Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Jotter: July 09

Ross Racine's fantasy suburb art. (Via Mefi.) See also Hubert Blanz's runway art (via Pruned), and the work of Neil Montier. Me on Neil Montier.

Good magazine's amazing photos of the LA Freeways: Traffic!

How to spot a phoney review.

K-Punk quotes Greil Marcus and Ian Penman on Michael Jackson, to powerful effect.

Industrial Span, Dead Cars, Burnout, Roadside Memorials - beautiful, evocative films by Ashley Perry.

Isometric Hong Kong map with a SimCity aesthetic - amazing. Via Bezoar.

Flood destroys road in minutes. Building in Shanghai falls over, lies on side remarkably intact.

Functional topiary.

Carnivores! Keep being awesome!

Viz's Top Tips is on Twitter.

Email patterns within organisations can predict disaster.

Sri Lanka arrests astrologer for political prophecy. Which is basically what I researched for my undergraduate dissertation, only in medieval England, not in Sri Lanka. Dangerous business, political prophecy.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Tower Hamlets Cemetery

Some pictures from a recent stroll around this graveyard-turned-nature reserve in Mile End.


Founded in 1841, one of the "magnificient seven" of Victorian London cemeteries, it has been left to grow wild for more than four decades.


The last bodies were buried here (officially, anyway) in 1963. But a few graves still had fresh flowers on them.


It's gothic, to say the least, and was deserted even on a sunny Sunday afternoon in June.


The modern war memorial - very poorly maintained.








Alas poor doric.


The tree canopy is so thick that large areas are dark even on bright days.






Catholic, I'll bet.


Fred liked horses.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

They Use the Train

Pudding Mill Lane DLR Station.

"Spies, terrorists, smugglers and other stealthy types use trains in Western Europe because they are fast, cheap and efficient," says Sebastian Rotella in this mysterious column in the LA Times, first spotted by Geoff Manaugh. As Geoff discusses in his post on the subject, Rotella uses the fact that railways and stations have been a venue for intrigue in popular culture for many decades as a starting point for a discussion of the alleged fondness of modern terrorists for trains. And by "modern" Rotella means Islamist, drawing murky cconnections between recent terror plots and the fact that "train stations tend to be in working-class immigrant areas where desperadoes find shelter, weapons, false documents and other tools of the trade". There follows some borderline-Orientalist musing about the exoticism and hidden danger of one such neighbourhood in Brussels. "Campaign posters of local politicians with first names like Ahmed and Fatima ... a music shop blaring desert rhythms ..." You get the picture.

Aside from its cultural insensitivity, what's really perplexing about this column is its suspicion towards the train. Rotella, an American, might find mass train use something of a novelty, so the thought of terror on rails caught his imagination. It must be the train's inherent cosmopolitanism, its relative classlessness, its blurring of individuality, that makes it suspect. Cars and vans are also very popular with terrorists - so are planes, and concealing clothing, and all areas of public assembly. This is what terrorism is: it's the weaponisation of the public domain. As Peter Sloterdijk says in his study of terrorism and modernity, Terror from the Air (my review): "Terrorism can only be understood when grasped as a form of exploration of the environment from the perspective of its destructibility."

I'm not drawing a comparison between Rotella's insensitivity and an ideology that has killed millions, but reading his article, I thought of Norman Cohn's extraordinary book Warrant for Genocide, an exploration of the history of so-called "Protocols of the Elders of Zion". This was a notorious antisemitic forgery that was among the inspirations for the Holocaust. If you ever fancy staring into the heart of hatred at its most surreal and malignant, Cohn's study of these documents is the book for you.

The Protocols claim to outline a Jewish plot for world domination, and - in line with the fascist ideologies they inspired - are fiercely anti-modern and hostile towards the city and modern technology. An aspect of this hostility is the author's specific concerns about underground railways (cutting-edge technology in the mid to late 19th century), which according to the Protocols were built by the conspirators in order to plant explosives under capital cities.

As is standard for the Protocols, this is paranoia on steroids. The author doesn't just fear that the conspirators might use subways, he suggests that the subways have been constructed specifically for the purpose of destroying industrial capitals. Their usefulness as a form is mass transit is purely a ruse. What a ruse!

This kind of fear remains current. Even before the 11 September attacks, the "conspiracy community" attached much significance to the fact that the Bin Laden family made much of its fortune in construction and therefore had the ability to mine infrastructure. A near-identical claim has been made about Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure. In these different modes of thinking, two different kinds of paranoia are evident. There's conventional terror-paranoia, fear that the environment is being exploited by rogues intent on destruction; and enhanced terror-paranoia, fear that the environment was designed and built by rogues intent on destruction. Paul Virilio's "integral accident" gone bad; gone worse.

Virilio explores the use of simulators to probe technology for potential accidents - accidents are, after all, built-in to technology, the invention of the aeroplane was the invention of the plane crash. If you're designing and building something that's meant to self-destruct, use of simulators and the machinery of "health and safety" becomes, in effect, what Sloterdijk called terrorism: "A form of exploration of the environment from the perspective of its destructibility." The machinery of "health and safety" and contingency planning involves the mass-manufacture of conceptual terrorist attacks.

Mention of the "health and safety" complex brings me to a point related to all this infrastructural anxiety: high-vis jackets. High-visibility jackets are fascinating, and almost certainly a subject I will return to, so I'll keep my thoughts here brief. It is a strange facet of our modern society (in Britain at least) that the construction, maintenance, transport and security industries have adopted the same uniform. There are entirely practical health-and-safety reasons for this, of course. But while the high-vis vest makes you more visible to moving machinery, it has the opposite effect for society at large. As one of the photographers on my recent stroll around the Olympic site said, "if you ever want to be invisible, wear a high-vis vest". And, in a curious way, they are the uniform of capital interacting with the environment. As Iain Sinclair suggested in Sorry Meniscus, the Thatcherite-Blairite money shot is a group of men with hardhats on and "tweetie-pie waistcoats" over their suits breaking ground with a gleaming shovel. "Britain is working. Hands-on management. Optimism. Good humour."

Monday, 22 June 2009

In praise of Beech Street


Beech Street. Image taken from the Flickr stream of megapiksel under a creative commons licence.

Beech Street is a special place for me.

For those that don't know it, it's a tunnel that passes under part of London's Barbican Centre, connecting the Tube station with the arts venue's front door. In the minds of the Barbican's designers, it was a way of segregating traffic and pedestrians. Cars would use Beech Street, and visitors on foot could use the landscaped highwalks above.


Now you see it ...


... Now you don't. Aerial images: Google Maps.

In fact, plenty of pedestrians (including myself) are perfectly happy to walk through Beech Street. In this Oobject post attacking NY's brand-new Highline, that's presented as a failure on the part of the planners: "[The Highwalk] has become a sad and lonely place and people still use the street level underpass [Beech Street] which is hostile to pedestrians."

Like most of Oobject's baffling complaint about the Highline, this attack on Beech Street is stunningly wrongheaded. The Highwalk gets plenty of use and is anything but a "sad and lonely" place. Beech Street isn't some Trumptonesque New Urbanist Quality Street, but it's not "hostil to pedestrians", either - unlike many underpasses, it's well-lit, the pavements are adequate, the ceiling is high enough, it's as clean as any other street and it gets plenty of use. Britain's cities have plenty of dead streets, far less pleasant and more dangerous than Beech Street, but because Beech Street is an underpass it is immediately written off as a modernist deathmaze.

It's true that it's not the most delightful place in London, and it's sad to report that it probably never will be. Underpasses aren't easy places to get right, but their enormous utility is such that we should at least have a look at the things Beech Street does get right - the things that make it special to me.


Image taken from the Flickr stream of Tristam Sparks under a creative commons licence.

For a start, there's the lighting. Splendid, isn't it? In this arrow-straight tunnel, the overall effect is of a Renaissance study in perspective with the guide lines left in. Combined with the vertical coloured panels, it creates a sense of movement that works well both at walking pace and in a car.

There's also a personal meaning to the place for me. I have very early memories of being driven through Beech Street, and it had a powerful effect on me. For me, it screamed modernity, the first pioneering signs of a new city. It was strangely comforting - the warm orange glow of the sodium light, the rhythm of the coloured panels, the streaming lights, like the Enterprise going into warp speed. It was a snapshot of a city that had passed the period of even partial coexistence with the landscape, and was now a total structure - a cityscape. It still means to me a kind of density watershed, a Change of State in the city fabric like melting or sublimation.

There's a magnificient science-fiction sense to it as well, not dissimilar to the magic beauty of the Second Street Tunnel in Los Angeles, better known as the "Blade Runner tunnel" - white-tiled and aseptic like an inverted morgue gutter, star of numerous films and now apparently struggling to find work. In Blade Runner, Second Street is a rare blaze of light, a hint perhaps that a better life awaits not in the offworld colonies, but underground, escaping the ruined climate. (The underground dystopia of THX-1138, perhaps, which George Lucas called "Electronic Labyrinth" when it was still a student short.) That sense of a controlled environment, a Rosalind Williams underground techno-fantasy, is given a nudge on a walk down Beech Street by a sudden waft of chlorine from a hidden swimming pool, like some unexplainable Machine Stops fault in the life support.

Here it was, in Britain, the future - the sort of multi-level city that has meant modernity since Metropolis and the sketches of Hugh Ferriss, in which the skyscrapers link arms and "ground level" becomes a geographer's memory, like the old rules bolted to old bridges showing the height century-old floods. It didn't seem at all bad to me, and it still doesn't. It was thrilling, and it was human - a place that we had made. And I still get that go-go-go futuristic frisson from it.

Index: 2003-2014

2014
Review: Anti-Ugly by Gavin Stamp, Icon 129, March 2014
"Always / Never", review of Command & Control by Eric Schlosser, Review 31, 31 January 2014
Review: Memes in Digital Culture by Limor Shifman, Art Review, Jan/Feb 2014
Review: The Kensington Dollshouse Festival, Icon 128, February 2014
Driverless Cars, Protein Journal 11, Winter 2014

2013
Creepypasta, Aeon, 20 December 2013
Icon of the Month: the cassette tape, Icon 126, December 2013
Icon of the Month: Junkspace, Icon 124, October 2013
Hyperloop, Protein Journal, Autumn 2013
Review: The Alternative Guide to the Universe, Icon 123, September 2013
"Thoroughly Modern Man" (interview with Kenneth Grange), Port, Summer 2013
Review: United Micro KingdomsIcon 122, August 2013
Collectors: Richard Rogers, Icon 120, June 2013
"Sou Fujimoto", Icon 119, May 2013
Review: America's Assembly Line, Icon 119, May 2013
"The Anxiety of Influence", Frame 91, March/April 2013
"Unhappy? Clean House", The New York Times, 23 March 2013
"I'm on the phone", interview with Martin Cooper, Audi magazine, Spring 2013
Review: Extreme Metaphors: Interviews With JG Ballard 1967-2008, Art Review, March 2013
"Pixel Prophet", interview with Winy Maas, Icon 117, March 2013
Review: Darkitecture, Building Design, 15 January 2013
"Barber Osgerby", Icon 115, January 2013
Review: SF Season at Grand Hornu, Icon 115, January 2013

2012
"Fluid Assets", Cabinet 47, Autumn 2012
"Our Town: Asper's Casino, Westfield", Five Dials 26 [pdf download], December 2012
"Before Fruit Ninja, Cybernetics", The New York Times, 29 November 2012
Review: The Architects, by Stefan Heym, Building Design, 13 November 2012
Design Erotica (six short stories), Disegno 3, Autumn/Winter 2012
"Disaster Strikes! Three Books Where Things Go Awry", NPR.com, 8 October 2012
Review: The Meaning of Home, by Edwin Heathcote, Building Design, 8 October 2012
Review: Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style, Icon 112, October 2012
Icon of the Month: The Industrial Robot, Icon 112, October 2012
Review: Museum Without Walls, by Jonathan Meades, Building Design, 20 September 2012
"Will Wiles is Martin Blank", Electric Sheep, 18 September 2012
"The Machine Gaze", Aeon, 17 September 2012
"Practising Restraint: The Madness of the Straitjacket", Cabinet 46, Summer 2012
Review: CITY, by PD Smith/American Urban Form, Icon 111, September 2012
"The Filling Station", Icon 111, September 2012
Review: Why We Build, Building Design, 13 August 2012
"Tea and Sympathy: Cutty Sark and Titanic Belfast", Icon 110, August 2012
"Selections from the Foyles Cache" (short fiction), Man Made Lands, supplement to The Ninth Letter vol 9 no 1, spring/summer 2012
"Mirror" (short fiction), Vestoj 3, Winter 2011/2012
Review: Hexen 2.0 by Suzanne Treister, Icon 109, July 2012
"Zones of Anxiety" (on Baikonur and Chernobyl), Volume 31, summer 2012
"Thomas Heatherwick: The Towers of the Dead", Icon 108, June 2012
Review: Seven Years by Peter Stamm, New Humanist, May-June 2012
Review: Zona by Geoff Dyer, Icon 107, May 2012
Icon of the month: Nakagin Capsule Tower, Icon 107, May 2012
"Jerwood Gallery", Icon 107, May 2012
"Design Indaba", Icon 107, May 2012
"No Signal" (part of a mobile phones special), Icon 106, April 2012
Review: Cybernetic Revolutionaries by Eden Medina, Icon 106, April 2012
"Pocket Utopias: From Asylums to Garden Cities", Architectural Review Asia Pacific 124, March/April 2012
"Is Magazine Publishing Really Screwed?", warrenellis.com, 16 March 2012
"The Irradiated Zone" (inside the ruined city of Pripyat), Icon 105, March 2012
Review: Distrust That Particular Flavor, Icon 105, March 2012
"My Week", Untitled Books 41, February 2012

2011
Review: Postmodernism: Style and Subversion, Icon 102, December 2011
Interview: Martin Boyce, Icon 101, November 2011
Review: Hardware, Icon 101, November 2011
"Marlowe Theatre", Icon 101, November 2011
"Firstsite", Icon 101, November 2011
Review: Dressing for Pleasure (essay length), Transgressive Culture, October 2011
"Philippe Malouin: New Works", catalogue introduction for NextLevel Galerie, Paris, October 2011
"Inside OMA", Icon 100, October 2011
Icon of the Month: Icon magazine, Icon 100, October 2011
Review: Ma Ligne, Icon 100, October 2011
"House in Torres Vedras", Icon 100, October 2011
Interview: BERG, Icon 099, September 2011
"Zumthor's Serpentine pavilion", Icon 099, September 2011
"The Behaviorial Sink", Cabinet 42, Summer 2011 (One of Atlantic editor Jared Keller's "5 all-time great articles"; One of Nature editor Brendan Maher's top 5 Longreads of 2011)
"Space Oddities" (review of "Out of This World" at the British Library), New Statesman, 8 August 2011
Review: Belgrade Design Week, Icon 098, August 2011
"Zaha in Glasgow", Icon 098, August 2011
"Selfdiscipline", Icon 098, August 2011
"Up and up" (on London's new skyscrapers), Icon 097, July 2011
"The Hepworth Wakefield", Icon 097, July 2011
"Towering strength", The Clerkenwell Post #1, May/June 2011
"Force of nature" (on David Chipperfield's Turner Contemporary, Margate), Icon 096, June 2011
Review: The New Psychedelica, Icon 096, June 2011
"Corby Cube", Icon 096, June 2011
Review: Locals Only, Jocks & Nerds, May 2011
Interview: Philippe Malouin, Icon 095, May 2011
Review: Civil Unrest, Icon 095, May 2011
Icon of the Month: Voyager 1, Icon 094, April 2011
Review: New City Reader/Beyond, Icon 094, April 2011
"Plaza Ecopolis", Icon 094, April 2011
"Death of a City", New Statesman, 28 March 2011
"Structural daring" (on the artists Mary Ellen Carroll and Richard Wilson), Icon 093, March 2011
Review: Utopia London, Icon 093, March 2011
"Architecture on the Grid" (on the design of Tron: Legacy), Icon 092, February 2011
Review: Food on the Move, Icon 092, February 2011
Review: Nonobject, Icon 091, January 2011

2010
"Pool", The Bi Blog, 23 December 2010
Interview: Francois Roche, Icon 090, December 2010
Review: Living With Modernity/Building Brasilia, Icon 090, December 2010
Time Extend: Dungeon Keeper 2, Edge 221, December 2010
"Queer as Folk" (on the 20th anniversary of Twin Peaks), New Statesman, 22 November 2010
"The Balancing Barn", Icon 089, November 2010
Review: Dressing for Pleasure, Icon 089, November 2010
"AOC Samples London", Icon 088, October 2010 (an experiment: a heavily annotated, somewhat hypertextual, transcript as a way of escaping the conventional interview format - sadly the annotations are stripped out of the online version, making it a little pointless)
Interview: Nika Zupanc, Icon 088, October 2010
Icon of the Month: The High-Visibility Vest, Icon 088, October 2010
Review: Inception, Icon 088, October 2010
Review: The City's End/The Fires, Icon 088, October 2010
Secular Rosaries, Icon 088, October 2010
Interview: Jovan Jelovac, Icon 087, September 2010
Roadside Chapel/Prayer Companion, Icon 087, September 2010
"El Porvenir", Icon 087, September 2010
"Beautiful Rejects" (introduction and Tylenol bottle), Icon 087, September 2010
"The Leyton Roar", Smoke 016, summer 2010
Interview: Diane Bisson, Icon 086, August 2010
Review: Uncorporate Identity, Icon 086, August 2010
Review: Exposed, Icon 086, August 2010
Interview: Gramazio & Kohler, Icon 085, July 2010
Review: Other Space Odysseys, Icon 085, July 2010
Icon of the Month: The Boeing 747, Icon 085, July 2010
"What Catch-22 Tells Us About the BP Oil Spill", NS Cultural Capital blog, 11 June 2010
"Belgrade Design Week", Iconeye, 9 June 2010
Time Extend: SimCity 4, Edge 215, June 2010
"Africa: E-Waste", Icon 084, June 2010
"Africa: Mobile Civilisation" (interview with Jan Chipchase), Icon 084, June 2010
"Africa: Land Grab" (infographic), Icon 084, June 2010
Review: When The Lights Went Out, Icon 084, June 2010
"Hearth House", Icon 084, June 2010
"Is Design Playing With Your Emotions?", Icon 083, May 2010
Review: Crash, Icon 083, May 2010
Crime Against Design: Violence Posters, Icon 083, May 2010
Insight: Design Hacks, Icon 082, April 2010
Review: Books Round-up, Icon 082, April 2010
"The Office Park", Icon 082, April 2010
Review: The Warcraft Civilization, Edge Online, 2 March 2010
Review: Decode, Icon 081, March 2010
Review: CES Las Vegas, Icon 081, March 2010
"Collective Madness", New Statesman, 8 February 2010
"No Photos" (comic strip, with Paul Francis), Icon 080, February 2010
"Unbuilt Masterworks of the 21st Century", Icon 080, February 2010
Icon of the Month: The BookIcon 080, February 2010

Interview: Bjarke Ingels, Icon 079, January 2010
Icon of the Month: Blogger.com, Icon 079, January 2010

2009
Review: Bunker, Icon 078, December 2009
Review: A Week At The Airport, Icon 078, December 2009
Icon of the Month: The Bar Code, Icon 077, November 2009
Review: Yes is More, Icon 077, November 2009
Review: Design For Life, Icon 077, November 2009
Review: Ground Control, Iconeye, 16 October 2009
"Reality 2.0", Icon 076, October 2009
"X-Plantation", Icon 076, October 2009
Review: Telling Tales, Icon 076, October 2009
Review: Chevolution, Icon 076, October 2009
Icon of the Month: Tatlin's Tower, Icon 076, October 2009
"Leave the Past Alone", New Statesman, 17 August 2009
Review: The City & The City, Icon 075, September 2009
"I'm Lost in Paris", Icon 075, September 2009
Interview: Peter Marigold, Icon 074, August 2009
"The City of Justice", Icon 074, August 2009
Review: Synecdoche, New York, Icon 073, July 2009
Review: Hidden Forms, Icon 073, July 2009
Insight: Guilty Design, Icon 073, July 2009
Icon of the Month: JG Ballard, Icon 073, July 2009
Review: Militant Modernism, Icon 072, June 2009
"Something Unbelievable has Happened: Farming has Become Fashionable", Icon 072, June 2009
Interview: Matthew Darbyshire, Iconeye, 5 June 2009
Review: Limited Edition, Icon 071, May 2009
Review: Watchmen, Icon 071, May 2009
Icon of the Month: Muzak, Icon 071, May 2009
Review: Terror From the Air, Iconeye, 29 May 2009
Review: London Yields, Iconeye, 15 May 2009
Review: The Belt, Iconeye, 1 May 2009
Review: Big Box Reuse, Icon 070, April 2009
"Thanet Earth", Icon 070, April 2009
Icon of the Month: Tintin, Icon 070, April 2009
"The Barbican Corbusier Debate", Iconeye, 15 April 2009
Review: The New Routemasters, Icon 069, March 2009
Review: Mydeco.com, Icon 069, March 2009
Icon of the Month: SimCity, Icon 069, March 2009
Review: Mesmerization, Icon 068, February 2009
"Will the Crash Save Luxury Design?", Icon 068, February 2009
Review: Three Short Films About Architecture, Iconeye, 27 February 2009
Review: Designs of the Year, Iconeye, 13 February 2009
Review: Westfield London, Icon 067, January 2009
Interview: Benedikt Taschen, Icon 067, January 2009

2008
Review: Ripley's Believe it or Not London, Icon 066, December 2008
"Meta in Miami", Iconeye, 3 December 2008
Review: Cold War Modern, Icon 065, November 2008
Icon of the Month: Modulor Man, Icon 065, November 2008
"Icon in Qatar", Iconeye, 28 November 2008
Review: Fuel (Alphabet City), Iconeye, 7 November 2008
Review: Man on Wire, Icon 064, October 2008
Icon of the Month: The Light Bulb, Icon 064, October 2008
Review: Richard Serra/Anish Kapoor, Iconeye, 17 October 2008
Review: Lost Buildings, Iconeye, 3 October 2008
"Good Things From Small Spaces", Under the Same Roof (exhibition catalogue), autumn 2008
Interview: Didier Krzentowski, Icon 063, September 2008
Review: Iron Fists, Icon 063, September 2008
Icon of the Month: Google, Icon 063, September 2008
Review: Seizure, Iconeye, 11 September 2008
Icon of the Month: The Frisbee, Icon 062, August 2008
"Ugly in a Good Way" (with Anna Bates), Icon 061, July 2008
Review: Harrods Pot Noodle, Icon 061, July 2008
Review: China Design Now, Icon 060, June 2008
"This Building is Singing", Icon 060, June 2008
"The New Brand: Meta", Icon 060, June 2008
"Folkestone Triennial", Iconeye, 26 June 2008
"Reprap", Iconeye, 12 June 2008
Review: Magnetic North, Icon 059, May 2008
"Ebbsfleet: This is a Place That Doesn't Exist", Icon 059, May 2008
Interview: Stanley Donwood, Icon 059, May 2008
Review: Dan Dare and the Birth of High-Tech Britain, Iconeye, 30 May 2008
"New Doesn't Always Mean Better", Icon 058, April 2008
Icon of the Month: Lego, Icon 058, April 2008
Review: Cloverfield, Icon 058, April 2008
Review: The Island, London Series, Iconeye, 11 April 2008
Icon of the Month: Copyright, Icon 057, March 2008
"Design Cities: Singapore", Icon 057, March 2008
Review: Psychogeography, Icon 057, March 2008
Review: London Open City, Iconeye, 7 March 2008
Interview: Will Wright, Icon 056, February 2008
Review: 700 Penguins, Icon 056, February 2008
Review: Blades House, Iconeye, 8 February 2008
Review: Space Time Play, Icon 055, January 2008
Icon of the Month: Holiday Inn, Icon 055, January 2008

2007
"ECAL: Switzerland's Best Design School", Icon 054, December 2007
Review: Rider Spoke, Icon 054, December 2007
Review: Times of the Signs, Icon 054, December 2007
Icon of the Month: Sellotape, Icon 054, December 2007
Review: Mapping London, Iconeye, December 2007
Review: A Book of Wonder, Iconeye, December 2007
Icon of the Month: Tron, Icon 053, November 2007
Review: Cigarette Health Warnings, Icon 053, November 2007
"Design Gallerists", Icon 052, October 2007
Icon of the Month: Milton Keynes, Icon 052, October 2007
"Peter Marigold Hates Maths", Icon 052, October 2007
"Labels and Beyond", Icon 052, October 2007
"Choice on Wheels", Icon 052, October 2007
Review: The Perfect City, Icon 052, October 2007
Review: Transformers, Icon 052, October 2007
"The Return of Kitsch", Icon 051, September 2007
Icon of the Month: Neon, Icon 051, September 2007
Review: Walking With Richard Wentworth, Icon 051, September 2007
"Design Cities: Glasgow", Icon 050, August 2007
Icon of the Month: The Remote Control, Icon 048, June 2007
"9-11 Truth Untruth", Total Spec 20, May 2007
Review: The Thames Whale, Icon 046, April 2007
Icon of the Month: Barbed Wire, Icon 044, February 2007

2006
Co-author, The London Collection
Contributor, Phaidon Design Classics
Review: Readymade, Icon 041, November 2006
"Left in Limbo: The Growing Affordability Crisis", ROOF, March/April 2006
Interview: Caroline Spelman, ROOF, January/February 2006
"Red Peril: The New Repossession Industry", ROOF, January/February 2006
Interview: Alexander Masters, ROOF, January/February 2006

2005
Icon of the Month: The Universal Serial Bus, Icon 030, December 2005
"So, Mr Alsop ...", Total Spec 3, December 2005
"Don't!", Total Spec 3, December 2005
"System Failure", Total Spec 2, November 2005
Reputations: Hugo Chavez, Total Spec 2, November 2005
"Fundamentally: American + Religious + Right?", Total Spec 1, October 2005
Reputations: Francois Mitterrand, Total Spec 1, October 2005
"Streets Ahead: Hostels of the Future", Housing Today,
"Pick N Mix: The Return of Social Engineering", Housing Today, 21 January 2005

2004
Icon of the Month: The $50 Bill, Icon 018, December 2004
Icon of the Month: The Caterpillar Track, Icon 017, November 2004
"The Bins of Pimlico", Smoke 004, autumn 2004
"Bomb the Bits the Blitz Missed", London Line, summer 2004
"Atlantis and the Circle Line", London Line, summer 2004
Review: Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture, Icon 014, July/August 2004
"Voting With Your Street", Housing Today, 4 June 2004
"Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere", Housing Today, 7 May 2004
Review: Kitchen Stories, Icon 011, April 2004

2003
"... And I'm the One Who's Supposed to be Nasty", Housing Today, 12 December 2003
"Kicking Their Butts", Housing Today, 10 October 2003
"Walk On By?", Housing Today, 8 August 2003
"Admit it, You're Cheap", Housing Today, 27 June 2003
"Back to the Future: Thamesmead, the First Thames Gateway", Housing Today, 27 June 2003

Previous Blogs
This Isn't London, 2004-2005
Londonist, 2004-2006

Notes: Not comprehensive. I've excluded most things that are less than 500 words and the more forgettable hackery. Links included where found.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Index: 2003-2008

2008
Review: Ripley's Believe it or Not London, Icon 066, December 2008
"Meta in Miami", Iconeye, 3 December 2008
Review: Cold War Modern, Icon 065, November 2008
Icon of the Month: Modulor Man, Icon 065, November 2008
"Icon in Qatar", Iconeye, 28 November 2008
Review: Fuel (Alphabet City), Iconeye, 7 November 2008
Review: Man on Wire, Icon 064, October 2008
Icon of the Month: The Light Bulb, Icon 064, October 2008
Review: Richard Serra/Anish Kapoor, Iconeye, 17 October 2008
Review: Lost Buildings, Iconeye, 3 October 2008
"Good Things From Small Spaces", Under the Same Roof (exhibition catalogue), autumn 2008
Interview: Didier Krzentowski, Icon 063, September 2008
Review: Iron Fists, Icon 063, September 2008
Icon of the Month: Google, Icon 063, September 2008
Review: Seizure, Iconeye, 11 September 2008
Icon of the Month: The Frisbee, Icon 062, August 2008
"Ugly in a Good Way" (with Anna Bates), Icon 061, July 2008
Review: Harrods Pot Noodle, Icon 061, July 2008
Review: China Design Now, Icon 060, June 2008
"This Building is Singing", Icon 060, June 2008
"The New Brand: Meta", Icon 060, June 2008
"Folkestone Triennial", Iconeye, 26 June 2008
"Reprap", Iconeye, 12 June 2008
Review: Magnetic North, Icon 059, May 2008
"Ebbsfleet: This is a Place That Doesn't Exist", Icon 059, May 2008
Interview: Stanley Donwood, Icon 059, May 2008
Review: Dan Dare and the Birth of High-Tech Britain, Iconeye, 30 May 2008
"New Doesn't Always Mean Better", Icon 058, April 2008
Icon of the Month: Lego, Icon 058, April 2008
Review: Cloverfield, Icon 058, April 2008
Review: The Island, London Series, Iconeye, 11 April 2008
Icon of the Month: Copyright, Icon 057, March 2008
"Design Cities: Singapore", Icon 057, March 2008
Review: Psychogeography, Icon 057, March 2008
Review: London Open City, Iconeye, 7 March 2008
Interview: Will Wright, Icon 056, February 2008
Review: 700 Penguins, Icon 056, February 2008
Review: Blades House, Iconeye, 8 February 2008
Review: Space Time Play, Icon 055, January 2008
Icon of the Month: Holiday Inn, Icon 055, January 2008

2007
"ECAL: Switzerland's Best Design School", Icon 054, December 2007
Review: Rider Spoke, Icon 054, December 2007
Review: Times of the Signs, Icon 054, December 2007
Icon of the Month: Sellotape, Icon 054, December 2007
Review: Mapping London, Iconeye, December 2007
Review: A Book of Wonder, Iconeye, December 2007
Icon of the Month: Tron, Icon 053, November 2007
Review: Cigarette Health Warnings, Icon 053, November 2007
"Design Gallerists", Icon 052, October 2007
Icon of the Month: Milton Keynes, Icon 052, October 2007
"Peter Marigold Hates Maths", Icon 052, October 2007
"Labels and Beyond", Icon 052, October 2007
"Choice on Wheels", Icon 052, October 2007
Review: The Perfect City, Icon 052, October 2007
Review: Transformers, Icon 052, October 2007
"The Return of Kitsch", Icon 051, September 2007
Icon of the Month: Neon, Icon 051, September 2007
Review: Walking With Richard Wentworth, Icon 051, September 2007
"Design Cities: Glasgow", Icon 050, August 2007
Icon of the Month: The Remote Control, Icon 048, June 2007
"9-11 Truth Untruth", Total Spec 20, May 2007
Review: The Thames Whale, Icon 046, April 2007
Icon of the Month: Barbed Wire, Icon 044, February 2007

2006
Co-author, The London Collection
Contributor, Phaidon Design Classics
Review: Readymade, Icon 041, November 2006
"Left in Limbo: The Growing Affordability Crisis", ROOF, March/April 2006
Interview: Caroline Spelman, ROOF, January/February 2006
"Red Peril: The New Repossession Industry", ROOF, January/February 2006
Interview: Alexander Masters, ROOF, January/February 2006

2005
Icon of the Month: The Universal Serial Bus, Icon 030, December 2005
"So, Mr Alsop ...", Total Spec 3, December 2005
"Don't!", Total Spec 3, December 2005
"System Failure", Total Spec 2, November 2005
Reputations: Hugo Chavez, Total Spec 2, November 2005
"Fundamentally: American + Religious + Right?", Total Spec 1, October 2005
Reputations: Francois Mitterrand, Total Spec 1, October 2005
"Streets Ahead: Hostels of the Future", Housing Today,
"Pick N Mix: The Return of Social Engineering", Housing Today, 21 January 2005

2004
Icon of the Month: The $50 Bill, Icon 018, December 2004
Icon of the Month: The Caterpillar Track, Icon 017, November 2004
"The Bins of Pimlico", Smoke 004, autumn 2004
"Bomb the Bits the Blitz Missed", London Line, summer 2004
"Atlantis and the Circle Line", London Line, summer 2004
Review: Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture, Icon 014, July/August 2004
"Voting With Your Street", Housing Today, 4 June 2004
"Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere", Housing Today, 7 May 2004
Review: Kitchen Stories, Icon 011, April 2004

2003
"... And I'm the One Who's Supposed to be Nasty", Housing Today, 12 December 2003
"Kicking Their Butts", Housing Today, 10 October 2003
"Walk On By?", Housing Today, 8 August 2003
"Admit it, You're Cheap", Housing Today, 27 June 2003
"Back to the Future: Thamesmead, the First Thames Gateway", Housing Today, 27 June 2003

Previous Blogs
This Isn't London, 2004-2005
Londonist, 2004-2006

Notes: Not comprehensive. I've excluded everything that's less than 500 words and the more forgettable hackery. Links included where found.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

A Letting Go


Lahontan Dam spillway, Newlands Project, Nevada, 1922. Image source.
"Writers often forget what they have written, since the act of writing is a letting go of a piece of one's mind, and so an erasure." -- Gore Vidal, "Montaigne", 1992
A spillway is a channel that carries water out of a dammed lake or reservoir to prevent it overflowing. I liked it as a way of describing a blog dealing with surplus writing that doesn't have an immediate application.

This blog will ultimately amount to three things:
  1. An outlet for work that doesn't have anywhere else to go.
  2. An index to my professional work, possibly with expanded versions, notes, "bonus material", references and sources.
  3. A noticeboard for updates about my creative writing.
Plus, some photographs.