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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.

Future (All 145 articles)

At a Library in Oslo, the Books Can’t Be Read Until 2114
In Rural Germany, a Six-Century-Long Performance of a John Cage Organ Composition Is Underway
Hannah Lewis on the Burgeoning “Mini-Forest Revolution”
For Black Communities, These Gardens Double as Sites of Healing
The Real-Life Benefits of Augmenting the Metaverse With Scents
Nicolás Jaar Launches a Grant Program to Uplift Emerging Electronic Musicians
With His “Open Objects,” Jonathan Muecke Wants You to Think About Space
PJ Vogt’s Crypto Island Podcast Explores the Wild Wild World of Digital Currency
An Exhibition Posits How Design Can Be a Steward of Nature and the Future
Britt Wray on How to Stay Invigorated and Accountable in the Face of the Climate Crisis
A San Francisco Perfumer’s Campaign to Decolonize Scent
A Philip Johnson House, Transformed Into a Community Hub for the Future
Home Furnishings That Rethink the Future of Plastic Bottles
Embracing Playfulness, an Exhibition Engages in the “Creative Porosity” Between Mexico and the U.S.
At Germany’s Vitra Design Museum, an Exhibition Considers the Promises and Problems of Plastic
In Venice, “CodeX” Offers an Optimistic Take on the Future of Art and Technology
A Case for Bringing Blood, Bones, and Offal Into the Kitchen
This Documentary Follows a Start-Up Taking Animals Out of Meat Production
A User-Friendly Device That Creates Ambient Music With Plants
How Maggie Doyne’s Enduring Altruism Continues to Transform the Lives of Orphans in Nepal
With His First Clothing Line, Stefan Sagmeister Visualizes Positive Global Trends
Pleated Clothing Designed to Grow With Your Kid
A Protein Powder Made From Insects, an Underestimated Superfood
A New Biography Looks Back on Stewart Brand’s Planetary Impact
What Will the Metaverse Smell Like?
Clothes Fit for Modern Farmers, With a Message
Streamlined Watches Designed to Slow Down Time
This Sculpture Wants to Know How the Future Makes You Feel
Steinway Brings Live Recitals to Your Living Room, Piano and All
For a Website Tracking the Tallest Buildings in the World, Size Matters
By Listening to the Ocean, Jana Winderen Exposes the Vital Role of Sound in Aquatic Life
A Brooklyn-Based Ice Cream Brand Embraces the Avant Garde
From an Indestructible Puffer to 100-Year Pants, Vollebak Makes Clothes for the Future
A Podcast That Unpacks What It’s Like to Be an Immigrant in America
The Boundless Benefits of a Bidet
A Digital Space Tracker That Prompts Users to Look Up
Grow Your Own Food in This Modular Raised Garden Bed
A Carbon-Negative Perfume That Evokes the Earth’s Natural Elements
Vuslat Doğan Sabancı Imagines a Better, Brighter World Full of “Generous Listening”
For an Ethical Alternative to Caviar, Try Tonburi
The Sweet, Adaptable Aroma of Southeast Asia’s Pandan Plant
A Beautiful Bare-Bones Radio, Designed by an Architect Who Strove for Simplicity
Smallhold’s Mushroom Minifarms Give New Meaning to the Term “Local Food”
With EarthPercent, Brian Eno Helps the Music Industry Address the Climate Crisis
Introducing The Slowdown’s First Book, “At a Distance: 100 Visionaries at Home in a Pandemic”
An Unsettling Sound Installation Blasts Cold, Hard Facts Into Downtown San Jose
An Electronic Musician’s Quest to Reimagine Hospital Soundscapes
How Fungi Can Save the World
Why Aliens Could Be Able to Listen to NASA’s Golden Record—Even If They Don’t Have Ears
Should Museums Prioritize Emotional Wellness Activities? The Rubin Museum of Art Thinks So.
How Design Can Reframe Ocean Plastic as a Resource, Not Waste
The Media That Helps Azeem Azhar Make Sense of Complexity
Protect Your Hearing With These Otherworldly Earplugs
How the Too Good to Go App Aids in the Fight Against Food Waste
At the Armory Show, an Exhibition Where Artists Share Visions of the Future
This Discreet Speaker Combines Mood-Enhancing Lighting With Superior Sound
How to Break the Cycle of a Throwaway Society
This Australian Company Aims to Make Packaging Easy—and Actually Sustainable
Real-Time Radio and Street Sounds Bring These Virtual Driving Tours to Life
This Elegant Glass Speaker Magnifies Sounds From Your Smartphone
Google’s First Retail Space Is Simultaneously Tranquil and Teched-Out
An Expressive Jewelry Line That Celebrates the Devices Worn by Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing People
This Berlin Craft Bakery Brings Ancient Grains Into a Contemporary Context
Cartier’s First Solar-Powered Watch Features Straps Made From Food Scraps
Maxine Bédat’s New Book Traces the Lifespan of a Pair of Jeans to Illustrate the Ills of Fast Fashion
This Digital Tool Kit Reveals How Art Benefits Our Brains
This Public Audio Installation Helps Listeners Take the Long View on Life
How to Eat Your Food Scraps
These A.I.-Generated Songs Raise Awareness About Mental Health in the Music Industry
This New Online Forum Lets Anyone Air Their Anxieties About the Climate Crisis
A New Cartoon Uses Art to Teach Kids How to Confront Life’s Challenges
London’s First Vegan Butcher Shop Sells “Meats” That Rival the Real Thing
Why Human Composting Is the Future of Death Care
Introducing Case, the Canadian Brand Creating a Circular System for Takeout Containers
An Age-Old Indian Alternative to Single-Use Plastic Cups
 This Sound System Revolutionizes How We Listen to Live Music
With Darning, Celia Pym Brings the Stories of Clothes to Life
A New Podcast Unpacks the Beauty and Fragility of Glacier National Park
Ditch Supermarket Alt-Milks for This Simple, No-Mess Press
Teenage Engineering’s OB-4 Speaker Redefines Radio as We Know It
The Japanese Company Applying Elements of the Slow Food Movement to Perfume
These Coffee Alternatives Offer a Better Way to Add Some Pep to Your Step
This New App Puts Sex Therapy Within Reach for All
Fish Scales and Lunar Dust May Hold the Key to Building on the Moon
A New Digital Book Club Explores the Beauty and Fragility of Our Planet
This “Digital Nose” Could Help Your Fridge Detect Spoiled Food
Olivia Lopez’s New Podcast Shows You How to Travel Without Leaving Home
These Headphones Create Superior Sound and a Quiet Mind
A New Documentary Brings Clarity to the Chaos of Covid-19
The Japanese Artist Who Launched Flowers Into Outer Space
These Climate Podcasts Focus on Stories, Not Statistics
These Dyes Made by Bacteria Could Transform the Fashion Industry
These Public Toilets in Tokyo Promote Good Design and Inclusivity
The Dark Side of Social Media, Explained by the People Who Created Itπ
Using Ancient Craftsmanship, Angel Chang Designs Clothes for the Future
A Website That Lets You Enjoy Rooms With a View
A Crowdsourced Internet Memorial Humanizes U.S. Gun Violence Victims
Break a Sweat to Supernatural, a Home Gym With a VR Twist
How Artist and Designer María Elena Pombo Is Sowing Seeds for Change
In the Age of “Anthropause,” Scientists Are Studying a Seismic Hush
The Three Best E-Bikes on the Market
NASA’s “Eau de Space” Fragrance Recreates the Smell of Outer Space
Environmental Anthropologist and “Feasting Wild” Author Gina Rae La Cerva’s Media Diet
These New Ikea Curtains Literally Create Fresh Air
This App Brings the Cosmos into Your Pocket
How a California Entrepreneur Is Profoundly Fixing Food Waste
Devon Turnbull’s D.I.Y. Speaker-Making Kits Are the Ultimate Home Audio Solution
Plot an Edible Home Garden With This Automated, Open-Source Bot
Meet NASA’s “Nasalnaut”
David Byrne’s Reasons to Be Cheerful Cheers Us Up
This App Will Help Get Your Green Thumb Going
In New York? Natoora Has Your Grocery Delivery Covered
Our New At a Distance Podcast Takes a Good Look at the Big Picture
A Low-Maintenance Home Garden for the Botanically Challenged
This New Platform Makes Fiction Pulled From Real-News Headlines
MIDI 2.0 Expands the Digital Music-Making Toolbox
A Smartphone Alternative We Can Totally Get Behind
Neri Oxman’s “Material Ecology” Gets the MoMA Spotlight
This Luxury Skincare “Miracle Broth” Is the Result of Sonochemistry
MASS Design Group’s Model for Building a More Just Society Through Architecture
Olafur Elaisson’s Latest Exhibition Offers a Hopeful Vision of the Future
Object Limited Is the Secondhand Solution We’ve Been Yearning For
Four New Must-Reads on the Climate Crisis
A Waterproof, Washable Bag That’s Actually Environmentally Friendly
Maison d’Etto Applies a Gender-Neutral Mindset to Scent
A Carbon-Negative Vodka Straight Out of a Sci-Fi Storyline
Introducing Our New Podcast About the Future of Work
What the Internet Sounds Like: A Playlist
Artist Michael Pinsky’s Climate-Action Plan: “Pollution Pods”