Down things today. A sobering look at The Last Days of Walter Benjamin’s Life / Mike Monteiro’s upcoming book Ruined by Design looks like it’ll be an essential read / a list of services and devices that have been (intentionally) Killed by Google / How a bookshop wolf handles awkward customers, all about Anne Barnetson’s Customer Service Wolf / oh this will end well: The Difference, ‘Connect with a Therapist via Alexa Voice Services’.

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A Gap in the Street

Wickham’s Department Store, on Mile End Road, was once known as the ‘Harrods of the East’, part of a city-wide network of grand shops, often family owned, that offered their customers practically everything under one roof. Wickham’s unusual punctured facade was due to the resolute Spiegelhalter’s Jewelry Shop, which refused to sell up. The building has recently been renovated and Spiegelhalter’s building remains prominent. This ‘Holdout‘ is relatively uncommon in London, but is more recently seen in the ‘Nail Houses’ of China / other things. Matt’s Repository of Information, a design tumblr / the The Sheela Na Gig Project. See also at the BBC / The Sometimes Catastrophic, but Mostly Just Embarrassing Consequences of Screen Sharing at Work / Meet Vermeer, ‘Vermeer’s complete works united: 36 paintings from 18 museums across 7 different countries’ / Dirty Lies, a long read about Dieselgate / organ69 is a retro-themed Japanese keyboard shop / a new album Blood Red Shoes has sneaked out / Tortoise play their TNT album in full for its 21st anniversary / WePresent is a curated portfolio site from the WeTransfer people / A Huge Collection of Apollo 11 Press Kits / a comprehensive MeFi post about the Poverty Maps of Charles Booth.

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Check your head

Getting inside the head of the man who was Frank Sidebottom / related, Chris Sievey’s The Biz, a Spectrum game from 1984. While we’re at it, the Thompson Twins Adventure from the same year and the (critically acclaimed) Frankie goes to Hollywood game, from the following year. The latter is also available to play online, courtesy of the Qaop online Spectrum emulator / Curious Architectural Phenomena, a MeFi post about the intriguing behind the scenes work of Austrian photographer Gregor Sailer / not really related, Terrible Things Happening in Cold Places (via Projects) / a close reading of the Vessel photography ‘rights’ document is yet one more thing that won’t help brand Heatherwick / Nicholas Dixon’s series ‘The Brown Sisters‘ reached the forty-third portrait last year / Outstanding, a tumblr about art.

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Bold and bright

Pavilion fix. Help get Pricegore’s Colour Palace off the ground, a collaboration with the artist Yinka Ilori / The man who takes tech apart – so we can learn how to fix it, a piece on the photographer Todd McLellan / Spatula, a tumblr about architecture and design / the Robocar from the Roborace series, photographed by Benedict Redgrove / an album by Ice Baths at Blank Editions. More Ice Baths / Grid comparison: the best smartphone cameras of all time, compiled by Steve Litchfield.

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Stairs to nowhere

A few snippets. some thoughts on online magazines, courtesy of the founder of The Millions / Everywhere At The End Of Time – Stage 6, a final release, apparently, from The Caretaker / Bauhaus-style logos of famous brands at Kottke / fx videos at pedal of the day / nicely interactive but ultimately depressing analysis of Hudson Yards in New York.

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Standing under stones

Recalling random acts of kindness / Fixing Computer Space, restoring one of the earliest arcade machines / three-dimensional origami made of fabric backed plywood by Sinead Fahey / Toyota Lunar Camper concept / an obituary of Sir John Richardson, biographer of Picasso / support the publication of Jonathan Meades’ Pedro & Ricky Come Again at Unbound / ‘Dutch ‘blunder building’ bans dancing‘, a rare miss from OMA / Repacking Social Media Into 1980s Nostalgia, the work of Thomas Ollivier / the refurbished and extended MK Gallery reopens with The Lie of the Land, an exhibition that ‘examines the modernisation of leisure propelled by industrialisation’. Also related, BBC4’s Arcadia, a hauntological, English eerie compilation of newly-soundtracked documentary material. Also related, Antequera, ‘the first in a series of Heroic Gnostic Poems by Julian Cope‘. A good excuse to dust off Jonathan Key’s review of The Modern Antiquarian. It’s all out there, somewhere.

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Crack an egg

How to Study the Bible – the Language of Colour, by Thomas Macklin, 1909. “A highly idiosyncratic, eccentric and colourful engagement with his Bible by an East Anglian merchant, who over a twenty year period (c.1888-1909) extensively annotated the volume throughout in bright colours, following a system of his own devising… Words and phrases on each page are washed over or outlined (often both) in watercolours, in one of eight colours – each denoting a meaning: Yellow (God Speaking), Blue (Good. Honest), Green (Bad. Evil), Violet (Name of Place), Black (Devil. Sin), etc.” / other things. A portfolio of pictures from the Bell Labs data center in Oakland, California, 1969 and 1970 / via MeFi / art from the future, a tumblr / ghost characters and lost elements, some musings / ‘you’re alone in a small Russian apartment in a concrete tenement: it’s Winter.’

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Accounting for

Book things. Money, money, money, 404 Ink on the economics of contemporary publishing. Matching publishers with corresponding dinosaurs. a series. Both via the always information Mr Benneworth-Gray / ‘Dieter Rams “regrets contributing to culture of overconsumption” says documentary director‘ / Mark Zuckerberg is rumoured to have a secret escape passageway beneath his conference room for emergencies / there is a blog devoted to Landslides / Atomic Playground, images by Clay Lipsky and Greg MacGregor / Still Waiting For a Savior: Before GM Left, Avanti Sold an Ohio Town an Impossible Dream. There’s a certain beauty to these post-industrial landscapes / the Picturephone, AT&T’s experimental concept shown at the 1964 World’s Fair: ‘By the end of the 1964 just 71 calls had been made, probably because the cost of the call was $16-27 for a 3 minute call. The Mod I was never put into commercial production, and an estimated 150 consoles were built for trial use.’

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Warm electronics

Material Matters is a new podcast about objects and making by the design writer and critic Grant Gibson / Synchedelia: Beyond the Dark Side of the Rainbow, which links to the epic MovieSyncs.com and Alternative Synchs, but fails to mention Godlflesh Superstar (Godflesh’s Anthem meets Jesus Christ Superstar). Another fascinating music piece: An Oral History of Electronic Music in East Germany, both via the excellent Red Bull Music Academy Daily / sort of related to the East German link, a collection of Stoic Electronics (via Kottke), including this Soviet home automation concept design, the Sphinx project, 1987. Some more about Project Sphinx (‘When the USSR tried to change the computer forever’). Back to the haunted world / ‘A race against time’: urban explorers record vanishing Hong Kong / a found object: wooden chapel in Bavaria by John Pawson.

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The haunted world

Into the Eerie, a radio documentary touching on the work of the late Mark Fisher, PJ Harvey and many more (via MeFi). See also What is hauntology? And why is it all around us? The eerie’s urban cousin / other things. The Dhabiyan, an extreme desert custom job for Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan / Infrared Dubai, photographs by Paolo Pettigiani / Smoke and Mirrors: Harry Potter Scenes Reimagined by Architecture Students / The architects who built Palm Springs / Turning disused buildings into artists’ studios.

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Space and light

The New American Home is a Condo; how much space do we need to live? / paintings by Chloe Wise / ten extraordinary effects pedals / classic cars as animals, art by Frederic Mueller, via hotvvheels / from 1993, a Full Moon Party at Koh Phangan (via Electronic Beats) / Only Shallow, a My Bloody Valentine cover / where would this fall on Every Noise at Once’s genre map (and their new feature, Genres in Their Own Words / the story of the Casa Sperimentale, a modern ruin near Rome / Cambridge time expert fears sundials are ‘old hat’ / a small archive of work by Barbara Jones, artist, illustrator and chronicler of folk art.

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A clutch of collections, ancient and modern

Some things to browse, starting with the incredibly accurate cutlery drawer simulator (via b3ta) / Tiny Commotions, a weblog / Fan Ho’s Street Photography of 50s & 60s Hong Kong (at kottke) / Building on the Built, an architecture website / ‘I’d get 400 toilet rolls at a time’: how it feels to win a lifetime supply / sort of related, Financial Windfalls: 15 Stories of the Money That Changed Everything (via Kottke) / compare and contrast: the Steve Vai Guitar Database vs the Sonic Youth Illustrated Equipment Guide / MIDI City 2000, skyline music / Hypercard Adventures. Is this emulation, or something more? / see also Word Perhect (sic) / more old stuff: noclip (via MeFi), a dive into levels from consoles past / Cambridge Digital Library, an impressive collection of journals (via BBC News). Divided into collections like Curious Objects / see also MetPublications, Five Decades of Metropolitan Museum Of Art Publications online (via MeFi) / and another: Lost & Found: orphaned objects from the UL City Centre, ‘What library visitors left behind in the University Library City Centre in the year 2018’ (also via MeFi, which has a discussions of similar objets trouvé) / Tokyo Live Camera. Urban voyeurism.

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Cabbages and things

Berberian Sound Studio becomes a stage play. See our earlier post, Aural Excitements / all the strange things are collated and presented by 41Strange, which is a veritable dark cave of the uncanny and the esoteric in 20th century media / an obituary of John Harold Haynes, instruction manual pioneer (via MeFi). Haynes is one of those companies, like Pantone, that while it never lost sight of its core business, obviously succumbed to the advice of a marketing and diversification specialist at some point. Pantone is still the industry standard, but also a lifestyle and consumer product supplier. Similarly, Haynes diversified into Practical and Lifestyle Manuals, where you could learn about things that exist (or once existed) and things than manifestly don’t exist, rather blurring the lines of what a manual actually is. Nevertheless, the company single-handedly flies the flag for technical drawing / also recently passed, Jim Dunlop, creator of electric guitar accessories / psychedelic noise making devices from digdugDIY.

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Creativity and Value

I am not the next big thing, on creativity and the value of screaming into the void (via MeFi) / paintings by Andy Dixon (via HiFructose) / maps by Scott Reinhard / porcelain globes by Loraine Rutt. Some more info / music by Christian Fitness / The battle for the future of Stonehenge / Scottish modernist ruin awaits a saviour, a photo essay on the slow, inexorable but very picturesque decline of Gillespie, Kidd & Coia’s St Peter’s seminary in Cardross, Scotland / some more modern ruins by Jonk (via this isn’t happiness) / paintings by Amze Emmons / paintings by Marilina Marchica / “Your Money Is Safe in Art”: How the Times-Sotheby Index Transformed the Art Market, a fascinating tale of auction houses, the art of investing in art and the work of writer Geraldine Keen.

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Rising high

Art and science. Landscapes by Cornelia Fitzroy / landscapes by Michael Reisch / the drawing archive at the Norman Foster Foundation / sort of related, I wouldn’t build my dream home in joyless, moralistic Scrutopia / A Peckham Poem, by photographer Nick Turpin / Super tall and super skinny, the new ‘pencil towers’ of New York / time-lapse of Pyongyang, at Kottke.

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See through

This and that. Glass art by Rachel Goswell (Slowdive) / compare and contrast with the champagne and Opal Fruit lifestyle revealed in this an oral history of Mark E.Smith / new from Morton Valence, Bob and Veronica’s Great Escape / very old school: bassoontracker plays Amiga-era mod files / carved pencils by Cindy Chinn / Welcome to the Bold and Blocky Instagram Era of Book Covers (via Meanwhile) / the false ascent of Denali, a photographic deception by Frederick Cook.

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Is anybody out there?

Art, photographs and rubber stamps by AHC McDonald (also responsible for The Worst of Perth, which ended in late 2017) / South London’s under-the-radar Cinema Museum, currently under threat (official site: Cinema Museum / the web, then and now / Kanye West’s intervention into the ongoing Roden Crater project is an inspired bit of art philanthropy / the artist Susan Hiller has died. Hiller’s work often delved into the paranormal: Witness, created for Artangel, is one of the most memorable, an audio installation of UFO abductee testimony that immersed the viewer in a forest confusing, illusory yet fervently held beliefs. Her work also used the recordings of parapsychologist Dr Konstantins Raudive, who claimed to have recorded 70,000 examples of Electronic Voice Phenomena. UbuWeb has a good collection of Occult Voices, including EVP. Read about the The Broken Technology of Ghost Hunting, including the ‘ghost hunting’ EMF Meter sold by K-II Enterprises. From here it’s just a few dots to E-Meters, dowsing for land mines, and many, many other examples of dubious, or downright dangerous, detecting devices.

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Stick, twist or fold

Industrial heritage on the wane: the collapse of Detroit’s Packard Bridge / a book by Trevor Paglen, From the Archives of Peter Merlin, Aviation Archaeologist / Limner Journal is about contemporary illustration / see also Books Peckham, local zine-focused store / Huck Magaine reminisces about The Day Today / Acoustasonic, a multi-functional guitar / Ciari Ascender, a folding guitar / Flaming Pablum, a traditional weblog / The Exeter Road, by Charles G. Harper (1899) / cover art from outtakes / the brain’s left hemisphere, mapped (both via b3ta) / classic Amiga demo, LSD – Jesus On E’s / ‘Crowdsourced maps should help driverless cars navigate our cities more safely‘, thanks to Mapillary, that notes every quirk of tarmac / grim data: mass graves in Mexico / the Paintings, Watercolors and Drawings of Paul Cezanne.

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Media production

A short film about old school (i.e. 2011) magazine making courtesy of Little White Lies / Loop | Motors, Magnets and Motion: Electronic Music Instruments from the Physical World / a window back into the live music world of 1994, with a special month at the Trocadero in Philadelphia (via Coudal). Any comparable months from elsewhere around the world? / the Helsinki Bus Station Theory of creativity. In summary, stay on the bus / The Tobacco Industry Documents, ‘an archive of 14 million documents created by tobacco companies about their advertising, manufacturing, marketing, scientific research and political activities, hosted by the UCSF Library and Center for Knowledge Management.‘ / the competitive difference between racing and e-racing is narrowing / the Burj Al Babas development in Turkey looks like someone ran riot with cut-and-pasting architectural clip art. Dezeen has drone footage of this semi-abandoned hellscape.

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Dog days

Failed Architecture asks What this MVRDV Rendering Says About Architecture and the Media, a musing on the digital delusions of modern architectural imagery. The architects reply: In Defense of Renders and Trees On Top of Skyscrapers. Both sides have valid points but seem to be talking past each rather. FA’s point is about greenwashing, but MVRDV are more concerned with communication (although we liked their point that the urban forest atop the 2000 Hanover Expo Pavilion is still alive). The digital future is so seductive, though, that few stop to query its representations, preferring to use rendered utopias as a waypoint, rather than the commodity they are. This story about robot dogs in driverless vans … the delivery system of the future is a case in point. Can anyone see this either happening, let alone going well, or do these digital musings about uncanny scampering canine couriers simply ensure that someone brings them to life? / sort of related, using entire virtual cities to plan future development / a few other things. Paintings by Erika Lee Sears / Photos From the 2019 Dakar Rally / what it’s like to be an internet advice columnist / the world’s largest 100 islands (via tmn) / New Ways, Peter Behrens’ only building in the UK and the country’s first ‘modern’ house, is for sale.

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