The Welcome Collection - Exquisite Bodies


The Welcome Collection has a wonderful online image gallery and two fantastic videos on anatomical models.
From the museum website:
"In the 19th century, despite the best efforts of body snatchers, the demand from medical schools for fresh cadavers far outstripped the supply. One solution to this gruesome problem came in the form of lifelike wax models. These models often took the form of alluring female figures that could be stripped and split into different sections. Other models were more macabre, showing the body ravaged by 'social diseases' such as venereal disease, tuberculosis and alcohol and drug addiction. With their capacity to titillate as well as educate, anatomical models became sought-after curiosities; displayed not only in dissecting rooms but also in sideshows and the curiosity cabinets of wealthy Victorian gentlemen. For a small admission fee, visitors seeking an unusual afternoon's entertainment could visit displays of these strange dolls in London, Paris, Brussels and Barcelona. This exhibition explores the forgotten history of the anatomical model, which with its unique combination of serious science and fairground horror provides a rare insight into 19th-century beliefs about the body."



Masataka Nakano, Tokyo Nobody


Masataka Nakano takes photographs of Tokyo street scenes without people. Lovely stuff.


Curio Books For Children


A lovely Japanese website devoted to vintage children's books.



The Nakagin Capsule Tower

From The New York Times
Future Vision Banished to the Past
Published: July 6, 2009
TOKYO — How old does a building have to be before we appreciate its value? And when does its cultural importance trump practical considerations? Composed of 140 pods, the Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo has fallen into disrepair, with leaks and maintenance problems. Those are the questions that instantly come to mind over the likely destruction of Kisho Kurokawa’s historic Nakagin Capsule Tower. A rare built example of Japanese Metabolism, a movement whose fantastic urban visions became emblems of the country’s postwar cultural resurgence, the 1972 Capsule Tower is in a decrepit state. Its residents, tired of living in squalid, cramped conditions, voted two years ago to demolish it and are now searching for a developer to replace it with a bigger, more modern tower. That the building is still standing has more to do with the current financial malaise than with an understanding of its historical worth. Yet for many of us who believe that the way we treat our cultural patrimony is a fair measure of how enlightened we are as a society, the building’s demolition would be a bitter loss. The Capsule Tower is not only gorgeous architecture; like all great buildings, it is the crystallization of a far-reaching cultural ideal. Its existence also stands as a powerful reminder of paths not taken, of the possibility of worlds shaped by different sets of values. Founded by a loose-knit group of architects at the end of the 1950s, the Metabolist movement sought to create flexible urban models for a rapidly changing society. Floating cities. Cities inspired by oil platforms. Buildings that resembled strands of DNA. Such proposals reflected Japan’s transformation from a rural to a modern society. But they also reflected more universal trends, like social dislocation and the fragmentation of the traditional family, influencing generations of architects from London to Moscow. Inside, each apartment is as compact as a space capsule. A wall of appliances and cabinets is built into one side, including a kitchen stove, a refrigerator, a television and a tape deck. A bathroom unit, about the size of an airplane lavatory, is set into an opposite corner. A big porthole window dominates the far end of the room, with a bed tucked underneath. Part of the design’s appeal is voyeuristic. The portholes evoke gigantic peepholes. Their enormous size, coupled with the small scale of the rooms, exposes the entire apartment to the city outside. Many of the midlevel units look directly onto an elevated freeway, so you are almost face to face with people in passing cars. (On my first visit there, a tenant told me that during rush hour, drivers stuck in traffic often point or wave at residents.) But the project’s lasting importance has more to do with its structural innovations, and how they reflect the Metabolists’ views on the evolution of cities. Each of the concrete capsules was assembled in a factory, including details like carpeting and bathroom fixtures. They were then shipped to the site and bolted, one by one, onto the concrete and steel cores that housed the building’s elevators, stairs and mechanical systems. In theory, more capsules could be plugged in or removed whenever needed. The idea was to create a completely flexible system, one that could be adapted to the needs of a fast-paced, constantly changing society. The building became a symbol of Japan’s technological ambitions, as well as of the increasingly nomadic existence of the white-collar worker. No one doubts how difficult it would be to revive that vision today. The building was never as flexible in reality as it was in theory: adding and removing the capsules was prohibitively expensive. And the capsule notion itself was obviously limited, since it didn’t account for the possibility of sharing space with others. It hasn’t helped, too, that the lack of regular maintenance has taken a severe toll on the structure — and on the few remaining tenants...
Continue reading:

House of the Future, 1957



Henrique Oliveira


Visual Acoustics: The Modernism Of Julias Shulman


"Narrated by Dustin Hoffman, Visual Acoustics explores the monumental career of 98-year-old architectural photographer, Julius Shulman. Populating his photos with human models and striking landscapes, Shulman combined the organic with the synthetic, melding nature with revolutionary urban design. The resulting images helped to shape the careers of some of the greatest architects of the 20th Century, with Shulman documenting the work of Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, Pierre Koenig, John Lautner, and many others.Taking its aesthetic cues from Shulman’s own sensual and nuanced photography, the film’s narrative is built from a blend of Shulman’s own images as well as in depth interviews..."



Anatomical Theatre: The Body, Disease, and Death in Medical Museums of the Western World



From the Anatomical Theatre website:
"Anatomical Theatre is a photographic exhibition documenting artifacts collected by and exhibited in medical museums throughout Europe and the United States. The objects in these photos range from preserved human remains to models made from ivory, wax, and papier mâché. The artifacts span from the 16th Century to the 20th, and include examples from a wide range of countries, artists, and preparators. The photographs in this exhibition were taken by Joanna Ebenstein, a New York-based photographer and designer, on the course of a one-month pilgrimage to the famed medical museums of the Western World. On the course of the trip, she visited museums in England, Scotland, Hungary, Italy, Austria, The Netherlands, and the United States at each, she interviewed curators or keepers, and photographed both behind-the-scenes and in the museum exhibit areas."


Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson


Above: The Farnsworth House

From Wikipedia: The Farnsworth House, designed and constructed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe between 1945-51, is a one-room weekend retreat in a once-rural setting, located 55 miles (89 km) southwest of Chicago's downtown on a 60-acre (240,000 m2) estate site adjoining the Fox River south of the city of Plano, Illinois. The steel and glass house was commissioned by Dr. Edith Farnsworth, a prominent Chicago-based nephrologist, as a place where she could enjoy nature and engage in her hobbies, playing the violin, translating poetry, and enjoying nature. Mies created for her a 1,500-square-foot (140 m2) house that is widely recognized as an iconic masterpiece of modernist architecture. The home was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006, after joining the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.[4] The house is currently operated as a house museum by the historic preservation group, Landmarks Illinois.


Above: The Glass House

From Wikipedia: The Glass House or Johnson house, built in 1949 in New Canaan, Connecticut, was designed by Philip Johnson as his own residence and is a masterpiece in the use of glass. It was an important and influential project for Johnson and his associate Richard Foster, and for modern architecture. The building is an essay in minimal structure, geometry, proportion, and the effects of transparency and reflection.

Ward Roberts


Tape Cassette Inserts Flickr Set



The Selby


Above: from Michael Stipe's stuff.
The Selby features photographs, paintings and videos of interesting people and their spaces.