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Wolfhouse tarot cards

Inclusive Space

Nestled in a cozy pocket of Newburgh, in New York’s Hudson Valley, is an architectural gem designed in 1949 by Philip Johnson, the American architect known for his noble modern and postmodern structures. Benjamin V. Wolf, a prominent owner of a department store in downtown Newburgh, commissioned Johnson to create the house, which is marked by the architect’s signature open-plan layouts, floor-to-ceiling windows, and fluid circulation. In 2020—as the architecture and design world was grappling with how to address Johnson’s legacy in the aftermath of his fascist views becoming more widely known—the property was purchased and restored by Jiminie Ha, the Guggenheim Museum’s director of graphic design and founder of the creative agency With Projects, and art director Jeremy Parker. Determined to establish the residence as a symbol of inclusivity, the two have reimagined it as the Wolfhouse, a community-focused cultural space and incubator with public programming centered around art, architecture, and design.

A man wearing gold ear jewelry underwater.

Ear Enhancement

Brooklyn-based model, artist, and activist Chella Man received his first hearing aids when he was 4 years old. Eight years later, he received cochlear implants, an electronic device that partially restores hearing. It consists of a sound processor that cups the back half of the ear, and a receiver and stimulator that’s surgically implanted under the skin and delivers sound signals to the auditory nerve via electrodes that are threaded into the cochlea, a spiral cavity of the inner ear. Cochlear implants also feature an external unit, which is attached to the head behind the top part of the ear, that serves as a speech processor, microphone, or transmitter. While grateful for the implements, Man long felt a disconnect between their conspicuous appearance and his self. “I’ve always strived for the agency over the ways I present myself in this world,” he says. “But with my cochlear implants, I have no say in how they are designed or what they look like.” The quandary informed a jewelry collection that Man released earlier this year in collaboration with the New York fashion label Private Policy. Together with designers Siying Qu and Haoran Li, Man created eight gold-plated metal ear accessories that accentuate and embellish hearing devices or cochlear implants with expressive, abstract shapes. To mark the launch of the project, Man wrote and directed a short film that featured himself, alongside model Rayly Aquino and dancer Raven Sutton (who are both also deaf), wearing the jewelry while submerged in water. Half of the accessories’ profits will be donated to the San Francisco–based Deaf Queer Resource Center, a nonprofit that Man, who identifies as genderqueer and trans-masculine, sees as a much-needed source of community for people like him. Here, Man speaks about the jewelry line, and the stereotypes about deaf and hard-of-hearing communities that he’s working to combat.

Theaster Gates’s “Black Chapel,” the 2022 Serpentine Pavilion in London’s Kensington Gardens. (Photo: Iwan Baan. Courtesy Serpentine and Theaster Gates Studio)

Relief Gardens

For time immemorial gardens have served as spaces for rest, reflection, and communion with the natural world. But in today’s political climate, with its heightened confrontations of longstanding structural and historical inequality and racism, some gardens—created by and for Black communities—are now serving another, even more necessary and vital purpose: as valuable, active hubs for addressing certain imbalances and injustices, connecting with neighbors, and fostering community. As garden designer and landscape ethicist Benjamin Vogt has written, “Ultimately, every garden is an ideology.”

Jana Winderen using a hydrophone to record underwater in the Dominican Republic. (Photo: José Alejandro Alvarez)

Sea Sounds

Oceans are among the most sound-rich environments on the planet—but because the water’s surface keeps most noises from permeating out, they rarely reach human ears. That hasn’t stopped Norwegian artist Jana Winderen from bringing underwater sounds to dry land. Since 2005, she’s been listening to marine ecosystems using a hydrophone, a microphone designed to detect and record ocean noises from all directions, and shares her recordings—including the creaking of a 10,000-year-old melting glacier, the high-pitched chirps of migrating humpback whales, and the squeaks of dolphins—in audio installations around the world. (Musician and author Bernie Kraus captures nature’s soundscapes, above ground, in a similar manner, and spoke about his work on Ep. 127 of our At a Distance podcast.)

Cassina's Radio in Cristallo

Essential Radio

In 1938, Italian architect Franco Albini received a traditional wood-encased radio as a wedding gift—and proceeded to take it apart. He stripped down what he saw as a clumsy, cumbersome device, then reassembled it to showcase only the essential electric parts, which he suspended between two sheets of glass to create a sense of lightness and simplicity—both hallmarks of the late architect’s neorationalist design approach. The resulting object, called Radio in Cristallo, was unveiled two years later at Wohnbedarf’s modern furniture competition in Zurich, but was never put into production—until now.

Mental health and climate researcher Britt Wray

Reality Check

In her new book, Generation Dread, author and researcher Britt Wray delves into the psychological consequences of the climate crisis. Combining scientific research with passionate insight, Wray, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, argues that intense feelings of what she deems “eco-anxiety”—which can manifest as burnout, avoidance, or daily emotional disturbances—are in fact healthy responses to the stress of environmental collapse and the troubled state of the world at large. Instead of pushing these difficult feelings aside, Wray encourages readers to see eco-anxiety as a human reaction to a grim truth, and as a tool for learning how to live and act within it.

The Future Library Forest. (Photo: Rio Gandara. Courtesy Helsingin Sanomat)

Long Form

“A forest in Norway is growing.” So begins the cryptic text printed on a certificate for the Future Library, or Framtidsbiblioteket, an artwork by Scottish artist Katie Paterson that, over the span of a century, cumulatively builds a collection of written works viewable only to future generations. Since the project’s beginning, in 2014, one author from across the globe has been invited each year to contribute a piece of writing—anything from a poem to a short story, or a full-length book—which will be held in trust, unread and unpublished, until the year 2114. The certificate, which comes in a limited edition of 1,000, entitles its bearer to a full anthology of all 100 works, which will be printed on paper culled from the Future Library Forest, a grove of 1,000 trees planted by Paterson in 2014 just outside of Oslo, Norway. As the young saplings continue to flourish and mature, so too does the Future Library’s collection.

A red OB-4 boombox photographed from below.

Wowed Speaker

When Teenage Engineering released its OP-1 portable synthesizer, in 2011, the device received glowing reviews from an array of audio authorities, including Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and French composer Jean-Michel Jarre. A decade on, the Stockholm-based electronics maker aims for another hit with the new OB-4, a Bluetooth speaker system that it’s billing as a “magic radio.” The term isn’t too far off: The mobile, four-speaker hi-fi memorizes everything it plays, allowing users to rewind, stretch, or loop any track that was pumped through it in the previous two hours—regardless of whether the tunes came from live radio, a streaming service, or a plugged-in instrument. Its handle houses a spiral antenna and turns into a stand, which positions the gadget’s top at an angle to provide easy access to its dials and buttons. There’s also a feature called “disk mode,” in which three recordings—“ambient” (a low-pitched drone), “metronome” (monotonous ticks) and “karma” (chanting)—can be used to facilitate focus or relaxation. With a lithium polymer battery that lasts for eight hours when played at its loudest (or for 40 hours at average volume), the souped-up speaker ensures that there’s plenty of time to take in its sounds.

Ento Collective's protein powder

Bug Beverage

How do you like your insects prepared? For many in the Western world, this question is likely met with a knitted brow. Despite the more than two billion people worldwide who eat them regularly, consuming insects, or entomophagy, hasn’t yet entered the culinary mainstream in the United States and in most of Europe. Friends Alejandra Fernandez and Danielle Petricevic, hailing from Mexico and South Korea—both countries where insects feature in the average diet—respectively, quickly noticed the absence of bugs as food upon moving to London, where they both currently reside. This past fall, in an effort to introduce the ingredient to Western fare in an approachable and tasty way, as well as to inform consumers of the food’s social and environmental benefits, they co-founded Ento Collective, a health food company with offerings that center around the widely underestimated superfood and protein source.

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Future (All 141 articles)

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