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Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Things is having a seasonal hiatus - normal service will be resumed some time in early 2010. Happy new year to everyone.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009
The car park as a way of life, Herzog + de Meuron's bravura reinterpretation of the parking garage, a mutable space that uses the draw of automotive architecture as a catalyst for regeneration. An old strategy, one might think. 'The idea is to create a series of layers that extend the public realm up into the building, to attract events, parties and life into the structure. Both architects and developer see the structure as an experiment in a new kind of downtown transport architecture, a building as exciting to enter as to emerge from, blinking into the Miami sun. This may be optimistic, but it's a good story.'

And yet. Consider the South China Mall, home of the 'Teletubbies Edutaiment Centre' and the self-proclaimed 'First super-mega shopping theme park of China' is 'almost completely empty' (via me-fi). A sterile collision of Vegas-lite iconism, temples to euphoric consumption and theme hotels, a monument to the ambition of one man, entirely bereft of a logistically or strategically beneficial location. Near empty, with just a handful of tenants, it represents a piece of both artificial urbanism and artificial capitalism, where the maintenance employees simply re-do what they did the day before, happy to have a job and bosses who won't listen to suggestions for change, and where the store workers are bored out of their minds. The only future is as a slowly declining ruin, enlivened by the steady influx of adhocism and the abandonment of the ideology of the brand. It will be fascinating to watch.


Hilobrow and Significant Objects, two sites we really should pay more attention to / all about Room A in the National Gallery, which will surely not stay a 'secret' for long / studiotwentysix2, a weblog / a graphic cartography of Japan, strange, often nsfw.

kickcans and conkers, a blog with a crafts emphasis / little brown mushroom, a weblog with contributors including photographers Alec Soth (Sleeping by the Mississippi), Carrie Thompson and Charlie Ward / tmn's albums of 2009 / time capsules.

Warped at loud paper / liveevil, music and more / weblog name of the year, the Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week / a highly desirable Dieter Rams Poster to celebrate the current Design Museum Exhibition / the new Casa Morandi Museum / for reference, Google Image Ripper.

The Willis Fleming Historical Trust is a exemplerary illustration of how relatively esoteric historical information can be presented online. Search the collections, which include The Catalogue of Dispersed Objects. More about the Fleming Estate, which spanned Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Bond and Saab, via these Saab stories / Werner Herzog and Krautrock, at John Whitlock / many ways to make cookies / 25 times a second, a tumblr / The Fall, Richard Mosse's photographs of the 'wreckage of celebrated machines and technologies ... slowly being absorbed by the natural world.'

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Friday, December 18, 2009

From a post on realistic fighting in space: 'I always imagined that it would be just a huge empty blackness with the other ships too far away to see, the computer would identify and target them, and your ship would fire a cloud of ball bearings at relativistic speeds, which would make them more than capable of destroying any hull encountered. All of this would happen in complete silence and there would be no explosion. The other ship would simply decompress killing anyone in compartments that hadn't been sealed. The only flight that might happen would be the targeted ship accelerating away on an angle in an attempt to minimize contact with the cloud, but no flashy diving and rolling, just a calculated hard burn.' See also Atomic Rocket.


Immanent in the Manifold City: A Newspaper for Time-Travellers (via Text Patterns) at The world of 'Walking' Stewart, a ubiquitous figure in what might be termed C19 psychogeography / Philobiblon, a weblog with a broad remit / Surface Noise, a weblog. The 20 shots series is fine / Duck Feeding Class, a weblog / the end of Saab?. We are sad / Matthew Sheret's scrapbook.

Travel Intelligence Blog / the underwhelmer, a tumbler / evocative images in chai wallah's photostream / some people are good at living on the internet: Hail Mary / the end of id magazine / celebrating the art of pulp fiction / Elite's 25th anniversary / the Bliptronic 5000 LED synthesizer.

Thank you to The Bygone Bureau (and especially to the tomorrow museum) for the recent mention.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009
As 3D flythroughs of the real world get more detailed, the hidden nooks and crannies of the city will eventually all be laid bare. There'll be no 'here be dragons' in the 21st century, as every buttress, alley, terrace, tower, parapet, oriel, spire (see View from the top of the Burj Dubai's spire) will be revealed. As a result, interior life will become richer, more involved, the open plan living ideal will be overtaken by a desire for rooms and corridors, mezzanines, steps, landings, closets, pantries, wardobes and attics. See also this question about the best 'Virtual Vacation Worlds', indicative perhaps of a desire for travel to places that truly can't be _seen_ by anyone else.


Such Hawks Such Hounds, 'Scenes From the American Hard Rock Underground', a documentary / Terrifying Tales for Christmas, put together by One Eye Grey. See the map of scary London / Ghost of Shopping Past / the world of the MakerBot, a preview / Google Goggles, uses camera images as the basis for a google image search / RIP Larry Sultan.

The Apathist, a fashion blog / the Obama Watch, a Jorg Gray 6500 Chronometer (via the Guardian) / J230 TJM, the victim of 'automotive involuntary euthanasia' / a frightening thought: imagine porn-a-like facial recognition technology. Simply upload the photograph of the person you want in porn, adjusting the sliders as necessary, and the facializer will scan through a large database of adult performers until it finds the best matches.


Twilight of the American Newspaper, a rambling ode to newspaper barons, San Francisco, and the slow death of the newspaper as a voice of a community: 'We no longer imagine the newspaper as a city or the city as a newspaper.' / the ABCs of branding at The Best Part / illlustrations by Camilla Engman / The Itty Bitty Hearing Trumpet, a weblog / the pandas are moshing, a carefully curated image tumblr / a collection, a tumblr.

Men Health gets caught cutting and pasting / Casual Optimist, a fine weblog with a literary focus. Includes our Pelican Project in its 10 Websites for Vintage Books, Covers and Inspiration / island for sale. See also private islands online / David Ruperti has a photography weblog / sketches by Tom Hovey.

Interactive Map: a decade of road deaths in the UK / Legos on Hoth / Slow Muse, a weblog / all about the Austin Ant, a true small 4x4 that wouldn't suit a world where small is no longer beautiful / Ir/rational is a game about being rational, whipping you into a philosphical frenzy within seconds of switching on the lights.

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Redub LLC has thought about the relationship between print and online: Don't Make Me Scroll, the story of the battle between the widespread but unwieldy conventions of 'Faux-Print' and the 'Magablog'. The post culminates in a link to Redub's own experiment in online presentation, kick-started with an interactive version of GOOD's Transportation Issue 015 (conventional GOOD website here). '... since we didn't have the high resolution of print, we took advantage of the screen's native attributes, namely, animation. I'd even posit that what the screen lacks in dots per inch it more than makes up for in dots per inch per second.'

Meanwhile, over at McSweeney's, there is the SF Panorama: "We at McSweeney’s love newspapers. We love the internet, too. But we believe that print newspapers are an invaluable part of the journalistic landscape. So we’ve spent five months collaborating with dozens of reporters, designers, photographers, and authors on a 21st-century newspaper prototype." A 'huge and luxurious prototype', the Panorama is intended to exploit the medium of paper, extolling its virtues over the web. This one will run and run. However, we can envisage the American Newspaper Repository getting excited about the Panorama.


Bitsavers, a digital archive of fading digital things: 'very little software for minicomputers and mainframes has survived in machine-readable form from the mid-seventies and earlier. If you know of surviving software on 1/2" tape, paper tape, cards, DECtape, etc. from users groups or computer manufacturers, please contact us. Equipment is available to recover these bits, and in some cases can be brought on-site.'

'The Historic "Blue Book" Photograph Collection is a compilation of images considered for, or published in, the Official Manual of the State of Missouri' / Pink Tentacle publishes illustrations by Shusei Nagaoka / OK Go's rather excellent video for WTF? / for this weekend only, The Apartment Project, in Broadway Market, London.

Before and After, the legacy of fast urbanisation at Oobject (via kottke) / more futures past and present: London in 2010 (flickr set). See also the current (January 2010) issue of Blueprint, which looks at what's coming up in 2010 (there's also an interesting piece on the threatened 'Maslennikov kitchen-factory (1930-32) built in the shape of a hammer and sickle', once home to ZIM watches. Google Map.

Sinclair Spectrum development / Brickstructures, your source for Lego architecture / a selection of simple magic tricks / Ellen Lupton's weblog, design and curating / Private Circulation, a pdf magazine / Letterology, a weblog / Payroll, a weblog / Cheapskate Chic, a fashion blog / Strange Maps assembles some accidental geography / Bryce Digdug, a weblog / Bentley double-decker charity bus / Rotating Kitchen, via piran cafe.

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Monday, December 07, 2009

Phil Gyford asks Is modern web design too like print design? (via haddock). Very pertinent question, especially in these parts. From the comments, a post at Smashing Magazine on 'the death of the boring blog post?', which introduces the rather dread hybrid 'blogazine'. At the same time, the first speculative tablet demos are emerging, with Sports Illustrated leading the way. This format is rich with potential, but it also looks like it'll lend itself to hitherto unheard of levels of superficiality - trite, animated adverts, sensationalist content, the ongoing down-grading of the reading experience in favour of navigation tricks and a chocolate-box like smorgasbord of visual enticements.

After Michael Wolf's Paris Street View, comes Google Street Views, a site by artist Jon Rafman, via white noise of everyday life via Art Fag City. 'A future historian may wish to study the architecture of this soon-to-be-demolished Northern Parisian banlieu. If Google chooses, their systematic storing of panoramic views serves photography’s historic role of cultural preservation.' Rafman's blog. Google is pushing some custom streetviews at the moment, e.g. Lotus Test Track, Pompeii and Stonehenge.

Keeping tabs on Lego Universe, due next year / Trigger Happy Traitor provides 'post-rock for the people' / contemporary art at the Max Hetzler gallery / modern mysteries and myths / I make crop circles: ask me anything / One of those sentences that didn't seem especially feasible 25 years ago: Henry Rollins visits Bhopal for Vanity Fair.

Subnutty's Ship Schematics and Drawings flickr set / see also the great Cutaways Pool / the Christian Louboutin Barbie / Susan Everett's weblog / photographs by Richard Ross / photographs by Kathrin Kur / old school adventure gaming at (via Coudal) / Happical, a weblog / mammoth, a weblog.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Soon, there will be progress bars on everything, from traffic lights, cookers, lifts, underground stations, to queues and more. We will be incapable of accepting an amount of unspecified 'dead time' without some indicator of when that time will end and/or a way of passing it / Vintage French children's books at A Journey Round My Skull (via me-fi) / MTM, design movies aggregated / Text Patterns, a technology blog hosted at The New Atlantis.

Bad sex extracts. A worthy shortlist / Architect designs bungalow for 39-stone man, 'The doors are 1,100mm wide compared to a normal width of 900mm and [the contractor] had to check floor loads and the roof strength because of the need for the winches to have a 60-stone lifting capacity. The house is a lot more open-plan to minimise corridors and things like that. We've made it easier to move round the house and to get outside.'

Huis Marseille photography foundation is showing images from Edward Burtynsky's 'Oil' series / Dubai not too big to fail? A sharp reversal of earlier predictions of endless growth, plus limitless bail-outs from neighbours. Watch Kazakhstan for the next big thing / vaguely related, Natashism has created a book, unsettling changes in London's Architecture 2004-2009, a personal survey of the capital's altered, threatened or simply vanished buildings in a period of exceptional change.

Private Circulation, 'a monthly PDF bulletin. Previous issues have featured proposals, unrealized art projects, brief histories, photo collections, large posters, and essays.' There's also a weblog / The Future of Self-Knowledge, a weblog / The Considered Ensemble, a fashion weblog / beautiful sets of Mid-century Children's Books at Wardomatic / great animation of the fall of Empires at kottke.

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