Art

From the Vault: The Stone of Madness

Madness has always intrigued artists, and medieval paintings sometimes presented this malady's treatment via the surgical removal of cranial stone. What was the stone of madness? Was it mere fantasy, metaphor or an actual medical condition? In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe collect their trepanation tools and investigate. (Originally published Jan 7, 2016)

Baby Jesus and the Homunculus

We’ve all marveled at the grotesque, oddly-proportioned old man babies in medieval art -- but why did artists of the period pain such creatures? In this special Christmas episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the convergence of the homunculus theory of human reproduction, the nativity and the infants of medieval and renaissance art.

The Buddha is a Mountain

One of the largest historical statues in the world, China’s Lèshān Grand Buddha has overlooked the Dàdù river for 1200 years. Carved from the side of a mountain, this serene titan is a testament to human artistry and the Anthropocene Epoch. Join Robert and Joe for a discussion of the Buddha’s history, meaning and the overarching theme of humanity’s remaking of the natural world.

AI, Machine Learning and Human Creativity

Just as manufacturing automation cuts into human jobs, the prospect of creative artificial intelligence raises the specter of robot writers, robot artists and robot musicians who never sleep and always agree with their patron. But paranoia aside, where will creative machine learning take us? Robert and Christian discuss some possibilities in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast.

H. R. Giger and the Biomechanical Soul

We’ve all seen the surreal biomechanical art of the late H.R. Giger, but the artist’s mainstream success and the undying appeal of his 'Alien' sometimes prevent a full appreciation of his dark vision. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore the psychology and themes present in Giger’s art and chat with artist E.C. Steiner on Giger’s influences and more.

Incomplete/Unfinished

How are we to process an incomplete or unfinished work? Art, literature and film all present us with partial works, yet our reaction varies. Some works remain incomplete due to tragedy or neglect, while others are intentionally non finito. We demand some incomplete compositions completed, while others remain sacrosanct testaments to the creator. Join Robert and Joe as they discuss the nature of incomplete works.

The Stone of Madness

Madness has always intrigued artists, and medieval paintings sometimes presented this malady's treatment via the surgical removal of cranial stone. What was the stone of madness? Was it mere fantasy, metaphor or an actual medical condition? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe collect their trepanation tools and investigate.

The Psychedelic Nightmare of Ergotism

Imagine an entire 15th-century town overcome by a collective waking nightmare. The afflicted walk the streets with blackened limbs and seeping sores, all while psychotic hallucinations assault their fragile hold on sanity. Join Robert and Joe as they explore the world of Ergotism and discuss how a toxic fungus terrorized and inspired generations of Medieval Europeans.

Extraordinary Science of 2014

Sex-reversed genitalia and tractor beams -- just a few of the extraordinary discoveries and breakthroughs of 2014. How have they changed our perception of the universe and ourselves? Join in on the discussion in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast.

40 Faces of Death: A Grim Reaper Gallery

"Well I am death, none can excel. I'll open the door to Heaven or Hell..."