Daily digest: A secret Bitcoin powerplant is shuttered in Canada, Theaster Gates at Memphis’s Tom Lee Park, and more

Tulip Mania

Daily digest: A secret Bitcoin powerplant is shuttered in Canada, Theaster Gates at Memphis’s Tom Lee Park, and more

Aerial rendering of the new Tom Lee Park post redevelopment (Courtesy Studio Gang and SCAPE)

Good morning and welcome back to another roundup of architecture, design, art, and technology news to get you through the day.

Here’s what you need to know:

A Bitcoin mining scheme in Alberta is busted after tapping an unused gas well

Bitcoin miners are still attempting to find alternate schemes for powering their operations that will let them discount the cost of electricity, ranging from firing up old power plants in Western New York to El Salvador’s attempt to generate geothermal power from a volcano. In a tony part of Alberta, Canada, mining company Link Global is being accused of straight-up stealing power by tapping an unused natural gas well to power its mining computers. After neighbors in the wealthy neighborhood complained about the noise (these setups require a lot of high RPM fans to tame the heat generated by the many, many graphics cards employed), Link Global is facing down a $5.6 million fine from the Alberta Utilities Commission (for both the electricity used and to claim the coins generated).

Link Global, which sets up on abandoned gas wells to power its miners, told Gizmodo that it was simply a misunderstanding and that the company regularly works with utilities authorities to bring their power plants into compliance. The Alberta Utilities Commission, for its part, is accusing the company of willful negligence.

H/t to Gizmodo

Theaster Gates tapped for a major installation at Studio Gang and SCAPE’s Tom Lee Park overhaul

Thanks to a $1.4 million grant from the Monuments Project at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, artist, urbanist, and educator Theaster Gates will bring a site-specific installation and supporting programming to Memphis’s forthcoming Tom Lee Park renovation. Studio Gang is serving as the project’s architect and master planner while SCAPE is the landscape architect and park designer. Once complete, the project will totally transform the 30-acre waterfront both for residents and ecologically, helping to build up a buffer against climate change-exacerbated flooding from the Mississippi River.

Gates’ contribution, A Monument to Listening, will be realized in two custom-built spaces at the park and will lionize the titular Tom Lee; in 1925, Lee, a Black river worker, heroically saved 32 people from drowning when steamboat the M.E. Norman capsized on the Mississippi. The piece will be supported by community programming and poetry competitions.

“This installation is an opportunity to provoke a conversation about Memphis and its future,” wrote Carol Coletta, president and CEO of Memphis River Parks Partnership. “It calls the tough question of racial equity and reminds us that a hero lives inside each of us, capable of acting boldly and selflessly, just like Tom Lee did in 1925.”

H/t to the Memphis River Parks Partnership

Protestors throw red paint on the American Museum of Natural History’s Roosevelt statue

Ahead of Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day on October 11, yesterday morning protestors splashed red paint on the monument to Theodore Roosevelt that sits at the front entrance of Manhattan’s American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). Installed in 1939, the bronze statue shows Roosevelt seated atop a horse with a Native American man on one side and an African man on the other, drawing charges that it depicts an obvious superiority and racial hierarchy. The decision to permanently remove the piece was made in June of 2020, but any action on taking it down has been repeatedly delayed since.

H/t to Hyperallergic

A virtual hall of great Americans debuts at Bronx Community College

Eleven months after Bronx Community College (BCC) received a $30,000 grant to digitize its Hall of Fame for Great Americans installation, the collection is now available fully online for those unable to travel to New York’s northernmost borough. The Hall of Fame features 98 busts of notable Americans in a Stanford White-designed colonnade on the BCC campus, for use as a teaching tool now accessible across the entire country.

London delays a decision on Foster + Partners’ Tulip, again

For those hoping that the Foster + Partners-designed Tulip will blossom on London’s skyline, you may have to keep holding your breath. After London Mayor Sadiq Khan blocked the glass pod-topped sightseeing tower over concerns that its height would negatively impact historic views and the project’s two-story retail base, developer J. Safra Group filed an appeal that former U.K. housing secretary Robert Jenrick was set to weigh in on. After a cabinet shakeup that saw Jenrick replaced with Michael Gove,  the U.K.’s Planning Inspectorate pushed a decision back to October. Now the agency has announced that it’s delaying making a decision yet again and will weigh in on or before November 11 of this year.

H/t to Building Design Online

Catastrophic flooding overwhelms Slovenia’s capital museums

After rainfall inundated the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana on September 29, the city is grappling with extensive damage to its historic museums, theaters, and schools. Although staff had been able to remove high-value artwork from the threatened institutions in time, the Moderna Galerija, the national gallery for modern and contemporary art, and other museums have been “ruined” by severe flooding.

H/t to The Art Newspaper