Hong Kong Police Street View

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Police in Hong Kong have deployed a new mobile pepper spray platform against protestors near Mong Kok.
I start with this image via @krislc, Kris Cheng, because it gives nice context, also the guy is watermarking it with his face? I’m filing that trick away for future use.
At first it looked like it’s made out of PVC pipe, but it’s surely painted steel. Actually, it looks like a smaller variation of the stairs in Home Depot.
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Most of the info comes from @galileo44, Galileo Cheng. Like this picture of the police conferring on Portland St. With their pepper spray cannons on their backs. Unless those are #umbrellas.

Here is krislcc’s Vine of the new platforms in use on her. Galileo calls them castles. They’re hand pumped. Like Super Soakers or something. Incredible.

Here’s another. What is most striking to me about this one is how the two police officers move together: one with the pepper spray, the other with a video camera. Kris Cheng says the the pepper spray isn’t that strong; the effects didn’t last more than 45 minutes. But the police will play a long game with those images.
Speaking of long game, holy smokes. I thought I’d scout out the Mong Kok streetscape on Google Maps, and this is what came up:


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It was startling to be met by an unblurred face. And the vantage point was so high. But turn around. This is a pano. Or a “Photo Sphere.” From September, of the intersection blocked by a sit-in. It’s credited to nJohn.


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There are more recent Photo Spheres, too. Including November, by Kau Lam. The protestor-decorated police barricades are stitched together pano-style. Google Maps as a reporting platform. When will it go live? Will Google get castles of its own, or will cameras on long sticks suffice?

Inspiration For My Quiet Place Everywhere: 1965 Kaiser Jeep Fleetvan

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Except for every Grumman LLV I pass, I’ve never wanted to turn a mail truck into a slicked out room-on-wheels as much as I want this 1965 Kaiser Jeep FJ-6A Fleetvan.
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And since the USPS is not letting the Grummans loose in the wild yet, this Jeep may be my best chance. I mean, check out that glass, it may even be better. I could totally park that as an office somewhere. Or a roving gallery. Or a podcast studio. Or an Enzo Mari mobile bookstore. This is Cabin Porn™ I can get behind.
Hm, actually, after reading through all the projects, rat rods, parts salvages and failed snowcone stand dreams in the FJ boards at ewillys.com, I may pass.
Hard to find 65 FJ-6A Fleetvan – $3500 (Grapeview) [seattle.craigslist.org via bringatrailer.com]
Which, given the ad histories here, seems a little high [ewillys.com]
Previously, most definitely related: Bombiani Librimobile, 1955, by Enzo Mari

W.H. Auden’s The Shield Of Achilles, Read By A Machine

I’m not BFF’s with Siri, but sometimes I do like to have things read to me by my computer. So when I finished reading Michael Sacasas’ post about psycho dad videos and performative parenting, I wanted to read the rest of W.H. Auden’s “The Shield of Achilles”. And then I wanted to hear it, so I had the text-to-voice synth Alex read the poem, too.

And for no particular reason, I’ve put it online.

The Shield of Achilles, by W.H. Auden, read by a computer [mp3, 4.7mb dropbox, greg.org]

Aspen, The Unpublished Magazines In A Box

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Here is an ad for Aspen Magazine in which The Madisons are composited all over their living room with pieces of various Aspens, including Brian O’Doherty’s “Museum in a Box,” Aspen 5+6 (1967). Actually, the text calls it a “museum of the moment.”
And here are a bunch of awesome-sounding Aspens which really did not happen like this.

Our next issue on Far Eastern Thought will be brimful with five rolled scrolls, miniature screens, Zen parable cards, even a dragon kite. All scented with incense. It’s the issue you’ll hang all over the house.
Other issues-in-the-works: an English Christmas Box edited and designed in London by Britain’s top artists and writers…a Buckminster Fuller issues with each article folding into a geodesic dome or other geometric construction…a Wilderness issue complete with Gourmet Survival Kit…a Cybernetic Art issue documenting the merger of art and science…and Much More.

O’Doherty’s 5+6 really turned out to be Aspen’s peak. That British box took at least two Christmases to arrive, and the Far East issue finally appeared, sans incense, four years later, the last one. Which is too bad; I’d love to see these other issues realized.

Nuclear Chain Reactional Aesthetics

As cool as it might be as an object, there’s something about that “Manhattan Project Glass” window that just ain’t sitting right with me. I will not be bidding.
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The Faces of Project Y, detail, assembled by Alex Wellerstein, via nuclearsecrecy.org
But researching it has led me to some absolutely amazing other objects from the dawn of the nuclear age that are well worth pursuing in an artistic context.
Let’s start with The Faces of Project Y, by historian Alex Wellerstein. A couple of years ago Wellerstein pulled all the recently declassified ID badge photos from the 1,200+ people who worked on Project Y, the code name for the Los Alamos section of the Manhattan Project. Then he tiled them up into one giant, 31×40 grid. It’s awesome.
That’s Richard Feynman smirking in the center of the detail, just above the woman with the Gerhard Richter blur. Wellerstein puts faces to other notable names on his blog, Nuclear Secrecy, and has created some swag coffee cups and other merch with the images on it. A giant print would be nice. But what’s needed, clearly, is wallpaper. Rather than lose the 29 folks on the bottom, incomplete row, maybe you could get all the images as individual files, and just let it flow till the wall is full.
I don’t know how I missed the extraordinary career and sad story of nuclear sculptor James L. Acord. Thanks to Seth David Friedman for pointing me to Tom Moody’s incredible 2001 tale of Acord’s rare, realized masterpiece, Monstrance for a Grey Horse. I will keep reading.
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Then there is the first nuclear reactor, the Chicago Pile-1, built under the football stadium of the University of Chicago in 1942. To create a sustained, controlled nuclear chain reaction, Enrico Fermi and his team embedded uranium balls in a giant, quasi-spherical lattice of 45,000 graphite bricks, which were supported by a lumber grid, which was enclosed by a square, black rubber balloon.
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Last year the Dept. of Energy posted photos of CP-1 to flickr, and it was basically Carl Andre’s greatest sculpture. Ever.
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CP-1 graphit brick at the Atomic Testing Museum, img via flickr user rocbolt’s CP-1 photo album
At least four of the graphite bricks are known to survive. Here’s one at Oak Ridge. This photo by Kelly Michals is of the brick at the Atomic Testing Museum in Nevada. I don’t know why you couldn’t recreate the thing anew. From a window with a dodgy backstory, an untimely death, and a bunch of mug shots, to a nuclear Carl Andre Death Star inside a Kaba’a. These dots practically connect themselves!

This Window From Hanford Is Being Sold As ‘Manhattan Project Glass’

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Here is a window from the world’s first full-scale nuclear reactor in Hanford, Washington, USA. It is 3 feet high, 4.5 feet wide, and six inches thick and weighs 1,500 pounds.
I will buy it from someone who bought it from a junkyard in Walla Walla. I will strip it from its casement, except the bottom, where I will install three LEDs. Then I will attach it to an H-shaped base made of 8-inch timbers. I will attach this base to an old wooden cart.
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I will take other, smaller windows of leaded glass salvaged from the reactor, which are 16×26 inches, and weigh 800 pounds, and I will carve some of them into sculptures. I will polish some large shards of this glass into abstract sculptures.
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I will carve one piece into the shape of a mushroom cloud. I will set these sculptures on a basalt column mined from the reactor site. I will carve two pieces into spheres.
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Someone will cut other pieces of this glass into an indeterminate number of 2-inch cubes. Someone else will carve one piece of this glass into a 1.5-inch skull.
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I will try to sell as much of this stuff as I can through a booth at the Mineral & Fossil Co-op in Tucson. I will sell a 4-inch diameter sphere for $10,000 and a shard sculpture for $48,000 at Bonham’s.
The next year, I will show more shards and the mushroom cloud and the big window at the Mineral & Fossil Co-op in Tucson. Where no one buys the mushroom cloud ‘curiosity’ for $150,000. I will fail to sell the mushroom cloud for $100,000 at auction.
The next year, I will try to sell the big window on the trolley at auction for $150,000-250,000.
The Internet will explode. Yet no one will ask why, if the windows from the Manhattan Project were 16×26 inches, and this one is 36×54 inches, it is not actually from the Manhattan Project, but maybe from any other period of the Hanford site’s five-decades of operation, when its nine reactors and five large-scale plutonium processing complexes produced most of the plutonium for the 60,000+ weapons in the US nuclear arsenal.
And no one will ask why, if the glass is not actually radioactive or contaminated in some other way, even though it was salvaged from one of the most toxic sites on the planet, one of the first EPA Superfund sites [pdf], where specialized crews of hundreds of people spend five years dismantling structures containing such windows in ways that don’t dislodge even a flake of plutonium-laden paint, to the cost of $150 billion and counting, with decades still to go, maybe it wasn’t installed in a reactor? Maybe it was parts? Maybe there’s any documentation or provenance information at all regarding this glass’s actual historical use?
And certainly no one will ask about the downwinders of Hanford, and the soldiers and employees and their families, who have suffered from birth defects and cancer for the entire span of the nuclear age, and who have faced stonewalling, footdragging, and abrogation from the government and the military.
A blogger looking at this situation, who was initially drawn to the window because of its resemblance to minimalist sculpture, and its macho-retro-sexiness; and who would then get a little hot and bothered because he has a thing for Cold War-era spheres; and who knows his way around an auction, who would probably start digging. And then he would try to piece the story together, and try to get into the mind of the people involved. And it would keep him up late, when he was supposed to be doing other work. And then in the morning he would decide that the whole thing is screwy from top to bottom, and makes absolutely no sense at all, and what is going on with our world and history and politics and people and money.

Stapler Man’s Identity Is Unknown To This Day

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Rohit Mahajan tweeted tonight that this was one of the images deleted from Weibo on June 4th. It’s an amazing photo, though apparently not amazing enough to elude interpretation.
If I’m reading this correctly, it also seems that the weibo user, with the name Freedom Abib/barkcheekhandle is posting from the US, not from within China. FWIW. morning after update: and now the account, which I’d seen via the tw.weibo.com site, has been deleted.
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[via @heresrohit]

V for Visor: V. Stiviano V. On Trend

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Vanessa Stiviano & counsel, image via Gawker/Spalsh/DesignObserver
I’ve tweeted before, and I’ll tweet it again, but Vanessa Stiviano’s boss anti-paparazzi visor is the greatest thing about the entire Donald Sterling/Clippers/racist billionaire debacle. Stiviano’s photo-thwarting look will have far-reaching implications for our media and celebrity culture, you heard it here first.
Well, technically, you probably already read something along those lines at Design Observer, where Rob Walker did a great analysis of the visor as a part of Stiviano’s carefully constructed, photo-mastering looks:

This object privatizes the face in a manner that’s undeniably a protest (stop taking pictures of me!) and just as undeniably a confrontation (you cannot resist taking pictures of me wearing this object!).

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vstiviano screenshot via @MichelleLHOOQ
Me, I see it as the vanguard of a broader trend that really speaks to this moment in history:
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screenshot: google images
Rob Walker| Object in the News: The Face Privatizer [designobserver]

FOIA Party

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The FBI has provided these photos in response to USA Today investigative reporter Brad Heath’s 2012 Freedom Of Information Act requests. They have been redacted under FOIA exemption (b)(6), to protect the personal privacy of FBI personnel. Presumably, the presence of Timon from Lion King was determined not to violate the privacy of the attendees at this retirement party.
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There is no way to redact the FBI’s inspiration, however. Color me impressed. [@bradheath via @AlJavieera]
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John Baldessari, probably 1988 or so, image via thegroundmag.com

Niépce’s View From The Window, The Making Of

View from the window at Le Gras, 1826, Joseph Nicephore Niepce
The world’s first photograph, a persistent image made by exposing chemicals to light, was taken in 1826 by Joseph-Nicéphore Niépce. [NEES-uh-fore NYEHps]
It’s the view from a window of his house in Le Gras. It was made by projecting the view through a camera obscura onto a small pewter plate coated with bitumen and developed with lavender oil. The exposure took several days [The sun can be seen hitting opposite sides of the buildings.] Niépce called it a heliograph.
Niépce eventually partnered with Louis Daguerre who was also working to fix images chemically, but Niépce died, his less inventive son stepped into the partnership, and thanks to some branding jiujitsu, Daguerre basically crossed the history finish line alone in 1839 as the inventor of photography. [Niépce son did write a pamphlet in 1841 titled, Historique de la Découverte Improprement Nomée Daguerreotype, procédé d’une notice sur son véritable inventeur feu, M. Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (History of the discovery improperly misnamed daguerreotype, preceded by a note from its real inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.) So there’s that.]
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An enhanced view of Niepce’s View, flipped to match the actual view
View from the window at Le Gras, known as Point de vue de Gras in French, was lost until 1952, when the historian/collector Helmut Gernsheim tracked it down. It’s now in the collection of the Ransom Center at UT Austin.
Niépce’s house, in a village called Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, is now a museum, open for visitors in July and August [and other times of the year for a flat EUR150 get out of bed fee.]
The property was divided in the mid-19th century, but the house is largely intact. Yet it was unclear exactly from which window the image had been made. Gernsheim thought it was from the attic. This French site discusses all sorts of details about maps, lenses, exposure times, focal lengths, angles, and suggests it was on the 1st floor.
Or maybe that window’s not even there anymore. A restoration project at the house in 1999 found evidence of a remodeling that moved the window on the 1st floor sideways by 70cm. Here’s a short video about the investigation, trapped inside a tiny Flash window.
Alas, you can’t try to recreate Niépce’s photo yourself, because photos are not allowed in the photography museum. The operators have sold exclusive rights to some agency. Here’s the sign on StreetView.
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View from the Window at le Gras [wikipedia]
Niepce house museum [niepce.org]

Standard Operating Procedure

In Japan, I woke up a couple of nights angry from dreams about having dinner at the White House, and sitting across from Pres. Obama, and arguing with him about hunger striking prisoners at Guantanamo.
We talked–I talked at him, because, I guess my mind was incapable of imagining a viable retort, really, what could he say?–about Yasiin Bey’s video demonstrating the standard procedure the military uses to force feed hunger strikers through their noses. And I asked if the Constitution was now as quaint as the Geneva Conventions, a reference to Bush era torture theorist John Yoo’s position on following the rule of law and international treaties the US had nominally upheld for decades.
It was the kind of dream where I felt that surge of adrenaline, that this moment, this conversation, was going to be what opened the President’s eyes to the awful urgency of this situation our country is in. These people are in.
I had seen the reports by investigative journalist Jason Leopold which revealed JTF-GTMO’s recent, extraordinary revisions to the prison hospital’s forced feeding procedures. But it wasn’t until a couple of days ago that, with Jason’s assistance, I found the actual military manuals and memos themselves. They are in an archive of documents produced in response to Freedom of Information Act requests maintained byThe Department of Defense’s FOIA Service Center.
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I can’t not do something, so I have published the three sets of detainee treatment regulations, known as Standard Operating Procedures, as a book. Which, believe me, I know. I feel a bit like an outraged @Powhida jamming @BarackObama into all his tweets, until the non-effect wore him out.
It’s weird feeling compelled to do something that you recognize is irrational and irrelevant. But again, I can’t not do something, and this is one thing I do. And with all due respect to Richard Prince, this text, as it is, and as it drives the world, is the kind of thing I feel must be propagated and put examined and contextualized if appropriation, or art, or attention, really, is going to mean anything at all.
Standard Operating Procedure includes the SOP Manual for Camp Delta, the prison side of GTMO, which was implemented in 2003. It’s 240-some pages, not including the various classified appendices for detainee transport and adjudication, which have not, apparently, been released. It also contains the 2003 version of SOP for the detention hospital for “Voluntary and Non-Voluntary Total Fasting and Re-Feeding,” which has several p.ages completely redacted. And then there’s the May 2013 revision to those procedures, which are contained in an SOP for the Joint Medical Group for the “Medical Management of Detainees on Hunger Strike.” That’s the regime the detainees are currently under.
Of course, as Leopold and others continue to report, the situation of detainees is even worse than what these SOP prescribe. There are indications that regulations are extensively, if not routinely ignored by guards and prison commanders. These primary documents embody the best case scenario for people who have been cleared for release for years, but who remain in harsh, indefinite, imprisonment.
So whether you buy the book [which should be is finally available to order this weekend, I think; I’ve been experiencing some friction from the printer/publisher, which is kind of annoying, and it’s been going on all week.] or read the regulations in electronic format, read them, and know that they exist.
Buy Standard Operating Procedure, 284pp, unsigned edition, $15.99 +s/h [createspace]
UPDATE: Proof copy – Standard Operating Procedure is here

Mari X IKEA: autoprogettazione by greg.org (2010)

Three years ago, I was thinking about what to do with the posts I’d written about the project I’d begun six years ago. Which I guess means it’s time to release the results.
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So here’s Mari X IKEA, a PDF compilation I made in 2010 aboutfmy 2007-09 project to construct an Enzo Mari autoprogettazione table out of Ikea furniture components.
I was not entirely pleased with the way it read all together, and so I didn’t publish it back in the day. But I realize now that my inner archivist and inner editor will never agree on things, and I/we are becoming OK with it. So the tabloid-style publication contains all the original blog posts and images documenting the project, and that includes a fair amount of recapping and repetition. Meanwhile, my inner publicist wants to emphasize that this is not a bug, but a feature, like the catchy chorus of a song.
I’m still quite stoked about the project–and the table, for that matter, which I am using at this very moment–and it continues to influence and inform my thinking about stuff: art, design, originality, authorship, authority, appropriation, systems, craft, utility. So I’m very happy to get information on the project out there in a more easily consumable format.
I should also give a shoutout to The Newspaper Club, the amazing publishing company, then just starting out, where I had originally contemplated printing Mari X IKEA in 2010. This PDF was made using their easy publishing/layout tool. And though I ended up not pulling the trigger on this particular project, they regularly make me want to turn this blog, and many other things, into a newspaper.
Mari X IKEA: autoprogettazione by greg.org, 2010 [PDF, 2.8mb]

Gerrit Rietveld Chair Crate

Not sure how I never considered this, but I suddenly came across a couple of strong connections between Enzo Mari’s autoprogettazione furniture and Gerrit Rietveld.
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For one, check out the crate that this 1965 version of Rietveld’s Red Blue chair came in; this one’s from Galerie VIVID in Rotterdam. I’ve never seen this before. Maybe that’s just how they used to make crates in the 60s. But it sure looks like the underside of my Enzo Mari X IKEA table, the EFFE model.
Ikea x Enzo Mari Mashup Table
It looks even more like the structure of the Tavolo Quadrato, the square autoprogettazione table.
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Then there’s Rietveld’s 1923 Military Table, designed for the Catholic Military Home in Utrecht, and in and out of production ever since. This unfinished Oregon pine example’s from the 60s, and was in Marseille, via 1stdibs. [I have never paid much attention to Rietveld’s Military Table, but suddenly it is looking pretty sweet.
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The top is fixed onto these cross braces. It’s a solution that Mari eventually used as well. The crosspieces are not in the original autoprogettazione plans, but they did turn up in the kit of precut parts that were sold under the Metamobile name in the early 70s.
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Even though Rietveld’s autonomous approach to furniture is an obvious precedent for Mari’s; and I knew from hands-on experience that the autoprogettazione designs have a lot more “design” than their basic function requires; I guess I never imagined that Mari would make overt references to what had come before.
Previously:
The making of an Enzo Mari dining table
Enzo Mari X IKEA Mashup Recap

The Richard Serra Cookie Incident

When the worst thing to happen last week was still tax day, the folks at Blue Bottle Coffee wrote about rumors circulating in the larger SFMOMA art dessert community about the Richard Serra Cookie Incident. [404 link updated to archive.org, 5/2016]
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not-Serra cookie parts image by Charles Villyard
BBC is the outfit responsible for creating the desserts about art at SFMOMA. They have a new book about it. Modern Art Desserts. Available now. It does not include the recipe and assembly diagram, custom-printed on a napkin, for the 2010 cookie-based examination of Richard Serra’s 1969 prop piece, Right Angle Plus One, which is in the Museum’s collection.
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Serra, it turns out, was not amused by the cookie-based critique, as the pastry chefs found out when they met the artist during Gary Garrels’ 2011 drawings retrospective. The best line is also a call to arms:

Going through his retrospective on a routine basis while it was up was such a treat for us. It was also heart-wrenching since EVERYTHING IN THE SHOW LOOKED LIKE A GIANT COOKIE!

Right Angle Plus One is related in time and form to four prop pieces and lead rolls currently on view at Richard Serra’s show at David Zwirner.. It is now impossible to look at that show and not think of recreating it in cookies. Go ahead, just try it!
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Setting The Serra Story Straight [bluebottlecoffee via wayne bremser]
Richard Serra Early Works, through June 15, 2013 [davidzwirner]