Archive for the 'London' Category

Red Serpentine Gallery


The new red outside gallery at the Serpentine.

Posted via email from palaceofvision’s posterous


Archive for the 'London' Category

Some Nice Graff To Make Up For World Cup Disappointment


Some good graff I saw while on my way to a meeting.


Archive for the 'London' Category

Dieter Rams Designs


Just spent some time at the Dieter Rams exhibition at the Design Museum and I can now see not only why there were so many ‘Apple is the new Braun’ articles around the time they decided to get all perforated aluminium with their machines, but where the thinking behind the design comes from.

Rams led the Braun design team for 40 years and developed a powerful philosophical approach to design which is summed up in his ten principles of design.

Early portable tape machine (requires several strong people to carry)

  • Good design is innovative.
  • Good design makes a product useful.
  • Good design is aesthetic.
  • Good design makes a product understandable.
  • Good design is unobtrusive.
  • Good design is honest.
  • Good design is long-lasting.
  • Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
  • Good design is environmentally friendly.
  • Good design is as little design as possible.

The range of items the Braun team applied these principles to was enormous, from toasters and cigarette lighters to tape machines, home film cameras, music systems and shavers. And the exhibition shows off many of them and you can see the realisation of the principles in the spartan design as well as the design vocabulary of the buttons and shapes that have become utterly iconic. It’s impressive how few of today’s products even begin to meet Rams’ principles.

And you can also see the effect Rams’ principles have had on modern industrial designers, not least Apple’s Johnathan Ive, whose commentaries on his designs echo Rams’ early experiences as a carpenter and artisan. In particular, how the design for the iPod epitomises much of what Rams was doing and thinking, much more so than the perforated aluminium Mac towers. It’s just a shame that, while they’ve got a new MacBook and iPod, they haven’t actually got any kind of quote from Ive himself.

Once we all dreamt of having hi-fi systems like this (with a record player and tape machine)

Overall, it’s a nice exhibition and the exposure to Rams’ principles is inspiring, but I would have liked to have more commentary on the development of the principles and when and how Rams came up with them. I’d also like to have had more of a direct link to current products that echo these principles, the one case of stuff they have is hardly enough to suggest a long-term legacy. Otherwise you’re left with a bit of a feeling that this is an exhibition about the past (and the past of Braun in particular), rather than one about a powerful design philosophy that is as relevant today as it ever was.


Archive for the 'London' Category

View from the canal


Another photo done in ‘lil people’ mode.


Archive for the 'London' Category

Long Time Coming


So yeah, I had the birthday, which was very enjoyable thanks for asking.

The Roundhouse playing piana

The Roundhouse playing piana

We went off to see the David Byrne ‘Playing The Building’ installation at the Roundhouse during one of its ‘bring your own tambourine’ evenings, which had the potential for both awesome spectacle and truly painful knitted raffia music. The reality was a bit half and half. I felt a little let down by the installation. While it’s a great idea – a kind of artistic Einsteurzende Neubauten (go google them) without the full on destruction – I thought it veered too far in the direction of installation rather than an actual functional experience. You can see that the single piano-cadavered instrument sitting in the middle of the Roundhouse makes a fantastic image, stark, empty and a fusion of ancient and modern, but it would have been far more interesting to have more instruments controlling the sounds made by the building. Certainly more people would have been able to interact with it than were allowed for by the single piano and you’d have had a much more exciting, cacophonic experience.

It was, however, a genius idea to allow people to come in on certain evenings with their own instruments. Again, this could have been a recipe for disaster. Instead it was somehow incredibly touching and polite as bunches of people with guitars, tubas, those mouthy blow organ things that the guy in Gang of Four had, toy instruments and a variety of other wind and percussive things strolled around the space playing their own things, while trying not to overwhelm anyone else. And while it could have gone all Glastonbury porridge field, it somehow didn’t. Not my usual thing, but really good.

View from Arundel Castle

View from Arundel Castle

Meanwhile in my search for the perfect iPhone app, I’ve discovered two really sweet ones. The first is the carefully hidden tilt-shift filter in Photo FX (find it in Lens fx /depth of field). Tilt-shift being the effect that makes everything look like it’s a teeny weeny little model as exemplified by my favourite Monster Truck videos (see this post). While hardly perfect, it’s pretty good as you can see from these images. I would like to be able to alter the blur areas but that’s just being picky.

The other great app is iDrum Underworld. A bunch of Underworld tunes, including Cowgirl, Born Slippy and King of Snake, which you can mix up and use to create your own stuff. Really compelling and pretty addictive. As one review said, ‘This steals your life’.

I’ve also started to get back into running using my favourite social media site (or at least the one I’ve been most active on), Nike+. I’m using their now-working-pretty-well Coach facility, which has me doing very simple daily runs, although that will ramp up as the weeks progress. You can follow my attempts to get one leg in front of the other on Twitter.


Archive for the 'London' Category

Digging the Ninja


Daedelus and his magic box thing

Daedelus and his magic box thing

Off to the ICA in Pall Mall to enjoy a night of Ninja Kicking madness with VanCam and Marie. When I bought the tickets for Marie’s birthday, I really didn’t know what it was going to be like other than it was a Ninja Tune evening and it was at the ICA. The latter is obviously a big plus point as it was here that I saw Einsteurzende Neubauten doing their now-infamous concert for machinery way, way, way back in the old days (like 1984 or something). They filled the stage with lots of plant machinery (cement mixers and the like) and proceeded to throw milk bottles into the concrete and tried to drill through the ICA floor with a pneumatic drill. When they finished after about 20 minutes, the audience were so excited they attacked the stage, destroying half of it and then escaped and went mad running up and down The Mall for the rest of the evening. It was brilliant and the nearest thing to a beautiful riot you’ll ever see.

So, nothing for the Ninja Tune team to live up to then. And plenty for it to live down because it could have been another two turntables and a cello catastravaganza like the last time.

First up, DJ Food. Pretty fucking awesome. That great mix of really kick ass beats and killer sounds, like the best bits of Pulp Fiction. A melange (and I don’t use the word lightly) of great sounds and rhythms. Sounds to cut shapes to. I was on the floor dancing for the whole hour.

Where to start with Daedelus? Well first off he’s got this box that is reminiscent of my favourite maschine (see past grazillion posts on the desireability of said Maschine), only his looks as though it’s a 16 x16 box, which is kind of like Maschine squared. Fuck knows how it works, but I’m guessing that it’s the same kind of sampler trigger/display thing. Anyway, this is what he plays. And it’s killer. Remember when Chemical Brothers just started and block rocking beats were new and exciting. That’s like child’s play compared to this. This is like bullish, ferocious, beat love. It’s half DJ, half performance, only there are no turntables, no records, only samples and this one guy. He’s like the Johnny Depp of music, half caricature, half genius and completely unlike anything else. I mean remember all those great sampler/synth bands and then remember how rubbish they were live, plinky plonking themselves through their tracks trying to be live bands (Depressed Toad) or DJs (Orbital). This guy is like a maestro in comparison. It’s samples, and beats and live and it fucking rocks.

Bus stop for Ninjas

Bus stop for Ninjas

So, phew. Ninja Tune pull it out of the bag and totally make up for poncing bloody cello woman and her rubbish DJ friend. There was a load of weird synchronicity going round too, something to do with the Plinth in Trafalgar Square or the like. London had gone into one of its collective periods of municipal madness. It reminded me of late nights after gigs when all the real people had gone home and the streets belonged to strange people (and that’s strange in every sense of the word). That kind of magic, this isn’t really a normal city feeling you only get on really special occasions. I got off the bus on the way home and saw this. I stood in the middle of the road taking pictures as the night busses tried to kill me. Never seen it before in my life. Next morning it was gone. I shit you not.

For one night there we were all Ninjas.