Keep it short and simple

Crows, a series by Marten Lange / Photographing the Impact of California’s Water Crisis, by Mustafah Abdulaziz for the New York Times / colour guide from 1692 at Colossal / grand photographs of mountains by Tim Hall.

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Some interesting things

Some interesting things / an interview with painter Eva Mansdorf at Painting Perceptions / Apologia is hosting an open forum for links about ‘digital space and fabricated realities’ / Herzog & de Meuron reflect on the decade-long process of building the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg / The Optic Cloak is a new sculpture by Conrad Shawcross, with accompanying book and film by Pentagram / design by Mathew Lucas / photography by Seamus Nicolson / Chest of Drawers, a creative collective / neat 3D architecture for a game called Woodville / Dragons’ Den: the Intellectual Property blog / denudees, a blog about the nude in art / Visual Pleasure, a blog about figurative painting / illustrations by Romain Trystram / the Free Car Brochure blog.

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Flying my bike past the gates of the factories

The Re-birth of the Company, a book about the creeping return to the glory (?) days of the Corporate Town. Wikipedia has a list of company towns. We’re living in an age when corporations are suggesting they sift through your posting history and base your insurance policies on what they find: ‘In contrast, evidence that the Facebook user might be overconfident – such as the use of exclamation marks and the frequent use of “always” or “never” rather than “maybe” – will count against them.’ Little wonder that some people disengage altogether and chose to spend their time hunting imaginary aliens in the far reaches of imaginary space / paintings by Clare Haward / a glass slide / music by Thidius / like punk never happened: Smash Hits archive, via Daniel Gray.

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World building and the building of worlds

More design and illustration. Beautiful objects by Santi Zoraidez, including Embedded / Habitat 316/D, an imagined socialist dystopia by Marcin Wolski / Airport of the Future, illustrations by Sam Chivers / illustrations by Federico Babina / Beware the Bibliophilia, a splendid tumblr / Mother Ludlene’s Hole in Moor Park, 1790, by Samuel Grimm, a cave near Farnham that housed ‘the White Witch of Waverley’ / Don’t make fun of renowned author Dan Brown.

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Bang

Affadavit magazine, taking ‘a middle route between in-depth essays and short-form arts journalism. It is designed to be engaging and precise, grounded in the moment as it moves from topic to topic’ / Blackpaint’s Blog, a site about painting / Architecture of Doom tackles prison architecture / The Dutch Mountains are coming / crash tests, old vs new: 1962 Cadillac vs 2002 Cadillac / 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air vs 2009 Chevrolet Malibu / 1998 Volvo 940 vs 2009 Renault Modus / 2015 Nissan Tsuru vs 2016 Nissan Versa.

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Vaguely seasonal wanderings

Scenes From Underground, recent troglodytic photography collected at The Atlantic / Fabian Krueger’s images of Eltz Castle in Germany / paintings by Jon Redmond / the great Obscure Media subreddit / the video artwork of Cao Fei, ‘flitting between real and virtual worlds‘ / 40 years of change in central London: the Fitzrovia Community Newspaper Archive / animated illustrations by Rafael Varona / paranormal investigations: Should Goddard’s Squadron Drop Dead Fred? / the dark side of Rentaghost, a ‘essentially about failure’ / see also the Science of Ghosts (now defunct) / also related, England’s most interesting ghosts, which sent us off to find more about balloon jumping, the turn of the century equivalent of wingsuits.

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Wham!!!

The story of Action Comics, the blood-soaked weekly for 70s kids / Atlas Obscura maps its 10,000 global points of interest / Robin Davey is an illustrator and animator / some online magazines: Klat Magazine; Flow Magazine; Paste Magazine; Little Atoms / the HyperNormalisation playlist, get all your spooky millennial sounds / take home a nude at the annual auction held by Paddle8 / Writing Cities, ‘a meandering exploration of land and community and history, public space and architecture…’.

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Other half living

This year’s Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gift Catalogue is here, so the Christmas panic is over. Thirty-six classic children’s first editions, a steal at $100,000. The Rose-gold private plane also caught our eye, although the Cobalt Valkyrie is mean enough without a special paint job. And the ‘week of living at three English estates for $700,000 seems like a very time-poor and hurried way of living out your Downtown fantasies. Especially when a half-decent Scottish pile will cost about the same amount.

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Books about things

Grim London, a macabre map of the capital / McMansion Hell, the ten circles of housing insanity / A Brief History of the Studio as an Instrument, over at the Ableton website / The Adventures of Tintin: Breaking Free, anarchism from 1988 / How London Architecture has evolved, a documentary / yet another Guardian piece, perhaps a bit more nuanced, on gentrification / what are some ‘gripping, non-fiction books about things‘? / beautiful illustrations by Josie Shenoy / Ursula K.Guin on The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, via MeFi, on the skewed historical, cultural and fictional balance between ‘hunting’ and ‘gathering’ / old, and abandoned, the GUIdebook, or Graphical User Interface Gallery / art and paper at Cartolleria / paper cculptures by Makiko Azakami, via Faith is Torment.

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More roads to the future

The Road Not Taken: How we found (and lost) the dream of Personal Rapid Transit, by Adi Robertson. In the utopian timeline (which could sitll happen), these PRT systems could be reborn in the form of self-driving autonomous cars. What will be different, however, is the way they are branded and graded according to status and desire, rather than the ‘one-pod-fits-all’ solution originally proposed / other things. London Social and Functional analysis, 1943 at Mapping London / architectural art by Atelier Olschinsky / design by Stefan Wagner / the mirror maze, totally missed this / New Town Utopia, ‘A documentary film about utopian dreams, concrete realities… and some rather angry puppets’ / the city of natural gas, visions of a fracking town of the future by Jason Lamb / Bradford Unconsidered Trifles, a weblog with a penchant for industrial archaeology / the intricate art of Adam Dant / animated weather map / work by Misha Semenov, including research on the Garden City, visualisations, sketches and urban fantasies / The Angry Architect, a weblog / the illustrations of Kempster and Evans / more modern utopian dreams at Architizer.

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Wired to the world

Stephen Walter’s map of ‘Nova Utopia‘ is a characteristically hyperdense cartographic narrative journey, a ‘a fictionalization of Thomas More’s Utopia, shown now in the present day, 500 years on from when it was first written. The book of 1516 forms its backstory. Certain things that he described remain, like the traces of its 54 elegant towns spread evenly throughout. Its size is roughly the same and it has a prominent bay now named the Mouth of Feo, with its outcrops of rocks and a garrison tower. Many of its towns are now named after the nations exports that are mentioned in the book.’ Loosely based on Abraham Ortelius’ 1596 map of Utopia, it maps out a landscape shaped by a continuous search for meaning. Walter also has beautiful maps of the ‘Rivers of London’ and ‘London Subterranea’, as well as a series on London’s Boroughs / see also The New Illustrated Map of London, available at House of Cally / see also, Utopian town planning, Mormon-style (via MeFi) / also related, ten failed utopian cities / other things. An unofficial guide to building with Lego Technic / Tin Can Forest, a tumblr / it’s been too long since we last looked at Mighty Girl / solar landscape at Sundrop Farms.

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Fleeting satellites

Streets, San Francisco photography by Leigh Merrill (via This Isn’t Happiness) / The Secret Lives of Buildings, a photographic series by Marc Yankus (via Lens Scratch) / Why I bought a Titan II missile silo, a film series / Snoopy in Space / Herve Poulain, the world’s fastest (driving) auctioneer / lablog, ‘architectural voyeurism’ / a spotlight on bespoke bookplates at Bloomfield and Rolfe, rubber stamp specialists / the art of Trevor Paglen, including Nonfunctional Satellites:

‘Developed in collaboration with aerospace engineers, the nonfunctional satellites are space-worthy sculptures designed as small, lightweight satellites that expand to become large, highly reflective structures. Placing one of these objects into low-earth orbit would create a visible “sculpture” in the night sky, visible from the earth below after sunset and before dawn as a bright, slowly moving, flickering star. The sculpture would remain in orbit for several weeks before burning up upon reentry through the atmosphere.’

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Hidden movements

Unknown Tourism, commemorating lost wildlife / the making of Forza 3 / The Bolted Book Facsimile, an ‘exact copy of Fortunato Depero’s 1927 iconic work of avant-garde graphic design and book-making’ / Ghost Photographs, a tumblr / when do dictators visit Geneva? (via tmn) / Manifold Magazine, a late 60s student mathematical fanzine / Dirty Modern Scoundrel, John Grindrod’s concrete blog / Vernacular Furniture, a visual essay at Reading Design.

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Peeks, pokes and beeps

Music: Amber Days; Radiolarium / life in Japan, rendered in 8-bit style / the Map of Alien Invaders, by Jason Thompson / Marble District, quarry photogaphs by Francesco Luciani / revisiting: tiny letters to the web we miss / 20 artists, from photos to final piece. Includes some nudity / a new Curtis drops: HyperNormalisation / sort of related, ‘The Donald Trump In These Allegations Is Not The Complete Monster I Married‘ / an end to the History of Art? Sign the petition / I am a Shapeshifter, a tumblr about technology / 8-bit Slint (via this request for Post-Rock Chiptune). More at 8-bit Rock / related, the pixel game art of Mark Ferrari. The animated versions (with sound) are especially goood / amps and pedals by Robot Graves Industries / paintings by John Lee.

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On the up

Beware the Vibrant, on the misleading language of gentrification. Gentrification is one of those concepts that can only really be observed from a distance; like the apocryphal boiled frog you don’t know it’s happening around you until it’s ‘too late’, if that’s the right term. Related. Who Lives Here Now? A chance to the ‘bad kind’ of gentrification in action? Southwark’s plan for the overhaul of the Old Kent Road is underway. Southwark has poor form in this area, as their underhand behaviour at the Elephant and Castle surely demonstrates (see also our previous posts). Will the OKR be any different? One of the bitter ironies is that the much vaunted car-free cities of the near future could in fact be the most gentrified spaces of all.

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Blow up

Spectacular planetary views at Daily Overview / the world animated in 8-bit art / more clever pixel things at Essenmitsosse / houses in the woods / anapestic tetrameters, the poetic structure of Dr Seuss / Filthy Luker makes massive urban inflatables (via Juxtapoz) / yet more car copying / sculptures by Brian Dettmer, via Faith is Torment / some more London things. The Last Tuesday Society, a literary organisation ‘dedicated to subverting life, the universe and everything bored of the life and world it sees around it seeks to create a new world filled with beauty, wonder and the imagination.’ / author Tom Bolton takes photographs. See also his piece on Ten Vanished, And Vanishing London Experiences / not sure what’s going on here: Sense of Promise, a journey through a series of ‘virtual elixirs’. It did made us wonder about the potential for VR to offer ‘unsafe’ and dangerous spaces. Just as you’d never download an unknown .exe file, will we be issuing warnings about the perils of accessing an unmapped and unexplored virtual world.

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The City Vanishes

Raymond Biesinger, Hans Jenssen and Fabian Oefner are just three of the artists featured in the new Gestalten book ‘Look Inside / the internet of things strikes back / Chinese auto imitation moves on to Porsche / non-fiction by Sarah Wise, including addenda to her books and this thesis on labyrinthine London. See also Tom Bolton’s excellent book Vanished City: London’s Lost Neighbourhoods / today we are discussing the work of Nikolay Synkov / the Wunderkammer has been established by the Hagströmer Medico-Historical Library in Stockholm. It is a treasure trove of things / other stuff. Re-making NES title music / moon photos from the Japanese space agency / the history of city building games / the Puzzle Museum / send messages using Jellytext / clowns to the right of me, clowns to the left of me.

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Worse things happen at sea

A forthcoming academic study by Emma Spence on the world of superyacht acquisition and use lays bare the reality that these objects have very little discernible use value in the traditional anthropological sense. They also don’t function as assets, because they depreciate and cost approximately 5-10% of the purchase price to keep running. They’re therefore the embodiment of ‘conspicuous consumption’, their cost and extravagance beyond justification in an economic sense but presumably highly important in the dance of status / related, My First Gulfstream (via MeFi) / music: Peturbator; great Cure show in Paris from 2008 / paintings by Catherine Kehoe / paintings by Natacha Ivanova / Decoding the Infinite Forest, a photographic series by Douglas J.Eng / landscape paintings by Greta Van Campen / Project Mapping, ‘schematic maps of UK and worldwide rail networks’ / see also the Transit Maps tumblr.

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Lights that never go out

How I came to be banned from the world’s most remote island, Tristan da Cunha, by Simon Winchester. ‘We have an unceasing capacity to make ourselves nuisances, basically.’ / sort of related, the amazing Ship Map / also related, the South Atlantic Anomaly / the history of the Cordouan Lighthouse, France’s oldest / ‘The Invention of the Perfect Cup of Coffee: How the creator of the Aerobie became the King of Java at 76′ (via Snarglr, which is an excellent website) / Looking Good: a visual guide to the nun’s habit.

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Preset potluck

The story of ORCH5, or, theclassical ghost in the hip-hop machine, or how the ORCH5 patch from the Fairlight IIx found its stabby way into hundreds of pieces of music. More on the IIx, and some input from Peter Gabriel / related, The Iconic Sounds Of Synthesis – Vangelis’ Blade Runner Brass Sound, or how the Yamaha CS-80 was used straight out of the box / more music: Powell – Jonny; Long Pike Hollow / computing for preppers. Which technologies will survive when SHTF? / There’s magic in mess: why you should embrace a disorderly desk / Angular Geometry, the daily GIF art of Tyler Haywood.

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