Dive into the archives.
- We fly high
For the past hour or so I’ve been mesmerized by this simulation of 24 hour’s worth of global air traffic. It was created by the power thinkers at Zurich University of Applied Sciences and sent to me by the power drinker Julius.
I think the most beautiful thing about this is the way it plots the motion of the sun across earth and shows each region coming to life in the light. You might have to watch it on full screen mode to see it clearly, so if you want to watch a bigger, clearer version, I’ve uploaded the original quicktime file. It’s 1024×512 px, better resolution and worth it. Watch it/DL it here.
Paul Mawhinney is a former paper salesman from Pittsburg. He is also the world’s most off the chain record collector. He currently maintains the largest record archive in the world – over 3 MILLION pieces, including thousands and thousands of albums and singles that were never transferred to CD/MP3. He popped up in the int’l press earlier this year when he announced that he needs to sell his beloved collection to the highest bidder. An e-bay auction took place, but the eventual winner (who’s high bid was (only) $3,002,150) couldn’t actually come up with the money, so it was ultimately voided.
Filmmaker Sean Dunne visited Paul at his meticulously organized record cave and made this. Amazing and sad.
Thanks to Jeremy for the tip. See you soon dude…
- Tip Drill
As is apparent to anyone paying attention, the US Presidential Election has devolved into a grotesque festival of lies. At this point, I find it too painful to invest emotion in this multi-million dollar demonstration of human dumbness and so, as a coping mechanism, I’ve begun to take pleasure in it. And with that in mind, I submit this: “Sarah Palin (I wanna lay pipe)” by John Brown (of White Rapper fame), to my knowledge the first “protest song” ever to request sex from its subject.
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laugh now, cry later
- Beijing Rising
Through a miracle of Facebook, I just became aware of this beautiful/bleak video made by Neville Mars of Dynamic City Foundation. Neville strapped a camera to a helium baloon and flew it over Wang Jing, a neighborhood in northern Beijing. During the Olympic viewing frenzy, some people asked me to explain what Beijing was like before the Games. I wish I’d had this clip then, it would have saved me a lot of unnecessary waffle.
- Save the date
Well, their efforts are finally reaching a climax with the completion of their latest and greatest work “Rio Cruzeiro” and to celebrate they’re hosting a weekend of fun, sun, and hopefully no guns in Rio. Here’s some text from the announcement:
Haas & Hahn proudly announce the inauguration of Rio Cruzeiro, a Favela Painting Project, on 17-19 October 2008
Rio Cruzeiro, an artwork by Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn. A +2000 m2 painting of a Japanese style river based on a design by master tattooist Rob Admiraal. Painted together with kids from the community of Vila Cruzeiro, the most infamous favela of Rio de Janeiro.
The weekend of the 17th – 19th of October will feature an opening party, photo exhibit and video installations in the center of Rio de Janeiro. On the 18th the painting will be unveiled, followed by a huge blockparty. There will be photo opportunities for the press, guided tours through the community and the whole day will be planned in cooperation with the IBISS Community Center.
If you’re in the neighborhood come through and check it out. Even if you’re not and aren’t planning to be, change plans and come check it out. It’s guaranteed infotainment for one and all. I’m going, so you know it’s the shit! Nuff said.
For more info: www.favelapainting.com
- Wanking ‘The Wire’
The Museum of the Moving Image just put up a really nice feature called Making ‘The Wire’. It’s the latest installment in their Pinewood Dialogues series, and the latest in the museum’s ongoing celebration of almost everyone I know’s favorite show.
For those who don’t know it, The Wire is a TV show based on life in the city of Baltimore. That’s about as dry a description as I can possibly provide, but at this point the show has been so heavily praised that even I, with my long standing commitment to overstatement, am hesitant to provide more than the bare facts. But if you’re interested in reading someone who really loves this show and isn’t afraid to show it, check this article by Jacob Weisberg on why The Wire is “surely the best TV show ever broadcast in America”. Then please watch the show. You won’t regret it.
Making ‘The Wire’ was the title of a panel discussion that the Museum of the Moving Image hosted this summer at their spot in Queens. It featured several cast members as well as the show’s creator David Simon. Below is a recording of the discussion. It isn’t for the unfamiliar or casually interested. This is strictly for the hardcore Wire heads who know the characters and will get references to (seemingly) minor scenes. But for those of us who fit that bill, this is a very entertaining and illuminating hour. The tone is free-wheeling and familial throughout. Here’s some samples…
5:55 – David Simon (Creator, Producer, Writer): The idea of writing to the casual viewer or the casual reader… who wants that guy?
18:15 – Clark Johnson (Baltimore Sun city editor Gus Haynes, Director): Can we talk for a second about the vindictive nature of the writing room?
23:35 – Richard Price (Writer): Everybody uses the word ‘Dickensian’… I don’t know, you know, it’s like… whatever.
25:00 – Wendell Pierce (Det. Bunk Moreland): There’s a particular club called Choices that I would love to go to like at 4 o’clock in the morning.
37:18 – David Simon: If people start showing themselves two-dimensional, the whole world falls apart.
40:33 – Clarke Peters (Det. Lester Freemon): Back in the seventies or sixties, people would get up in the street and would demonstrate and their voices would be heard and something would be done. In the year 2000, I find Americans being really apathetic.
52:35 – David Simon: I don’t know how you manage to be anything other than a moneyed oligarchy without an aggressive and surly press.
59:23 – Wendell Pierce: We would go to lunch and they would come back to the couch and start slinging.
1:02:47 – David Simon: There was the guy who staggered onto set who had been shot, in season 3.
1:06:20 – David Simon: [The Wire] wasn’t about race. It was about how money and power route themselves, or fail to. It was about end of empire. It was about a lot of things.
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Seth Gilliam (Ellis Carver)
Clark Johnson (Baltimore Sun city editor Gus Haynes, Director)
Clarke Peters (Lester Freemon)
Wendell Pierce (“Bunk” Moreland)
David Simon (Creator, Producer, Writer)
Richard Price (Writer)
David Schwartz (Chief Curator of Museum of the Moving Image)
- A handshake from Lok
My friend Lok Jansen is an architect, illustrator, and all around awesome person. He lives in Tokyo with his equally awesome wife Naoko and I don’t see them enough. Fortunately, Lok occasionally hits me off with some of his latest work, and somehow the space between here and there feels smaller. Yesterday was such a day – in my inbox, amongst the boring work shit and junk mail, I found a glowing orb of flavor in a the form of email from Lok with 4 sketches attached. The sketches are inspired by the urban villages around southern China. (I wrote a little bit about a visit I made to one in this post from a while ago.)
Anyway, these sketches are great. Here’s what Lok said about them:
I’m doing these for a new cityscape or two about the Urban Villages. Went and spent time in a couple of them in Shenzhen and in Guangzhou. Places like the Handshake Apartments (Wo Shou Lau) in Shenzhen, and Ba Deng Cun (巴登村). After the mostly Japanese cityscapes I was looking for something new and was of course struck by the very high density, the amount of life, activity, struggle and joy. Which is why I added people to these for the first time – to have them contrast with the wild machine-like surroundings, and have the environment stand for the overwhelming situation the people are trying to overcome. I was impressed by peoples ‘let’s make some money’ attitude, but also struck by the vulnerability of each individual. And of course I wanted to do tribute to the pajama stylo.
Here they are (click to enlarge highly recommended):
And as an extra bonus, here’s a short film Lok made while walking through the “handshake apartments” (握手楼, so named because the buildings are packed in so tight that neighbors can shake hands out of their windows) in Shenzhen. I think a lot of what Lok mentioned is evident here and it makes the sketches that much more beautiful.
- Back on the grime
If you’re anything like me, you’re an irritating American hipster. Like so many of your kind, you were all excited about grime music around 2004-05. You heard Dizzee Rascal and bought into the hype, especially the hype emanating from your British friends who observed his mainstream success and assured you that there were “loads” better MCs than him. Then you heard Lethal B’s “Pow” and decided to go all in. Perhaps you ordered some records from uptownrecords.com or even made the trip to London to buy from the actual store and maybe make polite small talk with Cameo, your favorite grime DJ, who through the magic of the internet you could listen to every week on 1Xtra. You may have bought Lord of the Mics or another of the grime DVDs that were coming out like 80 a week at that point. If you were DJing at the time you probably tried to incorporate some grime into your sets, mostly instrumentals though since the MCing was usually too aggro and put the girls off. At the time it felt exciting and new. Hip hop was stumbling between the codeine-fueled lethargy of Houston screw and red bull-ecstasy-coke-whatever those dudes were on hyperactivity of Atlanta crunk. Grime felt like a breath of fresh air, the first fully-fledged foreign rapform.
Overtime, though, the thrill sort of went. Dizzee kept rocking, but all the guys who were supposedly so much better than him – Kano, Lethal Bizzle, Wiley, etc. – never managed to do what he did, i.e. make a coherent, complete album that takes risks and contains hits. Then there were just so many other kids making records and it was hard to tell them apart. And then the sound started splintering into subgenres like Dubstep and Sublow or maybe these were all still part of grime, did it even matter? Then all the gimmicky beef started and the gun talk started popping up in every record and the whole thing just kind of lost its appeal. And then, if you were a for real deal irritating American hipster like me, you just kind of tossed it off and moved on to other trendy sounds like baile funk, Baltimore club, cumbia, hyphy, etc…
But even though the fair weather friends may have abandoned ship, grime is still in effect and still moving forward (no pun intended). I mention all this, because today a friend who turned me onto grime way back when and never left hipped me to Grimepedia, an amazing site that operates like Wikipedia, but is dedicated exclusively to grime music. It is the shit and perfect if you’re a regretful American hipster like me and want to quickly catch up on what you’ve been fronting on the last couple years. Plus they have lots and lots and lots of downloadable audio. Radio rips, mixtapes, shit you cannot find elsewhere. Crazy.
So, anyway, here’s a track that I just downloaded off the site:
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It’s by Chipmunk – a teenager from Norf Lunden who’s actually the reason I started checking for grime again. I was roaming around youtube and found this clip of a 16 year old Chipmunk holding it way down with Wiley and Ice Kid on Westwood (verse kicks off at 2:00):
Much more at grimepedia.