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Viking Valentines

A Week of Visual Ingenuity

900-Year-Old Coded Viking Message Carved on Wood Fragment Finally Solved, It Says "Kiss Me"

For the past several years researchers have been trying to crack a Viking rune alphabet known as Jötunvillur, a perplexing code dating back to the 11th or 12th century that's been found in some 80 inscriptions including the scratched piece of wood found above. Recently runologist (!) Jonas Nordby from the University of Oslo managed to crack the code and discovered the secret message etched into this particular 900-year-old object reads "Kiss me."

Ingenious Door Opens and Closes Like Folded Paper

Like the design of functional objects such as chairs or tables, it would seem new ideas for the humble door would be completely exhausted, and then along comes Austrian artist Klemens Torggler. This 4-panel entryway called the Evolution Door opens and closes in a surprisingly elegant way at the slightest touch, folding in on itself like pieces of paper.


New Flexible Paper Sculptures by Li Hongbo

Currently on view at Klein Sun Gallery in New York, artist Li Hongbo has an exhibition of new and old work titled Tools of Study. Hongbo is known for his unconventional figurative sculptures made from thousands of sheets of flexible paper that twist and elongate in almost any direction, many of which take several months to complete.

Intersections: An Ornately Carved Wood Cube Projects Shadows onto Gallery Walls

Created by mixed media artist Anila Quayyum Agha, this elaborately carved cube with an embedded light source projects a dazzling pattern of shadows onto the surrounding gallery walls. Titled Intersections, the installation is made from large panels of laser-cut wood meant to emulate the geometrical patters found in Islamic sacred spaces.

Record Temperatures Freeze a Path to the Spectacular Lake Superior Ice Caves

For the first time since 2009 Lake Superior has frozen thick enough to safely permit access to the ice caves at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in northern Wisconsin. An estimated 1,000 people are arriving daily to trek out to the islands for a glimpse of frozen caves which are covered in a cascade of icicles formed from water runoff and waves that splashed against the caves before the surface solidified. If the weather holds out, officials estimate the caves could remain open for another month.

Walking City: An Evolving Video Sculpture Morphs in Response to Architecture

Created by Universal Everything, Walking City is a slowly evolving video sculpture that gradually changes form through dozens of permutations while the core motion, the act of walking, remains the same.

Spontaneous Temporary Sand Paintings by Joe Mangrum

Since 2006 artist Joe Mangrum has taken to the streets of New York, Chicago, San Francisco and elsewhere armed with sacks of colored sand that he sprinkles by the handful to create sprawling temporary paintings. Each work is spontaneous in its design and evolves as Mangrum works, spending upwards of 6-8 hours hunched over the ground to complete each piece.

From the Colossal Shop

Every coffee table needs coasters. Why not make sure they're a little more awesome than those cardboard things you snag from the bar? Laser cut from cherry wood, sanded, and hand rubbed with tung oil for protection, these coaster sets featuring constellations and modern homes are gorgeously crafted by Pepper Sprouts

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