Conversation Piece, July 23, 2017

A weekly series.

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Enjoy our Sunday series, Conversation Piece, a NUVO–curated digest of things on the Internet we think you’ll want to talk about.

Technobiophlia. This July marks Henry David Thoreau’s 200th birthday (HBD HDT!) and in honour, USC’s Game Innovation Lab in collaboration with Huntington Library in Los Angeles and the Walden Woods Project in Massachusetts, has released Walden: A Game, based on the 1854 chronicle of Thoreau’s quest for spiritual fulfillment in nature. The video game (in which players walk through the woods, fish, and observe plants and animals) aims to inspire players to value the wild as did Thoreau, and explore real-life wild places. Counterintuitive, or brilliant? Learn more, here.

In the A-Dahl-t section. Writing for adults is not what we think about when we think about Roald Dahl, and yet his style, sensibility, and penchant for inventively gruesome paybacks apply to his more mature fiction as endearingly as they do to his children’s books. In The New Yorker, David L. Ulin explores the merits and shortcomings of Dahl’s lesser-known works. Read more.

Death becomes them. In this piece on the popularity of post-mortem photography in the 1800s, The Atlantic’s Nancy West reveals why photography owes much of its early flourishing to death. In the intimate photos left behind, grieving parents or windows pose beside corpses, offering a strange and fascinating window into how we once confronted, and documented, grief. Read more.

Smells like teeth spirit. Perfumer Serge Lutens has created a new fragrance intended to figuratively evoke the experience of losing one’s childhood teeth. Milk and almond accords recall creamy candies upon first smell of Dent de Lait, but a metallic, bloody heart brings the perfume back to the dentist’s chair. A conversation-starter, indeed. Read more.

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July 23, 2017