Throwing itself under the [Micro]bus

The psychology of the VW emissions scandal laid bare (via MeFi), a decade-long deception that stems, in part, from VW’s stubborn desire to give the US market what it thought it needed as opposed to what it so clearly wanted – the ‘stillborn’ 2001 Microbus concept in particular. Going even further back, perhaps VW’s German masters never quite got over the very slightly patronising (although clearly self-deprecating attitudes) that made the 1960s Beetle campaign so important? Those now-legendary ads positioned VW as a tiny, plucky underdog up against American industrial might (and scale). Presumably at some point this narrative started to rub the engineers and executives in Wolfsburg up the wrong way.


Bunker Research, ‘the hidden history of modernism in the mountains’ by Max Leonard and Camille McMillan / computer generated art and physical installations by Jonathan Monaghan, via POSTmatter, an online publication dedicated to the intersection of the real and virtual / Zadie Smith on Brexit / some music: Unknown Rains, by Prurient / Lift Off Delay, by Cicada Verse / Wovoka Gentle / In celebration of the 1980s 12″ remix – a lot of excellent links there to sift through and listen to.

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Sitting in a tin can

Atomic: Living In Dread And Promise is a documentary about the nuclear age. You can watch it here, for now, but capture some of the menace and dread with Mogwai’s soundtrack / 67 Years of Lego Sets, an analysis / An Exhibition of Japanese Portable Record Players, put the niche on the record / sort of related, My Husband’s Stupid Record Collection / Just Like Heaven, what happens after we die? A few points about belief / inside Ryde’s Royal York Hotel. And Pondwell Holiday Camp / support the recent travails of one of our favourite tumblrs, FYB / this interview with Apollo 15 Astronaut Al Worde includes Stephen Biesty’s epic Saturn V cutaway art and some superb photographs before it soars unexpectedly into The Spaceships of Ezekiel territory and the paranormal interests of returning astronauts.

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In search of lost time

A Split-Screen Tour of Los Angeles, Seventy Years Ago and Today (via Coudal) / an analysis of the art, design and story of Kentucky Route Zero, a new episode of which was released this week /Meet Graham, artist Patricia Piccinini‘s unsettling vision of a human ‘evolved’ to survive car crashes and impacts. It’s all about the neck / it’s a bed on a mountain: Null Stern’s ‘hotel’ on a mountainside / a collection of contemporary beach houses / the lost Media Wiki, worth a regular revisit / Tokyo Houses photographed by Jeremie Souteyrat / ‘I will design a cover for every single book on the list‘: the Bowie Book Club, a new project by Daniel Benneworth-Gray.

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Falling down

Studio OBA’sPrenuptial Housing‘, ‘[an architectural] solution for the increasing number of marriages that end up in divorce… When couples feel they are drifting apart, the house initiates a ‘break up’, by detaching the two units which then go solo on the water.’ / a different kind of break-up: Demolition Day, ‘a collection of controlled explosions, blasts, kabooms, and crashes’ in the Atlantic’s Photo Portfolios / the very first Bramley Apple Tree is dying. More apple-related information in this earlier post / music from Third Island / ‘The graveyard of the Earth’: inside City 40, Russia’s deadly nuclear secret / eMoov’s National Property Price Rail Map, a graphic illustration of the UK’s hotspots / should I keep my old journals?

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Hoarding ideas

A City of Dust, the history of London through photography / The Legs of New York (via Kottke) / Relics of the Soviet Era / paintings by Soren Amsnaes / the web presence of the eternal Momus / Inside the life of a hoarder: trauma, loneliness and the secret power of Things / illustrations by Steve Lambert / the secret, library-based apartments of New York / Mametz Woods, still scarred by the Somme / Ladies by Ladies, images of women by women artists. Often nsfw.


The nostalgia industry: ‘I Miss My CDs.’ We sympathise: ‘…my music collection is a lawless (but not lossless) mess—a digital diaspora of streaming tracks; ripped MP3s; Bush/Cheney-era eMusic files; Bandcamp purchases; SoundCloud likes; and iTunes downloads in ancient file formats that now read like dating-site acronyms’ / the ups and downs of life as a celebrity lookalike / Wikipedia’s Global Catastrophic Risk page makes for depressing reading / widebody heaven, My Lovely Cars / Violet Club, the nuclear bomb that could never have worked / London Concrete Utopias, lost then found again.

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Paintings, real and imagined

Art and forgery: Peter Doig is accused of painting something he said he didn’t (via MeFi), while Lee Ufan says a series of known fakes are actually his / on the evolution of Chuck Close / Finally, the public art revival in Nantes, France.

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Friday thoughts

Vimeo’s Experimental, remixes and supercuts page is worth keeping an eye on / Space Dashboard: massive data dump from multiple sources and sensors on Earth and beyond / Unpleasant design and hostile urban architecture, or building benches that people don’t want to linger on / ‘It is hard to recall how insular and grim mainstream British architecture was in the 1980s‘. Owen Hatherley on the false dawn of cafe culture society. ‘What Rogers and his ilk missed was that Europe was becoming more like England, privatising and paring back its public commitments.’


Creepy gifs by Bill Domonkos / Flow of London, art in the streets / The Institute of Isolation is an art film by Lucy McRae about the challenges to human biology created by space travel / tiny house in the (American) woods / tiny house on the Essex coast / Big Black live, 1986.


Two related things: Helsinki wants to eliminate car ownership by 2025 and hyperloop considers a Helsinki-Stockholm track / also related, Calgary versus the car: the city that declared war on urban sprawl / why move to Canada? Or not / totally unrelated, the Black Forest Tragedy, a story of incompetence, Nazi propaganda, lasting grief and the importance of human kindness.

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All work and no play

All Work and No Play, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin uncover the lengths Kubrick went to during production of The Shining: ‘Never one to stint on artistic integrity and veracity, Kubrick used no shortcuts for the relatively simple scene… instead of having the sentence typed on only the few sheets seen by viewers, the director asked his secretary Margaret Warrington to type it on each one of the 500-odd sheets in the stack. What’s more, he also had Warrington type up an equivalent number of manuscript pages in four languages—French, German, Italian, Spanish—for foreign releases of the film.’ See the link for the translations.

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Models, power and soft-focus

The Chromologist, a website about colour / Look away now, photographs of the views from famous landmarks by Oliver Curtis / Stuff from the Loft, a website about the process of design, including interviews with politically-charged admen like Sidney Myers / Wikipedia’s Timeline of the Far Future / The Ontology of the Fashion Model, the origins of mannequins, real and static, and how they are perceived: ‘All these features combine to make the fashion model something a little less than human: mechanical or doll-like in her smooth performance, her body is always svelte, her step rhythmic and her movement gliding, qualities that, again, contribute to her slightly unnatural, even uncanny appearance.’


Design and simplicity at Maluruhukou, a tumblr / photography by Jim Lee, including work from the heady era of 70s soft-focus (includes, naturally, 70s soft focus nudity) / The Spaces suggests a clutch of Modernist realtors / related, tmh currently has two of the UK’s most significant modern houses on its books: St. Ann’s Court by Raymond McGrath and Amyas Connell’s Pollard / a review of Up in Smoke: The Failed Dreams of Battersea Power Station, by Peter Watt, author of the Great Wen, a London-centric blog (‘Brockwell Park … the location of the country’s first One O’Clock Club in 1964, created after an LCC employee was horrified to discover “ten howling babies in their prams abandoned outside Brockwell Park’s playground”, left there by older children who were meant to by looking after their siblings and were instead using the facilities for their own fun’). Related, our now outdated post about the Power Station saga from 2011.

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Things you can buy

Modernist Camden, a new map from Things you can buy / Engineering the World, the life and work of Ove Arup on display at the V&A / related, Yoshimichi and Spoon Tamago both link to the artwork of Tomoyuki Tanaka, on show at the exhibition Doboku, charting the art of civil engineering / memories of the Design Museum, which has now moved from Shad Thames / paintings by Mark Daniel Nelson / online archaeology: One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age, ‘Digging through the Geocities Torrent’ (via MeFi). It won’t be long before Digital Archaeologist is an actual proper thing / the ateupwithmotor car archive.

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Spatial explorations

Many wondrous things to peruse at the Bonhams Space History sale / sort of related, ‘These People UFO So Much Harder Than You‘ / beautiful landscape paintings by Fred Ingrams / architectural paintings by Daniel Rich / computer art and animation by Alan Warburton. We especially like ‘Z’, ‘composed entirely of z-depth images – also known as ‘luminance depth’ or ‘depth map’ images.’ More at his blog / Porton Down: ‘Inside Britain’s secret weapons research facility’ / why bad ideas refuse to die / Eight art thefts that went wrong / Unit Editions has a great tumblr / Gorminator, photography by Gorm Ashurst / cheap copies of great pedal / free things online / Ghost Ships, real and imagined / still unverified, Moscow’s Metro 2, a deep, deep line for the country’s elite.

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Future thoughts

A couple of tmn things: Brief Interviews with Very Small Publishers, and an old and hence even more magically wrong article about the urban futures of London, Los Angeles and Moscow / underneath that CGI card is a Blackbird / contemporary design at mapolis | architecture / a collection of contemporary makers at Simple Shape / on the other side of the world, making in the post-patent world of Shenzhen: A New Breed of Intellectual Property, at Bunnie Studios / see also Hands on with India’s £3 smartphone / Pixels Huh, pixel art paintings by Octavi Navarro / create your own video feedback / 6 Principles to Make Self-Driving Cars Work for Cities (via MeFi) / sort of related, Ghost Boxes: reusing America’s abandoned ‘Big Box’ superstores, including the creation of the Spam Museum.

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City lives

The history of urbanization, 3700 BC–2000 AD / related, Unequal Scenes Johnny Miller photographs ‘scenes of inequality in South Africa from the air’ / see also How Detroit got its Street Grid, from 1965 / Inside Masdar, the UAE’s Zero-Carbon City That Will Never Be / photographs by Tom Groves of Glastonbury-goers, before and after (surprisingly unruffled in most cases) / Still Life with Cone, Standpipe, Caution Tape / music: Library Tapes / trouble on the Panama Canal / Gigazoom imagery finds a home in the ad industry / the secret of taste. More by Tom Vanderbilt.

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Small link assemblage

Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age / Bad Things That Could Happen, a film by This Is It / The Bitter Lake / a history of potential forgeries / Norris Castle, on the Isle of Wight / projects on urban and technological futures by Tobias Revell, including Haunted Machines, with Natalie Kane, a project on the mythology of technology / sort of related, a snarky look at the typography of Blade Runner / see also this fine collection of Science Fiction Book Covers / beautiful examples of contemporary model-making at David Neat’s weblog / the Nick Cave guitar archive / Minimalism in Japan.

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Things are looking down

A very varied selection again / music: NoMapsforTheseTerritories; London’s Lost Worlds of Sound, a radio feature at the London Sound Survey / Facebook can map more of Earth in a week than we have in history / The Inevitable, Intergalactic Awkwardness of Time Capsules (via MeFi) / also at Atlas Obscura, The Complete Calendar Plug-In of the World’s Fictional Holidays (via Kottke) / the London Treasure Hunt Riots of 1904 / the Macaulay Library of bird sounds, photos and videos / prints by Gail Mallatratt / paintings by Alexandra Tyng / photography by Jenny Lewis / revisited, beautiful code explorations by David Li / the Animation Treasures weblog / Overland Expo West, dedicated to the art of wheeled exploration / the secretive world of new Russian money, all the way back from 2007 in the NYT / Forensic Architecture, ‘undertaking research that gathers and presents spatial analysis in legal and political forums.’

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This and that for Wednesday

Music: Thee Telepaths / Black Angel Drifter (formed from the creative core of Morton Valence) / Which cruise ship library is right for you? (via tmn) / 9 Things Microsoft Could Do With LinkedIn / Influx is a blog about cars, sponsored by a car insurer / every frame a picture: 2001, Picasso-style (via MeFi) / see also The Sounds of Starships / Electric Edens, ‘speculations on a new ruralism’ / paintings of industrial America by Charles Sheeler / Twenty Over Eighty: Conversations on a Lifetime in Architecture and Design / The Peckham Connection, photographing local commerce / Altered Images, a project by the Bronx Documentary Center / PictureBox, a great tumblr / Jonathan Crowe is a blogger and cartographer / Betts Project, an art gallery specialising in architecture / paintings by Richard Elliott / the Ultimate Music Tracker Base / songs so full of wonder they make your heart ache / The Evidence Room: ‘forensic interpretation of the blueprints and architectural remains of Auschwitz’. A very moving installation currently at the Venice Architecture Biennale.

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Lives lived well

How highways wrecked American cities‘ (at kottke). Seems that the US is only just waking up to something that’s fairly commonly accepted over in Europe – the blight of big road building programmes / suspiciously well-curated lives at Freunde von Freunde and Coffeeklatch (both, tellingly, via this question: where have all the bohemians gone?) / cities painted by Mark Daniel Nelson / What do you regret about ruthless de-cluttering? / unbuilt amusement park ride from 1919 promises G-forces, thrills, certain death / related, the world’s oldest roller coasters / shimmering guitar music from Stove / Mu Cartographer (via RPS), create generative landscapes.

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Link review: design, art and photography

When we embarked on this rather thankless project a few days ago, we forgot to thank Roberto at ArchEyes for drawing our attention to the thicket of 404s that filled the sidebar. Hopefully that is all now being rectified. So how many changes in our sidebar list of design, art and photography links? 30gms has vanished / 50 Watts is still a thing / A London Salmagundi was a fine-looking tumblr that has atrophied somewhat, while the accompanying blog, Heraclitean Fire, hasn’t done much in a few months / Adaism seems a bit static / All things considered is still going / as is an ambitious project collapsing / Andrew Meredith ceased posting in 2014 / Aqua Velvet redirects to the Collier Collective Blog / Art Fag City has changed to Art F City, while Art is Everywhere became a book.


The ArtsJournal stays current, as does Artsy / Automatism is happily still around, as is Bear Alley / BERG shut up shot / BiblioGraphic became someblog, and closed in 2012, while Booooooom! still shines a light on new art, as does but does it float / the C-Monster seems to have retired as has the Camberwell Illustrator Blog (although Peter Nencini is still at large, mostly on Instagram) / Car Design News plays an increasingly high profile role in the industry while CarType is a must for auto design enthusiasts / Concept Ships keeps on sailing / Conscientious became the Conscientious Photography Magazine and continues to be excellent / Construct of the Mind is no more / Cool Hunting continues to hunt cool / more big hitters: Core77 is a design industry essential, Coroflot is the go-to destination for jobs and portfolios.


Creative Review continues to be one of the best UK design magazines / D’Blog of ‘Israeli ceased trading a few years ago / Daily Tonic still offers up what it promises / Daniel Benneworth-Gray no longer publishes a journal but he does put out a great link email, Meanwhile / Death House is one of those sparse, elegant tumblrs / Design Talks keeps up to date and insightful / designboom is still a major player / Designspiration stays current / Dezeen goes from strength to strength / DisegnoDaily is worth checking out / Display hasn’t updated in a long while / Drawn! was great but has closed its doors / Eliot Shepard takes excellent photographs but no longer blogs / emma’s designblogg moved over to Residence Magazine.


Eye magazine is an essential resource, even better in print / ffffound was destroyed by tumblr but things still happen there / Field of Vision closed last year / Fosfor is dead / grain edit is still going strong as is the Great Leap Sideways / we will always love the Hand Drawn Map Association / hippolyte bayard ceased posting in 2003 / HotWheels is still a great car-culture tumblr / Hyperkit is still a fine design firm with a very occasional journal / I-II-III is a tumblr that has ceased trading / Iain Claridge is still blogging, while there are seemingly no end to the number of Iconic Photos in the world / Idea Books are still online / Imprint, a design blog / Influx stays online / Inhabitat is still an important spot / ISO50 is a rich repository of imagery and creativity / It’s not a Cabaret ceased updating 5 years ago / Kate Bingaman-Burt is going strong as is Kickcan & conkers / Linefeed has been quiet for a few months.


Lost at E Minor is alive and well / just like Martin Klasch / the Ministry of Type appears to have closed its doors / Mocoloco is up to the minute / Monoscope is now a beautiful installation / Mrs Deane appears to have shut up shop / National Geographic Found is one of the best tumblrs aroujnd / New English Landscape is highly recommended / New Found Original is great but long neglected / Noisy Decent Graphics can be relied on for up to the minute commentary on current design issues / design news and whatnot at Notcot / Nowness is still shiny and beautifully made / Overhead Compartment is no more / sady, Bill Drummond no longer updates Penkiln Burn / Picdit is still around / as, of course, is Pinterest.


We love Places Journal / there are still many, many interesting things at Printeresting / Ramage ceased some time last decade / Rashomon turned into Bellissimo / Reference Library is no more / as is the Repository of Records / Rodcorp has ceased to be / Rock, Paper, Shotgun is still reliably brilliant / Saatchi Online remains the place to be seen / Scene no longer exists but Alyn Griffiths still posts / happily, people are still contributing to Scientific Illustration / Shelley Davies is still online / amazing things can still be found at Shepelavy / Sight Unseen is still essential / Slanted still publishes / Sophie Munns has been quiet for a while / one of our favourite tumblrs, Still Life Quick Heart, went out for a short walk two years ago and never came back.


Storythings is still a thing / Subtraction still posts regularly / The Art Journal is a couple of months behind / The Big Picture is a press photography essential / The Calvert Journal seems current / The Cartoonist is well worth your time / The Culture Engine is old, old, old (although the tumblr is still going strong) / The Fox is Black remains a crucial aggregator / The Kid Should See This is great / The Letter exists still / the Old Cycle Club no longer has an online presence / The Selby is, of course, still stylish / The Strange Attractor is three years dark / Ward-O-Matic moved and then vanished / Theo Inglis posts sporadically but also runs the excellent Mid Century Modern Design tumblr / Thingiverse has ceased, it seems, as has Thinking for a Living.


This is A456 continues to post / This is Colossal is another evergreen online spot / designer Tim George has an excellent blog / photo essays at Time LightBox / Two Wheels Plus is no more / We Made This is still great (and has some great info about the new exhibition at the South London Gallery) / We Will Become appears to be no more / with what has stopped / White Noise of Everyday Life is no more / xBlog still exists, as does Yanko Design / We already had a dormant links section. The following exist but are no longer updated: 2 or 3 things I know; Accidental Mysteries; Amazing Maps; atlas(t); the much missed Bad British Architecture; daily dose of imagery (now trading as top left pixel; Design Bivouac / and that’s the end of this section. On to the next one – music – another time.

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A random selection of links

Some beautiful old photographs at the Surrey Wanderer flickr site / art by Laura McMorrow / LDS ARCHITECTURE: Discovering Great Mormon Buildings / Cartography Comparison: Google Maps & Apple Maps / always fascinated by posts about instant megacities: Ashgabat in Turkmenistan (via MeFi), the land created by the late Saparmurat Niyazov / The Paris Floods: 1910 vs 2016, photographs by Julien Knez / paintings by Jonas Wood / illustrator Matt Lee has a collection of Indian Matchboxes / creating windows with clever 3D graphics, part of Simon Screibt’s ‘Game Art Tricks’ series / the work of artist Terence Tenison Cuneo / the Damen Silos, Chicago, also seen in this elegant drone eye view / Exploring Abandoned Mines / all the Death Scenes from Animals of Farthing Wood / more link revisiting tomorrow, hopefully.

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Collections and Archives: link review

Into the collections and archives section. A Penguin a Week is still soldiering on (plenty of Penguins to go) / Agence Eureka is still a treasure trove of scanned ephemera and illustration /’s blog is worth following / Archive Team links to a tranche of resources / the Cabinet of Wonders no longer updates / Codex 99 has been quiet for eight months or so, sadly / Container List is still going, as is the eclectic Cyber Heritage / Dark Roasted Blend is an online institution / there are treasures to be found in the Design Council Slide Collection but the online archive of Design magazine is making itself scarce / Dull Tool Dim Bulb is always worth a visit / Efimera is dusty and abandoned, as is Ephemera and ephemera assemblyman, whereas Ephemeralism has completely vanished into the ether / Found Objects going strong / Invisible Themepark worth a visit / Kept Ephemera seems to be kept going as is Letterology / Letters of Note is a full-blown online phenomenon these days / our original link died but here’s a new link to a Blue Plaque Map of London / Mapping London is excellent / Material World is still going but Mid-Centuria switched to members-only / Militant Esthetix is a dayglo repository of interesting things (from a former things contributor).


The Museum of Jurassic Technology is a venerable institution (albeit a rarely updated one) / Coudal’s Museum of Online Museums is an essential starting point for the online ephemera enthusiast / as is the National Archives Blog / Obsessionistas is no more but oobject curates collections of unusual things / PCL Linkdump was great but has closed its doors to new posts / Peter Harrington Rare Books continues to post about great finds / Public Collectors is a must-visit / Rad Library has been quiet for six years / Recto/Verso continues to post / Room 26 Cabinet of Curiosities is closed now, we think / Shelf Appeal is another evergreen classic / as is Shorpy / Tales of Things still exists / whereas the Tate no longer seems to have a blog / The Cartographer’s Guild is still a map-maker’s delight / as is the brilliant Map Room / the Tomorrow Museum is no more / the National Trust continues to publish Treasure Hunt / Victorian London is still a beautiful thing / a different kind of beauty on offer at Vintage Computing and Gaming / see also World of Spectrum / not sure why we linked to soap makers Wary Meyers. Nice soap, though / the amazing Wellcome Library / X planes was a great tumblr, but is no longer updated.

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