A list of intriguing things
One: Did you know that there’s such a thing as “hidden public art”. Unlike usual artwork that is put on display, these are deliberately kept out of sight. Our favourite example is Casa dei Pesci (“fish home”)—a collection of underwater sculptures that serve a worthy environmental purpose: restoring sea floors destroyed by overfishing. They help snag the huge trawling nets while stabilising the sea floor—allowing the ecosystem to restore itself.
There are now 39 underwater sculptures and marble blocks in the sea bed off the coast of Tuscany. And another 12 will be added once funds are raised. The lead image is our favourite—a sculpture named 'Acqua' by Giorgio Butini. National Geographic looks at the works contributed by Emily Young—known as the UK’s greatest sculptor—while New York Times has more on the project. You can see more of the project in the haunting vid below.
Two: In the guise of evolution, Mother Nature spits out weird shit on a regular basis. Like the Dracula Parrot—which has the head of a vulture (?!). Also known as Pesquet’s parrot, it stretches to almost half a metre from beak to tail and weighs almost a kilogram. Despite its menacing looks, the bird is a shudh shakahari—feeding almost exclusively on figs. Oddly enough, that’s what gives it that vulture-like head:
Just as vultures lost the feathers on their head as an adaptation for feeding on bloody carcasses, it’s thought that the Dracula parrot did the same in response to its diet of sticky fruits — the lack of feathers around its beak and eyes mean it’s able to avoid turning its face into a matted mess.
Three: One of Helsinki’s most famous hotels was a county prison—built back in 1888. Hotel Katajanokka is one of the “experiential” hotels being offered by Marriott. You can stay in a beautiful art deco building. Get a guided tour from a former resident—a notorious and now reformed bank robber. But this is the really special bit:
“Guests can also visit our original isolation cells and have a hosted dinner in one of them (with their own guard) before taking part in a prison escape game," says [hotel’s marketing director Taru] Ojaharju-Latief. More subtle prison touches include “tin plates and tin cups at dinner, weddings at the old prison church (Helsinki's second oldest church), and a photo exhibition showcasing the old prison times that is for free for guests, created by photographer Sakari Kiuru.”
This is a bird’s-eye view of the building:
And look: the perfect dungeon ambience for your conference meetings: