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weblog archives
eXTReMe Tracker
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Interactive adverts for the film Sin City have overstepped the mark according to the UK's Advertising Standards Authority. Push a button, and you get a clip from the film. Unfortunately the clips were too violent. Flat screen technology advances rapidly. A company called Digital View now offers what it describes as Videoflyers - little TVs that pump out ads in confined spaces. Our first experience of this was at Tottenham Court Road tube station, where the traditional blizzard of electronics advertising has now been replaced by a run of 66 small screens. Every screen carries the same image, and the resulting effect is rather hallucinatory. Apparently '66% [of Londoners] said they'd like to see more digital poster advertising on the London Underground,' a statistic brought into context by the sudden arrival of a large flat screen TV in the corner of our favourite Italian sandwich bar. It had only been there a week and the guy behind the counter shrugged when I asked if they were paid to install it. No sound, but rolling ads, drawing all eyes to a hitherto-ignored corner of the cramped shop.

I don't wish to sound too curmudgeonly, but my heart sank when I saw the screen. Alarmingly, I didn't even register it at first - just stared blankly at the flashing images (there's no sound, mercifully) for 30 seconds before realising that this had not been there the previous week. Developments like commuter television are a blight: we're drawn to screens like moths to lights. In more restricted environments, 'forced television watching' is seen by some as a subtle form of punishment. So will images be the 21st century's piped music (or should that be Muzak)? Muzak is widely loathed, even after it re-branded itself as 'audio architecture', marking the shift from entertainment product to an environmental one. Critics call this 'scientifically engineered sound', stripped of uncomfortable emotional content that occupies the sub-conscious 'background space' in our day to day lives. It's not hard to imagine this background space being filled with subtle visual as well as audio data. How long, for example, before electronic billboards entirely replace the traditional paper or tri-panel/tri-vision kind? Organisations like Scenic America are fighting ongoing billboardisation, a struggle that's only going to get more harder.

*

Elsewhere. Some great photos of Le Corbusier's Ronchamp chapel, 1955 (via RIBAworld). See also the photographer's images of Gaudi's Casa Mila, Corb's Villa Savoye and more / Kontakt, a 'Magazine for Arts and Civil Society in Central Europe', looking at emerging architecture and with projects like The Balance of Trade, objects collected by Helmut and Johanna Kandl / TF Archive, 'serving the Transformers community since 1996'.

Letters Never Sent, a weblog / build yourself a garden escape / rare cars, including the 1959 Cadillac Series 62 built for King Farouk. More details at this page of Cadillac Specials / BibliOdyssey offers scans from a dizzying collection of rare and historic books, including pop-ups (linking this excellent exhibition at the University of North Texas), early British bookbinding and the original Alice in Wonderland.

A new book from photographer Michael Wolf brings together his recent urban imagery: Hong Kong: Front Door/Back Door / Honey Milk is a Norwegian record label / learn to play Southern Rock / if the balloon went up, how would we have known? Via an early warning system, that's how. Dismantled in 1992, you can apparently still find remnants of the nationwide sirens. From the indispensable Subterranea Britannica). See also this page devoted to the UK Cold War Nuclear Attack Warning System.