asides – mammoth // building nothing out of something

Category Archives: asides

sea ice small multiples

[Small multiples of the extent of North Pole sea ice, 1979-2014; via NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio.]

the five thousand pound life: land

[Hauling earth during the expansion of the Panama Canal; AP Photo] A quick and rather late notice, of particular relevance to readers in NYC: I’ll be on a panel this Friday, September 26, for The Five Thousand Pound Life’s “Land” symposium, which is co-sponsored by the Architectural League of New York and the Cooper Union […]

suburban futures

At Next City, Amanda Kolson Hurley reports on two examples of contemporary suburban growth, Montgomery County in Maryland and the York region of Ontario, and ties those two examples into broader questions regarding the future viability of suburbanism: Dead malls. Zombie subdivisions. Metastasizing sprawl. Not a horror movie, but the suburbs circa 2014, or at […]

landmarks

[Two images from artist Jenny Odell's series Landmarks, which traces "inadvertent monuments" produced by remote infrastructural operations, such as the Athabasca Oil Sands (top) and a network of "unknown detonation sites" (above) at the Nevada Test Site. The images can be seen in larger and much larger versions on Odell's website.]

mesosphere excavations

[Four recent atmospheric paintings of abstracted anthropogenic geomorphologies by Philip Govedare, whose work was recently featured on Butdoesitfloat. In order from top to bottom, the paintings are: "Melt", "Excavation #5", "Mesosphere", and "Excavation #6".]

semipile

[As a Friday return to blogging for mammoth, photographs of Formlessfinder's lovely half-pile under cantilevered canopy at Design Miami, December 2013. You can watch the architects talk about the design and construction of the pile over an exceptionally annoying soundtrack here. More architecture via material deformation, please. The photographs are, in order from top to […]

environments of extraction

I’ll be at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York this Friday evening, speaking on a panel about “Environments of Extraction”: Resource extraction and urbanism have always had an intimate love/hate relationship. In the past fifty years, we have witnessed this relationship yield a series of global infrastructures and cities that are increasingly […]

sediment and wind

[The even grid of the world's largest offshore wind farm, the London Array, surrounded by swirling sediment in the Thames Estuary. Seen at NASA Earth Observatory: To date, the London Array includes 175 wind turbines aligned to the prevailing southwest wind and spread out across 100 square kilometers (40 square miles). Each turbine stands 650 […]

elephant butte reservoir

[Elephant Butte Reservoir, New Mexico's largest reservoir, which supplies water to "about 90,000 acres of farmland and nearly half the population of El Paso"; the GIF above (by mammoth) combines NASA Earth Observatory satellite imagery from 1994 and 2013 to show the depletion caused by repeated droughts since 2000. Now off to start tumblrs of […]

excess seaweed

[Top: Seaweed farming rafts off the coast of the Chinese province of Jiangsu, south of the city of Qingdao, via Bing Maps. Middle: enormous mats of algae floating off the coast of Qingdao, as photographed on June 29th by NASA's Terra satellite. The Los Angeles Times states that this is sixth year that the algae has proliferated […]

unknown fields division: madgascar

[The Betsiboka River's delta, flush with eroded sediments; source: NASA EO.] This summer’s Unknown Fields Division is headed to Madagascar: …Unknown Fields heads to Madagascar to catalogue the push and pull of economy and ecology and to trace the shadows of the world’s desires across the landscapes of this treasured island.  Along our way we seek […]

longshore transport and littoral drift

[Dauphin Island, Alabama, at the south opening of Mobile Bay.] Continuing the theme of Sandy-inspired rumination on the risks and rewards of littoral urbanization, a pair of articles by Justin Gillis and Felicity Barringer at the New York Times utilize the example of Alabama’s Dauphin Island — a hurricane-battered barrier island near the port of […]

ivanpah

[At Wired, a gallery of photographs of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, by Jamey Stillings. At completion, the Ivanpah facility is expected to be the largest operational solar power facility in the world.]

response survey

[A lost cargo container located by the NOAA ship Thomas Jefferson (below, in operation post-Sandy) on the bottom of the New York harbor.] After Sandy, ports along the east coast path of the hurricane were closed, including the Port of Virginia in Hampton Roads and, of course, the Port of New York and New Jersey, in large […]

palletized

[Massive warehouse districts both east and west of I-35 in Laredo, Texas, filled with goods shipped across the Mexican border.] Tom Vanderbilt, with a short history of the pallet, one of those logistical objects whose dimensions and properties format much of the space we live in, from store shelves to exurban warehouse districts: For an […]

“a map for what?”

Shannon Mattern, writing “about material networks that span continents… and the strategies we devise to comprehend their scale and composition”: What is the “aftermath” of the touring, the mapping, the listening and smelling, the playing of games? The promises to “make visible the invisible” and thereby “raise awareness” are far too often regarded as ends […]

petrochemical america

[From the top: diagram by SCAPE of off-shore oil facilities in the Gulf; Richard Misrach's "Roadside Vegetation and Orion Refining Corporation, Good Hope, Louisiana, 1998" ; diagram by SCAPE of the various chemical products manufactured and refined in "Cancer Alley". All from Petrochemical America, and visible at a higher resolution in this gallery at the New […]

brickstarter

Tim Maly interviews Bryan Boyer and Dan Hill about their new project, Brickstarter: Anyone who’s ever tried to get some change to their neighborhood done knows the pain of fighting through a bureaucracy that tends to dampen even the most enthusiastic of spirits. “This activism often occurs on the periphery, in the legal gray areas […]

the new modulated world of invisible fields

[A portion of Nicolas Rapp's map of the internet for Fortune magazine.] Writing for Quaderns, Kazys Varnelis argues for an infrastructural urbanism that not only embraces and seeks to design (or design with) infrastructure, but also imagines new infrastructures “more appropriate to network culture”: But we have not gone far enough yet. The Deleuzian modulations […]

collisions

[Via Pete Brook at Wired, Mary Lydecker's collages splice together scenes from vintage postcards to create images of Pruned-worthy vacation locales (like the infrastructural beach above) and bundles of skyscrapers improbably close to dams, mountains, and rivers, as if the cities they belonged to were crashing suddenly into some unorthodox planner's feverishly strict urban growth […]