Tag Archives: links

Trade Tokens #2 – January Tidy-Up


As part of what I do in the ‘day job’, I’m interested in borders, in the US-Mexican/US-Canadian borders in particular, and in the ways authority attempts to impose arbitrary borders and boundaries. Via Building Blog, I came across David Taylor’s project, ‘Working the Line’, documenting 276 markers installed on the US/Mexico border between 1892-1895. Lots of useful links worth following up!

I’m not sure how I’d categorise this next link, also to Building Blog, to a post about fictional architectures, a student project which used a document-based approach to create extraordinary fictional worlds.

A different form of fictionality: I like automata, and this post from Cabinet of Wonders contains a number of videos of different machines. I find the hand a little unnerving; there is a sense that it is the hand that turns the cogs and makes the human hand move. I like that.

On a similar theme, No Fear of the Future recently included a video of a Lego version of the Antikythera Mechanism (beware when you watch the video: it has annoyingly portentous music). Bonus clips are of machines by Arthur Ganson, who made a number of the machines featured in the earlier blog post.

Shifting tack entirely, via the Guardian I came across Bookshelf Porn, which naturally appealed, given I live in a house in which bookshelves form the main (often the only) decorative accents. Having looked through it, I realise I am clearly in the ‘neatly stacked and functional’ camp when it comes to bookshelves. This, while it might be an amusing talking point is of absolutely no use to me whatsoever. Which is not to say that my shelves don’t have the odd talking-point here and there – I have two Maine Coon-cross cats with a taste for mountaineering and a keen appreciation of the high places shelves provide – but I leave that to them to sort out.

Alas, given the paper-chewing propensities of cats (all three of mine have attempted at various times to use books as chew toys while teething), I don’t think it sensible to own any of Su Blackwell’s book sculptures (and I must admit to a faint queasiness about doing things to books, even though I know the world is hip-deep in old books which would otherwise be pulped, shredded, etc.).

Trade Tokens #1 – Dereliction and Dioramas

I happened to notice this series of strange photos on the Guardian website the other morning and it seemed too extraordinary not to share.

Detroit in Ruins: Photos by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre document the decline of a major US city. These are extraordinary photos, and so very, very sad.

When I posted the link on Twitter, Rose Fox pointed me at this post, which specifically deals with photos of and articles about abandoned libraries. As the original poster said, ‘Few places are as chilling as abandoned libraries’.

This in turn reminded both Rose and myself of the work of Lori Nix, which I came across recently. Her dioramas of The City fit the theme, and this onein particular returns to the notion of the derelict library.

I was fascinated by Nix’s bizarre miniatures, but it turns out she’s not the only one producing tiny dioramas. Today I came across another set, featured on Building Blog (one of my favourite blogs, and worth reading if you’re interested in buildings, use of space, ruins and derelict places, etc., etc. It’s always thought-provoking and inspirational). Florian Tremp’s No Country For Small Men is a series of dioramas based on the Coen Brothers’ No Country For Old Men.

I am entranced by this kind of modelling although (perhaps because) I possess neither the patience nor the dexterity, let alone the imagination, to produce such work. For that matter, neither do I possess the nerve to find my way into derelict buildings to take photos of them. I’m glad there is someone out there, documenting them, but equally I wonder if I’ve developed an unhealthy taste for dereliction porn.