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weblog archives
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Tuesday, November 06, 2007


We are sliding towards an irreversible obsession with totally visual communication. Text is struggling to keep up. Only dense, layered, information-rich text cuts it in the online world, preferably broken up with images and other information, which might explain why the blog form, in particular the visual blog, is currently so successful. FFFFOUND! makes this dominance explicit, doing away with everything but the barest caption and paring the internet's role down to a purveyor of visual interest and nothing else. Line, pattern and texture can be condensed into a parcel of pixels, creativity contained within 200,000 tiny squares, pasted and posted, as yet another passing comment ('It's Nice That').

The democratisation of creativity has the flip effect of vastly speeding up the amount of time we spend looking at things, appreciating the craft and the process. An image like this is gobbled up and spat out in seconds. A few years ago, there was an art project where every book in a library was arranged according to colour, not title or subject ('There is Nothing Wrong in the Whole Wide World', a piece by Chris Cobb). On reflection, it's a nice metaphor for the dominance of visual searching over content searching, our eyes skimming lightly over huge swathes of deep level content without ever really engaging in it.

So is the quality of digital imagery inversely related to the degradation of quality in the real world? Perhaps. The vast majority of weblogs act like sluice gates, simply helping the flow of culture along without adding to the volume of water in any way. Do we really need any of this stuff? Is it not the digital equivalent of Brooks Stevens' planned obsolesence, imagery for imagery's sake, simply helping visual culture to accelerate its churn rate?



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Virtual worlds threaten values, according to Lord Puttnam (read it in Second Life), sounding off about 'toy-themed virtual worlds'. The story mentions the following: BarbieGirls, UB Funkeys, Stardoll, Tygirlz, and Webkinz. All aimed at girls, strangely. Lego Universe is on its way / the other porn, tracking obsessional commodification and intensive marketing / Back to the Future in Vice City, at digital urban / a Q+A with Lego's CEO, courtesy of Monocle, as well as the Brickshelf, an enormous Lego resource / Trompe L'Oeil, a series by artist Remy Lidereau / Peeron is another amazing Lego resource.

Boyd Homes Group, the 'network for owners and friends of Robin Boyd's projects'. See also City of Sound's recent post touching on Boyd and his writings / dirty beloved, weblog of old imagery / a set of good simple recipes / London Connections delves in to the murk of the political and social processes behind keeping the capital's transport systems going / Undercity.org, goings on beneath Manhattan.

Deleted scenes, forgotten dreams, experimental music weblog (via ask me-fi) / 7 inch punk, more mp3s / even more noise at Strange Reaction / Ezeskankin, a collection of mix tapes from the 90s / 'robot folk tales' at bluebell.fm, a site by Emma Payne of fed by birds / Shake Your Fist, an mp3 blog / Song for Someone, up and running.

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The Pompidou Centre was often likened to an ocean liner adrift in an urban context, Piano's first real ocean liner, the Pacific Dawn, is relatively conventional, almost retro. Corbusier rattled on endlessly about the ocean liner, which he considered to be 'an architecture pure, neat, clear, clean and healthy,' adding, 'Contrast this with our carpets, cushions, canopies, wall-papers, carved and gilt furniture, faded or 'arty' colours: the dismalness of our Western bazaar.' In the decades that followed, designers like Norman Bel Geddes and Luigi Colani both had a crack at the ocean liner, morphing the clean lines so admired by Corb into bulbous expressions of streamlining and futurism. But no-one could decribe contemporary liner design as being even remotely innovative, with whatever heyday that once existed long vanished.



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Color me impressed, colour charts at parenthetically / the weburbanist collates photo-led stories from around the world, like this collection of 7 more underground wonders of the world / Urbanized, photos by Robert Stephens / hisamichi58, image bombardment / photographer Klaus Thymann (some images nsfw) / very small rain, a weblog with photography / AIM 25, archives in London and the M25 area.

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The story of the Ferrari 512 Modulo concept / Hobson Industries, a 'mini Land-Rover factory' with 25 million pounds worth of stock, able to keep old models, especially military ones, on the road almost indefinitely (via this BBC News story) / Stout Books has acquired the architectural library of the late G.E.Kidder Smith. Many gems inside / Phillips de Pury are holding an auction of the work of Guy Bourdin / Modern Movement Architecture in the UK, a small selection of noted buildings compiled by Tom Flynn / Mies Photo Auction Raises Questions, a tale of dubious provenance.