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Thursday, September 03, 2009


What is new? The above image comes from the promotional website for Belgia, an idealised 'Belgian-style' community near Moscow, complete with Dutch gables and windmills. We hadn't considered the suburbs of Belgium to represent a suburban domestic idyll, but clearly a Russian developer thinks otherwise. The site is exceptionally heavy on flash (found via The FWA), stuffed full of movies of sunbathing 'desperate housewives' and dense brickwork patterns. As the montage suggests, this is a piece of instant utopia, a place where there are no unexpected architectural juxtapositions, just choices made in an attempt to emulate an ideal, a sense of atmosphere that is, in itself, largely a fiction.

How much does this obvious fiction relate to 'genuine' best urban places and spaces, a flickr group-into-book project, organised by Dan at City of Sound, Russell Davies and James Goggins as a sort of user manual of the intangible, the spaces and places that give delight but that aren't consciously designed. Related, Hong Kong, then and now, thanks to Hong Kong Man. See also Normandy 1944, then and now and Ardennes, then and now. Also, Manhattan Island, then and now, with much more at the Manhatta Project.

*

Recycle LACMA: 'On January 14th, 2009 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced that it was deaccessioning more than 100 items from its costumes and textiles collection. Once carefully collected, catalogued, and cared for, these items have now been cast back out in to the world. What will happen to them? Like any other useless item, they will need to be recycled or disposed of. Recycle LACMA is a project of Los Angeles-based artist Robert Fontenot. At three separate auctions he purchased over 50 items deaccessioned by LACMA and is now trying to find new uses for these otherwise unwanted items.' (many thanks to Sarah)

La Premiere Rue, dedicated to modern architectural heritage / the Zundapp Janus 750, a microcar / Painted Bride Quarterly, a literary magazine / Ranya Chantal's weblog / nomenus quarterly, an art quarterly / 44, a tumblr / The Ragbag, a tumblr / turn anywhere into a place of abandoned splendour with the tourist remover / Cabinet of Signs, photography by Alan Thomas / Sftrajan's Photostream.

How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet, seemingly still pertinent / Muammar Gaddafi's Libyan Rocket, a novice car designer maximises global publicity for his debut project / aesthetically related, the Mohs Safarikar, a post at Ectomo.

Photography by Philippe Munda (via 2 or 3 things) / art installations at Evoldaily's flickr stream, especially the miniature ruins / David Pearson's flickr stream is filled with Penguin design imagery / the Carbuncle Cup has a winner. Bad British Architecture would concur.

Field recordings at freesound, a couple of thousand of them. See (hear) also the brown noise and soundscape tags, as well as dark-ambient and dissonant. There's also a field recordings section at Epitonic, a website we haven't frequented for years. This may have been the first place we ever found an mp3.

Down to a sunless sea is an obscure piece of apocalyptic literature from the early 80s, the final peak of Cold War paranoia with the establishment of Greenham Common Peace Camp, a couple of years before Threads, and the 'evil empire' soon to be prominent in everyone's minds. We read this book in around 1986 and most of the Amazon commenters - the vast majority of whom give it five stars - seem to be returning to it. Wikipedia has a plot summary, revealing how the book neatly conflates techno-obsession, nuclear paranoia, and survivalism into a bizarrely satisfying whole (related, a catalogue of nuclear accidents).

Thanks for the link, Australian PC Authority.

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