Walking, Looking Up

Posted: November 15th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Brian | Tags: | No Comments »

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.

The Improbability of Drawing the World a New Face

Posted: November 5th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Brian | No Comments »


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.


Tour de Awesome

Posted: June 13th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Brian | 1 Comment »



I’m going to ride my bike through Europe all summer. I’ll be chronicling the trip here. Whoa dude, Awesome.

Homeless in Heathrow

Posted: June 2nd, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Brian | 2 Comments »

The airport is, arguably, the most important new architecture of the 20th Century. It exists as a non-place: a space of transit that the traveler doesn’t leave, removed from the context of its surroundings. For example, few people claim to have “been” to a place if they had only spent a few hours in its airport. This is probably why architects are so interested in designing airport terminals: they are fully immersive environments that hoards of people must sit in or pass through in a predictable way. At the same time, to borrow from Gertrude Stein, there is no “there” there.

London Heathrow, which has the highest amount of international air traffic in the world, is a quasi-public space for transitory people, experienced by many travelers as a layover between long, exhausting flights. Accordingly, it is a place where travelers- people who “belong” there- sleep on benches next to their luggage. Unlike any other public space that I can think of, sleeping in public is accepted, if not acceptable. Vagrancy is okay because it is only temporary.PhotobucketThis is where homeless people come in. According to the Daily Mail, there are over 100 homeless people who live in Heathrow, camouflaged as tourists. They pull around suitcases and wear suits or Hawaiian print shirts, hide behind newspapers so that security doesn’t recognize them. Some of them have lived in the airport for years. It’s kind of like the Tom Hanks movie Terminal.sleepiez
I remember imagining this phenomenon when I worked loading planes at BWI Airport. I took a nap on a bench after I got off a late-night shift and got in trouble for sleeping in my work uniform. With all of the homeless people living in downtown Baltimore, I wondered if any of them took the short ride on the light rail and slept in the air conditioned, quiet airport waiting rooms. Maybe no one really thinks of the airport as a destination besides its workers, or maybe BWI is just too small for this tactic to work.

Argentinian Graffiti Animation

Posted: May 14th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Brian | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »


1986 Donahue Episode on New York Hardcore

Posted: May 12th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Brian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Those who grew up going to hardcore punk shows will appreciate this: when you search “Donahue” on youtube (because I did that), this is the second video that comes up: a panel of punks and skins, a fearful New York magazine reporter, and a crowd full of angsty DIY teenagers.

A highlight:

Phil Donahue: Even your shirt has a commercial look to it.
Ray Cappo, singer of Youth of Today: They were printed at my little brother’s high school.


Speaking of hardcore, here’s a video of Gorilla Biscuits performing New Direction for one of the many benefit shows to save CBGB. It’s a sadly ironic song title, considering the fate of the club.

It’s disheartening to think that the building on the Bowery that housed a show with this much energy is now the site of a John Varvatos store. Doesn’t seem like there is a better place to stage a riot- please just wait until after I spend my gift certificate.

deer = landscapegoat

Posted: April 6th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Brian | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

This post begins a series of ruminations on anthropomorphism, hybrid animals (such as amalgamammals), animism, dancing bears not affiliated with the Grateful Dead, and the panda-monium embodied therein. Let me start with a music video from OOIOO, directed by Shoji Goto.

The video clearly suggests that only through the death of the deer can the rest of the animal kingdom survive (to have a very crucial dance party). Of course, the increased presence of deer is indicative of sprawling human development that threatens their habitats. Deer hurl themselves in front of cars in suicidal fits of anomie, seeking the headlights at the end of the tunnel. One particular deer, after demonstrating interest in psychedelic mushrooms, foresees its own death, embodied in the hourglass symbology and the whistle-billed judasbird. After the deer dies and is resurrected, animals and non-animals may finally unite, stand on two legs, and play drums for the first time.

Kanye + Krautrock

Posted: March 24th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Brian | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments »

It turns out that Kanye West and Mos Def spend their free time much like whoadu.de contributors. They sit around on their yachts, listen to somewhat-obscure 70s German rock, get blazed, and make up new song lyrics. On Kanye’s new album, Graduation, they borrow generously from one of my all-time favorite songs, Can‘s Sing Swan Song. Here’s a video of them performing it in Paris in 1973.

Here’s Kanye performing his version, Drunk and Hot Girls.

All of this makes me very confused. Initially, I was annoyed that they changed this song to being about “drunk and hot girls.” It’s obvious, though, that they came up with the lyrics by listening to the Can song. And, after listening to the original lyrics a number of times, it is completely unclear what Damo Suzuki is singing. According to music lyric sites, it’s “you’ve been just the junky hot bowls.” This may or may not be true, but when you have a drugged-out Japanese guy singing in English with a German band, dissonance is inevitable. It really does sound like he is saying “drunky hot girls.” All of this is very unnerving.

betrunkenen und heißen mädchen.

Masters of the Metaverse

Posted: March 20th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Brian | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Photosynth is amazing. Among other things, it can scour through Creative Commons-licensed Flickr images and generate a composite 3D model of a site based on image tags, somehow triangulating the sites from which the photos were composed. I don’t know, I usually attribute things to algorithms when I don’t understand them. Anyway, now there is a real use for those obligatory tourist photos of famous destinations.

Photosynth’s “architect,” Blaise Aguera y Arcas, is the tightest computer nerd/physicist in the “metaverse.” I’m not sure if he coined that term, but all of this spatial talk about the infobahn is dizzying. Cyber-space, web-site, information superhighway. These geographical (and architectural) meta-metaphors are a bit of a stretch- they construct the internet as an existing physical entity. Still, there’s no doubt that the boundaries between cyberspace and physical space seem to be dissolving. Hyperreality is becoming a reality. Whoa dude.

O Hai Insurgent

Posted: March 14th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Brian | 1 Comment »

Sukjong reminded me of this fascinating essay yesterday. Apparently, the Israeli Defense Forces are training their urban warfare units in contemporary theoretical and philosophical texts, such as Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus. As one example of tactical appropriation of architectural theory, Israeli soldiers now move through dense urban Palestinian territories by creating “overground tunnels.” In other words, they cut linear paths through the walls of civilian homes, treating the built environment as a “flexible membrane.” I guess it’s not that that remarkable that the education of the urban warrior and the architect involve some of the same sources, but this is fucking crazy. The scariest part is that they drop the name of my advisor. Whoa dude.