Three months ago, thousands of Iraqi and Kurdish troops, supported by the United States, France, Britain, and other western nations, began a massive operation to retake Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul from ISIS militants. At this stage, Iraqi government troops have announced that they have gained control of the eastern half of Mosul. Advancing into Mosul has been a slow and costly effort, as ISIS militants fortified and defended each neighborhood. As soldiers solidify their gains in the east, and some refugees return to their homes, Iraqi forces are gearing up to cross the Tigris River to push ISIS out of western Mosul as well. Also, see previous stories on the battle for Mosul here and here.
Andreas Agazzi: Photos
There are no doubts that the winter season can be trying on vehicles of any kind, but winter can be especially hard on holiday travelers and daily commuters who face ice, snow, sleet, and wind regularly. When it comes to keeping your daily driver going through the cold months, you need to know the basics. Here are three car care tips from the experts. Follow this advice, and you’re sure to lengthen the life of your vehicle for many years of use all year round.
Switch tires if you will be driving regularly in snow or ice.
Those who live in anything but a mild winter climate will want to consider investing in a set of tires just for the winter season. These tires will generally come in two types: studded and non-studded. Depending on the traction level you are aiming for and the kind of road surfaces you are likely to be driving on, you can pick one of these styles. Snow tires will give you a much greater chance of being able to drive safely through invisible or visible patches of ice, along with giving your car a better grip on the surface of a snowy or wet road.
Get winterized at your local auto care shop.
Many car care professionals like Auto care Durham will offer a special winterizing service that goes through all the steps to get your car ready for winter, without you having to lift a finger. Depending on where you bring your vehicle, your all in one service may include a battery check, a wiper blade check and refill, a tire pressure check, a four-wheel drive test, an antifreeze check, a check and restock of your emergency supply kit, and an oil change and viscosity adjustment for the weather.
Stock up on the equipment you’ll need.
There are certain things that make it much easier to get through a winter of driving, and if you are well stocked up before the season hits then you should be good to go. You’ll want to invest in an ice scraper or two; some people like to keep one in their house or garage and an extra in their car. If you foresee a problem with your door locks freezing, a good idea is to keep a tube at your workplace and at your house so you can get the doors unlocked in the event that they freeze. It’s not a bad idea to keep an extra pair of gloves in your vehicle, for those coldest of winter days.
Winter can be a beautiful and enjoyable season, but it is often hard on cars and their drivers. By taking a few precautions to safely prepare your car to transition into nature’s harshest season, you can ensure a winter of safe driving. Whether you’re commuting to work daily or you only have to drive when necessary, you’ll be glad you got your car winterized, switched over to snow tires, and stocked up on the essentials for winter car safety.
Porsche places viewers in the driver’s seat to showcase 20 racecars covering 62 years of motorsports success over one lap of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Jaguar’s C-X75 concept may never have been put in production, but it’s been revived for the new Bond film Spectre. Watch Williams F1 driver Felipe Massa run it around on track in this latest video.
the show highlights a selection of works created from 2010 to present day, as well as a monumental, site-specific installation titled ‘vortex populi’ that weaves its way through the interior space.
whether users want to hook up their smartphone or tablet wirelessly through bluetooth, or plug in their console via aux, the two editions offer loud, crisp and clear audio for any environment or use.
through the use of computer softwares that aide the visually impaired, redhawk — who works under the name darkangeløne — has realized the ongoing series of animations titled, ‘the world through my eyes’.
The post blind artist envisions the world through hypnotizing animated gifs appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.
Some big news in Hollywood has Star Wars fans cheering about with the next installation in the franchise on the way, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
That said, such a big blockbuster isn’t going to have cooperative brands sit on the sidelines so thus, Dodge teamed up with Mattel’s Hot Wheels to launch a fleet of Star Wars-inspired Dodge Chargers with custom paint jobs, mimicking the black and white color scheme of the famous Imperial Stormtroopers of Darth Vader’s Galactic Empire.
The idea is to provide real-life examples of a new line of 1:64 scaled models soon to be launched for toy collectors of both the car- and Star Wars-type. In addition to the black-and-white theme, they also have tinted windows, black alloy wheels, and a white windscreen upper decal, we assume to mimic the look of the Stormtrooper helmet.
Either way, Star Wars and Mopar fans alike were able to experience the cars in person in New York City today where provided free rides for Uber customers.
Check out the brief press blast below.
Hot Wheels® takes over New York City with a fleet of Star Wars™ First Order Stormtrooper™ vehicles to celebrate Force Friday
NEW YORK, Sept. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Hot Wheels is offering Uber riders and fans in New York City the chance to catch a free ride in a Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper Dodge Charger uniquely modeled after the Hot Wheels 1:64 character car, available at retailers nationwide. For more information, visit www.hotwheels.com
– By: Chris Chin
© Tomas Munita for The New York Times
The destroyed neighborhood of Shejaiya, Gaza, Aug. 1, 2015.
For the one-year anniversary of the armed conflict in Gaza and Israel, the New York Times launched an immersive series “Walking in War’s Path,” telling the story of the aftermath focalized through eight individual subjects and their environments—a series of virtual roads for an online audience.
At the core, this still is an exercise in “straight” documentary photography. A photojournalist, the award-winning Tomás Munita, was working on assignment for two months in the field alongside reporters and stringers, shooting thousands of still images with a conventional digital camera, each of which conformed to the Times’ rigorous quality and ethical standards. But the manner in which these images were stitched together and presented in post production, offers an unprecedented sense of place, spacial relation, and landscape which neither a slideshow nor POV video could achieve.
“We wanted something completely different. We wanted to immerse the reader, which is an extremely hard thing to do given the history of photography both in Israel and Gaza,” says David Furst, International Picture Editor for the Times. The topic is undoubtably sensitive and one for which there has been a huge audience with very strong opinions one way or the other. It has been covered aggressively, both with traditional photojournalism and a variety of multimedia projects. Many news outlets last year struggled to find new, and arguably more balanced angles to their coverage, assigning multiple photographers to the same scene, photographers of varying backgrounds, styles, etc.
“Readers look at pictures, they look at videos of this all the time, but somehow never sort of map in their minds what it’s like to be in one of these places,” Furst tells American Photo [emphasis mine].
The initial experience of engaging with this feature and ‘walking’ along these routes, I thought was like a highly considered, artful version of Google’s Street View, with powerful human stories at the breaks instead of addresses. Its success and immersiveness, hinges arguably not just on the strength of the characters and imagery, but on this mapping function which so much other storytelling lacks. It underscores the epistemological importance of place and spacial relations. The prominence of idioms like ‘road (or path) to enlightenment,’ and conventional metaphors for narrative and story as a ‘journey,’ further suggests how essential it is to completeness in our gathering of knowledge.
“It was difficult because we had never done it before,” Furst says, “and I think one of the dangers of a project like this is it lacks beauty.” Even Google’s human trekkers tend to come away with imagery that looks automated. Munita, however, seems able to consciously frame the chaos of the world into beauty at nearly every step.
“You get a very different sense than when you do video, because here every frame has some degree of thought to it,” says Jon Huang, the multimedia editor for the Times who did much of the coding on the feature. “We really wanted to control and edit towards essentially a slide show, except it’s all together, it’s all one piece, and very intentional.”
In an interview with American Photo earlier this year, Alec Soth spoke to this “power” of still photography as residing in the “absence of sound, absence of time.” Teju Cole has also argued that “stillness, in photography, can be more affecting than action.” All of which suggests why this particular format was more impactful than a POV video, for instance.
Instead of shooting motion pictures, the team asked Munita to photograph as he normally would, except much more frequently—every three steps or so, to lean around corners and take more, and anytime he saw something interesting and unexpected, like the wedding in the feature’s first section. There was a great deal of preproduction, “identifying locations, identifying characters, identifying scenes,” Furst says, but for the most part, it was: shoot candid moments first, then get identifying information and the story after. Each section of the feature opens with a portrait, and given the frequency of Munita stopping to take a photo, he probably turned more heads than normal, but the subjects were still usually unaware of his presence. “Its kind of a hybrid,” Furst says, much like the final product which exist in a new space between moving and still imagery.
Each of the walks weaves together several hundred images, from the start of Munita’s path to the end, without jumps. But many more were taken than ultimately appear. There was a massive undertaking of photo editing to cull through each individual image and leave behind those that hindered the pace and flow. On top of that, Munita photographed twice as many routes as were published. “There were a lot of boxes that we needed to check for this to be successful in our mind,” Furst says. “The right route, the right character, the right location, all with proper visual representation.” With no precedent, inevitably much of the early work was left on the cutting room floor.
© Tomas Munita for The New York Times
Lt. Col. Shai Siman, wounded in last year war in Gaza, during rehabilitation in a hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel, August 2015.
Given the sheer volume of images Munita had to take and transfer from the field, he was limited to shooting JPG rather than RAW files. And for the final feature, the images between stops were further compressed “tremendously” for a faster download rate on a variety of platforms and devices. Though the initial reception of the feature was overwhelmingly positive, in some corners of the photo Twitter, users singled this out as a fracture point, questioning whether the look of in-between-stop images fell under the Times’ standards of toning and manipulation, likening it to the heightened clarity and dramatic effect of HDR techniques, which do not. “There was no HDR photography,” Huang says, “but we did loose a good amount to compression.”
Those users also likened this look to the graphical interface of first person video games—many of which actually take war as their subject. I think back to when Time Magazine commissioned Ashley Gilbertson to “embed” himself in one: “How do we reach a readership that is accustomed to seeing people dying en masse in war zones as a result of games like this one?” Gilbertson wrote. Games came to mimic the look of war photography, which dulled the ability for that kind of imagery to call to action. Perhaps one answer to counter this is for war photography to somewhat co-opt elements of those interfaces for the real thing. One reporter for the Associated Press, who noted the walking feature as “great work” on Twitter, suggested it was “essentially low-fi virtual reality journalism/documentary.”
“We didn’t do this as a virtual reality, this is people’s realities,” Furst counters. “This is not any sort of montage or virtual reality game.”
But the disconnect here seems semantic. The subjects’ stories may be told under some of the strongest traditional journalistic standards, but the viewer’s experience of the final product, is at least somewhat analogous to VR. The feature uses projected images to construct a seemingly multidimensional world, simulating the sensation of walking, at the same time thoughtfully limited and leading you through various stages, but also offering up for you basic controls to find your own path. The user becomes an active participant in the completion of the story.
Perhaps, given the limitations of today’s technology, this a stop along what Stephen Mayes, writing for LightBox this morning, describes as contemporary photography’s transition from adolescence to adulthood. “It will not be long before our audiences demand more sophisticated imagery that is dynamic and responsive to change, connected to reality,” Mayes says, “by more than a static two-dimensional rectangle of crude visual data isolated in space and time.”
According to Sergio Peçanha, foreign graphics editor for the Times who did much of the editing on the story, “our goal was to help build empathy between our audience and people on both sides of the conflict.” I would argue that the empathy was also built for those on both sides of the camera. The reader not only gets pulled into the subject’s story, but into the photographer’s shoes, with unprecedented insight and context for such newsgathering, given that Munita’s process—and contact sheet, so to speak—was literally folded into the final product.
“We didn’t have a model to follow,” Peçanha says, “so we built it as we went.”
a series of animated gifs bring katsushika hokusai compositions to life, some with quirky additions like spaceships, aliens and laser beams, others more whimsically animating slowly-moving kites and a slight breeze.
In this interview with Tracy O’Neill, Social Media Curator at the New York Public Library, Sally Mann reminisces on both her past and the creation of her memoir Hold Still. Mann’s memoir is undeniably personal and revealing, which brings to the forefront questions of ethics, memories, and privacy. Where should photographers draw the line of privacy, and how much is too much to show? In Mann’s opinion:
“It’s a deeply ethically complex situation when you’re photographing someone because you as the photographer hold all the cards. You always do.”
When asked how her documentation of loved ones began, Mann recalls “I started basically by stringing this whole concatenation of stories together that I told for years…When you string them all together you really have something.” It is the retrospective nature of Mann’s process that produces images that are both deeply personal and honest.
In Mann’s case, the struggle between ethics and art, privacy and publicity are seemingly essential to her work. “I seem to push things to the limits, even without meaning to in some cases,” she says. Photographing those nearest to her, whether her own children or her husband, Mann must delve into the most private, and sometimes painful corners of her life. This exploration of those closest to her through photography is a source that creates beautiful, memorable images.
One particularly interesting aspect of Mann’s interview is her dialogue surrounding photography and memory.
“I think [photographs] steal memory,” she says, “and if not steal, then definitely impoverish. I can remember things much better if I don’t have a photograph of them.”
Coming from an artist who chooses to document so much of her life photographically, this statement is an ambiguous one. In some ways it is as though Mann values documentation and exploration over her own memories, putting her art form ahead of her own personal needs.
breton forms each composition using hand-held illumination and long-exposure photographic techniques, capturing an ephemeral moment surrounded by both natural and urban landscapes.
Maruti Suzuki will be selling the upcoming YRA (Fronx) hatchback through its network of upmarket dealerships known as NEXA. Currently, these outlets sell only the S-Cross.
Considering how competitive the automotive market is, once a brand is associated with a particular product category and price range, it becomes increasingly difficult for that brand to sell cars of a different segment including pricier cars where margins are high. Ask Maruti Suzuki, India’s leading automaker. They have been known as an affordable car brand who make cars for the “common man”. The segment it is most popular is the hatchback segment where it has multiple offering which have many things in common. Other cars from the brand which have been well received are the DZire, Ertiga and Ciaz.
Maruti Suzuki tried to cater to the premium segment by launching the Kizashi and the Grand Vitara in India which bombed due to the high price and the perception that Maruti cars should be cheap. To change the perception and to launch more upmarket products in India, the Japanese carmaker is starting a new range of dealerships under the name NEXA which will cater to premium customers. The upcoming YRA (Fronx) hatchback which will compete with the immensely popular Hyundai Elite i20 will only be sold through these dealerships to give the customers a unique experience which they remember for a lifetime.
Currently, there are 30 NEXA showrooms in the country which will be taken up to 100 outlets by the end of the current fiscal year. The showrooms will sell only its premium crossover named the S-Cross for now and other premium products will be added to the lineup later. The company is hopeful of getting success in the upmarket segment via these dealerships and is investing heavily in them. We believe that if marketed well and if the experience is indeed something special, the gamble will pay off. The company has also hired 1000 relationship managers from various streams like hospitality, finance and aviation to assist customers and we hope these people are better than the puzzled sales executives most car showrooms have.
the semi-aquatic plant and animal sculpture weaves its way through the cité de la mode et du design, bringing together industrial materials and botanical life.
The post alexis tricoire snakes vegetal two-headed dragon through paris art venue appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.
Thousands of Syrians cut through a border fence and crossed over into Turkey on Sunday, fleeing intense fighting in northern Syria between Kurdish fighters and ISIS militants around the town of Tal Abyad. As Syrian Kurdish fighters closed in on the outskirts of the town, residents fled to the Turkish border by the thousands, but were stopped by barbed wire fences, trenches, and Turkish security forces firing warning shots and using water cannons to keep them back. At one point over the weekend, ISIS militants appeared to come between the refugees and the border fence on the Syrian side, urging them to return to the city center—under the watch of Turkish soldiers on the other side of the fence. The following day, a rush of desperate refugees returned, breaking through the border fences and pouring across into Turkey, where authorities were accommodating them. Despite recent attempts by the Turkish government to limit the flow of Syrian refugees, they agreed to re-open the border on Sunday, anticipating another 10,000 refugees.
Whether it’s art, architecture, beautiful landscapes or food and wine, Italy never ceases to amaze me. Whenever possible, I try to visit lesser know regions like the superb and wild Basilicata in Southern Italy, or unusual towns like the lovely Porretta Terme in Emilia-Romagna.
Italy is a country of incredible diversity, and there are many regions which I barely know yet. Even from the distance, though, a good way to discover a region is through local food and wines. A recent show cooking and wine tasting at Milan EXPO introduced me to the Piceno area, in the south of the Marche region, and their local products of excellence.
Wine making is rooted in history, and recent archaeological finds highlighted that the cultivation of wine grapes in the Piceno area dates back to the first millennium B.C.
Since then, the technique of wine making has become more refined, but the tradition is still alive and proudly preserved by a group of local wine producers who created the “Consorzio Vini Piceni” to protect the local origin and characteristics of their wines.
The diversity of this area, ranging from sea to hills and, more inland, to the Apennines, reflects in its wines flavours as well as in its culinary traditions.
The most interesting, in my opinion, are the Offida wines D.O.C.G. (designation of origin controlled and guaranteed): the whites Offida Passerina, Offida Pecorino and the red Offida Rosso.
A rare local grape, Passerina is found in both a still and a sparkling version. Perfect for apéritifs and pairing very well with fish and seafood.
Pecorino, another autochtone grape, owes its name to its origins: areas close to the mountains where sheep (pecore, in Italian) used to pasture. Recently, Pecorino has become the most renowned white between Vini Piceni, appreciated for its fruity bouquet and its straw yellow color.
Offida Rosso is made of the Montepulciano grapevine, not to be confused with the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano from Tuscany, whose name derives from the town where it is produced, while the main grape is Sangiovese. With a beautiful ruby-red colour, Offida Rosso perfectly pairs with cold cuts, seasoned ham, hard cheeses, and all kind of meat.
Other wines of the Piceno area include the whites Falerio, Falerio Pecorino, Terre di Offida, and the reds Rosso Piceno and Rosso Piceno Superiore. Produced only in a very limited area, Rosso Piceno Superiore has an intese bouquet and stronger consistency and was my favourite.
There’s no better way to taste a good wine than pairing it with great food. To promote the awareness of the Piceno area, Consorzio Vini Piceni invited some of the best local chefs who introduced us to several culinary delights in a series of show cooking sessions at Milan EXPO.
Different chefs, various dishes and a common trait: the passion for their area, the willingness to use local products and preserve long-standing traditions, proposing them with a touch of creativity and a modern twist.
Sabrina Tuzi, Chef of Restaurant Degusteria del Gigante in San Benedetto del Tronto and Vittorio Cameli, Chef of Bistrot Kursaal in Grottammare, proposed delicious dishes enhancing anchovies, long considered a “poor fish” and therefore disregarded although very tasty.
Cameli’s Parmigiana of anchovies was phenomenal and Tuzi’s classy review of “fast food” with her Sandwich with anchovies’ coppa delicious and interesting.
From the sea to the hills, Chef Francesco Conti of Restaurant Oscar e Amorina in Piane di Falerone took inspiration from long-standing traditional recipes, like the hand-made Fini fini (egg-based pasta cut very thin), prepared with a sauce of boletus and spring truffle, both from the local area.
Daniele Maurizi Citeroni, Chef of Osteria Ophis in Offida, proposed a Galantine with home-made fresh mixed pickled vegetables and two vegetable mayonnaise, reinventing a traditional sophisticated recipe.
Aurelio Damiani, Chef of Trattoria Mare Damiani e Rossi in Porto San Giorgio, proved how the flavours of the sea and from the mountains can blend harmoniously. His Spaghetti Mancini with anchovies and summer truffle from the Sibillini mountains was unforgettable in its simplicity.
Enrico Mazzaroni is the Chef of Ristorante Il Tiglio in Montemonaco, a small town within the Monti Sibillini National Park. Combining a true love for its hometown, local products and traditional recipes with creativity and endless research, Mazzaroni reinvented old simple dishes like the Potato of the Sibillini mountains covered with ashes in a contemporary fashion, rewarding both palate and the eyes.
This journey through the flavours of the Piceno land ended with a wish: exploring more of this area of the Marche region, rambling in the countryside and the mountains, looking at the fishermen on the seashore, discovering a piece of authentic Italy where traditions are fused with creativity.
Note: I was kindly invited to the show-cooking and wine tasting of the Piceno area by Consorzio Vini Piceni. As always, opinions are my own.
Incubating chicken eggs and objects made by prison inmates are among the artefacts currently on view in a tiny museum in a New York City alleyway (+ slideshow).
Dubbed 4th Season, the unusual show is the latest organised by the Mmuseumm, a cultural institution that stages exhibitions inside a 36-square-foot (three square metre) storefront space that was once a freight elevator. The museum is located in a graffiti-adorned alleyway in the Tribeca neighbourhood.
Founded in 2012, the self-described “modern natural history museum” presents objects and designs that “explore themes of daily human existence, social issues and current events.”
Its mission aligns with the “rapid response” collecting movement, in which objects that relate to contemporary issues are quickly acquired by cultural institutions.
London’s V&A museum has acquired jeans, a 3D-printed gun and Katy Perry lashes as part of its rapid-response strategy, which was introduced in 2013. It now has a dedicated Rapid Response Collecting display on view until January 2016.
The Mmuseumm exhibition features a range of items organised under 16 themes. Some pieces were selected by the museum, while others were produced or assembled by outside artists.
Incubating Chicken Eggs comprises 12 real eggs sitting within a custom-designed vitrine kept at approximately 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius). The eggs are expected to hatch during the exhibition.
Stranger Visions is a collection of 3D-printed human masks produced by artist and “bio-hacker” Heather Dewey-Hagborg. To create the faces, the artist extracted DNA from chewing gum, cigarette butts, and other material discarded by people she had never met.
Through DNA analysis, she was able to create genetic profiles that were then subjected to facial algorithms. “The end result are portraits that speak to today’s culture of biological surveillance,” said the museum.
The exhibition also includes discontinued promotional items given out by pharmaceutical companies, from an Ambien-branded computer mouse to a wrench advertising Oxycontin.
“Due to government and public pressures to clean up their act, pharmaceutical companies voluntarily halted production on these bizarre gift items that are intended to encourage doctors to prescribe [their products],” said Ryder Ripps, the conceptual artist who assembled the collection.
The Cornflake Index consists of more than 30 individual cornflakes, each slightly different in shape and colour. The collection was produced by UK artist Anne Griffiths.
“I sort through and have categorised these specimens and in the manner of a 19th-century naturalist,” stated Griffiths. “I am working to reveal the Cornflakes’ morphological patterns and mutations through my indexing system, which categorises by brand, size, colour, texture, geometry, contortion and twinning.”
Prison Inmate Inventions features objects from jewellery to a handmade tattoo gun, collected by Stefan Ruiz, who taught art classes at a California jail.
“Inmates would often take the class as a creative outlet but also to learn a practical skill that they could use in order to make money in the prison,” Ruiz said. “Some of the items here were considered contraband. But their potential for making money outweighed the consequences.”
Other artefacts in the exhibition include plastic coffee cup lids, homemade gas masks, anti-riot police gear, items surgically removed from human bodies and chunks of weathered styrofoam that resemble natural rocks.
In addition to the 4th Season exhibition, the Mmuseumm has opened a new annex called Mmuseumm 2, located just a few metres from the original venue.
In this new storefront space – totalling 20 square feet (two square metres) – the museum has just debuted an installation created with illustrator and designer Maira Kalman, who is the mother of one of the Mmuseumm’s co-founders.
The installation is a full-scale replica of a closet that belonged to Kalman’s late mother, Sara Berman. All of the contents – clothing, shoes, and other personal items – are shades of white and are meticulously organised.
“In stark contrast to the alley, the uniqueness of the recreation is evident in her entirely white wardrobe and clear pursuit of perfection: starching, ironing, folding, and stacking with loving care – seeking order amidst the chaos of life,” stated the museum.
The Mmuseumm was founded three years ago by Alex Kalman, Josh Safdie and Ben Safdie. “Mmuseumm’s mission is to allow people to look at the big through the small – to explore the modern world through the curation of modern artefacts,” said Kalman.
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