Friday 18 September 2020

retrospective

We enjoyed considering this analysis of the origins of the maligned and escapingly nostalgic aesthetic known as vaporware as informed by the Surrealist art of Yves Tanguy (*1900 – †1955), that interbellum movement which perhaps with the remove of time does turns toxic undertones tragic and naรฏve. 

Having grown more nuanced than the longing for salad days that never were, there is across the century a sort of correspondence in both movements and those who limned them embrace a complicated relationship towards retro and reprise when we began again cognizant of (up)sampling and its necessarily selective-nature in recalling a future pledged that only exists in the past, delivering instead of the parallel, low-poly alternate reality that we were seeking all along rather an augmented and ersatz one that didn’t have to be. See more exemplars of both aesthetics at Hyperallergic at the link up top.

Tuesday 1 September 2020

sacrorum antistitum

Rescinded in 1967, Pope Pius X instituted the requirement, motu proprio, on this day in 1910 that all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries of the Catholic church take his oath against modernism—that is the attempt to reconcile church doctrine with contemporary culture and norms.
An earlier encyclical by Pius, Pascendi Dominic gregis (Feeding the Lord’s Flock) brought the term to prominence and made it a matter of debate, especially vexed by scholars that insisted that the church could no longer ignore scientific evidence that ran counter to a literal interpretation of the Bible. To be sworn by all parties above, the clauses include rejecting “that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists…” While overturned by the curia and no longer mandatory, some organisations offer this pledge on a voluntary basis.

Sunday 30 August 2020

truly, madly, deeply

Via Things Magazine, we very much enjoyed this bit of lockdown spelunking into the fantasy worlds that people are creating in their basements and for what it lacks for in photographs of the interlocutors’ sub-levels and rumpus-rooms, I consider it more than making amends by recalling us to the fact that Barbara Streisand has a whole town in her cellar with boutique stores to display her wardrobe. Do you have a little nook of your own to escape to or project on? Much more to explore at the links above.

Thursday 27 August 2020

omnia omnibus ubique

Having first encountered the massive catalogue on Things Magazine (with more on the theme mail-order shopping), we were quite intrigued and a bit frustrated that Project Gutenberg where the 1912 tome in its entirety is archive (an undertaking it took thirteen years to scan) is unironically blocked in Deutschland, and so appreciated the curation by Open Culture of some of the limitless wares on offer by ringing up “Western One” (true to the motto above) for anything at any time day or night.
Some of the particularly Victorian goods and services available included an on-call taxidermist, engage a band of musicians for an occasion, cocaine infused throat lozenges all shipped anywhere in the Empire. The flagship store of course still exists though now under the ownership of the state of Qatar. Much more to explore at the links above.

Thursday 20 August 2020

umarรจl

Via the always engrossing Futility Closet—which has, in addition to its regular podcast, returned to blogging with a fervour after a hiatus, we learn a Bolognese term that refers to retired gentlemen who pass time at roadworks and other construction sites supervising and disbursing advise to the crew.
The word meaning “little man,” it has picked up use around Italy since a 2005 book employed the term and not just in the one region and often with the female equivalent ลผdรฅura, an umarell’s wife. While the subject of gentle derision, developers and municipalities often are willing to pay a small stipend in exchange for their scrutiny and quality-control.

Tuesday 11 August 2020

7x7

reaction faces: a cavalcade of overly dramatic cats—via Miss Cellania’s Links

split infinitives: learning wild to verb

what the dormouse said: a virtual creation of Disneyland’s1958 “Alice in Wonderland” attraction

clandestine laboratory enforcement team: an assortment of rare US Drug Enforcement Agency mission patches

apparel appeal: a series of interventions to make fashion greener

outhouse: inclusive public facilities in Tokyo reference ancient, ambiguous spaces

supermarket sweep: an investigation into one of the more memorable duo’s of the game show—via Super Punch

scientific method: a feline physics experiment

Sunday 28 June 2020

a free masculinity simulator video game

Via ibฤซdem, we are directed to a playable application that captures the tension and the drama packed into a memetic phenomenon filmed on a phone—with that same POV—of two hunky young men beating each other with chairs that circulated on the internet in 2015 that speaks to Lad Culture, the strange performative normative of “no homo” and affirming stunts of manliness. These sort of toxic displays (see also) remind it’s no wonder that we are not able to overcome challenges whose only requirement is showing mild consideration for others but maybe by confronting it and dissecting it, we can perhaps disarm it. Game play allows one to play with the sequence and duration of steps and see how the variation affects the outcome. Be sure to check out developer Robert Yang’s website at the link above for the full story and extra food for thought.

Friday 26 June 2020

6x6

morning edition: artist paints sunrises on newspapers as a dawning juxtaposition to the headlines of the day

free parking: aerial views of grounded planes at the Frankfurter Flughafen—see previously

b&b: designs for a horizontal hive with human sleeping compartment

๐Ÿ‘️๐Ÿ‘„๐Ÿ‘️:the ubiquitous string of emoji signals a tautology

if it ain’t baroque: another in a growing chain of art restoration failures, via Miss Cellania’s Links

2020: a spa odyssey: a day retreat in Caracas inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s aesthetic

Monday 22 June 2020

daddy issues

Via Language Log, we learn that Chinese netizens have cultivated a term to call out chauvinism and paternalistic behaviour, invoked in a similar spirit to accusing someone, albeit in a less gendered way despite the name, of mansplaining—with diฤ“ wรจi (็ˆนๅ‘ณ, literally dad flavour).
While in the West some might find such withering words to carry power and pride for moving beyond (and sometimes rightfully so, though none of us should be so quick to label others less liberated or enlightened lest we remain ignorant of our own ample shortcomings) their parochial tendencies, the feminist advocate tracking this trend believes it to be more of an internet catharsis and a way of commiserating online (whose power also shouldn’t necessarily be dismissed) over unwelcome and unsolicited impositions and is not likely to affect society at large. Speaking of the above equivalence, mansplaining was inspired by a universal phenomenon described by author and essayist Rebecca Solnit who was approached by a man at a social event who’d heard she was a writer, to which she began talking about her latest publication on the topic of Eadweard Muybridge, whereupon the man cut off his interlocutor proclaiming that he had heard of about a comprehensive edition of the life of Muybridge that had come out recently—failing to entertain the likely fact that he was addressing the book’s author. Describing the experience without having the precise term, the internet soon provided one, falsely credited with its coinage, Solnit insofar as she can speak for mansplaining regrets that it is a harsher condemnation on men and their perceived mindset than she meant it to be.

Wednesday 17 June 2020

this is my happening and it freaks me out!

Co-written by film critic Roger Ebert (*1942 – †2013) and director Russ Meyer (*1922 – †2004) and originally intended as a sequel to the 1967 cinematic adaptation of Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls, the property’s earlier rejection lead the project to be revived as a satirical pastiche of the commercially successful though critically panned first instalment, the X-rated Beyond the Valley of the Dolls had its premiere in Los Angeles on this day in 1970.
Applying the same formula as the original screenplay, telling the heroes’ journey of three young women coming to Hollywood to seek fortune and fame—either finding redemption or not, its parody and exploits extend beyond the protagonists’ dreams and aspirations to lampoon conventions of show business and the creative industry in general. The musical melodrama was unflinching with the first screenings continuing even with the recent murder of Sharon Tate by the Manson Family who had starred in the original film, whose unwillingness to reprise her role—along with that of co-star Patty Duke—caused the development to shift direction in the first place. Lynn Carry, was led signer for the fictitious group the Carrie Nations and wrote some of the songs but no band members actually performed on screen. Below is the opening sequence, Come with the Gentle People, with the full movie plus supplemental material available at this link.

Saturday 13 June 2020

bodice-ripping

In order to keep up with the pace of publication of pulp fiction paperbacks and special interest magazines cover artists and illustrators often turned formulaic, perhaps becoming generic and predictable.
Active from the mid-1950s through the late 1970s and under contract to Man’s Life and True Men Stories, no one embraced and mastered the model and method better than Wilbur (Wil) Hulsey (*1925 – †2015), we learn thanks to Miss Cellania, whose commissions almost invariably consisted of virile man (the gallery’s curator sees a resemblance to David Bowie) defending a distressed damsel (present or implied) from exotic animals, the protagonist himself sustaining bodily damage whilst trying to rebuff the attack. The subgenre of illustrated narrative that Hulsey propagated is sometimes referred to as “Weasels Ripped My Flesh”—though Cannibal Crabs or “Chewed to Bits by Giant Turtles” would do as well, albeit that none other are Frank Zappa song titles.  See more cover art at the links above.

Sunday 3 May 2020

future shock

First in print on this day in 1970, the ethnographical treatise by futurists Alvin and Heidi Toffler is summarised in the personal experience of too much change over too little time, arguing that society is undergoing an overwhelming and estranging structural change that engenders “shattering stress and disorientation.” Aside from introducing the concept of “information overload,” the book further limns the features of the Information Era to include a throw-away culture, decreasing ownership in favour of sharing and renting, redundancy and frequent career change and digital nomadism. In 1972, after its best-seller success, a documentary was produced, narrated by Orson Welles.

Thursday 23 April 2020

the mitigation of world tension through the exercise of humour

With its act of secession from Key West tolerated as a boost for tourism and the above motto, the Conch Republic declared its independence on this day, St. George’s Day, in 1982. While motivated out of genuine displeasure on the part of residence regarding inconvenience incurred with federal authorities combating the narcotics trade, the movement’s organisers, a “Sovereign State of Mind” have portrayed the micronation as a prevailing attitude and way of life exclusive to the Keys and have subsequently staged and invasion and surrender ceremony with a brokered peace. Though unimpeachably a nice place to live, the Conch Republic’s break-away status has only made its relationship and allegiance to Florida closer.

Wednesday 22 April 2020

open office

From the latest link round-up (a lot more to explore here) at Pasa Bon! comes this ambient office noise machine—fully adjustable and importantly mutable once one has had enough—for those of us pining in a sense for the familiar routine of going into work and dealing with the patter of colleagues, traffic as the white noise that would at other times be a jarring distraction. I for one have never had to try to function in a sea of infinite cubicles and am not feeling compelled to ever not in the future telework—and hope that no one else is put in harm’s way by returning prematurely—and am grateful for that but do miss a bit of the atmosphere and commiseration.

Sunday 19 April 2020

touched by an angle

Our gratitude to Things Magazine once again for catching this fantastic update we overlooked from our friends over at McMansion Hell (see previously here and here) with this vintage 1973 edition and this garrulous real estate listing that hits all the resounding features and elements: lawyer foyer, Olive Garden bar, trypophobic wine rack, etc. Check out both Kate Wagner’s blog for a tour of the entire property and the source link up top for much, much more.

Saturday 18 April 2020

6x6

paracosm: Things Magazine digs through its rough drafts to bring together a montage of private homes that represent the complete, the self-contained

your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should: researchers isolate a sample of possibly viable dinosaur DNA, via Slashdot

ursine alignment chart: lockdown coping levels gauged by cartoon bears

ะฒะตั‡ะตั€ะธะฝะบะฐ ะฝะฐ ะฑะฐะปะบะพะฝะต: solo techno raves are the latest challenge in Russia under social distancing rules

covid corridor: absent leadership on a national level, new names proposed for regional alliances forming in the disunited states

domus: Sony World Photography Awards winners and runners-up announced in the category of architecture—via Coudal Partners’ Fresh Signals

Friday 17 April 2020

trail-blazer

Taken to long walks in the woods lately, I appreciated this tract, via Strange Company (a lot more to explore here as well), on the invention of hiking as a pastime. Louis XIV commissioned a campaign to landscape and enlarge the already sizably managed Fontainebleau forest—named for its stately chateau outside of Paris, a favoured and expedient retreat from the metropolis and the undertaking came to be entrusted in the hands of failed military concierge Claude-Franรงois Denecourt, dismissed earlier from the barracks also co-located on the grounds and finding the restorative qualities of wandering amongst the trees was seasoned and eager when it came to the task.
Familiar with the landmarks he encountered, Denecourt emphasised the forest’s character and wound pathways that would pass by all the highlights.  I’ve recently discovered a pair of trails that cross an empty hunting lodge that’s a strange sort of anchor and landmark in my ramblings—sort of like coming back to the witch’s cottage in King’s Quest as the side-scroll repeated—at least at first and absent a guide but now happy to know that these paths meet up.  Other milestones are coming into focus as well, like particularly venerable trees along logging roads.  Though there is an element of the artificial to what Denecourt created weaving through the forest’s expansion that we would not consider re-wilding, staking out a lightly manicured trail and touting its qualities—one of the first of its kind in the West at least in terms of mapping and promotion, certainly had influence and amplification (often repeated and juxtaposed so we’re also not tempted to stray and trample further) that we all can be grateful for.  Learn more with the Smithsonian article at the link above. 

7x7

610 wagon: Salvador Dalรญ was once commissioned to paint an advertising campaign (see also) for Datsun Motors

dรฉnouement: the Hero’s Journey during lockdown—see also

location scout: exploring how tax regimes and local ordinances limn the imagination in film and television adaptations

coade stone: the weather proof wonder material that’s the stuff of statuary and architectural embellishments

home office: not free to go out, Banksy gives the guest bathroom a makeover

now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station: NASA under Trump struggles to deliver even the solace of science with exploration becoming exploitation

the ever-changing motor car: 1965 animated short for Ford of Britain by the same collaboration behind Yellow Submarine

Tuesday 7 April 2020

flotsam and jetsam

Via Present /&/ Correct, we are introduced to a new form of beachcombing, mudlarking (see also here and here) that’s pivoted for one Cornwall resident from shells and lost treasures to the plastic detritus of modern times in LEGO Lost at Sea, who has nonetheless continued to collect what she can scavenge from the shores and displays them in their dismaying beauty. Learn more at the links above and share your own meticulously arranged collages of castaways.

Thursday 2 April 2020

house proud

From the always excellent Things Magazine that’s been performing real yeoman’s service over the best week to keep us entertained and engaged comes this interesting study and reflection on the British practise of naming houses—sort of parallel to the American conceit of naming cabins and beach homes which I still think continues apace, how it fell out of fashion and what that says about class and aspiration.
Though the christenings of their original builders are upheld for the most part by later residents, Elsinore, Sans Souci, Rosemont or even whole resort towns to give them place in history, the custom is sneered at as a bit naff (I term I first learned applied to Cats, perhaps not justifiably) and one common appellation (considered the worst offender) Sunnyside turned out to have a surprisingly ancient pedigree. Much more to explore at the links above.