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weblog archives
eXTReMe Tracker
Friday, May 31, 2002
As the UK winds down for a four day weekend (a twice-a-century occurence?), some recommended reading for the break. First up, the highly recommended manual (pdf, approx 200k) - quick, print it out now while you're still at work. If you're feeling a bit more adventurous, this manual might also be of interest. Also noticed, two architecture 'zines - loud paper and kazys.


Thursday, May 30, 2002
Channel 4 screened Mark Thomas's Secret Map of Britain last night (no web presence yet, apparently), which was intermittently entertaining, but felt like it had been chopped up and squeezed into its time slot. Some references were clearly pitched at those in the know, such as the use of numbers station broadcasts as incidental 'music'.

As well as bothering a lot of security guards whose job it was to lurk behind chain link fences (mostly protecting the type of installation previously discussed here), Thomas also revealed that the scourge of architects everywhere, Prince Charles, is the unlikely owner of Reading's dismal Holiday Inn, via his Duchy of Cornwall land-holdings (broken official site, unofficial site). This is a very, very banal piece of architecture.


Wednesday, May 29, 2002
'Doors I touched today' (via metafilter), is presented under the banner of Fluxus, the international art movement born of from the last days of the high modernist project. Fluxus continues to have a heavy web presence, although to our jaded modern eyes, the 'doors' project and its ilk have been superseded by the approach of certain photologs and online galleries such as 'Look at me'.


Tuesday, May 28, 2002
Although we know nothing whatsoever about digital photography (things photography is currently laboriously produced using scanners, real cameras, Photoshop and frustration), this looks highly desirable. Sadly, a bit of digging reveals that the camera's good looks might be deceiving. The Digilux is totally gorgeous, reminiscent of the beautiful cameras Leica has made for decades. We're still eager to be convinced, however, so if anyone has any experience of this camera, let us know. Thanks.

Today's random flash site: Vector Park, in particular the sweetly surreal Park animation. With the sound off (things is trying to work....) this has a strange and sinister beauty, like an animated children's book illustration, a crisper Arthur Rackham, or perhaps Pauline Baynes. These sites encouraged the retrieval of these links, the work of Edward Gorey and W.Heath Robinson. The latter has a gratifyingly large selection of good quality scans. We ran a piece on children's book illustration back in things 9 - not yet available online, though.


Monday, May 27, 2002
After last week's all too brief look at the mind-blowing world of religious merchandise, we are upstaged somewhat by Making Light's far more comprehensive list of similar items.

Furthermore, if there's a single point that's made absolutely clear by the study of art history, it's that the Gifts of the Holy Spirit don't reliably include good artistic taste or narrative judgement.


David Williams at Portage: Stuff Worth Saving sends us this picture of the Darth Vader gargoyle (see yesterday). There's some interesting stuff at Portage - including links to Soviet-era children's books (love these lobsters), and Ad*Access, Duke University's advertising archive (compare and contrast with Adflip). Most fascinating of all is the information on Hashima Island in Japan. Popularly known as Gunkanjima ('ship island'), the entire land surface is covered by abandoned apartment buildings, once home to thousands of miners who laboured in the coal seams beneath the surface. Portage links to this flash presentation on the island, as well as a historical essay.


Friday, May 24, 2002
Some religious links, inspired by the Vatican's recent condemnation of the jewel-encrusted crucifixes seen dangling from the necks of the more shiny-minded celebrities. It seems that there's always someone willing to up the ante. Our recent musings on sacred snowglobes pale into insignificance when compared with Plague Domes, self styled 'products of the apocalypse'. Plague Domes specialise in 'Biblical Plague snowdomes and other spiritual disasters' - we suspect that tongues are planted firmly in cheek. The online market for religious merchandise isn't all about knowing kitsch: there's a great deal of unknowing kitsch just ripe for the finding. Some people just can't resist poking fun, but mostly, this kind of material speaks for itself. Finally, the ultimate product placement? This 'gargoyle' lurks high up on the west tower of Washington National Cathedral. Future generations will be very confused.


Wednesday, May 22, 2002
In France, the Pages Jaunes directory has an extraordinary dimension - in the towns of Lille, Paris, Strasbourg, Nantes, Bordeaux, Lyon, Toulouse, Marseilles and Nice, you can look up a photo of any street address. You can even play a kind of A to Z Pacman as you chomp your way through the city streets. Slightly less useful, but no less fascinating is TOKYO buildings, a visual survey of the city's seemingly never-ending collection of big commercial buildings, with the occasional oddity thrown in. (the latter link came via consumptive, who in turn took it from Travelers Diagram, who also provide eye candy in the form of the Enoch Bolles pin-up gallery and a link to Radical Urban Theory, 'writings on the modern urban condition' - both of which demand a closer look another time). And that takes us nicely back to the yellow pages, and our virtual stroll around Paris - we are in the age of the virtual flaneur.


Tuesday, May 21, 2002
In late August last year, an email advertising this art project came into our mailbox. At the time it seemed like an endearingly daft idea - the construction of a balcony on the 91st floor of the World Trade Center by an Austrian art collective. The site looks untouched, without updates, with simple shaky line drawings.

Elsewhere, unpretentious art triumphs amongst the web's often overly florid graphic environment. Ben Katchor's Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer is a full length strip, a companion to his monthly pieces in Metropolis. Katchor's has an eye for minutae, and a gift at conveying the big city's constant cycle of decay and rebirth. Another sketch site, Antonio Jorge Goncalves's Subway-Life, a visual journey of tube travel in ten global cities.


Monday, May 20, 2002
It had to happen - our piece on the world's most comprehensive record collection has generated our first piece of heavy metal-related spam: an invitation to buy Cradle of Filth merchandise. Don't ask. If, however, you do need help on the mysterious world of metal genres, these three history sites should be of use.


Friday, May 17, 2002
Gotham: Skyscrapers & Views is a collection of vintage New York postcards. Many of these cards are hand-coloured or tinted, and the high quality scans certainly do them justice. Some extraordinary architecture on display - in particular the mammoth inter-war hotels. (via tmn.)


Thursday, May 16, 2002
What the frequent traveller needs: The world's first site dedicated to nothing but airline food. A triumph of packaging over content. More food packaging here.


Tuesday, May 14, 2002
Unusual things. Someone searched us for vacuum cleaners - all you'll get is the dead links area, I'm afraid. And thanks to yhb for his/her boring postcard collection. It looks like you're just starting out, and the emphasis seems to be on mistakes, cheesecake and the downright creepy. The 'boring' ones are corkers, though. Are boring postcards now an accepted collector's genre?

Oh yes, we've just gone pro.

To mark the (hopefully temporary) passing of Lines and Splines, this is one of Andy's recent links - to the comprehensive John Johnson Collection of printed ephemera at Oxford's Bodleian Library. Amongst other thing, the site contains great scans of vintage juvenalia, bill headings and items from the Great Exhibition. A couple of other design ephemera sites - Vintage Labels, a slick (but not suspiciously so) site looking at the lost art of the luggage label, and Medicine and Madison Avenue, a fascinating collection of American medical advertising (more cigarette advertising here). Hyperbole is the order of the day:

Every drain in her house as free-flowing as a mountain brook.


Monday, May 13, 2002
Tony Calzetta and Gabrielle de Montmollin make paintings and take photographs respectively. Their work comes together on Art is Hell, a site that also has a useful selection of art-related links.


Friday, May 10, 2002
The age of the Megachurch is upon us (NY Times article, so free password required), complete with their own integral McDonald's, bookstores and even gyms. You could even design your own - this plan being particularly banal. Sadly, the lego church that some lady built for her cat has been removed on account of the high traffic it received. You just never know what's going to be a big hit on the web.


Thursday, May 09, 2002
A random collection of links: J-Listís japanese ephemera, the wonderful Adflip archive, and Toaster Central - all you ever wanted to know about toasters (but no mention of 2001ís great lost invention, the net-enabled, weather-map printing, breakfast-making machine. Oh, and another ruins page.

Typical. You wait ages for a good conspiracy theory, and then two come at once.



Tuesday, May 07, 2002
Dark Passageís forays into the disused insane asylums that seem to litter the American countryside are moving and sad. Sad, because so many of these architecturally ambitious buildings are just being left to rot, but also disturbing for the implications of the activities and events which occurred within them. Another site, Dark Spire, has links to the USís best-known disused asylums, including details of preservation societies and a history of the type Ė in particular those institutions established under the principles of mental health pioneer Thomas Story Kirkbride. While some are sliding into dereliction, a few of these institutions have been given a new lease of life. The Kings Park Psychiatric Center has a particularly fine website, while David Gallagher's Lightningfield also took a recent foray into another example of crumbling American gothic.

Urban archaelogy is a fascinating genre Ė a fascination exacerbated for Britons as we can hardly imagine so many vast structures existing unknown and unloved in Britainís tightly packed urban fabric. But exist they do - the UK is apparently full of the unknown. Cane Hill Hospital in Coulsdon, South London, is an example of a homegrown abandoned asylum - this aerial photo gives you some indication of the scale. At Spring Hill in Wiltshire there is a citadel of similar size - only underground. The 2,000,000 square foot construction, built during World War 2, contains these remarkable murals decorating the canteen. Find out more about our bunker heritage at Subterranea Brittanica, the Cold war research group.

A few more links. Dead Malls is concerned with a more mundane element of the built environment, but no less interesting when left to the elements. The Urban Exploration webring has links to sites all over the world, while this site has details on closed stations along Paris's metro (see the forthcoming things 16 for a piece on Moscow's hidden metro lines). Ghost Towns are also popular on-line destinations, though few sites are as slick as the Ghost Town Gallery, a semi-professional travelogue across the abandoned communities of the old west.