Monday, 17 January 2022

from inca to excel

Via ร†on, we quite enjoyed this introduction to the system of knotted fibres called khipu (see also) as an accounting and record-keeping tool of the Wari peoples and spread across the Andean region some fourteen-hundred years ago. Decoded by specially-trained khipukamayuqs, these mobile ledgers were periodically recalled to court authorities to lodge tax-compliance, census numbers, commerce, genealogy and inheritance—and with only a small proportion of museum-holdings deciphered, some holdout the possibility that these data-points were a means to encode the fulness of language.

Monday, 10 January 2022


curiosity cabinet: virtually explore the museum house of Sir John Soane (previously)—via Things Magazine  

glitchy terrain: users and clients report bugs in fly-over features (see previously)—via Super Punch  

debate club: let’s thrash out these ongoing arguments once and for all  

low, heroes, lodger: a look at the Eastern European literature that influenced David Bowie’s Berlin trilogy and beyond  

medico-mechanical gymnastics: the nineteenth century work-out regiment of Gustave Zander—see previously 

 ex libris: a look into some of the great libraries of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Austria

Friday, 7 January 2022

poฤรญtaฤovรก hra

Via Things Magazine, we discover an emulator archive of computer and arcade games created by the Slovak programming community in the late 1980s—available for download in their original versions or as English translations. More at the links above including all exhibits at the National Design Centre in Bratislava.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022


media archive for central england: browse tens of thousands of amateur films—via Things Magazine  

el vaquita: a small town in Chile staged a fake protest to persuade a dog to visit the veterinarian—via Super Punch 

fluid dynamics: cloud waves in the skies of Tenerife 

watery fowls: an unaired pilot (see also) for the 1978 US adaptation of Fawlty Towers, starring Betty White and Harvey Korman  

different realities: American democracy in crisis—via Miss Cellania 

public domain revue: hundreds of thousands of audio recordings made prior to 1923 are free to use as one sees fit

Thursday, 30 December 2021

achievable goals

Courtesy of our friend artificial intelligencer and Smithsonian’s designated futurist-in-residence for next month, Janelle Shane (previously here and here) we are treated to a neural network’s attempt at coming up with a New Year’s resolution. With a few prompts, it generated suggestions like, “Make broccoli the national currency and then paint that,” or “take photos of my toes daily,” and intriguingly “act like a cabbage for a month,” “dress in a way that only a ghost could love,” “throw a birthday party for a tree” and “attempt to find peace living with an army of puppets.” More at the link above and see if you can find a resolution that’s particularly resonant for you. “I will now treat every worm I see as if it is an old friend.”

Wednesday, 22 December 2021


Born this day in 1867 (†1927) in the village Burkhardtsdorf in the western edge of Upper Lusatia, Osmar Heinrich Volkmar Schindler, demonstrating skill as an artist early on was with the support of his uncle enrolled at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts where after his education in portraiture and travels in France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium developed a signature style that mixed elements of Impressionism and Art Nouveau. In 1900, Schindler was invited back to the academy and given a professorship. Better known for his murals and interior decor for both secular and religious buildings of the fin de siรจcle throughout Saxony, works on display include David and Goliath, landscapes of the Sรคchsischen Schweiz and Lake Garda, as well as this muscle-flexing study that has the undivided attention of the art class.

Sunday, 12 December 2021

card catalogue

 Via Memo of the Air—much more to explore there—we quite enjoyed this extensive tread celebrating lauded and versatile actor Katherine Matilda Swinton starring in the role as various modernist libraries (see also), such as the Texas Southern University’s Library Learning Centre, the Hyattsville Library in Prince George’s County, Maryland or this wee, little free library. Keep scrolling for more plus replies from institutions around the world.

Sunday, 7 November 2021

facce di bronzo

Via the always superb Everlasting Blรถrt, we are not only introduced to the sensational discovery of the so-called Riace bronzes in the early 1970s but how the Italian mayor of the namesake town is planning a museum and further excavations on the fiftieth anniversary of their recovery from the waves off the Calabrian coast to see if there are more Greek warrior statues yet to be uncovered. Made in the fifth century BCE using the lost wax casting technique are among the few surviving examples of Greek artistry, most being melted down, and were found by accident by a snooping chemist called Stefano Mariottini in 1972 and are conjectured to be either anonymous Delphic soldiers as part of an ensemble monument to the Battle of Marathon or possibly as depictions of Erechtheus, foster son of Athena and legendary king of Athens, and Eumolpus, son of Poseidon and inventor of viticulture.

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

in the stacks

Prising important insights into the professions of curation, conservation and circulation, a storage facility in Rotterdam is opening its doors to visitors to allow them to peruse the museum’s entire collection, the ninety percent of the art and artefacts that their formerly public-facing galleries could not accommodate, we discover via a thematic round-up from Messy Nessy Chic. We really liked this idea to invite guests behind the scenes and hope that this sort of programme expands.

Tuesday, 26 October 2021


in the stacks: museum curators uncover what may be the oldest depiction of a ghost on an ancient Mesopotamian tablet 

1928 porter: a look at the 1965 short-lived sitcom (see also) My Mother the Car 

this climate does not exist: visualisations of one’s neighbourhood under the climate crisis from Nag on the Lake  

ev: more outstandingly odd electric vehicles from the on-line market Alibaba—via Things Magazine  

reasonable person: “a moron in a hurry” is codified in Anglophone legal statute—via the New Shelton wet/dry 

graphics processing unit: glitch art in medical imaging—via Waxy  

don’t go wasting your emotion: the ABBA classic, as performed by a vampire—via Everlasting Blรถrt

Thursday, 7 October 2021

cyrus charter

Though in possession of the British Museum, the ancient clay cylinder bearing the declaration of king Cyrus the Great, outlining his genealogy and conquest of Babylonia as favourite of the god Marduk and documentation of the end of exile of the Jewish people and allowing them to resettle within the empire was loaned to Tehran on this day in 1971 for a period of sixteen days for the gala celebration of the two-thousand-five-hundredth anniversary of the founding of Persia—see previously, beginning mid-month ten days later. The artefact recovered in 1829 (in Mesopotamia, in modern day Iraq) is considered by many historians as the pioneering attempt to administer and multicultural state with universal human rights and was made the official symbol of Iran in absentia.

Sunday, 19 September 2021

make it another old-fashioned please

We quite enjoyed this guided tour of the digitised holdings of the Wine and Spirits Museum of รŽle de Bendor in south France from Messy Messy Chic with a trans-Atlantic focus on the American invention—or convention rather of the cocktail in their extensive archive of vintage mixology guides from dating from the 1820s to the 1940s, richly illustrated and full to the brim with drinks and sometimes substitute ingredients that limn a certain slice of history.
There are volumes with celebrities’ favourites, menus of famous watering-holes, all gauged for home entertaining (perhaps for us scoff-laws), like the above and rather forlorn frontispiece from William C. Feery’s 1934 Wet Drinks…. for Dry People, which includes one called the Bee’s Knees, one part gin to one part honey, well-mixed and served over ice shavings. Each of the dazzling covers opens and lets one browse the recipes and other tips inside. Peruse these guides and let us know if you discover a new and intriguing favourite. Leave out the cherry, leave out the orange, leave out the bitters and just make it straight rye!

Thursday, 16 September 2021

ivy league

Alumnus of the University of Cambridge and serving as an English minister of Colonial America John Harvard (*1607) made his deathbed bequest on this day in 1638 that his estate go to the “schoale or Colledge founded two years past by the Massachusetts Bay Colony” with the institution so gracious in receiving it, it was so ordered that “the Colledge agreed upon formerly to bee built at Cambridg shallbee called Harvard Colledge.” The clergyman left the university a personal library of around four hundred volumes (since grown into one of the largest academic library systems in the world) and seven hundred seventy-nine pounds sterling—now an endowment in the tens of billions. The school’s corporate charter was to train a literate Puritan ministry but offered a classic, core curriculum based on the English model.

Monday, 6 September 2021

ฤlea iacta est

Via the ever excellent Everlasting Blรถrt, we are directed to this pair of Roman anthropomorphic dice, silver squatting figurines weighted (equitably presumably) to fall in one of six (tesserae, though usually in games in the Empire tossed in threes) positions.

The above phrase attributed to Julius Caesar by the historian Suetonius when the general brought his provincial army into the capital is like other quotations a likely translation from the Greek borrowing from the humorist Menander, «แผˆฮฝฮตฯฯฮฏฯ†ฮธฯ‰ ฮบฯฮฒฮฟฯ‚», let a die be cast in either form the phrase meaning metaphorically reaching a point of no return from whose juncture the decisions are irreversible.


circumhorizon arc: a rare Fire Rainbow photographed—via TYWKIWDBI 

mars & beyond: Walt Disney’s robot pal Garco takes us on a speculative journey in search of extraterrestrial life 

rip: legendary NBC weather man Willard Scott has passed away, aged eighty-seven  

escape artist: immersive exhibits speak to our communal sensory experience  

valley of the dolls: Peerless Playthings pretend pills  

cloudspotting: the World Meteorological Organisation added aspertias as a supplementary feature in 2017 Cloud Atlassee also

Tuesday, 17 August 2021


lowering the bar: a trial lawyer’s endorsement in a whiskey ad illustrates by-gone regulatory period in the US 

blotter art: an LSD museum in San Francisco 

spraycation: Banksy works appear at UK seaside towns Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft  

middle-age spread: comprehensive study finds metabolism stable throughout life and crashes after sixty—via the New Shelton Wet / Dry  

bureau of land management: a celebration of the striking landscape photography of Bob Wick  

o’zbekiston line: a tour of Tashkent’s underground galleries—see also 

 kriegswaffenkontrollgesetz: gentleman outside of Kiel fined for unregistered Panzer

Thursday, 12 August 2021

the matter of facts

Via the always brilliant Nag on the Lake, we are directed to installation above the reception area of the Tokyo National Art Centre of ephemera curated by an architectural studio consisting of fliers, brochures and other promotional material of events, art exhibits, trade shows, concerts, conventions, that were cancelled or delayed due to the pandemic over the past eighteen months that aims to commemorate the city and its many venues by making it a part of collective memory and the shared experience. More to explore at the links above.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

journรฉe du 10 aoรปt

Symbolically, a year to the day after storming of the Tuileries Palace during which the Nation Guard of the Paris commune and confederates from Marseille and Brittany overpowered a detachment of Swiss Guards and took Louis XVI and the royal family into custody, the pivotal event that eventually led to the declaration of a republic, the adjacent Musรฉe du Louvre was officially opened in 1793. Fortified in the late twelfth century to rebuff attacks from on the western side of the city by English Normandy, the name of the palace may be derived from an ancient wolf hunting lodge (lupus, lupara) originally on that site. In 1846, the US Congress charters the Smithsonian Institution (previously), after its benefactor and namesake English mineralogist James Smithson of the Royal Society, dying without an heir, bequeaths an endowment of half a million dollars. By dint of another coincidence, another grand institution of Europe, the Natural History Museum of Vienna (as das k. u. k.—kaiserlich und kรถniglich—Hof-Naturalienkabinette) held its official opening ceremony on this day as well in 1865, sourced from the personally acquisitions of the Double Monarchy, by Emperor Franz Joseph I.

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

dama de elche

Discovered just south of the eponymous private estate on this day in 1897, the intricate limestone bust known as the Lady of Elx is a fourth or fifth century BC Punic-Iberian artefact depicting the Carthage goddess Tanit, the equivalent of Astarte—Romanised as Juno Caelestis. Possibly used as a funerary urn, the originally sculpture would have been polychromed and the coils of her elaborate headdress are called rodetes and once featured on the one peseta bank note.

Monday, 26 July 2021

alternative work site

In a rollicking, wide-ranging look at the precedents for the creator economy in correspondence course—notably of our scribe stenographer Sir Isaac Pitman—and the move that originally tethered us to office space, sourced to in the Uffizi in Florence, where bureaucracy and administration were centralised in 1560 as a cadet branch of the Renaissance and Enlightenment, now a world-class gallery gifted to the city after the Medici line died out.

Afforded the opportunity to work remotely and knowing arguments for compelling staff to return are specious at best—synergy and presence packaged as the benefits we are missing out on away from colleagues I think are the opaque justifications for accountability and the passkeys of those supervisors who like to play house at the office because they’re denied it at home, the informing past is an interesting and advisable lens to re-evaluate custom and workplace culture as crisis and contingency hopefully begin to ebb. Technological advance can be regressive in its demands and requirements to fill the time. Much more to explore and contemplate at Tedium at the link up top.