retroactive records of fridays #03 / by Mikhail Kim

This post records dispatches from July 2014 through December 2014.

July 3, 2014 - "Happy 4th friday"

This just looks a little like fireworks/sparks/shooting stars.


July 11, 2014 - "Fridays in the field"

That actually sounds like a great idea now that I typed it out. We need some Fridays in the field, but until then, here is a great photo blogthat keeps up to date with all the new construction happening in NYC. They also have an Instagram.

July 25, 2014 - "#tbt, on Friday"

Last Friday experienced no link due to a mini-vacation, but this Friday we’re doing a bit of a throwback with what I think is the very appropriately named The Nostalgia Machine, plus a cool way to view USGS historical maps.

August 1, 2014 - "Ultimate fridays"

Or, just the Ultimate Urban Bike Design competition (aka the Ultimate Urban Hipster-Geek Pageant). 

Bikes are an extremely efficient means of transport, especially in pancake-flat geographies such as our home here, which is close to that, maybe not pancake but definitely a fried egg or a lopsided pancake. But I digress, they're also relatively inexpensive and versatile in use (especially in developing countries). What I find interesting is that their core design has been pretty set since something like the 1890's. Since then, changes have been limited to mostly minor evolutionary refinements and material upgrades. So it's interesting to see the next round of such refinements and as such targeted at a pretty specific demographic. 

p.s. Do you think the different designs reflect their respective regions?

August 8, 2014 - "Where's the architecture friday"

This promo film by Factory Fifteen  for a new Foster building in London is pretty cool. What struck me a bit was that the Architecture didn’t come into play until about half-way into the 2:30 minute film. And this film was done by a trio of recent Architecture grads (granted, they are from Bartlett’s Unit 15 which is pretty experimental to say the least, which by the way is how Factory Fifteen’s name came about). And if we take this film at face value without other contextual information, the emphasis is not on the Foster-designed building but on the culture of its surroundings (hence the film’s title)… So, something interesting to chew on this Friday.

But in case you don’t like chewing, you can do yoga with your pet.

August 15, 2014 - "Where are y'all coming from this friday?"

I’m always a fan of NY Times graphics. They are great and also informative, simple, and nice to look at. So this week's serie tracks national migration patterns state by state over the last 100 years. 

Visually they loosely remind me of the famous graph by Minard of Napoleon’s march to Moscow, which packs in quite a bit more information so it's maybe not quite as comparable, but I just really like it.

August 22, 2014 - "Oops, I did it again on friday"

Luckily she didn't... But Midtown’s residential superskinny tower party can be called accidental (or an architecture flash mob?), which is interesting because it makes it sound as if nobody really wanted it to happen the way it did, it just did, and then oops! So what happened to all the zoning/approval regulations (or maybe what didn't happen to them)? 

The link features a nicely made interactive map and they also link to their "Accidental Skyline" report along the sidebar.

On the other hand, while much of the debate has been (rightfully) focused around daylight access, another side effect of the newly dominating 432 Park is that it is now easier to visually orient myself when in the city or better yet, orient the city when looking at it from afar (because it's not so easy with only one or two other markers such as WTC1 and Empire State).

(ps. Thanks to Dan Dickson for last week’s link suggestion)

August 29, 2014 - "Who's your data friday?"

Big data is the invisible force behind a full spectrum of activities from numerous serious studies to equally un-serious shenanigans, which means that all of this big data needs a soundtrack, and luckily Big Data is on it! Beaming straight out of Brooklyn… err, iCloud.

This week’s supporting big data (while you listen) has been brought to you by Jawbone, the company that knows what percentage of people were awoken by the California earthquake at a given distance from the epicenter. (Similarly, the WSJ published an article featuring (once again) Jawbone’s data on a much more macro scale of sleeping patterns across cities worldwide.)

September 5, 2014 - "Complimentary friday"

Very often automotive photography gets married with some sort of architecture for additional contextual richness and the opposite is also true. But it is not often that the chosen context complements the cars so well like in this series by Benedict Redgrove of some vintage Bertone concept cars.

September 12, 2014 - "Compose yo city friday"

I am so fascinated by this series of Paris rooftops by Michael Wolf. The compositions look almost fictional, like taking something out of a Miyazaki film and bringing it into real life. Love it.

Another one of Wolf’s series called Transparent City is one of my favorites too.

September 19, 2014 - "Countdown friday"

Everyone loves a good countdown, so much drama... or not. Regardless, I recently re-discovered this short animation and remembered how it has always been inspiring for me. It’s beautifully drawn with a beautiful soundtrack.

September 26, 2014 - "Duplicated friday"

There is another Friday somewhere out there, probably in China, and probably uncannily similar but different.

You might have either experienced the copycat phenomenon firsthand or have seen things such as the recently opened Zaha Soho which made blogosphere waves about a year and a half ago when people realized that its fake duplicate might finish construction before the original.

October 3, 2014 - "Trapped friday"

Geoff Manaugh’s long running BLDGBLOG has been fascinating me since 1999. (The 1999 part is a lie, half of us were still on AOL (or NetZero if we were progressive and cheap), but 1999 sounds cooler). It’s a blog that straddles the space between architecture, massively scaled infrastructures and networks, history, and adds a healthy dose of imagination. His latest post talks about a book that is a first-hand account of one of the miners trapped in the 2010 Chilean mine collapse and it sounds so very otherworldly and is made even more so by the fact that it is not fiction.

October 17, 2014 - "Designer money friday"

Some countries make it a part of their culture to embrace contemporary design as a forward-thinking way of representing who they are and where they come from. Japan has been quite good at that as have a number of European countries. And in that vein, have you seen Snohetta’s winning design for Norway’s new currency?

October 24, 2014 - "Remapped friday"

This Friday is a fascinating 16min read about Twitter and the Japanese tsunami disaster response in 2011. It discusses how Twitter has played a pivotal role in connecting people near and far, compressing distances, and blurring language barriers. The role of Twitter use in groundswell movements is pretty well established by now, but was still new-ish at the time. The author’s weaves a discussion of the ebb and flow of rumors (or contemporary folklore), dissemination of official information, coordination of emergency responses, use of location data for customized emergency alerts, the degrees of connectivity of individual twitter networks.

Sorry for the run-on, but here is a brief excerpt from the piece:

This is significantly different from the standard ‘the internet allows us to be global citizens’ line. In drawing on reputation and traditional institutions, the opt-in relationships enabled by Twitter Alerts don’t create a new network as much as reconfigure older, territory-linked services. Governmental and relief groups become overlapping, supranational organizations that serve not only resident citizens but also an informal, nonresident community.
Just as postal systems remade geographic places into zones determined by politics and history, social media technologies are remaking them today.

October 31, 2014 - "Monstrous combo friday"

Design your own yeti. Go!

(needs Google Chrome) 

If the Yeti isn’t scary enough, maybe mastering Bezier curves is more frightening?

November 7, 2014 - "Broad focus friday"

Nendo is cool. They are a firm with an enviable breadth of design work that is performed in minimal ways. Two great examples are theContrast Ruler, the Bird Apartment. There is always a compelling or playful nugget embedded in the work that catches the imagination.

Thanks to Dan Dickson for this Friday’s inspiration.

November 14, 2014 - "Big un-data friday"

Two maps today, both are big, deep, revelatory and neither is driven by data. Instead, they are personal, curated, crafted and manually assembled mapping representations of cities. Full analog. I imagine each being full of deep insight in the form of prompts or triggers for stories and recollections of neighborhoods, textures, people met, images, and smells. Lots of commas here, so there must be a lot there.

The first map is a series of maps by Sohei Nishino who has assembled photo collages of different cities with loose geographic resemblance to the real thing.

The second map is by Jennifer Maravillas who over the last 2 years has been mapping out every street in Brooklyn through litter found on those streets.

If Sohei’s “maps” are loose in their cartographic characteristics, Jennifer’s is an actual map and tightly follows the actual city grid and when complete you should be able to navigate Brooklyn through its litter.

For you theory/history geeks, all this reminds me of the flaneur and derive and notions of how minute characteristics that are specific to a place affect your emotions and behavior. How might a wandering and aimless walk through an unknown (or known) city take shape for different people based on the interaction between their personalities and environment? This is big but not data (yet). How does litter from Brighton Beach differ from litter of Brooklyn Heights, and will it affect your decision to turn left or keep walking straight?

November 21, 2014 - "Big something friday"

Some of you may know that the Guggenheim Foundation held an international architecture competition this summer for the design of a Guggenheim museum in Helsinki. They just recently published all the submissions and it’s overwhelming. 1,715 submissions is a lot of hopeful architecture. And in true fashion someone made a short inforgraphic film about the stats, most interesting of which is the fact that cumulatively those submissions can loosely be valued at over 18 million euros worth of “labor of love”.

So you can look at this in at least two ways: ponder the meaning of what does this say about the state of our profession, or make your own shortlist of 6 submissions of who you think might make it to Stage 2 and place bets on them. In either case, this might keep you distracted for 2 weeks while you’re digesting your thanksgiving feast next week.

December 5, 2014 - "Traversing friday"

How do you turn a handicap into a superpower? That is the thinking behind Phantom Terrains that is altering hearing aids to translate wifi signals into audio output and it’s fascinating, especially when those recorded sounds are mapped spatially. This is more relevant now than ever, not because more people are deaf but because so many of us already walk around with headphones plugged in. Potential augmentation at the ready. What would it be like to navigate a route based on sound/the strongest wifi signal? How do you design spaces to specifically encourage/block certain signals? … Speaking of new ways of traversing space… Check out this new shiny gadget over here... aka, new elevator concept that can move in both vertical and horizontal directions and have multiple cars active simultaneously. While this isn’t a breathtakingly new idea (think robotic parking garages), it’s exciting because I’ve been waiting for someone to get around to making this for years! (and check out that whacky conceptual city of the future in the video)

December 12, 2014 - "Dreamy friday"

No this has nothing to do with some dreamy celeb.

Think more aspirational. I recently saw Interstellar (never mind the “our planet is dying” part, we’ll save that topic for another day), and the implications of interstellar space travel are pretty outrageous when you start to think about it. This is what some people dream about, what kids dream about doing when they grow up. Big, wow, zoom! So this short film is beautifully made and really captures that dream.

If you’re in a more mellow mood and could use some dreamy, slightly surreal background noise while you work, you can listen to live JFK Air-Traffic-Control overlaid with some ambient tunes.

Dream big.


December 19, 2014 - "Almost year-end throwback friday"

It’s a trio this week. Let’s call one for this week and one each for the next two weeks, since I’m not making any linking promises for over the holiday break.

It’s a trio that jumps all-digital to hybrid to all-analog:

The first is a video that I linked to in one of my earliest dispatches – “Box”. It is a film that combines projection mapping with a pair of 7-axis Kuka robot arms with a live actor. It’s pretty wild and definitely impossible to do in an analog manner. The film was done by a pretty groundbreaking visual effects group called Bot ‘n Dolly. They’ve done some pretty amazing work some of their other films look like CGI but are actually filmed, but then they were acquired by Google and therefore don’t exist anymore. L

The second is the Flickr photostream of Simon Gardiner. What I like about his photostream is the casual relationship between photos that are clearly surreal and heavily photoshopped and ones that are pretty straightforward photographs. Just neighbors, just chillin.

The third is all-manual photography by Ian Ruhter who fit out a box truck so he can travel and do wet plate collodion photography out of it. His film titled Silver & Light documents the work pretty well. The vimeo description has a link to his website that shows the actual photography, which clearly looks inferior on our computer screens than IRL. And I don’t care what your pixel density is like.

Cheers and if I don’t see you, happy holidays!