Nancy Baker Cahill Bursts Through the Fourth Wall, and Other News

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“Cento” (2023) by Nancy Baker Cahill. Image courtesy of the Whitney Museum

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Nancy Baker Cahill Bursts Through the Fourth Wall

You won’t find the Whitney Museum’s latest installation within its Renzo Piano–designed walls. Instead, artist Nancy Baker Cahill has taken to the skies above to showcase her latest digital work, Cento, as part of artport: the museum’s online gallery for internet-based and and new media art. With its serpentine body, squid tentacles, and metallic scales, Cento seems to spring from the intersection of steampunk and ancient mythology, though Baker Cahill refers to it as a “holobiont,” or “an assemblage of multiple species.” 

The AR artwork represents a historic moment for the museum as its first digital commission that viewers can co-build using 4th Wall, Baker Cahill’s accompanying smartphone app managed by Shaking Earth Digital. Using the app, viewers can use their phones or tablets to see the artwork in flight above the museum, whose sixth floor also features an immersive video created by Baker Cahill to depict Cento’s imagined habitat. Through 4th Wall, viewers on site and around the globe can add feathers to its chimeric body—an act of evolutionary resilience in the face of an increasingly hostile and unpredictable climate. “Cento represents a kind of body politic,” Baker Cahill says in the exhibition’s opening materials. “The project underscores and reminds us of our interdependence and the invitation to work collaboratively to survive the climate crisis.” —Jenna Adrian-Diaz

Dhaka Tower by OMA. Image courtesy of OMA/Filippo Bolognese

OMA breaks ground on Dhaka Tower, slated to become Bangladesh’s tallest building.

OMA, led by partner Iyad Alsaka, is collaborating with Shanta Holdings to build a 490-foot office tower in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which is slated to be one of the country’s tallest buildings. Located in the evolving commercial district of Tejgaon, the tower aims to symbolize Bangladesh’s fast-growing economy. The scheme features a one-of-a-kind pyramidal base, breaking away from conventional tower designs, and includes grand atriums that blend with outdoor spaces. The tower will also offer panoramic lifts and strategically placed fritted glass to maximize natural light. Additional amenities include a 130-foot-tall exhibition space, a rooftop restaurant, and a two-tier observation deck offering sweeping views of the city.

Experts warn that energy consumption will “dramatically increase” because of AI.

The surge in AI technology is boosting stock markets but comes with a high energy cost, consuming as much as 1 gigawatt-hour per day in some cases. Data centers, which are the backbone of AI operations, are shifting from less energy-intensive CPUs to GPUs, exacerbating the energy consumption issue. Major cloud providers like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are investing in renewable energy and have net-zero pledges, but the gap between data center energy growth and renewable energy deployment is widening. Experts like Arijit Sengupta, CEO of Aible, warn that we’re on the brink of an energy crisis due to AI’s expansion. To combat this, some companies are exploring serverless technology and other efficiency measures to reduce operational costs and energy use.

Einsteinturm (Einstein Tower) before and after renovation. Photography by Thomas Wolf/Wüstenrot Stiftung

An observatory built to represent Einstein’s theory of relativity reopens in Germany.

The Einstein Tower in Potsdam, Germany, recently reopened after extensive renovations that cost roughly $1.2 million and required an estimated 10,000 hours of labor. Originally designed to validate Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, the tower was built in 1922 by architect Erich Mendelsohn and astronomer Erwin Finlay-Freundlich. Considered a masterpiece of expressionist architecture, the building has long attracted both architecture enthusiasts and astrophysicists. Despite its historical significance, the tower faced structural issues from the outset due to its construction in stucco-covered brick, a compromise made due to material shortages after World War I. It also suffered damage during World War II. Today, the tower is still a working solar observatory run by the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics, mainly used for studying solar magnetic fields. A digital exhibition has also been launched for visitors, most of whom can only view the tower from the outside.

Investors warn that commercial real estate prices are headed for a severe downturn.

A recent survey indicates a grim outlook for the U.S. commercial real estate market, with most respondents not expecting a recovery until the latter half of 2024. This downturn is concerning for the $1.5 trillion in commercial real estate debt that’s due by the end of 2025. The Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes are increasing the cost of financing, making it difficult for property owners to refinance their debts. Regional banks, which hold about 30 percent of office building debt, are also under stress, further limiting financing options. The situation is complicated by changing work habits; many U.S. office workers are reluctant to return to the office, and some have moved farther away, lengthening their commutes.

Apple is rolling out a software update to fix overheating issues on the new iPhone 15.

Apple plans to roll out a software update to fix overheating issues in its new iPhone 15 models, which have been on the market for just over a week. The tech giant identified multiple factors causing the devices to run hot, including bugs in iOS 17, issues with third-party apps, and increased background activity during the phone’s initial setup period. User complaints about overheating have been widespread on forums and social media, but Apple insists the issue is not related to the phone’s new titanium chassis design. Despite these challenges, the iPhone 15 models are experiencing strong sales, with some models seeing extended shipping times due to high demand. However, supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo warns that the overheating issue could potentially hurt future sales.

I Hate My Anxiety hat by Beepy Bella. Image courtesy of Beepy Bella

Today’s attractive distractions:

Can robots proficient at the board game Diplomacy offer hope for the future?

Bryan Johnson follows a strict diet and lifestyle to reduce his biological age.

An asteroid gets named after Cocteau Twins frontwoman Elisabeth Fraser.

Brands are lining up to release Lexapro sweatshirts and mental health merch.

All Stories