The first illustrations 2

The first illustrations

This summer I was enjoying the Egyptian Museum of Turin, Italy. It is one of the most important Egyptian art museums in the world. In it, I could see the “Ostracon of the dancer” and read the analysis made by the curators of the museum. There it was indicated that the ostraca were disposable stone slabs that the artists used to practice or make sketches and plans. This is particular for two reasons, the first was the effort made by the artist, because he did not save in details or materials, despite being a painting on an ostracon, making it a preciousness; the other reason was that they argued that the dancer’s position was not the position that complied with the painting canon of the time and therefore was prohibited.

Investigating a bit more about this ostracon I discovered that this type of postures was used in representations of parties in the area of Thebes, so it is not a forbidden position, as the museum suggests, however, it is evident the artistic ability of the creator of the work.

Ostraca de la Bailarina, Egyptian Museum of Turin

This led me to wonder about artistic skills at other times in our history and what those artists or illustrators wanted or could tell us.

As Miguel Tanco tells us in his article, Hommo industries were born at the moment he was chosen to tell stories using images, “through fire and imagination”.

In this sense, we know from the archaeoacoustic studies carried out by Margarita Díaz Andreu and her colleagues that there is a direct relationship between caves and shelters with rock paintings and their acoustic characteristics. These sites have reverberation and special echoes. Perfect to tell a story or to make a special ritual, using images, lighting, and sound.

Prehistoric art covers a long period of time and space in human history, making it difficult to generalize. Although the best known are those located in the Franco-Cantabrian zone, there are manifestations of rock paintings all over the world. Several have been found in Australia, in India where one of the paintings shows a man being pursued by an animal, in Russia and his camel, in the American continent, and of course in Africa. In fact, there are so many that I did not know that I felt quite overwhelmed. On the other hand, the rock manifestations extend in a long period of time, although the moment of realization of the paintings still cannot be dated actually because the techniques that are available are not 100% reliable.

Lions, Chauvet Cave

What objects are represented in prehistoric art? Animals mainly, both in groups and solitary, almost always recognizable; human beings, although less frequently in hunting attitudes, or in sexual attitudes; stencils of hands, artists or other members of the group? schemes and symbols, mainly sexual. However, as Jean Clottes mentions, the images do not represent the landscape, the moon, the sun, the plants, the rivers, only rarely, a line of the horizon. Why?. This absence of representation seems to be as important as the continuous representation of animals.

In any case, what did they want to tell us? what was the object ? were they narrations to maintain the group’s history ? was it part of a magical-religious act? many hypotheses have been made about it, possibly never we will know the answer.

We can not forget the magical characters that have been found in several of the caves, among them: Chauvet’s man-bison; the man-bird of Lascaux; the magician of Les Trois Frères, or the mushroom man of Tassili n’Ajjer. All, a combination between human and some animal, even the last one, that although it is also decorated with mushrooms, the head is of a bee.

Something that can be affirmed is that the technical and artistic capacity of the prehistoric illustrators is undoubted. From the more sophisticated figures such as those found in the Cave of Altamira, Lascaux or Chauvet, to the more schematic ones such as those of the Cueva del Castillo, one can observe the use of a very expressive line, the use of shading, use of the same form of the cave to give three-dimensionality to the figures they represent. The images tend to have movement, both those of animals and the few times they represented humans. Even in places like Chauvet, it seems that the site that was chosen to locate a children book illustration was not trivial, but important for the whole.

It is curious to see how the bison are grouped in the cave of Altamira, and in Chauvet rhinoceroses or lions are grouped, giving the impression of herds in movement or the movement of the same animal.

In Africa, in the figures found in Tassili n’Ajjer, Algeria, much more recent than those mentioned above, human figures seem to be dancing while they hunt or perform other activities. They are highly stylized and funny.

Tassili n’Ajjer, Algeria

Andre Leroi-Gorham established, with Annette Laming-Emperaire, a systematic analysis of cave paintings, analyzing through time and space the location of images, grouping, frequency, gender, position and their relation to symbols and the handprints that accompanied them. He discovered that in almost all of them a precise organization of the decorated space could be established: that there was a pattern in the relations of proximity or distance of the figures, and in their position with respect to the topography of the caves in which they are found. Its conclusion is a symbolic interpretation of the representations of each of the images as binary signs that oppose, alternate and complement each other. For Leroi-Gourhan, these elements were masculine and feminine.

More importantly, Leroi-Gourhan indicates that “the great quality achieved in” the trade “by the architects of the great sanctuaries, allows us to see that the artist could -as it happened in so many societies of” primitive contemporaries “, or in the so-called art tribal- receive compensation for their services or, at least, enjoy the applause or religious approval of their contemporaries. His production had, then, to keep more and more to what was expected of him. If the perspective was left open with the innovation of artistic technique (and in this, the decorated caverns give sufficient faith), such innovation had to abide by the limits prescribed by the social solicitation. “That is to say, we return to the same comment that they make in the Egyptian Museum of Turin on the ballerina’s ostraca,

And I ask myself, are we, as illustrators, also limited by society? Although it may not be the same way it was done in prehistory or ancient Egypt, it is certainly true, for the simple reason that it is a society that consumes our products. It is important? I think so since I firmly believe in all kinds of art as a way of critical thinking in society.

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Over the past few decades, the development of technology has caused a lot of damage to the human health and the environment. But now technology is finally working towards improving human health and this has also made us more considerate towards our personal healthcare. It’s a new age for healthcare – medicine is getting more advanced and technology is helping us take better care of ourselves.

 

With small gadgets reminding us to drink water every hour to gadgets that track our heart rate, technology has taken a step towards healthcare and so should we. While some of these gadgets help in fighting chronic conditions, others have helped medical professionals in certain situations.

 

Air monitors

Air pollution is on the rise and the level of pollutants in the air are increasing both indoors and outdoors. Indoor air pollution and indoor air quality are as much of a concern now as the level of pollution in the ambient air. But with gadgets like air monitors from Kaiterra or uHoo, we can carry portable air monitors with us to evaluate the air of our surrounding. These devices have made it easier to monitor the air around us and to evaluate the level of pollution present in the air and its associated health hazards.

Imagine how convenient it can be for you to get in your car with a portable air monitor and just determine if the air inside is safe for you or not. Since motor vehicles are one of the main causes of air pollution, the health issues that come with it are countless. Which is why evaluating the air around you in your car or while you are stuck in traffic can help prevent many health problems.

 

Once you know the quality of the air around you, you can also take measures to improve the indoor air quality. Not just that, you can even prevent problems from acute pollutant exposure by wearing an air mask whenever the indoor air quality in a room is hazardous.

 

Wireless blood pressure monitor

Blood pressure is a major issue among adults now and the need for an effective blood pressure device was increasing. Measuring blood pressure can be a hassle as most of the wire devices are difficult to maintain, they are also not travel-friendly. While the other wireless devices are not always as accurate.
When it comes to on-the-go blood pressure monitoring, it doesn’t get more stylish than Nokia BPM+. Combining elegant, minimalist design with innovative technology, the compact health gadget is extremely easy to use and synchronizes with your smartphone via Bluetooth automatically. How easy has this device made for us to measure blood pressure on the go!

 

Smartphone ultrasound

Yes, you read it right. Ultrasound is now possible on a smartphone! The days of planning and paying the doctor a visit for an ultrasound have changed and technology has enabled us to do everything right in our bed on our smartphones.

The first smartphone ultrasound imaging device in the world, MobiUS SP1 System enables medical professionals to diagnose patients in remote areas. It enabled pregnant women in remote areas to get access and benefits of ultrasound just like any other women would. It can be used for monitoring pregnancies, but also for various abdominal, cardiac, pelvic, and peripheral vessel scans. Images are stored on an 8GB microSD memory card and can be shared via Wi-Fi, cellular networks, or USB.

 

We are now living in a world where we can basically monitor everything and get access to any information right on our smartphone. New devices have helped us to live a healthier and better life. Even mobile apps such as NikeRun, SamsungHealth, etc, help us in exercising and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Just like devices, countless apps have been developed and are available on your smartphones that help us in cooking, eating clean, and also help in other aspects of a healthy life.

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