The Topography of Tears is a study of 100 tears photographed through a standard light microscope. The project began in a period of personal change, loss, and copious tears. One day I wondered if my tears of grief would look any different from my tears of happiness – and I set out to explore them up close, using tools of science to make art and to ponder personal and aesthetic questions. Years later, this series comprises a wide range of my own and others’ tears, from elation to onions, as well as sorrow, frustration, rejection, resolution, laughing, yawning, birth and rebirth, and many more, each a tiny history. The random compositions I find in magnified tears often evoke a sense of place, like aerial views of emotional terrain. Although the empirical nature of tears is a chemistry of water, proteins, minerals, hormones, antibodies and enzymes, the topography of tears is a momentary landscape, transient as the fingerprint of someone in a dream. This series is like an ephemeral atlas. Roaming microscopic vistas, I marvel at the visual similarities between micro and macro realms, how the patterning of nature seems so consistent, regardless of scale. Patterns of erosion etched into earth over millions of years may look quite similar to the branched crystalline patterns of an evaporated tear that took less than a minute to occur. Tears are the medium of our most primal language in moments as unrelenting as death, as basic as hunger, and as complex as a rite of passage. They are the evidence of our inner life overflowing its boundaries, spilling over into consciousness. Wordless and spontaneous, they release us to the possibility of realignment, reunion, catharsis: shedding tears, shedding old skin. It’s as though each one of our tears carries a microcosm of the collective human experience, like one drop of an ocean.
Chances are good that you’ve built a car or two out of Lego bricks before, but you’ve never built anything like this. Romanian genius builder Raul Oaida constructed an actual car that you can really drive.
Well, not you per se, but it can be driven. Raul’s cautious test run in Melbourne only pushed the Lego hot rod up to around 20km/h. The crew wanted to keep speeds low to prevent any structural integrity issues.
Building the car required more than 500,000 Lego bricks, and they aren’t just forming a geek-tastic shell that cleverly cloaks an automobile chassis. Everything from the doors and seats to the steering wheel and engine are built from Lego.
Even the car’s powerplant is made from bricks. The engine features 256 pistons and it’s powered by compressed air. The video footage of the pistons pumping away in rhythm is definitely one of the most amazing Lego sites you’ll ever see.
You may have heard of Oaida before. The Romanian teenager became an overnight sensation when video footage of his Lego space shuttle floating 130,000 feet above the Earth went viral last March.
The man who funded that project — Australian venture capitalist Steve Sammartino — was all too happy to get involved with Oaida again. He secured enough funding from a single tweet to get the ball rolling on the Lego car project — between $10,000 and $20,000.
The car is amazing. Oaida’s skill and inventiveness is undeniably amazing. But perhaps what’s most amazing about the full size Lego car he built is that it was shipped all the way from Romania to Melbroune without collapsing into a heap of bricks.
Would you like to see it?