The latest from artist Jonathon Keats: a "cosmic welcome mat" to greet visitors from outer space. The mats will be placed at various locations around the Bedford Park campus of Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, to coincide with the 68th International Astronautical Congress
that will be taking place nearby. The mats will be examined periodically to check for signs of extraterrestrial visitation.
From a press release:
"Years ago, Fermi famously questioned the existence of intelligent life throughout the universe," says experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats. "Fermi asked, 'Where is everybody?' Maybe the reason we've never encountered aliens is that they never felt invited. From an outsider's perspective, human behavior can appear pretty unfriendly, and that impression has some truth to it."
To counter the hostility of his species, and to communicate hospitality to aliens, Mr. Keats enlisted the most welcoming of human inventions. His cosmic welcome mat, developed in consultation with Flinders space archaeologist Alice Gorman, translates the concept of welcomeness into a visual language that all sentient beings can potentially comprehend.
"In fact, the mat comes in four different versions," says Dr. Gorman. "Since we can't make any assumptions about beings we've never encountered, and certainly can't assume that they're versed in human culture, it's important to present them with different options built on different premises." For instance, one version of the mat expresses welcomeness in terms of geometric fit, while another does so by biological analogy, evoking room for growth.
Dr. Gorman and a team of Flinders students will rigorously monitor use of the intergalactic doormats, employing standard archaeological sampling techniques. The carpeting will be regularly vacuumed for sediment. Comparison of sedimentary deposits can provide important data about how effectively welcomeness has been communicated by each design. These data will inform future iterations of the mat, slated for distribution worldwide, and potential future deployment on the International Space Station.
The concept reminds me of the various UFO landing ports that have been constructed throughout the world, such as the one in Lake City, PA
. Also relevant is Douglas Curran's book, In Advance of the Landing
, about objects built by people in anticipation of the arrival of extraterrestrials.
More info: flinders.edu.au
Italian sideboard, 1964, created by Fabio de Sanctis. Made from walnut wood and the doors of a Fiat 600. Titled "Cielo, Mare, Terra" (Sky, Sea, Land).
Estimated cost: $15,500 - $18,800.
More info: dorotheum
, Fondazione Fabio de Sanctis
Emily Binks recently won Scotland's largest art prize, the Glenfiddich Residency Award, worth £10,000, for her sculptures that consist of abandoned pieces of furniture piled on top of each other.
Her sculptures remind many of the "sofa forts" that children like to make. In fact, a representative of the award program specifically called attention to this resemblance: "Her sculptural assemblage invokes a basic fundamental of the human condition: from building dens as children to setting up homes as independent adults, we can all relate to the creation of a place to shelter and a sense of belonging."
More info: Press and Journal
Created by artist Renato Garza Cervera out of leather, polyester, polyurethane foam, glass eyes, and paint. Cervera explains that rugs used to represent fierce creatures such as lions, tigers, or bears. So he decided to create rugs that show fierce creatures with more contemporary relevance.
He goes on to say that his rugs represent "Calibanization" (as in, the character Caliban from Shakespeare's The Tempest
). "It's an aesthetic consideration of collective political, social and psychological mechanisms and patterns." More info: MySanAntonio.com
Designed by Argentinian architect Aldana Ferrer Garcia
to allow apartment dwellers to sit and look up at the sky.
Probably safe in theory, assuming it was installed correctly. But I wouldn't trust it.
Artist Gigi Barker has created "skin stools" and "skin chairs" that are designed to look, feel, and smell like human skin. Specifically, sitting on them is supposed to mimic the sensation of sitting on a "rather portly stomach." She achieves the smell part by impregnating the furniture with human pheromones and aftershave. More info at Wired.co.uk
and at Barker's website
A bedside table that quickly transforms into a bat and shield to defend yourself against intruders.
Designed and available from James McAdam
Add a little armageddon chic to your home with the Nuke Lamp from VeneriDesign. It's yours for only $1,445.53
If they're charging that much, couldn't they have rounded down to an even $1445?
From design firm Nieuwe Heren
Just four travel bags,
but linked together it reminds you of home.
Your couch on a remote location. But also on airports and train stations, you can bring a little homish comfort
and a feeling of safety with you.