The post this week included a poster print by Toby Melville-Brown, an artistic response to the lockdown of April and May. Toby has a colourful graphic style that favours architectural views in the mode of Archigram and other futurists, past and present; at the end of February I featured one of his invented book covers (below) in a weekend post. The title of the cover—Notes from a Troubled Rock—seemed darkly humorous at a time of political turmoil and a growing pandemic. Four months on it reads like a summary of 2020.
The lockdown poster, Life Indoors: A Cross-Section, is more positive, a cutaway elevation of a high-rise block, with each apartment showing the response of a real person or group of people to the viral situation. To fill out the rooms Toby sent an email to 175 households asking for a photographic reflection of lockdown life. I’m in one of the rooms but if you want to know where you’ll have to buy a copy of the poster which is available here. All profits go to Refuge, a charity supporting those at risk from domestic violence. When I first moved to Manchester I spent four years in a Brutalist flatblock that would have had JG Ballard’s wealthy high-rise denizens fleeing for the suburbs. Toby’s elevation looks like a better place to be.
(And I’ve just been informed that the poster sale will end at midnight [UK time] on Friday 12th June.)
Simulation No. 136 (1973); From the Archigram Revival Project.
• Scientific American looks at DMT: “the only psychedelic known to occur naturally in the human body”. Related: Hofmann’s Elixir: LSD and the New Eleusis, a book from the Beckley Foundation Press.
• “People weren’t quite sure what this guy was doing.” Colin Marshall talks to Eno biographer David Sheppard.
• LA FAN presents its debut group show, Eve in the Garden of Lost Angels, curated by Milla Zeltzer, at Optical Allusion Gallery, downtown Los Angeles, from May 15 to June 12, 2010.
• Masturbation: literature’s last taboo. The words “last” and “taboo” should never be used together; taboos don’t vanish, they migrate.
• Announcing the Text: Development of the Title Page, 1470–1900.
• The Anachronism is an award-wining Steampunk short about two children who discover the wreck of a giant squid submarine on a beach near their home.
• Out There is a brand new, bi-annual, international magazine for gay men and their friends.
• The Big Picture looks at the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull.
• Expo 2010 opens in Shanghai on May 1st.
• (Walter) Benjamin in Extremis.
• Nathalie returns to Bomarzo.
• Acronymic songs of the week: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (1967) by The Beatles; The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam’s Dice (1967) by The Jimi Hendrix Experience; London Social Degree (1968) by Billy Nicholls; Love’s Secret Domain (1991) by Coil.
A belated shout of appreciation for this film whose distribution appears to have been so limited that everyone missed it, me included. That’s a shame as Roman Coppola’s debut (he’s the son of Francis) has a lot to commend it although it helps if you’re familiar with pulpy European spy/science fiction/horror movies of the late Sixties and the po-faced works of auteurs such as Jean-Luc Godard and Michelangelo Antonioni. CQ pays loving homage to both styles of filmmaking which probably explains why the studio didn’t know what to do with it.
Continue reading “CQ”
Such Cheek! Those Were the Days, Architects
by Nicolai Ouroussoff
New York Times, February 8th, 2007
IF YOU ARE revolted by today’s slick and fashion-obsessed architecture scene, hurry over to ‘Clip/Stamp/Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines‘ at the Storefront for Art and Architecture. You’ll feel even worse.
Organized by the architectural historian Beatriz Colomina, the show examines the world of those small magazines from the early 1960s to the end of the 1970s, when the field of architecture was still marked by a playful intellectual and political independence. It’s packed with gorgeous cover images, from copulating robots to an elephant attacking the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan to a skyscraper made of Swiss cheese. Often thrown together on a shoestring budget, the magazines have an intoxicating freshness that should send a shudder down the spine of those who’ve spent the last decade bathed in the glow of the computer screen.
But this is not an exercise in nostalgia. It’s a piercing critique, intended or not, of the smoothness of our contemporary design culture. These magazine covers map out an era when architecture was simmering with new ideas. You’re bound to leave the show with a nagging sense of what was lost as well as gained during the electronic juggernaut of the last three decades.
Part of the magic of this show, which was recently extended for three more weeks, is in the works’ crude immediacy. One side of the gallery is wallpapered in hundreds of colorful magazine covers. On the opposite wall a more detailed timeline maps out the evolution of the culture of architectural magazines, from an obsession with politics and pop culture to a descent into increasingly abstruse and self-involved theoretical debates. The rarest magazines are encased in clear plastic bubbles (made of cheap plastic skylights that the show’s curators bought on Canal Street), evoking time capsules descended from outer space.
Continue reading “Radical architects and their magazines”