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Thursday, June 28, 2007


Vulgarism: the David Report rounds up the latest emerging trends in product design, namely pseudo baroque, quasi-luxurious, limited edition works that spill over from fine art into design. 'Teapots in super size, huge Pinocchio dolls in mosaic, porcelain horse heads and knitted dogs', what the Report calls a cross between Memphis, Post-modernism, post-functionalism and a self-conscious desire to be represented in the annals, no matter what. A quote from the Report, 'As long as you have a buyer you can continue to do what you want.'

Other things. old car brochures, with a few countries not known for their automotive output (the Attica Cabrioletta?). Via Goddelijke Gladiolen / Aesthe/tech:Tonik, tough to type, but good to browse around - concerned with the influence of digital processes on analogue forms /wallpaper puts up a massive gallery to celebrate the V&A's 150th Anniversary / A Brief History of the Utah Teapot / D.Filter, a weblog.

Hamas 'Mickey Mouse' killed off: 'the character, Farfur, [was shown] being beaten to death by an "Israeli agent"' / Russian posters, posters and matchbox labels, via Sit Down Man, You're a Bloody Tragedy / Building Asia Brick by Brick, a set of structures by Asian and Pacific architects, 'invited to create original architectural models from custom kits of white LEGO bricks'.

A brochure for the IBM 4331 at Raymond Frohlich (who also makes beautiful paintings) / photos by Valerie Stahl von Stromberg / the Isokon Building in High Dynamic Range, at Digital Urban / flower floor, a domestic project by Bidard and Raissi.

A San Diego Concrete Pour, at Life without buildings / the Railways of China / Listen to the Captain, Beefheart on the way to treat a six string, over at Analog Industries / Model Train Secrets, a weblog / Ladies and Gentlemen we are setting here listening to this recording, file under mp3s, bitterness, entertainment, west coast.


Monday, June 25, 2007


The Island 6 Arts Center, Suzhou Creek, Shanghai, now (2007) and then (2004). From re.imagining democracy, which chronicles Shanghai's epic urban change. A clipping from the China Daily, 15 April 2007: 'to keep pace with China's population growth, some 500 to 600 million square metres of residential real estate needs to be built every year for the next two decades.' Another figure we found was the need for 750 new cities in the next 15 years, each with a minimum population of 1 million people. Depending on the density, that's around 130,000km2 of urbanism (Great London is 1,600km2 - more comparisons). Related, a nice stat from James Howard Kunstler: the US has 20.2 square feet of retail, per person, compared to the UK's 2.5 square feet and Italy's 1.1 square feet. China probably has the lowest sfr per p of all. But manufacturing square feet per person?

The Really Revolutionary Engine, Thomas and Percy stick it to the man to create The People's Republic of Sodor. At Buyo, via Projects. 'This is no time for weakness,' said Percy, 'Overthrow the class traitor and we will all be free.' It's a distinct improvement. Meanwhile, in the People's Republic of China, a reporter checking out the Thomas and Friends factory is held hostage.

A fine set of vertigo-inducing b+w photos at Dark Roasted Blend. The modern equivalent. Did we always have acrophobia (not vertigo), or is it a learned phobia that has evolved with the high-rise? The word 'acrophobia seems to originate from around 1890-1895, a few years after the word 'skyscraper' was first applied to buildings.

D/visible, 'deconstructing our creative world' / how to take a baby to Glastonbury. The domestication of the event is complete / Second Seeker, 'unofficial Second Life reviews' of locations in the virtual world, including the Holocaust Museum / neat little crib by Manuela Busetti and Andrea Garuti (via Swissmiss) / London in the mountains, a fantasy city from a BMW ad / all about Jim Bakker's Heritage USA, a now abandoned theme park / Negative G, a site devoted to roller coasters.

Psion: The Last Computer. The Psion Organiser was the Blackberry of the 80s, the proto-Palm. By the time of the Series 5 in 1997, the company had mastered hardware and software, but it wasn't enough and the software division was hived off to form Symbian, effectively killing the company / talking of innovation, apparently you can get a monthly data package in Canada that costs $12 for 1MB of downloads plus $22 per additional MB. At the same rates, T-Mobile's 3GB web'n'walk package in the UK would equate to $67,574/month.

Color inspiration from the masters, via Coudal / Least Wanted, old mugshot collection (thanks, mark) / Gavin Stamp interfaces with Bruce Sterling / Psychiatry and History, a weblog / an architecture-focused site we've unintentionally ignored for a bit, Varnelis.net / a new site for Phaidon / Uniqlo's Uniqlock website is quite entrancing / silly, and not so silly, questions.

The Serendipitous Cacophonies, imagery and more / Architectural Record, a weblog (not affiliated with the magazine of the same name?) / A decade on...the Dome finally works, Stephen Bayley reveals that his own personal vision would have been better off with a great big corporate sponsor. Surely that should be, 'a decade on... the Dome finally rocks?'. O2 would have loved that.

The Chevrolet Corvair Family Tree / all about the Citroen 2CV, including a set of Mehari Brochures (see also) / the lovely Citroen Bertone Camargue concept / Bizarrchitecture (more) / Dubai Marina breach / the work of studio804, Not so Big, via the Digital Librarian's prefabs section.


Friday, June 22, 2007


The Wired Living Home, 2007's entry into the annual homes-of-the-future contest. This fusion of naked consumer product lust and architectural theorising is a popular distraction from the real business of building homes, and usually the two meet somewhere uncomfortable in the middle. 'Ideal homes' have been with us for ever, from the Prince Consort's Model Lodge in Kennington Park to the Smithsons' wipe-clean House of the Future of 1956. The Ideal Home Show has been a mainstay of domestic futurism for decades, with full-size structures pointing an eager public towards the forms and technologies of tomorrow. This year the exhibition organisers came over all pragmatic, after a series of intriguing-but-impractical schemes like the Hanger House (2000) and Branson Coates' Oyster House (1998), and commissioned Lynch Architects to design a disarmingly functional solution. Their Village Green of multi-faceted yet achievable structures used recognisable materials and construction methods (flickr set). It was far removed from the plastic gadget-filled pod that usually signifies a concept home.

But while architects delve into complex structural arrangements, new materials, speculative labour-saving devices and unusual forms in their quest to re-shape the perception of the mass-market home, they still keep the most refined - and most impractical - conceptual visions to themselves. Philip Johnson's Glass House, seen here in all its transparent glory, is now open to the public. On reflection (apologies), this house, built in 1949, is a supremely absurd object to aspire to, utterly bereft of practicality and basic function and benefitting only from a verbose estate agent would doubtless call a 'spectacular sylvan setting'. Despite this, the glass pavilion remains the acme of tasteful architectural aspiration, from Farnsworth through Johnson and beyond.

Although the Glass House/glass house is a totem that should have been largely discarded it remains a phantom hovering at the edge of every architect's imagination (and every client's, once they've been given the right monographs to read). 'In Philip Johnson's Glass House, His Masterly Vision Is Crystal Clear' is a Washington Post piece by Philip Kennicot, written on the structure's recent opening by the American National Trust for Historic Preservation. It offers a few insights. '[The Glass House] suggests a Platonic ideal of intellectual life, though Johnson is said to have found the proximity to nature distracting, and he escaped to the Brick House to read. But seen as a single entity, the Glass House/Brick House add up to the gayest house in America, an architectural enactment of a life lived with a rigorous division between the public and the private. Not that Johnson, a man who enjoyed wealth throughout his life, lived that particular dichotomy of hiding and revealing in the way that less fortunate men had to. But even at the level of its mechanical systems, the two-house dyad seems like a metaphor for the publicly brilliant homosexual: The Glass House is enticingly open but dependent on the Brick House for its hidden electrical and plumbing connections.'

It should be pointed out that the Johnson/Whitney homestead comprised some eleven structures in all, a Glass House/Brick House/Painting Gallery/Studio/etc/etc (fine Metropolis photo essay) that even stretched to an 'eighteenth-century Shaker home' that was 'used for tea and television', as well as a large nineteenth-century farmhouse, several follies, two galleries and a studio, as well as an entirely separate house for Johnson's partner, David Whitney. The compound works well as an aspirational set piece, but offers little in the way of intellectual progress. Johnson was always an architectural magpie - he always had to have a crack at whatever was currently in vogue. Nonetheless, the Harvard Five were unquestionably onto something in New Canaan, with a scattered legacy of idiosyncratic and admirable private houses. While the sprawling eclecticism of the Johnson/Whitney compound is undeniably fascinating, it ultimately served to dilute the development of the modern house.

*

Other things. Our megastructural dreams are only just being realised: OMA's Jebel Al Jais Mountain Resort. The reasons? Global economic conditions are favouring the massive dumping of investment into property, the more ostentatious, outlandish and self-contained the better. It only go to show that the modernist vision of the superstructure as the best solution for social housing was hopelessly optimistic (see Housing Prototypes for examples). Le Corbusier's Highway City plan for Algiers, would have ended up being little more a sleek substitute for the city's slums. Rome's Corviale has hardly fared much better. More big things and megastructural concepts at MEGAblog, including this idea for Tsunami (resistant) architecture / Earth house: Shelter, 'Documenting a personal quest for non-toxic housing' / Glass house meets screen prints: The Camouflage House.

The work of Giovanni Battista Piranesi (17201778) / some kind of dayglo, ultra-hip, new punk, whatever going on here: Aquabotic / the TGV duplex concept / clever stuff: myspacemp3 and (M)y-space, handy ways of getting hold of those streaming mp3s / popular and everywhere: Polanoid, billed as the analogue flickr / Public Library History in London.

Yet more seaside revivalism: Friends of the Midland Hotel (via i like) / Rob Grant's Telephone Pages, including a page of 'UK Other Licensed Operator's Tones and Announcements' / a stream of recent flickr pictures at Harper Reed's Flashandburn.net / montage-a-google, instant image sets, a project by Grant Robinson, who also created travelr and more. See also the eye-project, Papervision3D, and Timeline. Robinson's flickr page is a great visual browse.

Sustainable World, a weblog / Useful Photography #002, a book collating random, raw and unfiltered imagery from eBay.nl, lifted from yesterday's comments (thanks, the bloggy, bloggy dew) / which airlines have the best flat seats? / personal work and classic illustration sets collated by Leif Peng, via x-factor-e / Touching the City, public spaces, public seating and the way we connect the two. Their weblog. Explore Pathwayone, a five hour walk from Westminster to Canning Town, exploring the 34 'benchspaces' found along the way.

Intelligent Coast, 'a center of research on coast and tourism'. Their weblog / Advanced Architecture Contest / The Art Life, a weblog / Pan Dan blogs about modern product design - blobs, stringy things, tablets, pastel colours, digital surfaces, you know the drill / flickr pulp set / retro UK magazine nostalgia: Sky Magazine (via haddock) / building Global Cities / Uncle Sam's Photos, 'a directory of the US Government's Free Photo Galleries' (via projects) / Hitler bunkers revealed - real and virtual / a collection of tough buildings / CubeMe, an architecture weblog / the 11 most endangered places in America.

Phillips Art Expert, which aims 'to engage and educate the user in the nomenclature of the auction process, enhance ones knowledge of art and above all, allow the user to hone his or her taste and collecting passion'. Simon de Pury could be an internet cult star, we feel / 'Smooth drivetime architecture: what's wrong with "How we built Britain" by David Dimbleby.

The Children's Prize Gift Book of the Great Exhibition of 1851': "I do not think we should like to dine with a Chinese gentleman, or Mandarin, as he would treat us to strange dainties, asa roast dog, a dish of stewed worms, a rat pie; or, perhaps, a bird's-nest. But the bird's-nest would be the best of the list, for it is not like the kind of bird's-nests which you have seen, but is made, I believe, of the spawn of fish, and looks something like isinglass. It is the nest of a sort of swallow, is about the size of a goose's egg, and is found in caverns along the sea shores; so it is not so bad as it seems at first."


Monday, June 18, 2007


At times, it seems like the British seaside revival is something conjured up by canny second-home-owning media types, designed first and foremost to stimulate the market in their own faded corner of the coast; gentrification as self-interest. It would be churlish to deny interesting new schemes, but our hearts always sink a little when the big guns of design are brought out, brandishing their sketchbooks, hoping to solve all sorts of social ills with a few sweeps of the pen. The English south coast resort of Littlehampton is a case in point. In bringing Thomas Heatherwick to town, Littlehampton is hoping to become a metropolitan destination, joining a roster of resorts with a sprinkle of urban sophistication to keep the weekenders and second homers hooked: Southwold, Whitstable, Rock, Bexhill, the list goes on. The new East Beach Cafe is a typically bravura Heatherwick structure, high on concept, enormously labour-intensive and ultimately a rather beautiful, strange object that speaks of effort and passion, with just a hint of form-making for the sake of it (above image cropped from bobweasel's original). This kind of miniature icon is increasingly popular. In a former era these form-driven buildings would have been called 'follies'. In recent years, we've seen the Panopticons, a series of 'New landmarks for the 21st century', and the 'sitooteries' (Heatherwick again, amongst others).

30 million passengers, 23,000 square metres of shops ... and just 700 seats. All about Heathrow's brave new Terminal 5, designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners and yet a strangely dull structure - at least from the outside - that's not a patch on RSH's Madrid terminal. Some random stats from the piece: 'when the 4.2bn Terminal 5 opens the airport's total shopping space will increase by 50% overnight,' 'World Duty Free is part of BAA, and last year recorded sales of 380m. It sells one in every five bottles of perfume in the UK,' 'One third of passengers don't put a single penny into Heathrow's tills and the average spend per head is 4.26'. There's a piece on Ballardian right now about Future Ruins, Michelle Lord's re-imagining of Mr B's post-technological cityscapes from London to Birmingham, a city with more than its fair share of once Utopian, now 'tricky' architecture. We imagine that a ruined Heathrow features strongly in Ballard's fantasies.

Here we go again. Architecture and populism, part XIV: Should Gateshead's 'iconic' Trinity Centre car park be razed to the ground? One of the comments: 'Take it apart, block by gruesomely ugly exposed concrete block and re-erect it in the garden of wherever the 20th Century Society has its headquarters.' It would look rather good in Clerkenwell. It's worth pointing out at this juncture that the site of the Tricorn Centre in Portsmouth (see things passim) is _still_ a car park with not a sign of any regeneration whatsoever, although the Northern Quarter is promised soon. Two words: Drake Circus, winner of BD's 2006 Carbuncle Cup. In all probability, the new car park has less spaces than the multi-storey component of the demolished Tricorn. Are these possible candidates for other BBC polls? Council Estates, a flickr set, and Park Hill, Sheffield, a flickr set. The latter estate is soon to be Urban Splashed.

Impressionism and the making of Modern Art, impressive set of essays and images hosted at Princeton, along with all these other blogs / does Channel 4 represent the epitome of 'popism - a place where everything is trivialised, where the 'nothing is true, everything is permitted' ethos just turns everything into an unholy mush, where the only condition is to be 'in on the joke'.'

Honey, I Wrecked the Porsche, 'Fast, powerful and out of control. Jennifer Saranow on why some drivers are finding their new cars too hot to handle' / that buried car from 1957 turned out to be made up mostly of iron oxide / lovely collection of old Opel photos / all about the Hillman Avenger / Styleskilling, a weblog about fashion and pattern / the dawn of the 700 dollar breakfast / visit the Dalston Oxfam Shop, an mp3 blog consisting of 'once a week high quality digital recordings of cassette tapes purchased at the Dalston Oxfam Shop in East London' (via the Dazed Digital 50).

Forbes has a special report on 21st Century Cities, including expanding slums, expanding megacities, and a link to this neat BBC map of future urbanisation. The Tate's new Global Cities exhibition treads similar ground. Finally, Monocle No.5, due out later this week, will focus on which cities are best to live in / Britain's most expensive country house / nice set of Guardian front pages from the past 50,000 issues (although far too small to actually read) / solar farms: Targassonne, France and Spain (but not the Solucar station, explained in this Inhabitat post) / 'On the Squareness of Milk Containers', on the economics of product design, over at Design Observer, which has had a visual tweak and looks very elegant.

Architecture.mnp has details of the Inversion Project in Houston, an installation by Dan Havel and Dean Ruck. More at Spacetaker and the random collections / Invited to Sunday Lunch, a project by artist Rebecca Carl. See also the flickr set. Via Trevira, whose own flickr page is a cornucopia of delights, e.g, the invasion of Manchester / the paintings of Jeffrey Hein, via SJD Linkdump / Our Strange World and Weird Daily, two intriguing weblogs stuffed full of the things make the internet go around.


Friday, June 15, 2007


Angharad Lewis's piece on Stephen Shore in the current issue of Grafik (not online) has this telling quote from the photographer: 'A friend of mine has got a collection of pictures that he's downloaded from eBay and they're fabulous. With flickr, when people go out and take pictures, what they're trying to do is make art. They want to make a picture that people will admire, and say 'Oh that is a beautiful picture' but when they're taking pictures for eBay, there's that simple desire to communicate to someone visually what something looks like. It's one of the basics of where my photography comes from and pictures made with that impulse may be more genuine in a certain way than when people go out and say 'I want to make a beautiful picture' and don't exactly have anything to communicate. What they want is to make an object that's beautiful. That's different than taking photography as a visual language that communicates something.' While it's probably true to say there are plenty of flickr sets that fail to match up to the creator's hopes (see here, via k), one also occasionally stumbles across inadvertent beauty on eBay.

From this day forth, a weblog covering 'art, fashion and beautiful things' / International Dress Size Converter / 'Cornish militants rise again - and this time they're targeting celebrity chefs'. Check out The TV Controller for the low-down of what's happening in 'Padstein' (is this Chris Morris?) / a panorama of the Energia Launch Site at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, via Toponymy / sites dedicated to the work of El Lissitzky and Sergei Chernikov.

The art of Lesley Sealey (via The Cartoonist). We were unfamiliar with the whole 'painting a day' movement (read this USA Today article for some background). Visit Daily Painters to buy work by many of the most enthusiastic members of the movement, or individual artists like Duane Keiser, who appears to have kick-started the whole 'paint a picture and sell it on eBay' movement / well linked, but still worth a visit, Tim Knowles' art.

RB's first Letter from Paris, over at tmn / the Maison Bulle, photographed by Ken Sparkes, via electro plankton / Mr Foster goes to Moscow / Peter Zumthor's Brother Claus Field Chapel in Mechernich, Germany. A remarkable construction process, involving burning away the wooden framework that supported the concrete walls to create an interior that is charred black, imprinted with the forms of the whole trees that were used to shape the walls.

The Buried Car, a '57 Plymouth Waking from [a] Time Capsule. Should take place in a few hours / The Aesthetic, a 'journal of art and ideas' / leaving aside as to why you might want to, go to onitsuka tiger for the chance to make an origami training shoe / Vinyl Engine, all you ever need to know about turntables / Who reads the papers?. A classic Yes, Prime Minister clip / visited again, after a while, Derelict London and London Destruction.

[image credit, a view of Carhenge, western Nebraska, by Lizzy]


Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Icons and iconoclasm. Manchester Cathedral's recent objection to its inclusion as a frantic, bullet-strewn landscape in Resistance: Fall of Man made us wonder about virtual religious spaces, and the sometimes unfortunate collisions they have with reality (sort of like the infamous Boeing advert for its V-22 Osprey, 'Unleashes Hell, Seattle Times article via me-fi). The desire for sacred spaces that function as such has taken firm root in virtual worlds. Second Life is home to plenty of churches, mosques, cathedrals, etc. (more pics) and a 'growing Unitarian Universalist congregation'. And that's not even considering the plethora of fantasy religious structures sitting on servers around the world.

Incorporating a sacred space into the (invariably profane) environment of a video game is a natural development. We seem to recall a racing game that demanded you power down the central nave of Notre Dame, and games like Doom and their ilk were full of ecceliastical gothic. The forthcoming GTA IV will feature 'real' locations in its revised and updated Liberty City, closely modelled on New York, including churches like St Patrick's Cathedral (scroll down). See also the City of Sound take on the game's cinematic trailer. The point being, perhaps, that the iconic function of religious architecture makes it convenient visual shorthand for drama and atmosphere - which was surely the point in the first place. Only today, drama and atmosphere tend to be utilised in very different ways and on very different mediums. Once everything makes the transition into some kind of 3D space, the opportunities for outrage are going to multiply.

The final episode of The Apprentice saw a bit of swift icon creation courtesy of the involvement of make. What was most remarkable about the two samples of Dubai-upon-Thames that were presented ('The Wave' and 'The Phoenix') was how similar they looked to any number of iconic schemes being vomited out of high-end render packages and thrown up on billboards around the world. The suggestion is that the architectural playing field is completely flat; there's no discernable difference between the work of world-leading practices and two schemes shaped by the creative input of a bunch of complete and utter amateurs.

Other things. Paintings by Gineke Zikeen, via coudal. We like this one / the Tree of Life web project. See also the Encyclopedia of Life / Feed me I'm hungry, a baking blog / become a distributed proof reader / Sleepy Brain, a weblog / Amelia's Blog, accompanying Amelia's Magazine / sadly cancelled, but widely linked nevertheless, the Voyage to Hollow Earth Itinerary ('Days 15-16 Take a monorail trip to City of Eden to visit Palace of the King of the Inner World'). Hollow Earth Theory, beliefs and practice.

Media parody, The TV controller. The back story / epic collection of new music at Raven Sings the Blues, an mp3 blog / london [smog], a weblog / 'Mineral accretion technology', a technology developed by Wolf Hilbertz to create artificial reefs, 'growing' a white limestone with a 'strength similar to concrete' / Sacrifice, an excellent piece by tmn's Andrew Womack.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007


What are we to make of this billionaire's megastructure, currently being constructed in Mumbai? According to the Guardian, 'the country's richest man, Mukesh Ambani, is building a new home in the financial hub of Mumbai: a 60-storey palace with helipad, health club and six floors of car parking.' Named Antillia, 'a phantom island said to lie in the Atlantic Ocean far to the west of Spain', the building will house 600 staff and is said to be worth in excess of half a billion pounds. The article quotes the well-named Mr Hafeez Contractor, as saying 'it is only a matter of time before Mumbai [is] littered with high-rises: "We have to find homes for people, and in a small area that means building skyscrapers." Reminiscent perhaps of San Gimignano in Italy, with its proto-Manhattan skyline generated by rival families (flickr). No architect is cited, but we strongly suspect the tower has its origins in this private residential tower designed by SITE Architecture in 2004, 'a multi-tiered, heavily landscaped structure similar to the ancient Hanging Gardens of Babylon. For this reason, the entire tower is conceived as a garden in the sky and responds to Vastu principles in historic Hindu architecture'. This is turn recalls a Stanley Tigerman project for a stacked suburb, MVRDV's Pig City, or Patrick Blanc's Vertical Gardens.

Abelardo Morell's photography includes some spectacular interiors taken using a camera obscura / at the opposite end of the technological spectrum, Your Britain in Pictures, a Microsoft Photosynth preview (via) / The Modern Antiquarian for Google Earth (via Further. Previously) / Japanese product design archive / The Concrete Circus, a weblog / Lipe'Z.Arq, an architectural weblog.

Food Stories, an interactive exhibit at the British Library. See also historic food / 'Blog easier with 17 Firefox extensions / The Studley Tool Chest. And more, via an article on finding the ultimate tool chest (via me-fi) / liking this LED-studded guitar, via music thing / Martin Klimas' 'Temporary Sculpture' series (via Cool Hunting) / the 2012 design debacle rumbles on / huge gallery of Blue Note record covers, via tomorrowland, which also links the work ofMarius Watz (as seen above) / 'Eric Gill got it wrong; a re-evaluation of Gill Sans'.

Pruned prunes its copious collection of unpublished links / Studio 469, a design weblog / The Profit Calculator, a fascinating feature on how NY businesses make their money (or don't). For example, every visitor to MoMA costs the museum $50 / revisiting Ford's 1965 Concept Cars / big shiny thing, a weblog / kenzen, a weblog, grey and minimal / Triplux, a weblog / Creativity Machine, 'A personal research blog about vernacular creativity and technology by Jean Burgess' / Discodust, an mp3 blog / Amplificasom, music weblog, Spanish and noisy.

Aunts and Butlers, a P.G. Wodehouse-inspired computer game at Versificator, a site providing online text adventures (via Fed by Birds). 'A pathetic-looking clump of grey-brown powder, not dissimilar to the contents of an ashtray without the cigarette butts.' / the Sea Phantom, / Bubble Houses, a flick photoset.

Timo Arnall's website Elasticspace / The Invisible Hand, a weblog, especially their post on Philip Johnson's Glass House, now open to the public, a tempting slice of how you could live if only you inherited lots of money / the work of Stefi Orazi / Tacnik, a weblog. Possibly nsfw / Dear Computer, projects, especially their Google Image Ripper and Google Story Creator / we're astounded this has gone unreported for so long: Ancient Structure On The Moon Filmed By Armstrong, 1969.

The bitter end of yet another Paul Rudolph gem. Related, Modern Sarasota, houses for sale / Temporary Services, projects like prisoners' inventions / Conclave Obscurum, flash experiments / finding an old electro-shock machine at swapatorium.


Monday, June 04, 2007


Damien Hirst's For the Love of God is available in multiple editions if you can't stretch to the 50m the original diamond-studded skull is rumoured to be going for. Resembling a modern version of the iconic crystal skull (big in the 70s - graced the cover of Arthur C.Clarke's Mysterious World, was reputed to have horrific powers). Sadly, the supposed pre-Columbian origins of these spooky objects refuses utterly to stand up to close examination (especially the claims by one Frederick Albert Mitchell-Hedges, a double-barreled bounder who wrote books called Battles With Giant Fish, Danger, My Ally and Land of Wonder and Fear). Most were probably made in 19th century Germany. More books about fish

Make Lying History, 'Fighting a Libel Case Against the Glasgow Evening Times' / yet more mid-Century modern awaiting the chop: the Americana Motor Inn. An amazing structure / Houses, a flickr photoset of suburban conformity (via projects) / the streets of Ryde, on the Isle of Wight.

Lighthive, an installation at London's Architectural Association, consisting of a series of cameras and sensors trained on the AA's Bedford Square home, building up a 'an immersive form of spatial, 3d surveillance' / a brilliant mash-up of cult car film Rendez-Vous with Google Maps / The virtual bleeds into the real, computer games art and real life, over at Kosmograd

New Urban Cartography pondered by Blog Like You Give Damn (the weblog of Architecture for Humanity) / Chengdu, the biggest city you've (possibly) never heard of. Population 11 million. Home to China's 5th Rolls-Royce Showroom. Also in China, the Roller Coaster Shopping Experience in Shenyang (via Sharkride, which has a burgeoning China category).

Good sounding music over at Peasant Magik, a (very) low volume record company / the photos of Gregor Graf, via Conscientious, whose Hidden Town series strips facades back to their pristine, pre-ad plastered state. See also Sao Paulo's billboard ban, and an eerie flickr set of empty hoardings. See also the Anti-Advertising Agency, and their link to a cityscape formed entirely of the ad bits.

Salon has the lowdown on the US Embassy in Iraq, a vast compound that enjoyed a brief bit of coverage last week when the hapless firm of Berger Devine Yaeger accidentally posted images of the complex online (their site got hammered, but it was good publicity). The Baghdad embassy is a 300m fortress, a compound in the true sense of the word.

Is the iPhone, 'the Ronco Veg-O-Matic for the Internet era'? / another movie demonstration of Photosynth, that sci-fi image viewer. Panning and zooming, with a little bit of inbuilt elasticity, is being positioned as the interface of the future; we will all pinch and flick and shuffle images on flat screens, apparently.

Oona Hassim's crowd paintings and drawings / the 1975 Zagato 1000 Elcar (Zagato Zele). Eat your heart out, G-Wiz / morphing portraits, the female in art. It has the effect of making it seem like one person... / ultra-odd humanoid robot concept. From Japan / It Happened, an image-driven weblog from Turkey.

The new London Olympic 2012 logo: underwhelming. Where's our Misha? (Moscow 1980). Or our Waldi? Mascot quality has plummeted since the 70s. BBC readers design their own. How could it cost that much? Elbowruminations thinks it's way too 1980s. And the debate will rumble on / Crying all the way to the chip shop, a weblog.

Google image searches are the lucky dip of the internet. And yet we've lost count of the number of times we've clicked on an image that links back to thingsmagazine.net, or a site we've visited before, like the sad story of Boozy:
'The Life, Death, and Subsequent Vilification of Le Corbusier (Featuring Robert Moses and the Urban Planning Players)' / Modern Ruins, a series of evocative photo essays / the online catalogue of InterCol; ephemera for sale / aggregate your own chaotic links with Tumblr / Line of Site, an architectural competition. See the submissions for a concept for the Everest Base Camp.