Medium Religion, an exhibition on the relationship between media, scripture, repetition and indoctrination. The show included an image of the Lenin Mausoleum, an object stranded between abstraction and monumentalism and perhaps the first, failed, cryogenic suspension pod. The flawed blend of scientific progress and political in-fighting that underpinned Lenin’s ‘preservation’ is one of the digressions in John Gray recent essay on humanity’s quest for immortality: ‘Unsurprisingly, the primitive cryogenic technology failed to work. The skin of the face had darkened, wrinkles were appearing and the lips had parted. Krasin was adamant that freezing could succeed if a better refrigerator was imported from Germany and double-glazing installed. But the process of deterioration continued, the nose began to lose its shape, one hand was turning greenish-grey, the eyes were sinking in their sockets and the ears were becoming crumpled.’ More from a 1991 NYT article: ‘…for the last 40 years, on Mondays and Fridays, Dr. Debov has placed Lenin [on an operating table] for a checkup and a refreshing daub of embalming fluid on the hands and head. Every year and a half, Lenin is given a bath.’
The Soviets tried to harness science to keep their figurehead and ideology alive. A few decades earlier, in the supposedly rational west, a great upsurge of interest in spiritualism attempted to show the survival of the soul beyond death, a morality-affirming presence that resulted in ‘tens of thousands of scripts [being] produced by different mediums in several countries over a period of more than 30 years. Known as the “cross-correspondences” because they seemed to be linked together, the scripts contained texts claiming to be messages from deceased psychical researchers, including Sidgwick and Myers, which together demonstrated the reality of life after death’ (from the John Gray piece, and also one of the sub-plots in Julian Barnes’ novel Arthur & George). The compelling idea of a world beyond is perhaps the most intriguing challenge to the corporeal world of objects and things. What, if anything, could we take with us? How could we do it? And for what purpose? The funerary object has fallen out of cultural favour, but perhaps a catastrophe or impending peril would turn us all into grave-hoarders.
Bracket, junk jet et al, Abitare on micro-publishing in contemporary architectural practice. It points us in interesting new directions for print, where the lo-fi co-exists with the lavish, and imagery is finally paired with thoughts: [bracket], a publication of ‘architecture, environment, digital culture’, Junk Jet, ‘a collaborative format set up to discuss speculative works on topics of architectures, media, aesthetics, and on electronics’, BUNKKR, a French website (that includes a post on collectif_fact’s Bookshelf Project, which inverts the libraries of prominent critics, creating an installation of strange beauty wherein books that have been regularly read and used are yellower than their crisp white, untouched neighbours. It also nods to the book-as-decorative-object debate referenced last week), the Paper for Emerging Architecture Research, KRITIK, a Swedish publication, the New City Reader, the Manual of Architectural Possibilities, and Shrapnel Contemporary.
Also cited in the above, long-term things favourite Fantastic Journal (there is an inevitable element of circularity to all this linking, back and forth). The recent FJ post on post-modern b-sides is worth a read / Places I go, things I do, a tumblr with a zine-making focus / Google flood map of Australia / Entschwindet & Vergeht on 2010, 12 months of ennui and aggravation occasionally spliced with something exhilerating. Much the same for all of us.
Is Ciudad Evita really a representation of Eva Peron in urban planning? (via electrical audio). Apparently so, although it seems strange that her ‘classic bun‘ should be so prominent rather than her profile / Things Canadians can’t take into America. Includes Kinder Eggs, surprisingly (via, with Nicholson Baker-esque digression) / London in photographs, 1883 / ‘How music-buying habits have changed‘, five of the best small record shops in the UK: Acorn Music, Yeovil, Coda Music, Edinburgh, The Diskery in Birmingham, Dales Records, Tenby and Muse Music in Hebden Bridge. We have a soft spot for Rhythm Records, who used to produce densely printed little A5 booklets of their current stock, designed to be pored over and studied at length.
Found footage of video cameras being dropped, via haddock / it’s been a while since we checked in with Toby Litt, and see that his alphabetised novel project has now reached ‘K’ (King Death). This means we totally missed ‘J’, Journey into Space, which centres on generation ships. Interconnected posts about Journey into Space and the generation ship genre in general. And here’s the obligatory link to the Stanford Torus / Mockitecture on a playground for cars / life with a Pink Lamborghini / the architectural renderings of Robbie Cornelissen / architect Pieter Van den Dorpe has a blog, PYTR 75, a tumblr and Ruimteruis, a place for artistic experiments like the ones below.