Friday, December 27, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Morbid Anatomy

morbid anatomy library drunken mouse
Nothing better than a drink and a good book

A weird museum in Brooklyn by the name of the Morbid Anatomy Museum is an interesting expension of the library that has the same name,which has been making artifacts, curiosities and books available to the public. Hosting events classes and other things about the wonderful world of morbidity and death showcased in the taxidermy in, let´s called it unusual,poses of animal carcasses. The Museum is a non-profit organization to showcase to the public the important area of death, featuring a large exhibition space and drawing from private collections of the things in private hands that are the most bizarre to be found and featured. You can also find a library to research on the premises and no museum would be complete without a gift shop.

morbid anatomy museum
Just a normal day in class

If you ever want to visit the museum is open on Saturdays between two and six in the afternoon.

The library makes available a collection of curiosities, books, photographs, artworks, ephemera, and artifacts relating to medical museums, anatomical art, collectors and collecting, cabinets of curiosity, the history of medicine, death and society, natural history, arcane media, and curiosity and curiosities broadly considered. The curation is done by experts who are not afraid to scour the darker spots for hidden treasure of everything morbid and bizarre.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Checkpoint Charlie

checkpoint charlie in 1961
Checkpoint Charlie in October 1961

Checkpoint Charlie is one of the most famous sights in Berlin and all of Germany. The original military equipment, sandbags, guard towers and anti tank barriers have long been replaced by replicas to keep the historical look and story of the place alive. It seems that the high amount of tourists visiting the place every year are not really bothered by the fakes.

The former military checkpoint and border between the Capitalist West and Communist East is probably the most famous border of the whole cold war and a symbolic representation of the iron curtain that descended upon Europe. Besides the Bridge of Glienick it is the most important checkpoint in terms of military importance and only one of three that was controlled by American soldiers.

Checkpoint Charlie today

The name Checkpoint Charlie comes from the the extended alphabet widely represented in military linguistics. Checkpoint “C” has the two companions in Helmstedt-Marienborn Checkpoint “A” Alpha and Dreilinden-Drewitz Checkpoint “B” Bravo.

Moreover the checkpoint was somewhat exclusive and could only be used by foreigners, foreign to either Germany, and government officials of both Germanies, which is mildly confusing to say the least.

The checkpoint was one of the most “frosty” of the cold war and gained its fame in October 1961. Then soviet and allied tanks were facing of on the streets stacked to the teeth with live ammunition. The place was also home to daring escapes mostly to the free West. Many of these refugees paid with their lives.

Today the historic place has been turned into a museum.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: The Real Hogwarts

Fake characters posing in front of the real location.

Hogwarts, locally known as Alnwick Castle is the setting for all the outside shots of 8 of the 8 Harry Potter movies. Located in Northumberland, England near the border to Scotland the castle has a near 1000 year history of battles since the Norman invasion. Due to the lack of bloodthirsty battles in modern times the site has received a large influx of movie battles. Especially Quidditch battles fought here on camera. In addition to the Harry Potter scenes the castle has served as a backdrop to Black Adder, Robin Hood, Elizabeth and Dracula franchises. 

Outside shot of the real thing

If you re-watch the movies you can catch the outside movie scenes not only during the Quidditch games but also during the flying lessons with wizardry teacher Madame Hooch. That might not be enough for you so you can actually visit the castle grounds and participate in broomstick flying lessons and other courses related to the Harry Potter universe.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Pandamonium

Titled the "Giant Panda Adventure" Hong Kong´s Ocean Park features cuddly fuzzballs also known as Red Panda, Lesser Panda or Firefox the namesake and much cuter alternative to the internet browser.

At the park the enjoy Halloween...

Make the job of panda keeper one of the most sought after positions on the planet...

...and explore

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: The Door of Hell

On fire for over 40 years you can visit this speck of land in the depths of the former Soviet Union in modern day Karakum desert, Turkmenistan. Over a hundred meters wide the hole burns near the quiet little village of Derweze whose building developers probably advertise with slogans as: "Tradition of cute campfires" and "Enjoy the smell of sulphur in the air"

The door is not a natural occurrence and has been caused by Soviet drilling efforts in 1971 when a drilling rig "accidentally" punched the huge hole into a natural gas cavern of massive dimensions. The rig is still somewhere in there as the collapse swallowed it whole. 

People responsible thought that the next best solution to drilling gas is lighting gas on fire and set the cavern ablaze. The burn was expected to last for only a few days but to this day is still in progress. Although it kind of set natural gas drilling efforts back it gave a boost to the tourism. The Door of Hell is now an international tourism attraction.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: The real Temple of Doom

Not weird or bizarre at all. Also one of the hands is giving me the finger I think.

Not much is known on the mysterious internet computing cloud about the white temple. It rests in calm and tranquil Northern Thailand and is known as the Wat Rong Khun. Legend has it that a ghostly jinn resembling or posing as a human architect with the name of  Chalermchai Kositpipat came down from the heavens in 1997 and proclaimed the site of the temple to lack a terrifying feel of doom and religious imagery. The architect, who is a talented painter / artist by profession, and most likely not averse to the idea of mind altering drugs, designed the exterior and interior and provided the murals.

The inside of the temple. Here we see a historic scene of Gautama Buddha fighting of the Imperial Fleet and destroying the Space and Time Continuum while the Hubble space telescope takes photos. On the right we have the other members of the superfriends justice league who the Buddha commands. (At least that is what I see it is kind of a Rohrschach test)

What better religion than buddhism, known for nonviolence, love, respect and peaceful existence and eternal bliss, would have been better to inundate the disturbing halls of the temple with religious bliss.

The artist certainly has constructed  a timeless piece of art. Asked by the press about his stylistic artwork Chalermchai Kositpipat said: "I got complaints from everybody – from the Thai government, from monks and from other artists, saying that what I was doing was not Thai art."

Friday, December 6, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Sigmund Freud had an awesome couch

Could you imagine a better place to contemplate the meaning of life and other deep thoughts? Do you want to become one with your inner self and urges and be one with the world? Well there is no better place than the couch of Sigmund Freud. 

The couch has actually had a rough life. Being born and raised in Bergasse, Vienna the homestead of the celebrated father of psychoanalysis the couch enjoyed a wonderful homelife. 

The couch had the imperative to enjoy such varied and famous patients as novelist Hilda Doolittle, who feared that a second World War was about to happen, which turned out to be a valid concern. The Rat Man, a young lawyer obsessed with rats and the Wolf Man Sergei Pankejeff, who had dreams about wolves in his childhood a manifestation of his depression.

The couch continued travelling to London with Freud and found its final resting place in the London home now turned museum. 

As a celebration of Freud´s 157th birthday the museum made a public call to fund restoring the upholstery for a mere £ 5000. The slogan for the couch still stands today: "possibly the most famous piece of furniture in the world"

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: The tallest statue in the world

Depicting the Vairocana Buddha originating from Brahman texts and representing the concept of emptiness in buddhism the statue rises in the province of  Lushan County, Henan, China. It was built in 2002 and stands 153 meters tall on a hill to increase the magnificence of its presence. 

The construction of the Buddha was sparked by an international event that echoed in media around the world and sparked a huge public outcry. The destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan in 2001 by the ruling Taliban. Condemnation of the mistreatment of the cultural heritage sites lead to the established of a new sight to enjoy for generations to come. 

Size comparison (Vairocana on the left)

The statue overseas the Foquan temple which was built during the chinese Tang dynasty, whose rulers dominated imperial China between 618 – 907 AD. Take something old and something new and create a heritage.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Underwater Savior

Located in the Mediterranean Sea off the sleepy Italian town of San Fruttuoso on the Italian Riviera. A submerged Christ of the Abyss stretches his arms skyward from the ocean floor in the bay. The sculpture was created by Guido Galletti after an idea of Italian diver Duilio Marcante. The statue was placed near the spot where the sea claimed its first scuba diving victim of Italy. It depicts Christ offering a blessing of peace, with his head and hands raised skyward.

The commemorative display was cast with metal molten from medals awarded to soldiers in the second World War. Ship parts of warships and submarines were included in the casting process. You could say that the artist transformed a commemoration of war into a message of peace.  

The statue is transformed by corrosion and sea creatures slowly reclaiming the ocean space for itself and enhancing the look of the art.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: I like big busts and I cannot lie

On the bank of the Tuul River, east of the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar a 40m tall statue of Genghis Khan on horseback rises on the steppes the ancestral grounds of the Mongolian horde. The statue is hollow in the center and visitors can make their way to the head of the horse through its chest and neck. From the very top of the horse tourists can enjoy a panoramic view. 

The main statue area will be surrounded by 200 Ger, yurt camps, designed and arranged like the pattern of the horse brand marks that were used by the 13th century Mongol tribes. The Ger camps are an integral part of the Mongolian society since the times of Genghis Khan and large living quarters of yurts still survive to this day in major towns of the area. Some of these are over 100 years old.

The piece of the world is still available on Geopieces and can be had just for a sign up.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: The Communist Parliament of the Future / Past?

The future of architecture in the past. Sitting atop a mountain like an abandoned flying saucer, this giant structure looks like it was created on another planet. The House of the Bulgarian Communist Party was built in another era, however, one that long ago crumbled along with the way of life it embodied. After the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, Bulgaria moved into a new age of parliamentary democracy.

People are staring in awe at the structure expecting aliens to emerge at any moment

The front of the building is emblazoned by the lyrics of the International anthem the unofficial hymn singing the praises of communism. The interior is circle shaped with a large central area and benches all around rising up like in a modern day stadium. The walls where decorated with intricate mosaics that did not survive the downfall of the iron curtain.

Just remember the glorious meetings of communist leaders here, who were occupied with playing their favourite game of "I´ll show you my nuclear warhead if you show me yours".