Wired to the world

Stephen Walter’s map of ‘Nova Utopia‘ is a characteristically hyperdense cartographic narrative journey, a ‘a fictionalization of Thomas More’s Utopia, shown now in the present day, 500 years on from when it was first written. The book of 1516 forms its backstory. Certain things that he described remain, like the traces of its 54 elegant towns spread evenly throughout. Its size is roughly the same and it has a prominent bay now named the Mouth of Feo, with its outcrops of rocks and a garrison tower. Many of its towns are now named after the nations exports that are mentioned in the book.’ Loosely based on Abraham Ortelius’ 1596 map of Utopia, it maps out a landscape shaped by a continuous search for meaning. Walter also has beautiful maps of the ‘Rivers of London’ and ‘London Subterranea’, as well as a series on London’s Boroughs / see also The New Illustrated Map of London, available at House of Cally / see also, Utopian town planning, Mormon-style (via MeFi) / also related, ten failed utopian cities / other things. An unofficial guide to building with Lego Technic / Tin Can Forest, a tumblr / it’s been too long since we last looked at Mighty Girl / solar landscape at Sundrop Farms.

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Fleeting satellites

Streets, San Francisco photography by Leigh Merrill (via This Isn’t Happiness) / The Secret Lives of Buildings, a photographic series by Marc Yankus (via Lens Scratch) / Why I bought a Titan II missile silo, a film series / Snoopy in Space / Herve Poulain, the world’s fastest (driving) auctioneer / lablog, ‘architectural voyeurism’ / a spotlight on bespoke bookplates at Bloomfield and Rolfe, rubber stamp specialists / the art of Trevor Paglen, including Nonfunctional Satellites:

‘Developed in collaboration with aerospace engineers, the nonfunctional satellites are space-worthy sculptures designed as small, lightweight satellites that expand to become large, highly reflective structures. Placing one of these objects into low-earth orbit would create a visible “sculpture” in the night sky, visible from the earth below after sunset and before dawn as a bright, slowly moving, flickering star. The sculpture would remain in orbit for several weeks before burning up upon reentry through the atmosphere.’

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Hidden movements

Unknown Tourism, commemorating lost wildlife / the making of Forza 3 / The Bolted Book Facsimile, an ‘exact copy of Fortunato Depero’s 1927 iconic work of avant-garde graphic design and book-making’ / Ghost Photographs, a tumblr / when do dictators visit Geneva? (via tmn) / Manifold Magazine, a late 60s student mathematical fanzine / Dirty Modern Scoundrel, John Grindrod’s concrete blog / Vernacular Furniture, a visual essay at Reading Design.

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Peeks, pokes and beeps

Music: Amber Days; Radiolarium / life in Japan, rendered in 8-bit style / the Map of Alien Invaders, by Jason Thompson / Marble District, quarry photogaphs by Francesco Luciani / revisiting: tiny letters to the web we miss / 20 artists, from photos to final piece. Includes some nudity / a new Curtis drops: HyperNormalisation / sort of related, ‘The Donald Trump In These Allegations Is Not The Complete Monster I Married‘ / an end to the History of Art? Sign the petition / I am a Shapeshifter, a tumblr about technology / 8-bit Slint (via this request for Post-Rock Chiptune). More at 8-bit Rock / related, the pixel game art of Mark Ferrari. The animated versions (with sound) are especially goood / amps and pedals by Robot Graves Industries / paintings by John Lee.

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On the up

Beware the Vibrant, on the misleading language of gentrification. Gentrification is one of those concepts that can only really be observed from a distance; like the apocryphal boiled frog you don’t know it’s happening around you until it’s ‘too late’, if that’s the right term. Related. Who Lives Here Now? A chance to the ‘bad kind’ of gentrification in action? Southwark’s plan for the overhaul of the Old Kent Road is underway. Southwark has poor form in this area, as their underhand behaviour at the Elephant and Castle surely demonstrates (see also our previous posts). Will the OKR be any different? One of the bitter ironies is that the much vaunted car-free cities of the near future could in fact be the most gentrified spaces of all.

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Blow up

Spectacular planetary views at Daily Overview / the world animated in 8-bit art / more clever pixel things at Essenmitsosse / houses in the woods / anapestic tetrameters, the poetic structure of Dr Seuss / Filthy Luker makes massive urban inflatables (via Juxtapoz) / yet more car copying / sculptures by Brian Dettmer, via Faith is Torment / some more London things. The Last Tuesday Society, a literary organisation ‘dedicated to subverting life, the universe and everything bored of the life and world it sees around it seeks to create a new world filled with beauty, wonder and the imagination.’ / author Tom Bolton takes photographs. See also his piece on Ten Vanished, And Vanishing London Experiences / not sure what’s going on here: Sense of Promise, a journey through a series of ‘virtual elixirs’. It did made us wonder about the potential for VR to offer ‘unsafe’ and dangerous spaces. Just as you’d never download an unknown .exe file, will we be issuing warnings about the perils of accessing an unmapped and unexplored virtual world.

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The City Vanishes

Raymond Biesinger, Hans Jenssen and Fabian Oefner are just three of the artists featured in the new Gestalten book ‘Look Inside / the internet of things strikes back / Chinese auto imitation moves on to Porsche / non-fiction by Sarah Wise, including addenda to her books and this thesis on labyrinthine London. See also Tom Bolton’s excellent book Vanished City: London’s Lost Neighbourhoods / today we are discussing the work of Nikolay Synkov / the Wunderkammer has been established by the Hagströmer Medico-Historical Library in Stockholm. It is a treasure trove of things / other stuff. Re-making NES title music / moon photos from the Japanese space agency / the history of city building games / the Puzzle Museum / send messages using Jellytext / clowns to the right of me, clowns to the left of me.

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Worse things happen at sea

A forthcoming academic study by Emma Spence on the world of superyacht acquisition and use lays bare the reality that these objects have very little discernible use value in the traditional anthropological sense. They also don’t function as assets, because they depreciate and cost approximately 5-10% of the purchase price to keep running. They’re therefore the embodiment of ‘conspicuous consumption’, their cost and extravagance beyond justification in an economic sense but presumably highly important in the dance of status / related, My First Gulfstream (via MeFi) / music: Peturbator; great Cure show in Paris from 2008 / paintings by Catherine Kehoe / paintings by Natacha Ivanova / Decoding the Infinite Forest, a photographic series by Douglas J.Eng / landscape paintings by Greta Van Campen / Project Mapping, ‘schematic maps of UK and worldwide rail networks’ / see also the Transit Maps tumblr.

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Lights that never go out

How I came to be banned from the world’s most remote island, Tristan da Cunha, by Simon Winchester. ‘We have an unceasing capacity to make ourselves nuisances, basically.’ / sort of related, the amazing Ship Map / also related, the South Atlantic Anomaly / the history of the Cordouan Lighthouse, France’s oldest / ‘The Invention of the Perfect Cup of Coffee: How the creator of the Aerobie became the King of Java at 76′ (via Snarglr, which is an excellent website) / Looking Good: a visual guide to the nun’s habit.

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Preset potluck

The story of ORCH5, or, theclassical ghost in the hip-hop machine, or how the ORCH5 patch from the Fairlight IIx found its stabby way into hundreds of pieces of music. More on the IIx, and some input from Peter Gabriel / related, The Iconic Sounds Of Synthesis – Vangelis’ Blade Runner Brass Sound, or how the Yamaha CS-80 was used straight out of the box / more music: Powell – Jonny; Long Pike Hollow / computing for preppers. Which technologies will survive when SHTF? / There’s magic in mess: why you should embrace a disorderly desk / Angular Geometry, the daily GIF art of Tyler Haywood.

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Beach life

1994 Scientology Handbook / sort of related, the Risks Digest / The last day of hot metal press before computers come in at The New York Times / music: Bitter Lake / Liquid assets: how the business of bottled water went mad / sculptures and objects by Akinori Goto / sand drawings by Julian Richardson / Hyperallergic, a site about art.

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Some fine images of Antti Lovag’sPalais Bulles“, latterly owned by Pierre Cardin and on the market for a rumoured £300m / if you want a proper architectural masterpiece, Luis Barragán’s Cuadra San Cristobal in Mexico is substantially more affordable / VR as a generator of opinionated digital graffiti. The world is going to look very messy with our goggles on / Forgotten Fiberglass, American one-offs, concept cars and esoteric sports cars from the past / a look at the RIBA Stirling Award shortlist.

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Brutal Londo, by Zupagrafika (via Daniel Gray) / Richard Leo Johnson, things that were lost but are now found. Photography from the 70s and 80s. More at Oxford American / abstracted masters painted by Anna Ostoya / Tale Pieces, the blog of the Bewick Society, devoted to the work of English engraver Thomas Bewick / from where we find a link to the work of Chris Daunt.

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Steam library

Everything is Broken / fix it yourself with the Piper Raspberry Pi Computer Kit / Line Wobbler, a ‘one-dimensional dungeon crawler game with a unique wobble controller made out of a door-stopper spring and a several meter long ultrabright LED strip display’. By Robin Baumgarten / more game experiments by Jason Rohrer / a collection of favourite transcendent performances / beautiful interior paintings by Simon Adjiashvili / a fairly transcendent New Mexico Ranch by Tadao Ando. For Tom Ford / London’s gentrification habit / Lost footage of Bath, dating back to 1952 / Dorich House Museum, a restored sculptor’s house in South London / new images of the Thermal Baths in Vals by Fernando Guerra to celebrate their 20th anniversary.

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Weekend plans

Music: Jude Woodhead; Black Angel Drifter; The Cure, live in Glasgow in 1984; Ruth and Martin’s Album Club, introducing people to works they’ve never (often inexplicably) heard; Coffee and Riffs; The Caretaker’s new album series is a three year project charting the slow decline of the mind; The Beatles Never Existed / other things. Full Plate, Lego vegetation / the IG NOBELS have been announced. Thomas Thwaites triumphs, presumably unwittingly / for Community fans, Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne / archival imagery from Australia’s Cave Clan / more urban exploration / Kevin Wisbith, Death Star over Florida.

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Sounds of science

On the nation of Yorkshire, a host of links. Related, the East Riding Archives / ‘We’ve reached peak everything’: New photography by Edward Burtynsky / PaperPetShop / Apple in talks to buy McLaren? / related (?), the third transport revolution / not so revolutionary, but intriguing nonetheless, the origin of the Chinese balance scooter / Inside, an atmospheric game / drop nuisance callers into the sales call abyss / the Georgi Markov Story / is NASA messing with star signs? No / Passengers, a new film about space. According to wikipedia, Thomas Newman has scored 78 films. Seven of his immediate relatives are also film composers.

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Bone yards

Photos of the Loch Ness Monster revisited (via MeFi) / Jørn Utzon’s Ahm House, his only UK project, up for sale / photographs by Sascha Weidner / a collection of free Vintage Stock Photographs / rocket launch failures / The Towner, a beautiful and literary online magazine about cities / Novelty Mag / a new issue Dirty Furniture is out. ‘Toilet’ / Music from Too Quiet / music from S U R V I V E / music from Troller / How to make a simple electronic musical instrument. Or you could just make a popsicle stick harmonica / B-52s in the Desert.

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The spirit of place

Xchurches, a tumblr of ex-churches / photography by Alexandre Guirkinger / paintings by Bernardo Siciliano / photography by Ignas Maldus / In pictures: Georgia’s forgotten people, ‘Approximately 400 are living in harsh conditions in an abandoned Soviet-era military hospital in the capital, Tbilisi’ / The Emblem of Austerity Nostalgia, Owen Hatherley’s essay on ‘Keep Calm’ now up on Reading Design (‘… a nostalgia for the state of being repressed – solid, stoic, public-spirited, as opposed to the depoliticised, hysterical and privatised reality of Britain over the last thirty years.’).


Wilfrid Wood sculpts Will Self / Michael Gump, aka BobBugs, is a master of daily disguise / It’s Nice That flags up a new book, Flying Saucers are Real!, from Anthology Books. See also our related collection of pulpy Saucer book covers / Cool’n’Vintage sell shiny classic cars and take fine films of their stock / massive collection of scanned and archived material in MoMA’s exhibition history section / Strong Language, a blog about swearing / Expedition Trucks are long-distance yachts for the road. Related, turning a Land-Rover into a camper.

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Out on the ice floes

Compare and contrast: the voyage of the Crystal Serenity via the buried, frozen and long lost wreck of HMS Terror / painting Peckham, the work of artist Mark Pearson / on modern video game architecture / Victorian architecture at risk. A couple of good video game environments there, we reckon / Artificial Intelligence. Many graphs / India adds up to almost 9,000 new vehicles a day to its roads / a history of squatting in London (via the shiny new tmn).

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New things

Two of our staple daily destinations, Kottke and The Morning News have both unveiled redesigns. In the case of the latter, there’s a greater focus on the links between daily changes, updates, obsessions and events, while Kottke is more concerned with presentation for an increasingly mobile readership. Let it be noted that we are no longer going to even attempt to redesign, mostly because we have forgotten how to use css (and do people even use css in any case?).

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