Way to go, Yuri.

50 years ago today…


Double happiness.

[Didier Faustino’s Double Happiness in Shenzhen-Hong Kong]


I wanted to point out this “urban reanimation device” produced by artist Didier Faustino in 2009 for the Bi-City Biennial of Urbanism and Architecture in Hong Kong. In some of the same ways that Carsten Holler’s slides are exciting, Double Happiness utilizes the idea of creating a work that is necessarily experiential,  a piece which presents an eminent physicality that demands participation in order to be actuated.

Upon first seeing the above image, I initially had romantic notions of a renegade artist stoically welding the hardware of the swings in the earliest hours of the morning, overlooking from on top of the former advertising platform   a plethora of other abandoned structures littering the skyline, monuments and tombs to a collapsed version of capitalism. I must admit that I was a little disappointed when I figured out that this “billboard” was actually created for the specific purpose of being an art object and actually not really a billboard at all.

[Philippe Petit tight-roping across the Twin Towers in 1974]


I still think that the most exciting aspect of this work is the ideas it brings forth of re-purposing urban space, transforming the post-industrial landscape into a playground. I’ve been trying to find online evidence of an old factory converted into a nightclub/recreational facility that had scuba-divers in the silos…I thought it was somewhere in Germany. Am I just making this up? Regardless, there is a lot of solid conceptual terrain to reimagine derelict architecture, to transform the  abandoned into a new archetype of activity based around the exploration of transcendent possibilities. Ziplines and high-wires traversed by Philippe Petit proteges across an ever-changing network of rooftops; endurance parades with ever-growing floats that march through vacant shopping malls collecting costumes, instruments, and members as they travel; highways and overpasses dominated by Mad Max flower children on tandem bikes responsible for circulating the mobile lending library and seed bombing the remains of the city…

I found the image of Double Happiness via Elodie Friedmans blog, a recommended place of perusal for your fill of visual stimuli.

Big Freedia is large.

Remember that movie where Rick Moranis played a feckless scientist who accidentally radiated his son and turned him into a gigantic, pants shitting crybaby terrorizing Las Vegas? This Big Freedia video is a little bit like that but way better–all the pros of overgrown people (which primarily involve them doing headstands and letting cars pass between their legs) without any of the cons.

Representing New Orleans and Bounce music proper, the self-proclaimed “queen diva” is depicted larger than life in this new video for her single “Ya’ll Get Back Now”. Dancers on top of buildings! on bridges! floating through space! So, so good.

Further evidence of police misconduct during Eris Parade in New Orleans.

The above video clearly illustrates misconduct by the NOPD during the Eris Parade this past Sunday.

A cameraman is pepper-sprayed directly in the face, as is a young man who is communicating to an officer, “I’m trying to make sure my friend is ok.”

A police officer sprays liberally into a crowd of costumed paraders. Again, paraders. Not protesters.

Additionally, bad has been turning into worse in the DIY community with the forced closure of The Iron Rail and Plan B, two established non-profits sharing a building in the Marigny. The Iron Rail, a resource center focused on printed media, and Plan B, a bicycle co-operative, are both important assets to  the city and contribute significantly to the vibrancy as well as to the vitality of New Orleans. More than just mere coincidence, the closing of these cultural establishments appears to be a direct attack on the community organizations and it’s members believed to be affiliated with the events at the Eris Parade.

Krewe of Eris met with police aggression, arrests during parade in New Orleans.


For those unfamiliar with  Krewe of Eris, it’s one of several unofficial, unsanctioned parades occurring during Carnival season in New Orleans. While typically many things to many different people, the Eris parade is undoubtedly an exuberant, unrestrained exhibition and celebration of creativity and individual expression.

Open to all, the Krewe of Eris has no membership requirements, no dues to be paid. Rolling for it’s seventh year this past Sunday, the parade traveled through areas of the Bywater, Marigny, and French Quarter in the city of New Orleans. As the procession of costumed paraders entered the French Quarter,  the crowd was met with increased police hostility. The situation escalated as Eris continued on its march, resulting in members of the New Orleans Police Department brandishing batons, pepper-spraying large groups of people, and arresting at least a dozen individuals believed to be affiliated with the parade.

For a city that prides itself on its proficiency at controlling crowds, the New Orleans Police Department publicly failed at handling this event in a professional manner, utilizing violence and random arrests in lieu of the “crowd control strategies and techniques” they are supposedly equipped with.

The front page story on this incident from The Times Picayune can be read here. The excerpts below are from the New Orleans Independent Media website:

Sunday, March 6, 2011: Krewe of Eris parade attacked by NOPD

“The parade then moved forward, finally, following a course that took it into the French Quarter. We didn’t get far; it was clear the Eighth District didn’t want us there. Some neighborhoods are okay to parade in, and some, apparently, are not. The response to Eris entering the Quarter was swift and markedly more aggressive. A helicopter swept us with its spotlight– wait, does NOPD have a helicopter now? There was definitely one present. Police cars blocked off two sides of every intersection, directing the parade into two right turns: up one block and then directly back out towards Esplanade. All the cars at the intersections had their sirens going at ear-splitting volumes, as did the now-multiple cars behind us, which accelerated and roared their engines. Many paraders broke into a trot and then an unnerved run. Some crowded onto the sidewalks.”  Read more: Arrested at the Eris Parade

Also, a repost from nolaslate: “I ran back out the door and ran into a man who had been with Eris who told me that the cops had tried to blockade them at Esplanade, then Franklin, now here at Port. When I walked the half block to the intersection I saw cop cars everywhere, cops with a kid face down on the ground and all had their batons out and their attitudes in evidence. The police were very clearly spoiling for a fight.” Read More: Permitting Culture Crimes


Solowheel presents a version of the shitty future now.

Alright, mobile urbanites. Here’s a great example of how you take a bad idea and make it worse.

Watch out for those cliffs…

(Thank to Joey O’Mahoney for the tip via coolhunting. Check out his blog for all things New Orleans D.I.Y. skateboarding.)

Supercomputer defeats the champions of Jeopardy.

Get used to it.


[Image: Film still from Leni Rifenstahl’s Triumph of The Will]


Archived footage has been discovered from 1936, showcasing the talents of Nazi propaganda filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl.

According to Wikipedia, Riefenstahl was referred to as “the greatest female filmmaker of the 20th century” after completing Triumph of The Will, her most well-known propaganda film:

In his book The Story of Film, film scholar Mark Cousins claims, “Next to Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock, Leni Riefenstahl was the most technically talented Western film maker of her era”.


Read the full article on this recent historic acquisition here.

It’s Kim Jong-il’s birthday.

[Image: From the bizarre Kim Johg-il looking at things collection]

February 16th, 2011 marks the 69th birthday of Kim Jong-il. As leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kim’s birthday is a major national holiday accompanied by mass celebration. That means figure skating, synchronized swimming, and general disregard for the serious social instability  threatening the nation as a result of a food shortage.

Worth mentioning while on the subject of North Korea and its domineering tendencies and infrastructural failures is the Ryugyong Hotel in the capital city Pyongyang.

[Image: The Ryugyong Hotel. Photo by Cavit Erginsoy.]


Set to be the largest hotel in the world, construction began on the Ryugyong in 1987 and ceased five years later due to lack of resources. The building has yet to  be completed. A rusting construction crane sat atop the one-hundred-and-five story structure for several years,  seemingly removed sometime after the project resumed in 2008 under an Egyptian business group largely invested in telecommunications.

A Flikr series showcases some of the new work done to the facade of the building.

[Image: Mirrored glass additions to the Ryugyon Hotel. From Flikr user Kernbeisser]

A covering of mirrored glass adorns the exterior of the Ryugyong. It’s still unclear as to whether or not any construction beyond the cosmetic has been completed in this purportedly irreparable, structurally unsound building.

Well the country of North Korea appears as a blank, gray shape in Google Maps, a satellite view allows an interesting view of this architectural weirdness:

But enough about menacing dictators and massive, decaying hotels–what about the “human jumbotron”?

“First ever aerial footage of uncontacted Amazon tribe.”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I watched this video recently. Several times since, I’ve paused throughout my day to personally acknowledge that its totally amazing.

I thought it worth sharing. Found via BoingBoing.