In the round

Musings on the lure of nostalgic technology, including the Fisher-Price PXL-2000 camera / slightly more up to date: plan your wedding with Google / the Pole House, Australia / a skimpy history of the bathing suit / Phaidon continue their foray into art forgery with the story of Ely Sakhai, a New York dealer who ran a lucrative racket making copies of ‘middle market’ works by big name artists. ‘When Christie’s and Sotheby’s released spring catalogues for their modern-art auctions, they were alarmed to discover that each was offering [Paul Gauguin’s Vase de Fleurs (Lilas)] – and each house thought it had the original


Departed Flights hosts a treasure trove of content relating to the history of civil aviation / the story of the Clearmountain Pause, a largely invented musical styling / Black Moon Pursuit, at Automobiliac / Pickadolla, a pop culture website / Mad Men Integrated mashes up the tedium of modern day Madison Avenue with the rose-tinted dramatic visions of AMC (via (MeFi) / Monocle get in on the travel guides market, channelling the retro spirit pioneered by Herb Lester / the above film shows Mat Collishaw’s 3D zoetrope entitled ‘All Things Fail‘, a three-dimensional animated recreation of Peter Paul Reubens’ Massacre of the Innocents.

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One dot at a time

A short history of Barbapapa, who turned 45 yesterday. We hadn’t realised you can buy a model of the Barbapapa House, a seminal piece of architectural design on the page. Still, you can always make your own / rich and raucous pixel art animations by kéké. See also A Pixel Artist Renounces Pixel Art. See also Super Micro Paint / a collection of bicycle paintings by Taliah Lempert / assemble elements of the preceding links into something approaching a record of your visual surfing with Curator, a new app that turns tablets into wunderkammers.

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Everything is going to burn

Five human activities you can see from space / Historical Maps – Exploring Lambeth, at Understanding Cities and Spatial Cultures / welcome to Fear City. New York, 1975. See also Survival in the City, 1974 / a nice bit of tilt shift. Whatever happened to tilt shift? A device that was easy to imitate, or even apply post-production, it’s perhaps unsurprising it should have a ubiquitous art director’s tool before vanishing just as quickly. We’re just surprised that no-one has made a tiny model and then shot it as if it were tilt shift. Just because. Perhaps something like this massive Russian railway wonderland / LapseLondon, a film.

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Rocking the suburbs

Our band could be your life: Hardcore Architecture looks at the leafy suburban origin stories of American punk and post-punk (via MeFi). See also Breadcrumb Trail, the Slint documentary, which has lots of basement rehearsal action / sort of related: Failed Architecture tells the tale – and lives the life – of the The Nagakin Capsule Tower, still slowly rotting away (also via MeFi).


Other things. The Powerwall: a bright future? (‘A JG Ballard would unravel such a world beautifully, as a kind of lithium-fuelled hybrid of his High Rise meets HBO’s Silicon Valley meets Felicity Kendall’s The Good Life’) or one stuck in a perpetual charge cycle? / the ashram in the forest / the house built by Grayson Perry (with a little help from his friends) / a bus stop that references Totoro?


Cloaque, a ‘digital landfill …. the result of the collection, treatment and joining together of a series of images found online, to create a column of digital compost’. More gifs here, all potentially and unpredictably nsfw (via Triangulation) / Square Go’s, photographs by Logan Hill / The Secret Life of the Pencil, favourite writing devices of famous writer types.

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The preservation of remoteness

‘Two people sleeping in one room, even if they are man and wife, is neither wholly hygienic nor always aesthetically agreeable. This is particularly so if one has a cold, or is otherwise unwell. Some young married couples may not like the notion of separate rooms at first though, but after a little reflection they may, I think, realize that it has its advantages. After a few years of married life such an arrangement would be generally appreciated, and is more likely to preserve romantic feeling than when all the processes of going to bed and rising in the morning are completely familiar to one’s husband or wife. The maintenance of romantic feelings depends a little on the preservation of remoteness about personal habits and intimate ways of life.’

‘A Minimum Standard for Accommodation’, in ‘The Small House: Today and Tomorrow,’ Arnold Whittick in collaboration with Johannes Schreiner, Crosby, Lockwood & Son, London, 1947, p49-50

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Biff! Bang! Pow!

Unseen film starring Adam West surfaces on YouTube (via Reddit) / Zhou Hang collates visual essays on notable buildings and more, such as these images from the current Ravilious show at Dulwich Picture Gallery. More on the show at Books & Boots. It is highly recommended / The Junket, an online quarterly featuring essays, short fiction and poetry / The Giant of Happy Valley, an archaeological hoax? / dumb things become ‘smart’ / Cereal Magazine is a glossy-looking independent specialising in travel and lifestyle.

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The rain in Spain

When Expos meet austerity: What does Milan gain by hosting this bloated global extravaganza?. ‘Because, ultimately, surely the only point of visiting an Expo is to marvel, drop-jawed with morbid fascination, at the bizarre architectural freak-show, and be entranced by the same sense of contemptuous captivation that comes from watching the Eurovision Song Contest. It is a spectacular mess, but it’s also fascinating to see national ambitions embodied, side by side, in a line-up of skin-deep architectural flourishes. But then you’re rudely awaken out of your kitsch reverie by remembering quite what will be left, and at what cost it all came.’ Every time a world expo rolls around, the same questions and criticisms resurface – budget overruns, architectural hubris, excessive corporate collusion and the inevitable corruption, disruption and pollution that are the immediate legacy of a multi-billion dollar building programme involving countless cultures, agendas and actors. It’s too soon for the end results to have ruin value beyond that of cultural curiosity, as these images of the aftermath of Seville 92 demonstrate.

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The view from here

On public sculptures and climbability: Davies’s 3rd law in action in Dulwich Park, thanks to Conrad Shawcross’s Three Perpetual Chords. The new works replace Barbara Hepworth’s Two Forms (Divided Circle), stolen from park four years ago (and presumably melted down for scrap). Hepworth is the subject of a major Tate retrospective this Summer.


Looking back. Mrs Deane on old attitudes to life and work in the Gulf, as seen through the lens of Western media. Everything’s Up to Date in Kuwait was the title of a September 1965 Life magazine article by George de Carvalho. Ah, the waste: “The natural gas from the wells is flared off, burning constantly in the desert – nearly 378 billion cubic feet yearly, worth fortunes in America but mostly useless here” / Vangelis’s Nemo Studios were where the composer created the Blade Runner soundtrack – an exhaustive look at the process (do it yourself) / Italy in the 1980s, photographs by Charles H. Traub / India and Burma in the 19th century, seen through the camera of Captain Linnaeus Tripe.

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Flight paths

On the Roofs ascend the 660m Shenzhen Centre / Devoted Followers of Fashion, a visit to Koine, the ‘world fair for church supplies, liturgical and ecclesiastical art’ / Cave’s Red Right Hand rendered a la Seuss / Decommissioned is a series on aeroplane boneyards by photographers Andreana Scanderbeg and Alexander Sauer / Marc Yankus takes pictures of New York / Who Pays Photographers? Things freelancers should know / the Lego Friends Death Star / related: slow motion Super Star Destroyer impact / Mink-covered safety harnesses were once a thing / dig down into Mole Magazine / Pinta Rapido, the artist’s version of NaNoWriMo / the Fermi Paradox, animated.

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Seals, secrecy and abandoned pots

The Antarctic territories were originally consider so barren and desolate that explorers rarely ventured far enough south to even encounter land. But the first natural resources – seals and whales – transformed the discovery and exploitation of the region. From the late eighteenth century onwards, the Falklands, South Georgia and other, even farther flung, islands became home to hardened crews of whalers and sealers and their bloody processing grounds. It was a lucrative but secretive trade. According to Robert Headland, archivist and curator at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, ‘… Masters of sealing ships maintained much secrecy about any discoveries of new places with large populations of seals. This, they hoped, would enable them to return to exploit the seals in subsequent seasons without competition. A sealer’s success or failure depended largely upon whether he was first in the field.’ (from The Island of South Georgia). Post originally inspired by Lonely Planet’s Antarctic guide. There’s more information on far-flung whaling stations at Railways of the Far South. Settlements like Grytviken (“The Pot Cove”) on South Georgia are named for the remnants of the whaling trade. Grytviken is also the resting place of Ernest Shackleton. Mystic Places has some images of the abandoned blubber boilers on Deception Island, ‘one of the only places in the world where vessels can sail directly into the centre of a restless volcano‘ / sort of related, but at the other end of the planet: Chasing Ice, a documentary about climate change.

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Surreptitious snaps

A selection of miniature and concealed photographic devices, taken from Bonhams’ upcoming camera auction. For example, a disguised camera from East Germany (see also Beyond the Wall: Art and artifacts from the GDR). A classic digital wrist watch camera outfit made by the ominous sounding Personal Protection Products, and a rare Charles Dessoudeix Photo-Cravate, made in France, circa 1890.

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Bleeps and batter

Le Corbusier and fascism, rumblings again / Mollison’s photographs of the world’s Playgrounds (at tmn). More / the Battle for Berlin, then and now / paintings by H Dunaway / paintings by Eric Bowman / Meals in a Mold: The Mid-Century’s Love Affair with Gelatin / related, printing pancakes with the PancakeBot / ‘truwave’ sounds from Eideteker.

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Spot the ball

Fine art embroidery by Stephanie Clark / The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of Master Forgers. See also Made in China, a deliberate forgery on display at Dulwich Picture Gallery / data crunching: 40 years of the American home vs porn data: visualising fetish space / what’s the equivalent of carrying coals to Newcastle?

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Push the button

Automakers to gearheads: Stop repairing cars – are modern cars so complex that ToS will ultimately forbid you to attempt to mend or alter them? In the old days, the urban myth was that Rolls-Royces were so fantastically well-engineered that the factory sealed the bonnet / from the people who brought you The Next Peak (‘A Retro Synth Tribute to the Twin Peaks Soundtrack’) comes Coastal Keys, ’23 heart pumping Miami Vice inspired 80s retro synth tracks, ready to be the soundtrack to your summer’ / sort of related: Electronic Items, a tumblr dedicated to recreating the chunky consumer electronics of an earlier era / Zumthor is a tumblr dedicated to the austere but genial architect Peter Zumthor / amazing bubble installation by Tomas Saraceno / Startup Generator / Intercepted by Gravitation, a blog about art / light dappled paintings Oliver Wilson / more art at Everest Standard, a tumblr / Walking’s New Movement, ‘where things are at for walking (as art and as performance), psychogeography, and the use and abuse of public space’.

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High, over and underground

London Reconnections is a site about the capital’s transport infrastructure, the challenges and complexities of updating and expanding it. Hugely comprehensive, with a very active comments section. Recent posts include the conclusion of a five-part series of London in 2050, a forensic analysis of the official ‘London Infrastructure Plan 2050‘, culminating in a disection of the Tube of 2050, with a projected 60% increase in passenger numbers / for a view of how things used to be, visit the Survey of London Archives.


Other things. Lawrence Lee Magnuson has an eye for a good painting / 1000 Words is a website about photography / The Hungry Eye is a tumblr about imagery / High and Over is one of the most significant Modernist houses in the UK, now on the market in the most complete and original state it has been since it was first built / The Ghost Army, on art, fakery and war. See also the imaginings of Jasper Maskelyne (previously) and the magic-for-a-different-reason work of Eric Ravilious, currently on show at Dulwich Picture Gallery / tracking gentrification in LA with the Green Fence Project (via Projects) / Port Magazine has a photographic feature on the last days of vinyl, shot by Steve Kenward. Steve has built up quite a portfolio of contemporary craft and independent businesses: Made not Manufactured and Literally.

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