Enduring problems

Random things and thoughts, forgive crashing changes in tone / starting with a fine piece about Eileen Gray’s E.1027 house in Menton. Some more and necessary information about Gray’s life and work: “”E” for “Eileen”, 10 for the letter “J”, 2 for “B” and 7 for “G” – “Eileen Jean Badovici Gray”.” / related, Room at the Top? Sexism and the star system in architecture, originally written by Denise Scott Brown all the way back in 1975: “The star system, which sees the firm as a pyramid with a designer on top, has little to do with today’s complex relations in architecture and construction. But, as sexism defines me as a scribe, typist, and photographer to my husband, so the star system defines our associates as “second bananas” and our staff as pencils.” / other, more flippant, things: creating a four-seater Delorean / the vanishing Hergé murals / photocopying Putin / zoom game, fractal fun (via b3ta, which also linked 14 ways our ancient ancestors attempted to explain what the internet was) / Changing size analogies and the trends of everyday things / the story behind Jon Carmichael’s photograph of the August 2017 total solar eclipse / a collection of weird family customs / Don’t Problem, a band / Cinta Vidal, a painter.

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Cutting through

Friday randomness to follow. The Rise and Fall of the Supercut, which the article puts down partly to waning attention spans and our grudging acknowledgement and acceptance of trope and cliche, without needing it artfully presented. Kottke was always good at finding these. Supercut.org seems to have vanished though / a collection of Open Source Houses / psychedelic sounds from Electric Moon / a new EP from Owl in the Sun / An Extraordinarily Expensive Way to Fight ISIS, an in-depth look at a B-2 Spirit bombing mission (via Russell Davies) / Anxy, a magazine about inner worlds and ‘open discussions about coping with anxiety, depression, fear, anger, trauma, shame’ / Ernest Journal, all about the slow journey / In Shades Magazine, ‘a monthly illustrated short fiction online magazine’.

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To boldly go

Venturing into places that weren’t designed for people: airport walking by Ian Rose (via tmn). See also the walks of Will Self, in London and NY (‘A Literary Visitor Strolls in From the Airport‘). Related, the books of Stephen Gill / see also the most dangerous U.S. cities for pedestrians, and attitudes to jaywalking around the world / if you do get to walk around: London Street Nameplates, a photographic record of London’s street nameplates, by Alistair Hall of We Made This (via The Guardian) / Creative Review has an increasing emphasis on gaming design.

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Click and collect

At the Flip of a Switch, the light switch in culture / Amazon has patented a system that would put workers in a cage, on top of a robot, at The New Aesthetic / still excited about the Teenage Engineering OP-Z / how to program 6 classic hip-hop, trap and grime beats / old school electronica at Miff Tone / Oddball, a drum machine in a ball / the unsophisticated brilliance of Barbara Jones, by James Russell / top ten at risk buildings from The Victorian Society.

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Talking to dogs

This and that from all around / how to make a racing car game from (mostly) cardboard / what’s the best way physical way to preserve digital files for 50 years? / an interview about Off the Map and Beyond (via MeFi), a book about unseen places / photography by Mary Gaudin / SpeculationWorld, images of half-finished photography by Daniel Kariko (via MeFi) / Everyone is psychic! / Anatomy of an AI System (via MeFi): breaking down the Amazon Echo and the ‘vast planetary network’ that underpins this incongruous metal cylinder / Andrew Grassie paints meticulous miniatures of exhibitions in progress using egg tempera / we got the sudden impulse to go and look at Rion, lightningfield and slower again. Photography has evolved, for want of a better word, hugely in the past 10-20 years.

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Art and Music round-up

Illustrations by Wenjia Tang, especially Alphabet Zoo / Sightings, an illustration project by Juan Osorno (Instagram). See also the project Necessary Failures / Signalnoise, illustration by James White (via whizual) / illustrations by Vendi Vernic / illustration by Makoto Funatsu / the Web Design Museum (via tmn) / Desert highways, photographs by Irenaeus Herok (at Super Punch / Tinted Window is a new journal (via Novembre Magazine) / Terra Vivos make bunkers for the terrified / Kill Your Pet Puppy, UK anarcho-punk histories, flyers and recordings / Gym Core, ‘loops of well known music going in and out of sync’. Strangely calming / more music: minimal drone rock by Moon Duo; atmospheric post rock by Unconditional Alarms / Other Places (via MeFi) – exploring video game environments without being virtually murdered.

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Shark Week

Some other things. Life in the Faroe Islands / the first doxing? the Berners Street Hoax of 1810 / art by Tina Berning / Moon Patrol in ASCII / fuzzy noise pop: Black Spring, an album by New Dark Age / Keygen Church, baroque computer metal / the story of your grandma’s weird couch / the Jacquet Droz Signing Machine / stupid patent of the month / Important Looking Pirates is a Swedish fx house with a specialism in sharks / a list of unrecovered flight recorders / full scale Lego Bugatti. Small scale Lego Bugatti.

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The comedy book index, revisited

A Brief History of the Index at I love Typography (via Coudal). This post sent us back to The Indexer magazine, the publication of the Society of Indexers, previously mentioned in the archives. It sent us to the excellent blog of Society member Paula Clark Bain, in particular her series on the comedy book index, now in seven parts. Here we go: part 1: I, Partridge; part 2: Alan Partridge: Nomad; part 3: Toast on Toast; part 4: Ayoade on Ayoade; part 5a: Charlie Brooker’s Screen Burn / Dawn of the Dumb; part 5b: Charlie Brooker’s The Hell of It All / I Can Make You Hate; part 6: Francis Wheen’s Mumbo-Jumbo and Strange Days Indeed and part 7: Richard Ayoade Presents: The Grip of Film by Gordy LaSure. A fine series.

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Space Oddities

The Carbuncle Cup is becoming a bit of a grudge match. Building Design has been running the contest for 12 years and while the nominations sometimes hit the mark, they increasingly find themselves aligned with petty spats and questions of taste, not terrible design or planning. A case in point: Amin Taha’s accomplished 15 Clerkenwell Close (controversial for other reasons) gets a Carbuncle nod, therefore putting it in the same league as this unbelievable hotel in Liverpool, Signature Living, a frightful rooftop lump designed for Stag and Hen Parties (the full set of rooms is a good indication of the current state of ‘modern luxe’ interior design). If we’re talking OTT interior design, then this is sort of related: 2001: A Space Odyssey, in Tweets. The recent revelation from Kubrick himself about the film’s ending noted that the unknown intelligence in the film ‘choose this room, which is a very inaccurate replica of French architecture (deliberately so, inaccurate) because one was suggesting that they had some idea of something that he might think was pretty, but wasn’t quite sure.’

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Sound and Colour

Musicon is a sort of analogue step sequencer, a modern update of the piano roll, designed for early years music education (via Culture.pl) / The Bioscleave House, East Hampton (via Wowhaus), a ‘Life-Span Extending Villa’ designed by Arakawa and Madeline Gins, aka the Reversible Destiny Foundation. The house was completed in 2008 as an ‘inter-active laboratory of everyday life‘, constantly challenging the senses / other things. Can data reveal the saddest song ever? / Michael Nesmith’s Five Favourite Vaporwave Songs / Vintage UK Catalogue Pages, Argos, Hamleys, Woolworths, Selfridges, etc. / twitter jokes for fans of horror novels / photographs by Isabelle Pateer / Broached Commissions, bespoke applied art projects.

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Off the beaten track

Some more eccentric residences. The Coral Castle in Florida, beloved of conspiracy theorists. The surrealist folk-art masterpiece, Palais Idéal du Facteur Cheval à Hauterives, in France. Las Pozas, Mexico, a sculpture garden by Edward James. Bishop Castle, in Colorado, created by ‘a tough-talking man with strong, extreme beliefs, [which he] sometimes expresses bluntly and loudly’. And our long-time obsession, City, by Michael Heizer (which will surely attract more conspiracy theories than all the others put together if it ever gets finished and opened. And finally, and sort of related, the finalists in the Shed of the Year Competition, 2018.

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Centuries of Sound tackles 1905 (via b3ta, which also links these beautiful animations by Andreas Wannerstedt) / The Sands of Voltark, an exploration game (via RPS) / Your Favorite Fictional Universes in Pen and Paper (via Angie’s List) / Scenes from an imperfect world, Rick Poynor on the editorial work of Don McCullin at Eye Magazine / The Pudding, which ‘explains ideas debated in culture with visual essays’, has an epic study of the gendered difference in pocket design. See also their analysis of film dialogue and on crowdsourcing the definition of ‘punk’ / All Hail the Monumental Horror Image. We hadn’t seen Unedited Footage of a Bear before. Sort of related, bipedal robot with quadcopter head / illustrations by Maggie Enterrios / ‘Of Rainbows and Other Monuments‘, illustration by Clemens Ascher at Design Milk / 8-bit musical creativity (via K). Related, 8-bit keys, demonstrating and repairing the iconic and obscure 80s era musical instruments / Cope, the website of James Wallis. Dormant for a while / The immigrants who built Australia’s ‘fairytale’ castles, including Fairy Park and Paronella Park / Modernist Estates asks Do you live in New Ash Green? There is a vaguely Scarfolk-y promo for the development, A Village on the Hill / for sale, the scientific library of Erwin Tomash / a wooden puzzle cabinet (via Gizmodo) / The 36-Hour War: Life Magazine, 1945, at Restricted Data, the ‘nuclear secrecy blog’. See also In Search of a Bigger Boom, via MeFi.

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In orbit

The Shape of Space, ‘what the orbital space habitats designed for NASA in 1975 can teach us about living in new geometries.’ A look at curved space, visible horizons and living in the upside down / ABODE, by photographer Jens Weber, a study of Günther Eckert’s accommodation at the 1972 Munich Olympic Village, turned into student housing in 2009 by Knerer und Lang. See also A Room of One’s Own, a photographic essay by Natalie Payne / maps by Mike Hall / ‘All of the parties are agreed that a snowball certainly is not a biscuit.’ Thomas Tunnock Ltd v Revenue & Customs (via MeFi) / an experiment in living with the ‘Instagram Face‘. From the article, ‘another poll in 2013 found that 30% of every picture taken by 18 to 24-year-olds was a selfie.’ / Italy’s crumbling infrastructure under scrutiny after bridge collapse. Related, the Sack of Palermo, and how the mafia battlefield became a cultural capital.

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Gaming the system

The Dizzying Grandeur of 21st-Century Agriculture, epic and depressing / a full(ish) review of Issue #1 of The Beano, 1938, at The Slipper. Sent us back to these surveys of the more problematic bits of Just William, including the infamous ‘Nasties‘ story / Tape Tapping by the Open Reel Ensemble (via B3ta) / we love projects like Insta Repeat (via Kottke) / Fugue in Void, a walking simulator around a mystical Brutalist environment – trailer (via RPS) / Pierre Menard’s The Asteroids, a hand-drawn game (via Projects).

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Space Brutalism

Martian concrete: Four of the entrants into NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, hosted at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center YouTube page: Team Kahn Yates; Team Northwestern University; Team SEArch+/Apis Cor; Team Zopherous / My First Pritzker, Ombu Architecture / wasn’t this solution to the ‘mystery’ of the Bermuda Triangle first mooted decades ago? Spoiler, it involves ‘rogue waves’ / speaking of old stories from the deep, Robin Brown’s 1981 Megalodon (more and more) is the book we thought the movie was based on, an airport read swimming on the tails of Jaws. But no, turns out it was a book written with a movie in mind instead (via MeFi) / Song Exploder tackles the arpeggios of Stranger Things theme / related, a list of ultra in-depth single subject media podcasts / I’m Good I’m Gone, music and more.

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Lens flare

An official and objective ranking of London’s 14 major rail terminals. The redevelopment of the ‘number one station’ involved the demolition of the old, idiosyncratic Britain at War Museum / someone is doing a fine job of preserving many largely unseen nuclear test videos: the LLNL Atmospheric Nuclear Tests playlist (via kottke) / Nippon Wandering, a playlist of 4k walks around Japan / Girl Talk in a Box, ‘control your favourite song’. Slow Billie Jean down 75% and it sounds like Massive Attack. If someone could add some Pro Tools magic please / music and more at Mystic Sons / a List of directly imaged exoplanets / digital H20 part 2: Water Rendering in Super Mario Sunshine and Beyond.

Sort of related, Minecraft and Me, a rumination on the familiar, unfamiliar, and comforting value of virtual spaces. By Will Wiles. See also his re-review of Wolfe’s From Bauhaus to our House. Wiles also references Heterotopias, ‘a digital zine and website, hosting studies and visual essays that dissect spaces of play, exploration, violence and ideology’ (twitter). With the prevalence of ‘photo modes’ in open world games, virtual sightseeing is increasingly chronicled: The Last of Us; Josh Taylor Creative; Virtual Geographic; Xenophotography; the art of in-game photography; the Video Game Tourism Flickr Group. Lots of alien planets, shiny cars and armoured warriors, but also some genuinely odd moments and views. From the article:

Minecraft palpably draws on the idea of the sublime, tilting its mountainous and arctic landscapes towards awe and spectacle rather than naturalism and geological authenticity. The game’s inner procedures are remarkably adept at turning out extreme environments: fanged mountain ranges, sheer cliffs, vertiginous waterfalls, impenetrable forests, yawning caves, terrifying rifts. Much of the game involves digging and tunneling, so the subterranean world is almost as enthralling, filled with abandoned mines, vast lava-lit chasms, grim dungeons, and caves upon caves upon caves. One of the player’s frequent sensations is the frisson that comes when you break into a hitherto hidden cavern, which in turn can lead to a far-reaching network of monster-infested pits. That sensation is sublimity.

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On the beach

Abandoned Russia, complete with links to Google map locations / see also this trip to an abandoned submarine base in Broutona Bay, in the Kiril Islands / manufactured cats at Aaronland / woodcuts by Michael Renton / could it really be that 2014 was seen as the Year of Outrage? What does that make 2018? / The Great Tariff Boat Race, tracking cargo in the face of change, at Edible Geography / What’s next for Zaha Hadid Architects? / Magic Leap makes the jump into actual product / Beach, a set of paintings by Philip Barlow.

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Watch and listen

Art and music. Where have all the music blogs gone? From the comments, and elsewhere: Various Small Flames; Aquarium Drunkard; the currently dormant Ants in my Trance; songs for the day; mixes at Musicophilia; Mystic Sons / The Oldest Building in Every US State / Camille Seaman’s photographs accompany the essay ‘The Ice Patrol‘ at Topic Magazine / still going strong, Turps Banana, a magazine about modern painters / art and illustrations aggregated at Faith is Torment / paintings by Kenne Gregoire / paintings by Jessalyn Brooks.

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Love for life

Like Punk Never Happened, Brian McCloskey’s Smash Hits archive (via this Guardian piece on How we made Smash Hits. See also (or compare and contrast with) the Archived Music Press site (currently five years dormant) / The Creepy Things, a tumblr that is indeed creepy and often a bit unpleasant / a mix of the last two links: Kids react to Swans / McMansion Hell, special US politics summer edition. More McMansion Hell / state-run concrete hotels on the Adriatic coast / Solent fort for sale / tunnel installation by MAD Architects (at designboom).

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Please enjoy your day on this planet

Starring the Computer, a website dedicated to the use of computers in film and television. The IBM AN/FSQ-7, a key component of the USAF Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE). With its many panels of flashing lights and general air of futurism, the AN/FSQ-7 went on to act as a significant prop in numerous sci-fi films, becoming visual shorthand for an all-powerful supercomputer or simply set dressing for a villain’s lair / see also the Internet Movie Cars Database, the Movie Locations Guide and the Computer History Museum, as well as Bonhams’ upcoming sale of Instruments of Science and Technology.

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