Star Wars: Uncut

I know this has been doing the rounds but the entirety of A New Hope made from edited fan made shorts is just too good.

Abandoned Soviet Stuff

Russian girl breaks into soviet spaceship/power/fuel factory and takes photos. So beautiful it almost looks like an amazing video game. More here.


At 88.4 degrees latitude an average speed container ship making about 25 knots could circumnavigate the globe in 24 hours. This is around 140km from the north pole.

88.4 degrees lattitude

Of course, this area is almost entirely covered with sea ice every year and so would require an ice breaker ship to travel through. But it would allow someone to stay at the same time relative to longitude constantly as they navigated the world and then instantly head into the next day.

Recent Images

Kevin Cooley

Kevin Cooley, Take Refuge

Tools As Art

Kate MacDowell

Kate MacDowell creates beautifully delicate porcelain animal monstrosities a la Margaret Atwood.

Recent Photos

Kolor @ Paris Fashion Week special.

Kolor: Paris Fashion Week

Kolor: Paris Fashion Week

Kolor: Paris Fashion Week

Kolor: Paris Fashion Week

Kolor: Paris Fashion Week

More (there always is isn't there?) at Flickr.

Justin McGuirk

THIS is an absolute delight. Here's an extract:

The balkanisation of Europe was as rapid as it was unexpected. The continent-wide free market – that paragon of multinational unity – splintered into a galaxy of village economies. The collapse of the Eurozone in 2013 followed a wave of debt crises and national defaults, after which the Euro-dominos tumbled into one hard-line right-wing government after another. The raising of trade and immigration barriers and the disappearance of cheap air travel thanks to the oil crisis and the sudden increase in carbon taxing all precipitated the demise of a borderless Europe. And then a curious thing happened. The capital cities lost some of their state-like power and there was a resurgence of the town.

Recent Images

There's a story behind this photo, but I don't know what it is.

Abandoned velodrome in Italy.

Metropolis II: All Cars Go at the LACMA

Recent Images



The Concordia

Levitated Mass

Levitated Mass

Man Made Crater Farminf

Man Made crater farming

Chengogg Town

China's policy is to build 20 cities every year for 20 years, the idea being to rapidly urbanise the disparate nation. Most of the buyers of the apartments and offices are property speculators, making money off short selling the apartments that fetch about $80,000 a pop.

Chengogg City

Chengogg City

Chengogg City

State Sustainability

Sustainability of world states as defined by the Failed State Index of Foreign Policy. Grey signifies no available data.

Aristotle's Futures Model

From Aristotle's Politics.

Thales used his skill in forecasting and predicted that the olive harvest would be exceptionally good the next autumn. Confident in his prediction, he made agreements with local olive-press owners to deposit his money with them to guarantee him exclusive use of their olive presses when the harvest was ready. Thales successfully negotiated low prices because the harvest was in the future and no one knew whether the harvest would be plentiful or pathetic and because the olive-press owners were willing to hedge against the possibility of a poor yield. When the harvest-time came, and a sharp increase in demand for the use of the olive presses outstripped supply, he sold his future use contracts of the olive presses at a rate of his choosing, and made a large quantity of money.

Further Risk Perception

In addition to the original image, further down, a graphed-out version of 2011 risk perceptions in a report originally by the World Ecnomic Forum

Bowie Bonds

Today is David Bowie's birthday. Bowie is one of my all time favourite musical personalities and there's been a lot of press around today praising his successes and impact on the creative world. I only found out today that Prudential Insurance have floated Bowie on the futures market in the form of Bowie Bonds - apparently one of the first ever instances of intellectual property secutisation.

In 2004 they were lowered to junk status due to the spiralling failures of the music industry to pick up sales but recent progress with the iTunes store has renewed interest in the bonds, which have a 7.9% yield, higher than US government treasury bonds.

Recent Images


No Globes

The Rust Belt

Peter Thiel's Floating Islands

Istanbul 2.0

Risk Interconnectedness

Lovely image I found on Ilona Gaynor's flickr while trying to search out the sketches of future banks she says she's done that shows how risk is interconnected.

risk interconnection map

Modular Banking Architecture

In a future of post or trans-nationalism its usually thought that the city will no longer exist. The decaying of political borders would eventually result in a kind of entropy - technology would allow most of us to never have to move our whole lives, we could live, work and consume from a single place and the city would decay and flatten in tandem with the centralised power structures of nationhood it represents.

However, futurists often fail to learn from history: The technological revolution that bought about the growth of the financial services in the wake of the Third World debt crisis of 1982 didn't flatten and widen the financial field and the city. It did connect more people to the markets faster as the communications tech promised but it resulted in huge, disparate concentrations at sites in London, New york and Tokyo. Special tax zones were set up to encourage these sites as hubs for global finance and they continue to grow, both in physical mass but also in terms of profit revenue.

The financial sector loves mergers and centralisation. The 2000 merger of Amsterdam, Paris and Brussels exchanges into Euronext boosted trading profits massively in the Euro sector. Subsequent mergers with London Futures opened the range of products and the 2007 merger into NYSE Euronext have allowed the operation to stay open 21 hours a day for trading.

The financial services rely on these centralised structures. The agents of the markets orbit them as satellites but it is vital from symbolic and practical angles that there remain a central, core hub.

These hubs become direct architectural and physical interactors with the market. Their gleaming towers are centres and symbols of wealth, they occupy the same arena of foreground architecture as government buildings and cathedrals as symbols of power. When a bank fails, they are abandoned, workers spray from the main entrance, box of possessions in their arms and march away to other lives. In worse cases, as in Indonesia in the 90s, the collapse of massive outside investment simply results in abandoned construction projects for financial businesses still standing as symbols of economic collapse.

For banks, these architectural follies are expensive and for cities they are unsightly, embarrassing and often persist as social problems. If national borders fell and the political arena ceased to meddle in international affairs and economics it would be desirous for the banks to move and flow themselves freely around the world as they do in the hyperreal space of the financial services - probably the world already most distant from nationalistic ideals. This would allow them to maintain their hubs but to construct, maintain, deconstruct and move them in response to the fluctuations of the markets.

The new modular architecture of the banking hubs would allow them to move around the world in response to the markets. The collapse of a market in one part of the world would begin a process of downsizing and moving of resources to where more financial activity was happening and where greater profits could be made. The financial services would retain their hubs but these hubs would be naturally evolving based on the market algorithms and not fixed geographically by the whim of government.

Progress: Real Vs. Extrapolated

Hungary's current econo-polticial situation is a pertinent case to transnational financial arguments. Last Friday, the nation's almost authoritarian leadership - the Fidesz party - enacted a law allowing the government to appoint deputies to the state bank. Historically, too much intimacy between forms of power leads to crisis and already we're witnessing protests in response to political machinations of press censorship and the removal of civil liberties.

On the financial side, Hungary was downgraded to junk status by credit agencies before Christmas and no-one seemed willing to step in to take the bonds at auction. These asymmetrical skirmishes are becoming more and more heated. I say asymmetrical because the odds are unfair; global financial services account for 300 times global GDP, they're not limited by borders, national law or democratic process. In defence of the apparent tax breaks given to large TNCs (transnational corporations - a more accurate definition than 'multinational') a spokesman for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs pointed out, without a trace of humour, that three of the nation's four top tax collectors hold Oxbridge degrees in classics while Vodafone has a staff of two dozen specialist corporate tax lawyers.

Any battle of ideology between financial institutions and sovereign government will make casualties of the denizens of the nation. Currently the borders between nation states offer some protection from the skirmishes of regional governments and transnational banks, but the progress of finance relies on a base state of unilateral entropy. How long the bastions of sovereign nationhood can stand up to the social demands of any given populace and the financial demands of the TNCs is ripe for speculation, although I can comfortably stipulate that the sovereign nation state as an economically and ideologically defensible entity has a limited shelf life when so heavily berated for its failures.

Utopia Forever

My copy of this amazing book just arrived. Often with architecture books, there's a confusing dazzle of beautiful pictures set against what are no doubt fascinating, but off-putting essays. No such truck with this one it's all beautiful images and limited wordiness.

Flooded London

A speculative project by Anthony Lau (the guy who invented those cyclehoop bike locks that go on street furniture) envisioning a self-sufficient floating city built aboard reclaimed ocean vessels.

The whole project is beautifully rendered in models, images and maps and seems to have a perfect balance of fantasy and realism. At once, we know this future is entirely possible and but it seems a romanticised outcome which gives it a sense of wonder.