Wrapped in plastic

Will Self urges us to blame the forty-somethings, not the baby boomers or the hipsters (‘… the once proud artistic avant gardes of western Europe plummeting through clouds of frothy coffee, down into a brownish gloop comprising one part “crafted” gin to three of moustache wax.’) / undercover, the Hill House Box by Carmody Groarke / paintings by Simon Stalenhag / The dashboard of 7 cars through the years (via Carsthatnevermadeitetc) / 25 years of the Mercedes F100 concept / house prices through the decades / Jimi Hendrix’s isolated guitar on ‘All Along The Watchtower‘ / the sound of the Utility Perkolator MKII / sigh: Mmmm – interchanges, at Present and Correct / reimagination: What Would 6 Cities of the United States be like if Frank Lloyd Wright or Robert Moses had Designed Them?

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On the edge of eighteen

Viking Valley Fall, consumer drones come of age / Big Timelapse Stories – Episode 1: The 30 Year Timelapse / WebGL Fluid Simulation. Much fun to be had / Satan’s a woman / Rakotzbrücke Devil’s Bridge, Germany / gifmk7, gifs with a certain squidgy quality / all about the painter Eric White / Richard Parry breaks down technology and photographs it. See more on his Instagram / related, Click, whir, ping: the lost sounds of loading video games / a couple more Instagram portfolios: paintings by Andrea Kastner; graphic artworks by Magali Brueder / some portraits of architects by Ivan Jones / the Hidden Women of Design, raising the visibility of women in graphic design / a house with an indoor beach / a low carbon travelling test / music by Loud Women / From bombs to Benidorm: how fascism disfigured the face of Spain. Meades is back / any old school bloggers still posting?. Things turns 18 next month. The online version, that is.

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Camper than

Everybody in The Place: An Incomplete History of Britain 1984-1992, a film by Jeremy Deller that ‘uses rare and unseen archive materials to weave together a narrative that investigates the music and protest movement that created “seismic social changes” in Britain and reshaped the country forever’. Via Mixmag / art and math by Ani Abakumova (via designboom) / Why did we wait so long for the bicycle?: ‘The key insight was to stop trying to build a mechanical carriage, and instead build something more like a mechanical horse.’ (via MeFi) / music by On Autopilot / Living Vehicle, a cross between an RV and an upscale prefab / see also art and campers by Jay Nelson (via Dwell) / see also the Saab Toppola / retromodern speculation on iPhone design / a new town in Mongolia, a journalistic fascination: Ordos 2009; Ordos 2012; Ordos 2016; Ordos 2019 / seen in various places, the work of Thatcher Wine, artful organiser of books for the rich. We have written about this before, we feel / model Porsche, $11,000.

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Architectural things

Architectural things. Some isometric landscapes by Cinta Vidal / more urban imagery by Alexandra Pacula / Van Life, the non-Insta variety / Cover : The curious case of a shared database. On the somewhat familiar art of book cover design / the typos that changed lives / Why have cars become so wide? / paintings by Hans Vandekerckhove / the creative community in Hastings, photographs by Tim Willcocks / The Art of Warez, early alternative digital art / the Starchitect Rankings, searches, visibility and influence, via Archdaily, which also collates Architecture and Dystopia, ‘Music Videos Based on Superstudio and Archigram’s Criticisms’.

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To the bells of the cathedral

The Ghost in the MP3: ‘moDernisT‘ is a track by Ryan Maguire, ‘created by salvaging the sounds lost to mp3 compression from the song “Tom’s Diner“, famously used as one of the main controls in the listening tests to develop the MP3 encoding algorithm’ / South London before gentrification. Would like to see some ‘after’ photographs, as this all still looks fairly familiar / An Atlas of American Gun Violence / Letters of the Damned: Exorcising the Curse of the Petrified Forest: ‘Please take back the rocks we stole. We’re sorry; we shouldn’t have done it.’ / graphic art by Nvard Yerkanian / art by James Nolan Gandy / art by Pascal Campion / music by Let’s Eat Grandma / ambient music from Radiolarium / A beautifully illustrated glossary of typographic terms you should know, at Canva.

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What a waste

Desert Island Dump, a trip to Henderson Island: waste, reefs, plastic and rats / sort of related, imaging the planet, a visual demonstration of how satellite imagery is gathered / official posters at the National Office of Importance / a blog by Dennis Cooper / music by The Soft Cavalry / music by Conan Neutron & The Secret Friends / houseboat for sale / the terrible anxiety of location sharing apps / six leading architects recall their first commission.

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Occasional output

Things sieved from the stream. The Archive of Styles, a type fetishist’s delight (via Meanwhile) / paintings and sculptures by John Clarke / the demolition of a Pasadena landmark / art, faith and modernity, on show at Liss Llewellyn / small publishers collated at Tipitin (get it?) / more publications at Draw Down Books / Diet Prada, an instagram about copying vs inspiration / Abstract Aerial Art (via Kottke) / Highlights from In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, also at Kottke / The Rescued Film Project, via this Guardian piece on developing random camera films / at home with Richard and Ruth Rogers.

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Wishing I had a photograph of you

A random selection of things. This is sort of like a crowd-sourced Upside Down: Doodle Place / linocuts by Vanessa Lubach / music by Gurtwyrm; Love Family Robinson / Futuro House, in a different environment / gig reviews by Rob Weychert / Anthology Resource Vol. II: Philosophy of Beyond, an album of ambient works by Dean Hurley, David Lynch’s sound designer / Michigan Central and the rebirth of Detroit. The end of ruin porn? / Uninteresting Photographs (via The Morning News) / sadly related, Vice’s London Rental Opportunity of the Week / Amazon nomads are on a permanent quest for the unicorns of modern mass consumption / AI Portraits, let a computer reinterpret your self / a gallery of Livecams from around the world / on the beach: the instagrammers of Australia / art by Tito Merello Vilar / The Short Life and Strange Death of Maryland’s Ghost Fleet (via This isn’t Happiness) / one step closer to Mars / the Sony Walkman is forty. See also the Bluetooth tape deck / furniture by Ted Lott.

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Decay and fall

Learning Synths, a fun educational site from Ableton (via The Verge) / thanks to Kottke for highlighting the other-worldly sounds of a giant gong. An Paiste 80 Symphonic Gong is rather dear / the cartoonist Mordillo (wiki) has died / a history of the smartwatch / art by Simon Palmer / Five schemes for cheaper space launches—and five cautionary tales / Welcome to Goose Creek Tower / The Happy Reader, a Penguin magazine / Astronaut Dinosaur, paintings by Scott Listfield / sort of related: Inside Information: MinimoogMalik Thomas, see also inside the VOX AC30 / art by Kate Neave / 35 Innovators Under 35 / Sounds of American Doomsday Cults Volume 14 / the art of mass production by photographer Daniel Stier / a Porsche-powered camper van. Not the performer you might expect.

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A big chunk of stuff

The mass death of a consumer robot / Fist of Jesus, a short, bloody film / How Technology Changed Music / ‘”Ghost Tape Number 10“, an audio mix the US military used for psychological operations in the Vietnam War’ / The China Syndrome “Turbine Trip” scene with newly composed soundtrack / swindles with a silicon mask, Mission Impossible style / the tale of the Beast of Gévaudan (1764–1767), at the great Public Domain Review / how to be a real online explorer: Zero Views; Astronaut; default filename tv / Owen Hatherley on brutalist attribution: Concrete clickbait: next time you share a spomenik photo, think about what it means / vertical futures, towers illustrated by Nick Coupland / Archimodels, a blog about architectural models (which is purely about aesthetics…) / “Renderers, if you can’t show us where we are, show us where we might go”, Betsky on the superficiality of the unreal, e.g. the skyscraper infinity pool / a gallery of unbuilt Tokyo / also sort of related, has the Serpentine Pavilion programme run its course? / see also The Colour Palace, the low-hi, hi-vis alternative / techno street drummer Dario Rossi, worth your time / a Google project that gives you the sounds of the ocean / shimmery things at the Tremelo Project / a pedal from Sunn O))) and EarthQuaker devices / best used while watching these Protean Clouds, an experiment created using Shadertoy / which is a long way from how things used to be: why a 30-year old Macintosh works better than today’s word processors. See also the hidden efficiency of old school tools / the week in space: what you didn’t know about Apollo 11; Apollo capsule found drifting in space?; Lego Apollo 11 Lunar Lander.

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Back and forth

The true, twisted story of the Amityville Horror / What We Know About the Navy’s UFO Problem / a 3D model of Apollo 11 / behind the scenes at the Summer Palace, Pricegore and Yinka Ilori / an archive of Postmodernism / photographs by Arch McLeish / collections belonging to Dan Cherry / Pitchfork / The Rescue of the Ennis House, a ‘perfect Hollywood script’ / James Goldstein’s Ever-Expanding World / the Maison de L’Utopie, Belgium, by Marc Held / Merkaba, a house with its own version of Jenck’s Garden of Cosmic Speculation / buy, and drive, Thunderbird 2 / Little Gems, forgotten British children’s TV. See also Telly Spookery, which assembles some fine TV plays and series from the hauntological past / London’s Secret Rivers, a new exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands / Kicks Condor tackles things.

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In Quotes

Three examples of culture sampling. The distinctly Benz-like vehicles of Bamin Automobile, at CarNewsChina (via Jalopnik) / a nice shout out to The Way of the Exploding Fist in the Black Mirror Trailer (1m21s) / more pop culture self-referentiality: Stranger Things Lego.

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Slight Return

The Library of Things – ‘why buy when you could borrow?’ This Guardian piece asks whether ‘borrowing everything from drills to disco balls cut waste and save money?’ It is certainly a tempting idea. Based in Oxford (a London branch opens soon), the library’s stock is still rather prosaic and practical, but perhaps the more esoteric the better. Sort of related, Dimensions.Guide, a database of measured drawings (via Kottke70’s Sci Fi & Superhero Utility Belts at The Dork Review, via David Weiner’s It Came From…, a blog about retro pop nostalgia / not pop, music by Millipede / Lisa Drewe: The woman walking on the edge of hidden islands. Drewe runs the site Islandeering.

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Please help me find the very best strange trippy short films and videos / the East End in Colour, 1980-1990. See also the Development and Construction of London Flickr group / Arrows Classic is a Japanese company that refurbishes old Mercedes (via Uncrate) / related, proposed BMW 2002 restomod / paintings by Gareth Cadwallader / Photo Requests from Solitary, ‘a participatory project that invites men and women held in long-term solitary confinement in U.S. prisons to request a photograph of anything at all, real or imagined, and then finds a volunteer to make the image’. Not related, but the flipside of hope perhaps, The Last Meals Project (via MeFi) / Yuji Watanabe’s Dr. Minezaki House, the ‘Dragon Fort’, from 1968, at SOS Brutalism: ‘the building resembles a curled up dragon with private and office rooms for a medical doctor’.

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The Emotional Charge of What We Throw Away / the (many) legends of Crybaby Bridge / McMansion Hell: I wasted a whole day making this chart for architects and so now you have to see it too / Kicks Condor. Every now and again we find a site (or it finds us) that seems like a kindred spirit in approach and sensibility / Burls Art makes guitars and things / music by Lacing / Congregation, a photography project by Sophie Green / Raw Materials, an ongoing research project exploring the industrial heritage of the River Lea through found objects / drawings of houses by Stefan Zsaitsits / short fx clips by FX Mania.

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Art by Xooang Choi / America’s fading shopfronts, photographs by John Lehr / The World’s Worst Records / the 360° Alphabet by Jinhwa Oh / Hamburg Deconstruction, Carsten Witte / Ignant has a folio of Alain Capeillères’s Swimming Pool in the Côte d’Azur, photographed by Romain Laprade. Laprade’s site is full of beautiful shots: La Grande Motte; Walden 7 by Bofill; Niemeyer’s Headquarters of the French Communist Party / photography by Janie Kidston / illustrations by Visothkakvei / memories of Disintegration by Roger O’Donnell / Mudhoney play the Fulham Greyhound, March 1989.

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Away days

Historical Times presents a collection of culturally important ruins / Mars in the Gobi Desert / how climate change deniers make themselves seem legitimate / Island living. See also The Gatekeepers, a photography project by Alex Ingram / Asia, through the filter of Soviet concrete. The book, Soviet Asia, is by photographers Roberto Conte and Stefano Perego / see also Modernist Escapes / Tracking Britain’s ‘wild cats’, an urban legend that never dies / starting young, influencer culture and child labour laws, two things that never seem to meet / Up in the air: drones of the future will look like birds and bugs / Free Range, a graduate show of art and photography / Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die, Punk Graphics, 1976–1986 / Stunning landscape illustrations by Ryo Takemasa.

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In memoriam

A 2015 project on gothic structure devoted a substantial amount of time to scanning Notre Dame, creating a precise 3D model. The project was the initiative of the late Andrew Tallon, who very tragically died just last November. His work and memory will be essential in the years to come / other things. Illustration by Jon Juarez / Browsing the Stacks: A Photo Appreciation of Libraries at The Atlantic / The Sound of the Seen: Morgan Aschom’s “What the Living Carry”, an essay at Lens Culture / Bauhaus Tribute Posters by Xavier Esclusa Trias / Abandon Earth?, ‘A trio of recently unveiled projects sees architects designing for futures removed from terra firma, looking wayward to Mars, the Moon, and the surface of our vast oceans’.

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Entropy online

A question seeking recommendations of examples of Post-post-collapse fiction, from where we get to Stand Still, Stay Silent, a webcomic about a Scandinavian future. We can’t vouch for the accuracy of the language tree, but it’s a beautiful image. At times the modern internet resembles a post-collapse society, with the little tributaries of originality and individuality swept away by the monolithic platforms and their relentless amplification of nothing. And there are just so many abandoned sites out there, even ignoring the husks of ideas and ideals that make up the empty tenements of Geocities or MySpace, but personal blogs that were lovingly tended and curated, yet still ultimately fell into disrepair.

Digital entropy is very real – our own ‘blogroll’ is home to many an abandoned project – but coming across a dead blog is like stumbling on the Marie Celeste. A tiny sampling: Sea Songs; Third Class on a One-Class Train; nuits sans nuit et quelques jours sans jour; This Recording; (what is this?); broken biro; i flips me lid; Continuo. It’s pointless to speculate where everyone went. Some sites, like Bad British Architecture, fell victim to their creators’ more lucrative side projects (despite the near endless of material), while others just ebbed away as time and interest waned. People are increasingly aware of the potentially damaging role of past social media, but the abandoned blog is a much more nuanced memory from the past. A couple of other things. Not 2 Grand, a website about buying cheap cars / GCHQ and the codes of Frank Sidebottom / alternate timeline McDonalds, c1973 (via Coudal).

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Echo Chambers

A short guide to Broadcast, retrofuturist pop & hauntological pop. See also this earlier collection of music loosely grouped as Folk Horror. There are endearing fictional diversions in the genre, such as Hereford Wakes, ‘a five-part ITV children’s drama originally transmitted over the summer of 1972 and produced by Harlech Television based in Wales.’ Shades of Scarfolk Council, blended with the harsh edge aesthetic of 70s and 80s public information films. Retrofuturism is awash with re-imagined pasts – it’s the whole synthwave aesthetic. This collection of Synth Soundtracks For Films That Don’t Exist includes Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury’s Drokk, an alternative album of themes for the Judge Dredd film of their imagination. It led of course to scores for Ex Machina and Annihilation, amongst others. Barrow’s Invada Records has an impressive catalogue of contemporary film music, from A Field in England to Mandy and Stranger Things. The duo are also doing the music to the new Amazon drama Hanna. Finally, some true natural ambience: Field Recordings from Teufelsberg Listening Station, Berlin, Germany.

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Small snippets

Unrailed, a new game about an endless railway (via RPS) / crafty stuff and Hole and Corner / Barcelona from above / Cambridge from the rooftops / London as a leaky sieve of laundered property money / speaking of which, where does F1 sponsor Rich Energy gets its money from?

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Air Train

Our horrid future, part 235. For the tech elite, luxury means getting away from what they created. Meanwhile, SF continues to descend into a social hellscape for anyone who isn’t wallowing in venture capital / surprisingly, there is still so much derelict London to explore / cityscapes (and occasional nudes) painted by Seth Armstrong / Amy Bennett creates detailed models of imaginary suburbs and landscapes, which she then paints / The never-arriving aerial train, Airminded on a never-realised dream of early aviation.

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Through the keyhole

This and that. A post about tracking digital ephemera / 30 Years of God Game History, a look at the evolution of Populous, Dungeon Keeper, Black & White, etc. / a leading animator admits to having Aphantasia: ‘Ex-Pixar chief Ed Catmull says ‘my mind’s eye is blind” / Horror on the Hudson. NY’s Hudson Yards development comes in for another critical kicking. It’s especially interesting how Heatherwick has become a lighting rod for ill-will / Abandoned World Explorer tackles the empty houses on Hampstead’s ‘Billionaires’ Row‘, The Bishop’s Avenue. There are periodically hand-wringing pieces about this long stretch of street and the many, many abandoned houses that lie along it. The Wikipedia article doesn’t exactly offer up a set of sympathetic neighbours, but still, the street makes for fun flying around in Google Earth if you don’t have the stomach to dodge the security guards.

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