Sneaky Billboard Disappears in the Presence of Russian Authorities

To circumvent a Russian food embargo, this Moscow deli owner got selective with his clandestine advertising.

image via youtube screen capture

Ordinarily, advertisements are designed to capture the attention of as many people as humanly possible. In a particularly Yakov Smirnov-ian turn, however, one high-tech Russian billboard is bucking convention by actively removing itself from sight in the presence of anyone from that country’s police or military.

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Dangerous Routes to a Better Life

The unfolding migrant crisis in North Africa spurs thousands to risk their lives in search of new ones.

Migrants arrive at the Italian Island of Lampedusa. Image by Sara Prestianni / noborder network via Flickr

Earlier this month, Maltese boats approaching rickety rafts of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean from Libya to Europe started reporting a strange phenomenon: the distressed migrants were waving them away, refusing assistance. Given the publicity of recent tragedies befalling migrants in the region, like the death of 800 in the capsizing of an oversized smugglers’ craft, this resistance to aid seems perplexing from the outside. As human traffickers cram more and more migrants onto their boats, migrants themselves report that they’re aware of how dangerous the trip to Europe has become—at 1,710 have died en route to date this year—and are trying to dissuade others from following in their footsteps. The migrants refusing Malta’s assistance in this climate just reflect the desperation of the quest and the shortcomings of Europe’s efforts to address the crisis, which focus upon rescue, but also on policing maritime borders and disabling smuggler networks to cut off transit routes and prevent migration.

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Now Open: Italy’s Poop-Centric “Museo della Merda” is Full of Crap

Located just south of Milan, the “Museum of Sh*t” offers a uniquely fecal experience

image via (cc) flickr user mulsanne

Sometimes a trip to the museum can be a wonderful experience, full of great art or fascinating science. Other times, though, it can be pretty shitty.

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Italy’s Government is Not Cool with Anti-Mosque Laws

Italy’s consitutional court is reviewing a law many consider Islamophobic.

A Muslim woman in Bari, Italy. Photo by Flickr user Tambako the Jaguar.

The federal government of our favorite country-sized pasta factory, Italy, is trying to block a set of regulations dubbed by the media as “anti-mosque” laws, which would make it extremely difficult to construct any new mosques in the region of Lombardy. Although the laws do not explicitly reference mosques, the measure limits the construction of insitutions of worship for religions that are not recognized by the state. Although the government has signed agreements recognizing 11 different religious groups, Islam is not one of them—which is shocking, considering how popular Muslims in Europe are right now.

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Recipes as Resistance

The man who invented the “eggplant-parmesan rave” is out to save traditional Italian cooking.

Daniele de Michele, better known as DJ Donpasta, picked up his stage name from hungry nightclub staff whom he used to cook for after his live performances. De Michele, known for inserting cooking demos into his sets, was, they insisted, “the Don Corleone of pasta.” The author of La Parmigiana e la Rivoluzione, a diary-like treatise on the politics of cooking and music, de Michele is also editing the upcoming Artusi Remix. With the help of a staggering list of 3,000 Italian cooks, this new cookbook will attempt to revamp and resurrect a century-old tome of classic recipes. The original Artusi cookbook, La scienza in cucina e l'arte di mangiare bene was compiled by a businessman named Pellegrino Artusi in 1891; its recipes and amusing anecdotes gave a new coherence to the Italian national cuisine and occupy an important place in many homes to this day.

If that’s not enough of a mouthful, then consider de Michele’s devotion to his beloved eggplant parmesan. It’s his ur-dish—his grandmother’s parmigiana: “It’s an eggplant lasagna that we only make in August because you have to use fresh tomatoes and eggplant, and those are only available in Italy then. After you prepare the tomato sauce, you prepare the polpette, tiny meatballs. Then you fry the eggplant, first dipping it in flour and egg. Then after that you put mozzarella and parmigiano on each layer, along with boiled eggs and mortadella.”

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Open Source Urbanism: Venice Biennale Puts Spotlight On Renegade Redesigners

Exhibit honors yarn bombers, guerrilla gardeners and all manner of DIY civic activists as agents of radical creative disruption.

In recent years, cities all over the world have seen citizens take it upon themselves to paint bike lanes, alter signage, convert unused land and infrastructure, and make other such “contributions” to the landscape. When I first began researching these kinds of informal urban design solutions in 2010, they were largely off the radar and rarely discussed as a singular trend. After an incredibly rapid rise into the public eye, the movement may truly be validated this week with the opening of the exhibition Spontaneous Interventions at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale and an accompanying special issue of Architect magazine.

The International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale is a World’s Fair of architecture and design that has been occurring since 1980. This year the theme of the U.S. Pavilion is Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good, curated by Cathy Lang Ho, Ned Cramer, and David van der Leer, and others. I was proud to join this team as a project research manager and catalog editor.

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