The Boring Store

Wicker Park’s 826CHI (www.826chi.org) is an after-school writing program for Chicago kids ages 6-18. The center is part of a nation-wide chain of free writing programs founded by novelist Dave Eggers, who also publishes the popular McSweeney’s magazine and humor web site.

The program has been offering drop-in tutoring, field trips and bookbinding programs for local school kids for more than a year and has just put the finishing touches on its storefront: a mysterious and often-times hilarious “secret agent supply store” known as “The Boring Store.”

According to 826CHI Executive Director Leah Guenther, the secret camera-glasses, mustache disguise kits and underwater voice amplifiers in The Boring Store serve a triple purpose: they fund new programs for the 826CHI kids, jolt them with quick doses of imagination every time they drop by and grab the attention of every adult (a.k.a. potential volunteer) who secretly thinks he would have made one heck of a spy in another life.

Let’s take a look at the only store in Chicago that denies its own existence.

[ txt,img src: The Chicago Methods Reporter ]

<< More here >>

Filed under: art, culture, people, space/place

Diesel Wall:Big ideas need big spaces

Filed under: art, culture, design, space/place

Lost Treasures of the Ancient World: The Seven Wonders

Discover extraordinary Greek and Roman architecture such as: the Pyramids of Egypt, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, The Statue of Zeus, the Temple of Artemis, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Pharos of Alexandria through new location footage, stylish period reconstructions, 3D graphics and animation sequences, and interpretations and analyses by the world’s leading authorities.

[ link,text source: ursi’s blog ]

Filed under: films, space/place

Moon mapping

( text, image source: 30gms )


The Astrogeology Research Program is a team of 80 reseachers, cartographers, computer scientists and students working to explore and map our solar system. From carrying out scientific analysis and remote sensing they have created some really beautiful abstract maps. The moon maps are especially nice and available to download from here.

– posted by Vikesh Bhatt

Filed under: art, research, space/place

Mind Manifestation

( text, image source: socialfiction )


“Did you know ‘Psychedelic’ is Greek for Mind Manifesting? Alexander Shulgin is the inventor/discoverer of many psychedelic drugs, working from home, like an alchemist. And this makes him a legend. This piece on him is a good introduction. The most interesting thing about the online part of his “PIHKAL, Phenethylamines I Have Known And Loved: A Chemical Love Story By Alexander and Ann Shulgin” are not the detailed chemical instructions on how to synthesize 127 (!) different mind-altering drugs (some if not most of them illegal), but the commentary about what they do and how they work. Shulgin was his own lab-rat and between large segments of objective banter about metabolites and neurotoxicity you will find all sorts of observations and confessions you would not expect to find in a proper science text. To my knowledge this is one of the best published accounts that shows, between the lines, the day-to-day reality of the scientist. How he proceeds by navigating both on past results and experience as well as by ‘inspiration’ and gut-feeling. “

Filed under: consciousness, culture, people, research, space/place

Facebook skit

Filed under: culture, films, new media, people, social, space/place, technology

The Train Crash At Crush, Texas

( via bag of nothing )

Crush, Texas was a temporary “city” established as a one-day publicity stunt in 1896. In 1896 William G. Crush, general passenger agent of the Katy Railroad, conceived the idea to demonstrate a train wreck as a spectacle. No admission was charged, and train fares to the crash site were at the reduced rate of $5 from any location in Texas. As a result between 30,000 and 50,000 people showed up on September 15, 1896 making the new town of Crush, Texas the second largest city in the state.


Here’s a great story of the event.




Filed under: space/place

Pink Wrapping Paper Prank

( via neotrama )

Neatorama reader Ola Lofgren wrote:

When a friend of ours was in new york, we wrapped everything in his apartment in pink wrapping paper.

Here’s the result: LinkThanks Ola!

Filed under: art, space/place

Hack Your Brain – Make Video Podcast

( via makezine )

This weekend, learn how to hack your brain by making Mitch Altman’s Brain Machine! It flashes LEDs into your eyes and beeps sounds into your ears to make your brain waves sync up into beta, alpha, theta, and delta brainwaves!

Mitch invents cool things that make the world a better place. He’s well known for the TV-B-GONE and this brain machine is his latest project. One of the cool things about this project, is that it builds on an open source project. Mitch used Lady Ada‘s open source MiniPOV and switched out LEDs and added new capacitors and resistors and then rewrote the firmware to make it into the brain machine. It’s super cool when people make hardware open source so that others can work with it!

513591733 E18C33A406

Make sure to take pictures of your build and of you in your brain machine and upload them to the Make: flickr pool.

Weekend Projects is sponsored by microchip.com. Check out their seminars and 16 bit contest.

Get the podcast and pdf downloaded automatically in itunes. – Link

Filed under: design, DIY, hack, space/place, technology

Front Design receives 2007 Designer of the Future Award from Design Miami/Basel

( via core77 )


You’re probably most familiar with Front Design via the Sketch Furniture project, but it’s only one of many notable works by the all-female Swedish design group. Sofia Lagerkvist, Charlotte von der Lancken, Anna Lindgren and Katja Savstrom were awarded accordingly with this year’s Designer of the Future Award by Design Miami/Basel.

Each year in Basel, Design Miami/ recognizes an emerging designer who broadens our understanding of design by innovating new technologies, inventing new object-types, developing new approaches to the creative process or advancing new design philosophies…From initial concept to final product FRONT challenges traditional conventions of design with idea-driven work that powerfully reinterprets everyday objects.


For all those who missed the Sketch Furniture project, here’s the video :-

Filed under: art, design, physical computing, space/place, technology

Designing ‘Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies’

( all images and text via Pentagram’s blog )

Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies opens today at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Station.

Lisa Strausfeld and her team, in collaboration with the author and architect James Sanders, have designed the exhibition Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies that opens today in Grand Central Terminal. The month-long multimedia exhibition, based on Sanders’ classic book by the same name, relates the hundred-year plus history of filmmaking in and about New York City in a display of original scenic backings, film footage, production stills, and exhibition panels complete with quotes, location shots, art department drawings and renderings.

At rear, a backdrop of the old Penn Station from The Clock (1945).

Large rear-projection screens play signature scenes from films like Manhattan (1978).

Celluloid Skyline was designed to create an environment that recalls the cinematic experience, and the exhibition takes full advantage of Vanderbilt Hall’s dramatic interior, a space itself so representative of New York and one of the few rooms in the city large enough to hold the exhibition’s contents. “This is not a conventional museum-style exhibit, but rather a vast, immersive, magical environment that allows people to walk into the ‘movie New York’ of their dreams,” says Sanders.

The highlights of the exhibition are the four gigantic “scenic backing” paintings used in such films as Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest and Vincente Minnelli’s The Clock. These meticulously rendered cityscapes, some more than 25 feet high and 60 feet long, have never been publicly exhibited and are hung on scaffolding around the perimeter of the room. The result is a space in which visitors feel, in Sanders’ words, “as if they are actually inhabiting the various environments of the filmic city—streets, skyscrapers, rooftops, theaters, waterfronts, interiors—allowing viewers to come away with a greater understanding not only of the moviemaking process, but of the urban character, texture and significance of the real city.”

Full article + images here >

Filed under: architecture, art, films, space/place, urban

Ginsberg’s TvTube

( via a contaminated blog by ashley benigno )

Allen Ginsberg, filmed during the dialectics of liberation conference in London in 1967, mentions a mysterious TvTube in this techno-trippy beams & screens clip on YouTube, 40 years early.

Filed under: space/place

Mapping Festival 2007 documentary on Swiss TV

( via mapping festival blog )

Let’s go straight to the hype! Interviews with a select group of the participants and the festival organizers. Overall it does a pretty good job of covering what this stuff is all about. If I can I’ll make a version with subtitles.

Filed under: art, festival, hack, music, new media, social, space/place, technology

Amsterdam – First Google Earth European 3D City

( via digital urbanism )
Amsterdam is now available in 3D via Google Earth – rendered in the current grey building standard with photorealistic landmarks it can’t compete with the new cities being rolled out by Microsoft’s in Virtual Earth – such as Buffalo in the US and Swindon/Brighton in the UK – see our post on Populating the Digital Earth for more info and movies.

Nevertheless its still impressive:

Of note is Engadget’s reporting of the forthcoming Where 2.0 conference with announcements due on the use of technology used to scan building faces and improve the 3D portions of Google Maps and Google Earth.

Sadly we are not going to Where 2.0 – unless someone send us – but keep checking the Google Earth blog as Frank Taylor will be blogging from the event.

Filed under: architecture, space/place, technology


( via networked_performance )

Cool media hot talk show : D.I.Y. talk show on art & media ::

TOPIC: New Media Art Mythologies ::

SPEAKERS: Geert Lovink and Armin Medosch :: QUESTIONS: ask-it-yourself now and during the show here :: June 5, 20.30 CET :: Video stream and interface for online participation :: Location: De Balie, Amsterdam (bring your laptops and mobiles)

New Media Art Mythologies…to be questioned… :: Recent discussions about (new) media art concerned a wide range of issues: starting from the validity of the term itself and ending with questioning the very premises of the modes of distinction through which the (new) media art field constitutes itself as a form of art, cultural practice, social context, institutional domain, and discourse. The feeling of a certain Rubicon, provoking self-introspective reflections, was expressed by many.

The coming edition of Cool Media Hot Talk Show on the topic “New Media Art Mythologies” will welcome persistent critical voices of the media art scene – Geert Lovink and Armin Medosch. They will present their judgements and arguments regarding the current critical stage in the development of new media art. The debates will address socio-cultural position of new media art in a historical perspective, which both speakers are discussing extensively in their writings. Preliminary suggested focal points are:

– The marginalised position of new media art within the broader cultural context.
– New media art vis-`-vis changing trends of cultural policies.
– Discursive troubles: in search for mediatory theories and media art criticism.
– New media between aesthetics and politics.

Continue reading >

Filed under: art, design, DIY, films, new media, social, space/place, technology