Spam shacks, metal maps and the bunker mentality

Spam Architecture, a project by Alex Draglescu: objects ‘generated by a computer program that accepts as input, junk email. Various patterns, keywords and rhythms found in the text are translated into three-dimensional modeling gestures.’ / par temeritas, a tumblr. As always, be wary of jumping into a tumblr in a work environment / Here, I taped this!, a tumblr-powered foray into mixtape archives / see also Mixtape Madness / 2DM Blogazine, media and more / two renderings of the Lower Manhattan Expressway at Kelvin’s Photostream. See also the 1970s architecture and design set / The Ark Magazine, music and more / Brainwashed, more music / Spectral Futurist, a tumblr / we love the Korg Monotron.


Margate’s Last Winter, ‘the Turner Contemporary (opening on 16th April 2011 if there’s anyone who didn’t know yet) is more than the perfect tonic for local business, it’s the magic pill.’ / How the Banks Want to Make China Sick — and Broke. Includes a fabulous spaghetti-like diagram of the complexities of Obamacare (pdf). Trying to find an equivalent for the NHS. This clearly isn’t it / Prosthetic Knowledge, a tumblr / The Case of the Disappearing Teaspoons: longitudinal cohort study of the displacement of teaspoons in an Australian research institute / Horror and Glamour, a fashion tumblr / the internet mapping project, an abandoned attempt at automated mapping, versus the internet mapping project, a cluster of hand-drawn maps of online spaces. a good visual round-up of large scale pieces of land art at DRB.


It’s probably safe to conclude that there is now a de facto mode of online presentation of creative content. The years of flailing around trying to corral bite-sized chunks of news, professionally shot imagery, film, scans, stills, camera-phone snaps, fragments of design, fashion and product shots have finally resolved into an (almost) universal format: masthead above a big lead image, bolstered by a little strip of thumbnails below. It’s a dull but undeniably functional solution, one that splices the immediacy of the weblog with the conventions of print. Many of our favourite websites use it in one form or another: Coudal, tmn, design observer, wallpaper, monocle, etc., etc. Broadly speaking, the more highly styled the content, the more diaphanous this waffle iron grid becomes. Sites like Showstudio or Nowness cloak their fashion-driven editorial with portals that ape old school screen media, the flickering cinema screen, the wall of cathode-ray tubes burbling away. The chief irony is just as soon as the internet model has settled down with an evolved, functional way of doing things, the arrival of the touchscreen pad has both encouraged and aggravated designers into creating a whole new approach to editorial presentation. We can’t help thinking that content is the loser in all these upheavals; each successive overhaul is like a fine-meshed sieve, through which editorial gets pushed, losing a little more of itself in the process.

The monumental Map of Metal is a fine piece of curation (and linked before). We also like this work in progress, the Metal Map v0.2 by Iain Johnston, which takes a more academic approach: ‘Produced by parsing Wikipedia pages for links in the same sentence as “influence” and “inspire”, and recursing over those containing “metal” and “genre” or “band”. Start point is “Death Metal”. Edges are undirected as yet, due to the difficulty of parsing variants on “influences” and “influenced by” etc, but indicate that one node is at least related to another.’ Larger version here: it’s like an impenetrable chart of a complex galaxy. An interactive version would be even better.


Images of abandoned bunkers by Jonathan Andrew at White Zine (via SpaceInvading). Here’s another typology and interest validated and sustained by the internet. The ‘bunker’ is such a fringe structure, once of interest only to academics and architects, but now a 21st century relic, a holy object that embodies lost ideologies and aesthetic strategies. Their regular appearance as photographic subjects imply that bunkers embody some kind of nostalgia, but a nostalgia for what? Is it for a forgotten strand of neo-brutalist futurism? Is it the same fusion of visceral thrills and fear that drives the ever-more elaborate and evocative post-apocalyptic landscapes of video games? Or is it the same masochistic admiration for expressways and ring roads and shopping centres that modern ruins that exists beneath the surface of image-driven digital culture. There is little or sense of the historical resonance of these schemes and structures, simply their combination of immediacy and visual interest that does so much to pique the browsing eye.

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