Thursday, 20 January 2022

brearley architects + urbanists

Elevated above the marshes of the Yuandang estuary of Shanghai, a Chinese-Australian design group called BAU has created a graceful, sliver of a bridge to connect two areas of wetlands. With a pavilion and observation platform in the middle of the span, the structure integrates infrastructure with ecology and aesthetics. Much more from Dezeen at the link above.

Thursday, 13 January 2022

do you think there will ever be a time when you’ll be hung as a thief?

On this anniversary of the first day of recording sessions in 1965 at Columbia studios in New York City with the artist producing “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and Subterranean Homesick Blues,” we’re directed towards Bob Dylan’s interview and press-conference held at the end of that same year after going electric. Much more at the link above.

Sunday, 9 January 2022

think different

Developed in great secrecy under code name Project Purple, the first generation of the iPhone—given the retronym 2G to establish its place in the lineage among some thirty-three different models made, Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs introduces the public to the concept of the revolutionary, universal smart mobile phone on this day in 2007 during a keynote address during the Macworld Expo in San Francisco. Models would go on sale at the end of June, on the anniversary of the first trials of the Apple I by Steve Wozniak back in 1975.

Wednesday, 5 January 2022

truss arch and causeway

On this day in 1933, construction of the Golden Gate Bridge (see previously here and here) began under the initial direction and design of Irving Morrow, Leon Moisseiff, Charles Alton Ellis and Joseph Strauss in order to connect San Francisco to Marin County, named for the strait it crosses, the largest city in America at the time serviced primarily by ferry boats. Delayed by the Great Depression, once under way, however, the span was completed ahead of time and under budget.

Saturday, 1 January 2022

space music

Begun a decade earlier as a three-hour-long radio programme featuring contemplative, ambient music with a selection of classical, Celtic, electronic and experimental genres airing late nights in the Berkley-area hosted by “Timotheo” (Stephen Hill) and “Annamystic” (Anna Turner), Hearts of Space entered syndication of National Public Radio on this day in 1983 and is still going strong, with over thirteen hundred transmissions (episodes) in their archives. The longest-running show of its type, each instalment signs-off with “Safe journeys, space fans—wherever you are.”

Sunday, 12 December 2021

8x8

an den mond “genuss, lieber mond”: a completist sorts and ranks every composition of Franz Schubert—via the morning news 

chaotic good: mapping the mythological creatures of the Baltic—via ibฤซdem 

the two-thousand year-old man: more appreciation and acclaim for Mel Brooks 

birds aren’t real: a satirical Gen-Z misinformation campaign (see Poe’s Law) turned merchandising opportunity  

location scout: an assortment of movie maps 

parallel path: rubbish corporatespeak that does not avail itself to the level of jargon and technical terms  

combinatorics: base rate fallacies and why false narratives are easy to frame for the ill-numerate  

sexting: “u ๐Ÿ†™” in the style of several male authors

Saturday, 28 August 2021

outside the lines

We very appreciated the introduction to surrealist photographer Arthur Tress whose portfolio was informed by the pivotal year of 1964 in politics, segregation and civil rights via his series of antique colouring-book collages paired with complementary or juxtaposing found photography, likely sourced from the same flea markets. Tress’ sense for mismatch went on to aid him in delivering his commission for the US Environmental Protection Agency to document and publicise the social pressures and injustice underpinning lax ecological stewardship. More at Collectors’ Weekly at the link up top and at the artist’s website.

Friday, 27 August 2021

help wanted

Again via Waxy and vis-ร -vis yesterday’s post about ARGs, side-quests and scavenger hunts, we are directed towards this delightful interactive job listing (in the tradition of The Last Starfighter) from multimedia artist and entrepreneur Danielle Baskin to help find an ideal collaborator, also hiding floppy discs around San Francisco like an ad in the classifieds.

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

7x7

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

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

cooling the mark out

The always engrossing house blog of San Francisco’s DNA Lounge explores the in-grouping of confidence artistry and the seemingly irrational behaviour of working against one’s own self-interest through the authoritative study of the subject in the titular 1952 essay by social psychologist Erving Goffman, lucidly illustrating the predictable stages of those defrauded and the eventual recognition of the scam that instead of leading towards reconciliation engenders such shame and fear of ostracism rather rewards those who become more trenchant in proclaiming their beliefs. Different than other forms of humiliation, those conned can defer shattering their self-image by upholding their dishonest narrative for as long as possible at the expense of society as a whole, in turn convincing others. ‘Coolers’ are affiliates of the person orchestrating the con who tamp down self-reflection by promoting self-blame and doubt over their reference group, re-constituting their self-image with that dogma even more integral to their identity.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

turner d. century

A minor super-villain (see also here and here) that first appeared as Spider Woman’s nemesis in a December 1980 issue of the comic, the alter-ego of Clifford F. Michaels’ formative backstory has the character adopted by a wealthy business tycoon for whom his biological father was chauffeur and valet, the benefactor responsible for rebuilding much of San Francisco after the 1906 Earthquake but was displeased with the moral turpitude and vice that emerged from the rubble.

The magnate attempted to launch a campaign to restore manners and mores to what they had been at the fin de siรจcle but failed and so sheltered himself and surrogate son from the degeneracy and idealise the past with the dress and affectations of a gentleman in 1900. Raging against progress and change with toxic nostalgia, Century tried depopulating the city in various ways in order to start fresh with society (possibly with wax figures as substitutes for actual residents) including a hypersonic weapon, flame-throwing umbrella and magic time horn that kills people under sixty-five (like high-pitched nuisance feedback that only young people can hear). Century’s plans were thwarted and the character killed off finally in 1986, along with a slew of other second tier criminals that needed to be culled from the Marvel paracosm, by vigilante assassin Scourge of the Underworld.

Thursday, 27 May 2021

panorama

Among many other anniversaries of the great and good, on this day, as our faithful chronicler informs, in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge linking the San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean, was opened to pedestrian traffic—the longest and tallest suspension bridge in the world at the time.

First conceived in 1916, ambitious engineer and pontifex Joseph Baermann Strauss (1870 – 1938) answered the call having proposed a similar railroad bridge to cross the Bering Strait and connect Alaska with Russia and oversaw the construction of some four hundred draw bridges in a major infrastructure overhaul, and in collaboration (which ended unfortunately acrimoniously) with Charles Alton Ellis, completed it in four years (see also). During the week-long opening ceremony, more than two hundred thousand visitors crossed the mile-long span or foot or on roller skates. The particular shade of vermilion is called international orange, chosen to compliment the bridge’s natural surroundings and improve its visibility in fog, and is a unique hue differing from aerospace or safety orange.

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

golden gate bridge bolt

With a touch of The Music Man / Marge vs the Monorail energy behind his pitch that rightly nonetheless recognised that the newly built suspension bridge was perfectly designed to host a thrill ride—which also piqued the interest of a few city planners, ahead of the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition engineer Joseph Bazzeghin proposed impressing visiting crowds with a roller coaster traveling up and down the bundled cables as a centrepiece of the fair. Despite some enthusiasm, the ride was never built—mainly due to safety concerns and distracting drivers and the likely impossibility to construct such a roller coaster but I am sure it could be done on a dare. The artificial Treasure Island was instead built in the bay as a showcase venue and originally planned to be a municipal airport afterwards but was turned into a naval station and marina. More to explore from Weird Universe at the link above.

Friday, 30 April 2021

sffd

Via Super Punch, we are directed to a joyful and pure interview a San Francisco Chronicler reporter conducted with a gentleman who bought a tiny, retired Japanese fire truck (see also) during the pandemic at auction and had it shipped to the city—where it has become a welcome sight on the streets, like an exchange student. Bringing the fully-functional vehicle called Kiri overseas seems like it would have presented several expensive logistical hurdles, but the adoptive owner assures that the intimidating factors dissolve once one actually embarks on such an acquisition and would encourage others to do the same.

Monday, 19 April 2021

shake shack

In the aftermath of the April 1906 earthquake and subsequent fires that ravaged San Francisco over five thousand refugee shelters were constructed to replace the tent cities that emerged in Golden Gate Park and other areas to prevent a follow-on public health crisis. Most of the sturdier habitations—cottages (it reminds us of this image) for which tenants paid a $2 per month rent—have been demolished over the ensuing century but at least a few dozen remain, conserved by a following of dedicated residents. More from JWZ and the San Francisco Chronicle at the link above.

Monday, 22 February 2021

5x5

vanishing london: the Topographical Society laments and documents changes to the city—1900 to 1939 

a murder of crows: a captivating thread about accidentally creating a fiercely loyal avian regimen 

kaitenzushi: a 1948 proposal to move diners from course to course  

genius loci: an investigation into the character Tom Bombadil from the Middle Earth legendarium 

forwarding address: moving a Victorian mansion in San Francisco

Saturday, 21 November 2020

8x8

physiological colours both mixt and simple: a taxonomical table of hues and saturation that to facilitate unambiguous descriptions of the colours of natural bodies—see also

the next tuesday after the first monday in the month of november: though at least a term ahead, we could relate and appreciate this thoughtful election day essay and reflection by Kottke guest host Tim Carmody  

telethot: a 1918 proposal for a hand-mirror like accessory that would allow telephone interlocutors to see one another—via Messy Nessy Chic  

relithiation: targeted healing can potential rejuvenate batteries that would otherwise be scrapped

dna sequencing: the storied, celebrated San Francisco lounge and concert venue turns thirty-five  

the max headroom signal interruption: a deep dive into the unsolved pirated television incident—see previously  

sorkin, strunk and white: how good screenplays reflect the best elements of style—see previously  

cyanometer: a colour wheel from 1789 to gauge the blueness of the sky

Monday, 26 October 2020

inkubo

Considered lost for decades only for a copy to re-emerge in 1996 in a film archive in Paris, the horror movie by Leslie Stevens with cinematography by Conrad Hall (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke, American Beauty), starring William Shatner and Milos Milos (*1941 – †1966, the titular incubus and in life the lover of the estranged wife of Mickey Rooney and died in a murder-suicide pact), had its debut on this day in 1966.

Months before Shatner would begin his work on a television series filled with other constructed languages including Klingon which has also become a fully-formed and informed language in its own right, this cinematic experiment was only the second wherein all dialogue was in Esperanto. Though dubbed versions were prohibited, the creator’s use of the auxiliary language was not to make a single cut for all international markets but rather to convey an atmosphere of other-worldliness—Esperanto speakers disappointed with representation of the language by the actors’ poor pronunciation and the script’s grammatical failings. The setting is a pilgrimage destination, a village called Nomen Tuum (“your name”) with an enchanted well that can heal and enhance one’s looks—attracting a rather vain and corrupt patronage that crowds out those legitimately ill. In turn demons are drawn to pander to those who would treat this miraculous place as a beauty parlour and recruit them for the side of darkness. First shown at the San Francisco Film Festival and screened to a group including those above Esperanto enthusiasts and the scandal of Milos prior to release, the only willing distributor was in France, which premiered the film in November. Watch the whole film here or see a clip below.

Saturday, 26 September 2020

america is hard to see, kids

Via one of our favourite newsletters, Kottke, we come to discover the extensive and ethnographic photorealistic art of Robert Bechtle (*1932 – †2020) in memoriam with the reports of his recent passing.

Indistinguishable from a candid, house-proud family photograph from a distance, this representative triptych ’61 Pontiac (1968-1969) captures his style and message, life at the pace of point-and-click documentation but fastidiously rendered by brushstrokes. The painterly quality to this deadpan portrayal is unsettling, rattling the viewer until one can appreciate the beauty underlying the freeze-frame of the moment. Almost the entire portfolio of this San Francisco Bay Area painter features cars though human subjects are the exception. Much more to explore at the link above.

Friday, 11 September 2020

september 2020

Via Laughing Squid, here is more drone footage of the fiery orange skies—which many automated lenses and filters try to correct for to the frustration of those trying to urgently document and communicate the apocalypse—over San Francsico in a short clip set to the musical accompaniment of Hans Zimmer’s soundscape of Blade Runner: 2049. I wonder for how many more iterations that that dystopian sequel will be advanced—2099… Many more frightening images at the link up top, juxtaposed with this Los Angeles montage from earlier this summer.