Dancing Pieces of Paper in Stop-Motion

Scraps of paper come to life, dancing and transforming in Steven Briand’s captivating short films. Also known as Burayan, the Paris based director uses combinations of live action and stop motion to create seamlessly flowing pieces of video art. Here we bring you two of his newest pieces, Friction and Protéigon.

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Defying Reason: Baselining Is the newest Craze

:THE INCREDIBLE HUMAN SERIES: click here to see the complete series

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Back in the 70s, a Frenchman named Philippe Petit bravely and illegally walked a tightrope between the World Trade Center towers in New York. He was arrested for this stunt, but his legacy lives on in the documentary about his exhilarating accomplishment: Man on Wire. Now, a new incarnation of tightrope walking has been born.  Instead of using a wire, a 1-inch piece of high strength nylon climbing webbing is the material of choice and, because of the increased flexibility of the webbing, the sport has been dubbed Slacklining. Popular with climbers for decades as a method to improve balance, Slacklining has caught on and now has international competitions with stunts like backflips, spins and a variety of other incredible feats of balance.

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Paris Métro Stations Interpreted Through Costume

Taking a literally-minded ride through Paris’ huge metro system, artist Janol Apin’s photo series captures characters dressed to represent each stations name. The Paris metro contains 300 stations along the 16-line system, making it one of the largest in the world, but only the most literal names, like Stalingrad and Alexander Dumas receive his quirky photographic treatment. For more of this fun series, produced in 1990, see Apin’s website janol-apin.com

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The Statue of Liberty Before It Was Green

Did it ever occur to you that the official greeter of New York, the Statue of Liberty, wasn’t always green? Constructed in Paris in the 1880’s, the statue was made with an exterior of untreated copper, which as many know from seeing old neglected pennies, slowly turns green over time through oxidation (not so the ones in your pocket, as they are slowly polished through friction). The builders of the statue clearly knew that over time the lady would turn a dull green, but think of how it must have originally appeared as new immigrants arrived at Ellis Island, shining a warm welcome in the New York sun.

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Modern France: The Baguette Vending Machine

It’s as classically French as the Eiffel Tower or a black beret: the baguette is a daily staple of the delicious French diet. The countries ravenous appetite for the long loaves was previously supplied by over 30,000 bakeries all over the nation. Now with more of the population adopting the American/British habit of grabbing a quick lunchtime meal, along with cases of poor working conditions for bakers, many of those traditional bakeries are closing.

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Tour de France: A Daily Poster for Each Stage

Le Tour de France, the world pinnacle of bicycle racing, comes rushing to a close this week and will see one quick rider standing in triumph wearing the yellow jersey. To commemorate each day of the meandering 3430km two wheeled battle, designer Neil Stevens has been creating beautiful daily posters of the races 21 varied stages. Each design features the days winning riders sporting their relevant colors as they speed through landscapes representing the days terrain. Even if you aren’t a cycling fan, these bright designs are sure to get your wheels spinning with inspiration. Check Stevens’ site, crayonfire.co.uk for daily updates as the race progresses.

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In Afghanistan Troops Eat the Meals of Home

Since the war first began in 2001, many soldiers of the almost 50 nations in Afghanistan have survived on pre-packaged meals filled with as many calories as possible and seasoned with the unique tastes of home. Called an MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) in the United States, these hardcover book sized packages serve two functions: to nourish the hard working troops and to give them a happy reminder of home. Each country’s MRE includes staple ingredients to fill the belly, along with tasty dessert items and the obligatory moist towelette.

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The World Is Your Canvas

What if the whole world was your canvas and everything on the street was free for modification, experimentation and making art? That’s the world that French street artist OaKoAk occupies. For the last few years he’s been modifying elements of the urban jungle, adding his whimsical embelishments and leaving many passer-by with a smile on their face. Unlike most street art, OaKoAk’s work plays off existing urban elements, using their form as inspiration, bringing them to life and adding a playful element missing from most cities.

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Tiny Floating Origami That Moves

Looking like tiny floating snowflakes, French artist Etienne Cliquet’s new work Flottille is a beautiful thing to behold. Using tissue thin pieces of paper, Cliquet cuts patterns into pieces only 2 or 3 centimeters across. He then carefully folds his creations and places then in a shallow dish of water. Technically the pieces react to the capillary action of the water, drawing the folded pieces down… but to the eyes, it’s pure magic.

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Cord Sculptures: Soft Pop Art

The sculptures of Brazilian artist Mozart Guerra are unlike any we’ve seen before. Over a base of Styrofoam Guerra uses lengths of brightly colored nylon cord to spirally wind the perfect heads of monkeys, geisha’s and wild animals. In uniquely mixing this modern medium with classic iconography he creates works that are both current and timeless.

Guerra gratuated from school as a architect, later putting his adept hands to work as a designer for theater, film and television in Brazil. Now enjoying his new calling, he has been living and sculpting in Paris since 1992.

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