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Sunday, December 21, 2003
Posts will be irregular from now until the New Year - check back for updates, but we can't promise the usual daily dose. A very happy Christmas and New Year to all things readers - both print and online. Next year will see, finally, the publication of things 17-18. In the meantime, check our archive and see what's new.


Thursday, December 18, 2003
Anti-development acronyms. Apparently the next stage up from NIMBY (Not In My Back yard), is NOTE (or even NOPE). A NUMBY is somewhat more paranoid, but our favourite has to be the BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone). Via Grayblog. Another new word: gerbilling ('Gerbil v,i To rotate inside a monowheel due to excessive braking or acceleration. [f. E, From ability of gerbils to run right round the inside of hamster wheels due their greater speed'). Found on this page of monowheel designs (via me-fi).

Eric Gill prints, via darkly35, via Mysterium / the development of Scaled Composites' SpaceShipOne reaches a new milestone / wooden Ferrari, via Ritilan (sic), who also links to these commercial photography archives held by Georgia State University. The Tracy W. O'Neal Photographic Collection is the work of a photographer active between 1923-1975. The scans are pretty unevenly distributed through the archives, but here are some gems:

Lucky Teter, Automotive Daredevil, at Lakewood Park (1939); Tank Attack at Fort Benning, Georgia [military training] (1940); Train Wreck near Adamsville (1941); The Parliament Motel (1965); General William J Bush, Last Confederate Veteran (undated); Big Apple Store (undated); Kids First Time in the Big City. Enough already, but don't forget to also visit the Lane Brothers’ archive (1920-1976), with categories like fires and disasters.

Congratulations to the best blog winners. Best photography: Nyclondon, best design: the big smoker, best specialist: Pepys Diary, Judge’s Award winner: linkmachinego, best under 18: A Teenager Blogs, best written: Belle de Jour (a book deal surely can’t be far behind on that one). More proof, if proof be needed, that the Weather Project has been the best thing for weblogging.


click to open pdf in new window

We like this. SA+BM’s (apologies for getting the name wrong before) winning entry for the Cedric Price Memorial competition, held by the Architect's Journal, a series of designs for 'beautifully crafted, scaled rubber stamps' that 'introduce themes of time, interval and periods of usefulness into almost any idealistic architectural drawing, which often show scant regard for the fourth dimension, time.' In the spirit of Price himself, we offer a pdf of the full set for you to download and enliven your own architectural creations.


We really meant to write something on Unknown Quantity, the exhibition curated (and conceived) by Paul Virilio and held at the Fondation Cartier earlier in the year. As usual, time ran out. Luckily there's a very comprehensive site to visit. Virilio was previously concerned with speed and impermanence; here he is dealing with failure, the failure of fragile machinery, or the failure of our fragile existence to deal with nature’s occasional rages. Visit the museum of accidents, already outdated by fresh catastrophe, natural, industrial, environmental and deliberate.

From disaster to delight. Bob Hope and American Variety, a photo exhibit of vaudeville performers (thanks to Patricia at bitlounge). Vaudeville is a few stages up from the sideshow, but some of these are still entertainingly bizarre: Eddie Foy with his children (ca.1910); Al Gordon and His Comedy Canines (1928); Houdini vanishing an elephant (1918). The bits and sketches section is also worth a look, especially the notes, scripts and hand-written pages of Bob Hope's jokes. Related: Pandora’s Box, the Louise Brooks Society.

Elsewhere. Gut Cult is an online literary magazine / the National Trust has a copious picture library - unfortunately online access is utterly hopeless / glossy fashion photography by Hajime Watanabe / a virtual recreation of the First Impressionist Exhibition of 1874 at the Artchive:

The extraordinary animation of the public street, the crowd swarming on the sidewalks, the carriages on the pavement, and the boulevard's trees waving in the dust and light-never has movement's elusive, fugitive, instantaneous quality been captured and fixed in all its tremendous fluidity as it has in this extraordinary, marvelous sketch that Monet has listed as Boulevard des Capucines

The Memory Collection, twenty objects from the Twentieth Century. Elsewhere, 20 things has had an auction. The Royal Journal of Found Art, enhanced with many new found things, e.g: the Saddest Lost Kitten Note Ever; Three Armed Romance Novel; Send Money I'm in Prison, etc. etc.

A guitar pedal picture gallery (via the daily jive). Related: Guitar Geek / T-Cube miniature PC, via Gizmodo / inspirational images at Beckmann, an architectural firm / Google timelines for 2001 and 2002 / Eek! We’ve got someone in trouble!. Many apologies to We2 (wrongly named yesterday).


Wednesday, December 17, 2003
The Cooker is the online home of artist Jake Tilson. I’ve long been a fan of Tilson’s work - he’s been working with the ‘found’ aesthetic, be it fonts, discarded cassette tapes, receipts, flyers, printed ephemera, for many years before it became a staple of the web. In fact, he’s been online since 1994 (more site history). Our first encounter was via the densely layered travelogue Atlas, Issue 4 (now hugely, and gratifyingly, expensive). You can buy his new book, 3 Found Fonts, online - it's highly recommended for fans of vanishing street graphics, typographical detective stories and all forms of signs and mark making. No relation, but Public Lettering has a similar eye for street graphics.

The Modernist makes its official debut. Articles, photo shoots (not safe for work), forums and more. We learnt a lot in this profile of Malcolm Bricklin, Eastern European car connoisseur and someone who believes Americans will buy the Zastava (you have to admire any company that built a Fiat 600 under licence - as the Zastava 750). Related: Soviet Cars in USA. We assume the use of Concorde on the masthead is all part of the airport metaphor (Terminal 1, Terminal 2, etc.). More transport. As the UK is gripped by runway fever, Transport Blog asks a good question: how can a runway end up costing £4 billion?

As if to confirm the theory that everyone, somewhere, has a web page devoted to them, we've been revisiting old, favourite bands: Loop, Primitives (particularly slick), Th’ Faith Healers (I might even have been at this gig, although God knows what year it was). How things have changed in the mp3 age - would these bands have prospered or floundered if the hard-to-find status of their records was negated by downloads and a more pluralist market? Related: Apple are the Marketer of the Year, over at Advertising Age, thanks to their iPod campaign. Interestingly, this isn't about a huge marketing spend (estimated at a mere $9m on iPod during the first eight months of 2003), but about getting iPod-related stories in the press – some 6,000 of them in the last year.

Staying with music. The Beard Museum, acoustic music in and around Oxford. Thinking of putting out a record? Try these alternative CD packaging links (via Ask me-fi): space-saving, paper case, origami case, recycled jewel boxes, designer style at 5inch.com and for the ultimate DIY approach, foam CD hubs / the heavy metal umlaut, an essential typographic accompaniment, thanks to Speak Up, an excellent design weblog in the same spirit as Design Observer (one for the sidebar, we think).

The Scottish maps of cartographer Timothy Pont (via, naturally, The Map Room). Beautiful scans that you can zoom right into, revealing every sputter of the nib and see Pont’s changing handwriting, along with his portrayal of towns. Also well-presented: the work of Kiki Smith at MoMa: her exhibition is titled 'Prints, Books & Things' (via scrubbles) / how to put a ship in a bottle, via iconomy. More ships in bottles: I, II.

Assorted miscellany. Simon le Bon has a book club / a photolog by Romi / great 'then and now' images at a secret smile / we’ve linked We Snap City before, but we clearly weren't looking hard enough. Take another look at that template. Look familiar? Oh well. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (cliché-google (a clooglé?)), and it’s nice to see someone else struggle with the hacky css and obvious formatting problems. Related: Pirated sites, via Brainstorms & Raves.

OZ magazine cover gallery (good quality scans. The infamous School Kids issue is here). From the same site, covers from Class War, all courtesy of Weed. Earlier in the week we were looking for a gallery of rave flyers from the UK Summer of Love era, and here it is / Wolfenstein 5K, which would have been a killer app on the Sinclair ZX81 (16k version). Go on, emulate a ZX81 / RFS - random squiggly lines' - at geegaw.

The history of Microsoft Windows vs the history of Macintosh (with artefacts like this manual cover and these prototype mice) / AmShazam, a weblog / the cartoonist has updated his Dinky Toy fetish page, and also links to these examples of vintage letterheads and business stationery. Like this Zeppelin postcard.


Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Aloft for a century. There are countless online tributes to the Wright Brothers. Here are just a few. Flights of fancy, a small BBC gallery celebrating the 100th anniversary of Wilbur and Orville Wright's first flight at Kitty Hawk, on 17 December 1903. See also Photography and the Wright Brothers, and the stark abstract beauty of images like these: I, II, III. Related: Microsoft's A Century of Flight. Even more photos.

Lemuria, at a later period. A map of Rotterdam-based art and installation / Socialfiction weblog, with links to the geographer and astronomer Athanasius Kircher / Tangents, 'the home of unpopular culture'. Complete with unpopular, a weblog and gallery. Unpopular culture never remains unpopular for long. It usually seeps into the mainstream, or remains on the sidelines and becomes deified (Shrine Zine, a new format fanzine. Issue one out now / vast gallery of Siouxsie Sioux).

Collaged poems at p/p (thanks to mediatic) / a happy outcome for the Farnsworth House / who is building secret android robots? Actually not as mysterious as it sounds; one suspects that robotics is one of those fields where inventors rush to show their latest creations before the solder has cooled. But maybe companies like Sony and Honda have skunk works-like warehouses, stuffed full of quasi-human creatures. A real version of J.F.Sebastian's workshop. Sadly, we all know where the cutting edge will emerge.

Polish photography, via Witold Riedel / how to identify a fake Rolex (via kottke). Related, the Replica-Center. Also via k, more emulation wonders. We are living in the age of emulation / Relay is 'based on the Surrealist parlour game Exquisite Corpse... each created an artwork for 24 hours before passing it on and creating a trigger for the next contributor'. A student design project at the London College of Printing, one of many things for the visitor to the LCP site to do - see the hub for more. I suppose this is also the origins of Photoshop Tennis. Related: Exquisite Corpse, a journal of letters and life.

Absolutely all you could ever want to know about THX-1138, George Lucas's cult movie (including audio clips). The trivia page reveals the usual cross-pollination of references between the man's various movies ('When Han and Luke go to the detention area to rescue the princess, Luke explains their presence as a "prisoner transfer from cellblock 1138."). Pages devoted to single films are like DVD bonus discs. One of our favourites is the 2001 Internet Resource Archive, which has excellent screen captures. Also related: Exploring Dystopia, essays and more on fictional representations of dystopic futures (via me-fi).


Monday, December 15, 2003
A random selection of everything. Brain sees shadow as part of body / the Watergate tapes, apropos of nothing / Buckminster Fuller's Biosphere / the California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture / Paolo Soleri’s Arcosanti experimental community / Keiko floats to the surface of the Fjord. Related: Orcagirl. Staying with marine mammals, Walrus Magazine is a new Canadian monthly.

British printmaking / One Man’s Meat, or Twenty Foods I hope never to Taste over at Vitamin Q (which also links to Finnish Last Names). This list includes the delightful sounding Sardinian cheese Casu Marzu, which is apparently quite inspirational (investigate Passmore.com further – there are well over 1000 images archived there, some of which are great, some bizarre: Paris Hilton, American Beauty, 2003) / a history of the dogs playing poker, Cassius Marcellus Coolidge's infamous 'A Friend in Need' (via weird future).

FUH2. Puerile, yes, but probably very cathartic, via 990000, which also links the MUJI+INSTALLATION interior. Related, Useful and Agreeable on Muji / Unfathomable French Toys at Ramage / construction photo series of the Sendai Mediatheque, Japan / an artificial life demo at neuromantics / mapping the web, via Apothecary's Drawer.

Women in geek advertising, a gallery at gewgaw, via lemon odor / Careless Talk Costs Lives was a glossy south coast fanzine that’s now expired, having counted down from issue twelve to issue zero / digital cameras are the new lighters / is there something like Filelight for the PC? / weblog photography heaven: Slower visits the Weather Project.

We've touched on various Welsh websites before, but now there's Wales on the Web, a portal to all things Welsh and digital. It's really rather excellent – not least because Wales seems to have a very high quality of history website. Powys Heritage online; the history of workhouses; Portmeirion; Church Plans Online.

The war on students: disturbing drug raid images / illustration: Derek Stukuls and Nathan J, both via Witold Riedel / the Doom timeline.

Finally, many thanks to our Secret Santa - we look forward to reading our gift.


Friday, December 12, 2003
General randomness today, I'm afraid. Process mapping via tube, yet another implementation of the Harry Beck classic, this time helping your business plan ahead (via Lost Shot) / Burgher Deluxe, investigates two books touting the supposed benefits of conspicious consumption, and how 'emotional engagement' is the new buzzword in branding. (we also learn that '83 percent of pet owners call themselves "Mommy" or "Daddy" when talking to their pets (up from 55 percent in 1995')).

Create virtual worlds with Crystal Space (or alternatively look at the gallery of worlds created by other people) / the product, clever coding from Germany / Witold Riedel's weblog (and artwork). Riedel's bird pictures are wonderful, as is this link to Shift magazine in Japan - stunning / brownglasses, simple, minimal weblog / virtual drum kit.

Lovingly scanned for our delight, Frederic Goudy's A Novel Type Foundery, thanks to Fountain.nu (via Coudal) / Scott Teplin's 28 Rooms, an architectural fantasy. Teplin's work is thrillingly crisp and detailed (see Chairs), if sometimes rather creepy (see Mouths).

Showhome is a new(ish) South London venture - a real home where (almost) everything is for sale. They also have an elegant Hyperkit-designed site / the Burner Prize? Something to do with graffiti / Winds of Change on the Walt Disney Concert Hall (via City Comforts) / worm watching at NASA. Related: a database of airline logos, via muxway.

Design for Shaping Space, basic architecture history / classic NY club flyers from the 80s (tmn), from back in the day when dance clubs and punk clubs had more in common, visually / an eye-witness account of the Charge of the Light Brigade / different kind of light brigade / square things (via boast design) / truck 808 / Royal Festival Hall images at wherever you are / emulation: an online Nintendo.

War Relocation Authority Camps in Arizona, 1942-1946 / cars, architects and coachbuilders / the Interactive Fiction Archive / Mars Atlas, via idle type / Walking for real, a virtual London journey from the Embankment through to Bloomsbury / the Pokémon Panic of 1997 / horse puppet.


Thursday, December 11, 2003
Daily paintings at Cipango (via Caterina), from whence we get a trio of interesting artists: Mel Leipzig, James Pezzetti and David Harkins. Related, the portraits of Charlie Wells. More art. We mentioned the work of Mark Lombardi a few weeks ago, but had no idea that he was dead. This Village Voice piece asks just how insinuating his art actually was. Not very, it concludes, likening his web of connections to the 'the burgeoning blackberry-bush tangle of Friendster.com'. Original link via tmn, which has also published a useful discussion between fathers and fathers to be. Related, kid-raising information at Tigerchild (warning: not tested on actual children, at least not by us).

Bookshops that look like they're worth a visit: Gleebooks, in Sydney, Australia, and Internationalist Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Related: Bookcrossing (a mental note to us to check this out) / this is pomo, a weblog / ask Metafilter has debuted - looks like a very useful service / all about Microsoft Word, solved a problem yesterday. Related: what’s on your taskbar? Windows apps by Mike Lin / last call, a weblog.

A note on the Crash Test Dummy, plus a history of CTDs / Monoone, a neat virtual store thing, via Sachs Report / Kmt Space covers modern art and architecture movements, with a good collection of Russian Constructivism / the sketchbooks and sculptures of Constantino Morosin.

From the sublime to the ridiculous: wrestling magazine covers, via footprints / hidden Mig (that surely can’t be very good for it) / Dear Bess, the (many, many) love letters between President Truman and the First Lady, all lovingly scanned and presented for your delight (related: on letters and penpals from the forthcoming (still) things 17) / grayblog is a lovely blog sings things in an elvish fashion. la di da di da.


Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Robot-tastic, the International Robot Exhibition 2003 ('from manufacturing to personal life'). Developments in robotics are also covered at Better Humans, which has an array of alarming future-medicine headlines ('Modified Pig Kidneys Keep Monkeys Alive', etc.). We were fascinated by 'Building a Home for Immortals', or how proponents of so-called Radical Life Extension have to face cultural and political obstacles, and not just the more obvious scientific ones. We learned that the Immortality Institute is 'an organization whose mission is to "conquer the blight of involuntary death"'. It's but a short click from here to our friends at Alcor, providing cryonics services since 1972 (gallery). The 'immortality movement' always reminds us of a baby hurling toys out of its pram, bawling so much about the unfairness of life and the inevitability of death that they actually forget to live.

Staying in the future: Beijing vs Blade Runner. Not sure if I totally agree with the premise – that Beijing is soon to be a Blade Runner-style metropolis. Admittedly, a lot of Blade Runner’s architecture is megastructural, but the overall look is one of layering – accretions built up over the decades. The existence of 'traditional' apartment buildings at ground level, for example, totally overshadowed by the ziggurat-like business district (some of which should be familiar), creates an overall impression of a termite mound-like colony. In stark contrast, new Beijing is all about newness, shiny surfaces and bold, individual statements (even if those statements aren't always welcomed by Chinese designers). Danwei also offers fascinating coverage on the explosion in China's magazine market. Link originally found at gulfstream.

Trying to get close to Gehry, or not. Useful and Agreeable on the star system in architecture and the rise of PR / classic poster art, via the cartoonist, who also links Cornell University Library’s Witchcraft Collection, one of many online collections / the Wienertown Time Machine. Of course, the original Wienermobile was designed by Brooks Stevens. Related, American art deco.

The UK's Volvo Club has an excellent site, but sadly you have to be a member to download the tantalising looking brochures / a gallery of illustrations from old children’s books, via Giornale Nuovo / touring VW's 'Transparent Factory' in Dresden. Actually, people are throwing stones, because no-one’s really buying the factory’s main product, the Phaeton / dead logotypes at LOGO R.I.P, which even has a book of condolences.

The Midnight Society, local history in the New Jersey Tri-state area with a twist, like spooky abandoned buildings / discriminatory signs in the 1940s. Both via consumptive / Melancholy Rhino on the favourite sport of England's upper classes, blasting grouse (or ‘grice’, to use the correct pronunciation).

Want want want want the new Leica Digilux 2. We agree with contact sheet - it's a beautiful thing, no question about it. However, it’s just not small – something slightly smaller that the Digilux 1, the trusty things camera, would have been too perfect to ignore / Travels in the Industrial Age, photography by Reid Yalom, via conscientious.

Scanned archives of Transactor, an old (American?) computer magazine (via muxway) / big, bold ideas for London continue to be mooted: Bluebase is a new airport site at the Thames Gateway site / cathedrals in the air, one and two / pixel-perfect design fun at db-db / virtual snowglobes are all the rage - here's one from design organisation D&AD, instead of their usual dead-tree Christmas card / visit Disney's Haunted Mansion.


Tuesday, December 09, 2003
The history of British roads at Apex Corner, including proposed London motorways, of which the Westway is the only built link. In retrospect, we can breathe a sigh of relief that the proposed Ringway was never constructed in its entirety. This re-drawn map of the North Cross Route shows a motorway ploughing its way through Camden and Islington to Hackney. As the site points out, one of the casualties would have been the Sigmund Freud Museum, swept away by asphalt. It's not as though the rest of the city would have escaped: the West Cross Route was to cut a swathe through Chelsea and Earl's Court. As the map shows, only a small section of this route was built, the M41. Apex Corner also has this excellent tube-style map London's motorways.

Mah-Jongg the ring-tailed lemur belonged to Stephen and Virginia Courtauld, eccentric owners of Eltham Palace. Read this fascinating 'alternative history' of the Palace, which posits that the entire building, a 1930s deco house built amongst the ruins and remains of a Tudor Palace, is riddled with secret rooms, trap doors and mystifying symbolism. Today, the lemur is little more than a marketing opportunity (yes, toy lemurs are available in the Palace store), but 'Jongy' was also a vital component of two very eccentric lives:

Jongy was infamous for biting people to whom he took a dislike. On the morning of the departure of the 1930-31 British Arctic Exhibition, sponsored by Stephen, the Courtaulds gave a farewell lunch on board their yacht, the Virginia; the expedition suffered a setback when Jongy bit the hand of Percy Lemon, the expedition’s wireless operator, severing an artery. Lemon turned out to be allergic to the iodine which was provided, and it took him three months to recover. (from the guide book)

Percy Lemon, we think, later gave his name to the Lemon Mountains in Greenland, so he obviously made a full recovery. Related: Greenland's Thule Air Base, and the story of its construction. Arctic exhibitions are always fascinating - read about the original Isaac Hayes (i.e. not this one).

Etchings from beyond the grave (via caterina). Also, a nice scan of a ghostly polaroid. Also via c, a 360 panorama of Stonehenge. Related: Panoramas.dk's view of La Grande Arche, Paris / unidentified photographs at the International Institute of Social History / a map of landscape design sites in London - more numerous than you'd think. Not many illustrations, though. Slower ventures to London shores - we love this image of the ghastly GLC annex building, currently serving out a lingering death sentence.

A gallery of Stephen King book covers, via Old Timey. Quite an informative look at different illustrative approaches to the horror genre, or how a concept (e.g. The Dark Half) can be treated in multiple ways (and for different markets). Related: Wickedness.net, 'the on-line resource for exploring perspectives on evil and human wickedness'. Includes essays like 'And then came the Fall: on the nature of evil in J.R.R.Tolkien's and J.K.Rowling's arch-villains' (pdf).


Monday, December 08, 2003
The first grid blogging congress, [grid::brand], is up and running (we're slightly dancing around the edge of this experiment, what with being a week late into the fray). The inaugural discussion is brands (update). We'd like to offer the observation that brands are dead, dying, or at the very least, doomed to extinction.

The motor industry is an interesting example of how a manufacturing and innovation-driven industry became a brand-driven industry over the course of a decade or so. Given that each major company is essentially a portfolio of smaller brands (Ford, DaimlerChrysler, PSA, Renault-Nissan, General Motors, VW Group, etc.), the science of car design has become an exercise in decoding, distilling and bottling brand essence - the perceived qualities and characteristics that separate one car from another. Shared platforms and components are widespread within this most incestuous of industries, so it's unsurprising that product differentiation is of crucial importance.

So why does this mean that brands are dying? The brand is a distraction, a cypher - a non-existent thing. Instead, it's a collection of memories and expectations, applied - often incredibly skillfully - to a product. For a brand to be satisfying, it has to fulfill a consumer's expectations. Yet these expectations are constantly being manipulated through saturation advertising. things gets to spend quite a lot of time with car designers, for better or worse, and contradictions emerge.

There are two main paradoxes. The first is that branding is ultimately contrary to the manufacturing model of capitalism - that new products must always supersede existing products in some way in order to stimulate and accelerate demand. In contrast, branding is an evolutionary process, a slow accretion of ideas and opinions. Admittedly, evolutionary design can create a steady increase in demand, but rarely produces the exponential leaps and jumps that drive international capital.

For example, Audi have spent two decades hawking an ever-more refined image of modernism. Yet to take the company to another level, another image is needed; that of a more aggressive, sporting vehicle, partly to open up new markets and partly to differentiate from other VW Group brands (Volkswagen, SEAT, Skoda), who are all making supremely competent expressions of modern automotive design. Are they extending, or undermining, their brand? So should brands change to survive, and is this possible while they are simultaneously extolling solid, timeless values. It's a balancing act that can only become more paradoxical as brand values become more ingrained.

The other inconsistency, most especially within the motor industry, it to do with the changing attitude to design. Is design a means of expressing function, the creation of the very best packaging solution available. Or is it a means of triggering and reviving our mental associations with the product in question, be they regarding function, performance, heritage, luxury, practicality, whatever?

In this latter scenario, the brand becomes everything: a car is no longer an independent object, but a collection of elements intended first and foremost as cultural trigger points: a leather interior, a walnut dashboard, chrome trim, fancy lettering, bull bars, a curved flank, a radiator grille. These elements only have meaning when they are combined with our ingrained knowledge of the history of the manufacturer.

So why is the brand dead? Wait for the first no-brand, Muji-style automotive manufacturer as a sign that branding isn't the be all and end all of marketing and production. Ok, so Muji is itself a brand, albeit one predicated on the notion of anti-branding, but can an object as culturally loaded as a car be presented in a similar manner? The dislocation between reality and image, object and memory, thing and feeling, will ultimately set the brand free from the world of material goods. And then the brand will cease to exist.

City of Sound’s entry included an image of the Campari pavilion designed by Futurist Fortunato Depero in 1933 (and also offers a meditative post on people’s response to the Weather Project, surely the most-blogged art event ever? Also read Envisaging Memorials, on architectural rendering. It really is an excellent weblog). Glowlab gives us a potted history of Times Square.

Elsewhere. Art by Dee Rimbaud / drawing in sand (windows media), via mediatic / Playtype, neat flash-based font tool / a list of Japanese car names / Space Hijackers, the excesses of flash in architectural website design - a surprisingly accurate parody. We like the concept of urban letterboxing / Music as Therapy, a charity well worth your money (use their amazon portal next time you buy a book).

Inspired by this news story, I googled the church in question. They have admirably restrained web design skills, I’ll say that much. Related: The New Creation, 'British Columbia's all-but-forgotten Jesus rock trio' / prison cells photographed by Michel Gasarian (via NSOP / Cool French comics.

Research issues in art, design and media / Moscow metro, via the cartoonist, who also links to skulls and skeletons / pixeldiva, a weblog / recommended: Smoke magazine.

An advent calendar from Leslie Harpold. soul food café has an Australian-themed advent calender: 'The iconic advertising symbols in the centre of the calendar change each day and a highlight will be Red Umbrella Day on the tenth of the month when the cafe features lots of frippery to add colour and gaiety to December.' Staying seasonal, a virtual snowglobe (similar to the virtual stapler, but without their not exactly completist list of staplers in film. We can think of at least one more star appearance).

Publishing news: things 17-18 slowly nears completion. You can now see the issue index and read selected articles online. Please, email us if you'd like to be informed when the issue is ready.


Friday, December 05, 2003
Playboy cover gallery. Just like Esquire, there was a definite golden age, design-wise - and we're not living in it. Talking of golden ages, now that the Abram Games exhibition has been taken down, we can highly recommend the book: Abram Games, Graphic Designer. Elsewhere. Graffiti Archaelogy (thanks to Mediatic), sort of Banksy meets Colossal Caves.

The history of Photoshop. Related, download Photoshop 1.0. Also related, digital hair extension, which seems to be along the same lines as making people digitally fatter / stranded liners have an epic beauty / Slacker, the map, a cartography of Richard Linklater's classic debut / Pixies/Throwing Muses/Belly/Breeders family tree (not entirely serious) / weird things in video games (neat icons on this site) / all the above via the delicious Del.icio.us.

Technical books old and new from Lindsay Publications, via this discussion of classic catalogues at Kevin Kelly. Also see Davenport’s Magic. We’ll go for the easy tricks please / meanwhile, in Tehran, spider architect spun Eiffel Tower / using Amazon’s recommendations systems to make a (not so) subtle point.

Farewell Dildano. Related, pseudo science in Barberella (which also includes details of the Mathmos connection). Also related, B-movie queens at Les Filles de L’Enfer. Staying schlocky, Japanese film monsters picture gallery. This the only picture they have of Rodan, sadly. This, however, is more like it: Rodan! (‘the most shocking name in 2,000,000 years!’). Yet another poster: ‘the Super-Sonic Hell-Creature No Weapon Could Destroy'.

Even more film posters. We especially like the collection of numerical movies. 747 en Peril is better known as Airport 75, and who would have known that A Bug’s Life was known as 1001 pattes (1001 legs) in France? (except perhaps the French). And what do you know, someone’s beaten us to the Rodan poster homage page, part of a vast database of Japanese monster movie posters, from the 50s through to the 60s and beyond.

For many, Rodan are best remembered as a short-lived but fondly-remembered band (not this band). Related, women in metal, hardcore, grunge and noise, an attempt ‘to collect info on every woman who's ever been a permanent member of a heavy band’ / how to master a record (via tmn) / the weird world of scanner, crackly, found sounds and subtle beats. Check the mp3s.

A gigapixel image. 'Given that the resolving power of the human eye…. this image captures considerably more detail than I (or any other normal sighted human) was able to see with my eye when standing on the overlook at Bryce Point' (via Muxway). More vast panoramas / A view from a passing car, 'the things I see on my journey to work,' a weblog / interesting article on implanting memories / forthcoming car museum / Patricia Cornwell gets it wrong regarding Jack the Ripper (via ffwd) / the Ashmolean Museum's Object of the Month / the hostess with the mostest at Uniform Freak.

In search of Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes. I have huge respect for people who are able to quit while they are ahead and maintain some kind of mystique about their life and work. ‘Creator Jim Davis has licensing agreements with 550 manufacturers in 111 countries, cranking out everything from coffee mugs to pajamas to battery-operated musical "Christmas fountains."’


Thursday, December 04, 2003
Barcelona news. Jean Nouvel's Torre Agbar is coming along nicely, as is the Sagrada Familia, where construction is steaming ahead after a slowish decade. When completed, in twenty years or so, our guide told us that the apartment blocks immediately in front of the cathedral's new entrance will all be demolished. Irritating if you thought you'd got yourself set up with a really nice view. Related, a Barcelona gallery (not ours). Barcelona galleries: I, II, III, IV (old, but ours) / psychedelic flash by Larry Carlson / Mojave Airport Weblog, a fascinating insight into the world of 'boneyards,' aviation graveyards, private concept planes and the economics of global air travel (link via ffwd). Related: Mojo Jets provides vintage jets and helicopters to the film industry.

More unnecessary consumer devices in Wired's festive gadget round-up. Their article on the Coral Castle is more interesting - a true labour of love with the added benefit of alleged mysterious forces. It reminds me of the Maison Ideal du Facteur Cheval in Hauterives, France, a proto-surrealist structure (history and more images) / Some resources for Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project. A review. Esther Leslie's epic essay at Militant Esthetix. The Walter Benjamin Research Syndicate. A short biography.

Frank Gehry has apparently designed Playboy Magazine's New Bachelor Pad - a return to its early obsession with masculine style / New York in Lego / Vancouver takes the first steps towards Blade Runner-style screens / more vintage vinyl, with an emphasis on the kitschy soundtrack side of things / TV history at Transdiffusion / Ulf Lundin's creepy From Darkness photography project / digital hair extension website / Nimbupani, a weblog / the 24 hour museum's website of the week.


Tuesday, December 02, 2003
A handy analysis of the Japanese mobile phone market at Anti-Mega, who also has a gallery of small things / all about Seinfeld, via cup of chica. Also via the cup, design your own police car / staying with vintage flash, the Mitsubishi Virtual design museum: very old school, but of more than marginal interest / ghastly gallery of CNN 'news-art', via me-fi. Someone should do this with the BBC, although ntk often has a crack.

How NASA enabled colo(u)r TV pictures to be broadcast from the Moon.

Finally, the other reason for the priority given to sending back colour TV images to earth is more macabre. It was to make certain that in the event of the moon becoming the astronaut's grave NASA was not relying totally on 16 mm film and still camera images, which would remain on the moon.

iCapture: what do I look like on Safari? / software rustlers pre-empt 2005 launch of Longhorn. things hasn't quite got round to replacing Windows 98 yet... / amazing slot car action photos / Stuck Trucks, off-roading schadenfreude. Both via the daily jive / retired rides at Alton Towers, one of the UK's biggest theme parks.

Ideal World - html-based art (via iconomy). Some of this is really rather beautiful / zeitgeisty graphics at Polar Alert / fuzzy dreams, gif animations - via Coudal / the world’s heaviest people in Dimensions Magazine (via bifurcated rivets): "People would visit me and sit on the bed, not realizing they were sitting on part of me," she recalled." / we're late to this one: let them sing it, build your own syncopated supergroup / the discography of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Spiked magazine contains views, opinions, reviews, and has the 'the modest ambition of making history as well as reporting it' / Complete Review, a site of literary reviews / we're usually suspicious of Christmas books, but This Diary Will Change Your Life (and its accompany website, This Website will change, etc.), has garnered good reviews. If you're really stuck for an amusing book-like object, then the Framley Examiner comes with similar plaudits.

The genius of [BMW designer] Chris Bangle? One of several motoring-related galleries here, including these views of the many shiny Mercedes on show at this year's Frankfurt auto show / TV Cream’s record shop - the discs that, inexplicably, always turn in charity shops, record fairs, boot sales and second hand shops / Nintendo paper models, via Boing Boing. Related. How to complete Super Mario Brothers really, really quickly (via me-fi).

The Erotic Museum. In Hollywood, of course / Marshall Field, department store pioneer / a mapper’s delight: many, many tube map links from Owen Massey.

Off to Barcelona. Back on Thursday.


Monday, December 01, 2003
Retro futurism remains one of the web's favourite hobbies. Whether it's a site as slick as Retrolounge (with this link to transit posters of the 1920), or the sleazy pop culture celebrated at Retrocrush (1970s bathrooms, for example, or Diana Rigg photo galleries), we seemingly can't get enough of archived imagery. Why should this be? Visual ephemera blows away quickly, but there's always been a fascination with art and culture that manages to preserve and celebrate that which we've forgotten. The work of Richard Hamilton, the 'Merz' of Kurt Schwitters, or just collage in general, seems to have a direct link with the website, an accumulation of material, filtered and sifted, yet necessarily presented in such a way as to demand further investigation. This explains our continuing fascination with online obsession - to take a random example, Tiny Pineapple's pineapple gallery, or, better still, their Nurse Book collection.

Related: Yesterday’s Tomorrows, a fairly general exhibition with sections on tomorrow's home, etc. Related, the New York World Fair of 1964. Or visit this huge image database, which includes views of modern architecture in Tokyo. This came via me-fi, where someone pointed out that the site also contains these stills from Triumph of the Will. There are also page upon page of cars in there as well. More scanned ephemera: period motoring images, old Porsche 356 and 914 ads.

Delicious is a 'social bookmarks manager,' a 'make your own muxway' (which gives us the Traffic Cone Preservation Society). You'll need to know a bit about code to get it going (we don't, so we'll content ourselves with frequent visits to check the links. A similar kind of thing is offered at linkdump, but the anonymous link descriptors sometimes hide all manner of dubious things, like Kinky Breakout).

Amusing Ayn Rand-centric dating service (again, via me-fi). I’m not going to sign up to this just to get a laugh, though / satellite snooping at the Eyeballing Series, 'shining a light on sensitive places,' according to the Map Room, where we found this link. See Arnold’s house or the experimental laboratory at Porton Down in Wiltshire (mere miles from where I used to live). See also the splendid 3D maps at Biosphere 3D.

A new robotic vacuum cleaner from Samsung (via Haddock) / JustConcerts, a slicker version of Indie Rock Live / Douze Lunes has a Paris-focused photoblog (thanks to Jean-Luc at Mediatic).