photos by Seth Casteel
via Cute Overload
image by Daniel Huffman
Imagine that you’re a wayward adventurer, someone like John Wesley Powell in 1869, and you’re traveling down a mysterious and foreboding river. You know what’d be kind of nice? A map.
Even nicer, especially for us city slickers, would be a simplified map showing the whole river system, tributaries, forks, and all. That way, you know exactly which stop to disembark from your trusty raft.
Fortunately for us, Daniel P. Huffman, a cartographer at University of Wisconsin-Madison, has created a series of such maps. Done in the classic style of transit maps, his maps feature Northern California rivers, New England rivers, Columbia River, Colorado River, and even the mighty Mississippi.
“Abilify / Xanax / Ativan”
drawing by Bryan Lewis Saunders
drawing by Bryan Lewis Saunders
Bryan Lewis Saunders, a poet and performance artist, created a series of self-portraits while under the influence of various drugs. The resulting drawings are often impressive and sometimes insightful in how particular drugs can affect one’s mind.
Saunders explains further on his website:
After experiencing drastic changes in my environment, I looked for other experiences that might profoundly affect my perception of the self. So I devised another experiment where everyday I took a different drug and drew myself under the influence. Within weeks I became lethargic and suffered mild brain damage. I am still conducting this experiment but over greater lapses of time. I only take drugs that are given to me.
Even more impressive, is that Saunders has been doing a self-portrait of himself every day since March 30th, 1995.
At present I have over 7,900 of them. Like fingerprints, snowflakes and DNA they are all different, no two are the same. For hundreds of years, artists have been putting themselves into representations of the world around them. I am doing the exact opposite. I put the world around me into representations of myself as I find this more true to my Central Nervous System. All Self-Portraits are size 8 1/2″ x 11″ and in hardbound books.
While Brandon and I were hiking one day he asked me, “Whatever happened with that documentary you were going to make with the veterans and the loonies?”
And I told him how everything had happened so fast with the tragedies and how I thought the people would be really interesting to document, but in fact they were all on drugs, suffering in solitude, some too obese to physically leave their apartment, and for many it was all they could do to get out of their recliners 3 times a day. And I told him how when I first moved in, a paraplegic in a wheelchair showed me an encyclopedia of pills and said he could find at least one of every kind of pill in that book in the building and that book was huge!
When Brandon and I got to NY, I unknowingly became very dehydrated and started hallucinating and had a psychotic break and ditched him at a monastery because I thought he was trying to poison me. I took the greyhound straight back to Tennessee where I had an epiphany. I thought not only am I going to draw myself everyday, I’m going to do a different drug everyday, after all there was one of everything in the building…
And that was when I officially started the project.
The entire interview is a pretty fascinating read and an interesting look into the mind of great artist.
via The Daily Dish
photo by Ian Lambot
Before being dismantled in 1993, Kowloon Walled City was believed to contain the highest population density of humans anywhere on the planet. At only 6.5 acres (~0.01 square miles) in size, over 33,000 residents were thought to live within its walls. For comparison, San Francisco’s Moscone Center West, where Apple famously holds its WWDC keynotes every year, is only ~4.5 acres in size.
Kowloon Walled City had a complicated history. It was initially founded as a Chinese military fort during the mid 1600’s. The fort itself was located on Hong Kong Island and was ceded to the British in 1898. After World War II, squatters begin to occupy the fort and build new settlements. After failing to prevent further habitation and construction, both British and Chinese officials turned a blind eye to its existence. Eventually, sanitary conditions and subpar standards of living forced the British and Chinese governments to evict its residents and begin demolishing the city in 1993. Today, Kowloon Walled City Park occupies the original site of the city.
For an idea of how dense the population of Kowloon Walled City was and how it compares to other cities in the world, Wikipedia has lists featuring the highest population densities in the United States and highest population densities in the world.
Gutenberg, New Jersey is the densest United States town, with 56,000 people per square mile. Marine Division in Mumbai, India is currently the densest human inhabitance on earth, with ~300,000 people per square mile. Kowloon Walled City had a population density of 3.3 million people per square mile! Insane!
The images of the Walled City and its seemingly random and haphazard construction remind me of the haunting photos of Battleship Island, which we’ve previously written about.
via Arch Daily
If geeks and gadgets are something that excite you, then you should come out to gdgt live in San Francisco at the SFDC Galleria on Friday, November 12th. gdgt will be bringing along 49 consumer electronics and tech companies and you’ll be able to see and play with some of their latest gear.
If you’re not familiar with gdgt’s live events, here’s video from gdgt live in Seattle earlier this summer.
Further details and RSVP are on Facebook. The event is free, all-ages, and open to the public and all guests will have a chance to win some cool gear. Everything goes down starting at 7pm!
Blue Bottle? Ritual Roasters? Four Barrel? Sightglass? Just the mere mention of these names can cause hearts to flutter, blood to boil, and even a case of the shakes (all of which can probably be attributed to a severe case of caffeine addiction).
As for me, I prefer the Blue Bottle, even though Leonard Hollis (“the oldest and most crotchety living San Franciscan”) claims it “costs more than the goddamn crack!”
via 7×7 Magazine
Earlier this year, we posted some great footage from a streetcar traveling down Market Street in San Francisco before the 1906 earthquake.
via Spots Unknown
photo by Michael Gakuran
Battleship Island is an English translation of the Japanese nickname for Hashima Island, Gunkanjima (gunkan meaning battleship, jima being the rendaku form of shima, meaning island). The island’s nickname came from its apparent resemblance to the Japanese battleship Tosa due to its high seawalls. It also is known as the Ghost Island.
Originally constructed for the purpose of mining coal, it was last inhabited in 1974. Since then, the island has been a favorite destination for urban explorers due to its difficulty of access, abandoned buildings and ruins, and the illegality of landing on the island.
Lured by the appeal of exploring a forbidden and abandoned city, Michael Gakuran risked his camera gear, arrest, and even his life to secretly visit Hashima Island. His amazing story starts off like a good spy novel:
It seemed like an impossible feat, and certainly not one I could undertake by myself. Even if I could get to the island, navigating it safely and in a timely manner would be tremendously difficult. It was my good fortune then, to meet Ikumi. Concept Designer by day; Urban Explorer by night.
It was that such meeting that led to me sitting in a dimly-lit car at 4.30am off the coast of Nagasaki. Munching on some adzuki bread in the passenger seat, I carefully eyed the figures of the local fisherman outside as they lit up their cigarettes.
photo by Michael Gakuran
His photographs from Battleship Island conjure up haunting scenes that are reminiscent of the abandoned cities and towns from the Chernobyl disaster.
photo by Michael Gakuran
Since being abandoned nearly 26 years ago, trespassing on the island had been prohibited. Fortunately, if you’re interested in checking out Battleship Island, you’re now in luck! In 2009, limited access to the island was permitted for sightseeing groups wishing to explore parts of the ruins in a safe manner.
photos by Dave Schumaker
The High Line is a novel park that opened in Manhattan’s West Side last summer. What makes the High line so interesting? It was built on an elevated railway that originally opened in 1934 and was in use until 1980.
After sitting in disrepair for almost 20 years and eventually slated for removal, local residents banded together in 1999 and proposed that the elevated railway be turned into a park. Construction began in 2006 and the first section of the park opened in June of 2009. It’s a brilliant example of reclaiming unused urban property and turning it into something that benefits a community.
When the High Line is completed in 2011, it will span nearly 1.5 miles in length and feature many plants native to the New York City region. This design video shows what the park will look like when fully complete.
Interestingly enough, the High Line has inspired further consideration for reclaiming urban landscapes across the country.
In San Francisco, an architecture group has proposed that the soon-to-be-replaced eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge be converted into a mixed use development.