Friday, 21 January 2022

6x6

wheelie bins: a collection of municipal-issue recycling bins from across the UK—via Pasa Bon! 

filmový plakát: a gallery of vintage Czech movie posters  

1 000 trees: drone footage showcases Heatherwick studios’ Shanghai shopping centre  

northwoods baseball sleep radio: a fake game with no jarring sounds designed for podcast slumber  

holkham bible picture book: a 1330 curiosity that illustrates select passages from the Old and New Testaments  

the great british spring clean: projects and programmes (see also) sponsored by Keep Britain Tidy

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

summa doctrinæ christianæ

Venerated on this day on the occasion of his death in 1597, Dutch-born Jesuit priest Saint Pieter Kanis is regarded as a Doctor of the Church and a major figure of the counter-Reformation and successor to Saint Boniface as apostle to the Germans. Falling in with the Society of Jesus during college in Köln, Canisius became an influential preacher and writer, touring the university circuit through Austria, Moravia, Bohemia, Poland and Switzerland, at a pivotal time in church politics. Many intellectuals championed Protestantism throughout Europe, reducing the esteem of Catholic doctrines and making it seem to be the faith of the unenlightened and ignorant, but Canisus’ persuasive arguments (widely translated and propagated) reinforced beliefs that Catholicism was reasoned and rational and won back lapsed converts in Bavaria and other enclaves. Adopted in the official catechism during the Council of Trent, among Canisius’ contributions include adding the invocation “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners” to the Ave Maria prayer.

Friday, 26 November 2021

7x7

limerent limerick: help in recognising unhealthy obsessions and how to work one’s way out of intrusive think—hopefully through bawdy rhymes 

there and back again: Gene Deitch’s animated short The Hobbit—the first such adaptation  

roll for perception: a collection of resources, a florilegium from a Society for Creative Anachronism member for the LARP community—via Mx van Hoorn’s cabinet of hypertext curiosities  

avenue of the sphinxes: a restored promenade between Luxor and Karnak opened with fanfare  

opiate for the masses: drug use in Antiquity 

mlhavý: Martin Rak’s fog-draped forests in Saxon-Bohemia—see previously 

here’s mud in your eye: a select glossary of beer and imbibing terminology—via Strange Company’s Weekend Link Dump


 

Saturday, 9 October 2021

7x7

the boy on the bike: a trip down Golden Hill in Shaftesbury, Dorset with a beloved bread advert directed by Ridley Scott with music by Dvořák  

dedication—devotion, turning all the night time into the day: more on the hypothesis (see previously) that the Dire Straits song can improve any movie ending 

the hauntening: various AIs try their hand at spookifying, exorcising Victorian mansions—previously

outbreak: a timelapse of COVID-19 cases in the United States over the past eighteen months 

just the punctation: what text without words reveals to authors about their style—via Waxy  

abecedarium: a 1968 Alphabet (previously) of the Dada movement hosted by Hans Richter (caution, some rapid, flashing images) 

rašínovo embankment: revitalised Prague riverfront features vaulted arches for cafes and gallery spaces

Saturday, 7 August 2021

bildersturm

Due to the above titled iconoclasm movement that left many Catholic churches bereft of their religious symbols and saintly relics from Protestant furore that sought to destroy what was regarded as idolatrous figures (see previously) during the Reformation of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Vatican ordered suitable replacements be found and promptly installed.

Thousands of skeletal remains were exhumed from the catacombs of Rome, lavishly dressed and decorated, like this day’s celebrant, Donatus of Münstereifel, reportedly a second century Roman soldier and martyr. Quickly rising through the ranks after enlisting, Donatus (sharing his feast day with several other liked-named saints) was part of the famed XXII. Legion—known as Fulminatrix, the thundering ones, and was assigned to the personal security detail of Marcus Aurelius (previously). Engaged in the Marcomannic Wars on the Danube march, the legion was outnumbered and nearly defeated until saved by a sudden storm that frightened off the Goths and Samaritans. Although the emperor wanted to credit his magician with summoning the storm, Donatus insisted it was his Christian prayer circle and gave thanks to God. The emperor had them all killed. Said to have been entombed in the Catacombs of Saint Agnes, Donatus’ remains were re-discovered by Pope Innocent X in 1646 and translated to the town on the Rhein near Bonn, acclaimed patron and protector from lightning strikes and invoked for a good grape harvest. Popular throughout the Rhineland as well as Donauland, Donatus also enjoyed a cultus in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Luxembourg, Slovakia and Austria.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

visitors revisited

Calvert Journal directs our attention by way of a tribute album of the soundtrack to the 1981 science fiction film Visitors from the Galaxy (Gosti iz galaksije / Monstrum z galaxie Arkana) from Yugoslav-Czechoslovak director Dušan Vukotić. Thirteen tracks from nine international electronic music artists play homage to the original score that accompanies a hotel doorman who is an aspiring writer constantly beset by distraction who one day encounters his literary creations, an android family from a distant galaxy and their pet Mumu. Here a preview of the musical anthology at the link above.

Thursday, 17 June 2021

avonymic

As Iceland drops fees and bureaucratic onus to change one’s (to opt out of the matronymic or patronymic construction scheme) name and gender marker, the Czech Republic is poised to enact legislation that would reform the centuries old requirement for feminised surnames, further dismantling the patriarchy. If successful, all women will be able to choose whether or not to formally adopt the “-ová” suffix upon marriage and buck the declension rules of the language—exemptions granted in rare cases when the betrothed intends to live outside of Czechia or marries a foreigner. There is a heated debate between progressives and purists. Though many media outlets have chosen not to respect the naming convention, the rule applies to public figures as well with activist and tennis star Martina Navratilova rendered in the domestic press as Martina Navrátilovaová.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

prestavba

Once again via Waxy as part of a year-long celebration on a half-century of text games (previously) we are directed towards the BASIC narrative distributed on cassette tape from programmer Miroslav Fídler commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the suppression of the Prague Spring by Warsaw Pact troops, allowing players to relive events and make different choices for potentially better outcomes. Such subversive software (see also) was of course not tolerated by the government and many risked their livelihoods and lives in creating and sharing such programs.

Saturday, 20 March 2021

john of nepomuk

Though not canonised until centuries later and then fêted on 31 May, abbot Jan z Pomuku was martyred on this day in 1393 (see previously) on orders of Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia by tossing him off the Charles Bridge into the Vltava for refusing to divulges the secrets that the queen had confessed to him. For his determination to keep from breaching confidentiality and for the manner of his death, John of Neopmuk was made patron of discretion and invoked against floods and drownings, often appearing in statue form on bridges, including on the above Karlův most. For Wenceslaus’ own popularity and continued reign, killing the queen’s confessor was tantamount to what the death warrant of Thomas à Becket did for Henry II.

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

axonometric projection

Via Things Magazine, we discover the portfolio of Margarethe Fröhlich (*1901 - †2001), architectural illustrator and modeller, who created straightforward yet expressive interiors to allow clients to preview their rooms with furnishings. Working in Munich, Prague, London and then New York, Fröhlich collaborated with Raymond Loewy (previously) and went on to teach at Columbia University. The title refers to the specific foreshortening techniques that allows a viewer to perceive more than one side of an object on a flat surface without overt distortion by skewing the axes and angles. In contrast to the auxiliary view of an ensemble depicted from one of the primary presentations—that is, front, back, left, right bottom or top, an axonometric picture does not privilege any principle axis and instead creates the illusion—the lines of sight—of two in parallel. More to explore at the links above.

Friday, 19 February 2021

6x6

seven minutes of terror: Perseverance lands on Mars, beginning its search for signs of past life  

cyborg tomato: AI Weirdness (previously) generates its own mascot—plus others  

polar flare: examining every map projection and how it distorts our world view at once—see previously  

simon says: a vast archives of electronic handheld and table-top games and consiles from decades past—via Swiss Miss  

fabian society: capitalism coexists with constructivism in Czech city of Zlín  

hello world: the newest Martian probe beams back its first images

Monday, 1 February 2021

cosmic bowl

Declaring that geometry preceded the origin of things and “was coeternal with the divine mind” and supplying God with the patterns for creation, our old friend Johannes Kepler was eager to insert and integration harmony and mathematics into the accepted world view and contrived a model that the famed astronomer believed would fully describe the Universe through a set of perfectly aligned shapes within one another.

To this end, in February of 1596 Kepler sought the patronage of Friedrich von Württemberg to not only forward his vision with continued studies and publications but also create an artifice and artefact as a demonstration—his model of the Cosmos set in silver with the planets cut of precious stones and dispense alcohol that corresponded to the celestial bodies on tap through unseen pipes—Mercury paired with brandy and Mars a vermouth &c. Wanting to compartmentalise the labour however of the craftsmen he commissioned and not failing to realise that the orbits of the planets were not spherical but rather ellipses, the pieces did not fit together as planned. Mortified by his mistake, Kepler redoubled his efforts and though not completely forsaking his quasi-mystical theories arrived on his revolutionary laws of planetary motion and moved away from the belief in the perfection of circular motion which the Copernican model espoused, culminating in three laws that still hold to this day.

Friday, 13 November 2020

jz

Born this day in 1699, Johann Zach (†1773, also called by the Czech equivalent Jan) was a versatile Bohemian composer, violinist and organist who helped bridge musical traditions from the old Baroque style to the emerging Classical one, punctuated with counterpoint (the clavier vs the orchestra) and the so called style galant, and importantly incorporated Italian influences with folk music from his native land—though his eccentricities and difficult personality made it hard for him to secure employment or keep a positon for long. Despite this reputation and temperament, Zach did hold the office of Kapellmeister for the court of the Prince-Elector and Archbishop of Mainz for over a decade which were among his most productive years, including the performance below of his Stabat mater (a hymn to Mary, setting to music the first line—the incipit—from the Council of Trent’s liturgical sequence, Stabat mater dolorósa—the sorrowful mother was standing).

Monday, 26 October 2020

7x7

letterpress: an appreciation for Peter Pauper publishing  

no retiring wall flower: a fascinating look at the hydraulics of star fish  

geologic record: a gallery of some of the stranger amber fossils found  

truly toastmasters: learn effective communication techniques from a Massachusetts Institute of Technology lecture honed over four decades  

jindřich halabala: rediscovering the classic furniture and signature style of a Czechoslovakia designer  

via di propaganda: the history of the street in Rome speaks to design and dogma  

hot off the presses: Distributed Proofreaders celebrates the uploading of its forty-thousandth volume

Friday, 16 October 2020

valerie and her week of wonders

Debuting in theatres on this day in 1970, the cinematic adaptation by director Jaromil Jireš of the eponymous 1935 novel Valerie a týden divů from Czechoslovakian surrealist writer Vítězslav Nezval, the disorientating horror film is considered a pioneering part of the scene’s New Wave movement (see also). This exploration sexual awakenings through a vampiric lens blends in elements of classic folklore structure, including a talisman in the form of heirloom earrings, stolen, bartered-over and ultimately swallowed for protection. Below is the movie in its entirety dubbed into Italian and with English subtitles.

Thursday, 15 October 2020

6x6

mega project: unrealised plans from the 1930s to divert the Thames and reclaim land in central London—via Things Magazine  

messiner effect: researchers achieve room-temperature super conductivity with a novel metallic hydrogen alloy—via Kottke 

crying wolf: a misinformation training exercise (see also) in Nova Scotia goes awry—via Super Punch  

sea of seven colours: a tour of a pristine island reserve off the coast of Colombia 

minuet: Коробейники was not Tetris’ only theme tune  

karlův most: deconstructing and rebuilding a fourteenth century bridge in Prague to span the Vltava

Saturday, 3 October 2020

zwiebelzopf

Visiting a small harvest festival nearby held on Germany Unity Day, H and I looked for some autumn accents for the house and found several stalls selling traditional onion braids (Zwiebelzöpfe). 

Sometimes also incorporating garlic bulbs, the braids adorned craftily with dried wild flowers were not customarily only for decorative and storage, preservative purposes but moreover for the notion that the power of the talisman would stave off illness and harm from hearth and home. Right now we can all use all the help we can muster. Singly, onions were worn as amulets in medieval times to ward off the plague, and a New Year’s Eve custom (divination from onions is called cromniomancysee also) in various regions, especially in the Erzgebirge, called for the dicing of an onion into twelve sections and sprinkling each bowl with salt to forecast the precipitation for each month of the year to come as the moisture drawn out of each section by the next morning would predict that month’s rainfall.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

boulevardier

Via Plain Magazine, we are alerted to conclusion and showcase of superlative snapshots from dotArt Urban 2020 photo awards and exhibition in partnership with Trieste Photo Days.
Shifting through over ten thousand submissions split among different categories—street, people, etc.—the jury has selected a number of finalists to contend for the top prize to be announced in October which will meanwhile be available to peruse on the contest’s online gallery. We especially liked this black-and-white picture of a scene in Prague from the perspective of a bicycle rack from Gabriele Altin, which really evokes the art in the sense of extending flânerie. Champion your favourites and find much more to explore at the links above.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

6x6

nestbox: Czech firm designs a modular trunk extension to turn any car into a camper

kintsugi court: a rundown basketball blacktop restored with the ancient Japanese art that cherishes the cracked

your 2020 bingo card: researchers discover a population of sharks thriving in an undersea volcano

earth science: a treasury of minerals mapped out—via Maps Mania

green tea ice cream: Linda Diaz’ soulful rendition wins the NPR Tiny Desk competition

cosmic architechtonics: multipart exploration of Eastern Bloc monolithic housing estates

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

možnosti dialogu

Courtesy of Weird Universe, we are introduced to the portfolio of retired Czech filmmaker Jan Švankmajer through his surreal 1982 stop-motion Dimensions of Dialogue.
Lauded by those who claim Švankmajer as their influence and inspiration including Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam, the award-winning short features first ornately articulated Arcimboldo-like visages that engage in eternal conversation, hybridising and then wearing down the ornamentation and reducing one another to constituencies of efficiency and economy. The second and final segments explore other avenues of interlocution and have equally consumptive, bluntingly transformative outcomes. Other works include re-animating lost and everyday objects to tell stories from Edgar Allen Poe, Lewis Carroll and others.