On the road to the future

We rather missed the initial flurry of interest in Pepys Road, an ambitious piece of interactive story telling created on the back of John Lanchester’s epic financial crisis novel Capital (snarkily digested for the short of time). Lanchester takes geographic liberties, with an EastEnders-style made-up postcode (SW21) and street (although there are Pepys Roads in SW20 and SE14), but the overall sense of London’s shifting demographics is well conjured up (at least in the prologue, which is all we’ve read so far). The site builds on this uncertain path through prosperity and downturns by taking a minimal amount of personal data and splicing it into existing databases to paint a picture of the change in economic circumstances – personal and national – during the course of your lifetime. These are then enhanced by ten short stories by Lanchester that will help you make new choices along the way, thus altering the outcome. Lanchester’s book has obviously grown out of his work chronicling the global economic crisis (e.g. Whoops!) but it also has hints of the new fashion for micro-level domestic history, such as Julie Myerson’s Home: The Story of Everyone Who Ever Lived in Our House and Gillian Tindall’s The House By The Thames: And The People Who Lived There. As the Storythings team points out, the idea for the site came out of the emerging trend for online reflection, flipping our appetite for digital nostalgia into a story that takes the participant into the future.

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Other things. What is the appeal of Warhammer? / Yorkshire Ranter, a weblog / Rick Poynor on Motif Magazine, one of a lost generation of visual arts magazines that has a lingering influence in the contemporary, decidedly un-analogue world / A Stamp a Day. New analogue… see also La Fabutineuese / Majestic Plumage, a weblog / Analog Man sells guitar pedals.

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Will gentrification kill shipping? A rather perverse reversal of fortune cited in American cities, where the economic value of working waterfronts is contrasted with (and seems to better) the now accepted model of gentrifying run-down docks, wharves and warehouses. It’s also confusing in the sense that the modern container port is almost entirely incompatible with the modern waterfront city; where in the world do the two spaces actually co-exist? / Paul Rudolph’s reign as the ‘most-demolished modernist’ looks set to continue / interactive guide to Who Knows Who in Phone Hacking.

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Mare Nostrum, a tumblr / Cartier have spent a lot of money on a very silly film designed explicitly to encourage people in Russia and China to buy more baubles / a m l, a site about architecture in all its forms / If Kids designed their own Xmas toys. Similar in a way to the Monster Engine / Polargraph, drawings by a robot / custom journals by Bound (via Subtraction).

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2 Responses to On the road to the future

  1. entschwindet says:

    regarding culture and container ports – funnily enough I have just returned from a visit to Kristiansand in Norway, and their new performing arts centre on the waterfront. The most remarkable thing is that this new ‘ICONIC’ building is less than 100m away from a fully functioning container port – a very disconcerting, and rather pleasing combination. So it does happen, in Scandinavia…

    • things magazine says:

      Thank you – good to know. Perhaps the world’s pivoted economic access will see this proximity between industry and residential become increasingly common in years to come – another reversal of the traditional relationship between land use and value.

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