Taking things apart

The above image is from photographer Todd McLellan’s series ‘Disassembly’. These aren’t even portraits of contemporary complexity, but of relatively ancient items (in technology terms). The neat lines of components, springs, screws, buttons and numbers is almost a parody of the production line, a tacit statement of bewilderment in the face of the machine; we can’t reassemble these things, but just look upon them as abstracted collections of parts. There’s a whole subculture of things organised neatly, a fetish for tasteful order that spills out of mere interior design and into personal curation. It would be unfair to single out any particular blog or tumblr, but there is a vogue for crisp good taste that goes beyond the traditional aspirational imagery of the shelter magazine and enters the realm of private museology.

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Two contrasting approaches to archiving. Gramophone Magazine has a vast archive stretching back to 1923. All the articles have been OCR’d, so you can flip through thumbnails of each issue and bring up the text in copy and pastable chunks. Sadly, this means that countless adverts and other ephemera remains as blurry images, which is a great loss to lovers of this kind of thing. Reminiscent in a way of the binding practices of magazines like Country Life, wherein great chunks of commercial content (in CL’s case the property and art market section) are stripped away when the magazine is bound, effectively neutering its role as a historic document. Related, the website of Dutch publishers ArtEZ Press uses thumbnails to tantalise potential readers, laying out great chunks of (picture-heavy) books on a single page.

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Buildings from the air, plans and axos at Archi/Maps – we’ve probably linked this before but there’s a lot to sift through, such as this plan for a City Airport above the River Thames / Hugo and Marie, a tumblr / The Lifestyle of Jamie Felton, a tumblr / Meet Architect Barbie / explaining an impossible illusion: the Escher waterfall in wood / the 1957 Voisin Biscooter / Endless Sandbox, a weblog (which renders like a Civil War tract on our laptop).

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