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Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Randomness. 364.4 Smoots (plus an ear) / travelling with Tintin / photos at Bluejake / Susan Weil's Ear's Eye for James Joyce, art works / the Ghost Depot, a site dedicated to railroad things (including the Rio Grande Railroad) / giant engine / attach this to that / a great gallery of future aircraft concepts, designed by The Embassy / a toilet designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

Some great writing recommendations at ask me-fi: idlewords, She hates my futon, number two pencil, busblog, the show so far / I am always looking for this: Popular Mechanics cover gallery, so have to post it again and again for reference. Related, the Space Museum.

Another old favourite: Mc.clintock.com, a journey into a house. The site is still being updated, I think, and even has photos, which I don’t remember from before. There's also an ambitious scale model in progress. Will the scale model contain a scale models of the scale model? By English standards, it's a very big house. Related: House in Progress is still in progress, and well worth a visit. The house keeps throwing up fascinating things, all of which are diligently researched and beautifully presented.

Mc.clintock.com's owner also runs Manybooks.net, which contains 10,000 Palm-formatted titles from Project Gutenberg’s copious archives. For example, from Lillian Eichler’s Book of Etiquette:

THE SPOON AT THE DINNER TABLE
Spoons are used when eating grapefruit and other fruits served with cream. Jellies, puddings, custards, porridges, preserves and boiled eggs are always eaten with spoons. Also, of course, soup, bouillon, coffee and tea. In the case of the three latter beverages, however; the spoon is used only to stir them once or twice and to taste them to see that they are of the desired temperature. It is never allowed to stand in the cup while the beverage is being drunk. Nor is it permissible to draw up a spoonful of soup or coffee and blow upon it; one must wait until it is sufficiently cooled of itself. In taking soup, the correct way to use the spoon is to dip it with an outward motion instead of drawing it towards one. The soup is then imbibed from the side, not the end.


Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Bits and pieces today. The Iso-phone, - a rather creepy immersive communications device developed by the Media Lab Europe / Rolls-Royce have apparently opened a showroom at One Red Square, Moscow, a symbolic address if ever I heard one.

Perhaps it's not so strange (although the media loves a story about the ongoing collapse of socialist aspirations), Lenin was a big fan of the RR - he had a tracked model for the winter (summer configuration). Admittedly, this 1915 car was originally the Tsar's. The half-track system was invented by Adolphe Kegresse, chief of the Tsar's extensive garages. There's a picture of the RR half-way down this page.

The art of Dave Warnke (via J-Walk) / also via J-Walk, the origin of the phrase 'we don’t need no stinking badges', and its subsequent ascendance into movie cliché. A surprising number of people change ‘badges’ to ‘badgers’ for additional comic effect / visual blogging at Neurastenia.

Words of Waldman has transmogrified into 50 Quid Bloke, the economic force behind the UK's music industry / I've never seen this site before: September11news.com / the Do It Yourself network / Danny Gregory's Everyday Matters presents an elegant graphical sift through his pen collection.


Monday, March 29, 2004
A thought. For many of today's children, the most spectacular interior spaces they're ever likely to experience will be virtual. Spaces dreamt up for first person video games are the successors to theme parks. Just as Disneyland and its ilk created ('imagineered') compact versions of the world's wonders for the post-war generation, negating the need to actually visit the originals, video games squish geography, architecture and environments into high-resolution textures, mapping cities and landscapes on an invisible grid. The cavernous halls of Unreal Tournament, countless Quake Mods, the virtually recreated worlds in the James Bond games, the dystopic futures of Doom III, or even 'real' cities, like Tomb Raider's Venice, The Getaway's London, Midtown Madnesses's Chicago, are all pumped up, visually and gravitationally, going way beyond dreary old reality.

Why travel when you can walk the sandy beaches of Far Cry, schlep through the jungles of Turok or the alien worlds of Halo? Come to think of it, why study history at all when you're able to fight the 20th century's various wars (WWII, Vietnam, etc.) again and again and again? Conversely, why care that much about your own immediate environment when you spend your spare hours creeping through the desolate urban hell-holes of Max Payne, Stalker and Half Life 2, etc., etc.?

So will the medieval gothic vaulting of Europe's great cathedrals pale in comparison? The idea that grandeur can be associated with contemplation and calm, rather than mayhem and chaos, is under threat. A whole generation might grow up believing that grandiose and epic architectural statements are intrinsically linked to rampaging alien hordes, snipers, really big guns and the ever-present threat of being fragged into next week. Watch today's youth twitch nervously as they enter anywhere that's vaguely more impressive than the bland, homogenous spaces of the shopping mall and housing estate (malls rarely feature in games, for some reason, except in things like GTA).

Occasionally, architecture tries to match up to the theatrics offered by computers. But are designs born on screen overly complex for the demands of the real world? Certainly not everyone is happy with the recent decision to award the 2004 Pritzker Prize to Zaha Hadid. Slate asks whether Hadid is truly radical. The article plays devil's advocate, implying that she throws a swathe of jargon and complexity around her work, just like the Issey Miyake clothes she's so fond of: 'But Hadid took that disdain a step further: She walled off her work visually, too. Nearly every one of her early designs made an enemy of aesthetic clarity and legibility... Many of her renderings seemed to be composed from the perspective of a helicopter dipping into a crazy sideways tailspin.'

The idea that Hadid deliberately embraces alienation is more than a little bit patronising - it suggests that she needs to conform a bit more if she wants the same piece of the action the 'boys' get. Granted, there's a cult of personality there, but no more so than in any other media-literate and visible area of modern life (and their website seems to be designed for widescreen monitors only). Clay Risen goes further in The New Republic, suggesting that the architect is 'an awful choice for the Pritzker,' with an 'inability to translate her ideas into realistic projects' and citing her paucity of built work (images of ongoing projects here). But like almost every award, the Priztker follows fashion, consolidating reputations and drawing media attention to an architect of global prominence and ability, rather than simply honour a lifetime's work (past winners).

More than any other medium, our perception of architecture is increasingly mediated through renders, walkthroughs and glossy artist's impressions. In this increasingly vapid and, yes, virtual world, Hadid's architecture doesn't appear especially 'unbuildable' or deliberately awkward. Instead, it is an architecture of possibility, a demonstration of the limits (which are rarely, if ever, 'unbuildable') that can be pushed with the maximum exertion of technology and effort. We're back to cathedrals again.

*

Some other things. Swen's Weblog looks at artists that have been in The Wire magazine, a dense and usually rather humourless music monthly / talking type with Stanley Kubrick's assistant, a great piece by Jon Ronson in last week's Guardian. Follow-up webchat / Arf! / parking lot / Star Wars paper craft (via novablog - see also the destroyed buildings in Sarajevo for a welcome reminder of the proximity of modern conflict, and how daft it is to want to yomp around virtual recreations of the same) / lady names / French cathedrals.

Your literary masterpiece was delicious -'a little project that reads Russian novels and converts them to pretty pictures' / slick wallpapers from Russia / vintage IBM fashions (via j-walk) / signs at Disneyland (via scrubbles) / apparently 8 out of 10 digital photos are never printed. In our experience, it might be nearer 99 out of 100.... / Eye of the Goof, a weblog / illustration by Rachell Sumpter / Slightly Foxed, a new literary quarterly to watch out for.


Thursday, March 25, 2004
A friend in New Zealand spotted the BBC's Tricorn-mashing story and emails me in glee - he's never liked the building. Meanwhile, over at City of Sound, Dan Hill picks over the potential legacy of the building, its failure to engage the public and how it might be seen as symptomatic of modernism's reception in this country. 'Therefore, perhaps we should pity the Tricorn - because it tried to raise the bar, but was let down by shoddy implementation and the fact that the rest of British culture didn't raise its game in return.' As I type, Radio 4 is broadcasting the sound of locals cheering as the wrecking ball pounds away (the Tricorn's powdery passing has even inspired some poetry: 'At last the Tricorn's gone, but now / I get a sense of dread / The powers that be, in fits of glee, will build far worse instead.')

Could the spirit of modernism - its pioneering spirit, if you want to be heroic about it - conceivably be blended with today's more pragmatic, technology-centric methods of assessing a design's functionality? There's a strand of artistic enquiry that dismisses such over-analysis. Those practitioners who insist that architecture is an art - indeed, the mother of all arts - scoff at the increasing importance of professional consultants, focus groups, consultations, visualisations, etc., etc., that are now a part of constructing anything of significance.

Can emotional content be predicted, even replicated, in visualisation? A recent news story commented on the 'relentless' demand for computer game-style animations of the forthcoming Scottish Parliament, as the clients scrabbled to understand how the project would finally appear (see the ongoing Holyrood Inquiry for more). Is this anecdote symptomatic of a growing distrust of architects? The idea that a walk-through might present an experience equivalent to actually being inside a building is wishful thinking indeed.

I also missed Dan's post on the Barbican. He recalled that his earliest memory of the complex actually came from a fond-remembered computer game. It made me think about memories and place, and how the importance of the physical experience of built space is slowly ebbing away, as design is homogenised into bland uniformity. Real buildings are previewed as glossy visualisations so we can allegedly understand them better, but inevitably the reality fails to match up. At the same time, more and more people get their spatial kicks from virtual spaces that have little or no bearing on the real world. More on this next week.

*

Other things. In the marketing classes of the future, there'll be an audible groan from the class when the now-familiar shape of a Dasani bottle appears on the projector screen. Coca-Cola's PR disaster of a launch kicked off with a thrilling revelation, moved into hardcore media saturation with a high-profile product recall and has now culminated in total market withdrawal. Impressive stuff. Not that the company should worry too much (check their extensive brand list). Some, however, are still hoping to cash in on the disaster.

Elsewhere. friends with you is cute and creepy / illustration work by Kozyndan, aka Dan and Kozy. Page upon page of sketches, and my favourite image, Uprising - Hokusai with rabbits. Their panoramic of Berwick Street is also great, as are the rabbits invading the US.

Christian Rock: A Documentary looks well worth checking out, especially for the great Danielson Famile footage. I wonder what kind of approach the film will take - anthropological? Broadly sympathetic? Mocking? / Heures Creuses, a weblog / down in the sewer with Lightningfield.

Wires, on rebuilding (re-wiring) Iraq (via Milton, amongst others). Related: Somehow, We’re Still Talking, Bridget Walsh Regan notes in her photo-essay for tmn, both confused and amazed by the scrappy tangle of wire that wraps around cities, carrying everything and everyone.

The world's most irritating phrases. Is there a clichéwatch feature in Microsoft Word? That would help me a lot / million reasons for wanting to carry on living / unusual musical stylings at Comfort Stand, which offers free online albums / a new issue of Delve Magazine hits your monitors: the Red Issue.

48 Nowheres, just one of many things (and places) to be found at the World of Awe (via tmn) / London calling, a weblog / Missile silo for sale (via 13 labs).

We're supposed to be posting less, but then tomorrow is a write-off, thanks to weekend one of ATP. Back Monday.


Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Boing Boing delves into the hidden world of saucy railroad miniatures - HO Gauge 'Sexy Scenes', no less. The bizarre thing is, I've seen these. Many years ago, my school would hold a railway modelling convention in its gymnasium. It was an annual thing, I think, because one of the teachers ran the railway club, comprising of two basement rooms, one with an HO Gauge diorama and one with an N Gauge set-up, (the tiny one, which can still get incredibly involved, even though it's not the really tiny one, which is mostly for chaps to construct travelling dioramas that can fit in their suitcases. Sort of like this). For train club members, sabotage was the key activity, although it was almost always thwarted and rewarded with expulsion from the organisation. There's also OO Gauge - it gets very confusing, so confusing, in fact, that I can't swear I've got it right. Gauge comparison.

Anyway. This wasn't a school event - it was attended mostly by railway modeller types and probably happened on a Saturday (it was a boarding school). Being inquisitive types, the pupils wandered in and looked around, under strict instructions not to touch anything. Although the railway bug clearly didn't bite me, despite the plethora of tracks, models, publications and whirring, whizzing trains (not to mention a family history of model train obsession), I have a clear memory of being shown a beautiful O Gauge (I think) Pullman-type sleeping car. In each carefully-modelled compartment was a little erotic vignette - a naked couple on a bed, a lady in stockings undressing for a man, all painted, anatomically correct (I assumed), lit with tiny lights and some even animated by means of levers at the side of the carriage. Presumably the elderly man who gleefully demonstrated this to us had an ulterior motive: it was both fascinating and rather horrifying.

Some other things. Tricorn demolition begins / a huge collection of fashion magazine links - there are way too many fashion magazines in the world / text, no text, linked by various places. Related: text on things - these two should get together.

You know what? The Tate's Weather Project installation has finally come down and I missed it. Yes, that's right. The biggest and most popular art installation in London for years and year and years, taking place, oh, not three miles from where I usually hang out and I didn't go! A thousand curses.

The Cult of Diet Coke / Russell Davies finds himself at Taking Liberty's / the Rasterbator (via London Photos) blows your images up to wall-size murals. Whole galleries in London's East End could be put out of business overnight if everyone did this themselves. Check their gallery for more / Gothic Futurism via Eyebeam's Reblog / neat, slightly tweaked photos by Olivo Barbieri.

Our copy of The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson arrived last week – highly recommended. See some of the paintings included in this fabulous monograph at this excellent site / honest art talk at Balduffington, an art blog / APU150, Paul Murphy's first solo show opens soon.


Sunday, March 21, 2004
things is taking 48 hours off, to hassle printers, beat deadlines and, in all probability, drive little convertible sports cars along Mediterranean mountain roads, although that last one might just have been a figment of our imaginations.

In the meantime, listen to some early Slowdive (courtesy of the largehearted boy) and explore these images of Quartzite, the world's largest RV population (via Kazys): 'Over the last thirty years, Quartzsite has become a major winter destination for owners of recreational vehicles or RVs. Although Quartzsite has only 3,375 residents year-round, there are now more than seventy RV parks in the area and the Bureau of Land Management and law enforcement agencies estimate that 1.5 million people spend some time in Quartzsite between October and March.' It's the modern day corral.

The funky pancake is very observant, extracting the end of the Age of Chivalry from this abandoned handkerchief. Have you ever heard of a handkerchief pool? Nor had we. It's '… a small pool that would suck the water down and in a few minutes it would come gushing out again. If you put a handkerchief in, the handkerchief would be sucked down and would come up in a few minutes nice and clean'. See a picture (via the Geyser Observation and Study Centre, of course).

For some reason, talk of abandoned handkerchiefs brought to mind the work of Max Klinger, and his Ein handschuh series of prints, of which perhaps the most famous image, The abduction, is steeped in menace, lunacy and fear. The Printroom, which hosts these generous image files, is a must-visit. See exhibits like Remembering the Family Farm (including Benton Spruance's abstract feast American Pattern Barn) and Printed Art and Social Radicalism. There are also extensive and educational image maps of printing techniques. Get very, very close to the genius of Albrecht Dürer.

Back on Wednesday.


Friday, March 19, 2004
The Tofu Hut on the swift rise and inevitable fall in popularity of Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares (marketed by Nonesuch in the US, but by 4AD in the UK, meaning they got the full Vaughan Oliver treatment). The Hut helpfully provides audio files to download. I remember the Voix being championed by various music publications, round about the time when the dominant musical aesthetic was rather apocalyptic (e.g. Butthole Surfers, Swans, Skinny Puppy, early Sonic Youth, Godflesh, The Young Gods, God, etc. etc.). The ethereal (very music journo word, that) quality of the Voix was seized upon and celebrated. Add this to their place on the very hip 4AD label, and they swiftly acquired an audience that they might not otherwise have secured.

Just as the avant-garde gradually softened and mellowed (for the most part), so the music of the Voix Bulgares seeped into the mainstream: as The Hut notes, they recently collaborated with the great Satan himself, Phil Collins. I also vaguely remember their throaty, spooky chants sound-tracking the demonic gleam in Reese Witherspoon's eyes in Election, although I might be wrong about that. Related: Letters from London: New Fidelities (thanks to City of Sound for the comments).

A Captain Beefheart Peel Session, via large-hearted boy / photos of the London Transport Museum / build your own rollercoaster / super minimal photos by Michael Kenna (via me-fi) / seen before, but worth seeing again, the photography of Edward Burtynsky.

Wild, graffiti/manga-inspired installation by Otonom, 'a concept uniting three elements, graphism, architecture and design, [to create] using large format graphic architecture.' (via La Petite Claudine). See the work of the Designer's Republic, especially from about five years ago, for more of this stuff - including their seminal work on the PlayStation game Wipeout and its numerous sequels.

It's a great tragedy of British culture that there aren't more houses like this about. Some more on The Homewood / the story of the pink lady of the canyon / coincidences, a photo weblog / weird animated flash interior at Rice5.


Thursday, March 18, 2004
Amusing MINI 'robot'. Of course, this is an advert, probably produced by MINI themselves (or one of their myriad ad agencies) - this Slashdot thread confirms it. Domain name registration records must scupper numerous pranks/guerilla sites every year, so it's surprising that agencies haven’t found a way around it yet. Thought: if we updated at about 3.00pm, rather than 9.30am, we’d get all the cool stuff before anyone else. Oh well. Novelty isn’t everything. Here's the VW robot movie (not produced by VW) that probably inspired it (adland not exactly being famed for its ability to generate original ideas).

Klockwerks presents the bizarre clocks of Roger Wood / the Sitooterie has landed / I want a pair of seven mile boots / wonderland, a weblog / underground architecture by Malcolm Wells / bark in the park. Compare these icons for drives and devices and components. Ancient Apple Ads (via muxway, part of Attached’s huge database of computer ads and history). More history: the origins of the smiley.

Deceptively simple little growing game (via bifurcated rivets), which reminded me of the classic Spectrum game Pssst (a re-make of which is naturally now available). The Spectrum may only have had eight colours, but they were all great. Eyemaze has other flash-enabled goodies. Related: more games from the 80s. Even better - computer games given away by 80s pop acts, like the Thompson Twins (via New York London Paris Munich, who has handily linked to online versions of the games). Love the Urusei Yatsura 'easter egg' - that's dedication (at the bottom of the page). There was also a Frankie Goes to Hollywood game, but it was stand-alone, and not a freebie.

'When the best choice is no choice,' vote the Undecided Party of Canada. Reminiscent of that great political conundrum, the Apathy Party. By not voting, you're voting for the Apathy Party. But voting for the Apathy Party is, paradoxically, not to vote for them. Or something...


Wednesday, March 17, 2004
The Joy of Concrete, a Guardian story on the soon to be demolished Tricorn Centre in Portsmouth. We've wittered on and on about the Tricorn, to the point of tedium and beyond, as the building drifts in and out of the public consciousness. Now it looks like it will finally come down, having been elevated into a brutalist bogeyman, the slaying of which will reap rewards for everyone. But as the article points out, 'The battle for Britain's architectural soul is being won by the weedy commercialisers, the soulless style jumblers, the devotees of tired and trusted British vernacular styles.' I hope demolition is slow, awkward and very, very expensive.

Perhaps the best photograph I've yet seen of the distinctly uncomfortable GLA building, in NYCLondon's latest pinhole-assisted photographic walk along the Thames. The GLA is one of Foster and Partner's worst buildings, I think, as it's so slavishly devoted to an awkard form, with no consideration for function and aesthetics.

Firmly Ambivalent delves into the legend of Nat Tate, New York's best-known fictitious abstract expressionist. No-one's yet taken the trouble to come up with an architectural or product design equivalent. It would make a nice, subversive project - assigning a creator to a number of nameless and/or anonymous things or places, then building a back-story and attempting to place the objects within the wider framework of art and design history. After all, that's what most books seem to do these days. Unrelated: Nuisance.org, an inter-disciplinary art zine.

Stewart answers yr questions / the Ministry of Propoganda, a weblog / text on things, thanks to tmn / Odeon, a film weblog / Going Underground (via Shred Now) / Absolutely Vile, a weblog / seed catalogues, 1884-1893 (via Muxway), from the gloriously named Burpee company. See also nursery and seed trade catalogues in Oregon State University's Special Collections / wrecked cars in Martinique, thanks to Chryde / the Sbarro Windhawk, specialist use vehicle par excellence.


Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Chris Speed's Random Lift Button project (via Uren.Dagen.Nachten). 'The Random Lift button is exactly what it suggests; a button to take you anywhere in a building, thus expanding the space and enabling you to visit spaces that otherwise the economic architectures of today would attempt to hide you from.' More about the project. Unfortunately, there are very few times when I get in a lift and think to myself that I need a little bit of randomness. Related, new technology encourages a different kind of randomness in this wrong number story (via engadget and subsequently everywhere else).

Stunning, painterly photos of boats by Marshall Sokoloff. Wish I could paint like that, let alone take that kind of photo / Bulgarian Paper money (via Bowblog) / ancient maps of Africa at the Yale Map Collection / outlines of great books / Textfield Magazine. Nice, although the 63.5mb downloadable pdf is overkill, slightly.

Booksense, 'a family of independent-bookseller websites'. Highly recommended / Bsing, a weblog, which hosts the Swipe Toolkit, 'a collection of web-based tools that sheds light on personal data collection and usage practices in the United States'. For example, how much is your personal data worth?

Custom Deluxe, a weblog / Frumpy Professor, a weblog / When Two Tribes Go to War: A History of Video Game Controversy, via Scrubbles / Chicago Hearse / Michael Fey's Cinema-3D - fantasy space ships and Solaren Imperiums / the paintings of Marijke van Warmerdam.

The robots are coming. Or are they just stuck in a fence? / rock eggs and more / the Frua DS / custom paper models, via boing boing / animated gifs of Emma Peel, via Waving at Myself / Click to freeze. Thanks, Tom.


Monday, March 15, 2004
US airforce base memorabilia, including treasured signed pin-ups / the Cloud Club in the top of the Chrysler Building / excellent Frank Lloyd Wright site / L'art et l'automobile includes classic posters, especially those from past Monaco Grand Prix / a directory full of architecture and design images / Badger's Heritage, 1,200 views of southern England (via plep), e.g. Farley, West Dean.

A User's Guide to the Culture Industry: 'The culture industry is a rigged lottery, in which we participate on the understanding that it could be us (if we chose to try)' / the Mogwai music box (via diskant): enjoy the music of the Scottish art rock band simply by turning a handle / Dansk Magazine, a Danish glossy / Lund Lund, agents for glossy Danish photographers. This ad for H+M is quite amusing.

Things happened at Sojamo, an unclassifiable site containing links and other things (like this neat flash experiment, ply, which uses the processing language. See other silicon vignettes, Superheroes and the amazing bubble chamber, which creates instant Beardsley-esque illustrations or moonscapes (compare)) / swarm box, one of several toys/tools by Tom Carden / how to really get inside a film (mpg) (via Coudal).


Friday, March 12, 2004
Variety magazine has a few entertainment-related weblogs. Our favourite is Outside the Box, which should be termed a 'swagblog' - it's a catalogue of the 'interesting promotional items that Variety receives in the mail'. That's not all - it is positively bursting with links. Here in the UK we don't usually call this stuff 'swag'; instead it can be broken down into freebies, loot, gifts, bribes, rubbish, junk, potential Christmas gifts for distant relatives, etc., etc. things magazine would like to point out that we don't get nearly enough of this kind of thing. Our address is here. The Porning Report looks interesting, too, but is no longer being updated.

Anti-mega muses on the new-style, new look Marks & Spencer catalogue. M&S is a British icon, which seems to have recovered from a dodgy financial patch a few years back (ironically, one of their responses was to close down the company's hugely popular - and profitable - store in Paris). The new catalogue is undoubtedly slick, but A-M is right - it's very Habitat (even down to using a few of the same shoot locations).

'Robot builder could print houses': 'The precision automaton could revolutionise building sites. It can work round the clock, in darkness and without tea breaks. It needs only power and a constant feed of semi-liquid construction material.' Reminds us of Barbapapa's New House, one of our favourite books.

Lego Thriller (via Chrome Waves) / Walkman History 101 (via Coudal). Related: vintage electronics at Jack Berg. See also the International Vintage Electronics Museum, located in Hove, of all places / ruins, more ruins / old syntheser videos (via daily jive) / hilarious fake tattoos.

Some weblogs: The Mighty Head, Ethereal Code, Pedantic Nuthatch, Too many things and the wonderful Looby Lu (who always crops up in our referrers, but we've never checked it out until now).

So much for being bite-sized.


Thursday, March 11, 2004
'Doing things, not buying stuff, has proved to be a superior pathway to pleasure in life', via Amit Patel. 'The good life [according to Leaf Van Boven's paper To Do or to Have? That is the Question (pdf)], is better lived by doing things than having things.' Related: Emotional Design, or how to make things that people want but don't necessarily need, via three levels of function: visceral, behavioural and reflective. Of this new holy trinity, only 'behavioural' relates to the old functional approach. The others are about desire and meaning - wanting something primarily because of how it will reflect on your sense of yourself and on other people's perceptions of you. Van Boven might have a point, but he's fighting a losing battle.

Amit also provides extensive Game Progamming Information, links about game-related terminology (e.g. isometric views) from a hobbyist game writer. See this timeline of how his first creation, SimBlob, evolved / Some other things. This is just too confusing to try and work out, but it's about things, big and small (via Coudal) / the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA). Or try OBAG, the Ohio Bad Art Guild / David J Osborn’s English Landscapes. Very, very lovely, but not hugely representative of the British countryside. Both via tmn.

Material Culture at the University of Wisconsin, including the 'painted forest' / in the woods / live bands at photo 2000 / Building Utropolis, the Lego skyline (via Lostshot, via Abstract Dynamics via No Sense of Place). The Black Tower is especially Gotham-esque / miniature whiskies, via me-fi.

things will become more bite-sized for the next couple of months, due to pressures of work. Quality, not quantity, or something like that.


Wednesday, March 10, 2004
A totally random collection today, in no particular order. The Microcar Museum (the premier attraction in Madison, Georgia) now has videos. The Cadillac EXT commercial is funny, but for all the wrong reasons. What a horrid car / spam glam, images collected via spam (via idle type) / ultrasparky, currently, broken type, weblogs / the BT Tower then and now (via I Like) / after yesterday's link to large-hearted boy, here's a collection of other daily mp3 link sites over at close your eyes (via delicious) / Bizarre Records, via daily jive / spooky mutant frog, hoax or mating frenzy? Thanks to Apothecary's Drawer.

Also via the big D, a lenghty article about designing adventure games. Lots of text (appropriately), with little snippets of interesting history throughout: "Once upon a time, the sole measure of quality in advertisements for adventure games was the number of rooms. Even quite small programs would have 200 rooms, which meant only minimal room descriptions and simple puzzles which were scattered thinly over the map. (The Level 9 game Snowball - perhaps their best, and now perhaps almost lost - cheekily advertised itself as having 2,000,000 rooms... though 1,999,800 of them were quite similar to each other.)" This site pares the 2,000,000 rooms down to 7,000, which isn't quite as impressive.

MEAM is the Modern European Architecture Museum. Their exhibition, One Hundred Houses for One Hundred European Architects, is well worth a browse / Chateau Savigny, a castle that also contains a collection of motor cars and aeroplanes / images of Antwerp Harbour / Mobile, Alabama, in historic postcards.

London Street Photos (although this exhibit is but a short distance from things, we only learnt about it thanks to the savvy New Yorkers at tmn). The project, part of Nick Knight's SHOWstudio site, consists of a webcam set up in a window at Liberty's, taking portraits around the clock. It's funny how many people gurn when confronted by a camera. I guess I'd gurn. There are also flashers, voguers (Feb 15) and window cleaners (early hours of Feb 26). I love this city.

Lots of interesting new stories at Art & Architecture, including ruminations on
Cezanne's Still Life with Plaster Cast and Lucy Cutler on The Monkey in Art / Ramage is a great weblog which we don't visit nearly enough / money will ruin everything, City of Sound on the (continuing) delights of music packaging / 200 ways to revive a hard drive (pdf) / console and galaxy map, both at Georges Huard's Living with Asperger Syndrome site.

A thread at photo.net linking back to an earlier post of ours included a mention of Paul Strand, a photographer we were previously unfamiliar with. Blow Up is a photography site containing theory and portfolios.

The National Museum of Health and Medicine, America's answer to the Wellcome Gallery (visit their current exhibition, Pain, online). All sorts of curiosities on display (such as the consequences of trichophagia and these World War II health posters). Thanks to tmn for the links. Related, The Phantom Museum.


Tuesday, March 09, 2004
We're too late to link to this fascinating motorcycle trip around the ruins of Chernobyl - the bandwidth has long been exceeded. If it ever comes back, check out these devastating images of row upon row of irradiated and abandoned vehicles. Link originally found at me-fi, which links some more (working) photos and the forthcoming game S.T.A.L.K.E.R, set in the empty wastelands of a virtual model of the ill-fated town.

I don't know about you, but these first person shooter games scare the bejesus out of me. All that creeping around corridors, with flickering lighting effects and shadows concealing god knows what. The very first Doom was bad enough, but Doom III just looks terrifying. I have a hard enough time as it is with games that involve creeping around locations avoiding other 'humans', but as soon as they introduce zombies or daemons, I go to pieces.

Staying with decay. Rouillees, ruins, automotive and architectural in the south of France. See also the beautiful images at the Cimitiere des Anciennes, such as this hemmed-in Beetle. The coming together of rust and vegetation is apparently a popular on-line subject. Some more abandoned autos. The world is full of junked things. Even more.

Related. Toys cars, a great collection (in French), complete with scanned ads from the 1960s. Still related, a collection of documentation relating to the Peugeot 404 (Imagine a car being called a 404 today, the ultimate internet faux pas that would mirror an earlier myth).

Life, A User's Manual: Argos Walk, via Ashley B. A walk through an invisible city, full of activities not normally seen, yet all captured on remote video. The Georges Perec reference draws attention to Perec's prototyptical city narrative.

A scanned Apple Design book / we're sorry / the Bentley Collection of snowflake photos, via me-fi / the bad music gallery, via the unbelievably wonderful large-hearted boy, via tmn / An illustrated treatise on ammunition and ordnance, British 1880-1960. For example, Fuze, Time and Percussion, No.93, Mark 1. Part of Steve Johnson's epic Cyberheritage project.

Visit the Tasty Popsicle / black fashion covers, seemingly disproving an age-old trope about the magazine industry / the world's subway systems reduced to the same scale. From just about everywhere / the Pulitzer Foundation has a slick website, as befits an organisation that doles out some of the heftiest prizes in the arts.

Good Vibes is an antique vibrator museum, via Sachs Report / Margot Knight's photography is pretty creepy, especially Dog Shoes and the Girl's Best Friend series / Women's Magazines of the 1950s: You and Heinz.


Monday, March 08, 2004
The mapsproject, a collection of beautiful hand-drawn maps (via kottke), just one of several projects at subk.net. I remember how creating maps was an integral part of childhood, a game that involved exploration, imagination, drawing and writing. As the collector notes, 'each one is a small token of memory and experience'. Also, check back later for child art.

We stare, goggle-eyed, at these back issues of Girl Watcher magazine (via Coudal). Related, Sunset magazine covers gallery (via scrubbles). I'm always drawn to this kind of stuff, and so, it seems, are the good people at Mocoloco, a site that's the engadget of contemporary design. There's something I can't quite put my finger on about 'contemporary'. things attended Midcentury Modern at the weekend. Faced with a hall full of objects that either ooze good taste ('ghastly good taste') or are defiantly tasteless, everything seems to become a bit of a mush - there are no hidden pearls to be found, just hefty price tags.

Whybark expands on our Zeppelin fragment. We're very grateful for all that research, which has unearthed the original police report: '…the action had been watched by cheering sightseers who rushed to the crash site in their thousands to gaze at the scene and gather what souvenirs they could, pieces of the Zeppelin being sold off at sixpence (6d) a time..' You’ll also find out about PC Zepp Smith and a little girl called Zeppelina...

Toyo Ito's Serpentine Pavilion in its new home, next to Battersea Power Station / old school adventure games on your iPod (via jilltxt) / nice café / Cloudking, an online art gallery. Mostly a bit cartoony, but we did like the work of Fred Gates (website, with paintings like Brooklyn Bridge Tower).

Other things. A great headline and subhead: 'Creator of film's score 'battled with Satan' (Musician: 'He was in my room a lot'). Related: neat backwards Led Zeppelin page ('little toolshed?') / the Mars Bunny / Supersize it, Slate charts a world of expanding objects; if people are getting bigger, the things they need have to scale up as well. Try sites like Amplestuff ('Everything for big people (except clothes)')

Amazing time-lapse ageing movie (via consumptive ), produced using just eight photographs. Some more slowed down and speeded up films / an animated map of Britain’s closing coal mines / the photography of Stephen Gill, who catalogues the everyday in a very straightforward, unshowy way. His portfolio includes these heroic trolley portraits and images of cashpoints, things we take for granted.


Friday, March 05, 2004
The Armour House, home of J. Ogden Armour, ‘heir to the Armour meat-packing fortune’, photographed here by Lightningfield. Armour crops up in the re-print of Fortune’s very first rich list, from way back in 1918 (a fascinating piece nearly scuppered by impenetrable page design). He’s also the Armour in the Armour Institute. 'The [Armour] house was constructed between 1904 and 1908 at a cost of ten million dollars under the guidance of architect Arthur Heun, designer of mansions for many of Chicago's wealthiest business and social leaders. The cost included two million dollars for gardens and grounds designed by noted landscape architect Jens Jensen.'

Arthur Heun was also responsible for the amazingly ersatz Castle Farms in Charlevoix, Michigan, built for a former acting director of Sears, Roebuck, and Company, a Mr Albert Loeb and his wife Anna (early S, R + B photos). 'When complete, the farm was opened to the public. Visitors could buy cheese and ice cream, watch the local baseball team play, or see the registered livestock and latest farming inventions.' More recently, it’s played host to rock concerts and weddings. The architecture itself is based on the classic northern French barn, but ends up having more in common with Viollet le Duc’s restoration of Carcassonne, a stunning, but mostly bogus recreation. Related: urban exploration of a ruined Armour packing plant in St Louis.

Virtual urbanism. An amazing BT tower photo via 2lmc spool / J.C.Backings create, and rent, backdrop paintings. Check their rentals gallery, including big cities and skyscapes and sunsets / Chicago, Illinois, mile x mile, a super-dense way of photographically envisioning the city (would only work in America, sadly), via Coudal / Audacity.org presents a critique of the urban visions of Will Alsop (related: images of South London and his Peckham Library, part of the huge stem photo index) / images of Las Vegas.

Elsewhere. Monster toys, via the daily jive / Project Adorno, a very eccentric musical ensemble / Stylus Magazine, music and reviews / you have got to love the Jensen Interceptor / paint like Jackson Pollock (via Phathouse). More colours please! / Quicktime visits to cockpits and planes (via bowblog) / lobster claw and drawing, neat flash experiments at stamen.

Many thanks to solipistic for the ongoing help with the gallery. We're still not quite there, yet.


Thursday, March 04, 2004
The death of a card catalogue, which led us to this suitably minimal site, Punched Cards, by one Douglas W.Jones (which was also linked on me-fi yesterday). Thankfully there's a gallery, as well as a lengthy cultural history of the punch card. If you're still into old-school data processing, you can visit Cardamation for your punch card supplies.

The punch card was a revelation. '[In October 1953] the Saturday Evening Post referred to the Los Angeles Police Department's Hollerith machine as "a mechanical Sherlock Holmes," a "crime-hating robot," "The Detective Who Never Sleeps."' (which is a good excuse to bring out this wonderful view of 221B Baker Street again). About twelve years ago I found a bunch of punch cards lying in the gutter in Kathmandu, of all places. Rejected twice - once by the developed world, and then by the developing world. Another short leap - the sinister side of data management, the subject of the controversial book IBM and the Holocaust.

When did we stop noticing the BT Tower? asks Russell Davies. It's a funny thing, that tower. Opened in 1965, it rises 620 feet above the largely Georgian streets of what's come to be known as Fitzrovia. Yet when one is in the immediate area, the tower seems strangely absent (although some lucky people get a grandstand view). It's partly due to the tower's podium being well concealed down a side-street - there's no 'public face' to the building, just this rather unremarkable entrance. Some photos and a more comprehensive history of the tower, with old photos, tales of the revolving restaurant and the bomb that closed it all down.

Elsewhere. Rick Poynor critiques the work of Bruce Mau at design observer / perfume bottles, a study of contemporary material culture / manzillworld, weblogs are starting to digress into interesting fictional areas / folded space, a weblog / speaking of the Saturday Evening Post, plep links to the Norman Rockwell Museum / hard to find crockery at Edish / some videos of big-handed people playing with a new smartphone design, via new gadget weblog engadget / friends or enemies? / exhibition layouts at the Model Railway Club. We especially like the photographic history of the construction of their London Club House / Alistair Cooke retires after 58 years on the air (not continuously) / Blimp Week! Whybark explores 'all things floaty', including this card model of a Vickers airship. Wonderful.

Anatomy of a disaster, or why a building goes wrong. A piece on the jinxed Clissold Leisure Centre in Hackney by the Guardian's Jonathan Glancey, who puts it down to inexperience on the part of Hackney's architect-liaison skills. See also the ongoing public enquiry into the troubled Scottish Parliament. It'll be incredible when finished, although the £360m overspend will take some explaining. Grand Designs seems positively lightweight in comparison.

Dr Leslie & The Composing Room, 1934 - 1942: 'An Important Time In The Development Of American Graphic Design', a site accompanying Erin K.Malone's MFA Thesis. The Composing Room was a typesetting company based in New York, closely involved with the emergence of modernist typography. The company's own publication, PM Magazine, together with the A-D Gallery, are extensively archived here.

Oh dear. Deleting all our galleries has turned our what’s new page into a pale shadow of its former self. Suggestions, please, for a way of putting up smallish collections of photos.


Wednesday, March 03, 2004
A big essay on Stanley Kubrick at Alchemy Lab. It includes the information that Saturn was the director's first choice for 2001's ultimate destination, but the rings were just too difficult to make from biscuit tins and silver foil, or whatever passed for special effects in those days. Wasn't that Arthur C.Clarke’s call, not Kubrick’s? Related, the Story of Saturn (via heckler and coch).

Doing Photography and Social Research in the Allied Occupation of Japan, 1948-1951, 'a Personal and Professional Memoir by John W.Bennett' (via no sense of place). This is a huge collection of images, all beautifully scanned / Richard Billingham's forthcoming exhibition at artSway focuses on the New Forest, that curiously suburban stretch of forest in the south of England. It's far removed from his disturbing series Ray's A Laugh.

Artist Steve Wolfe (whose work can be found in this unlinkable flash site for his gallery, Luhring Augustine) paints - or rather, builds - books, mixing Oil, screenprint, modeling paste, paper, canvasboard, and wood to create a perfect facsimile.

Undiscovered, a Fortean blog (via The Null Device / Celluloid Skyline, a hugely impressive site accompanying a great book - reminds us of the opening credits of Manhattan / molly golightly, a weblog / creepy-crawly site design at Arthropodainc.

Cities on the move, an essay by Hans-Ulbrich Obrist which includes a comprehensive list of just about every ‘X City’ - the buzzwords conjured up by architects, urban planners, developers, fantasists and futurists (such as Archigram, who will shortly be the subject of an exhibition at the Design Museum / some fabulous panoramic maps of the US (via the Cartoonist) / a neat 'broken' image at whybark / Ripping Steel, how ships are broken up (could do with more images).

The magazine design debate goes on, with City of Sound's impassioned blast at the Economist, citing this essay, the (ever-evolving) economist at Daidala (also linked by Kottke). Both are beautifully presented, very well considered essays (unsurprisingly, the very best writing on typography tends to be presented in a very painstakingly precise way. That’s not a criticism).

Another elegant interface at Spill.net / Ilike takes a walk along the Thames / the films of the Boulting Brothers, a stills galleries at the BFi / Pixelito, a hamster-sized helicopter (via Muxway. Sadly the hamster doesn't actually fly in the helicopter, which would be a very time-consuming way of making this coat (related, stamps bearing hamster coats).


Tuesday, March 02, 2004
Soviet Photography from the 20s and 30s at the Fotomuseum in Zurich. There's also good(ish) collection of Rodchenko photos at Stanford University. However, there are more images and information at this fascinating history of the Soviet 35mm camera, which mentions Rodchenko's popularisation of the original Leica. Imports were ceased and Stalin demanded that a Soviet camera industry be created. The development of the country's own 35mm cameras took place in the bizarre surroundings of a youth camp, the Dzerzhinsky Labour Commune in Kharkov (the Ukrainian capital), which was run by the secret police.

Early Soviet cameras included the the Fotokor, not 35mm at all (Fotokor in detail). From 1932 onwards, the curious FED factory simply copied contemporary Leicas (not in English, but lovely pictures, see also these vintage camera ads). And thus was born the FED-1, a very competent imitiation of the Leica II (although I don't think Leica ever used plastic).

Other things. The art of Jordin Isip (via Sasha Frere Jones) / white box robotics make cute entertainment robots (via Sachs Report). Also via Sachs, A Report to the Public on the Full Meaning of the Atomic Bomb (related - make your own scary old report with these free typewriter fonts!) / 10 facts about Dr Seuss /camera icons.

Snark Hunting, 'Naming and Branding in Popular Culture'. We went off on one about branding last week, and this site is filled with numerous examples of corporations (or rather, clued up individuals within corporations) doing small things well enough to improve the overall perception of the company. I suppose that's called branding. It should just be called doing your job, though.

The architectural art of Toby Paterson / Caterpillar #5, by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye, lifesize, complete with Gothic filigree and rose window like the one in Notre Dame. See also here, and the dumptruck. Delvoye is better known for Cloaca, a scatalogical project all about a machine for making, quite literally, crap.

We’ve received Issue One of Strange Attractor and it’s wonderful / Slick photography at Exposur3 / Reblog - one to keep an eye on, although the endless cycle of links gets a bit incestuous at times (and we're as guilty as hell on that count) / and where it got us, a weblog.


Monday, March 01, 2004
Rosebud's Early Aviation Archive, via Exclamation Mark, over three thousand images from the aeroplane's first forays into commerce and war. Also via EM, Warner Bros. Cartoons Filmography And Title Card Gallery, lovingly compiled by one Dave Mackey. It wasn't just Dr Seuss who had an Ann Winterton-style pop at the enemy during Wartime - see Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips, from 1944. Compare with Dr Seuss Went to War at the Mandeville Special Collections Library (whose other collections include Photojournalism during the Spanish Civil War and Harry Crosby's Images of Baja California, 1967-1992). Some kind person has sent us Philip Nel's Dr Seuss: American Icon, reviewed here.

Anyway, we digress wildly. The Rosebud Archive reminded us that we have a wonderful piece of aviation ephemera tucked away in our archives, a fragment of a terrifying war machine. It was placed in things 10, accompanied by a text by one Eva Hills, who witnessed the machine's attack.

Other things. Mouth of the Hudson, photographs by Benjamin Donaldson / Street Chic at Vogue / Barista ('Heartstarters for the hungry minds') sends us back to A Case of Curiosities. Related: Dried cats, via me-fi / Goosed-up graphics and more in this gallery of data visualisation - 'the best and worst in statistical graphics'.

Russell Davies has a fine eye for the absurd, the visually unusual and the general information overload of our everyday lives. For example, Brands in our Bathroom. Not quite sure why his weblog is called paincave, though. Some links culled: Urban Camouflage, the Messy Desk competition, over 300 people who have no concept of how to organise their lives. As if we can talk. Also, the sad sight of the Kirsty MacColl memorial bench bench in London's Soho Square.

Federal Art Project, a 'calendar was created by the New York City Poster Division in 1938' (via sugar and spicy) / townscape drawings by Gordon Cullen / RIP, a requiem for a Compac Armada E500 / postcards at Heavy Winter.