Category Archives: words

Short Story Vending

Image Credit: Olivier Alexandre/Short Edition via NYTimes

In an era of byte-sized information rapidly and widely dispersed at the touch of a screen comes a vending machine for short stories. French publisher Short Edition offers The Short Story Dispenser, a kiosk that spits out stories on paper that resembles a store receipt. There is no cost for this literary service, all you do is choose the length of time you’d like to spend reading. Stories are sourced from an online collection hosted by Short Edition, which holds competitions to amass the content for their catalog. Libraries and schools are some obvious locations where these dispensers have been seen popping up in the United States, but the potential is there for them to be any place where one finds themselves waiting and might otherwise reach for their smartphone.

Source: NYTimes

“The Great American Word Mapper”

Image Source: Visual News

Image Source: Visual News

Visual News reports about “the Great American Word Mapper,” a device that allows you to input a word and the output will inform you of its popularity based on location. The data driving the site was compiled in 2014 from billions of Twitter posts and the top 100,000 words used in those tweets generate the maps. It reminds us that vocabulary, regardless of the prevalence of social media today, remains tied to geography.

Source: Visual News


Architecture_media_politics_society is a peer reviewed academic journal focusing on “architecture in the mediated environment of contemporary culture.” Subscribe for free on their website to receive monthly editions. The full back catalog of issues, dealing primarily with politics and contemporary architecture, is available online.  Check out “The Mythopoetics of the Kunsthalle” for more information on buildings like the one pictured here, the Kunsthaus in Graz, nicknamed “The Friendly Alien.”


The Human Face of Big Data

In the fall of 2012, the Human Face of Big Data project published an eponymous large-format book that examines the role of data in and its impact on the contemporary and future world. This crowd-sourced effort draws from over 10,000 contributors who have worked together to develop a critical discussion of “humanity’s new ability to collect, analyze, triangulate and visualize vast amounts of data in real time.” The Human Face of Big Data blog continues this discussion, providing information about the changing nature of our relationship with data and the innovative methods developed and employed in order to harness and even arrest its potential.

Image source: The Human Face of Big Data

Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop


On view through January 27, 2013, The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Faking It exhibit explores the practice of manipulating photography before the digital age. The exhibit, along with it’s companion publication Faking It: A Visual History of 150 Years of Image Manipulation Before Photoshop, develops an historical context for photo manipulation and catalogs the various techniques employed to alter image content. Dating as far back as the 1840s, photo manipulation enjoys a rich history and, while its mark is most often noted in artistic or journalistic photography, not even the analog photo was impervious to pranksterism.

Image source: Brain Pickings

Postspatial Awareness


Journalist Simon Garfield explores “why modern maps put everyone at the centre of the world” in the October 12, 2012 BBC article of the same name. In an age when navigation has become dominated by GPS technology, Garfield asks how the elimination of paper maps will effect not only the way we travel, but also the way we understand our relationship to the world around us. He further explores these issues in his book On the Map, examining historic and contemporary maps of various typologies to respond to these questions and postulate where this might lead us. For more, check out Garfield’s Website.

Image source: Londonist


The Avenue: The Big Infrastructure Question Posed by Sandy


From The Telegraph: The Plaza along Water Street in lower Manhattan is flooded after Superstorm Sandy hit New York CityPicture, EPA/JUSTIN LANE

Last week, mercurial super storm Sandy clashed with the eastern seaboard, challenging the sophisticated transportation networks that mediate its densely populated urban centers. In the aftermath of the storm, The New Republic’s The Avenue blog looks forward, examining the implications of Sandy for future development and maintenance and fortification of existing infrastructure.

The Avenue blog focuses on issues confronted by America’s cities, examining the challenges that arise as the metropolis is forced to negotiate changes in population, commerce, climate and infrastructure.

Image source: The Telegraph

Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies


Published this fall by Metropolis Books, Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies: Lafayette Park Detroit is “an unusual and humorous account of life in a modernist masterpiece.” The book coalesces essays, interviews, documentary photographs and reproductions of archival materials pushing against the hagiographical trend in architectural literature to examine how residents have lived in and interacted with this environment. In addition, the book reveals a contemporary Detroit that is vibrant and engaged.

Image source: Metropolis Books


Rust Belt Focus Series: Cleveland Chic

Randall Tiedman Genius Loci

“The Rust Belt landscape shoves you,” claims the authors of Rust Belt Chic, a blog that examines life and culture in the shrinking city of Cleveland, Ohio. This dynamic tone epitomizes the character of materials presented on this sometimes-daily blog where painting, poetry, photography, architecture, landscape and public art combine to redefine the ruins of industrialization recognizing an inherent vitality in the process of decline and renewal.

Image Source: Rust Belt Chic

Social Networks and Archival Context Project


Daniel Pitti, the associate director of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, is working to expand the parameters of research by developing an online interface that permits scholars and laymen to search a number of archive and digital repositories from one platform. The Social Networks and Archival Context Project, or SNAC, will “help researchers find additional materials relevant to a subject, such as the papers of people who were important,” and includes a radial graph feature that allows the user to explore an historical figure’s social and cultural milieu. Currently available for use, the prototype already accesses resources for over 128,000 discrete individuals.

Image Source: USC Libraries

Copyright in 3D


With the  re-release of James Cameron’s movie Titanic in 3D, new issues of copyright protection and intellectual property laws have been ignited by Cameron’s use of Pablo Picasso’s famous painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Though this painting originally was used in the 1997 release of the film, the Picasso family and estate argued that the painting is now a different work of art with the 3D animations. The actual canvas resides at the Museum of Modern Art, but the Picasso estate holds the copyright of the painting, stemming from intellectual property laws that allow the family of the artist to retain copyright to images up to 70 years after the artist’s death. This law, as well as the mistaken copyrights of several other artists, also caused numerous paintings to be removed from the ever-growing Google Art Project due to copyright infringement. The Artists Rights Society and the Visual Arts and Galleries Association both are working in tandem to ensure that all rights are being protected within these various burgeoning digital projects.

Image Source: Art Tech Law