Crate of Curios part 43

After all the last weeks spent in the company of Bauhaus, now it’s time to turn our attention to something completely different. So today let’s take a tour to the rockabilly era and get acquainted with “the female Elvis” who rocked a platinum blonde pompadour together with slacks and Hawaiian steel guitar like nobody’s business. Introduction done, let’s get to opening this week’s Crate without further ado.

  1. Sparkle Moore who was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1936 as Barbara Morgan started playing rockabilly at local venues at about 1955 and quickly gained local fame. Her style was compared to James Dean and her musical style to Elvis Presley – however, unlike Presley, Sparkle Moore only released two singles before settling down to start a family and disappearing from the wider music stage.

2. Debt as a question of morality has been a polarizing discussion topic since the economic crisis started in 2008. However, its meaning has changed a lot since the days of the 18th century American colonists, who regarded it from the position of its utility.

3. Birds are supposedly known by their song. But how to you know a bird whose song is mimicking everything around it? Meet the lyrebird.

4. What makes conspiracy theories attractive for some people? Turns out it has something to do with a number of specific psychological biases.

5.. Ever wondered how people in other countries start their fairy tales? In somewhat similar yet rather different manner…

6. And to finish off for this week a little meditation comic by Judy Horacek.

And that’s it for this time. Happy reading and until next week!

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If you want to receive the Crate to your mailbox, you can subscribe here at Substack.

Crate of Curios part 42

Today is a special day – not only because it’s a lovely hot day in July, but because today is the day when I conclude the Bauhaus series that’s spanned over the last five Crates. In today’s Crate as a final step on the road, let’s take a look at the ‘children of Bauhaus’ – the new institutions it spawned all over the world after its closure in 1933, when its staff and alumni spread around the globe like dandelion seeds. So, without further ado, let’s get to opening this week’s Crate.

  1. The direct descendant of Bauhaus, the New Bauhaus was founded in Chicago in 1937 as The Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology led by the former Bauhaus Master László Moholy-Nagy. IIT had first approached the former headmaster Walter Gropius who, however, was about to teach at Harvard and recommended Moholy-Nagy instead. A visionary educator, Moholy-Nagy modified the original Bauhaus system of segregated crafts and replaced them with three departments – product design, architecture and light workshop (advertising arts). And the Chicago New Bauhaus wasn’t the only chip off the old block – besides that, Bauhaus alumni and staff went on to establish a number of art schools like Ulm School of Design, Nieuwe Kunstchool in Amsterdam, Black Mountain College in North Carolina and several others.

2. Scared of the dentists’ drill? There might be a brighter future in sight, one where cavities can be fixed with no drilling at all.

3. I have talked about curious small islands before and here’s another one for the collection – Isola del Garda that in the course of times has housed pirates, monks, Dante Alighieri and San Francesco d’Assisi.

4. If one were to follow the media coverage it would be easy to get the impression of humanities as a useless pastime. But that’s not the whole story. Meet Project Cassandra – a plan to use literature to predict potential future wars.

5. Is the axe still the same axe after you’ve changed the handle and the head?

6. And to finish off for this week a little princess-frog comic from Wrong Hands.

And that’s it for this time. Happy reading and until next week!

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If you want to receive the Crate to your mailbox, you can subscribe here at Substack.

Crate of Curios part 41

As we are approaching the end of the Bauhaus series, let’s continue to look at the heritage of this short-lived and yet disproportionally influential school. In the last Crate I touched upon the influence of Bauhaus that through its former staff and alumni reached all the way to Japan. This time, let’s turn our gaze towards another side of the world – South America – more precisely Argentina – and find out how the avantgarde approach of Bauhaus found its way over there. So let’s get to opening this week’s Crate without further ado.

  1. Grete Stern started out studying graphic design in Stuttgart and working as a freelance graphic designer in Wuppertal, but her way to Bauhaus began with photography lessons with Walter Peterhans in Berlin in 1927. There she met her lifelong friend and collaborator Ellen Auerbach, with whom she went on to establish possibly the first female-owned photography studio ringl+pit. Peterhans was called to teach photography in Dessau (where Bauhaus resided at that point) in 1930 and Stern followed him there in order to continue her studies, whilst Auerbach kept the studio going during her absence. At Dessau, Grete Stern met the Argentinian photographer Horacio Coppola, who she eventually married. After the closure of Bauhaus in 1933, the couple emigrated first to London and later to Argentina, where they co-presented the first modern photography exhibition in Argentina. Today they are both regarded as two most important Argentinian photographers.

2. Are you a non-native speaker dreaming of a successful career as a fiction writer in English? Yes, you can. However, the key is to embrace the authenticity of your non-native English.

3. Change is scary – but once done, it’s also what makes you content with your life.

4. Call your pasta with the right name and know your ‘priest stranglers’ from your ‘seashells’.

5. Can rot be stunningly beautiful? It absolutely can, especially if you leave it up to the artist Kathleen Ryan.

6. And to finish off for this week, let’s have a little work comic by Simkaye to celebrate the holiday season.

And that’s it for this time. Happy reading and until next week!

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If you want to receive the Crate to your mailbox, you can subscribe here at Substack.

Crate of Curios part 40

Still continuing with the topic of Bauhaus and its heritage, now it’s time to examine the influence it had far away from its birthplace in Weimar. After its closure in 1933, the staff and alumni of Bauhaus, emigrating from Germany and settling all over the world, disseminated its founding ideas like dandelion seeds. Today, let’s have a look at a Japanese couple that brought Bauhaus design ideas back to Japan with them – so let’s get to opening this week’s Crate with no further ado.

  1. Japanese architecture and aesthetics had been an inspiration to several Bauhaus teachers, including its founder Walter Gropius and colour theory teacher Johannes Itten. Moreover, in 1925 when Takehiko Mizutani joined the school, Bauhaus gained its first student from Japan. Iwao and Michiko Yamawaki studied at Bauhaus from 1930 until 1932, when mounting political pressure on the school motivated them to return to Japan. Iwao, being a trained architect, focused on architecture classes at first and later changed to photography, whereas Michiko studied at the weaving workshop. After their return, Iwao taught photography at the school known as the ‘Japanese Bauhaus’ (School for New Architecture and Design – Shinkenchiku kōgei) – an establishment that brought together the Japanese Bauhaus alumni and had great influence in establishing Japanese modernism. The most famous work of Iwao Yamawaki is, however, his photo collage aptly called ‘Der Schlag gegen das Bauhaus‘ (The Attack on the Bauhaus).

2. Could we communicate with plants? Apparently.. yes – and they could have a lot to say to us.

3. Indigenous peoples, no matter where they live, value ceremonies. Photographer Jimmy Nelson has gone around the world to document them.

4. Van Gogh loved his pigments and out of all pigments he loved the blues the best.

5. From a religious symbol to exotic headpiece to the symbol of feminism – the history of a turban is unexpectedly colourful.

6. And to finish off for this week – a little creation comic by Owlturd.

And that’s it for this time. Happy reading and until next week!

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If you want to receive the Crate to your mailbox, you can subscribe here at Substack.