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weblog archives
eXTReMe Tracker
Tuesday, March 26, 2002
Why is stuff like this so great? (it's a link to a collection of other people’s grocery lists). Perhaps it’s not. Perhaps this fetishisation of the ordinary, coupled with an almost maniacal desire to catalogue, compare and contrast, is just a natural consequence of the web’s inherent ability to ease this kind of behaviour. On-line museums, as we’ve mused before, are repositories for the things that might otherwise be forgotten, the contemporary version of the Victorian cabinet of curiosities, a multi-drawered piece of finely tooled furniture that contains images of everyday detritus.

This particular link - Derek's Big Website of Wal-Mart Purchase Receipts (yes, we’ve used it before) – is a perfect example, admirable for its thoroughness, frightening for its totality. Ultimately useless? Possibly. Derek’s fails as a valid commentary on consumerism, partly because his purchasing is pretty banal, but mainly because the project now seems overwhelmed by its higher function – its existence on-line (witness how receipts are occasionally signed by cashiers and/or wellwishers). Although the receipt 'collection' was made possible by the web, it has ultimately been subsumed by it. So does the new-found ability to ‘exhibit’ a collection to a global audience enhance or degrade the collector's curatorial role? An article, Portals of Curiosities is an interesting angle on just this, complete with useful links.

The on-line collection has also fed back into the off-line. The art director of the New York Times, Peter Buchanan-Smith’s book Speck (for Princeton Architectural Press) effectively translates these contemporary obsessions into print, neatly melding the new collectomania of the digital age into the well-established form of the design monograph, usurping the banal posturing that has become so common in recent exponents of the genre. Does Buchanan-Smith’s magazine, the Ganzfeld deliver a similar approach? (we haven’t seen it).

Perhaps every website is a museum of things.


Monday, March 25, 2002
Inspired by recent links to high-tech Lego models (like this useful puzzle solver, courtesy, as ever, of haddock.org), today's ludicrously over-the-top homage to a forgotten toy is this Meccano creation, an evocative cultural reference to those in the UK, perhaps, but pretty obscure to everyone everywhere else.


Wednesday, March 13, 2002
Amusingly, when the sales assistant swiped the bar code on Another Magazine, the unnecessarily hefty bi-annual journal of ludicrous fashion, this was what popped up on the till. Deeply ironic fashion in-joke? Or simple bar code software error?


Monday, March 11, 2002
Fascinating article in the LRB about escalator repairs on the LU. The tube continues to hold fascination, a subterannean world of disused stations and quirky behaviour. Although the official site is pretty comprehensive, independent company Quickmap have edged ahead with their fantastic animated maps.


Thursday, March 07, 2002
Some historical maps of NY state and environs, all available in gloriously high resolutions. Compare this to the UK, perhaps the most accurately mapped country on earth, which has its cartographic heritage tightly controlled by the Ordnance Survey. High quality pre-Ordnance maps are available online, but are generally few and far between. (map links courtesy of memepool)


Tuesday, March 05, 2002
Two connected, yet contrasting, links. The first is a comprehensive collection of travel brochures, with the emphasis on the fine art influenced graphics from the inter-war period. This material reeks of a golden age, regardless of whether or not such an age actually existed; a time of travelling trunks festooned with stickers, flying boats and dressing for dinner. In a similar vein is Theme Park Brochures, a joyful romp through the downright deceptive cartographic methods used to ensnare thrill-happy tourists throughout the ages.

On a slightly less frivolous note. Aviation-Safety has a compilation gallery of emergency exits. Some people like to collect this stuff (also here and here). (thanks to Sam for the last link).


Friday, March 01, 2002
A thumbail gallery of chrome fenders and fins. A photographic tour around a miniature city. A collection of early 3D photography (you'll need your glasses from things 13). A photographer who captures eerie beauty in empty spaces.