Hans Poelzig Architecture
Jul02

Hans Poelzig Architecture

Via Graphicene: Hans Poelzig (30 April 1869 – 14 June 1936) was a German architect, painter and set designer. One of the finest examples of German Architectural Expressionism. As an architect and theoretician, Poelzig was particularly interested in developing a language specific for factory buildings : “the true monumental task of contemporary architecture”, in a period when Germany was developing as a major industrialised...

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The Queen’s Dolls’ House
Jun26

The Queen’s Dolls’ House

Scans from the Girls Own Annual, 1924, featuring an article on the Dolls House built for Queen Mary, the wife of King George V, and constructed with the help of architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. Click the images for larger...

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American Reflexxx: Mob Violence And Gender Confusion
Jan02

American Reflexxx: Mob Violence And Gender Confusion

You know what it’s like. You’re following some random links on random Tumblr sites looking for 1980s-style neon gorgeousness (don’t ask me why) when you find yourself somewhere called Sleazeburger and during the scrolling you notice a comment from someone asking about a film. And then you follow the link in the answer. And then you spend a little over 14 minutes gawping at something mesmerising and distressing, captivating, and mind-reeling. American Reflexxx is a movie featuring that Tumblr site’s owner, performance artist Signe Pierce, and filmed by Alli Coates in 2013. It was supposed to be a short film featuring Signe in stripper gear, neon shoes, and a reflective mask strolling along Myrtle Beach in South Carolina; something pretty, something futuristic cyborg-like, in a tourist destination in the heart of conservative America; it was probably expected there’d be stares, maybe some comments, photos from phones; it was probably not expected that a crowd would form and that both verbal and physical assault would take place. Oh, so naive. There’s some interesting time-dilation editing in the movie which helps to make Signe Pierce’s cyborg seem that much more alien amongst the humans. And, interestingly, it’s very difficult to come away from this video with anything other than bad feelings towards those humans as their behaviour to the alien is distressingly… well, human. The initial interest in the sexy giant very quickly gives way to uncertainty over gender. Unable to truly know whether Signe is male or female or something else entirely the instinct becomes to assume she is wrong, and therefore bad, and therefore a threat, and therefore scary. Adrenalin’s a hell of a drug and it will either trigger a fight or flight instinct but when you’ve got the safety of the herd around you and the threat has no obvious weapons a fight with the protection of numbers in the mob is probably the result you’re going to get. I mean, you’d like to think people could think rationally, perhaps think it’s a model doing a photoshoot or even the art piece it is, show some interest maybe, then go about whatever it was they were doing before, but forming into a mass of bullies is certainly an option too. The video features Signe getting sprayed with water, someone trying to trip her, and someone cowardly pushing her from behind to the floor where she suffers a cut. In each case the person assaulting the alien is a woman. A raised reaction to a perceived raised threat from a potential rival perhaps? Or women are just naturally violent in South Carolina? I’ve not been so I don’t...

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Reykjavik Street Art
Nov19

Reykjavik Street Art

I recently visited Iceland for a few days and there are any number of articles I could write about the experience but thought I’d just slap up some photos I took of the various bits of street art in and around Reykjavik. Why’s that, Mark? you ask. Because I’m lazy and this is an easy way to add some content without giving it too much thought, I reply. Reykjavik is not the prettiest of cities in the world, architecturally-speaking – Iceland’s remote location probably has something to do with this, and there’s probably an element of practicality over beauty too – which might explain the abundance of colourful and intricate artwork along many of the streets we walked through. These pictures (and more) all come from my Reykjavik photo album on...

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Photography By David Stewart
Aug25

Photography By David Stewart

There’s a very distinctive style to David Stewart‘s photography – especially the pictures of his that really caught my eye, anyway – and that’s one of very staged, very clean, very coordinated, very well lit, often very static shots, with occasional touches of humour or absurdity. Click on the photos below to view the images in their full glory on David’s site, along with a great many others. Four beautiful books of his photos are also available to...

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Vintage Japanese Travel Posters
Aug22

Vintage Japanese Travel Posters

Is there anything the Japanese can’t do and somehow make a little bit weird? That’s a rhetorical question, of course. Boosting travel to a country whilst standing out from the crowd of other countries also trying to boost travel is a tricky business but Japan certainly seemed to have a flair for it with this series of posters from the early-to-mid twentieth century promoting their nation as the destination of choice for travellers looking for something a little bit different. There’s a wonderful stylishness in the artwork and they’re certain to have stopped would-be vacationers in their tracks whilst perusing the local travel agent...

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