Saturday, 8 May 2021

hair like mine

This candid, spontaneous photograph—taken on this day in 2009 by White House official photographer Pete Souza has become an iconic image and represents a milestone in the civil rights struggle in the US.
The five-year-old Jacob Philadelphia was visiting President Obama in the Oval Office along with his family—his father having served as a member of the National Security Staff for the past two years and was departing for another assignment—and quietly asked the above question. In response, Obama bowed down and invited Jacob to touch it and see.


take-away: flatpack pasta designed to morph and fold into containers when cooked  

bogland: photographing the marshes and alluvial plains of Belarus 

baby’s breath: biodegradable face masks blossom into wildflowers  

private issue new age: a soothing 1984 ambient recording that’s a psychoacoustic catalyst designed for release of spiritual and emotional energies 

children’s television workshop: the creators behind Sesame Street’s Teeny Little Super Guy  

forced perspective: giant Bidens and tiny Carters were keeping us awake—an explanation of the confluence of factors via Miss Cellania’s Links 

tableau muet: visualising history and charting epochs with Antoni Jaลผwiล„ski’s “Polish System” 

baibaojia: make your own thread book for safekeeping of sewing items, notions and other small treasures

a night at the roxbury

Released on this day in 1993 as a single from the artist’s debut The Album, the Eurodance number from Kรถlner musician and choreographer Haddaway (written and arranged by Dieter Lรผnstedt and Karin van Haaren whom were waiting for the right singer to take on their project) enjoyed respectable but in comparison with its legacy and iconic status decades later subdued success when it first came out. Though a one-hit wonder, it’s defining of a certain era and transports one there instantly.

Friday, 7 May 2021

and now for a word from our sponsors

Promoting MacLaren’s Imperial Cheese which was advertised nowhere else in US markets, the Kraft Television Theatre had its premiere on NBC stations on this day in 1947, broadcast live weekly from Studio 8-H at 30 Rockefeller Plaza—currently hosting Saturday Night Live, the drama anthology series ran for over a decade and offered hour-long stage plays, both adaptations and unique pieces. Confusingly, ABC launched its own Kraft Television Theatre in October 1953 to promote the new product Cheez Whiz which sponsors later dropped and consolidated under the original time and channel slot. Considered prestige television, it launched the careers of writers and actors including Jack Lemmon, Paul Newman, Leslie Nielsen, Joanne Woodward, Grace Kelly, Cloris Leachman and George C. Scott. The debut episode was Double Door from a play by Elizabeth McFadden about a protective sister entombing another woman in the family crypt to prevent her from marrying her brother. Because of the live nature of the show, very few performances were preserved but here is a short clip from June of 1947.


Though hard to define—via the morning news—with a throughline connecting wine moms, Hogwart’s houses, gender reveal parties and the benevolent narcissism of adulting, binge-watching reruns and their inherent advertising—all these things having nothing in common yet somehow everything, the aesthetic—pronounced chew-GEE, strikes one as something one’s dog could be accused of as much as any one of us (as much as, recursively, the term itself), the opposite of trendy but not borne out of rebellion. Not quite judgmental or condemnatory, it’s a mechanism, a term created to distance ourselves from something once wildly popular then suddenly not. Cheug is a spectrum and I’m sure we all have our particular pet tastes that have come and gone and there is no harm in that.

Thursday, 6 May 2021

rotating snakes

Always worth checking out, Things Magazine, refers us to an absolute treasury of optical illusions (previously) from Professor Akiyoshi Kitaoka, ๅŒ—ๅฒก ๆ˜Žไฝณ of the psychology department of the College of Letters, Ritsumeikan University, best known for his modern interpretations of Gestalt theory and peripheral drift observations and intervention. The pictured is an example of a colour swamp whose apparent inset seems to move upon scrolling. The anomalous motions can cause disorientation, especially when presented serially, and viewer discretion is advised.

the veldt

Bringing holographic interface closer to the immersive level of experience to be had aboard the holodeck, we learn via Slashdot—aptly illustrated with a tiny dogfight, the exchange of phaser fire and photon torpedos, between a Federation starship and a Bird of Prey—researchers at Brigham Young University, building on past successes, have created free-floating images with lasers that do not need a display. Instead taking advantage of the electrostatic effect and Brownian motion, miniscule particles are illuminated creating the illusion of permanence and untethered projection, the objects drawn in space with the viewer able to perceive them as if they were tangible objects.

mary celeste

Spotted first by Present /&/ Correct, we quite enjoyed contemplating these compositions by artist Jan van Schaik in his Lost Tablets series which explores the vacillation between the familiar and grounded feeling of children’s toy blocks and the untethered nature of architectural vernacular. The cut-up grammar of building elements out of place, to-be-placed reminded us of these model frames sculptures yet unsprued. The pictured piece is called the Sea Bird, all named for ships found abandoned and adrift. More at the links above.