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weblog archives
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Monday, September 01, 2003
The Tate's new archive launches today (via Kate Kellaway's article in the Observer). There's a searchable database, where you can highlight things like these 11 architectural models, including 'Project A', which would have removed the Tate’s frontage and replaced it with a huge (presumably concrete) façade that came right down to the river front. More info). No mention of who the architects of this typical piece of Sixties bloody-mindedness were, though.

Other gems include visual essays on the Bloomsbury Group and the American critic Barbara Reise. However, these images are still.not.big.enough. It’s a theme we touch on frequently at things (and are admittedly guilty of ourselves), namely that of the quality of digital archiving. Given that processing power, size of storage media and access speeds (not to mention monitor size and quality) are all increasingly at an exponential rate, does it not make sense to present scans at the highest practicable resolution (say print quality) right from the start of any archiving project?

With artistic mediums, namely photos, documents, models, paintings, and anything else that repays close attention, a shoddy 512 x 282 pixel resolution just isn’t going to help you. Security could be covered by digital watermarking or simply by the uniqueness of the imagery – anyone making illegal use of the Tate’s collection would be unlikely to have found the same images anywhere else, discouraging copyright piracy.

More archives. This Esquire cover gallery is mighty fine, and the scans aren't too bad. It's a fascinating social document: in the late 70s, Esquire had become really quite a dull looking magazine compared to the graphic simplicity of the 50s (June 1955, June 1957, January 1956). We're not too sure about the repeat motif of the little moustachioed man - Esky - though.

Esquire has always managed to resist the urge to go all-out sexed-up, despite the incursion into its market by the dread trio of Loaded, FHM and Maxim (notice how all those websites use red, red, red, everywhere?), and their even more tawdry imitators. Even so, the last ten years have hardly been a high point of the art director’s craft. Thus far this year, for example, Esquire hasn't once shown its logo in full. It's all a far cry from the 'simple' days of the 60s, when covers could be seriously bold. Related. Alexey Brodovitch was art director at Harper's Bazaar from 1934-1958, during which time he reinvented magazine design. Time, we think, for a new pioneer.

Jim's Big Things, via Iconomy / the new issue of Delve magazine is a little bit kinky / Furtherfield, web art, political art, poetry and more, including the 'real' bodies of skin/strip / just finished Miranda Sawyer's Park and Ride, which was enjoyable. I was partly encouraged to read this book by this Ebay listing - buy the car that features in the book! (more info at Justin Banks).

Some more on Imber's history. Another review / ever get the feeling that you don't want to live in London anymore? Not yet, but the epic sweep of Portland Beach is tempting (we've also just noticed that our pebble illustration was inadvertently 'borrowed' from here (more: I, II). Thanks, Giles).