War gaming

Trafalgar pyramid? A look at an alternative London, a strangely steampunk arrangement of future visions / Tree House in Glass by Broissin Architects / Microkorg tape loop jam / Wargames and the end of the world: the disastrous feedback loop of the Soviet intelligence system / Guide to Computing, a visual history of computing 1945-1979, photographs by James Ball (via Kottke).

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Random noises

The Sonic Boom Acid Fuzz / illustrations by Tim Easley / drawings and watercolours by Miles Thistlethwaite – see also Washing-Line Portraits / photographs by Thorsten Klapsch / The Bus, by Paul Kirchner (via This Isn’t Happiness) / building the LEGO Aston Martin DB5 / prints by Patrick Joust / Jonathon Green’s Dictionary of Slang is now a free resource / The Politics of Vacancy: The History, and Future, of Toronto’s Condo Euphoria / the graphic paintings of William Steiger / the Haludovo Palace Hotel, a modernist resort commissioned by Penthouse Magazine in the former Yugoslavia.

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Art and catastrophe

The Miniature Calendar / dense drawings by Sandow Birk / Tapas, a collection of short videos by Bonella Holloway containing ‘filmed actions edited according to their soundscape and rhythm’ / making a Lego automaton / all the Saturn V launches together / illustration by Nathan Hackett / drawings by Zoe Barker / the Madsonian Museum of Industrial Design / a collection of Brutalist Websites / paintings by Aurélien Pescher / Overexposed, an online installation about a post-war plane crash.

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Finding lost places

Another deep dive into digital mapping by Justin O’Beirne, this time looking at new developments in Apple Maps (via Kottke). It’s the usual extremely thorough dive into map comparisons for accuracy, style and detail, with the strong caveat that however much Apple tries, it’s disavowal of deep data collection (and refusal to let maps.apple.com be anything other than a holding page), it might be working on the right strategy for a world in which places, not maps, are more important: ‘Over the last two years, Google has gradually been turning it inside out, from a road map to a place map’. In the proposed world of autonomous cars and deliveries and all that jazz, pinpoint accuracy matters more than ever. Also from the piece, ‘it took Google’s Street View vehicles eight years to drive 99% of the U.S.’ / sort of related, the New York City Municipal Archives Collections, 900,000 images (including photos and maps) of the city. There is an equivalent wealth of imagery of London but it’s hard to discern whether or not it’s been digitised yet. The Survey of London are bereft of pictures. Databases like Britain from Above don’t offer the street level detail that exists, tucked away in archive boxes somewhere / see also Lost Hospitals of London / A Searchable Database of Japanese Woodcut Prints (also via Kottke).

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Go west

My Life Cleanse: One Month Inside L.A.’s Cult of Betterness / dredging project reveals hidden rooms at Blenheim Palace. See also the ‘underground ballroom’ at Lea Park / the world’s tallest statue in India / a gallery of disgusting food from the Disgusting Food Museum / not disgusting: bread from Japan / digital art by Nataniel E. Rodriguez-Vera.

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Top and tail

Current Affairs writes about Mansion, ‘the Friday Wall Street Journal supplement reviewing the wild extravagance of the hideously rich’ / compare and contrast with Courier, which ‘reports on modern business and startup culture’ / nominate London’s worst public sculpture. We’ll come back to this one / Centre Point flats taken off market: ‘The decision to halt sales means about half of the tower’s 82 flats, which range from £1.8m for a small one-bedroom apartment to £55m for the two-storey five-bedroom penthouse, will now lie empty’. What goes around, comes around: ‘Because of an economic downturn much of [Centre Point] remained empty for several years, with Hyams content to benefit from the escalation in its capital value while he paid no rates. The structure thus gained a reputation as a monument to the evils of capitalism and a hundred squatters occupied it in 1974′ / an abandoned Albanian airbase, chock full of old MiGs / another piece on the thousands of old magazines housed at the Hyman Archive.

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Second lives

Appropriate for the season, some creepy latex art by Sarah Sitkin, probably nsfw / lavish praise for Zumthor’s Secular Retreat, countered by excoriating vitriol in the comments / something altogether more wholesome? the Dennis Severs House at Christmas. Recommended (official site) / Henning M. Lederer animates book covers (bringing the ageing Pelican Project to life (via MeFi) / Second Lives of the Serpentine Pavilions. Some earlier things pavilion musings.

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Falling down

The cathedral drawing series of the late Dennis Creffield / the Apollo of Gaza, lost, found, confiscated and now lost again? / PEOPLE + CULTURE = TECHNOLOGY, a tumblr stuffed with things (thanks to Ankkit) / photography by Bethany Crutchfield / photography by David Abrahams / fans of modern architecture and disaster movies can soon enjoy The Quake, in which large sections of modern Oslo are digitally shaken into splintery oblivion. Presumably there’s some crossover between the companies that model and render the glossy utopian imagery of modern design and the companies that then disassemble those elaborate CAD models into impressive virtual implosions.

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A Zig-Zagging Croatian Villa That Blends Into The Hillside, by Proarh Architects (at Ignant) / abstract art by John Taylor / we are building a new definition of authenticity for future generations to navigate: Actors are digitally preserving themselves to continue their careers beyond the grave vs Jet Li Turned Down The Matrix Because He Didn’t Want CGI Versions Of His Moves / the tale of Dulwich Hamlet / the making of Red Dead Redemption 2 / the Every Day Calendar. See also the Zzzz poster from Post Ratio for a more analogue solution / Time Traveler from Merriam-Webster – which words first emerged in which year? / Random Koyaanisqatsi Generator using found gifs (via b3ta) / elaborately packaged Hot Wheels 50th anniversary set / a short documentary on Migingo Island. And a gallery / Art on a Postcard, a secret auction / installations by Alberto Odériz

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The noise was impressive

Kennedy Ground. For the last time. Speedbird Concorde 2 London Heathrow“, a beautifully researched post on the legacy of the Concorde. Always a good opportunity to pull out these grainy images of the final three aircraft coming into Heathrow, 15 years ago / Bruno Fontana’s Typologies project is right up our street / attention to background detail: the uncanny Britishness of Forza 4. Also discussed here / some more Instagram: Strictly Kev; Simon Porte Jaquemus / the 1950 Cadillac “Le Monstre” / ‘Disneyland for adults’: John Portman’s dizzying interior legacy. See also John Portman: A Life of Building / art by Alexandria Coe.

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Outsider art

Old, and possibly superseded, but a list of the top ten most offensively decadent homes in the world is good old-fashioned click-bait. Go straight to McMansion Hell for a palate cleanser / other things. Art by Kim Roselier / pronunciation cheat sheet for the cultured / shark attacks maps! (both via tmn) / the outsider art scene on eBay is a rich mix of eccentricity, scams and downright unusual. We like “Jesus Tried to Cheer up Paul McCartney -Using a Lambchop Puppet”, yours for $257,000 at time of writing. Other works by the artist / the mystery of the Waratah, ‘Australia’s Titanic / drones and drifting, contemporary camerawork techniques are practically unlimited at this point / The Samsara of Building No.42 on Dirty Street, by Drawing Architecture Studio, from the 2018 Drawing Prize at the WAF (via Archdaily).

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On our obsession with model villages, an extract from Simon Garfield’s In Miniature: How Small Things Illuminate the World. A journey that takes you from the Floridian ruins of Splendid China to Jimmy Cauty’s The Aftermath Dislocation Principle (more), miniature worlds are about exercising control, over landscape, architecture and tiny people themselves. This element of being able to meticulously control all facets of one’s small environment is something that Alexander Payne’s Downsizing didn’t really touch on – save for the revelation that suddenly ‘massive’ McMansions were available for all (except of course they weren’t). The ultimate small continent is still Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, mentioned in the piece, which acts in a similar way to the grand romantic images of, say, Caspar David Friedrich, heightened, over the top, intense and extremely compartmentalised. See also the book Model Villages by Tim Dunn and Tucktonia, ‘The Best of Britain in Miniature’, now buried beneath a housing estate. And why do so many model villages, dioramas, etc., feature semi-hidden figures having sex?

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Rip it up and start again

The Archivists of Extinction, ‘Architectural history in an era of capitalist ruin’. Or how architectural preservation is a luxury in a fast moving capitalist society (via MeFi). From the piece, the US has less than 2,600 buildings designated as National Historic Landmarks. In comparison, the UK has 9,310 Grade I listed buildings and 21,767 Grade II* listed buildings, out of a total listed building stock of around 500,000. See also How Manhattan Became a Rich Ghost Town / is there really a Chinese metro station in the middle of nowhere? / Austin 7 vs McLaren Senna. 90 years of Autocar road tests / music: Our Girl; Owls of Now; Lunacre / grafitti art by Remi Rough / paintings by Lucy MacGillis / landscape paintings by Anna Dhillon.

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‘… classically, the protruding aerofoil should be set on fire’

iiii magazine is a new online publication about arts and culture. Recommended / Another World, a brand magazine from Another Country, a furniture company that has caught the new authenticity zeitgeist and translated it into an all-encompassing bokeh-friendly lifestyle presentation / Overhead Compartment seems to have closed up shop / With the Grain, photography / paintings by Charley Peters / Bob Ross cleaning his brush for 45 minutes (via, of course, b3ta) / improvised music by 1R3C / how disinformation spreads division. Safe to say that almost any hot-button topic that suddenly rockets into undue prominence is being stoked in some way, small or large, by people with a vested interest in conflict, rather than compromise or collaboration. Depressing / light relief: Fold’N Fly, ‘A database of paper airplanes with easy to follow folding instructions’ (via tmn). Of course, 19 years ago we were ahead of the curve with online paper dart instructions.

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By Toutatis!

Farewell Anthea Bell, the extremely skilled translator of Goscinny and Uderzo’s Asterix books, as well as the English versions of late W.G. Sebald. See also this list of Asterix characters and their international name equivalents and Asterix in translation: the genius of Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge, at Aunty Muriel’s Blog / a list of solved missing persons cases / amazing photographs by Stephen Leslie / paintings by Guy Yanai / FURNACE is a digital magazine about industry and manufacturing.

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Better living through technology?

Try getting music lessons to stick after this drops: Google Magenta / Let’s Learn about Waveforms / ‘Tariff engineering’: Ford has saved £190m over 16 years by exporting ‘cars’ to the US and then turning them into vans once they’ve cleared customs / rank the emotion on the LEGO head. Is the company getting crosser? / the real state of autonomous driving: who is promising what? / Knives, a project by photographer Jason Koxvold / Jane’s London / the Atomflot service base is where Russia builds, services and stores its fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers / photography: haunted landscapes by Ysbrand Cosijn (via This isn’t happiness).

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Mostly houses

A personal history of the Ouija Board. More info on the boards / Among the Ruins of Mexico Beach Stands One House, Built ‘for the Big One’ / the artist Tom Sachs does instagram well / The Dream, a recommended podcast about multi-level marketing / After August, a photographic portfolic by Marietta Varga at Creative Boom / a price cut on Koenig’s Case Study House #21 (via WowHaus) / also at WowHaus, Haile Sands Fort for sale. See also the three Solents, also on the market in varying stages of decay: one, two and three / This is 18, portraits of girls turning 18 around the word / a request for spooky tunes. See/hear also the work of Kantoendrato.

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All over the place, as usual

Japanese Wave Design sourcebooks, via My Modern Met / Biblioklept, a website about books / The True Size Of… make geographic comparisons / an interview with Joe Dante / truth or fake? Questions around a $450m Leonardo / California Modernism by moonlight, photographs by Tom Blachford at Creative Boom / a Nolli Map of the Entire United States / music by Porter Erin / music by The MUD SE / behind the scenes at the aircraft carrier / paintings by Susan Lichtman / Rachel Whiteread meets SITE: The Imprint by MVRDV.

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Archives and more

Lithium mining in Chile, photography by Catherine Hyland / creased paper interiors by Simon Schubert / animated geometric gifs at Bees and Bombs / spooky ceramics by Jessica Harrison / a collection of Control Panels (via Kottke) / pages and pages of Commodore 64 software, emulated / ‘Demolishing the California Dream: How San Francisco Planned Its Own Housing Crisis’ / Muse and Maker, by Emily Forgot / recommended: Pls Like / the troubled genesis of the Porsche 959 / The Eternal Life of the Instant Noodle, a cultural history of ramen / illustration and graphic design by Seymour Chwast / Girl Scout graphic design / Daniel Benneworth-Gray on the legendary online archive that is Fulltable.com.

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Sound and image

A varied collection of things. Humboldt’s Illustrating Nature, a richly illustrated book about the travels of Alexander von Humbolt in the early 19th century / Do Not Forget Me, film studios in Kolkota photographed by Nandita Raman / Conserve the Sound, an archive of vanishing technologies and their associated audio (via Kottke) / a collection of free sounds / Novation // Oscillator Culture – The Story of the Polysynth / Dirty Furniture is an excellent design magazine / Ban on putting Shetland in a box on maps comes into force / Architectural Photography Awards 2018 shortlist. No sign of this extraordinary picture of the Grand Lisboa Casino in Macau / open source plans for a Mars Rover / music by Poino, via Horse Arm Records / a gallery celebrating London’s Scala Cinema, home of 24 hour weird film marathons.

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