David Byrne’s ‘Guitar Pedals‘, Tokyo, 2010 (via Effect Pedal). More.

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High in the sky

Modernist greeting cards at Things You Can Buy versus The Triumph of Postmodernism. Pomo is fast becoming an endangered species / Despicable Me meets Dr Strangelove meets the Big Brother House in this conceptual scheme for Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations. Great timing / riding in the Youabian Puma, a fearsome piece of auto design / Immersion 360 lets overseas buyers into your property without the need for them to even charter a plane / related and slightly depressing. The rise of the mega-spec home / also related, the rise of the Frankenburb at Granola Shotgun (via MeFi) / Flora Will Save Me, a tumblr / OpenSFHistory, a collection of historical images of San Francisco / 80’s Tapes, reliving the mix (with associated links) / fund the Poco Supercomputer, a multi-functional Pi-powered Gadget / Urthecast puts satellites over newsworthy spots on the globe.

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‘My heart sunk, I felt absolutely sick’

The Dennis Sharp Archive / the Infocom Cabinet, design documents and minutae from the creation of Infocom’s famous series of text adventures / a MeFi post dredging up this fantastic episode of From A to B, tales of Modern Motoring, a proto reality documentary by Nicholas Barker in which the subjects were allowed to quietly skewer themselves. The accompanying production photographs were taken by Martin Parr and spoke just as much as the series did / Things Cut in Half, from the cross-section obsessive / vaulted spaces discovered within by Matt Simmons / Transforming a motorway flyover. Reader comment: ‘It’s amazing how beautiful, successful and desirable even the worst places can become when you photoshop the hell out of them.’ / Freaky Trigger on the problematic Tintin adventure The Shooting Star / Glastonbury myths ‘made up by 12th-century monks’.

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No longer collecting for ourselves

In the early years of the internet, the sense of discovery often outweighed the quality and interest of what one actually discovered. At every corner, there seemed to be an outpouring of folk art and taxonomy and presentation and personal accumulation, packaged up for presentation in this new medium with scarcely a care if anyone else clicked through. Most of the initial impetus behind things‘ online presence was to track and report back on this, inline with many of the other early (and inspirational) weblogs. However, the optimism and enthusiasm that characterised the first five or so years of the internet/weblog boom has largely been buried beneath a mudslide of cynicism and clickbait.


Every discovery was once an insight into a hidden collectomania, a delight in display that revealed taxonomies that might otherwise have been lost or at the very least overlooked (orange crate labels, Soviet electronics, bottle caps, punched cards – Coudal’s Museum of Online Museums – the MoOM, is especially good at chronicling this output). Regrettably perhaps, this emphasis on specialism has become commonplace and the esoteric is now the everyday. Everyone states an interest in craft and skill and ‘creativity’, but what really seems to make a thing stand out on the contemporary internet is a striking blend of the eccentric and the skilful, the intangible qualities of the ‘viral object,’ as opposed to the quiet joy of individual discovery.

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A commune on the hill

The shortlist of the UK House of the Year, 2015 / John Pawson’s instagram is kind of what you’d expect / an Architectural Revolution That Never Quite Was, the story of Prickly Mountain, a community of extraordinary architecture in Vermont (that last link via the excellent Sight Unseen) / going further back: a harrowing test drive in Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Car / music: Sennen / a collection of blog recommendations including Misfits Architecture / Apousiokoumpounophobia: the fear of the absence of buttons.


Why Don’t We “Like” Our Neighbors? The internet, proximity and how connectivity doesn’t necessarily mean increased community / Local history corner: Booth takes a walk through Peckham / family history exploration of the South London life of Joseph Partleton / (Then and Now) Photographs of the Old Kent Road / Standard Time: A clock rebuilt every minute. The antithesis of The Clock of the Long Now / buy new Pelican and get an old Pelican. You can’t choose, sadly: here are your potential options.

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The animals are winding me up

The Dream Life of Driverless Cars, Geoff Manaugh on the ‘mad machine hallucinations’ created by LIDAR splashing across the changing cityscapes, and what this might mean for how we perceive and shape a new machine-centric urbanism. Very much related: Toyota Invests $1 Billion in Artificial Intelligence in U.S. / other things / A miniature village obsession / car park to art studio, just not as many art studios as it could have been / the story of one block in NYC / Delta Cabin by AToT / underground parking garage / massive analysis of the engine and maths underneath the graphics in GTAV / Bauzeitgeist on architecture in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso.


Visual / Waldina, a blog about fashion and culture / illustrations by Suzie Q (nsfw) / Draw Paint Print, a tumblr / Rembrandt’s Dog’s List, a blog collating fine examples of 21st century painters / Escher-esque inhabited landscapes painted by Cinta Vidal / a collection of Javascript + WebGL experiments. It’s a bit late for Autumn. Try Spring or Winter instead / Bright Colors sells art / Marina Munn is an illustrator / Vivarium, a project by Angela Hadrill / photo archives of the London School of Economics.


Aural / DJ set by snooker pro Steve Davis, heavy on the prog / listen to music: Dirty Dishes / MIST / Snapdrive is a modular pedal system / very analogue techno / people are still releasing things on VHS / Sweeter Than Echoes, vintage electronica.

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Cities, skyline, lizard

Godzilla Simulator. Finally, a worthwhile application for VR. Sort of related, building a town in Cities: Skylines for just a single family (via MeFi). No sign of a C:S Godzilla mod yet (unlike in SimCity). Also related, Rampage

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Masked Letters and other concealments

The Masked Letter of 1777 is puzzle, wordplay and code all in one. Hand-written with careful precision, the letter had to be combined with a specially cut mask to reveal a very different meaning. Other steganographic ploys have been used throughout history to conceal meaning within text. Under conditions of war, traditional methods like invisible ink were once considered the height of espionage technology (you can browse a gallery of letters taken from the exhibition Spy Letters of the American Revolution). Given the endless opportunities presented by modern technology, the art of concealed meaning has become just that – an art – best illustrated by projects like Tom Phillips’ A Humument. Hiding becomes discovering, and the searcher is free to take whatever message they want from a text. The ancient art of hidden writing has been obliterated by techniques like concealing messages within image files and manipulating pixels. Sometimes, however, people just can’t resist ‘hiding’ things that are actually in plain sight – whether for romance, mischief or malice – with inevitable consequences.

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High and over?

London from 600 feet up, building the Post Office Tower in 1964. Two years later the Rank Organisation returned to visit the rotating restaurant in Eating High. The viewing gallery was bombed in 1971 and the restaurant closed. It re-opened, temporarily, in the summer to celebrate the Tower’s 50th anniversary / much has been written about the death of Betamax but this comment explodes a few myths (‘Porn was released on both VHS and Beta (and V2000 in Europe), Sony had no control over what content was released on the format. Just buy an old video magazine on an online auction site to see this in the ads at the back. Old American video have lots of ads for adult material and until the 90s, almost everything was released on Beta as well as VHS. It doesn’t stop newspapers and people trotting out this utter lie time after time’). More at MeFi.


What is the real future of architectural publishing? See also: ‘Our monographs, magazines and museums feed a cycle of shallow celebratory hysterics with little to no investigative or critical practice‘ / Flight To The Moon – Historic Moments From Manned Space Flight / Life with the Aphex Twin, a blog post at Michael Gillette’s blog / War Plan Red, Angela Chen on the story ‘behind the secret, full-scale invasion plans that the United States and Canada used to hold for each other’ / If You’re Not Paranoid, You’re Crazy – are we living in a world where our phones snoop on what we say? If that’s not a writing prompt / Restricted Areas, a photography project by Danila Tkachenko / related: The abandoned buildings of the Eastern bloc / sort of related: 007 Interiors, a compilation of the best Bond sets (many of which were created by the incomparable Ken Adam.

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You’ve got mail

From Dirty Modern Scoundrel, a blog by John Grindrod to accompany his book Concretopia: A Journey Around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain, ‘Carry On Modernism‘. A collection of the ‘top five encounters between Carry On and Modernism’ (i.e. Kenneth Williams sneering at the Elephant and Castle) / The origins of 10 publishers’ names (both via Daniel Gray).


A Postal Treasure Trove: ‘In 1926, a seventeenth-century trunk of letters was bequeathed to the Museum voor Communicatie in The Hague, then as now the centre of government, politics, and trade in The Netherlands. The trunk belonged to one of the most active postmasters of the day, Simon de Brienne, a man at the heart of European communication networks. It contains an extraordinary archive: 2600 letters sent from all over Europe to this axis of communication, none of which were ever delivered.’


The story of searching for Noah’s Ark / record shopping in Mongolia / What happened to passenger hovercraft? / a new Pelican: Social Class in the 21st Century. Some old Pelicans / change afoot at the Peckham Car Park / the new issue of Anorak Magazine is all about the future / RETRO FUTURE, a short film by Mirai Mizue / The White Lady of Camberwell and other London characters, a post at the London Sound Survey.

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Concrete and jungles

Urban Jungle Street View, transform the world into some kind of post-human, after Earth-style garden city / related, architectural wastelands by Nicolas Moulins (via Socks Studio) / 4K Sun / Cat’s Forehead, contemporary visual culture in Japan (‘The name CAT’S FOREHEAD is derived from a Japanese idiom to describe something very small, equivalent to “not enough room to swing a cat in here” in English saying’) / ghost cars: new navigation concept, also seen in a Jaguar concept / UnCube does Death / the London Brutalist Map / related, When concrete buildings drive people mad versus SOS Brutalism / the poetry of London’s world war wastelands versus the million pound Peckham prefab / art and animation by Tânia Falcão and Avelar Lucas.

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I love you, you pay my rent

The Kindred of the Kibbo Kift, a radical youth movement in early twentieth century Britain / Communication in the presence of Noise, art by Sean Paul / the London that might have been / Why don’t people see the Yeti any more? Related, a finely crafted post on the genesis of Time-Life’s Mysteries of the Unknown series and the popular obsession with the paranormal and all things weird / the beauty and illegibility of extreme metal logos / Seam live, a set from 1993 / Argento, an EP homage to the legend of Italian horror cinema / iTunes Terms and Conditions: The Graphic Novel (via MeFi) / also via MeFi, Chipmunks on 16 speed, a suprisingly listenable, albeit haunting and gothic, re-working of tracks originally performed by Alvin and the Chipmunks (the modern version) / long read on the AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence / the London Underground Rent Map (‘where you can’t afford to live, by stop’), via Flowingdata / Stonehenge in shipping containers by Bureau A at dezeen / Escape from Mercator, dynamic online mapping without artificial distortion (via phiffer).

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In orbit

New view of a moon of Saturn / Inside Bolivia’s New Psychedelic Mansions, ‘Freddy Mamani’s flamboyant architecture is restyling Bolivia’s El Alto’ / Someone in Alabama Sold a Priceless Lunar Rover for Scrap Metal / Dakota Death Trip, a daily foray into the ‘strange, brutal, or interesting articles gleaned from newspapers from the upper Midwest from the 1870s-1920s’ / consultation opens on Crossrail 2 / building the Hoover Dam / stress testing Lego / backseat memories: Our Toyota was fantastic / Paperhouses offers contemporary house designs for free / beautiful interior paintings by Eleanor Ray / deducing life and movement from Flickr / a collection of architectural models / Words on Woodcuts / photographs of modernity passed by Weronika Dudka / Arte! a collection of paintings / Quelque Part Sur Le Web / all about the Kensington Air Terminal. More / Artifacts of futures that might have been: the art of the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild models / retro graphics and more at Flashbak / When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink?

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A cavalcade of destinations

Very slowly and quietly and sadly, the haddock turned over and went belly-up in the water. One of the longest-running things on the internet and once the start of our daily browsing / Why do so many Russians turn to psychics? / the real Iran: Tehran, Esfahan, Kashan, a road trip in pictures / the Aiwa CS-M1, a microcassette boombox / Future Forms has plenty more space age hi-fi product / old school tech is lovingly rendered in the artwork of AJ PEllicciotti / an interactive guide to ambiguous grammar. Nice pay-off / The Footbook of Zombie Walking, an analysis of zombie media / clock projects by Humans Since 1982 / Oskar Stalberg creates scale-defying photographic installations / Miss Belvedere ‘is the nickname given to a new 1957 Plymouth Belvedere sport coupe sealed in a 50-year time capsule and finally unearthed on June 14, 2007’. The time capsule leaked / mutomuto, a tumblr / Machine Books are a digital arts publisher / modernist artworks by Brian Alfred, flagged up by Socks Studio / photography from Bonneville, where the world’s fastest people congregate in aid of self-improvement / the BBC investigates British prepper culture (which sadly views the Confederate flag as “a symbol of freedom and detachment from the government”) / The Lowdown on the Lowline, ‘a sneak peek into New York’s first underground park’. Related, Peckham Coal Line, a ‘high-level, urban, linear park connecting communities’, currently being crowd-funded.

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Wonder me makes it ooh

A selection of pieces to read: The Finnish pocket computer that wants to take over the world / Inside the Secret World of Russia’s Cold War Mapmakers / How Esquire engineered the modern bachelor / the science behind fata morgana, a form of dynamic mirage that has confounded seamen for centuries / Raiders of the Lost Web, the challenge of conserving the dynamic internet, the dying links, the outdated code, the unpaid subscriptions and the shuttered servers. Things persist, but not always in the way we want them to. Cited in the piece, The Crossing, a ground-breaking longform piece from 1997 that spent a decade offline, surviving only on a DVD archive kept by the writer.


Sort of related. The MoMA Library tumblr brings together pamphlets and exhibition-related ephemera / Bamboo is the future of the world / meanwhile, ‘in London, you’d need an income of £77,000 and a deposit of £98,000’ to acquire one of the proposed new starter homes (‘for young Chinese investors’, in Private Eye’s words) / Ani-Gif, the art of the looping animation / the lost and found work of Evelyn Dunbar / the cabin at Longbranch / now and then, photo sites revisited and spliced together / starlings taking off at 200 frames per second / a new album by Shortwave Broadcaster, Trying To Envision Memory / backwards televangelists listening to Stairway to Heaven forwards.

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