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Wednesday, July 23, 2008


The Tate extension concept gets another makeover. We think the new design bears more than a passing resemblance to another infamous ziggurat, the Ryugyong Hotel, which will allegedly now be completed. As archinect notes, the last time there was a flurry of online and creative interest in this building (thanks to Domus), it proved rather controversial, not least because any support for the crumbling concrete ziggurat was perceived as support for the crumbling yet still powerful regime in North Korea. Pop the hotel into Google Earth and decide for yourself. Which segues nicely into this post on abandoned cities and towns.

'In truth, the constant return of this Disney fatwa says more about the stagnation of the West's critical imagination than about the cities on the Gulf.' Koolhaas on current work and context / Do burglars read AskMeFi? / Bookendless, a blog about books / the exposure project, a photography blog / Trophy Size Matters, an infographic (dread word) at Good Magazine (via Eduardo Chang) as is this page on Pantone colour predictions / Tastespotting mixes food writing with photography, in a relatively successful way. See also Lunch with Front Studio, and also the long-running airlinemeals.net, which contains nearly 19,000 images of in-air cuisine. Are you still allowed to photograph airline food?

BD on the 'squiggle-driven' Serpentine Pavilion, the first bit of substantial criticism. A nice piece of architectural whimsy or 'poorly executed suburban cosmetics', with a concealed steel frame and no way of keeping the rain off? Archinect links this time-lapse video of the construction. In the flesh, the pavilion was rather underwhelming, not the cascade of complexity one might have expected from the initial model shots. It was also surprisingly Californian-feeling - helped by the glow of late evening sun flooding across the lawns of Hyde Park.

What can you buy for five dollars? See also under five pounds and Sam Hecht of Industrial Facility's Under a Fiver exhibition / manufacturing urban myths for fun and profit, on the faintly ridiculous allure of the Conet Project / correcting the last post. The Surveillance Saver Quad we linked to is a continuation of Michael Zollner's original Surveillance Saver. Sorry for the misattribution.

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Gunpowder Magazine got us thinking about the luxury lifestyle magazine business. Go on, google it. There are, quite frankly, more magazines in this sector than in any other, especially online: MarQ, Rich Guy, Supercar, Lusso Luxury, Vivo Magazine, Black Card, Dolce Vita, Elite Life and Travel, Urban Life, Canary Wharf, Ocean Drive, Atlanta Peach, Quest, Broughtons, etc., etc. This is a woefully incomplete list, and that's before you've got to the in-house magazines produced by the various brands - Ferrari, Bentley, Aston Martin, Patek Philippe, Sunseeker. A marque without a magazine is in danger of knocking copy (although in practice this is relatively rare) and, horror of horrors, no control over their brand image. Around the world, the contract publishing market - companies like FMS, Redwood, John Brown - are creating bespoke publications that represent the idealised essence of a brand.

What's most striking is that the 'luxury' magazines listed above seem to demonstrate a lack of awareness of the world in general, beyond the little orbit of the place or product held in close focus. It's a lack of curiosity, perhaps, maybe created from self-satisfaction, or even fear that the media-bubble each product and reader occupies is in danger of being popped. The imagery is relentless - white sand/blue sky/bikini/convertible/powerboat/wine glass - a cornucopia of high net worth clip art that has the effect of flattening the entire lifestyle into little more than a low rent studio photoshoot.

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Perhaps related, Mike Tyson's abandoned mansion. If nothing else, this shows you that zebra skin does not make a good repeat pattern. These images are properly Ballardian. Sadly the website is a forest of broken links and dead images / also from the seen-everywhere-but-none-the-worse-for-that section. 30 Most Incredible Abstract Satellite Images of Earth / Brief Epigrams, an art and photography weblog / 365 days of free games.

A project that promises much but doesn't deliver just yet: TinEye, an image search engine. Their example searches aren't easy to replicate either. Because it purports to match like for like it's a limited tool. What's needed is a 'fuzziness' slider that distorts your uploaded image in real time to find approximate matches. The site is potentially an amazing copyright fighting tool. We'll leave other applications up to your imagination. See also IM2GPS, 'estimating geographic information from a single image', via half bakery / online manufacturing, is it the future? Or just a little diversion for designers? / Heading East, a photography weblog.

Lost in Showbiz, 'where PR howlers come to die', a compilation of the scattergun, opportunist, tenuous and just plain tedious / images from 'Ricas y Famosas', photographer Daniella Rosell's tour of the money-struck and taste befuddled. At Mafia Hunt / The Commodification of Photographic Archives, muse-ings on the selling of imagery online / Theme Magazine, 'contemporary Asian culture' / artifacts from the future, a labour-intensive compilation of Wired's future gazing / The Zombie in Art History, Art Fag City on artistic representations of the undead / Travelling Still, blurred horizons and splashes of colour / correct, yesterday was indeed Flying Ant Day in South London, albeit not quite as anty as previous years.

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