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weblog archives
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Friday, May 26, 2006
What is Beauty? Or, On the Aesthetics of Wind Farms, Justin Good on the philosophical implications of what has become quite a divisive issue in the UK. For everyone who lines up to berate their appearance ('Standing more than 100 metres tall, they have transformed our bucolic retreat into a futuristic film set'), someone else counters that they think turbines look great (and even offshore power has its vociferous opponents). Good's article raises the perpetual battle ground of subjective versus objective, a war of opinion that no-one will ever win, although he concludes that their marrying of form and function, closely allied to natural processes, makes a turbine objectively beautiful.

Perversely, we'd like to imagine a ruined wind farm. When will the first turbine installation fall into disrepair? For now, these distant objects loom on the horizon like Tripods, stark reminders of the need to manage resources more carefully. The page with the Tripod reference also contains this chronology of Science fiction at the BBC from 1953-1998, as well as noting the UK's penchant for post-apocalyptic television. 'Dead pylons are something of a cliché in post-apocalypse television, as the most obvious symbol of the modern age on the rural landscape.' The imagined image of slowly-turning wind turbines, their blades generating power for a non-existent grid.

*

The Ship that Sailed to Mars, an early science fiction classic online / Flickr's Single Leaf Extravaganza pool / a fine photoset of UN Studio's new Mercedes-Benz Museum at Kultureflash / a database of camera design / a great portrait at slower / drawings by Marcel Breuer and Street and Dime novel covers, two galleries at the Syracuse Digital Library.

Trevor Paglen's Limit Telephotography project uses 'unorthodox viewing and imaging techniques' to 'produce images of hidden and extremely remote landscapes,' namely Groom Lake (seen here from a distance of over 26 miles) / we're late to this one: International Urban Glow. Night photography / why Melissa Gould's Neu-York map is deeply flawed.

Book Covers, a celebration of the art. For a good insight into the process, read Chip Kidd's excellent Book One (and read the Birnbaum interview) / Creative Criminal is a weblog concerned with advertising aesthetics / Tango parodies Bravia / flying Aston Martin / moo box / new slang coinage in Ian McEwan's Saturday? No, geographical accuracy.

Modernism for sale. Berthold Lubetkin's Highpoint penthouse is up for sale. You can imagine the big B, gin and tonic in hand, surveying his contribution to 50s and 60s London, from gorilla house to mass housing. The apartment was apparently the model for Emma Peel's pad in the Avengers, although from the screengrabs it doesn't look as if it was actually shot there. Lubetkin's major private commission in London, Six Pillars, is also currently on the market. See also Connell, Ward and Lucas house on Hayling Island. I once got locked out my Austin Metro on the driveway of this house. It was very embarrassing. (related, a Flickr set featuring Dragons, a C,W and L house in Sussex, amongst other modern movement buildings). Across the Atlantic, Edward Durrell Stone's Richard Mandel House is still for sale. Here the modernist aesthetic has given up all pretence of any social relevance and has morphed into a grand style for the nouveau riche.

Worth re-visiting, as it's being added to all the time, the Kidder Smith Slide Archives on American Architecture. Staying with architecture, a collection of teaching images from a Chinese architectural website, complete with slightly amateurish drawings and models. The attempt to model Peter Eisenmann's House III is ambitious in the extreme.

Unboxing is the ultimate thing fetish, promising 'Vicarious thrills from opening new gear'. Personally, we've had it up to here with unpacking boxes and disposing of great sheets of polystyrene and cardboard (via gadgets.fosfor.se) / newspaper clipping generator / the Landscape Urbanism Bullshit Generator (via archinect).