Archive for April, 2007

Salt flat signage

April 30, 2007

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[Photos by imagineering]

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Expressive

April 30, 2007

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The image above is from Smiths, Wendover’s only supermarket. Smiths closes at midnight, but the Nevada State Bank ATM that’s inside the store advertises that it’s open 24 hours.

[Photo by imagineering]

Midnight Auto Supply

April 28, 2007

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[Photo by imagineering, joke via Troutkiller]

Tips

April 27, 2007

Apparently public transportation has always sucked. From the Omaha Herald in 1877:

“TIPS FOR STAGECOACH TRAVELERS

The best seat inside a stage is the one next to the driver. Even if you have a tendency to sea-sickness when riding backwards… you’ll get over it and will get less jolts and jostling. Don’t let any “sly elph” trade you his mid-seat.

In cold weather don’t ride with tight-fitting boots, shoes, or gloves. When the driver asks you to get off and walk do so without grumbling, he won’t request it unless absolutely necessary. If the team runs away… sit still and take your chances. If you jump, nine out of ten times you will get hurt. In very cold weather abstain entirely from liquor when on the road, because you will freeze twice as quickly under its influence.

Don’t growl at the food received at the station… stage companies generally provide the best they can get.

Don’t keep the stage waiting. Don’t smoke a strong pipe inside the coach. Spit on the leeward side. If you have anything to drink in a bottle pass it around. Procure your stimulants before starting, as “ranch” (stage depot) whiskey is not “Nectar”.

Don’t lean or lop over neighbors when sleeping. Take small change to pay expenses. Never shoot on the road, as noise might frighten the horses. Don’t discuss politics or religion.

Don’t point out where murders have been committed, especially if there are women passengers.

Don’t lag at the washbasin. Don’t grease your hair, because travel is dusty. Don’t imagine for a moment that you are going to a picnic. Expect annoyances, discomfort, and some hardships.”

CLUI

April 27, 2007

Starting from yesterday I’m based in Wendover, a small town on the border between Nevada and Utah, on a residency at the Center for Land Use Interpretation. And I’ll be blogging from this remote outpost.

The little things

April 24, 2007

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Abercrombie experience

April 22, 2007

Last week I was wandering the west end galleries, late in the day toward closing time and I was feeling a little whited-out. It was a surprise to hear slightly obscene animal noises and hollering at the otherwise sedate, uber-ultra-posh corner of Burlington Gardens and Saville Row. The new Abercrombie & Fitch store was in full swing: the “upscale casual” clothing line has stamped its London flagship experience store on a former Jil Sander neo-classical pile. I ventured in.

I don’t recall there being any flashy signage out front – instead, theatre. The door is flanked by greeters in matching A&F, who basically just hang around self-entertaining, framing the half-naked male model in the entrance (the source of animal sounds on my visit, egged on by the greeters). You can even get a free polaroid of yourself with the gang.

Inside it’s the attention-deficit ambiance of a top-flight casino: disorientation and dim, starry lighting, a maze-like layout with mirrors and a bracingly loud mix of songs you know covered by vocalists you can’t place. Really loud, like they must have had to sound-proof their walls for the neighbors. There was roughly one sales-person/model to every two customers, and the store was packed. But the staff was there for the show. Abercrombie is a teens and twenties disco inferno to Gap’s heavenly white ether-of-all-ages, and it’s not afraid to say so. It’s surprising to come across such a declarative marketing statement, so cleverly exclusive and precisely choreographed.

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[Photos by imagineering]

Paris hilton is here to teach us

April 8, 2007

“What is important to grasp here is the strangely naive and ultimately perplexing point that appearance is power and that this is a function of the fact that appearance itself can acquire density and substance….”

“The fetish power of imagery in shrines and magic [and marketing?] is merely a heightened and prolonged instance of this tangibility of appearance…. Epistemologies of science bound to the notion that truth always lies behind (mere) appearance sadly miss this otherwise obvious point. Daily life, however, proceeds otherwise.”

The smashing quotes above are from Michael Taussig’s Mimesis and Alterity, emphasis and comment in brackets my addition.

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Above, Paris Hilton with Paris Hilton lookalikes. Which/what is real?

[Images from here, here, here and here.]

In the shop

April 7, 2007

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Above, found signage in a middle school shop classroom in Eastleigh, Hants, UK.  What are they teaching the young punks these days?

[Photo by imagineering]

Superlative necessity

April 4, 2007

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Some interesting musing on the decorative has been going down at things magazine. Things asks “What is the New Decoration?” and references an intriguing tome titled Patterns in Design, Art and Architecture. Things writes that “digital pattern isn’t merely about cloaking or concealing technology, it’s about expressing technology.” I suspect that sentence is going to bug me for a while, I’m not sure what expressing technology means. Woodblock printing was a technological development over a thousand years ago and it must have been deliriously technological to print with moveable type in the 1400s. But of course when we say technology we generally mean our own most recent technological developments; as Brian Eno has said, “Technology is the name we use for things that don’t work properly yet.”

It does seem like there is a new attitude toward decoration, a desire to embrace it’s extrusions from our latest techno toys. The artworld is perhaps loathe to consciously acknowledge this, but despite all insistence to the contrary, white cubes feel like little decorative temples – boullion cubes of pattern.

[Top image: photo by Johnny Magee, 2006]