

Eugênio Hirsch was born in Vienna, Austria in 1923. Given the imminence of World War II his family emigrated in 1938 to Argentina, where Hirsch was highlighted as a graphic artist. During his stay in Argentina, he lived in Buenos Aires where he worked for the Encyclopedia Codex. In 1947 he met Monteiro Lobato, who illustrated texts mentioned in the editorial. He also lived in San Miguel de Tucuman where he worked with Lino Spilimbergo Enea.

In 1955 he emigrated to Brazil. Beginning in 1960 he was hired by the publisher "Civilização Brasileira" and in a short time revolutionized the concept and design of book covers, becoming one of the biggest names in this specialty. In 1960 he won the Jabuti Award (highest distinction in the field Brazilian literary and artistic). He was considered a pioneer of graphic design with decisive influence on subsequent generations. One of his favorite quote was "Uma feita layer is to attack, did not to please" ( "A cap is used to attack, not to please"). In 1965 he traveled to the United States where he collaborated with Playboy magazine and then to Europe, but then returned to his adoptive country, Brazil.

Among his most famous works include the illustration done for the novel Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. He was also recalled for his eccentric personality.

Eugênio Hirsch died in Rio de Janeiro on September 23, 2001.

You can see some of his book covers on this Flickr page. But my favorite is this one he did for the novel Flesh by the great Philip Jose Farmer.

How did I chance upon Hirsch's work? Through this pictorial in Playboy for December 1965. The mildly NSFW totality of the feature is to be found after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Sun Aug 10, 2008 - Comments (4)
Category: Art, Pop Art, Surrealism, History, Historical Figure, Literature, Books, Science Fiction, Magazines, Sexuality, Sex Symbols, World, Europe, South America

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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