These stunning aerial photos reveal patterns in seemingly mundane things.

[MORE: The Intricate, Beautiful Patterns of Civilization Seen From Above]

(Source: Wired)

This guy spent over nine hours walking backwards through the streets of Tokyo.

Watch his surreal journey — in reverse!

(Source: Wired)

From the clean rooms where satellites are built to the Rubik’s cube a European astronaut carried into space, Edgar Martins’s photo series Rehearsal of Space is a vast photographic chronicling of the facilities, programs, and technology used by the European Space Agency and its affiliates.

Martins has taken great pains to make the photos more than just documentary. They’re meant to ignite the imagination, like a good sci-fi movie. His task was to imbue inanimate objects with meaning in a larger statement about humanity’s interest in space. He also wanted to convey the dazzling complexity and breadth of a space agency’s operations.

“My focus from the very beginning was to try to bring an audience that wouldn’t normally have access to the ESA facilities or ESA culture or their programs,” he says, “and because of that I needed to find an approach that really went beyond the traditional documentary approach.”

[MORE: Striking Photos Go Deep Inside the European Space Program]

(Source: Wired)

For two weeks this month, all eyes will be on Sochi as it hosts the 2014 Winter Olympics. But for most Russians, this city by the Black Sea is a place of rest and recuperation, not elite athleticism.

“Sochi is the unofficial summer capital of the country,” says Maria Plotnikova, a Russian photographer who lives in Buenos Aires and documented Sochi last summer. “It was established as a fashionable resort area under Joseph Stalin, who had his favorite ‘dacha’ built in the city. In these times, Putin and Russian prime minister Medvedev take rest in Sochi.”

Despite two centuries of tension with the local Circissian people that stems from a disputed genocide, Sochi has for generations served as a place of leisure and recuperation. Built on a former malarial swamp, once the land was reclaimed, Tsarist Russia began erecting retreats on the Black Sea shore around the town.

In the mid-20th century, resorts for traditional spa treatments called sanatoria were built to serve the esteemed groups in Soviet society — metalworkers stayed at the Metallurg sanatorium; miners at the Ordzhonikidze sanatorium; and the party elite at the Rossiya sanatorium. Throughout the 1950s and ’60s, workers and peasants received sanatorium vouchers to reward hard work. They would travel great distances with their families to enjoy some hard-earned R&R. Today approximately three million tourists visit Sochi each year.

“The old generation still feel nostalgic about the Soviet times of the resort. Sochi always was very quiet and cozy town, and only in recent years everything has changed because of the grandiose Olympic construction,” says Plotnikova. “I wanted to show the traditional life of this city on the eve of the Winter Olympics.”

[MORE - Lenin and Leisure: Sochi Before the Olympic Madness]

(Source: Wired)

Yes, that’s makeup.

There’s a good reason we see more paintings of faces than paintings on faces: The face is not a good canvas. That’s what makes these photos by Moscow photographer Alexander Khoklov so impressive: They collapse three dimensions into two and defy the eye to discern whether what it’s seeing is really a photo.

[MORE: Trippy Face Paintings Turn People Into 2-D Canvases]

(Source: Wired)

Rafael Araujo’s illustrations are bafflingly complex—so complex that you might assume the artist uses a computer to render the exacting angles and three-dimensional illusions. And true, if you were to recreate his intricate mathematical illustrations using software, it probably wouldn’t take you long at all. But the craziest part of all is that Araujo doesn’t use modern technology to create his intricately drawn Calculations series—unless, of course, you count a ruler and protractor.

[MORE: Wildly Detailed Drawings That Combine Math and Butterflies]

The 13-second piece, which debuted today on WIRED’s Instagram and is embedded above, begins with Orwell’s rejection from Knopf – previously part of Simon’s “Black Square” series – and ends with a rejected Freedom of Information Act request made by internet activist Aaron Swartz, with whom Simon worked on the imageatlas.org project.

[MORE: The Rejection Letters That Burned Everyone from George Orwell to Aspiring Clowns]

Daniel Gordon’s photos put viewers on the slope of an uncanny valley, a glitch between the real and the fabricated. In place of authentic objects, Gordon uses printed photos of the items folded to mimic their real-world appearance, creating a mockery of the original object in beautifully constructed collages.

“I like photographs that aren’t just one thing,” says Gordon, “that are complicated, with blurred lines between themes such as the grotesque and the beautiful, humor and terror, wholeness and fragmentation, or innocence and corruption.”

[MORE: Trippy Collages Blur the Line Between Real and Fake]

(Source: Wired)

History venerates the builders of great bridges, dams, and towers. But rare are commemorative plaques for the un-builders—those charged with the equally heroic task of dismantling those grand structures, once they become dowdy, obsolete, or downright dangerous. Herewith, five case studies in the art of mega-destruction—starting with the old, seismically shaky eastern span of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge. Also: remodeling NASA’s rocket assembly building, scrapping the world’s longest aircraft carrier, recycling a supercomputer, and moving a river to remove a dam.

[MORE: The Dangerous Art of Tearing Down Bridges, Dams, and Aircraft Carriers]

(Source: Wired)

Olivo Barbieri has spent 10 years making artfully distorted aerial photos of 40 cities around the globe, creating twisted viewpoints of familiar sites that make sly reference to modern art. Although he gained attention early on with a tilt-shift technique that makes real locations look like models, his photos go beyond gimmickry into the realm of philosophy.

“I asked myself what could happen if I detached from earth and I used a flying object such as a helicopter,” says Barbieri, whose first language is Italian. “After September 11th I wanted to understand what you feel when you turn upside down your point of view: From a threatened terrestrial being to a flying and threatening object.”

His work is available as a photobook called Site Specific. The title is taken from contemporary art, where it refers to a temporary installation that is specific to its location. To reinterpret the idea of site specific, he says, “I wanted to get away from the world, from the noises, sounds and words. I wanted to represent the world as a temporary installation in transition, and a possibility that only art gives us, consider it unreal, unfinished, in order to be able to interpret it, judge it, change it.”

[MORE: Glitchy Aerial Photos Turn Real Buildings Into Artist Renderings]

(Source: Wired)