Required Reading

This week, Sweden’s ice hotel unveils their art suites, the story of anime in Arabic, pop culture loves Frank Lloyd Wright, how Natural History Museum skew history, new New York landmarks, and more.

The ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, is located 200km (~124 miles) north of the Arctic Circle and they’ve unveiled their annual art suites. See them all on Contemporist. (via
  • If you’re looking for some holiday spirit at New York-area museums, then I suggest you check out our list of local museums decorated for the holidays.
  • Remember this Afghan girl whose photograph caused a sensation in the 1980s because of her stunning gaze and eyes? She’s finally returned to Afghanistan and this is her story:
The original cover from 1985, and Sharbat Gula today (right) (via National Geographic)

At least two generations of Arabic-speaking children have grown up with anime, yet a quick Google search shows that anime in the Arabic-speaking world has gone unresearched by academics and pundits alike. What brought anime from Japan into the Arabic-speaking world? What role does anime play in the politics of language and art of Arabic-speakers? And what is the future of anime in Arabic?

…Anime took off in Japan in the 1970s. The very first Arabic translations of anime were released in the late 1970s. Writing in The National, Rym Ghazal noted that the rise of anime in the Arabic-speaking world was a result of the “GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] Joint Production Program Institution, set up in 1976 to make television programs for the [Gulf] region.” My parents’ generation gathered once a week to watch Japanese-produced Arabic-translated classics such as Sindibad (The Adventure of Sinbad, which opened with an Arabic-script basmala that transformed into Japanese characters), the cult hit Grendizer(UFO Robo Grendizer, with its rousing theme song by Sammy Clark), and the especially beloved Adnan wa Lina (Future Boy Conan, the science fiction debut of Hayao Miyazaki, who later founded Studio Ghibli, famous for its record-breaking anime feature films such as Spirited Away).

Even before that period, as he was working on Ennis, Wright found his personal life in tumult, thrown into darkness: In short order, his mother died, he married his partner, and then they separated because of her morphine addiction—all before he finished Ennis. It’s possible that these events influenced the way the house was built. Breisch points out the stark difference between the plans for Ennis and those for Doheny Ranch, an ultimately unbuilt Southern California suburban development. Of the latter, he says, “It’s just shortly before [Ennis], but before a lot of the problems that he had. It’s still sort of Mediterranean, and optimistic in a way.”

Intentionally or not, then, Ennis may be Wright’s darkest project. The architect always carefully planned out how visitors would approach his buildings, but few are as imposing to the viewer as Ennis. “You drive for a ways,” says Breisch. “On these curving roads, up to the canyons, and then you kind of come around a big curve and you’re looking at the other side of the house, from the roadway. It kind of looms in front of you. It is an experience just getting to the house.”

If we think about the sex ratio of animal specimens in museum galleries, the males are thoroughly over-represented. Curator of Natural Science at Leeds Museum Discovery Centre, Rebecca Machin, published a case study in 2008 of a typical natural history gallery and found that only 29% of the mammals, and 34% of the birds were female. To some extent this can be explained by the fact that hunters and collectors were more inclined to acquire – and been seen to overcome – animals with big horns, antlers, tusks or showy plumage, which typically is the male of the species. But can this display bias be excused? It is a misrepresentation of nature.

Machin also found that if male and female specimens of the same species were displayed together, the males were typically positioned in a domineering pose over the female, or just simply higher than her on the shelf. This was irrespective of biological realities.

  • Surprisingly, “Youthquake” is Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year:

Youthquake is a noun defined as “a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.”

Oxford editors chose “youthquake” because their data showed a fivefold increase in usage in 2017 since 2016, with particular prevalence in June during the U.K.’s general election.

Architect Ulrich Huberty designed this house for his parents, Peter and Rosa Huberty, in 1900, but the Colonial Revival-style home has remained unchanged in the last 117 years. That, and other factors prompted the LPC to designate this lovely house in October. The designation was seen not just as a nod to the architectural beauty of the townhouse, but also as recognition of Huberty’s legacy in Brooklyn. Along with his firm, he designed many iconic Brooklyn structures like Hotel Bossert, the Williamsburgh Trust Company Building, and the Prospect Park Boathouse.

“Sometimes it comes up with a desert and it thinks its an indecent image or pornography,” Mark Stokes, the department’s head of digital and electronics forensics, recently told The Telegraph. “For some reason, lots of people have screen-savers of deserts and it picks it up thinking it is skin colour.”

Robot Trump resembles the Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight in a wig. Voight, if you recall, is an ardent Trump supporter despite the fact that, in his reality TV-hosting days, Trump said a variety of sexist and nasty things about the actor’s daughter, Angelina Jolie. It also looks like a hybrid Hillary/Trump bot, as if the Disney designers, expecting her to win, began crafting a Hillary Clinton robot and then later modified it to look like Trump.

But mostly, robot Trump is creepy as hell.

Lagunas’s death comes during a year that is on track to become the bloodiest on record in Mexico. In the first 10 months of 2017, 20,878 murders were counted nationwide, an average of 69 murders a day, Reuters reported.

It’s a dangerous time and place for anyone, but especially for a teenage boy living recklessly in search of fame.

“He opted to make a career as a broken toy of cyberspace, a path he carved out drink by drink and that left him with enemies of flesh and blood,” Univision reporter Fernando Mexía wrote in an article titled “The poisoned fame of ‘El Pirata.’ ”

Required Reading is published every Sunday morning ET, and is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.

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