Retroactive Records of Fridays #07 / by Mikhail Kim

This post records dispatches from October 2015 through January 2016.

October 2, 2015 - "To Scale Fridays"

We architects can get very serious about scale. 

Is this drawing to scale?

What scale is this at?

You have to think about the scale of the space!

Where is the scale? I can't tell what scale this is! You need at least a graphic scale!

This space has no sense of scale!

This has such a human scale to it!

But sometimes when talking about space, all this talk about scale is just not enough and you need to build a to-scale mockup of the solar system.


October 9, 2015 - "Spacey Friday"

This week is space week. I didn’t know that either. But NASA scanned and published on flickr a whole crapload of images from the Apollo moon missions. And looking at some of them at high-res is pretty sweet. Those dudes took a lot of photos. Tourists. 

this one is definitely an album cover.

And didn’t your mother ever teach you not to climb under moon rocks?

Or look at that sliver of blue on the right.


October 16, 2015 - "Joined at the Palm Friday"

“The joining of people to devices has been rapid and unalterable.”

Doge would respond - Such truth.

How much time do you spend with your phone while spending time with other people? It seems that the photo series "Removed" by Eric Pickersgill really critiques the fact that my phone might as well be glued to my hand, which maybe it would be better that way, wouldn't' have to buy a case to protect it from being dropped. And maybe that person sitting next to me glued to their phone might as well be video chatting with me from three time zones away. The images really bring into focus something that we experience every day, and have become virtually blind to in a matter of only several years. 


October 23, 2015 - "Margin Fridays"




  1. 1.

    the edge or border of something.

    "the eastern margin of the Indian Ocean

  2. 2.

    an amount by which a thing is won or falls short.

    "they won by a convincing 17-point margin"


Now, how about this definition:

"Margin is the space between our load and our limits."

I love this notion of a margin in life, and as a designer, the parallel to a margin on a page is just too good to pass by. Page margins give the page breathing room, make it more readable, etc... just like a margin in life makes it more livable. This week is an uncommon deviation on my part into slightly soapboxy territory (and actually requires you to read, gasp... but it's only a 6 minute read), but as designers in one way or another, we need those margins, those white spaces, to take stock, compose ourselves, and to imagine exciting trajectories.


October 30, 2015 - "Injected Reality Fridays"

It seems like virtual reality and augmented reality are the talk of the block these days... with architects jumping on board, new VR games popping up, etc.

One of the players in the game is Magic Leap, an intriguing and secretive augmented reality startup. Or at least that is the internet's best guess as to what it is they're actually doing. After watching their demo/teaser video, I would venture to call it an injected reality. It's like virtual and augmented reality bleeding together... what sets this apart from augmented reality is that it's not layering some ghostly data bubbles on top of a real-world object, but instead it injects a virtual, real-looking object that can interact with your real-world... c-r-a-z-y . . . 

and definitely magic for sure.


November 6, 2015 - "Drop a Pin Friday"

What will your mental map of where you are look like? 

Will it just be represented by the few steps of navigating to your Google Maps icon on your smartphone... and after that why would you need a mental map when you have a legit one in the palm of your hand that tells you exactly where you are and even which way you're pointing? 

Answering the question at the top, a guy by the name of Archie Archambault (what a name) has created a series of mental maps, a bit in the spirit of psychogeography, the Situationists, derive, etc... 

The reason and interest in the mental maps is linked to this article, claiming that GPS directions allow us the luxury of spatial non-awareness. a.k.a. you can follow turn-by-turn directions just fine but later will be incapable of finding your way by yourself. So you learned nothing (and might as well just go back to bed), and according to a cited study in the article, some people "even failed to recognize that they’d been led past certain places twice from different angles."

So all that to say, it's fantastic to have your phone navigate you to a dropped pin on a map, but look around and enjoy the scenery because what if the next time your phone dies... you don't want to be passing the same McDonald's over and over again.

p.s. all this also makes me think of treasure maps, where X marks the spot, and you have to really really pay attention to your surroundings if you ever want to find the treasure!


November 13, 2015 - "Internet Friday"

Isn't every friday an internet friday? 

Or maybe it was every monday...

In any case, many of us take the internet for granted. It's become almost something of a standard utility, like the telephone. We just expect to be able to have access to it. And like most infrastructure of this kind, its massive inner workings and difficult to wrap your head around. There is a tool out there put out by Harvard's Berkman Center, theInternet Monitor Dashboard, that at least helps you a little bit in visualizing some aspects of the internet by country or by certain types of access. One of the more interesting widgets for me are the live Wikipedia edits.


November 20, 2015 - "Your Design Friday"

Design ownership/authorship is a big sensitive gray fog of vaguely defined dimensions… foggy enough? One thing is pretty clear to one French interior designer, which is that she is suing darling Airbnb for copying her home in a portion of their fancy new San Francisco headquarters which were designed by Gensler (some more on the project here). Many discussions can be had about the nature of creativity, originality, and authorship, such as singular vs. team origins, to what degree is a design a design before it becomes another design?

To my knowledge there isn’t a clear or consistent agreement on the subject, and for me it all comes down to personal values and judgement calls, which are in the grand scheme of things no less foggy, but at least the fog is more personal, more familiar, more homey.


December 4, 2015 - "Slightly Nostalgic Friday"

There was no dispatch last Friday because the only email you should have been checking for is shopping receipts.


or not.

In any case, a little distraction today with OldNYC (thanks Philip), which is a cool project that takes old NY Public Library photos and maps them to their actual locations. What would be even cooler is to superimpose them over current photos, maybe even on top of historical Google Earth satellite imagery.


December 11, 2015 - "GIFriday"

Do you pronounce it “Gif” or “Jif”?

Has it made into the Oxford English dictionary yet?

Do you care?

Guillaume Kurkdjian produces these amusing adorable GIFs (there are different series on various themes), which you can scroll through either on his site or his Tumblr.


December 18, 2015 - "Geek Friday"

Yes, Star Wars just came out and I don’t know why the world isn’t at a standstill. What’s somewhat interesting about Star Wars is, as geeky as it is, the story and movies are not about the techy nerdy stuff of super computers, lasers and blinky lights, those things are secondary material. But the things that are more about the blinky lights are actually mostly closer to home.

Perception is a firm that designs the future of UI… maybe not literally, or maybe literally… they won’t tell, but they have designed computer user interfaces for Marvel movies like Iron Man and others, they’re also working with a bunch of big companies on real world projects. One of the first standout examples of this type of work (not done by Perception) was for Minority Report where Tom Cruise has this giant floating holographic computer that he controls with gestures, I was blown away. But regardless of how real those movies are, this type of sci-fi work inspires many real world products (perhaps not actually, I’m speculating here), but think the Nintendo Wii or car dashboards or parts of your smartphone’s interface. Think big.


January 8, 2016 - "Giga Friday"

The fancily named mountain that has a pen named after it, Mont Blanc, now also has the largest panorama in the world (Guinness says so, so it’s gotta be legit). It’s over 385 gigapixels… I don’t actually know how big that is, but it clearly required a bunch of people hauling a bunch of expensive and heavy glass up to a height of 3500m.

It’s an interactive photo so that you can pan around and zoom in, really zoom in, really.. until you can read the words on the construction site happening on the left.

And just look at all that glorious snow that can be skied on!!!


January 15, 2016 - "Still Time Friday"

Photography is all about capturing a moment in time, freezing an infinitesimally thin slice of infinity. An obvious challenge becomes conveying time through the medium. Three photo series by three different photographers capture the passage of time to create images of almost otherworldly qualities that collapse a stretch of time down to just a moment:

Stephen Wilkes’ “Day to Night” series collapses time into a seamless image (kudos to Emily S. for the pointer). Thanks to Artsy for providing more info about Wilkes and his work.

Matt Molloy’s technique creates a very painterly effect by focusing on motion to show passage of time.

Fong Qi Wei’s “Time is a Dimension” series has a strong graphic element to it and made some popular rounds through the internetz a couple years ago, and is probably a favorite of mine out of the bunch.


January 22, 2016 - "Archifiction Friday"

Snippets from an other Tokyo.

In other news, I plan to move this little dispatch over to something like Mailchimp or Tinyletter in the next week or two. Yup yup.


January 29, 2016 - "Cross Section Friday"

Can you imagine slicing a building in half and lifting off one side so that you can see inside? The architects out there are probably thinking “well duh! I do that in my sleep.” Well good for all of you.  Next challenge: do the same trick through a 620-foot long cargo ship filled with 2,800 cars at the bottom of the English Channel. 

This is a bit of way old news circa 2002, but someone had to do it, and it was a Dutch company that had to slice this cargo ship with 2800 cars inside into 9 sections in order to lift it out of the water after it collided with another ship and sank. If anything, the captions are entertaining.

This also makes me think of Gordon Matta Clark’s work of slicing through buildings… an entirely different context but both very revealing.