Current Weather
The Spy FM

Go Where Raisins Swell Into Grapes And Lemons Light The Sky

Filed by KOSU News in Science.
January 11, 2014

There’s a book by the novelist China Mieville that describes two cities plopped one on top of the other. One is large-scale, the other smaller-scale, and while they live in entangled proximity, both cities have the same rule. Each says to its citizens, pay no attention — on pain of punishment — to what the “others” around you are doing. See your own kind. “Unsee” the others.

In the novel, most people comply. They may be in the same place at the same time, but learn to not notice. A few, of course, break the rules and watch — even talk to one another — but they are cursed with restless, wandering eyes.

When I was seven, I had those eyes. I was keenly aware of a world superimposed on mine. It was littler than mine. But I knew it was there. I could imagine it at will. In my version, I could see my little people. But my little people rarely saw me.

I’d be in my bedroom with a toy speedboat. I’d add passengers – small railroad figures (also from the toy store), the ones sold by model railroad companies. I’d place my little people on the boat, or into the “water” (made of crinkly cellophane sprayed with Gillette “foaming” shaving cream to make tumbling waves, which hid tentacles of giant squid — my dad’s pipe cleaners — looking scarily for something to squeeze to death). And I’d watch beautiful ladies with luggage spilling into the sea, getting oh-so-close to disaster … unless I decided to rescue them, which, sometimes, with my giant hands, I did.

I spent hours and hours with my little people. That was my world.

Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida live in this same world. But they are much, much better at it than I was. That’s because they’re adults living in Paris, and they’ve got wonderfully ridiculous imaginations, so, for example, they too will go to sea and imagine a brave sea captain staring out at the restless water:

But in their version, the sea monster is scarier, meatier, with olive eyeballs:

Pierre and Akiko have another advantage. They’re commercial food photographers, so they think about food constantly, which makes their food fantasies much more dangerous. Peppers in their world aren’t just hot. They’re fiery hot…

… and need to doused:

Pomegranates can blow up at any moment …

… maybe because the French word for “pomegranate” sounds so much like the English word “grenade.”

Things in their world are different. We all grew up believing that grapes dry in the sun to become raisins. That’s wrong, apparently. When we’re not looking …

… exactly the opposite happens:

The Moon, it turns out, is not made of cheese. It’s made of cinnamon (or maybe cocoa):

Winters, in this little world, are much like ours, only better:

Construction workers, on the other hand, still have to get by with short lunch breaks in high places:

But happily, superheroes, even with their extraordinary talent for jumping, soaring and climbing …

… in this world have taken time out to think hard about electromagnetism and its possible implications for urban lighting, and have developed … yes, the lemon-powered lamp. Thank you, Batman. We’ve been waiting for the LemonLamp for a long, long time.

And thanks to Akiko and Pierre — who’ve been making these images since 2002. They now have scores and scores of them, on display here at a site they call Minimiam. They’ve also got a video, which takes you on a train ride through their various creations, themed “milky” and featuring a city of milk bottles, cows, and whiteness. They will be at the International Agriculture Show in Paris next month, if you are reading this (lucky you) in Paris. [Copyright 2014 NPR]

Leave a Reply

7PM to 8PM Folk Salad

Folk Salad

Folk Salad Hosts Richard Higgs and Scott Aycock play an eclectic mix of Folk, Singer/songwriter, Americana, Bluegrass, Blues, Red Dirt, and anything else we happen to like that week.

Listen Live Now!

8PM to 9PM For the Sake of the Song

For the Sake of the Song

Greg Johnson, owner of The Blue Door in Oklahoma City gathers the best Red Dirt musicians in the region for his show.

View the program guide!

9PM to 12AM SpyLab


Katie Wicks is our resident international superstar DJ. She hosts SpyLab, a dance mix show on Saturday nights and co-hosts the largest weekly dance party in OKC, Robotic Wednesdays. She has had two original dance songs chart in the World Top 100 Beatport charts. She has been hired to DJ in L.A., NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Portugal, Spain and Costa Rica.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center