Refik Anadol’s Swirling Visuals Illuminate the Grammys, and Other News

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Art by Refik Anadol on the stage of the 65th Grammy Awards. Photography by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for the Recording Academy

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Refik Anadol’s Swirling Visuals Illuminate the Grammys

Beyoncé may have become history’s most decorated musician after receiving her 32nd Grammy Award over the weekend, even if the internet is still ablaze over her Album of the Year snub. The closely watched ceremony also served as a secret showcase for another barrier-breaking artist in a different medium. Backdropping the action on giant screens were shape-shifting abstract visuals by Refik Anadol, the Turkish-American digital artist whose “machine hallucinations” currently illuminate the Museum of Modern Art and are available as a series of NFTs on OpenSea.

For the ceremony, Anadol trained a machine-learning algorithm on deep-space photographs captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and 300 million images of trees and flowers, which generate swirling visuals in real time that never repeat. “This, to me, is very poetic,” Anadol told Hyperallergic. “It’s technically photos of our past, and the memories of the universe.” It seems fitting that Anadol would showcase his swirling visuals at the Grammys, which was held at the controversially christened arena in Los Angeles. —Ryan Waddoups

The Jewish Museum in Berlin by Studio Libeskind. Photography by Hufton + Crow

Daniel Libeskind is the first architect to win the Dresden International Peace Prize.

Daniel Libeskind will receive the 14th Dresden International Peace Prize from the nonprofit association Friends of Dresden, marking the first time the award has gone to an architect. In a statement, the prize jury noted Libeskind’s focus on memorial architecture: “Like hardly any other architect, the artist created an appropriate architectural framework for remembering the victims of the Holocaust, war, and terror in recent decades,” the jury said. “How we remember could also determine whether history will repeat itself. We need places of remembrance and warning. And they should be like the ones designed by Daniel Libeskind: highly visible.” Among the Polish-American architect’s projects are the Jewish Museum in Berlin, the Dutch Holocaust Memorial of Names in Amsterdam, and the Imperial War Museum in Manchester.

Eyeing even more growth, Jonathan Simkhai rebrands his 13-year-old fashion label.

Jonathan Simkhai has rebranded his 13-year-old label by dropping his first name to become simply Simkhai. The refreshed name is part of the Los Angeles designer’s strategy to grow the label overseas and establish it as a lifestyle brand. The 2015 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner, Simkhai has dressed a range of celebrities from Michelle Obama to Hailey Bieber, and is carried by stockists including Net-a-Porter, Bergdorf Goodman, and Moda Operandi. The brand plans to introduce new categories and expand its direct-to-consumer channels at home, with a third store opening this year in Dallas. “We’re not trying to alienate or abandon a customer that has been loyal to us,” Simkhai told Business of Fashion. “But we’re continuing to explore other categories like tailoring and kicking up this unapologetic spirit, focusing more on craftsmanship and detail, being more strategic with distribution, and working with the best partners to make sure the brand feels elevated and strategically placed.”

San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum showcases Iranian protest art on its facade.

The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco hosted an exhibition in support of the women-led revolution in Iran from Jan. 26-28, using its front façade as a gallery wall. The event, called “Woman, Life, Freedom,” showcased 30 artworks by mostly Iranian artists, including video, animations, photography, illustration and collage work, as part of a collaboration between ArtRise Collective and the nonprofit MOZAIK Philanthropy, which has spent more than a decade supporting grassroots organizations with art-aligned initiatives addressing social and environmental issues. The works, presented anonymously, were selected from more than 500 artists who responded to MOZAIK’s emergency open call for artist submissions.

New R211 cars for the New York Subway. Photography by Marc A. Hermann/courtesy MTA

The New York Subway’s next train cars are essentially one long, interconnected tube.

After retiring the dingy R32 trains at the age of 58, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) of New York has teased their replacement: R211 subway trains, which are designed to upgrade the riding experience with improved accessibility, wider doors, and more spacious interiors thanks to open gangways. The new trains, slated to go into service this spring, are also equipped with digital displays, brighter lights and signage, and security cameras. In a statement, MTA chief Janno Lieber said the new cars will complement efforts to modernize the fleet and provide more frequent service, while MTA Chief Accessibility Officer Quemuel Arroyo emphasized improving the experience for riders, particularly those with disabilities.

Turkey’s catastrophic earthquake is prompting questions over building standards.

The devastating earthquake that struck Turkey on Monday has raised questions about the enforcement of building standards in the country. Despite new building codes being introduced to make new construction more earthquake-resistant, many buildings were put up illegally and enforcement has been lax. Seismology experts have pointed to poor construction as the primary factor in the building collapses, including the lack of seismic codes in place and poor enforcement. Ian Main, a professor of seismology at the University of Edinburgh, believes most of the buildings experienced pancake collapse. “There should be seismic codes in place to stop this, but they aren’t well-enough enforced,” he told The Guardian. “It’s not unusual to see one block standing with little damage, and the one next to it—due to dodgy construction or use of poor materials—completely flattened.” 

Google is introducing an AI-powered chatbot to rival OpenAI’s popular ChatGPT.

One month after ChatGPT led Google to declare a “code red,” the search juggernaut has announced the launch of a rival chatbot, Bard. The bot uses a smaller version of Google’s AI model, LaMDA, which offers a conversational interface with the “breadth of the world’s knowledge.” Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, has stated the company is exploring cautious uses of the underlying AI technology in traditional search by synthesizing answers for questions with no agreed-on answer. The technology behind LaMDA will also be made available to developers through an API in the future.

Wigs by Tomohiro Kono from the book “Fancy Creatures.” Photography by Tomohiro Kono

Today’s attractive distractions:

Should young consumers blame social media for their bad spending habits?

Hair artist Tomihiro Kono’s surreal wigs get their due in a fanciful new book.

Clueless fans will rejoice when they see Rakuten’s nostalgic Super Bowl ad.

Celebrity “queer baiting” still rankles, even as fluidity becomes more accepted.

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