Random musings

Teardown, looks fun / the ultimate empty office / Statistical “Which Character” Personality Quiz / exotic barn finds at Motorious / images from London’s punk era / paintings by Tom Walton / art by Eric Mack / Geometrize your images / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020 / who owns (large chunks of) London? Sheikh Khalifa / art by Neil Hamamoto / MONOSPACE, a winning demo at this year’s Assembly competition / More Dangerous Than Dynamite, a short film that ‘Warns housewives about the effects of cleaning clothes with Gasoline’ / escape pods, a project by Petros Stathiadis / play synths in virtual reality.

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Decades of perspectives

Truly random things today. To start with, some collected useful advice: Dear Joan and Jericha – Why He Turns Away: Do’s and Don’ts, from dating to Death / Dischord Records, the entire back catalogue available to stream at Bandcamp / BBC Sound Effects / historians of the recent past can now explore the Usenet Archives / buy a Control Tower (via MeFi). Not the first example of its kind: The Control Tower in North Yorkshire and one that needs some tender loving care in Lincolnshire / Not a mirage: ‘Top 20 iconic desert houses you can actually buy.’ Some of which are real, some unreal, some high camp and some simply chancing it on the strength of some computer renders / Why the Power Symbol Looks the Way It Does, at adafruit / related, ISO Symbols / drumming videos drumming videos drumming videos / a comprehensive collection of Educational Children’s Television from the 70s, 80s and 90s / a history of the BMW 7-Series / All Is Lost: Notes on Broken World Design, a ‘persuasive parable in which long-held assumptions about the socio-technical constitution of modernity are systematically dismantled and then slowly, painfully replaced with the epistemological realities of broken world thinking’ / The Five Estates, a multi-part series on how housing in South London went from being ‘a dream in the 60s, [to] a reality in the 70s and a nightmare in the 80s.’

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Canals Vs Cars

AArno 1st: back to childhood. Pitch perfect car models / pixels fighting / This is how much top 7 music streaming services really pay artists / We All Want Someone to Shout For, a music blog / Suited Magazine, art and interviews / Gold Flake Paint, a music journal / love this. Unbuilt London: Diverting the Thames through South London. IanVisits on a fine plan by William Walcot to cut a huge canal through South London and turn the curve of the Thames into ‘a Grand Boulevard’. The swathe cut through south London followed a roughly similar path to that of the mercifully abandoned South Cross Route / illustrations by Marie Spénale / Piecing Together the Order of Things, an auction / Cruise Mapper, track an industry at anchor / Haunting of Bly Manor Explainer / the making of two iconic music videos (both directed by the same person) / music by AlbaEcstasy.

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Click to play

Collecting Concrete, a taxonomy of mix and texture / ‘Portraits of the Quarantined Mind‘, lockdown portraits / paintings by Alex Dordoy / paintings by Ania Hobson; paintings by Jim Holland / ANT, a conceptual robotic cargo container system, a project by Patrick Krassnitzer / This is Sweden, photography by Tobias Hägg, aka Airpixels / art assembled at Just Another Masterpiece / the Analogue Music Company hack pedals around / Flash is Dead links to an animated essay on How Flash Games shaped the video game industry. In memory to the many, many Flash sites linked by things over the decades.

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Hit the buttons

The pandemic is pushing marginal technologies into the mainstream: How vending machines could play an important role in the ex-urban economy. Aside from the listicle-friendly culture of vending machines in Japan, vending machines have long been a low-key mainstay of the modern world. As Atlas Obscura notes, the idea of mechanised, automated transcations dates back millennia, but modern packaging and payment methods have ramped up the breadth and diversity of vending machine culture. Nothing much is new under the sun, although it seems that culture is a harder sell than condiments. The original Penguincubator, along with the Book-o-Mat and others are the forerunner of the short-lived shrink-wrapped airport novel vending machine, or the more lit-orientated Short Story Dispenser. See also the Cyberpunk Vending Machines II by pixel artist Kenze Wee. A more likely future? / other things. an online Roland simulator, 808303.studio (via music radar). See also the original Chrome Music Lab, as well as these other music-related Chrome experiments. Then there’s the Theremin; Beepbox, a few of the many hundreds of online sound-making tools there are out there / Machine Books, publishers / paintings by Yohan Terraza. / Lockdown London, photographs by Hannah Starkey.

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Under the hill

Everyone is far too busy these days turning over stones instead of looking to looking to the skies. The Phenomenon would rather keep the conspiracies up in the air. We’ve linked to our esoteric library, but some mysterious spirit has been turning all the titles around the wrong way. Try the Chrome experiment Stars instead / not related at all, the Megalithic Portal / an interview with Billy Childish / Metal Mappa Mundi. See also the digital Map of Metal / a deeper dive into the abandoned Isle of Wight site linked yesterday: a tour of the RAF Ventnor R1 ROTOR Cold War bunker. More information at Ventnor Radar and a site report from 28 Days Later / Accidentally Wes Anderson, the book of the website / and publishing, a publisher / overhead compartment, a weblog.

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Tape loops

Designing and building a cabin in Finland (via Behance, with photography by Archmospheres / Abandoned Isle of Wight, a series of films / “Secret 7” takes 7 tracks from 7 musicians and presses each one 100 times to 7” vinyl. We then openly invite you to create artwork for the 7 tracks” / music by At The Grove / music by Ethemeral / welcome to Gothtober / Lego Stratocaster, on its way (via music radar. We’ll wait for an offset) / coming soon, Delia Derbyshire: The Myths And Legendary Tapes, a film by Caroline Catz (via Synthtopia).

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1000 songs in your pocket

‘The ostensibly frictionless nature of online listening has other hidden or overlooked costs.’ In many respects, streaming music is bad for the planet, says Alex Ross / Apollo 13 Technical Air-To-Ground Voice Transcription (large pdf) / make your own Mini Arcade / ‘Make No Wonder is an HTML5 game where you explore and disrupt a procedurally-generated wilderness landscape’ / 3D Printing Time Lapse Videos, Using the Creality Ender 3 (via This Isn’t Happiness) / New Documents, a publishing house / paintings by Christopher Kierling (via w*) / TypeLit.io, ‘Improve your typing for free online by practicing on classic literature’ / name some highly regarded books that have faded into obscurity / The 100 Sequences That Shaped Animation (via MeFi).

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Variables and Constants

Following on from last week’s London Old and New link, 20 ‘Then And Now’ Pics That Show How Time Changes Things / Throwback on a Comeback: The Last Cassette Tape Factory. Time for a visit to the Walkman Archive (e.g. Aiwa’s golden models) / ‘Dimensions.com is an ongoing reference database of dimensioned drawings documenting the standard measurements and sizes of the everyday objects and spaces that make up our world’ (last three all via Spark Edition. We should really become a newsletter. Another boat missed) / What happens to old cruise ships? / Digital Dream, a ‘Post-rock, Post-Metal, Progressive, Ambient duo from Iran’. Recommended / Thurston Moore interview on obscure SY songs. Related, Rarities 3, a new Bandcamp release / Phase Mag, an online photography publication / daily poster designs at Casual Polar Bear.

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The contours of sound

Two great things come together, the cartographic stylings of Herb Lester and the ravings of Scarfolk Council; the guide to Scarfolk & Environs, a Road & Leisure Map for Uninvited Tourists / a walking guide to the modern houses of south London / sounds and music collated by Stationary Travels / more music at the Shoegaze Daily / 4ad vibe from Burrovvs / Cinetrii, a sort of film recommendations engine which ‘analyses reviews to infer possible inspirations behind a film. Enter a title to find other works that may have inspired (or been inspired by) it, along with the quotes that determine the connection’ (via b3ta) / music by Shearwater / music by Coastlands / music by still motions / The Guardian Archive is a good resource / Hymag, formerly the Hyman Archive, is a vast repository of 150,000 print magazines. Help keep it open, if only so we have a place to put stuff when it finally spills out of our cupboards and attics / apparently, My Imperfect Life ‘is a unique brand focused on Millennial Women in the Lifestyle Vertical’. So now you know / IM Pei x Robocop mash-up, spotted by SOS Brutalism.

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It’s all done with mirrors

The Louis I. Kahn Facsimile Project evokes the architect’s fascination with layers and crevasses and depth. The same could be said for the Dujiangyan Zhongshuge Bookstore in Chengdu by X+Living. Both links evoke Umberto Eco’s mighty library, the intellectual heart of The Name of the Rose. Try this paper on The Monastic, Labyrinthine Library and a comparison of its illustration in the book and the movie for a dive into the library’s Piranesian depths, production designed by the great Dante Ferretti (at Digital Architecture Papers) / The Great Indoors, a quarantine art project by James Tralie / ‘Edward Brooke-Hitching set out to curate the ultimate collection of bizarre books down the ages. He leads us around The Madman’s Library‘, a new book from Simon and Schuster / a monograph of images from along ‘the inaccessible and unknown banks of Oslo´s longest river, the Alna’ by photographer Bjørnar Øvrebø, published by Kerber Verlag / Architects love a moonbase, part 1: SEArch+, NASA, ICON and the BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group announce Project Olympus / down to earth, with the Lost London Flickr pool and the London Old and New pool of comparison pictures.

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Leaving no trace

Drawing Fields, a GPS generated installation by Outpost Office in response to the Ragdale Ring competition / ‘This Brutal World: Public opinion has softened its views on Brutalism. That isn’t enough to stay the wrecking ball.’ Kate Wagner, of the great McMansion Hell on how it all comes down to money in the end. For some inspirational related imagery, see the architecture curated by Juliaknz / and just to prove that this isn’t really anything to do with aesthetics or politics, here’s the Victorian Society’s depressing Top 10 Most Endangered Buildings list 2020. ‘It turns out that image sharing is easy and activism is hard.’ / thoughts about urban futures, part 235, on PriestmanGoode’s Dromos Project: can the marriage of personal and freight transport ever work? / other things. ‘In Their Own Words: Unpublished Children’s Notebooks Reveal Poignant View of History’ (via MeFi) / bespoke musical instruments from Blast Cult / Good Music to Avert the Collapse of American Democracy, Volume 2.

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Cult heroes

Critics regret getting it wrong. The web is awash with ‘one star reviews of the classics‘, and it’s a natural human tendency (at least for this human) to scroll down to find the lowest critical metacritic score on any given piece of media / house pioneer Derrick Carter is starting a store on Reverb to sell a huge collection of vintage electronic musical equipment / ambient music by Tunnelwater / more camper. Compare and contrast the new Mercedes-based Alphavan with the 1974 VW Pacomobil ‘Snail’ / misogyny and skateboards / not related, A categorization of conspiracy theories. What is the collective noun for conspiracy theories? A ‘blind’? See also, ‘If your friends or family have fallen for an internet conspiracy cult, here’s what you should do‘.

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Highs and lows

The end of the Elephant. View the classic Bert Hardy image, pre-shopping centre, and a few other historical images of the area. See also Heygate was Home / see also Pandemic as driver of urban evolution / sexism in the world of serious whisk(e)y drinking / How the oil industry made us doubt climate change / some frivolities. The Casio EG-5 Cassette Guitar. It can be modified / another attempt by an overseas publication to de-mystify ‘poshness’ in the UK (clue, ‘poshness’ is not posh) / Grand Central Terminal workers had secret ‘man cave’ under New York City landmark / / a drone for your home. No good can come of this / An Eclipse of Moths, a new exhibition of images by Gregory Crewdson / photographs by Niall McDiarmid / What’s the first magazine you ever loved? (via Laura Olin) / capture the universe in a nutshell.

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Mapping the territories

How work became an inescapable hellhole versus For His Home Office, This Guy Built a Replica of a 1980 Via Rail Train Interior in His Basement / give over to the machine: AI planners in Minecraft could help machines design better cities / The Overlooked History of Race Barriers in the United States / Maps by Wil Freeborn / music by Mint Eastwood / music by Mount Mural / diagrams by The Grapher / Astronomy Photographs of the Year (via K) / Vintage is the New Old, retro gaming and more / Pop Culture Polly Pockets (via tmn).

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The lies of the land

Archives and imaginings. ‘Search 1.56 million historic newspaper photos using Newspaper Navigator (via MeFi) / Shelf Life has been on hiatus for many years, but it is still filled with gems, beautiful scans and fascinating things / Toes in a Different Sand is currently awol, but worth your time / relisten to the BBC’s Out of the Ordinary / St Vincent plays Kerosene, from 2011 / 8(-bit) millions ways to die: Death Generator / Cybernetic Serendipity, a 1968 exhibition at the ICA that kickstarted a lot of contemporary preoccupations / The Narrative Impulse in American Art, a ‘personal selection’ by Full Table / a collection of artist’s letters (at the plaid zebra) / prints by Emilia Tanner / Citroen DS E Pallas homage concept by San Won Lee.

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Reading the maps

The Figurine in Diorama (pdf), by Jasmine Vorley / AIIID, Russian electro pop / beautiful custom camper vans at Bespoke Creations and Birdbox Design / I Made This For You is a moving film about suicide prevention. It has a tragic backstory / Here is the House, a story at Disegno about protecting CR Mackintosh, a project by Carmody Groarke. Excellent photographs by Donald Milne / impressive picture essay of fishing in the Bering Sea by Corey Arnold pre-CAD, drawing a Lotus F1 Car wasn’t as simple as it sounds. On the automotive technical art of Giorgio Piola / Boy meets Synth, old keyboards reviewed / Reyner Banham’s Megastructure revisited at A Daily Dose of Architecture Books / always worth a look, Brilliant Maps / Meet the Owner of the World’s Largest Pizza Box Collection, what the internet used to be all about (via Spark Edition) / jewellery by Oya Kozacioglu.

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Where there’s smoke

A few random links, starting with some paintings by Hiroshi Sato / contemporary design magazine recommendations / the Paint by Numbers Museum / sort of related, BBC Horizon on computer graphics, 1981 / more old footage at Uncommon Ephemera, a collection of audio snippets including marriage counselling, Chrysler Corporate films and more / Perfect Roquefort Cheese listed the infamous Filthy Fifteen, which sent us to this The Devilish History of the 1980s Parental Advisory Sticker: ‘When Heavy Metal & Satanic Lyrics Collided with the Religious Right’ / music by Myrcene / experimental ambient artist from Sweden, Take me There / a Reuters graphic of American Wildfires.

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“And the whip-poor-wills they make a din”

This new book, launched ahead of Open House London 2020, The Alternative Guide to the London Boroughs, is a very welcome addition to the chronicle’s of the unseen capital. Highly recommended / How taste gets made: Anne Helen Petersen on how identity creation through music is ultimately subsumed by the demands of adult life: ‘Taste can be performative and exclusionary but it can also just be a wellspring of self: recognizing that there is something there — something that is readily moved, something vital and inexplicable — apart from your capacity to work.’ / From Rotterdam to Amsterdam in 10 minutes: a 4k sailing timelapse / more 8-bit noise, the NES Poly (via Music Tech) / a collection of simulacra spaces / The Twittering Machine (source).

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Sounds, bracketed by despair

Our delusional obsession with splendid isolation / High Score, a video game sound generator (via Sonic State) / related, the Arcade Machine, one of several fun looking pedals from RPS Effects / sort of related, a collection of imaginary software / sort of related, the imaginary book covers of Harland Miller / more quirky audio devices from Metta Audio Devices / the Star Wars Building / which leads us to the retro 70s sound of Mos Eisley Spaceport / more music by Ferric Tapes / music by A Sisyphus Wish / music by bathysphere / music reviewed at Heavy Blog is Heavy / How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled.

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