Sounds and sights from beyond space

A very random collection of things. Fire Maidens of Outer Space (1956) / water simulation on kinetic displays / photorealist paintings by Ben Weiner / love this: noclip, unfettered exploration of classic 3D gaming environments in a browser (via b3ta) / a silo drums sample set, featuring extreme natural reverb / hear also the Lullatone Sample Sets / a map of Agatha Christie’s England / Skyscrapers, the vertical evolution of London and New York, a project by Recent Spaces (via dezeen) / the current state of artificial intelligence – bring your own emotions / paintings by Lee Price / sculptures and paintings by Susanne Kathlen Mader / MVRDV’s Marble Arch Hill is not widely admired / collage art by Sarah Bridgland / the The London Nobody Knows (1967), at Unseen Films / All the trains in my son’s train podcast ranked by how much I hate them (via MeFi). After all, Accidents Happen.

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Six underground

The Airstream Funeral Coach, ca 1980s (via Cars That Never Made It) / Vintage Covers. Sci-fi reimagined / beats and samples by Wan-Vox / always worth a visit, Synth History / Eileen Gray’s E-1027 House completes its restoration / entertainingly hubristic read, Dead Start-up Toys / the reality of van life, a surprise to practically no-one / potential new life for the train station at the Estación Internacional de Canfranc, a long-standing urbex favourite / Stewart Copeland’s solo’d drums, Walking on the moon / more dramatic abandoned things, Greg Abandoned’s view of electric city cars left to rot in China / The Smell of Calpol on A Warm Summer’s Night, ‘Scarlett Carlos Clarke captures lockdown motherhood in surreal imagery’ / are megabasements causing floods?

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The eternal circle of nostalgia

Dispersing the Capsules: ‘Although the Nakagin Capsule Tower, an icon of Metabolist architecture in Tokyo designed by Kisho Kurokawa, could not be saved, plans are afoot to remove the capsules, refurbish them, and donate them to museums in and beyond Japan.’ We predict these will go the way of the works of Jean Prouvé, designed to be low-cost, ubiquitous and functional but now elevated to the status of art object / World Report award 2021 shortlist. Some incredible images there / Ray Guns of the 1930s-1950s / The sounds of technology are making us unhappy, via UX Design / retro gaming comes in several flavours, remakes, retro inspired games and remastered games. There’s an increasing number of old games being revived for modern systems, or even new games that are made to look like old games, or even brand new games made for old platforms (mostly played in emulation) – see the work of ZOSYA entertainment or The Doom Of The Pond / ‘Life goes deeper: The Earth is not a solid mass of rock: its hot, dark, fractured subsurface is home to weird and wonderful life forms’ / how Instagram became Skymall: ‘maybe this is a glimpse of the inevitable heat-death of ecommerce: Bots trying to convince other bots to buy stuff no humans would ever click on.’ More on Skymall’s demise / Unofficial Rotring, a blog about pens / How the Tour de France disguises the phallic artwork on its route / the disputed origins of the Jeep / Osaka Matchboxes, a project (and poster) by designer Tim George.

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Down, boy

Why Do Electric Cars Look The Way They Do? Because They Can, on the design challenges and opportunities of electric cars (via WITI? and Kottke) / vintage drum machine quiz. Pretty esoteric / exploring the Ice Factory, Grimsby, soon to become a theatre / Birds, a new book from Jim Moir. See also, art by Cally Yeatman / The Illustrated Book in Italy, 1918–1945 / live in a London church / live on an derelict Welsh fort / live on Norman Wisdom’s yacht / theories and thoughts about the Hum / ambient shoe-gazing rock by Made of Stone / Long Live the New Flesh / Interior of The Caravan Club, London, 1934, at the National Archives. ‘The club, located on Endell Street, Soho, was frequented by members of the LGBTQ+ community.’ / photographer Gareth Gardner has a physical gallery in South London / ‘Renting clothes is ‘less green than throwing them away‘ / bring the Puppy back to life.

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As above, so below

Farewell to Kristen Richards, creator of the excellent ArchNewsNow newsletter / on tunnels beneath the ocean. Deep Blue Sea Thinking / the Lovell House as a furniture store / the late Rick Mather’s own house and roof garden / Davit Jilavyan, ‘Paint Your Life‘, via designboom / Vintage Everyday serves up fascinating photosets / an interesting piece on the pervasiveness of caffeine addiction, the rise of enlightenment thinking and even capitalism / aiiaiiiyo, ‘Foodporn, historyporn, earthporn’ / chipmunks on 16 speed, into the audio uncanny valley / the Games Done Quick Marathon. See also this why is this interesting? piece on Speedrunning. WITI also links to a piece from a few years ago, Against Little Free Libraries / Skymail, a mail art project that ran from 1974 to 1978 by the late Gregory C Haymes (via Ask MeFi) / How to draw Islamic Geometry.

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Rock and bricks

Aesthesys, an instrumental progressive band from Moscow (via Doom Rock) / indie rock by Morning Eagle / ‘The original, unaltered period photo into which actor Jack Nicholson was composited to create the iconic photograph seen in the final shots of The Shining.’ / exploring Kingsway Tram Station, soon to be temporarily re-opened. More information / life in the Stahl House / an interview with Seefeel / cars made from Lego / see also ‘App Helps You Build New Creations from Your Existing Lego Pile‘ / in search of the Georgian papier mache horse / an artwork created from a lighthouse / an oral history of the All Tomorrow’s Parties festivals / the great guitar build-off / how a new road drove Montenegro into debt / photographer Dia Mrad captures the aftermath of the 2020 Beirut explosion / Hong Kong in miniature / sleeping cats / ABYME, an ‘independent publisher of artist’s editions and multiples founded by John Morgan and Adrien Vasquez‘ / plotter prints by Sean M Puckett / illustration by mu.andcoco.

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How high’s the water, mama?

Aqua Aesthetica, ‘Visual Research on Sea Level Rise’ by artist Marijn Achternaam. See also, ‘Stories to save the world: the new wave of climate fiction. Still sort of related, a house in a water tower / Inventive Vents: A Gazetteer of London’s Ventilation Shafts, found via this Guardian review, which also points us to the amazing Layers of London mapping website / a Bonhams auction, Aeropittura: Italian Futurism in Flight, using art to storyboard the next wave of horror, which presumably gave the Futurists tingles of transgressive joy / interactive musical sculptures by Bichopalo. More on YouTube / related, a new version of the TAL noisemaker VST synth / illustration by Dominika Lipniewska / cars that got cancelled, in the old sense of the word / a profile of Joe Rush, one of the founders of the legendary Mutoid Waste Company.

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Different takes on the future

Photographs by Thibaut Derien (via El tiempo en cucharitas de café) / so what problem does this solve exactly? The Aska flying car-roadable helicopter / The Story of the MiniDisc, ‘Sony’s 1990s Audio Format That’s Gone But Not Forgotten’ / Rosemary Hill, former things contributor, on Edward Gorey (both via Daniel Benneworth-Gray) / go with the flow: sheep and drones / Die of D.I.Y?, slightly illicit music downloads / Peter Zinovieff has died, one of the pioneers of sampling, and the founder of Electronic Music Studios, ‘The World’s Longest Established Synthesizer Manufacturer‘. Zinovieff also appears in the highly recommended Delia Derbyshire: The Myths and the Legendary Tapes / an episode of the Reasonably Sound podcast about climate change, as well ‘as the ecological impact of vinyl records and digital music streaming’ (via MeFi, which has an interesting digression into the virtues of relative vinyl weights) / you do it to yourself, part 26. If ‘Twitter is the Stasi for the Angry Birds generation‘ (according to Stewart Lee), then are smart doorbells creating a global surveillance network? / Don’t believe the alien hype, for Aliens Wouldn’t Need Warp Drives to Take Over an Entire Galaxy, Simulation Suggests. So where are they? / a selection of long-form pieces about scams and con-artists.

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The architecture of revenge

Explore the Autobus Park No.7, ‘Kyiv’s Soviet Modernist Vehicle Graveyard’ (via Architecture of Doom) / The Design of the Roland Juno oscillators (via cdm) / related, creating the pads from Pacific State / the men who collect houses. Related, is it a house, is it a boat? Arkup / new music release strategy: bury your album on Orkney / vintage UFO sounds. Arguably not authentic / a short pictorial history of spite houses / grim Amazon landfill practices uncovered.

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Ephemeral links

Things from here and there. The Zagato Zele / The Topography of Africa, old relief maps / Norwegian sounds from Monolia / possessed pianos by Them / a model of Dawson’s Heights in South London / The ‘visual beauty’ of bricked-up windows, photographs by Andy Billman / a massive broadcast archive from the BBC: Genome / Our Little Darlings, ‘a music collective specialising in experimental pop and ambient’ / the death of the in-flight magazine / whatever happened to Eddie Munster? / some fun typefaces for 2021 / amazing timewarp house for sale / Electric Eel, a newsletter / Sex Pistols map of London / Unbore, a platform for the intersection of arts, life sciences and technology / how we made Doin’ the Do.

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S/he moves in mysterious ways

The mystery of Salvator Mundis, a question of attribution, provenance, and the careful shifting hundreds of millions of dollars around the world. Via The Guardian. There are estimated to be several billion dollars worth of art tucked away in these shadowy facilities. More reading: Inside the Luxembourg free port storing riches for the super-wealthy; Behind Closed Doors: A Look At Freeports; The Role of Freeports in the Global Art Market / other things. The Periodic Table of Factory Records / The Flood is a monumental artwork by John Simpkins commissioned by George R. Stroemple / a proper internet rabbit hole awaits: from the excellent 50 Years of Text Games newsletter, the story of 1992’s Silverwolf, a game that encompasses and epitomises the (deliberately) blurry mythos of St. Bride’s School, a quasi-mystical strand of feminism and Victorian romanticism (the RTÉ Archives are an absolute treasure trove, by the way) / the Monty Hall Problem / a tour of Charles Jenck’s Cosmic House, sonon to open as a museum / we missed this: Lucy Sparrow’s Bourdon Street Chemist / some music blogs: Gorilla vs Bear; We Love That; Obscure Sound.

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Click, clack

Another collection of disparate links. We’re long out of the Lego game, but their sets continue to be interesting. This world map looks a little intense, however. This Typewriter is fun / see also Lego bass. Not a kit / Golf Ball for sale / Photographer Updates Postcards Of 1960s Resorts Into Their Abandoned Ruins, via MeFi. Also via MeFi, the mid-century pre-fabricated home, a Flickr set / animated movie posters: Star Turnz / music by Conifold / an interview with Jason Pierce. Related, ‘A monkey could play one note. But could a stoned monkey?’ / musings on Ambergris / a new issue of Wallpaper* magazine / where is your pointer? Someone will be along to show you / J.G.Ballard takes you Towards Crash.

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Space, sliders and spheres

A collection of links that mostly speak for themselves. A Brief History Of Gasoline: A Century And A Half Of Lies, the first of a ten part series at Jalopnik that explores the toxic culture of misinformation around fossil fuels, starting with the addition – and removal – of lead / relevant to our interests: The Tactile Beauty of Buttons, Meters, Knobs and Dials, a treasure trove of links and reminiscences / similar analogue vibes: Cross-stitch synths / also related, a comprehensive post about the work of Vangelis / move over TVGoHome: What happened to the kidnapped super horse? Vanilla Ice investigates the mysterious disappearance of Shergar in 1983 / Cuprinol Shed of the Year 2021 entrants / IanVisits on London’s last remaining pedestrian railway crossing / Buying a pink NFT cat was a crypto nightmare / related, the interoperability hell of modern gadgets / the elephant in the room, just one of the Everyday Experiments exploring new applications for AR / sort of related, Echolocation, an installation by artist Mat Collishaw / the evolution of screens in cars / a new Podcast from Wallpaper* mag about objects lost and found. Related, Remembrance of things past: ’10 readers on the lost possessions they will mourn for ever’ / How Self-Replicating Spacecraft Could Take Over the Galaxy / related, all about the Bernal Sphere concept.

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Birth, school, work, death

TONTO, ‘The Original New Timbral Orchestra’, the invention of Malcolm Cecil, who died last month. Listen to Stevie’s Wonder Men for more insight into the innovation, as well as the album by Tonto’s Expanding Head Band / farewell to Ken Garland, designer, writer and educator / farewell to Eric Carle, writer, illustrator and caterpillar wrangler / Japan’s karoshi culture was a warning. We didn’t listen / Holm, ambient post-rock from Zurich / Mudhoney, live at the Fulham Greyhound, London, in March 1989 / sculptures by Matthew Simmonds / portrait painting by Isabelle Watling / generative art by Nakauchi Kiyoshi / Zombies and Ghosts, ‘In 21st-century finance capitalism, residential buildings are valued less as homes than as investment assets. The results are eerily underpopulated cities and bleak unfinished suburbs.’

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It’s a blimp, Frank

How Washington Got Hooked on Flying Saucers: ‘We must hold Team Space Poltergeist to the levels of skepticism, seriousness, and scrutiny it pretends to demand’. Instead, we heartily recommend a dose of Metabunk (via MeFi) / The Mill House, by Wingårdhs / art by Lauren Drescher / photography by Philip Butler (via Sesion de Madruga) / art by Henrik Simonsen / deliberate pareidolia: Studio Likeness / an appreciation of the architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha / sort of related, Cats of Brutalism / Zosya make modern games for old computers, including this new driving game / how Japanese technology shaped dance music / see also Land of the Rising Sound, the story of Roland / the fight to save Saudi Arabia’s modernist heritage / the demolition of Kensington Town Hall in 1983, at The Library Time Machine / ‘Male Aggression Now Playing Everywhere’: a fascinating, and hugely dated, piece about Hollywood agents from 2002.

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This and that and everywhere else. Art by Katherine Lam / art by Beth Rodway / art by Daisy Gin1sberg / an entire Rush gig with only the unaffected guitar tone and nothing else / ThanAverage, compare and contrast. Depressing / revisiting the music of Rachel’s / Harnessing the Dystopian Dread of the Brutalist Tower Block, ‘The real-life British buildings behind J.G. Ballard’s harrowing “High-Rise.”‘ / Cinemagraphs, a subreddit / the chaos of Crossrail. Two miles to walk to contractors’ toilets; designs that ran behind the construction schedule; the wrong kind of contracts (‘The more times Crossrail asked one of the companies to re-do something the more they had to pay them’) / the current UFO flap is gathering momentum, despite being founded mostly on hearsay and a small collection of easily debunked videos. The countercultural narrative has run through UFOlogy since the earliest days. In the modern era, conspiracies feel more harmful than playful. Some good discussion here / Racism and cocktail culture: The whitewashed history of your favorite drinks / Tokyo Nude, photographic art by Rumi Ando. Safe for work / a photo-essay on British mosques / you do it to yourself: Amazon’s Ring is the largest civilian surveillance network the US has ever seen / My Teenage Band, an instagram / old piece, but fascinating insight into aristocracy, eccentricty and psychedelics / music by Condor Gruppe / there were a bunch of great bands on Wrong Speed Records.

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Happy accidents

A selection of old and new things. The Accidental Observer, an abandoned tumblr / Le Neuvième Art, another old tumblr of hard line comic illustrations / Una Vida Moderna, mid-century modern in Mexico and Detroit, a tumblr / art by Chris Turnham / Trashed: how the UK is still dumping plastic waste on the rest of the world / Delia Derbyshire: The Myths and the Legendary Tapes / People Map USA, People Map UK (via Spark Edition) / calling for a flat and level Kanvas at Cartographers Without Borders / Neil’s Speed Writer, a focused writing tool / Pippin Barr’s The Nothings Suite: ‘… you get to see each game engine’s idea of what “nothing” (or at least no effort) looks like when you set out to make a game with it.’ / pixel games by Machine Screen / photography by Sean David Bradley / post-rock music project, Unknown Replica / Erik Kessels’ excellent ‘In almost every picture‘ series continues / Sierra Nevada Airstreams, old school RV stories.

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Where did you see it last?

One of the first analogies we ever had for ‘things’ was a website like a filing cabinet, a place into which stuff could be placed for later retrieval. Today, even our archives need archives (thank you to the kind people, usually PRs, who pop up every now and again and request that we change a broken URL from 2011. Even if we knew how to do this, broken URLs serve as empty manila folders in the filing cabinet; tantalising but infuriating). Writer Craig Robertson’s piece on The Filing Cabinet for Places Journal delves into the history of organising information, a task that swiftly threatens to overwhelm every collective endeavour unless it is snapped into place with logic and consistency at an early stage.

Robertson traces the gendered advertising of early filing cabinets, and how the object came to represent bureaucratic stasis: “Today a cabinet jam-packed with files symbolizes the particular anxiety that is provoked by our awareness that paper records can create an alternative paper-based reality to which officials reflexively defer.” (shades of Douglas Adams: “It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.”). The piece also delves into the evolution of the ‘desktop metaphor’ in computer interfaces, of which the original filing cabinet was an integral part. His chance discovery of a ‘Mr Google’ from 1921 is also worth a mention. Closely related, ‘The Memex Method: When your commonplace book is a public database’. Cory Doctorow on writing, being online, writing online and how blogs function as a weird in-between space between thought and finished work. Both pieces are well worth a read if, like us, you struggle with the often contradictory values of ‘file and forget’ and ‘write down to remember’.

Some other things. Paintings by Francine Hsu Davis / When Cell Phone Towers Cosplay as Trees, photographs by Annette LeMay Burke, via tmn, which also links to Which country’s Emergency Alert System siren is the most alarming? / a deep dive into a painting by Alice Neel / the ‘opaque industry’ of superyacht design, construction and ownership. Perhaps Bellingcat could look into the fleet allegedly belonging to one Mr Putin, but helpfully ‘owned’ by a bunch of his friends. Related, the story of the vintage yacht Nahlin, now owned by James Dyson. Big boats are shuffled around a very small pool of very rich people / a bit of tech-driven juvenalia, What Three Rude Words? See also Four Kings Maps / upcoming post-rock project by Held by Trees / Behind Closed Doors, a YouTube channel about usually inaccessible architecture presented by Tarek Merlin (via Wallpaper*). Urban exploration with an invitation.

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Deep dive

A selection of things. Cursed Render, a tumblr / art at the near-sighted monkey / tips and tricks for Field Recordings / Water Geomaids, synchronised swimming photography by Brad Walls / drone sounds by Gjør Styggedom / instrumental post rock by LITE from Japan / Red Light Skyscraper, post-rock from Siena, Italy / FORT, ‘cinematic instrumental post-rock’ from Wales / Art that accidentally predicted the future / 8 Popular Shows Recreated in LEGO (the original headline is classic SEO bait) / The dark future for the world’s greatest violin-makers / paintings by Steven Platt / paintings by Teagan White / track Sharks!

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Icy wastes

If Any Living Inuk Knew, ‘Louie Kamookak has been on a 40-year quest to solve the Franklin mystery—for himself and for his people’ / related: Building Terror, ‘Scratch building a 1:48 scale model of HMS Terror’ / Wired has called it: An obituary for the internal combustion engine. Perhaps a trifle early, but when it comes it won’t be unexpected. Sort of related, The world’s most beautiful gas stations / writers recall their worst pitches / the Guardian recalls its worst mistakes / power pop by Ryan Flynn / saturated portraits by Miles Aldridge / photographs by Patrick Joust / low poly animals. A good band name / Paperback Paradise.

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