Wednesday, 29 September 2010

behind schedule

Millennium People is not dead, its just resting.

We're running behind schedule with the relaunch, 29 days to be precise, but let me give you a quick update:
  • MP is moving to a brand new (physical) location – leaving behind Blogger HQ (Moffat Airbase, CA) and setting up shop on our own British servers.
  • It is getting a complete re-design and overhaul as part of its metamorphosis into a collective – as is fitting for Britain's premier think-tank pertaining to all aspects of the New Millennium.
Accordingly, the info@ address is no longer active – but it will be up and running again sometime next week with the re-launch.

Obviously we will make a song and dance all over the web, with tweets, fb updates, etc, etc.

Keep all sets tuned to this station.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

rendering speculations

Temporary intermission in the hiatus, just to let you all know that there are big changes in the works here - I can't wait to share all the exciting things that are going down in London this summer...

Just as an addendum - find below the link to a recent article I wrote for the Architectural Review about the AA's Rendering Speculations symposium held in April. The AR have also just launched their new site, which is pretty amazing in all truth... check it out:

Saturday, 3 July 2010


Change of plans. MP is off until September 1. This is due to a problem with the change of servers and databases associated with the implementation of MP2.0 (which, we remind you, will be a paradigm shift).

The current site will still be available during this period, and the posts that were due to appear will be back-dated once we return.

Sorry about all this, we're upset too.


Monday, 28 June 2010

fistful of links

Screen print via Nakatomi Inc.

Gulf of Mexico: go in crude, come out refined. Some news.

London is full of weird historical kickbacks – perhaps the weirdest is the 100th Livery Company, a guard group from the old City formed in medieval times to regulate the guilds. They have now been re-named the Information Technologists Company, but if you think this means they've abandoned the silly metal hats, tights and big wooden sticks then you're wrong...

You know, MP is way more popular in the States than it here in its hometown. I attribute this to the time-honoured lust that yanks have for poms. Segue: Date British Guys (.com); 1960's posters have been discovered in an abandoned Nottinghill Gate tube tunnel; Take me there Boris: the mayor of London as a cab driver. Moving on to Britain (also known as Greater London), Prince Charles blames the world's ills on Galileo and 'soulless consumerism'. the UK tightens its recession belts, and prepares to make penny-pinching £5-note dispensing ATMs.

The ConDems are really screwing British architects: the Sesquipedalist eloquently explains why (bloody fools). A map of the London Underground in real-time. Ace. Related, a geography of London formed by the number of tweets from each part of the city. Also maps:

Historypin is a like a digital time machine that allows people to view and share their personal history in a totally new way. It uses Google Maps and Street View technology and hopes to become the largest user-generated archive of the world's historical images and stories. Historypin asks the public to dig out, upload and pin their own old photos, as well as the stories behind them, onto the Historypin map. Uniquely, Historypin lets you layer old images onto modern Street View scenes, giving a series of peaks into the past.

America: Restrepo, a documentary about fighting the war in Afghanistan; Still on Afghanistan: a recent mineral deposit find could completely change the game; Marshall McLuhan playing cards; MJ killed for his money, says whacko sister. I'm just not sure that corporate education is a good thing: the Wal-Mart university. iPreach: ipad used to spread the Word; salt flat racers made from the cowls of WW2 fighter planes.

The world: A closer look at sink holes; the silo home; hilarious tattoo mistakes: Loltatz; Chairs prefer gym socks; Two really nice photographers: untitled, and Andrew Moore. One more for good luck (a bit more pop). A fictitious brand created to campaign for industrial architecture in a post-industrial era: Cityfix.

There's been a trend to bend (apparently sexily) in Facebook photos of late, now there's a tumblr devoted to: The awkward lean. Japanese spacecraft deploys first ever solar sail. Still space, "We treat each other with respect and we have a great working relationship. Personal relationships are not ... an issue," says astronaut team-leader, when asked about what its like in the 100 mile club. Humourless response, but who can blame him? The man's name is Poindexter.

A five-step simple plan for everyone and everything; algae-powered flight; Jaguars are obsessed by Calvin Klein cologne; probably the coolest table in existence. Word on the street is that more and more women in their 30's are freezing their eggs, still waiting for "Mr. Right". I don't quite understand who Mr. Right is, but I can only assume he is symbolic for some sort of Cargo Cult. China gets their own native-script URLs. This. Is. Hot. How to beat Super Mario in 11 minutes; Save the Kittens; turn out whale faeces absorb CO2. Clingfilm (or, if you prefer, ceran wrap) architecture (must see!)

Finally, some videos:

1. Perhaps the best thing I've seen this year... via l'Histoire de l'Oeil. (if it gives you an ad, just click the cross to close it).

2. Cleese on Extremism.

3. The most awkward personal transporter I've ever seen...

4. Classroom Mario.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

aa, eh?

Millennium People's prolonged silence these past few weeks is the result of preparations for the AA Projects Review, which opened with a champagne-fueled party that spilled out of the school and into the green shadows of Bedford Square.

I haven't had time yet to see the whole show, although there were several units that looked quite interesting. MP will be reporting on the content some time next week, with the aim of trying to describe how the school is expressing contemporary trends in architecture.

There's several other surprises coming up in the next couple of weeks – the least interesting of which will be a fat fistful of fresh links first thing Monday (given that's at the bottom of the list, you can imagine that the other stuff is going to be pretty alright). Without giving too much away: Millennium People's new printhouse (Speculative Publications) will be launching its first title in a pilot run of 50; MP will be celebrating its first birthday with a fresh new site; and I will be travelling to the most remote part of Britain for a week to report on the possibility of isolation in the modern world.


Wednesday, 9 June 2010

post net art and the new now

Screenshot from Ian Andrew's 2002 piece: Ether-1.

I know Millennium People has been quiet recently. But the summer is coming, and a bold prospect of speculation awaits us. In the meantime, a finally-finished draft:

'The New Now' is the term used in this blog's tagline. It's really just another way of saying 'spirit of the times' or 'zeitgeist' – which were not used for these reasons: the former puts one in mind of la belle epoque, and the latter smells a bit too much like Nazis and 9/11 conspiracies. The core business of this blog is the attempt to describe, if only in a lateral or fragmentary sense, the conditions that make life in the second decade of the third millennium the swell trip that it is. It pursues several fields: global and local economic trends; our changing relationship to technology (in particular the Internet); the city (as a psychogeographical, historical and political arena) – all primarily through the lens of architecture and the built environment. Except of course where that lens fails to describe anything of relevance, which is more frequently than you might think.

"Net art is seen as an archaeology of the future, drawing on the past (especially of modernism) and producing a complex interaction of unrealized past potential and Utopian futures..."
Julian Stallabrass
"Hype around Net-based art began in the early 1990s, before the Internet had become a commodity. It developed in skeptical parallel to the rise and decline of the new economy. In 1997, documenta X featured Net art. Around the same time, major museums in the US started online art commissions or virtual showcases. The first (and last) retrospective exhibition, “netconditon,” was held in 1999. Several books published in the first years of the new millennium give overviews of the practice and theory of this art. But since then, this particular chapter of art history appears to have closed. The final indication that Net-based art was not to become another genre in the contemporary art canon was perhaps the discontinuance of the “Net vision” category in the Prix Ars Electronica 2007."

So begins Net Pioneers 1.0, a book about contextualising early Internet art. I'm fascinated by Net Art – which is produced specifically for the medium of the Web – such that remains, like Blue Hyacinth or Seattle Drift. And while this book dates the death of Net Art to 1999, I think it is clear that art that can only be experienced through the Internet is flourishing. We are using information today in such remarkable ways, here are just three of my favourite examples of what I would call Post-Net Art (Po-NeAr?):

1. Solar Beat: an ambient music artwork that composes a score by assigning each planet a note and then having that note sound when the planet passes a datum. Art thanks to flash (oh what will happen when Flash finally dies?)

2.Moonbell: developed by the Japanese space agency JAXA this is a violent piano piece generated by the scans returned from Selene (one of Japan's orbiters that recently crashed into the moon). You are hearing a translation of the moon's surface into music.

3.Three Frames: surely the Internet's greatest .gif (sic) is the addition of time to mediums that were otherwise atemporal. Three Frames is not the only, but one of the best, examples of a blog dedicated to expressing minute slices of time in otherwise still images.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

fistful of links

I'm in the labs waiting for some images to render (more on that later in the year), so while the computer plugs away at it: some news.

London: the image above maps the city by geo-tagged flickr photos – I'm kind of surprised the rapidly gentrifying East isn't darker. Check out the Geotaggers' World Atlas (must see!). Related, the Londonist has mapped city institutions that broadcast on Twitter. Slight diversion - did you know is an English nationalist site? Tweets precipitated into cuckoo clocks (also, tweets converted into bone structure). Back to geotagged photo maps: Europe. Back to London: Boris Johnson, mayor thereof, is scrapping the Western Congestion zone. WTF dude? Chelsea is where most of the cars are at, no? Also on Boris' to-do list, city-wide free wifi by 2012 - from the unimaginatively named company The Cloud.

Herzog + De Meuron have turned a car park into an art form (1111 Lincoln Road, Miami). But is it really Post-Ballardian? Related, Into The Loop's mixed-use car park/metro station. Still re-using urban structures – the Lords of Raisintown: skateboarders that clean out the pools of re-possessed homes in order to skate in them. Police and real-estate agents are cool with this, since it keeps the pools clean and the property supervised. BLDG BLOG on rogue factories.

I wrote yesterday about Renzo - MP tip-off (I wish you would all send in more, frankly) from an Italian reader – for $11 you can 'be Renzo Piano', its an ipad app... OMA have made a new map of Europe – Eneropa! It's been wrapped up by all the regular dudes, Supercolossal + Infranet and whatever, but the best images are by far Club Construct.

Image source and location unknown...

Dross: inside Hitler's bunker (LIFE have some great galleries); The Ghastlycrumb Tinies, a children's book; startup quotes (Twitter founder: "Investors are employees you can never hire. We made sure to pick investors that thought like us."); crazy tunnels in Russia's only private metro; Turkish bees make beautiful nests from flowers; Notes from Chris (must-read!); in relation to my screen bit, the Nintendo DS as building; why I don't go to festivals; Sean Connery in a thong; steal this idea; Japanese neon light fights (real gorey, with blood and shit, prob NSFW); minigolf meets publicity: advertput; a mad hail storm in the states...


Wednesday, 26 May 2010

symposiums at home and away

I'm not going to write one of those falsely self-deprecating – yet secretly/overtly proud – notices on the wonderful things I have been up to recently (viz: "here is a bit of shameless self-promotion *school-girl giggling*"), I am simply going to say the following:

1. I was involved in a very brief panel conversation at the end of a fascinating two-day conference held at the AA called Architecture's Pasts. It is available here online. Speakers included Jeff Kipnis, Mark Cousins, Adrian Forty, Brian Hatton, Reinhold Martin, and Brett Steele (and many more).

2. I have a review of another AA symposium Rendering Speculations published in June's Architectural Review. I've seen the issue, and there's some particularly good pieces in there – including one on H+DeM's Miami 1111 building/car park and some good visual porn from the Milan design fair.

The image above is purely gratuitous.

piano lessons

"Architecture is a dangerous profession. If we are wrong, we are wrong for a long, long time." So saying Renzo Piano began his short speech to a small audience gathered in the central courtyard of his first UK building (and the most colourful, by percentage of facade, ever built in London): Central St. Giles.

Personally, while I find his eye for detailing impeccable, I am not a fan of his work in general. Although he expresses himself with a frank charm, I find his approach to architecture strangely... archaic. His description of how the building came to be – starting with the destruction of an old Ministry of Defence brick fortress, followed by nine years of searching for the right way to create 'an urban meeting place' – was part architect-as-master-builder, part architect-as-social-engineer.

"London has a texture that is medieval, no two facades point in the same direction." he argued, describing the condition of the city. "It has a magic feeling. It is made of piazzas and streets and passages... it is always mixed in its use." I definitely agree London is medieval, but I've never stumbled into one of its piazzas. It is a grubby and run-down city, a city that takes time to learn to love, with none of the allure (or homogeneity) of Rome or Paris. The only people I've ever heard use the word "magic" in London are Spanish tourists describing the hit musical 'Mama-Mia: the songs of Abba'.

"I think the city is a place of surprise." Piano continued. There was something terribly trite about this Italian, who "wanted to tell the truth, and be completely honest" about the building. The corporate sterility of the courtyard and the transplanted oak jarred with this old-world charisma and sincerity about materiality. "Every building must bear the mark of the hand"... It didn't help the talk was called 'Piano Lessons'. Jeez. Talk about Cheese Louise.

"Architecture is the art of making shelter. But it also the art of answering desires and dreams." Cue whoosing wind and wind chimes. Then he suddenly changed pitch, and the smile fell from his face. "I want to confess everything. Some people think you begin with the idea. But there is always something missing from a project. I don't mean I am a perfectionist, I am talking about the real struggle. We want to be good, but this takes a lot of energy. We [architects] must be stubborn. But we must also be right, so we must be good listeners... I don't think schools really teach you that. Maybe the parents, but mostly we learn this in life. You must fight –" he gestured to the developers sitting in the front row "but we're not really fighting, we are struggling" The project team smiled knowingly at each other. "This is what I call the responsibility of the architect... No one can be so arrogant as to know exactly what to do in this job, you must struggle." He broke off to look at a large printed render mounted on card "This is the problem with scale and proportion. Many people know how to make these horrible renders, that always lie! They can make perfect models, but if they are not careful they will end up with buildings that are just large models."

He closed with a metaphor: "Being an architect is like conquering the wild west. First you must get a caravan, and then there is a big river, and then the horse gets tired, and then you are attacked by Indians... And then you make it there in the end. And you think, sometimes those Indians look bad, but they're really good guys." The audience sat bemuzed, thoroughly puzzled by this last remark.

Sunday, 23 May 2010


When Millennium People becomes a collective (around its first birthday in July) it may or may not adopt the title of Think Tank. In order to justify such a term MP has to start having an influence. Here's a suggestion: no one should use square and round brackets to name projects anymore. That era is over.

The practise of hid[in]g words within words began sometime around the beginning of last decade, popularised perhaps by the increasing use of code (in particular Java and Python) to script architectural forms. For those of you unfamiliar with this as a design tool, the idea is basically to write a small computer programme that defines certain parameters (this might be about the shape, or the limits or the function) of a particular element (say, a facade). You then use this little programme (a script) to generate your architectural solution, or a million architectural solutions. I can only imagine that it was the syntax of these scripts, which often involve defining commands through (round) or [square] brackets that led teachers and students to apply it to their design titles.

For example, the 2005 student book produced by UNSW's Faculty of the Built Environment (located within a bright terracotta building) was "Re[a]d Centre". You see what they did there? This is banal, but fairly innocuous. Versions that really irritate me tend to suggest another meaning through the inclusion of the brackets: "[Re]thinking Architecture", "[De]sign ", "Mor[e]ph", "Tran[s]tasis", and so on. This format ranks up there in the idiocy charts with unneccessary triple slashes /// and NASA's weird acronyms ('CUM BLOW' = cumulative booster lift-off weight).

Back to the [], the problem stems from the basic indecision of this naming. Rather than making me think the authors are innovative or cutting-edge, it just makes me think they can't make up their minds. You are either reading architecture or you're re-reading it. You can't do both simultaneously.

Remember your first e-mail address? If you're like me it was probably something ridiculous like 'self_inspired' or 'groovy_gurl350'. The novelty of the e-mail address made this kind of acceptable. It was a pseudonym and never meant to be associated directly with the user. The Internet was a place of anonymity back then. Nowadays the trend has generally been away from yahoo and hotmail towards gmail, with straightforward and serious formatting: The same is true of this naming technique. We're a bit more grown up now, and it's time to move away from these childish appellations.

P[ass] it on.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

the end of the world

Just a quick notification: the Architecture Association's Intermediate Seven unit, run by Kate Davies and Liam Young, and titled 'The end of the world, and other bedtime stories' has just released its first publication for this academic year (a second is forthcoming). It's not expensive and is available from the AA Bookstore. If you want to keep your fingers on the pulse, this is one to watch. Also good for aspiring anarchists, the millennial avant-garde, and anyone looking to buy a gift for the man that has it all...

This year the unit went to Iceland to study the end of the world. If you missed Millennium People's coverage, it was intense and ace.

fistful of links

Latitude of Silence by You LI.

Sixpence an adventure and he'll take you home again: some news.

Every week I wrap up the world on the web, this week it's the web in the world that has got me in a tizzy.

Some ideas about surfing is a new zine by the young artist Joel Colover (available here as a pdf download) exploring the act of web-browsing as a type of Situationist derive – or passive drift. It is a nice return to the 90's zine aesthetic, featuring bold text and xeroxed sketches.

"Tab based browsing is surfing different waves at the same time. All the time. On the Internet we surf the currents left by other users. Old lost content and new data supply us with the momentum we need... The Internet is not a world, it is a city the size of a universe. It can be split into different quarters, not just based on content, but also on presentation, design, architecture of the pages. This is what the invisible walls are made of."


The Facebook/privacy debate continues. I can't say I'm too happy about Google's monopoly of the Web, especially when it turns out they were using Street View to capture information from people's wireless networks. That said, they are still miles better than Facebook – the "obnoxious drunk girl at the party/Internet". Related, the US still using a mercenary spy ring. Related, Cold War Paranoia. Maybe related, computers have replaced all your friends. The original lightweight portable telephone: $1499. (Wow, old technology is so attractively crap).

Left: Eventual Ghost. Net neutrality looks like its going to be a thing of the past real quick; Also things of the past: "Future Days" a book by Asimov describing turn of the twentieth century visions for the future. I actually own this book, it is a pleasure. Also books: OMA are exhibiting all of their books at the AA. Hear what the Sesquipedalist has to say about it. Also OMA: old Coney Island postcards.

Inevitable ending, when print meets the net: the 48hr magazine project. Same subject: the magazine of tomorrow (developed by Millennial Wunderkinds Berg London). If you don't know Berg, like, really, do yourself a favour and check that shit pronto: touch, here and there, olinda, the schooloscope (to mention just a few of their amazing projects); The Internet approaches its address limit. I think we should start erasing the weak and old websites to make more space. Controversial. What Google fears most; the continuity of inter-connecting relationships; cloud computing goes mainstream (WATCH OUT FOR THIS ONE). Our one hope for the future of the web (not to be over-dramatic): the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative. This is the opposite of the Patriot Act of the Internet: the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Does anyone else feel like the present stumbled into Blade Runner? On a lighter note, the real is now irrelevant: Banksy returns in digital form. A tip off for MP: Geocitiesizer, make any website look like it was designed by a 13yo in 1996.

Dross: I love unhappy hipsters; big babies at the Shanghai expo; Universal Corrective World Map; Britain is being run by a coalition, in case you didn't hear. It's like the Uk has got two gay dads – Conservative/Liberal Democrat agreement; some of the world's oldest colour photos; 40 mind-blowing hubble pics; dope NASA images; oh, and I remember where all the fistfuls are to be found thanks to Instapaper.


A day at Walmart, via Club Construct.

Christianese via Sociological Images.

Friday, 14 May 2010


By the time you read this, I will already be on my bike. Ah, automatic scheduling.

Just a quick (hopefully not too banal) observation on the development of the computer screen: I have often had teachers and employers (admittedly less with every passing year) that have had trouble 'reading' screens. Print that shit out, they say. And I say, fine, it's your time and money. As long as that is the case, otherwise I kick up a stink.

I've always maintained that the reason these people have been unable to read computer screens ("Jesus, Jack, stop whirling around for a minute and just stay still!") is because they are misunderstanding the purpose of the screen. A cinema or even a photograph is just a flat surface onto which an image has been projected. It remains clearly limited by the frame, we are not supposed to think there is anything outside it. Indeed, the joy of cinema can only come when one forgets the intense action that surrounds every minute action.

Not so with the map. When we look in an A-Z we are looking at some enormous, perfect, map of the entire world. It happens to be arbitrarily cut up into frames, through which we look at a portion. With the map there is a space beyond that of the edges, a map-reality we can peer into. The computer screen operates the same way, as a membrane separating us from some other, virtual, reality. My generation sees the membrane as wholly arbitrary because we believe in the reality of the image within. In other words, we believe it has space.

The confusion of reading a membrane like a flat surface means the image appears inconsistent, blurry and dizzying. Every moment it composes itself it changes again. So when Gramps struggles with your flash Japanese DS game, riddle it out to him in these terms.


This is just a paraphrased version of an opening paragraph to a veerry long piece I'm working on at the moment about the meaning of the architectural render. Watch this space. At least the movie is pretty cool, no?

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

strangers on the web

A tip-off sent into MP, originally from I-Am-Bored.


Last night I spoke at the Whitechapel for Love Art London on the subject of Robbrecht+Daem's Whitechapel Gallery extension and renovation. Perhaps the only downside was the fact that I delivered my bit, then had to repeat it twice more over a three hour period. During the second iteration a piece of sonic sculpture started singing next to me, and just before the third an old architect came and asked me some really intense questions, which threw/bored me. Unlike wine, but very much like humous, the subject did not improve with ageing. Here is the kernel of what I said:

There is almost perpetual conflict between the artist and the architect, though most of this can be put down to envy on the part of the architect. Never is this more true than when the architect is commissioned to design an art gallery. The temptation for the architect is to simply construct such a fantastic piece of sculpture than the building itself becomes art, and everything within it becomes somehow secondary to its housing. I'm thinking of Bilbao.

If the opportunity to really get in there and make a statement is non-existent, then the architect will prefer to design an art museum rather than a gallery. The contents of a museum are depoliticised, making the art safe for public consumption – and certainly no threat to the architecture. There is a feeble excuse sometimes given: since the word museum pertains to the muses, and therefore art is the product of divine inspiration, the proper place for art is in a temple. Hence the fact that most art galleries built up until the end of the 19th century were Neo-Classical, with steps running up to a large plinth and imposing collonnade. I'm thinking of the British Museum, the Tate, etc. While quite formal, at least everyone knew their place. The destruction of formal distinctions between art and architecture is what leads to the collapse of one onto the other. I'm thinking of Anish Kapoor's monstrosity for the London Olympics.

The Whitechapel is a heritage listed building. So is/was the adjacent 'Whitechapel Free and Public Library' which was bought by the gallery in 2001, with a view to expanding the relatively small exhibition space. Because the whole structure sits on top of Aldgate East tube, there wasn't that much room for architectural intervention. What remained for Robbrecht and Daem was principally a question of circulation.

The firm compared their proposal to a type of Art Internet: rather than the traditional sequence of lineally organised galleries, with coherently collated art, here the viewer can choose their own trajectory (backtracking, sidestepping and allowing intuition to guide them from one room to the next). Boredom was a big factor, the idea that someone could just pop in, have a coffee, do a quick swing into one, but not necessarily all, rooms and then whip out again.

I was pretty horrified by the analogy. If the Whitechapel acts, or is supposed to act, like the Internet – why on earth would I go it? If we look to print media, the newspapers and publications that are surviving and thriving (the Guardian, for example) are doing so by providing good critique, not simply news (which is omnipresent). If the art gallery fails to add anything to the experience a user might otherwise have clicking through their site, what is the difference? Why not virtualise the institution? I have to say I've been a couple of times since the Whitechapel reopened and I've found it each time pretty tame, maybe digitisation is the answer, an easier way to radicalise the art experience?

Monday, 10 May 2010

fistful of links

Top: the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, shortly before it sunk. Bottom: visualisation showing the resuming of air traffic across Europe in the wake of the Volcano. Airspace Rebooted (related: Flightradar24 where you can see all flights in Europe in real-time).

When it rains it pours: some news.

What seems to be going on in the world? Volcanoes, oil spills, the economic bankruptcy of most of Europe, and now Britain has a hung parliament. It's like we're copping it from all angles (which is exactly what she said). Luckily the Royal Guards are still able to instil some sense of normality. Oh, wait, they're busy marching in Red Square to celebrate conquest of the Nazis...

Related, as a kind of cultural exchange programme: Lenin in London. Same theme: Verso's Marxism conference. It's coming back into fashion again, that old Marxism. Yes sir, Marx my words, it has yet to make its full Marx. Dad jokes. Of course, the popular conception that ex-KGB lurk around every Moscow street corner couldn't be farther from the truth. Possibly related, Orwell on the principles of Newspeak. Back to London, but on a sombre note: Ghost Bikes. I've seen two people die as a result of bike accidents since I arrived in London a year ago, and I see a new ghost bike every few weeks. If you cycle in the city, do take care. Last thing on the capital: "London's Poor now no different from slaves"...

Let's hop on over to the oil rig shindig: a professional engineer in the field explains how monumentally fucked up all that shit is, in a no doubt hastily named article: mother of all gushers. Related, workers describe the methane explosion. Apocalyptic scenario? Who knows. But I'll invoke the imagery of the sky before Katrina as a visual metaphor for the global condition. A political metaphor might be Kanellos, the Greek protest dog.

Let's keep it a bit positive shall we? I'm not bothered by the oil escaping, since we've now got a petrol producing bug. When you factor in declining fuel reserves and Icelandic tectonic activity (not to mention the fact that vacationing is now a human right, according to the UN) then it seems like the future in travel is airships. Ace. Here's MPs proposal.

To technology: the first ever non-latin web addresses have gone live (although it still displays in most browsers as a bunch of x--n, wgbii, characters). The reasoning behind creating non-english URLs was that otherwise the Internet was likely to split into multiple Internets (can you even imagine multiple Internets?), although I would have thought that it makes the web less unified, not more. A convincing ipad rival has been released, which of course now justifies the ipad's right to existence. Nice one, idiots. That said, what if I had bought apple stock instead of an apple product? Still Mac, Steve Jobs' thoughts on flash. My own: phase out that shit - I gots one acronym, one number for you buddy: HTML 5. It can do everything flash can do, and it's native to the browser. Sorry Adobe, but I still love your Creative Suite. Related, obsolete technology.

Few kickshaws for you: a cream designed to grow long lashes can permanently change eye colour (Brooke Shields is the product's figureface); DAYTUM, in case you didn't already have enough information about yourself. Comes from Nicholas Feltron, whose Annual Reports always cause such a stir; BLDGBLOG's theatre for one; radioactive toothpaste; 4,000 year old lentils grown from seeds; National Geographic got a Tumblr; BIG's Shanghai Pavilion (also check out Heatherwick's). Still China: the fantastically multifunctional Chinese army shovel. Those guys, what will they think of next?

They can't tell us though, Millennium People is blocked in China.


Saturday, 8 May 2010


Via the magnificent Flowing Data.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

one new change

As I mentioned some time ago, I arrived in London in February 2009 expecting to work on Jean Nouvel's One New Change project. For reasons that are still too emotional to go into in any depth, I was not employed. It grieves me further that in spite of the absence of my creative input the building is nonetheless approaching completion. My only consolation is that the glass is pretty ugly (more here on Flickr).

The building caused quite a lot of controversy when the valiant Prince of Darkness decided he didn't like it and was going to have it canned. This was shortly after his fiddling with the Rogers re-development over at Chelsea Barracks. Those same Qatari developers have their fingers in every pie and they are also responsible for the Renzo Piano monstrosity currently under construction near London Bridge. The core alone is the width of a 20 storey building.

Dark times lie on the horizon for London (literally, as the massive structure will be able to cast a shadow over all of Borough Market).

Shard (right) under construction.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

hermitage mooring

The Hermitage Mooring development is a beautifully executed architectural project. But it is also a proposition for the re-evaluation of the metropolitan citizen’s relationship to landscape. Perhaps most of all, it is a bold political statement – the result of a very personal struggle by its founders to demonstrate the possibility of individual will against established authority.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

comestible catastrophes

Images via Yofavo

After getting a tan yesterday I awake to find the world capped under tupperware. And the rain comes down. London in spring I suppose: some Sunday ruminations...

A few months ago Geoff Manaugh (BLDG BLOG) tweeted about a 1919 disaster, the "Boston Molassacre". A large molasses storage tank burst, and a wave of treacle roared through the streets (apparently at over 50km/h) killing 21 and injuring 150. Wiki notes: "The event has entered local folklore, and residents claim that on hot summer days, the area still smells of molasses."

This put me on to the London Beer Flood of 1814. The whole strange tale begins with a party organised by Meux's Brewery (owned by the first Baronet Sir Meux, whose name is inexplicably pronounced 'myooks'), located on the junction between Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road. The occasion was a grand dinner to celebrate the construction of a giant vat capable of holding 600,000 litres of the popular beer stout porter (now known simply as stout). It was allegedly two storeys high and had a diameter of 20 yards. 200 hundred people dined within it.

Subsequently it was filled to capacity and the full pressure of the porter put upon its 29 iron hoops. Shortly after a workman noticed a small crack in one of the hoops, but seeing as they each weighed more than 200kg, he thought nothing of it. At around 6pm the same day the vat burst, creating an explosion reportedly heard five miles away. The immense pressure from the first vat toppled the second, the weight of which fell through to the floor below. A chain reaction ensued, 1.4 million litres of beer tore through the building's facade.

At that time Tottenham Court Road was the boundary of the St. Giles Rookery, and the building was surrounded by low housing of a poor construction. Several of the buildings could not stand the force of the wall of porter and collapsed. Eight people are recorded to have died, drowning in basements, crushed by debris or subsequent alcohol poisoning.

Rescue efforts were greatly slowed by the drunken masses scooping the beer directly from the cobbles. An apocryphal story has it that as beer-soaked victims were rushed to hospital the smell of beer led patients on other wards to believe beer was being served for all patients except them. Not accepting this apparent injustice they started a riot, which increased the number of wounded.

After an investigation the courts ruled that the event had been an act of God, and that no one was responsible. The beer company continued on that site until the 20's when it was demolished and the Dominion Theatre constructed in its place. I would frankly quite like to see a tsunami of beer crush the home of the Queen Musical.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

cheer up (and get on with it), it’s archigram!

Peter Cook, taken by Matt Jones (of Berg London) at that recent Westminster Archigram shindig.

While I was drinking downstairs Matt got right at the action (definitely check out what he has to say about the legacy of archigram).

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

sign of the times

Two things are coming back: poster design + 80's graphics. Spread the word.

fistful of links

Beach near Trouville, 1865 by Gustave Courbet (via the humm of mystery)

Let me make this quick: some news.

Following up on the Archigram vibe: Cedric Price's Fun Palace at the CAA; Millennium People did a post on the project some time back, linking it with a Barbican exhibit and a pamphlet on forgotten spaces in the Lea Valley. Also architecture: the new Rennie Mackintosh site; a James Bond villain pool in your house (plus its eco-friendly). Still design, for all of you trapped in Milan + the helpful "so you need a typeface" infographic.

NY is all wringing their hands over a doorman strike? Man, we've got volcanoes in Europe, grow some. More evidence of weird stuff going on across the pond: teabaggers get preferential treatment from the police. In case you don't know who these nutjobs are, have a look here, here and here. For those of you a bit out of the loop, you might want to have a look at the other meaning of teabagging (urban dictionary, NSFW). Yep, its an unfortunate name for a political movement.

Still America, "boy stabs mom to stop her drink-driving"; the history of concealed weapons laws (over at Sociological Images). But seriously, The States are not that bad, viz: LA and NY at night; the destruction of Texas Stadium (must see); Lebbeus on the London 8... (related: an archigram-like pavilion for the park). We only needed a re-think of the American Dream.

Enough of them wide open lands. Closer to home, the girl shot in the chicken shop on the corner of Falkirk and Hoxton street has now died. What a pointless crime.

Apes found to suffer self-doubt; also animal, the Scottish Highland Tiger; a city of animals: the Illustrated London News goes digital; related, "Embrace the Endless City" (Owen Hatherley); not related, twin lens pencil sharpener; Venn diagrams about Venn diagrams; amazing images of icebergs. Some blogs out there: Landscape Suicide; circumnavigating a game world in 8 hours; Spillway on a low tunnel entry that catches at least one truck a week; the Shanghai Expo (Heatherwick's is dope); XYM, a temporary archive of artistic work and writing.

Finally (I had wanted to make this a short one), how to translate Cockney (requires knowledge of Jamaican patois):

archigram archives

If you want to talk about being on the pulse, then this has to take the cake: within three hours of the site-launch, Max Rosin-Melser (MP Australia) sent me an e-mail asking if I had seen Westminster's Archigram Archive project. Perhaps being in completely the wrong time zone put him ahead of the wave, but he even beat BLDG BLOG (who detail the contents and importance of the Archive more thoroughly than I intend to).

He also beat the official launch party, which I went to last night (lots of sweet prosecco = headache). All the team were there, with a hook-up to Web and Crompton in NY (something about volcanoes) + London's archi cool dudes. And to my great surprise I also saw an old lecturer of mine, the architectural theorist and historian Charles Rice (of UTS renown, although I know him from the end of his UNSW stint). Small world.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

prometheus unbound

Ragnar Th. Sigurdsson in Iceland (via) - compare with my own shot (from last December)

Above me the full glory of the Northern Lights was spread across the night sky, a magnificent slow-moving dance of green haze. “I think this is a life-changing phenomenon,” I said. “It’s the tipping point in my understanding. When I moved from Australia to Europe I had to accustom myself to a completely unfamiliar sky, strange new patterns of celestial and solar arrangements, but it is only now, now! Here! That I really comprehend the full significance of what it means to stand on the surface of a spherical body moving through space!” There was an uncomfortable pause, then Borja looked up from adjusting his tripod “Man, it just looks like a slow Mac screensaver.”

the sun

No fistful of links this week (not for lack of links, but lack of man-hours).

Please accept, as MP's apology, this video of the sun (original link here). It comes from part of a series of three by Nasa's First Light project, showing some pretty awesome solar activity.

Friday, 16 April 2010


Via information is beautiful.

In case you missed Millennium People's trip to Iceland last December and you want the inside story on the nation:

Thursday, 15 April 2010

master of all i survey

Shanghai, by Harry Kaufman

After the jump is a response to Mark Cousins' recent lecture series entitled 'the neighbour'...

fistful of links

Lake Reflection by C.D. Sessums

Millennium People, I'm talking to you. This is how we make it happen: some news.

Several months ago I wrote about Iceland (saga style) after a trip there. At the national soil institute I remember staring at a massive volcano on the horizon and asking if it was dormant. "Far from it" the friendly scientist had replied "its long overdue for a really impressive explosion!"

That has happened.

Signs of the times: You can now direct an ad campaign from your desktop with Google TV ads – makes sense really. TV killed the radio, and now TV itself is being killed by the Internet. But does Google have too many moving parts? Cuba starts down the slippery slope to capitalism... Pulitzer won by online journalism - final proof (no pun) that print is no longer relevant in a digital world. Quite sad really. Yes indeed, the future is coming at us thick and fast (that's what she said); related, something that's done the rounds several times, from waaay back in 1995, we discover why the Internet will fail.

"Polar Night", by Gronsky.

Signs you're behind the times: 3 years ago some friends in Sydney asked me if I wanted to come to Earth Hour. I said no, it would never take off.The Vatican tries to justify linking paedophilia with homosexuality. Idiots. That's like saying a beard is the same thing as a scarf. Beard scarf. Catholic related, three-person IVF: its like there's a party in my egg and everyone's invited. Parent related, sob story / what constitutes a mother?

source unknown

Lightning makes mushrooms grow, apparently. Also the case in East London. Unrelated, what's going on inside your body? Eventual Ghost tells rock stars to pull their goddamn heads in. Related, inside the biggest fact-checking conference in the world; (Where else but Germany?); Its lonely in the modern world: Unhappy Hipsters. Very similar, but serious: ArchNow (a new one of those daily architecture sites); Street View time-lapse: an inevitable project; Project Daedalus (sci-fi art, kind of); Kodak Moments: image library of the last several decades (in colour). Related, Nevada Test Site Oral History; Early digital art; cheating is hurting China's reputation; Amazing images of old New York; also NY: Easter shootings in Times Square.

Finally, in the words of a great man: "let's add a layer of awesomeness!"

Uploaded by onemoreprod. - Watch original web videos.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

fistful of links

Image by Andrew Moore, via the Cosmo-Inspiro Cloud.

Shuffle over and let me drive for a moment: some news.

The internet is a crazy place: a site called "God hates fags" offers the following wisdom: "There are multiple levels of Gay Music. Some bands are what we like to call Gateway Bands. They lure children in with Pop Grooves and Salacious Melodies leaving them wanting more. They’ll move on to more dangerous bands and the next thing you know you’ve got a homosexual for a child." Totally makes sense. Gateway Singer Ricky Martin comes out. Not gay: science; Cern finally gets their shit on; the opposite of gay: the giant sperm race.

Golden Gate, via BLDGBLOG.

Moving on: Liam Young, (Tomorrow's Thoughts Today) just got back from the future (aka South by Southwest). Turns out they treat bloggers a bit differently over there (like, check that shit!); Also tech: a rare article in praise of the iPad; how to recycle a jumbo-jet; mood-pencils; town battered by raining fish; Isn't it wonderful to think that at some point in time this actually happened? Yeah. I guess. Honda concept; use spades, not ships; the banksy/robbo war continues... Leo DiCaprio (he'll always be Jack to me) does the VO on Imax's new 3D Hubble film. How to name your futuristic theory...

In architecture, SANAA has won the Pritzker... (notwithstanding mediocre projects like the Serpentine or New Museum); Sell outs, if you ask me, I can't tell the difference between Art & Art Snacks. Related: "NY, just as I pixeled it". Also, 26 Gigapixel Paris. Lego House; Solar Furnace.

Finally, several awesome films:

1.Flying pants, via WTF Japan, Seriously:

2.The best ending to Judge Judy ever (via csessums)...

3.And last, but not least: an Academy Award-winning trailer [catchphrase!]:

Peace and Love Millennium Peeps.

Monday, 29 March 2010

the origins of my short attention span

I got my tea from the bar and shuffled over to the sofa near the window "Oh yeah, I remember Messenger" Bella said, in answer to my question "the thing I really hated about it was how everyone tried to talk to you at once. I could only have one conversation at a time, so I would block all the other contacts I wasn't talking to."

That's funny, I thought. Isn't multiple and simultaneous conversation the whole purpose of using a chat program? It started a train of thought that lead me to one conclusion: the origins of my digital multitasking was Messenger. In the days when my net connection was still only 2kb/s the idea of browsing was an impossibility. In any case, I'm not sure there was anything much to browse. The net was for e-mail and chatrooms... you remember, like, before the peodos got there?

Not only can we no longer concentrate on one thing for any appreciable period of time, but we can neither concentrate on one person – by spreading our attention across multiple discussions we fail to achieve any depth of communication with any of them.

Millennium People out.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

informal hiatus

One of Armstrong + Millers' RAF pilot sketches. See also for real, yo.

Yeah, I took a three-week hiatus and I didn’t tell you. What are you, like, my mum or something? I don’t owe you anything. Now, back to the high-quality free content you’ve come to respect & expect:

The next three weeks are going to be mostly London oriented, with a few techie/future pieces thrown into the mix – I’m going to be talking to an architect and her partner about building communities on the Thames; telling you what’s on and what's what in town; describing what its like to walk the buried river Fleet; exploring some of the City’s hidden gems and forgotten spaces… I’ll be speculating about some emerging trends in the online world and I’m also expecting a state of the nation address from Eleanor Dodman – Millennium People’s new political editor. Yeah, look at us, a political editor, like we’re the fucking BBC or some shit.

As though this isn’t enough, I’ll be cramming in several juicy fistfuls, starting next Tuesday. Word on the street is that a brand new Millennium People is in beta (MP2.0) – should be fully up and running by summer. Part of that is recruiting regular contributors, if you'd like to tell us what you’re up to, or submit a guest post then drop a line to we’d love to hear from you.


Friday, 5 March 2010

baby with the bathwater

Left vs. Right, via Information is Beautiful.

"I pity you politicians" a noted novelist remarked last night, turning to Boris Johnson – mayor of London. The response from the Question Time studio was an odd, humourless laughter. This audience, chosen as an indicative cross-section of the nation, were divided on many a subject, but on one thing they all agreed: the state of British politics is unsustainable. Like Psalms, politicians move from strength to strength – finding ever more ingenious ways to mud-sling and expose and scandalise. The QT yardstick of Britain (aka the Vox Populaire) seems to be growing tired of the complete lack of policy presented by anyone.

What Britain needs is an Obama (albeit perhaps one with a sharper tongue). Watch this space for more news on this apparent apogee of political discontent.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

fistful of links

Alone, by Mark Weaver.

How Millennial are you? Unsettlingly, Millennium People is only 89% New Millennium. We say 11% of the test is out of date. Still Millennium: The Long Now, Rosetta Disk and LongPlayer (the 1000 year long song). Not Millennium, 25 nostalgic images. Different Millennium, a line of burning torches lighting all of Hadrian's wall; a futuristic short film doing the rounds (weak plot, strong images).

Signs of the times: Information is a verb (photography and that); a timeline movie of the contruction of the International Space Station (ISS); when will Facebook get its Mario? Also, how much data Americans consume in a day; Twitter on your car radio (en francais); does web 3.0 exist yet? MP says no. The Memory Marathon.

Battle Popes, 2007 by Jamie Adams.

Class statement: how the web is creating a new wave of consumers. Related, the working class of the knowledge economy. Microsoft sucks. Look at who use it. The submerged ice lake forests of Russia, also water, the bike that filters your drinking water as you ride. Images of London in the 1960's - Images of London today (I really like this photostream) - what I'm really getting at is London, now and then; things got weird. Art: Ali Bosworth. The new US embassy is causing a stink; moving a whole town in Sweden; a post-secret variant + angry science letters from 3rd graders. Light photography using fireworks; an amazing Russian singer (via an old friend of MP).

Finally, the world's most generic news report: