Volume 25 of Smith Journal is a real handful – in the best possible way. Inside this issue you’ll meet a young man who makes ‘land rockets’ out of scrap metal and disused aeroplane parts. It’s a hobby that sends shivers up his parents’ spines (as has raised eyebrows among local authorities), but there’s no stopping someone with a spanner and a deep-rooted need for terrifying, nauseating speed.
Then there’s the bullet-riddled photography of Daniel George, who spends his spare time collecting household items gun owners use as target practice. It’s a kind of violent, kind of beautiful project that leaves us feeling a little confused. But as they say, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure (and, apparently, another person’s artwork).
Speaking of trash and treasure, how about a cultural re-evaluation of 1980s hair metal? At least one writer thinks the genre has been unfairly maligned, and he’s on a mission to let the world know the true power contained in a pair of spandex pants. On the other side of the world (and the sonic spectrum) is a group of musicians in a Malian refugee camp. The desert may be a harsh and unforgiving place, but a rich musical culture is flourishing amid the trying conditions, as they wait to go back home.
Less rough-around-the-edges but still very hands-on are the creations of Robert Lang, a former NASA scientist who spends his days designing the world’s most complex origami. By fusing cutting-edge mathematics with traditional craft, Lang is pushing the Japanese art form into the 21st century – and doing some pretty interesting science at the same time.
We also speak with a professional alien hunter, shine a light on some monsters of the deep, meet a group of battle-weary ‘forensic architects’, learn how to be a hermit, gawk at some truly kitsch art, and uncover the definitely true history of the Illuminati (sort of). Oh, and what’s with the hand on the cover? You’ll have to read our feature on new and unusual hand gestures to find out. Interest piqued? Grab your copy now.