Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Steve Rowell, Playas, NM

Steve Rowell's Flickr Photostream, including shots taken during Steve's visiting fellowship at Newcastle University in June 2010.

Department of Homeland Security helicopters and student troops assault
empty homes during the inaugural simulation event in December 2004.
CLUI photo by Steve Rowell

Steve Rowell's Playas, NM work can be seen here.

Road to Las Vegas (2010)



Jason Massot, 'Road to Las Vegas: A Modern-Day Grapes of Wrath,' The Guardian

Monday, November 22, 2010

Detroit: Making it Better for You (2000)


Detroit: Making It Better for You from Kyong Park on Vimeo.


Text from Rethinking Marxism 15: 3, 404-5:

A project of International Center for Urban Ecology. Directed by Kyong Park. Composed, edited and narrated by Joshua Pearson [9:25min] 2000.

Detroit: Making It Better for You is a 2-channel video, showing a gritty tapestry of images on the destruction of Detroit, the city of the war between the sustainability of the local community against the greed of the global economy. Through its “driveby-shooting” technique—emblematic to the mythology of Detroit as the “Motor City”—the video offers street level views of the urban clashes between the inner city emptiness and suburban bliss.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Robinson in Ruins (2010)


  • Peter Bradshaw's review in The Guardian
  • Brian Dillon's piece on Keiller, also from The Guardian
  • Spotlight | Robinson in Ruins (Patrick Keiller, UK), Cinema Scope
  • 'The Future of Landscape: Patrick Keiller,' interview with Andrew Stevens in 3AM
  • Farihah Zaman, 'Home Fires,' Reverse Shot

Monday, November 15, 2010

Into Eternity (2010)


The focus of Michael Madsen's new documentary Into Eternity -- about the inconceivable task of securing nuclear waste deep underground for thousands of years -- is Onkalo in Finland. The Americans have a similar facility called the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) located near Carlsbad, New Mexico. Not least among the problems faced by designers of such places is how to signpost a site for curious visitors poking around the site in, say, 10,000 years time.
 
Landscape of Thorns, concept by Michael Brill and drawing by Safdar
Abidi, from Marking the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant for 10,000 Years







'Like the gaze of the exorcist, the gaze of the pollution-plagued contemporary is directed at something invisible. The risk society marks the dawning of a speculative age in everyday perception and thought. [...] Not until the step to cultural risk consciousness is everyday thought and imagination removed from its moorings in the world of the visible. In the struggle over risks of modernization we are no longer concerned with the specific value of that which appears to us in perception. What becomes the subject of controversy as to its degree of reality is instead what everyday consciousness does not see, and cannot perceive: radioactivity, pollutants and threats in the future' (Ulrich Beck, Risk Society 73)

Friday, October 08, 2010

Ballardian Architecture

Among the seemingly endless list of events I manage to miss is the symposium Ballardian Architecture: Inner and Outer Space, held at the Royal Academy of Arts on 15 May 2010. Fortunately, the organisers have posted a series of video clips of the talks. Click here for programme.


Ballardian Architecture 3 - David Cunningham from static tv on Vimeo.

Border Patrol Colouring Book

Public Collectors is a fantastic website where 'collectors allow the contents of their collection to be published and permit those who are curious to directly experience the objects in person.' One of the great finds here is a PDF of a colouring book for children produced by the U.S. Border Patrol Museum, El Paso, Texas. Can you help the detector dog find the illegal drugs? Click here and scroll down to find the complete book.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Andromeda Strain

Each floor of the bunker is a different colour, intended to reflect different psychological states. And matching paper uniforms.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Memoire Hotel

Unused/unissued 1974 material from the British Pathé news website.
[Click image - video opens in new window].

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tower Dance Club


Apparently soon to be converted into a boxing club, the Tower Dancing Club on Riverside Road in Gorleston on Sea, Norfolk, stands as possibly the most implausibly sited dance club ever, situated among industrial workshops and overlooking the business end of the River Yare just as it reaches the North Sea.

Luckily, recent plans to develop Riverside Road seem to have come to nothing (see this site for comments on the proposed development) and the Friends of Riverside Road appear to be doing a good job sticking up for the area. Other structures like the 'dolphin' jetties and the lifeboat house might have more heritage appeal but an abandoned postwar dance club lost among the welding yards is a ready made winner.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Newcastle Central Library

Almost secret entrance
© Copyright Mark Smiles and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Demolition video already posted here.

OK, it was hardly glamorous but once the thrill of large open interior space wears off, the new building feels like a cross between a duty free outlet and a sixth form center, but with more noise. Every effort has been made to disguise the fact that this is a library.







Monday, August 09, 2010

Birmingham City Library

John Madin's remarkable 1974 Birmingham Central Library is set to be demolished. A new glittery library is on offer, but where's the improvement? Not sure what the move to replace a flak tower with a tissue box tells us about contemporary urban space.

  • Paul Dale, 'End in sight for Birmingham Library after Government refuses listed status,' Birmingham Post, Nov 23 2009.
  • English Heritage response, Nov 23 2009.
  • Promotional site for the proposed new Library of Birmingham, including interviews with children speaking as if, without the new library, there will be no books in the city for them to read.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Andrew Freeman

(Manzanar) Architectural Double.

The buildings at the Japanese American WWII internment camp at Manzanar were relocated and reused after the war, effectively dismantling the material evidence of the camp's existence. Between 2001 and 2004 Andrew Freeman tracked the buildings down and photographed them.

#11.4.01 - Mount Whitney Rifle Club, Lone Pine, California.
N 36°36.156’, W118°03.749’

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Hartmut Bitomsky


B-52 (1) The whole film is at Dailymotion.com

High-Ballin (1978)

Featuring Peter Fonda and Jerry Reed, we're not at the bottom of the 1978 truckin' barrel yet.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Steel Cowboy (1978)

There is seemingly no end to these trucking films. Another one from 1978, this time with James Brolin and Rip Torn.


Monday, August 02, 2010

Charles Olson



See Amy Cutler's Write of the Map blog for some excellent poetry/map material.

The Ethics of Dust















Series of installations by Jorge Otero-Pailos undertaken to conserve pollution.

Mark Tansey

Action Painting II
Purity Test
Coastline Measure (1987)


Sunday, August 01, 2010

Gateshead Trinity Square Car Park

Thompson of Prudhoe have got the job of demolishing this beast.















Thompson promise time-lapse footage of the demolition. The video of the Newcastle library demolition can be seen here. The new library is shiny but the old one was resplendently 'fuck off.' As Owen Hatherley points out in The Guardian, the car park is making way for a Tesco store with student flats on top. There's a form of beligerence in that, too, but it's nowhere near as bracing as stacked concrete parking spaces.



Friday, July 23, 2010

New Topographics Photographs on Google Maps

This map geographically locates the locations of many of the photographs from the New Topographics exhibition. So if you ever wondered where that Robert Adams tract house was in Westminster, Colorado, now you can find out.

Robert Adams, Tract House, Westminster, Colorado (1974).
Gelatin silver print 15.2 x 19.6 cm. George Eastman House Collection.



Monday, July 19, 2010

Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001)



Wrecked piers, empty swimming pools, drought, gangs of street kids, it's all here.

'Curiously, the house we moved to had a drained swimming pool in its garden. It must have been the first drained pool I had seen, and it struck me as strangely significant in a way I have never fully grasped. My parents decided not to fill the pool, and it lay in the garden like a mysterious empty presence. I would walk through the unmown grass and stare down at its canted floor.'

--J.G. Ballard, Miracles of Life (2008).

Clearly what Ballard needed was a board.

Friday, July 16, 2010

White Line Fever (1975)




Not really in the same league as Road Movie but part of the oil crisis/70s recession-era obsession with instigating the automobile's integral accident -- this time with trucks. The big year for trucker movies was 1978, with Peckinpah's Convoy and Clint Eastwood's Every Which Way But Loose exploiting the exploitation movies. But White Line Fever, with Jan-Michael Vincent and Slim Pickens, is more pissed off and therefore gets my vote.


Road Movie (1974)

Forget Moonfire, for real existential truck action Joseph Strick's Road Movie is the only real choice. Strick did some great work on The Savage Eye (1959) but spent years making films that attempted to adapt the unadaptable -- Joyce, Genet, Henry Miller. Road Movie is much better: raw, awkward and alienating.

Moonfire (1973)

The most authentic trucking movie ever made? Who would know?
The whole film is available on Youtube here.


Helen Levitt

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jesus College Air Raid Shelter

The Easter 2010 issue of the Cambridge Alumni Magazine CAM has an article
on a WWII air raid shelter beneath Jesus College gardens. Full issue PDF.
The short piece by Diya Gupta is on pp. 18-19. Photos by Steve Bond.