Welcome to NewsFile, our weekly roundup of news from the worlds of contemporary ceramics and contemporary ceramic art. We’re kicking off this week with something of an oddity: A very old (and lovable!) clay figure was dug up in Yehud in Israel.
The unique clay statuette, mounted atop a ceramic vessel, was found in the central Israel town of Yehud by a team of Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists, who paired up with high school students in October.
News of the discovery was reported by the IAA on Wednesday.
Gilad Itach, the archaeologist heading the dig, said that on the last day of excavations, just before construction of a building commenced on site, they found the 18-centimeter (seven-inch) tall figurine, along with an assortment of other items.
“It seems they first prepared a pot characteristic of the period, and afterwards they added the unique statue, the likes of which have never before been discovered in previous research,” he said. “The level of precision and attention to detail in creating this almost 4,000-year-old sculpture is extremely impressive. The neck of the jug served as a base for forming the upper portion of the figure, after which the arms, legs and a face were added to the sculpture.”
For me, the difference is that Rodin’s Thinker is very stern, like he’s trying to work out how to assemble a plutonium reactor core and can’t be bothered by any distractions. This little guy is much more approachable and — not to be patronizing— I can see a connection between him and the Peanuts characters pondering existential questions as they lean against a brick wall. His body is simpler than Thinker but in a way he’s closer to our level. I just hope the clay figure found some answers after 3,800 years.
Joey Roth’s Ceramic Speakers
Designers continue to chase the dragon of speakers that both sound great and are sculptural instead of drab black boxes. Designer Joey Roth recently started selling ceramic tower speakers for about $2,300 a pair. Yeah, they’re expensive, but not psychotic in terms of high-quality speakers. Roth spoke to Coolhunting about the project. Having yet to encounter a ceramic speaker in the wild (despite my bucket list goal of playing a techno set on one), I’m usually left wondering how they sound compared to conventional speakers. Roth sounds like he’s put a great deal of thought into the guts of the speaker before attempting a design:
I was exploring how speakers could be optimized for time domain performance rather than frequency domain performance while I was developing the Ceramic Towers. Frequency means the range of low to high tones that the speaker can play at a given volume without distortion, and is usually how speakers are understood. Time refers the speaker’s attack, decay (transients) and coherence. In other words, a speaker whose tweeter plays the snap of the drummer’s stick striking the drumhead at exactly the same time as the woofer plays the drum’s fundamental tone has good time alignment. If it can go from playing the drum hit to a guitar’s wail or singer’s voice instantly, without ringing, it has good transient response. This is difficult to achieve, since reproducing a high frequency requires a very different transducer movement than producing a low frequency. Although the difference between good and bad time alignment/ transient response is measured in milliseconds, it’s the difference between speakers sounding like speakers and sounding like a live performance.
Gabriel Orozco Gardens in the UK
We’re wrapping up this week with news out of the UK as Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco has realized a project for London’s Royal Botanical Gardens. It takes the shapes of spirals, flowing into one another. From ArchDaily:
Establishing a tension between symmetry and assymetry, a geometry of intertwining circles intricately outlined in brick dimensioned york stone subtly maps a series of discreet spaces or notional rooms. Each is lent its own distinctive character through slight shifts in form or by being at different levels, variously planted or featuring seating, a sink, water butt or welcome bowl built up from the york stone.
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