Oakland City Council voted Tuesday to become the first U.S. city to decriminalize the adult use and possession of psychoactive plants like ayahuasca and peyote, and the second to make the same move for hallucinogenic mushrooms.
The resolution makes the adult use and possession of all entheogenic, or psychoactive, plants and fungi the lowest priority for police. That means, along with psilocybin mushrooms, it applies to cacti like peyote, the shrub iboga that has been used to treat opioid dependence and a variety of plants used to brew ayahuasca, among other things.
Denver voters in May approved a measure to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms for people 21 and older.
Supporters say entheogenic plants have been used to treat depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Entheogenic plants and fungi are tremendous for helping to enable healing, particularly for folks who have experienced trauma in their lives,” said Carlos Plazola, chair of the advocacy group Decriminalize Nature Oakland. “These plants are being recommended pretty extensively undercover, underground, by doctors and therapists.”
Oakland’s proposed resolution would make the investigation and arrest of adults who grow, possess, use or distribute entheogenic plants, including magic mushrooms, ayahuasca and peyote, one of the lowest priorities for police. No city funds could be used to enforce laws criminalizing the substances, and the Alameda County District Attorney would stop prosecuting people who have been apprehended for use or possession.
In the last five years, Oakland police have recorded 19 cases of suspected psilocybin mushrooms being submitted to the department’s crime lab, according to testimony from a police official at the council’s public safety committee meeting last Tuesday. The official did not have data available for other plants.
Councilmember Noel Gallo, who introduced the resolution, said decriminalizing such plants would enable Oakland police to focus on serious crime.
Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Teresa Drenick declined to comment.
Still, magic mushrooms would remain illegal under both federal and state laws. Entheogenic substances are considered Schedule 1 drugs under the federal Controlled Substances Act, which categorizes drugs that have potential for abuse and no medical value.
Skeptics have expressed qualms about the resolution, including Councilmember Loren Taylor, who said it’s important that law enforcement and other community leaders are included in any talks to think through “all possible implications” of the resolution.
“It is something that is valuable in certain settings,” Taylor said at last week’s committee meeting. “It’s a matter of how we deploy it and how we ensure it’s not something that (with) our kids becomes a fad.”
To address such concerns, Gallo said, lawmakers would have to establish rules and regulations about the use of such substances, including what exactly can be used, how to use them and what associated risks are.
Entheogenic plants have long been used in religious and cultural contexts. Gallo remembers his grandmother treating his family members with plants, including entheogenic ones, for a variety of ailments.
“Growing up in the Mexican community, this was our cure,” Gallo said. Hemp oils, mushrooms and yerba buenas — an aromatic plant known for its medicinal properties — “that was our Walgreens. We didn’t have a Walgreens. We didn’t have a way to pay for any drugs. These are plants we have known for thousands of years in our community and that we continue to use.”
Julie Megler, a psychiatric nurse practitioner who spoke in support of the proposal at last week’s meeting, said it could also help people who lack the funds for traditional prescription drugs.
“I believe that the medical model is important, but is limited in the number of people that can access its care,” she said.
Another supporter with Decriminalize Oakland, Gary Kono, identified himself as a retired surgeon. He admitted there is some risk associated with the plants and fungi, “but more people die from taking selfies for their social media than from all of our entheogens combined.”
Tuesday’s vote would be the final on the measure. The council’s public safety committee advanced it last week.
French artist Edouard Martinet (previously) sources junk metal and automotive parts from garage sales and flea markets to create detailed sculptures of various creatures including models of ants, wasps, and other common insects. The found objects are held together with screws instead of welded joints, and the completed works measure between 30 centimeters and 2 meters long.
Martinet’s fascination with insects began when he was 8 years old. He went on to study design at l’École Supérieure des Arts Graphiques in Paris and to work as a graphic designer before starting to experiment with sculptures made of repurposed parts. Each work begins with an extensive sketching phase, followed by a look through Martinet’s large cache of collected “junk.” The sculptor rarely modifies pieces to fit a certain application, and will instead wait several months or years if necessary to find the perfect component. He turns bicycle badges into chrome fish scales, chains into antennae, and other miscellaneous scraps into anatomical facsimiles that seem manufactured specifically for his art.
An exhibition of Edouard Martinet’s work opens on June 1 at Bettina von Armin Gallery in Paris, and you can also follow the artist on Instagram for more looks at his studio process and completed sculptures.
Nature is perfect, and it seems we can never learn or figure out all its mysteries and secrets. It can often create some ideal coincidences that illustrate its power and potential, so we are left bewildered and startled.
Photographer Daniel Biber from Hilzingen, Germany, captured one of these unique moments in Costa Brava, in Northeastern Spain.
Namely, a mass of starlings started gathering into a shape-shifting cloud, known as a murmuration, and the hundreds of birds moved and twisted in a coordinated organism that can quickly morph into some startling shapes.
Biber witnessed the true spectacle, and as a predator like a falcon or a hawk was in the vicinity, the starlings started twisting and turning in a way that eventually formed a shape of a giant, single bird in less than 10 seconds.
However, he took the photos but realized the formation they created only when he came home and checked them on his computer later. Previously, he was so focused on taking the pictures, that he didn’t see the giant bird they made on the sky. He then realized that his snapshot was unique, sharp, and in high quality.
He was trying to capture the murmuration of starlings for 4 days in a row, but when he finally succeeded, it was a real masterpiece.
He then submitted the images to an international photography competition run by the bird observatory Vogelwarte Sempach in Switzerland in 2017. Organizers received 6,800 images submitted by 540 photographers from 15 countries, but the amazing one-in-a-million images helped Biber won the competition.
A new solar power plant in Datong, China, however, decided to have a little fun with its design. China Merchants New Energy Group, one of the country's largest clean energy operators, built a 248-acre solar farm in the shape of a giant panda.
The first phase, which includes one 50-megawatt plant, was completed on June 30, according to PV magazine. The project just began delivering power to a grid in northwestern China, and a second panda is planned for later this year.
Called the Panda Power Plant, it will be able to produce 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours of solar energy in 25 years, according to the company. That will eliminate approximately million tons of coal that would have been used to produce electricity, reducing carbon emissions by 2.74 million tons.
China Merchants New Energy Group worked with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to make the Panda Power Plant a reality. The project is part of a larger effort to raise awareness among young people in China about clean energy, the UNDP wrotein a statement.
The groups hope to build more panda-shaped solar plants throughout China in the next five years.
For years, artist and photographer Fong Qi Wei has been skillfully slicing photographs into awe-inspiring scenes showcasing the passage of time. Known as “time slice” photographs, each work of art combines several photos taken at different times of day to produce a single, strikingly cohesive composition. To create each piece, Wei snaps several photographs of the same location over a period of several hours. He then digitally divides the images and extracts a single strip from each. Finally, he pieces together these strips, creating a harmonized scene that beautifully depicts a range of time.
While time slice photography is a prevalent practice among contemporary artists, Wei’s work is renowned for its creative compositions. Rather than simply combining the “slices” into vertical stripes, the artist experiments with angles, shapes, and placement.
Some are arranged into ray-like formations, for example, while others are split into series of circles. Though Fong Qi Wei notes that he has been working as a photographer for over 10 years and that he creates his time slice photos using a digital camera, he also recognizes the painterly quality of his work and practice. “Photographic galleries call my work paintings, while traditional galleries specializing in paintings call my work photographs,” he explains. His work, however, is not affected by these classifications or genres. Instead, it is defined by its effect on the viewer and its ability to resonate. “I strive to make images [that touch] both the feeling part and the thinking part of your mind.
My art seeks to get your attention and hopefully engage you on a deeper level as you look at it for longer.”
Original article: Mymodernmet.
You can ask any traveler to name a few countries you must visit in your lifetime, and most of them will name India as the country everybody has to experience – from extraordinary cuisine to mind-blowing history, culture and sacred temples, India is definitely written in many bucket lists. Now, there are even more reasons to visit this magical country, and one of them is the mind-blowing statue of an eagle that brings an old myth back to life created by a famous filmmaker Rajiv Anchal.
More info: TheHindu
Image credits: Jatayu Earth’s Center
Located near Kerala, Jatayu Earth Centre became one of the best places to visit while traveling around India.
Image credits: Jonny Melon
The Ramayana epic, written in Sanskrit, tells a story about a giant eagle of the Ramayana who fell while fighting against Ravana, to save a Hindu goddess Sita. The residents of Chadayamangalam village in Kollam district, Kerala, had known the story for many years, now it has been brought back to life in the best way possible.
Image credits: Team Jatayu
If you ever visit the place, it’s not only the sculpture that is interesting in the area, there is also plenty of other interesting activities for the tourists, such as rock climbing, rappelling, paintball, and rifle shooting. There is also an Ayurvedic resort nearby as well as a museum.
Image credits: Withlai
When we say that is the biggest sculpture of a bird in the world, we do really mean it since the sculpture itself stretches 200ft from tail to head and is also build on top of the 1,000ft-high Jatayupara towers.
Image credits: Team Jatayu
The author of the sculpture, filmmaker Rajiv Anchal, says he had the idea for longer than 10 years.“I had presented a model for this sculpture to the Department of Tourism during my Fine Arts College days in the 1980s. Although they were impressed, it didn’t take shape back then.”
Image credits: Kerala Tourism
The author of the sculpture also says how important it is to not turn the monument from a cultural one into a religious one. According to him “Jatayu died protecting a woman’s honor and that is what the sculpture stands for. People of all faiths have invested in the project and people of all faiths will be coming to see it. My work is for all of them. For those looking for religion, there is the old temple just outside the compound.”
Image credits: Team Jatayu
In 2016, images of a stunning piece of street art—spread across nearly 50 buildings in Cairo—began circulating online. Individually, each building was a colorful, abstract masterpiece. Together, they formed the stunning Arabic calligraphy that Tunisian-French artist eL Seed is known for. Painted in the Manshiyat Naser area of Cairo, a forgotten corner of the city where garbage collectors live, the world marveled at how this incredible artistic statement was achieved. Now, eL Seed is telling the story in his own words.
Perception is the artist’s first-hand account of how he managed to organize the self-funded project, gain the trust of the community, and execute a complex artwork all while undergoing an emotional transformation. The anamorphic mural, also titled Perception, is only visible in its totality from Moqattam Mountain and shines a light on a community that is so often ignored. Through his work, eL Seed reinforces how street art is much more than the finished artwork itself. It’s also a means to engage with a community and build bridges.
“What intrigued me about Perception was less the end result of the painting—although it is very impressive—but the way in which eL Seed immersed himself in the community of Manshiyat Naser, and worked to unpack the assumptions and prejudices he—and we—have of the ‘garbage collectors’ of Cairo,” writes Glenn D. Lowry, director of MoMA, in the book’s foreword. “As he worked with local leaders, met the inhabitants of the buildings he painted, and played with the children of the neighborhood, the project evolved from being a literal act of ‘perception’ seeing the anamorphic painting spread across an array of buildings, to a metaphor for seeing what had been previously invisible; the dignity and richness of the lives of the Coptic community of Zaraeeb.”
Can you imagine seeing a Van Gogh painting sitting right off the freeway on your morning commute or aerial ride?
One field in Eagan, Minnesota got exactly this when the 67-year-old artist, Stan Herd, transformed it into Van Gogh’s 1889 “Olive Trees.”
Herd has been doing similar types of artworks or ‘earthworks’ since 1981. “I realized in my late 20’s that to create my monumental earthworks, beyond the design and actual creation of the work, I had to develop skills in public relations, communications, media relations, logistics, and fund raising,” said Herd on his website.
His most recent project took six months and spans 1.2 acres. Plenty of mowing, digging, and planting was involved all of which were commissioned by the Minneapolis Institute of Art. It can even be seen from the Minneapolis airport. The “Earthwork” is comprised of mainly large native plants and materials.
It was Herd’s way of uniquely engaging with his favorite artist.