Friday 14 June 2024

ms paint anything (11. 628)

Via Web Curios, whilst much kinder to the canines—though transposing their colours for some reason—and generally a bit unsettling in that spirit of AI body horror that we’ve seemed to have moved beyond expectation-wise even though we were only entrenched in it just bare months ago and only for a very brief time, we still had fun playing with this synthetic artist that runs your images through a poorly-executed standard Windows raster graphics editor, glitchy and hallucinating using the limited palette, brush styles and arguably ham-fisted fill-tools (a sort of constrained painting) in its quiver. Give it a try but be aware your ugly mugs are put in a public gallery for all to see.


one year ago: the art movement the New Objectivity

two years ago: assorted links to revisit

three years ago: another MST3K classic, more links to enjoy plus the Vatican’s catalogue of banned books

four years ago: a preview of OpenAI’s capabilities, ghost towns along the former inter-German border plus poppies in bloom

five years ago: encoding data in DNA

Tuesday 4 June 2024

drawn apart (11. 607)

Although perhaps more famous for his depictions of the Risorgimento (the Unification of Italy in 1861), the Swiss-born painter and lithographer Carlo Bossoli also became popular particularly in Britain for his historic scenes of Crimea due to public interest in the war. Working out of Odesa, Bossoli documented several places that reverberate over the last two centuries and are familiar to those following the current conflict, like this painting of Snake Island. London printing house Vincent Brooks, Day & Son published a series of fifty-two choice images and commissioned the artist for coverage of other ongoing battles. More scenes from RFEL at the link up top.

run for the border (11. 606)

Via Waxy, we are directed to a most unusual and developing art-heists and blackmarkets in recent history with underground network of collectors for pilfered Taco Bell wall-art. Back in 2002 (see also), the franchise commissioned veteran graphic designer Mark Smith to create a trio of paintings, high-quality prints to be distributed to every restaurant as a counterpoint to the usual corporate branding. During subsequent image overhauls, many of these masterpieces, inspired by the work of Basquiat and Maxfield Parrish and offering patrons to discover new details and elements with each visit, were discarded but a few were salvaged and sold, leading to active acts of burglary of prints in franchises not yet remodelled, fetching prices of ten-thousand dollars or more.

Friday 31 May 2024

dalรญ atomicus (11. 596)

Via Strange Company, we enjoyed seeing the outtakes and creative process behind the 1948 surreal photograph taken after at least twenty-six attempts by Philippe Halsman and later published in Life magazine (see previously). The collaboration, one of many over decades of working together and complementing one another’s media, was instigated over his four year project of the Leda Atomica, the painting seen in the background, which dealt with ideas of suspension, repulsion and cohesion and reflected the Zeitgeist of the Nuclear Age. There was a countdown to coordinate the composition—on three, assistants threw the cats and buckets of water and on four, Dalรญ was to jump. After each take until both were satisfied, Halsman entered the darkroom to develop the film while the cats were collected and dried off.


one year ago: a spy whale

two years ago: an optical illusion plus assorted links to revisit

three years ago: visualising marine traffic, Funky Town (1980), St Elizabeth plus the US Armed Forces Network Europe

four years ago: a US national protest map plus The Mythological Astronomy in Three Parts

five years ago: more punitive tariffs from Trump

Wednesday 15 May 2024

asemic writing (11. 560)

The above describing wordless or meaningless text intended to invite the reader to divine a message through the symbolisms rather than to convey a message—though these carefully recorded compositions that suggest mathematical and chemical formulae certainly encoded a meaning that was perhaps only known to the artist—and could be certainly applied to the verisimilitude (see also) of the collected works of outsider artist Melvin May, a bassist who returned to New York City to study informatics but his career path was sidelined by a schizophrenia diagnosis and subsequent drug use, landing him in a men’s shelter on Randall’s Island whilst seeking treatment. Way’s discipline was discovered through art workshops sponsored by the shelter, dense and intricate sketches with ballpoint pens committed to found scraps of paper, often carrying around works-in-progress on his person, protected with a layer of scotch tape. More on this retrospective—and sadly posthumous by only months—and Way’s life at Hyperallergic at the link above.

Monday 29 April 2024

7x7 (11. 522)

diddly doodly: a live action, 1950s version of The Simpsons in the works

trylon and perisphere: rides and attractions of the 1939 New York World’s Fair  

so your property has been banksyed—now what: conserving the artist’s murals and the difference between the studio and the street 

unfrosted: Netflix’s Pop-Tarts movie from Jerry Seinfeld  

the aethererius society: the London cab driver who became the voice of the Interplanetary Parliament in 1954  

the complete mashography: DJ Earworm takes on Taylor Swift  

anti-social network: Aaron Sorkin plans a sequel to the Facebook film, blaming the social media giant for the January Sixth Insurrection


one year ago: the Roddenberry Archive, custom game cartridges plus the fired Florida principal gets to visit the David

two years ago: a Martian probe encounters the wreckage of an earlier mission plus viewing tectonic shifts

three years ago: International Dance Day with Colin’s Bear plus deepfake satellite imagery

four years ago: the evacuation of Saigon, the Golden Hat of Schifferstadt, daily constitutionals, zen toast plus assorted links to revisit

five years ago: the inspiration for Thanos’ power glove plus not taking God’s name in vain

Friday 19 April 2024

9x9 (11. 499)

pumping iron: Technogym invites forty artists to reinterpret its exercise bench for Milan Design Week  

wikipedia rectangles: a collage of images sourced from the Commons subdivides one’s screen in increasing smaller sections of disparate pictures—via Web Curios  

the microcosm of london: an illustrated three-volume set by Rudolph Ackermann showcasing the public spaces of the capital 

๐Ÿ‰: the massive Quilt for Palestine unveiled at the Met 

rundown royale: a look at the family tree of Charlemagne, the Father of Europe—via Miss Cellania 

ulnar nerve: the etymology of the expression funny bone and variants—including the Swedish terms enkelstรถt/รคnkestรถt  

dua lipa stuns as congressional gerrymander: that and other headlines from Super Punch  

from our correspondents: World Press Photo contest captures destruction and devastation 

the revolution will not be biennalised: the withdrawal of the Israeli pavilion in Venice was performative and opportunistic

Tuesday 2 April 2024

the fabiola project (11. 463)

Via Messy Nessy Chic, we are acquainted with the extensive portfolio Mexican artist of Belgian extraction Francis Alรฟs through a travelling installation of some three hundred reproductions of the fourth century figure Saint Fabiola based off the profile and pose created by Jean-Jacques Henner in his 1885 portrait. The original was lost in 1912 but the image was copied over the decades by painters around the world, and sourced from flea markets and rummage sales in the Americas and Europe, mostly attributed to anonymous, amateur studies and naive artist, Alรฟs’ 1994 exhibit explores the precedents and antecedents that inform and flow from popular replicas and what constitutes an icon. The fourth century Roman noblewoman who filed for legal separation from her insufferable husband and remarried, contrary to Catholic practise but was welcomed back to the congregation for her works, turned to a life of charity under the influence of Jerome, is fรชted on 27 December in the calendar of saints and includes in her patronage divorced people, the hospice movement—establishing many care centres throughout Italy and the Near East as well as attending patients herself as a trained physician after lodging with Paul (see above) during a pilgrimage to Bethlehem, and is called on for intercession in difficult relationships. 


one year ago: assorted links to revisit

two years ago: Me and Bobby McGee (1971), a rogue archivist, Russian-America, more MEUTE plus more links to check out

three years ago: Wishing Well (1988), fuchsias, the Yellow Fleet (1967) plus St Francesco

four years ago: naming houses

five years ago: sonic disruptors, plant based burgers plus decision fatigue

Friday 15 March 2024

6x6 (11. 422)

merica: singular, normalised behaviour of US residents that they’ve become inured to 

sfx: more mind-blowing short videos from OpenAI’s Sora—see previously 

outstanding in the field: highlights from the annual British Wildlife Photo  

negative pressure ventilator: an obituary for author, lawyer and polio survivor who used an iron lung for seven decades  

getty images: foundation and museum has made over eighty thousand artworks and artefacts from its collect available to the public  

free drawing: lessons in illustration from 1925 by Franz ฤŒiลพek and Hermann Kastner bytedance: users react to app’s uncertain future in the US


one year ago: assorted links to revisit

two years ago: another MST3K classic, a Roman holiday plus the Doomsday Clock

three years ago: the Ides of March, the Feast of the Holy Lance, more links to enjoy plus a lost and found project

four years ago: the Osaka World’s Fair Expo (1970), a Roman Star Trek episode, disease vectors, antique bills of sale, some blasphemous graffiti plus Scotland’s new bank notes

five years ago: a non-gendered digital assistant, xenophobic dogma, unblurring photos, college admission and privilege plus more links worth the revisit

Saturday 9 March 2024

8x8 (11. 411)

๐Ÿšซ: the origins of the circle-and-slash prohibition symbol, its adoption as an ISO standard coinciding with 1984’s Ghost Busters  

return to sender: as part of the Prize Papers Project, a pristine Faroese hand-knitted sweater was discovered in an impounded parcel from 1807 

electronic labyrinth: the 1967 student film from George Lucas that would be later reworked into the feature  

snowdrops: Robert Marsham’s Indications of Spring (1789)  

clairaudient: more on Rosemary Brown with other classical compositions from beyond the grave  

if it doesn’t exist on the internet, it doesn’t exist: as of the beginning of the year, the venerable repository, the Ubuweb whose founder Kenneth Goldsmith is famous for the axiom, of the avant-garde has gone into archive-mode—via Web Curios 

sella rotalis: Paul de Livron crafts beautiful wooden wheelchairs, including one for the Pope

belinda new: exploring the typography of Oscar nominated films

Wednesday 6 March 2024

over the psychic radio (11. 403)

Via Messy Nessy Chic, we are introduced to journalist by trade Grant Wallace, feature writer and then war correspondent in the 1890s to the end of World War I for the San Francisco Chronicler and Examiner whom also dabbled extensively as a screenwriter, author, Esperantist and erstwhile occultist—the extent of this preoccupation discovered after his death in 1954 in a cabin he had built in the woods outside of Camel-by-the-Sea. Archive, repository and laboratory for telepathy, or mental radio as Wallace characterised it, he produced hundred of detailed charts and diagrams reminiscent of sixteenth century alchemical illustrations but with a distinctly Art Nouveau flair (see also)—influenced by contemporary Egyptomania—as heuristic models for study on reincarnation and mediumship, with the dead as well as extraterrestrials, transcribing some messages over the course of his mostly secret and solitary research. Much more at the links above.


one year ago: America’s Frozen Food Day plus assorted links  to revisit

two years ago: more links to enjoy plus a LIFE parody in poor taste (1970)

three years ago: your daily demon: Seere, the Zapruder film, a Banksy mural plus more links worth the revisit

four years ago: the Pillar of the Boatmen, the winnowing oar plus negative reviews of the great outdoors

five years ago: hauntology, the Period Table (1869), even more links, the fashions of Edward Gorey plus Soviet home computers

Tuesday 27 February 2024

generally meant to be discarded (11. 385)

Via Colossal, we are introduced to the work of ceramicist Yoonmi Nam in her exhibit featuring pottery and architectural elements made on a substrate of single-use, disposable containers. Displayed on traditional soban (์†Œ๋ฐ˜, used as dining trays and general purpose tables) as pediments—Nam employs the green-grey hued glaze, which reminds us of Frankoma ware and also of the craft of kintsugi, both dating from the era of the Goryeo kingdom that once covered most of the peninsula. It is an interesting meditation on the nature of trash and consumption, encased forever as something beautiful and permanent.  Much more at the links above.


one year ago: Campbell’s cocktails plus the Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den

two years ago: assorted links to revisit plus the Peace of Stolbovo (1617)

three years ago: The Lady’s Mercury (1619), artist Carel Fabritius, most quoted and remixed works in the Anglophone literary canon, Walter Cronkite’s Report from Vietnam (1968), reanimating old photos plus the Conservative Political Action Conference

four years ago: more links to enjoy plus birthright citizenship in the US in jeopardy

five years ago: the Reichstag Fire (1933), the art of Alex Moy plus synthetic DNA

Tuesday 20 February 2024

10x10 (11. 365)

royal mews: King Charles’ one of a kind electric Jaguar up for auction—via Miss Cellania  

ppe: the portable nuclear bomb shield, patented by Harold Tiff  

got clearance clarence: after embarrassing blunder over bad travel advice, Air Canada advocates personhood (and limited liability) for its chatbot customer representative 

1776 days: Julian Assange’s long detention and fight against rendition to the US for Wikileaks

that which you call hardee’s, we call carl’s junior: food deserts, prevalence and distribution of casual dining chains in the US 

tigers blood: new singles from Waxahatchee 

daddy daughter day: breakdancing, bitcoin father revealed as a veteran of member of the Christian Coalition and conservative speech writer 

the second in line: Swedish illustrator Mattias Adolfsson—via Messy Nessy Chic  

body armour: Casimir Zeglen, the priest who invented the bulletproof vest  

motorcade: Joe Biden’s Cadillac sedan for sale—via tmn


one year ago: artist creates a prosthetic extra digit plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: more links to enjoy, the subterrene (1972) plus The Shape of Things to Come (1936)

three years ago: introducing the Jeep (1941), a Nyan Cat NFT plus a suite of Japanese pictograms

four years ago: more mass-transit upholstery, RIP Larry Gordon Tesler who invested copy-and-paste, superannuated map styles, the possible extradition of Julian Assange plus the new US ambassador to Germany

five years ago: all the presidents’ meals, a secret meeting between industrialists and the Nazi government (1933), more links worth the revisit, the US emergency broadcast system (1971), vintages mazes plus the bokeh technique

Tuesday 13 February 2024

comet and cupid (11. 347)

Via fellow internet peripatetic Messy Nessy (much more to dsicover there), we are introduced to the eighteenth century artist Michelangelo Maestri and his school through his series of water-colours of putti, cherubs driving chariots pulled by various creatures as an allegory to depict different types and stages of love—agape, eros, xenia, philia. Inspired by the frescos of Ancient Rome, especially the then recent excavation of well-preserved examples in Herculaneum and Pompeii, his studio’s works were extremely popular and produced en masse and were often purchased as souvenirs by those on their Grand Tour.


one year ago: spec scripts for Star Trek: TNG plus a webring to check out

two years ago: more Excel art, West African musical artists plus separated by a common language

three years ago: assorted links to revisit, a dinosaur park plus animation techniques

four years ago: more links to enjoy

five years ago: out-of-place archaeology, Sony World Photography winners, Mandombe script plus more links worth revisiting

Sunday 11 February 2024

8x8 (11. 343)

๐Ÿ˜ถ: a Good Internet cross-posting of Good Music, featuring a mix of tracks from Wilco, Kim Gordon, the Beths and many more  

nato backstab: in a Drudge Report style headline, the Huffington Post reports Trump at a campaign event that he might encourage Russia to attack ‘deadbeat’ allies 

internal monologue: philosophers explore new field of the inner voice at the intersection of psychiatry  

compliance moats: anti-anti-monopolists and data-brokers wrangle over regulation 

story-walk: using olfaction with narrative to simulate reflection and retention  

certificate of honourable discharge: explore the best-preserved Roman military diploma (constitutio) in a new 3D exhibit  

grand bargain: US Supreme Court seems poised to keep Trump on state ballots but deny him blanket immunity 

i’m only sleeping: a Grammy winning painted music video of the Revolver track from Em Cooper

Saturday 10 February 2024

7x7 (11. 338)

caught between the moon and new york city: taking a harrowing subway ride in 1981  

homing: Nikola Tesla’s love for pigeons and telepathy—via Strange Company 

 : more on the interrobang—see previously  

stringe-watching: the opposite of binging a series to indulge in the experience  

hash mark: the works of artist Ding Yi coinage: TikTok has seen an (irritating) explosion in linguistic novelties to promote niche microtrends—via Miss Cellania  

in the aeroplane over the seas: Neutral Milk Hotel covers for the album’s anniversary 

castro street: Bruce Baillie films Riverside, California in 1966


one year ago: assorted links to revisit, Tapestry (1971) plus a pioneering hypertext novel

two years ago: the Dread Pirate Roberts plus a geographical challenge

three years ago: the Simpsons’ intro, the feast of St Scholastica, vernacular ceramics, no fly free zones plus profiting from conspiracy

four years ago: more Orange Menace

five years ago: more links to enjoy

Monday 22 January 2024

biface (11. 288)

The left panel of the original diptych executed by French court painter Jean Fouquet in the mid-fourteen hundred for the collegiate church of Notre-Dame in Melun on the Parisian outskirts depicts patron of the arts and royal secretary ร‰tienne Chevalier with St Stephen, regarded as the first Christian protomartyr, robed and holding a book and a jagged rock as part of his iconography, having been stoned to death for blasphemy. On closer examination of this feature, however, archeologists believe that the rock might represent a prehistoric artefact—a handaxe (properly the above term) several hundreds of thousands of years in age from the Acheulean industry of manufactured tools used by Homo erectus and Homo heidelbergensis throughout Africa, the Middle East and Western Europe. Abundant finds as a source of mystery and fascination for centuries, and something not unfamiliar to the artist with the tool-making epoch named for a suburb of Amiens in Picardy, their folk-origin before the Enlightenment and acceptance of time-out-of-mind was sourced to “thunderstones” ejected from clouds, believing the well-wrought rocks appeared where lighting had struck and passed down as family heirlooms in the belief that they protected against subsequent strikes.

Thursday 18 January 2024

ascendant masters (11. 277)

The always excellent Linkfest from Clive Thompson directs us to revisit a 1905 theosophical volume co-authored by Annie Besant, orator, activist for Indian independence and atheist and later adherent of founder Madame Blavatsy, and CW Leadbeater, writer occultist and co-founder of the Liberal Catholic Church, called Thought-Forms, a study of how the human mind “extrudes” these visualisations of experiences, emotions and music into the external world, formed as subtle bodies observed by clairvoyants. Tinted by colour, sympathetic vibrations and the aether as expressions of quality, nature (like the pictured happy thoughts) and directedness, these manifestations are created either by feelings, experience, mediations or in their highest form, music, as in this vision formed from the operas of Charles-Franรงois Gounod. Whilst written for a specific, receptive audience, the astral diagrams have broader appeal and were influential to the world of modern, abstract art, particularly Wassily Kandinski, Piet Mondrian, and Hilma af Klint, and inform to an extent the concept of synaesthesia.


one year ago:the High Committee of the French Language plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: the musical stylings of Manuel Gรถttsching plus time flies

three years ago: Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday and Martin Luther King Jr 

four years ago: railbanked railroads, separating entertainment and news plus more links to enjoy

five years ago: more links worth the revisit plus performance of the Diva Dance from Fifth Element

Tuesday 16 January 2024

artist sjรถรถ (11. 270)

Courtesy of a retrospective exhibition at Oxford entitled the Great Cosmic Mother, we were pleased to be acquainted with the paintings of radical anarcho-, eco-feminist and founding proponent of the Goddess Movement whose work coincided with the woman’s liberation push of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Monica Sjรถรถ was born in the Vรคsternorrland region on New Year’s Eve 1938 and left home aged sixteen to travel Europe working as an agricultural labourer and find work in modelling, eventually taking up residence in Bristol, where she remained for the rest of her life—very well known beyond all borders, she taught and corresponded with several influential authors, neopagans and artists, including Judy Chicago, Alice Walker, Starhawk and Shekhinah Mountainwater. The show’s name comes from a pamphlet later expanded into a book co-authored with Barbara Mor covering ancient history and the origin of religion and spirituality, positing that women were the first practitioners—a text still part of the syllabus for many courses on women’s studies, mythology and theology. Much more from Hyperallergic at the link up top.


one year ago: another MST3K classic,  AI designs novelty socks, an Ayn Rand play plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: more links to enjoy, professional salutations plus haunted postcards

three years ago: your daily demon: Vapula, an anatomy lesson, contemporary irregular verb forms, special stamps for the Lunar New Year plus large Cyrillic numbers

four years ago: birb-watching, the League of Nations, the Wollemi pines plus the US congress transmits articles of impeachment for Trump

five years ago: the first orbital docking, a gilded picket fence for Mar-a-Lago, more on Prohibition in the US plus the White House serves fast-food

Friday 29 December 2023

7x7 (11. 221)

pivot point: this year and the next will be judged as humanity’s failure to tackle the climate crisis  

fact check: a selection of debunked fake news from the past year  

sears & roebuck: through to 1971, a US department commissioned Vincent Price to assemble a collection of fine art to be sold in stores  

chronophoto: a challenge similar to GeoGuessr except one has to date an image on the map 

 ๐Ÿพ: the natural wonder material returning to the Moon and beyond 

jealousy list: articles that Bloomberg contributors wish they had scooped—see previously  

1%: the world population will stand at eight billion on the new year


one year ago: assorted links to revisit

two years ago: 2021 in review

three years ago: 2020 in review, Brexit on tech plus cleaning up space junk

four years ago: the legacy of Thomas Beckett, nanotechology, a visit to a bunker museum plus flat-earther and other science denialism

five years ago: the Fifth Day of Christmaslong-lived trees, dinosaurs of the year plus the competition to host Amazon’s second headquarters