No matter how crummy you’re feeling on a Monday (thanks, 101° fever), nothing cheers you up like some good, ol’ newly launched projects. Check out some of our favorites below, and find more of your own at our Discover projects page.
Is the definition of cool this email address: email@example.com? Yes, it is. You can reach Alex Vessels and Mindy Tchieu of NYU’s Interactive Telecommunication Program at that address to suggest new product ideas for their tech-meets-fashion project We Flashy. They’ve been working on clothing that uses reflective material in fun designs so that bikers and pedestrians can be seen by motorists in the dark but also not look lame in the light. Basically, life-saving clothes, with style! Will the next flashy T have a walk signal on it?? I hope so. — Daniella J.
Mumblecore-ers before anyone knew what that meant, Jay and Mark Duplass make films that are low-fi, smart, and sincere. If we can only know it when we see it, that’s thanks to folks like the Duplass brothers, whose subtly-crafted simplicities inadvertently spawned a movement. Unlike their breakout hits The Puffy Chair (2005) and Baghead (2008), or the recent bigger-budget Cyrus (2010), Kevin is Jay’s first foray into documentary—a natural progression from improvised narrative film. Kevin tells the story of Kevin Gant, the Austin-based flamenco-style folk poet who disappeared in 1995 never to be heard of again. Jay set off to find the musical hero who fascinated him throughout his college years, and the film is a portrait of the Gant he discovered — his inspirations, dark fall off of the map, and long-overdue return to music. Hardly a fly on the wall, Jay and his film have reignited Gant’s passion, taking SXSW by storm when he performed live at the film’s recent world premiere. Jay is raising funds to finish Kevin and restart Gant. — Elisabeth H.
When this project launched last week I honestly thought it was some kind of fundraising stunt for the people behind the Master Cleanse™. Maybe the big lemon lobby? Maybe it was a documentary touting the benefits of the Master Cleanse? Imagine my delight when the project’s tagline, “Shit’s about to get real!” referred not to some bodily reaction of depriving yourself of solid food for ten days, but more the emotional turmoil of depriving yourself of solid food for ten days. Okay, maybe it’s both. But what this project really is a funny, cute short film about a couple who decides to go on the Master Cleanse journey together, and it isn’t the shiny eyes, clear skin, skipping through wildflowers experience my yoga teachers claim it to be. — Meaghan O.
Last night I was reading David Attenborough’s Amazing Rare Things. It’s kind of, um, amazing to see sketches of the natural world from the 1400s that look as though they could have been illustrated with colored pencils in 2011. With evolution of species on my mind, it was a pleasure to come across Meera Lee Sethi’s The Language of Birds this morning. Sethi is setting out on a field residency in Sweden and will be publishing a book inspired by Nordic myths about birds that dissects the bird’s place in the natural world. It’s a pleasure to know that in the social media era, there are people still working out in the field, documenting and archiving nature so that we can better understand our surroundings. Also, the skeletal remains of birds really inspire me. Not sure why, or how, but, they do! — Mike M.
After an experiment with adorable DIY robots and human behavior unexpectedly proved that we’re pretty empathetic toward the little critters, Kacie Kinzer is about to help her Tweenbots crossover from small-scale experiment to full-scale legion of robotic fun. These little cardboard buddies are easy to build, encourage imagination, and are the perfect project for assimilating, er, introducing newcomers to robotics. With Tweenbots, we’ll enter an unprecedented era of human-robot relations. I mean, just look at their faces. So happy and willing to do our bidding. I’m 75% sure this will not end in a singularity. — Cindy A.
“We’ve been on this show thirty seven times, and I’ve never asked you: do you like R&B music?” Thus begins the totally bizarre, frequently animated, surrealistic pitch video for PRISM index, a handmade, mixed-media book which combines a CD (rare, unreleased recordings, contemporary tunes, etc) with a DVD and the printed word. Three issues in, founder Jeffrey Bowers has made it his business to be meticulous as all hell with the physical form — handmade pages, hand-bound editions, hand-stamped covers — and he’s definitely no slacker as a curator. Past issues have included Jay Rosenblatt, Bill Plympton, Mountain Man, Wooden Wand, Michael Hurley, Dragging an Ox Through Water, Amy Lockhart, Trinie Dalton, and … do you want me to go on?! Get into it! — Cassie M.