Check out barrylutz.com for more awesome GIF animations, courtesy of my pal Zach Scott. If you send him an image he might just make one for you too! Then you can prove that you part of the meme before he blows up on 4chan.
BoingBoing has posted an excellent selection of documentaries and recordings regarding the Jonestown Massacre in Guyana, which occurred thirty years ago on November 18th. I realize that this is a lot less light-hearted than your standard whoadu.de post, but this PBS documentary struck a chord with me. Yes, it’s long.
I knew so little about this tragic event, aside from (in retrospect, really fucked up) jokes about “drinking the Kool-Aid,” and an inaccurate urban legend about a huge mass-suicide. This documentary shows Jim Jones and his Peoples Temple for what they actually were: a racially and economically diverse group of idealists invested in creating a utopian rural community, led astray by a charismatic psychopath. Yeah, they were a weird cult, but that’s about all I knew about this whole event. This was not mass suicide, it was a massacre; 909 people, among them a US Congressman, were either shot dead or coerced into poisoning themselves with a cyanide cocktail. Only 5 escaped.
Maybe our well-read readers know more about this historic event than I do, but I am awestruck and feel compelled to pass this story along to whoever happens across this little blog of ours. This is not the place to read about all of the horrible things that happen in the world, but as someone who is interested in utopian projects and communities, this particular tragedy among tragedies was especially terrifying.
Today I went to Colonia San Pedro de los Pinos, one of the many parts of Mexico City that I haven’t seen, to get my main camera fixed. I had an hour to wait during sunset, so I wandered around with my point-and-shoot. I walked under the elevated highway (the Periférico), on Avenido Revolución. I must have been below the airport traffic pattern too, because I saw a plane every few minutes. I just kept on looking up.
I posted some pictures on Flickr.
Here’s a recent photo illustration I made, created from a composite of 30 or 40 high res photographs from the Greenpoint, Bushwick and Williamsburg neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The “view” is of course a fantastical compilation of a typical north-brooklyn architecture, but extremified to make the ubiquitous vinyl-sided row house the only form of residential building, overlayed on an industrial skyline. (If anyone wants a 24×60 inch print, let me know). The prominence of the row house in my new neighborhood (having recently relocated from Rhode Island to “East Williamsburg”) has made me think about larger ideas of urban living. With the premium on space, both public and private inherent in large cities, the way that architectural space behaves becomes more charged and meaningful. For instance, perhaps my favorite form of architectural status-display in Manhattan is the empty white room, two things the public sphere of New York is not, (empty and clean). You could say it’s akin to the way the British gentry once employed the green yards of their estates; using the public display of tended, but unused arable land to communicate wealth. For more on this see Fritz Haeg’s project Edible Estates . At any rate, seeing multitudes of these row houses, all jammed together block after block got me thinking on how property in my neighborhood is delineated primarily in graphic fashion, through the use of vinyl siding. Three our four individual “houses” are more often than not separated from each other by little more than the color or texture of their siding, as these contiguous properties are really part of the same building. This unique functionality reminded of architect/printmaker Jean Cozzens‘ take on the issue; she once remarked to me “I like vinyl siding, it reduces buildings to their pure form”. Something to think about for sure.
This image is from a project by Swedish artist Erik Nordenankar- the simple, unbroken line drawing seems akin to an Etch-a-Sketch rendering over a Mercator map. However, the artist claimed to employ an extraordinary (and extraordinarily techie) process to realize this drawing. According to his humbly-named website, http://biggestdrawingintheworld.com, “With the help of a GPS device and DHL, I have drawn a self-portrait on our own planet. My pen was a briefcase containing the GPS device, being sent around the world. The path that the briefcase took around the globe became the strokes of the drawing.”
This is a fascinating way to draw over the world, but look more closely at the map. How could (and why would) DHL be looping around areas with no landmasses? Well apparently they wouldn’t. After the project was presented as fact on more timely blogs, these same criticisms began to arise.
Eventually the artist admitted on his website that this was a conceptual project which was never realized.
So what is this exactly? A megalomaniacal hoax? A strange sort of viral marketing campaign for DHL (why did they play along by allowing Nordenankar to film in their warehouse)? Is it possible to realize such a project?
Maybe his inspiration came from Antti Laitinen, who pulled off a similar GPS-based project, albeit on foot. Here’s an example below.