Tuesday, 30 April 2019

walpurisnacht

Our faithful chronicler reminds that on this night, the date shared with many other momentous occasions including the annexation of Hawaii (1900), the fall of Saigon (1975) and the coming out of the tv character of actor and comedian Ellen DeGeneres (1997), Beltane Eve is observed (previously here and here) in the northern hemisphere, coopted locally as the syncretion of the day before the feast day of Saint Walpurga, an abbess and Anglo-Saxon missionary from Devonshire to the Frankish Empire.
Converts were encouraged to pray to her for intercession and protection from witchcraft—though Walpurga’s patronage was restricted to hydrophobia, odd given the witch connection, and sailors in distress. Though there’s a lot of regional variation in the way the holiday is kept across northern Europe, common customs include bonfires—a ceremonial burning and/or celebration of the diabolical and a sort of sealing off the portal, marking the last opportunity that the supernatural can cross over from the nether world, until Halloween.

6x6


attention kmart shoppers: an audio archives of in-store music and sales promotions from the late 1980s and early 1990s

it’s dangerous to go alone! take this: a scholarly exploration of the psychology of Legend of Zelda franchise

as seen on tv: a collection of fine products from Obvious Plant—previously

the medium is the mess: antiquarian JP Ptak’s card-catalogue of Outsider Logic

the legend of the visnaga: a turn of the century confectionary craze nearly wiped out barrel cactus of the southwestern US 

afghan twin: some interesting musings on the unsounded market in sonic camouflage 

blind house

We’re directed to an exhibition from artists Paloma Muñoz and Walter Martin whose collaboration has produced a disquieting portrait of human habitation with the windows seamlessly edited away.
This subtle erasure has profound affects on perception and prompts a conversation and reflection on the nature of screen time, how windows are made for looking in as well as looking out and how we’re to understand and uphold our private sphere with so much voluntarily given to public inspection—though what we put on display is not always the invitation to repackage it and sell it back to us at a premium. Continue touring the exhibit at the link above.

on diversion

Via the always excellent Nag on the Lake, we are treated to the brilliant still life photographic compositions informed by the upholstery found on board bus lines in London (previously and see also here and here) of Emilia Cocking. Her extensive portfolio focuses on built environments and recognising and appreciating those intersectional coincidences of finding art in the everyday. Much more to explore at the links above.

Monday, 29 April 2019

decalogue

The always inspired and insightful This American Life reprises acts from earlier episodes to reflect on the Ten Commandments just after Pesach and Easter and the way those fundamental rules bind and perpetuate social order and how transgressions are addressed.
All of the stories are interesting but it was especially the first vignette, a memory by Shalom Auslander, in which a pupil at Chabad (Jewish Religious School) is informed that he bears one of the seven-two names of God and as the third Commandment directs, “shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Peace was not the most common epithet for the divine but a strict interpretation of the law and customs (chumra) dictate that not only must special care be taken to avoid blasphemy and not to invoke God’s name to do harm, writing it down created something holy out of the profane and had to be handled in a fitting fashion. Ephemera and papers bearing the name of God were to be collected in a shaimos (name) box and once full, buried respectably in a storage structure (genizah) at a synagogue or cemetery according to tradition. School assignments and paper lunch bags from Auslander were permanently archived along with retired torah and prayers.

throwing down the gauntlet

We’ve yet to see the concluding chapters of the Avengers’ franchise and only know of Death-Dealing Thanos (no spoilers, please) but have been exposed enough to the references and artefacts to appreciate the resemblance that the super villain’s glove has to this reliquary which holds the uncorrupted hand of Teresa of Ávila (*1515 – †1582).
A noble woman whose Jewish ancestors were coerced to convert during the Spanish Inquisition, this Doctor of the Church was called to the monastic and contemplative life and after canonisation was a candidate for the patron saint of Spain—just edged out by James (Santiago de Zebedeo) and Catherine of Siena (whose Feast Day is coincidentally today). The well-travelled reformer succumbed to illness on the way to Alba de Tormes, just as most of Europe was switching from the Julian to Gregorian calendar so there’s some debate as to the time of her death and when to observe her Saint’s Day—15 October according to liturgical calendars, and her exumed body was dismembered and spread as relics to holy sites and the convents that she founded, her left eye and right hand going to Ronda in Andalusia, the later pictured next to the cinematic prop being kept by Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, sort of like the Lance of Longinus, until his death when the treasure was restored to the nunnery.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

a foul-weather commander and fair-weather friends

The population of Pitcairn and Norfolk islands being descendants of the mutineers and their Tahitian consorts, master’s mate Fletcher Christian seized control from Lieutenant William Bligh on this day in 1789 and expelled him from the HMS Bounty whilst on a mission to transport breadfruit to the West Indies.
Christian and his conspirators had grown weary of Bligh’s rather harsh regimen and became rather enamoured with the Polynesian way of life and the women that they had encountered. Attempts to permanently settle in Toubouai were rebuffed by natives and in January of 1790, and they landed—divided and with a significant amount of infighting and violence, on the unpopulated, remote Pitcairn group.  The British Admiralty dispatched ships to bring these fugitives to justice but were only able to retrieve a few survivors of the original crew, stranding their children and mothers on the deserted island, the Bounty having been cannibalised and set ablaze shortly after arrival.  

hall of fame

Graciously, the Gentle Author of Spitalfields Life invites us to seek refuge from the hustle of the High Street and hide a bit in an old haunt—The Champion located in the West End, just off the retail monotony of Oxford Street—and soak up the atmosphere.
Though the pub has been there on the corner of Wells and Eastcastle since the mid-nineteenth century, a contemporary of the Victorian explorers and sports pioneers depicted in stained glass, these were much later additions, commissions from the accomplished artist Ann Southeran installed in 1989 to give the place some added character, and include the subject Captain Matthew Webb (*1848 - †1883) who was the first recorded individual to cross the English Channel under his own power. In 1875, Webb swam from Dover to Calais in just under twenty-two hours, fighting the powerful rip-tide and painful jellyfish stings. Sadly, Webb’s later stunt of crossing the Whirlpool Rapids below Niagara Falls proved to be too treacherous and Webb died during his swim. Webb’s life and legacy are remembered in the poem “A Shropshire Lad” by Poet Laureate John Betjeman and the caricature of him that appeared on a brand of weatherproof matches is said to have been the model for Peter Sellers’ Inspector Clouseau. Much more to explore at the link above plus a detailed gallery of the Champions at the link above.

xристос воскрес! воістину воскрес!


Saturday, 27 April 2019

page not found

Referred by the always remarkable Miss Cellania, we find the HTTP 404 (see also here, here and here) response code pages for the United States 2020 presidential candidates’ campaign websites’ up for inspection and ranked.
A lot of them are pretty funny and self-aware, and while we find a strong sense of revulsion leading with anything that narcissistic nihilist and cult leader, the Trump-Pence redirect error page—coming in twenty-third and indeed on the bottom of the heap—does illustrate the textbook definition of a sore-winner (so much winning) and the fact that he’s been unable to move beyond 2016.

Friday, 26 April 2019

cast iron plant

Reputedly pollinated by the same slugs and snails that are the bane of other garden and hot-house cultivars, the resilient houseplant called the Aspidistra elatior (an import from the Far East) became a prop prominently photographed and synonymous with “middle class respectability” for its prevalence in the Victorian Era, all aspirants able to care for a bit of greenery in their homes.
This particularly hardy cultivar’s popularity, however, owed to its ability to weather and withstand neglect and even thrive in the dim and close quarters of city dwellers with the noxious fumes and soot that came from gaslights that otherwise made keeping houseplants a fruitless prospect. This wide-spread obsession even prompted George Orwell to pen a critical commentary with the novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying about a character who attempted for defy the usual social conventions of status and acquisition and was thwarted by society at large for his stepping out of line. The 1936 book—which was not a romcom—was adapted into a 1997 film with Helena Bonham Carter and Richard E Grant that was titled “A Merry War” for US audiences.

7x7

imperium: the rise and fall of colonial powers visualised

aggressively, chillingly ahuman: for some inscrutable algorithmic purpose, a bot created a video of a blog post—via Super Punch

wholecloth: these colourful quilts from artist Bisa Butler that tell a story

acanthus leaf: Plants and their Application to Ornament (1896) from Eugène Grasset

totus mundus agit histrionem: for the Bard’s birthday, a Shakespearean version of Trivial Pursuit 

law-suuuuuuuu-uuuit: the yodeller behind the Yahoo! campaign was led to believe it was only a regional promotion—via Miss Cellania’s Links

belt and road project: the Australian Strategic Policy Institute conducted a comprehensive study of Chinese technological influence globally—via Maps Mania 

emblematic

Through acknowledging the obsolesce of these artefacts, designer Takuma Yamazaki has created an elegant hanko (判子) that impresses a scannable QR code which can contain and redirect toward the public and private autobiographies of the bearer, nicely spanning the continuum between the past, present and the increasingly connected future.
These seals, also called inkan (印鑑) are used to stamp important documents in lieu of a signature, but modern technology and advances in printing have antiquated much of the security features than these personal devices offered—opening up individuals to fraud and a sort of identity-theft. Hanko, especially government and corporate ones that wield authority, are often kept under lock and key to avoid the potential for counterfeiting—a funny contradiction since this prototype digital cartouche embosses what’s meant to share and inform. More to explore at the link above.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

le forêt

As debate continues on how the iconic landmark ought to be rebuilt and restored, true to its former self or romanticised memories or rather a showcase of innovation in building material and technique as it has been over the centuries, Studio NAB puts forward its proposal to replace the ancient wooden roof with a green house that hosts educational and outreach programmes and is reflective of challenges facing contemporary times. What do you think about that?  The burnt oak timbers known colloquially as the Forest would be fashioned into planters and fertilise new growth from the ashes and the spire would be raised again as an apiary, accommodating a number of beehives.

mother of invention

Previously we’ve explored how the Year without a Summer influenced and informed Mary Shelley’s Post-Modern Prometheus and the hardship endured by the population in general, but hadn’t appreciated how the climate disaster helped transform transportation by creating a situation that allowed machine aided propulsion to gain a purchase.
Due to cold weather that precipitated successive failing harvests, people had no fodder to feed their horses and out of desperation, had to eat their horses, which made alternative modes of getting around a necessity, prompting Karl Freiherr von Drais (see also) to invent his Laufmaschine—a dandy-horse and like a bicycle without the pedal mechanism. Innovations such as this speak to human ingenuity and resilience when it comes to surmounting change. Let’s hope we can all keep pace.

completely automated public turing test to tell computers and humans apart

NPR’s Planet Money recently presented a really engrossing episode on CAPTCHA technologies—previously and which is the title initialism—that shows how the counter-measures against spam and subterfuge not only evolved with but also to a big degree informed the developing internet to make it a richer and more connected experience.
It reminds me of the possibly apocryphal story that the suite of games pre-installed in Windows (despite taxing precious system resources) was distributed in order to teach users the manual dexterity needed to operate a computer mouse and while I do remember some times being asked to provide my human credentials by identifying a blurry building number, what I failed to realise was that human we’re just being shown skewed text and images to thwart automated bots but were also being enlisted by comprehensive mapping services and earlier by newspaper archives to perform the optical character recognition that machines were not yet able to decipher when the copy was suboptimal. Later iterations of the test tasked people with identifying cars, boats and buildings and aided in machine-learning by tutoring neural networks in a funny sort of feedback loop that’s enabled computers to beat the original methods of minding the gates.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

now hist. and rare

Sentence First refers us to a delightful obsession from bibliophile, logophile Ammon Shea undertaken in 2008, a full-time, year-long commitment to read every volume of the Oxford English Dictionary (previously) from cover to cover, approaching some sixty million words (not entries alone but terms plus sometimes expansive their definitions but an impressive vocabulary nonetheless by any measure), and to record his reflections. Such curated lists are always an invitation to find one’s own to share but there are some really choice words, such as constult (v:) to act stupidly together, epizeuxis (n:) the repetition of a word with vehemence and emphasis, latibulate (v:) to hide oneself in a corner and vulpeculated (pa. pple. [past participle]:) in the state of having been robbed by a fox. Much more to explore at the link above.

telling the bees

Not exclusively a British custom but perhaps more concentrated than on the continent, the very endearing custom of ‘telling the bees’ recorded in Ireland, France, Germany and Bohemia as well probably has ancient origins in the mythological belief that the helpful insects could bridge the natural and supernatural realms.

Kept bees would be kept apprised of all milestones in the life of the beekeeper and family and surely this confessional sharing was therapeutic and a comfort in the face of loss or change, and breach of the practise—that is, failure to involve the hive during major life events, not putting them into mourning or informing them of births and weddings carried a penalty, not only foreboding for the occasion itself but the colony itself could become unproductive or stray. Though divination is not emphasised as much as participation, the bees through their behaviour could also give an omen and help to optimise outcomes. Learn more about the strong and establish relationship between humans and the pollinators at Amusing Planet at the link above and do take a moment to greet and thank your local bees.

reggie mac dawson has absconded with my funds

On this day in 1969, the US government issued its first mortgage-backed security through an organisation incorporated the year prior, the Government National Mortgage Association—colloquially known as Ginne Mae, a wholly-owned charter within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to promote home-ownership.
An earlier and enduring iteration was creations of the crisis of Great Depression, the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and in 1970 the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) and infamously Sallie Mae (the Student Loan Marketing Association) do not have the full-faith and backing of the federal government, guaranteeing solvency, only Ginnie Mae (with a real estate portfolio upwards of two trillion dollars presently), yet are de facto beneficiaries, whose purpose is to create secondary bond markets and have occasioned a few crises of their own. Jimmy Mack, when are you coming back?

tiny bubbles

The burst of effervescence, the formula and trial plus error that has accompanied the process of producing and perfecting fizzy drinks since the discovery of fermentation is an intersectional testament to human endeavour and appreciating the physics, cultivation and rigours of design that goes into harnessing the power and pressure of carbonation makes toasting all the more profound. 
Bubbles are a spontaneous nucleation of gas dissolved in the liquid, agitated to achieve atmospheric parity with what’s within the bottle and glass with what’s without, dithering at the surface due to what’s called the Marangoni effect, a convective property of surface tension that’s also responsible for ‘tears’ or ‘curtains’ of wine no matter how neatly a glass is poured. Visit Æon Magazine at the link above to indulge in more refreshing contemplation on matter, motion and behaviour.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

6x6

global imaging ambassador: the architectural photography portfolio of Tobi Shinobi, via Coudal Partners’ Fresh Signals

sunburst sanctuary: a profile of an enduring California commune at the intersection of peace and profit

let us all go and make a new crack friend: a bizarre short featured on Sesame Street and the strange quest to find it

dataviz: artefacts that attest to the human compulsion to abstract information

chindōgu: useless products (see also) designed to solve problems that don’t exist from Matt Benedetto

tehran façades: the greebled hi-rises of Iran, via Present /&/ Correct  

Monday, 22 April 2019

weyland-yutani corporation

Ahead of the fortieth anniversary of the theatrical release of the first installment of the Alien franchise that’s coming in a month’s time on 25 May, a series of ten-minute, studio-authorised vignettes that feed into the movies’ mythology are being showcased.
The latest short film, Ore (find links to the rest at the source link above), also references 26th April as Alien Day, chosen for the distress signal originating from the natural satellite LV-426 of gas giant Calpamos, once known as Acheron and a human colony, to which the crew of the USCSS Nostromo diverted from its mission to investigate. The actual landing, according to franchise source-material, on the desolate moon took place on 3 June, 2122.

elke belg wordt geboren met de baksteen in de maag

With a resonate, resounding spirit similar to McMansion Hell, Hannes Coudenys’ collection of “Ugly Belgian Houses” struck a chord with neighbours and compatriots that said something about the house-proud and architectonic aspirations of the Flemish.
The saying above, often repeated and reaffirmed visually as well with faux châteaux, Texas ranches and Barbie dream homes vying for attention all crowded next to one another—Every Belgian is born with a brick in the stomach, does speak to the national psyche to expand outward into suburbia, throwing caution and uniformity to the wind and willing to clash. Like Kate Wagner, Coudeny was also threatened with legal action and had to go on an extended hiatus before continuing his gently critical look at the lay of the land. Much more to explore at Amusing Planet at the link above.

don’t mess with mother

Graduating from its not nice to fool Mother Nature (the campaign for Chiffon margarine), Apple delivers a pretty intense advertisement—highlighting the capability of its camera—for Earth Day (previously) set to Megadeth’s 1985 thrash metal song Last Rites/Loved to Deth, to remind that Nature is a force to be reckoned with and that we’re squandering time at our peril. This latest short film is a departure from the gentler response in 2017 released after the US announced its withdrawal from the Paris Climate Treaty with a montage of outdoor photography to Carl Sagan’s narration of Pale Blue Dot.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

battle of the nations

Visiting H’s parents in Leipzig, we took an afternoon stroll around the reflecting pool of the colossal Belle Époque Völkerschlachtdenkmal, a monument and cenotaph (previously—with interior views) completed on the centenary of the 1813 Battle of the Nations during which a coalition of Prussian, Russian and Austrian forces delivered the armies of Napoleon a decisive defeat, which ultimately led to his capitulation and exile, erected on the battlefield at the southeastern limits of the city. After decades of planning, construction was finally undertaken with just fifteen years to spare before the hundredth anniversary of the event, financed by the city and private donations, the commission for the overall design awarded to Bruno Schmitz (see also here and here).
Rich in symbolism and though ostensibly a memorial to the unknown and anonymous soldier rather than a testament to a heroic and romanticised past, the sandstone and granite pyramid was meant to evoke the same strong patriotic sentiments that characterised the reign of Wilhelm II that spanned the time of its construction and led into the Great War. These strong associations with rabid nationalism—as all these monuments built many decades and centuries after the fact were meant to unite and provoke—caused debate among East German authorities, like the more recent culture wars over US civil war monuments, whether such symbols should be preserved in the first place for having incited so much damaging animosity. Ultimately, it was decided that the monument, showcased on the outskirts of the city’s famous convention and trade fair grounds (Messegelände), could be interpreted as a symbol of the enduring friendship and cooperation between Russia and Germany and thus could remain.

easter acclamations!


Saturday, 20 April 2019

folie à plusieurs

On this day twenty years ago, the Columbine High School Massacre occurred in an unincorporated community of Littleton in the state of Colorado resulting in fifteen fatalities including the perpetrators who took their own lives with far more grandiose plans ultimately unrealized.
While the incident has internationally become a metonym for school shootings and an eponymous effect that has seen its export and proliferation, the tragedy netted no significant change in legislation pertaining to gun ownership domestically. Despite opening up dialogue on weapons culture, bullying, vicarious violence and the confessional nature of the early internet, public reaction of America created scapegoats and palatable narratives that is heir to a sacrificial steady-state hell-scape that gladly accepts those offerings. Sadly, we all know the drill.

Friday, 19 April 2019

a l’egs-istential quandary

Using such a figure-ground confusing optical illusion as this impossible pachyderm (like the blivet but imaginary instead of an anatomic violation) as a heuristic tool to explore mental rotation and how generalisation emerges in learned behaviour (judging distance and sequence), the creator, cognitive scientist Roger Sheppard, offers something unique in the visual dissonance ever advancing with one foot or leg always unaccounted for.

chiaroscuro

We remember number five of this series of the disorderly conduct on the streets of Manchester at New Year’s Eve from a few years ago but the other alluring photographs that managed to—likewise inadvertently in most cases it seems—pass themselves off in the same painterly style (derived from the Swiss term malerisch) did really strike us as Renaissance paintings and merited closer examination to convince ourselves otherwise.

apiculture urbaine

Understandably not the first concern to leap to mind, but thanks to Parisien correspondent extraordinaire Messy Nessy Chic, we are happy to report that rooftop colony of bees kept in three hives (ruches) at Notre-Dame de Paris has miraculously also survived the fire, residing on a portico one level below the ancient wooden timber frame that was engulfed in flames. The hives are part of a very successful network of some three hundred kept in the city to contribute to the urban ecosystem, pollinate plants and offer humans surplus honey, populated by a docile breed of honey bees developed at the Buckfast Benedictine Abbey (also for its fortified tonic wine) in Devon in the 1920s. Learn much more at the link up top and spread the consoling news.

urban legend

Our intrepid explorers at Atlas Obscura lead us to a deliriously crowded, Mid-Century Modern style annotated map of New York City, drafted in the early 1950s by Nils Hansell. Filled with local-lore, infamy and tall tales that we cannot necessarily vouch for, “The Wonders of New York” features over three hundred exclusive haunts and happenings of yesteryear to consider, the landscape having transformed considerably despite the layout basically remaining true-to-form.
Visit the link above to zoom in greater detail and discover what’s changed about the character of each neighbourhood. Rogues’ galleries and hyperbole aside, I wonder if in the not so distant future, people will find equally preposterous that a certain quarter had flea circuses, livestock and stevedores.

super ponte

Similar to the German concept of a Brückentag—taking an extra, intervening day off to bridge the gap in what would be a longer break from work and to make a longer, uninterrupted weekend when a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, the Italian language has fare il ponte—to do the bridge.
Unlike in the States where most holidays are observed on the nearest Monday, there are not moveable feasts in other parts of the world and one isn’t given compensation if the holiday fell on a weekend. This year, however, owing to a late Easter and the following Easter Monday (Pasquetta), the celebrations bump up against secular public holidays with the anniversary of Italy’s liberation (Festa della liberazione) falling shortly afterwards on the twenty-fifth and then, if you can put off returning to the office long enough, there’s International Workers’ Day (Festa del lavoro) on 1 May. These happy quirks of the calendar are rare but most welcomed.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

harm to ongoing matter

Via Boing Boing, for scale and to gain an appreciation of what’s been redacted and cited and deemed not suitable for release to the public, we are presented the Mueller Report (previously) in microfiche, contact sheet format. There’s still plenty to read in between the blacked out lines.

pivot points

In collaboration with a construction research company, a design studio has produced a line of proof-of-concept prototype concrete elements that can be moved and arranged, despite weighing several tonnes, with ordinary human amounts of strength, through cleverly articulated rocking, rounded edges and balancing the centre of mass for each component. Once the forms are delivered, structures could be assembled in situ without heavy equipment. Watch video demonstrations at designboom at the link above.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

pawnographic

We regret having missed this scandalising graphic design choice from December of 2017 when the new season’s World Chess Championship logo had its debut, but it is still resonant since the world (on-line and off) is puerile as ever and wont and eager to prise a dirty joke or snicker out of any situation. The studio behind this pugilistic emblem as well as the client organisation that commissioned it called out as something obviously tantric responded in a healthy way, however, appreciating the furore and the focus it brought.
The world is lousy with bad design and there’s a lot of unintended suggestiveness—though of course sex sells, but overall attacking what’s bold or avant-garde makes design as whole boring and more conservative, brands and associations not wanting to risk what might be made the butt of ridicule. This obsession—which I am sure will go into overdrive with candidates developing their campaign imagery—seems to me like a surrogate for that persistent though mythical legend about subliminal advertising (by definition, if it is subliminal, it does not register) that had people trying to find (and in some cases swearing to it) nudes in ice cubes for the past six decades.  More to explore at the link up top.

8x8

colossus: a robot firefighter worked alongside five hundred heroic first responders to help save Notre Dame

hyperacusis: a look at the rather long history of building acoustics and being driven to distraction

ben day dots: the studio behind the fantastic title sequence of Into the Spider-Verse

poe’s law: an internet adage that it’s become tougher and tougher to distinguish extreme views from parodies thereof

stumped: a look at the observation posts of World War I disguised as trees

the secret-sharer: tech companies contract armies of people to tweak and improve digital assistants

mush, mush: a team of Boston Dynamics Spot Minis working in tandem haul away a big truck

a vast symphony set in stone: tourists and scholars reflect on the cathedrals’ historic (and landmark) role and what it means to them  

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

fluctuat nec mergitur

architecture of choice

A team of researchers who trained a neural network to play arcade games would often ask human teachers, role-models to explain the rational behind the moves they made, veering left or jumping forward to avoid an obstacle, etc. to help the robot learn.
In efforts for transparency in algorithmic decision making and hopefully presenting AI as less of an inscrutable black box and more of an auditable system, the research team also trained the machine to generate a running account of each move it made. While this sounds well-intentioned, the more likely outcome will result in AI that comes up with a plausible and civil explanations ex-post facto, much like all people in certain situations measuring the programme’s response and against past human-user reactions and gradually building trust and a rapport based on what the AI has learned that we want to hear. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Monday, 15 April 2019

baleen

Like nature studies informed by Bauhaus and Joan Miró, Present /&/ Correct refers us to the portfolio of art collective that embraces messy Modernism with their reinterpretation of specimen slides of plankton—that is whale food and an indispensable part of the food-chain not to mention producing fully half of the world’s biogenic oxygen supply that ought not to be judged by their size, individual members of this drifting current called plankters. Much more to explore at the links above.

the relentless amplification of nothing

The always excellent Things Magazine reflects on internet entropy and the tendency of things to fall into a state of neglect and disrepair often in favour of the sleeker, less labour intensive and attention demanding walled-gardens of social media that has become an exercise in judicious cannibalisation and that blog roll-calls in time become a poignant review of abandoned projects and interests, set aside maybe in some cases just a moment too long to ever get back in the habit.
No one is expected to explain oneself or defend changing circumstance and focus but it is a little sad to realise that voracious, giant platforms are usually the culprits. As much as we might cringe at the idea of social media curating our biographies and autobiographies forever open to public inspection and that in certain contexts nostalgia belies a toxic impulse, it can be on the other hand a moment of elation to go spelunking among the hulks of the moribund past and uncover artefacts that attests to a once vibrant hobby. The author shares some rare nuggets at the link above and we’d like to know if you’ve come across some undisturbed treasures yourself.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

osterbrunnen

Sourced back as a tradition expanding outward from the Fränkische Schweiz (Franconian Switzerland) region in the early 1900s when public fountains started to lose a measure of their civil importance as more homes were being retrofitted with modern plumbing, decorating them and the village centre with eggs, ribbon and garlands for Eastertide has spread to other areas in Germany.
Though the ritual of well-dressing is a custom that goes back much further, communities have grown acutely aware and proud of their handiwork, since the 1950s generally put out on the day before Palm Sunday, that continues to evolve as a teachable and instagrammable lesson—plastic eggs having become the norm due to vandalism but many are returning to more authentic materials to celebrate the season and the rites of Spring.

bekende deense meubelontwerper

I’ve always thought that this fabric wall hanging that came with my furnished workweek apartment was pretty keen and hoped that I might be able to arrange to have it move out with me, when that day comes, but didn’t realise until just recently that it is a piece of Danish graphic designer and interior decorator Verner Panton’s Mira-X Collection.
A student of the psychology and working in the studio of architect Arne Jacobsen, Panton (*1928 – †1998) is probably best known for his line of furniture, including his signature moon lamps and chair still licensed and in production by the company Vitra and for incredibly psychedelic office spaces like the cantina for Spiegel magazine headquarters in Hamburg, executed in the same style as this indoor swimming pool shown at the link.

߷

Developed to increase literacy and bring about cultural cohesion among the Manding language speakers of West Africa, Guinean author Souleymane Kante (ߛߏߎߟߋߦߑߡߊߣߋ ߞߊ߲ߕߋ), the N’ko script (ߒߞߏ‎, I say in all the family dialects) was finalised on this day in 1949 and disseminated throughout Guinea, the Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire.
While it bears some similarities to Arabic writing in that it reads from right to left and letters are connected with ligatures, Kante (*1922 - †1987) crafted the script to communicate the special features of the common language and is today regarded as one of the best integrated and most successful of the modern syllabaries, with native writers and readers also digital natives, adapted for computer use since the early 1990s. The title is the N’ko punctuation mark called gbakurunen, the three stones that balance a cooking pot over a flame, and indicates the end to a section of text and separate subchapters, like an asterism (⁂).