The Colour out of Space

John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps”, animated by artist Michal Levy who has synesthesia. At Aeon, via tmn, who also point us to Ghost Stories of Tripadvisor, ‘a dreadful directory of hotel hauntings’ / retro news: the Super Mario Game & Watch; Teenage Engineering’s Street Fighter pocket operator / put the blocks in the square / MIDI Disco / music by Revolution Peak / music by rook & nomie / the Lost Media Wiki. Helps us stumble on YouTube channels like the late David Cobham’s, a director of many teatime serials for children and adults on UK TV / a personal archive of Five Years [of] Live (Music), slowly being updated / Five Years Today, an online journal / excellent collections assembled at Public Domain Review, also on Instagram / Instant Lettering, a LetraSet archive (via MeFi).

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On the spectral plane

How we made Ghostwatch. The show itself is all up there on YouTube, in bits and chunks, but searching for this kind of thing sends the site’s hyperbolist and tabloid-minded algorithm into absolute overdrive, so venture in at your own peril / why you shouldn’t use silicone baking sheets / LoremBarnak, ‘a Québécois swear generator’ / McMansion Hell reaches the delights of 1977 / a cabin in Finland. Perhaps in 40 years time there’ll be snarky blogs about Noughties Cabin Culture / for now, this is polar opposite of McMansion Hell; a Modern House Film / the physical toll of professional gaming: They dreamed of esports glory. Then their bodies broke down / not quite related, Playing With The Dead, a radio show about memorialising through gaming, including a segment on That Dragon, Cancer. Games offer an alternative to the simple, static album of past actions and interactions, and digressions suggest a future where avatars hoover up a lifetime of gaming behaviour and personality traits and serve you up bots that act, to all intents and purposes, exactly the same way as a loved one might have done within the confines of a game world. The virtual memorial gardens of the future are going to be crowded. Perhaps there will be dedicated environments – SIMS: Memories, anyone? – in which to stick your late relatives. Update: ‘My sister lives on in a video game‘.

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Mine craft

The Pennsylvania Mine Map Atlas / sort of related, Muir Way’s vintage relief series of maps (via This Isn’t Happiness) / music, Dear Humans, by Elephant Gym / Boat House By WE Architecture / The Glove, live on “Riverside”, October 24th 1983, just of many, many music performance and interview videos old and new posted by Scottish TeeVee / The Book of Pebbles, the artist and writer at home. Christopher Stocks has a fine instagram account as well / the art of attribution, explained nicely on the Antiques Roadshow / when do words make a first appearance? Merriam Webster’s Time Traveler (via Kottke) / a collection of bitcrushers (not in the dictionary…) / for sale, Harfield Gardens / button badges by Busy Beaver (via Coudal) / Bonhams’History of Science and Technology, including Air and Space‘ auction.

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Keep on running

The Edit – Adjaye Associates. Photographer Ed Reeve on his 25 year collaboration with the 2021 RIBA Gold Medal winner, Sir David Adjaye / Japanese artist Kitao Masayoshi (1764-1824), thanks to WeirdLandTV for the pointer / time to give up glitter, a simple, very visible microplastic to do away with / talking of plastic, Inside Information: Sneakerheads (via tmn) / see also the new documentary, One Man and His Shoes / taking stock with (American) teens – a different language / Find Your Fender, naked marketing exercise / advice from a professional organiser: ‘Most people keep way too many things (often buried in closets and cabinets or piled up under the things they’ve more recently used), and letting go of things they don’t use or value reveals a lot of storage and usable space for moving on to better arranging things to make them useful and accessible.’

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All over the place, part 72

Designs of the year, at London’s Design Museum / a Hawkwind reappraisal, of sorts. Extensive information available at the Prog Archives / sort of related, join a global flock of ‘Electric Sheep‘ / Angels and Errors: How the Harrow & Wealdstone disaster helped shape modern Britain’, at the excellent London Reconnections. The series on Slavery and the [UK] railways is also illuminating / 12 Sunsets: Exploring Ed Ruscha’s Archive of Sunset Boulevard street views (via Kottke) / Good Movies As Old Books, still going strong / The slow dying of the Great Barrier Reef, a long, long piece of music by Bismuth / paintings by Robert Dukes / Manifold Garden, an architectural exploration game / we just passed an anniversary (5? 7? Can’t remember which) of the things magazine clips tumblr, which is where we put things found on tumblr that we want to keep, as opposed to the found things, online and off, that we like / RIP, James Randi. One of the greats.

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Glass cases, stones

The world’s greatest unsung museums / webcam fun (not that kind): do I look weird? adds a time delay so you can see what you look like in the immediate past; How normal am I?, ‘Experience how “artificial intelligence” judges your face’. As alarming as it sounds; Body Synth, use motion to make music. A palate cleanser after the last two / a collection of UK pop culture magazines, including Smash Hits, Record Mirror, Melody Maker, No. 1 and more / more 80s nostalgia, celebrating 40 years of the Austin Metro (via BBC News) / Adobe Photoshop can now identify ‘shopped images / inside the NY Public Library’s secret apartments (via tmn) / this gets a bit clickbaity, but here are some other ‘secret’ apartments / related, the Hidden House, by Coffey Architects.

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Random musings

Teardown, looks fun / the ultimate empty office / Statistical “Which Character” Personality Quiz / exotic barn finds at Motorious / images from London’s punk era / paintings by Tom Walton / art by Eric Mack / Geometrize your images / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020 / who owns (large chunks of) London? Sheikh Khalifa / art by Neil Hamamoto / MONOSPACE, a winning demo at this year’s Assembly competition / More Dangerous Than Dynamite, a short film that ‘Warns housewives about the effects of cleaning clothes with Gasoline’ / escape pods, a project by Petros Stathiadis / play synths in virtual reality.

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Decades of perspectives

Truly random things today. To start with, some collected useful advice: Dear Joan and Jericha – Why He Turns Away: Do’s and Don’ts, from dating to Death / Dischord Records, the entire back catalogue available to stream at Bandcamp / BBC Sound Effects / historians of the recent past can now explore the Usenet Archives / buy a Control Tower (via MeFi). Not the first example of its kind: The Control Tower in North Yorkshire and one that needs some tender loving care in Lincolnshire / Not a mirage: ‘Top 20 iconic desert houses you can actually buy.’ Some of which are real, some unreal, some high camp and some simply chancing it on the strength of some computer renders / Why the Power Symbol Looks the Way It Does, at adafruit / related, ISO Symbols / drumming videos drumming videos drumming videos / a comprehensive collection of Educational Children’s Television from the 70s, 80s and 90s / a history of the BMW 7-Series / All Is Lost: Notes on Broken World Design, a ‘persuasive parable in which long-held assumptions about the socio-technical constitution of modernity are systematically dismantled and then slowly, painfully replaced with the epistemological realities of broken world thinking’ / The Five Estates, a multi-part series on how housing in South London went from being ‘a dream in the 60s, [to] a reality in the 70s and a nightmare in the 80s.’

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Canals Vs Cars

AArno 1st: back to childhood. Pitch perfect car models / pixels fighting / This is how much top 7 music streaming services really pay artists / We All Want Someone to Shout For, a music blog / Suited Magazine, art and interviews / Gold Flake Paint, a music journal / love this. Unbuilt London: Diverting the Thames through South London. IanVisits on a fine plan by William Walcot to cut a huge canal through South London and turn the curve of the Thames into ‘a Grand Boulevard’. The swathe cut through south London followed a roughly similar path to that of the mercifully abandoned South Cross Route / illustrations by Marie Spénale / Piecing Together the Order of Things, an auction / Cruise Mapper, track an industry at anchor / Haunting of Bly Manor Explainer / the making of two iconic music videos (both directed by the same person) / music by AlbaEcstasy.

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Click to play

Collecting Concrete, a taxonomy of mix and texture / ‘Portraits of the Quarantined Mind‘, lockdown portraits / paintings by Alex Dordoy / paintings by Ania Hobson; paintings by Jim Holland / ANT, a conceptual robotic cargo container system, a project by Patrick Krassnitzer / This is Sweden, photography by Tobias Hägg, aka Airpixels / art assembled at Just Another Masterpiece / the Analogue Music Company hack pedals around / Flash is Dead links to an animated essay on How Flash Games shaped the video game industry. In memory to the many, many Flash sites linked by things over the decades.

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Hit the buttons

The pandemic is pushing marginal technologies into the mainstream: How vending machines could play an important role in the ex-urban economy. Aside from the listicle-friendly culture of vending machines in Japan, vending machines have long been a low-key mainstay of the modern world. As Atlas Obscura notes, the idea of mechanised, automated transcations dates back millennia, but modern packaging and payment methods have ramped up the breadth and diversity of vending machine culture. Nothing much is new under the sun, although it seems that culture is a harder sell than condiments. The original Penguincubator, along with the Book-o-Mat and others are the forerunner of the short-lived shrink-wrapped airport novel vending machine, or the more lit-orientated Short Story Dispenser. See also the Cyberpunk Vending Machines II by pixel artist Kenze Wee. A more likely future? / other things. an online Roland simulator, (via music radar). See also the original Chrome Music Lab, as well as these other music-related Chrome experiments. Then there’s the Theremin; Beepbox, a few of the many hundreds of online sound-making tools there are out there / Machine Books, publishers / paintings by Yohan Terraza. / Lockdown London, photographs by Hannah Starkey.

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Under the hill

Everyone is far too busy these days turning over stones instead of looking to looking to the skies. The Phenomenon would rather keep the conspiracies up in the air. We’ve linked to our esoteric library, but some mysterious spirit has been turning all the titles around the wrong way. Try the Chrome experiment Stars instead / not related at all, the Megalithic Portal / an interview with Billy Childish / Metal Mappa Mundi. See also the digital Map of Metal / a deeper dive into the abandoned Isle of Wight site linked yesterday: a tour of the RAF Ventnor R1 ROTOR Cold War bunker. More information at Ventnor Radar and a site report from 28 Days Later / Accidentally Wes Anderson, the book of the website / and publishing, a publisher / overhead compartment, a weblog.

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Tape loops

Designing and building a cabin in Finland (via Behance, with photography by Archmospheres / Abandoned Isle of Wight, a series of films / “Secret 7” takes 7 tracks from 7 musicians and presses each one 100 times to 7” vinyl. We then openly invite you to create artwork for the 7 tracks” / music by At The Grove / music by Ethemeral / welcome to Gothtober / Lego Stratocaster, on its way (via music radar. We’ll wait for an offset) / coming soon, Delia Derbyshire: The Myths And Legendary Tapes, a film by Caroline Catz (via Synthtopia).

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1000 songs in your pocket

‘The ostensibly frictionless nature of online listening has other hidden or overlooked costs.’ In many respects, streaming music is bad for the planet, says Alex Ross / Apollo 13 Technical Air-To-Ground Voice Transcription (large pdf) / make your own Mini Arcade / ‘Make No Wonder is an HTML5 game where you explore and disrupt a procedurally-generated wilderness landscape’ / 3D Printing Time Lapse Videos, Using the Creality Ender 3 (via This Isn’t Happiness) / New Documents, a publishing house / paintings by Christopher Kierling (via w*) /, ‘Improve your typing for free online by practicing on classic literature’ / name some highly regarded books that have faded into obscurity / The 100 Sequences That Shaped Animation (via MeFi).

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Variables and Constants

Following on from last week’s London Old and New link, 20 ‘Then And Now’ Pics That Show How Time Changes Things / Throwback on a Comeback: The Last Cassette Tape Factory. Time for a visit to the Walkman Archive (e.g. Aiwa’s golden models) / ‘ is an ongoing reference database of dimensioned drawings documenting the standard measurements and sizes of the everyday objects and spaces that make up our world’ (last three all via Spark Edition. We should really become a newsletter. Another boat missed) / What happens to old cruise ships? / Digital Dream, a ‘Post-rock, Post-Metal, Progressive, Ambient duo from Iran’. Recommended / Thurston Moore interview on obscure SY songs. Related, Rarities 3, a new Bandcamp release / Phase Mag, an online photography publication / daily poster designs at Casual Polar Bear.

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The contours of sound

Two great things come together, the cartographic stylings of Herb Lester and the ravings of Scarfolk Council; the guide to Scarfolk & Environs, a Road & Leisure Map for Uninvited Tourists / a walking guide to the modern houses of south London / sounds and music collated by Stationary Travels / more music at the Shoegaze Daily / 4ad vibe from Burrovvs / Cinetrii, a sort of film recommendations engine which ‘analyses reviews to infer possible inspirations behind a film. Enter a title to find other works that may have inspired (or been inspired by) it, along with the quotes that determine the connection’ (via b3ta) / music by Shearwater / music by Coastlands / music by still motions / The Guardian Archive is a good resource / Hymag, formerly the Hyman Archive, is a vast repository of 150,000 print magazines. Help keep it open, if only so we have a place to put stuff when it finally spills out of our cupboards and attics / apparently, My Imperfect Life ‘is a unique brand focused on Millennial Women in the Lifestyle Vertical’. So now you know / IM Pei x Robocop mash-up, spotted by SOS Brutalism.

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It’s all done with mirrors

The Louis I. Kahn Facsimile Project evokes the architect’s fascination with layers and crevasses and depth. The same could be said for the Dujiangyan Zhongshuge Bookstore in Chengdu by X+Living. Both links evoke Umberto Eco’s mighty library, the intellectual heart of The Name of the Rose. Try this paper on The Monastic, Labyrinthine Library and a comparison of its illustration in the book and the movie for a dive into the library’s Piranesian depths, production designed by the great Dante Ferretti (at Digital Architecture Papers) / The Great Indoors, a quarantine art project by James Tralie / ‘Edward Brooke-Hitching set out to curate the ultimate collection of bizarre books down the ages. He leads us around The Madman’s Library‘, a new book from Simon and Schuster / a monograph of images from along ‘the inaccessible and unknown banks of Oslo´s longest river, the Alna’ by photographer Bjørnar Øvrebø, published by Kerber Verlag / Architects love a moonbase, part 1: SEArch+, NASA, ICON and the BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group announce Project Olympus / down to earth, with the Lost London Flickr pool and the London Old and New pool of comparison pictures.

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Leaving no trace

Drawing Fields, a GPS generated installation by Outpost Office in response to the Ragdale Ring competition / ‘This Brutal World: Public opinion has softened its views on Brutalism. That isn’t enough to stay the wrecking ball.’ Kate Wagner, of the great McMansion Hell on how it all comes down to money in the end. For some inspirational related imagery, see the architecture curated by Juliaknz / and just to prove that this isn’t really anything to do with aesthetics or politics, here’s the Victorian Society’s depressing Top 10 Most Endangered Buildings list 2020. ‘It turns out that image sharing is easy and activism is hard.’ / thoughts about urban futures, part 235, on PriestmanGoode’s Dromos Project: can the marriage of personal and freight transport ever work? / other things. ‘In Their Own Words: Unpublished Children’s Notebooks Reveal Poignant View of History’ (via MeFi) / bespoke musical instruments from Blast Cult / Good Music to Avert the Collapse of American Democracy, Volume 2.

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Cult heroes

Critics regret getting it wrong. The web is awash with ‘one star reviews of the classics‘, and it’s a natural human tendency (at least for this human) to scroll down to find the lowest critical metacritic score on any given piece of media / house pioneer Derrick Carter is starting a store on Reverb to sell a huge collection of vintage electronic musical equipment / ambient music by Tunnelwater / more camper. Compare and contrast the new Mercedes-based Alphavan with the 1974 VW Pacomobil ‘Snail’ / misogyny and skateboards / not related, A categorization of conspiracy theories. What is the collective noun for conspiracy theories? A ‘blind’? See also, ‘If your friends or family have fallen for an internet conspiracy cult, here’s what you should do‘.

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Highs and lows

The end of the Elephant. View the classic Bert Hardy image, pre-shopping centre, and a few other historical images of the area. See also Heygate was Home / see also Pandemic as driver of urban evolution / sexism in the world of serious whisk(e)y drinking / How the oil industry made us doubt climate change / some frivolities. The Casio EG-5 Cassette Guitar. It can be modified / another attempt by an overseas publication to de-mystify ‘poshness’ in the UK (clue, ‘poshness’ is not posh) / Grand Central Terminal workers had secret ‘man cave’ under New York City landmark / / a drone for your home. No good can come of this / An Eclipse of Moths, a new exhibition of images by Gregory Crewdson / photographs by Niall McDiarmid / What’s the first magazine you ever loved? (via Laura Olin) / capture the universe in a nutshell.

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