Project Apollo Archive 41

The Moon 1968–1972

Project Apollo Archive 41

During all six of NASA’s manned lunar landings, astronauts were armed and trained to use modified Hasselblads. During the Apollo missions, NASA’s astronauts took photos of moon landings, moon walks, the lunar surface, the horizon, and the Earth with these cameras. The results included over 20,000 photographs by 13 astronauts over six lunar landing missions. This huge trove of photographs are cataloged at The Project Apollo Archive. NASA also released a large number of these photos on Flickr back in 2015. The photo above is one of my favorites from this collection.

Though shot originally for scientific purposes, many of the photos have an extraordinary aesthetic value that encompasses an inadvertently artful composition. The fine folks at T. Alder Books have sorted through the nearly 15,000 of these photos and came up with 45 images that consist of “unintended artful compositions” and a “beautiful, deft outtake quality,”. The collection will be released in a book entitled The Moon 1968–1972 that will be released later this month.

At a time when archival images are often hastily assembled into digital galleries that get passed around briefly on social media, it’s especially satisfying to sit with an affordable ($18), carefully edited, designed and printed archive of photographs of historical significance and esthetic value. Texts include excerpts from a speech President John F. Kennedy made about the Apollo program, and from an E.B. White story for The New Yorker recalling the first moon landing.

Kickstarter Store On Amazon

Amazon Screen Shot

Amazon.com in conjunction with their Launchpad program (a program that helps startups launch, market, and distribute products) has built a store that only sells products founded on Kickstarter. Here is what Kickstarter had to say about the initiative:

The Kickstarter community is known for coming together to support big, creative ideas at the earliest stages of development. This collection brings some of the most exciting products inspired by those ideas together in one place — from albums, books, and board games, to wearables, films, robotics kits, and beyond. Within the collection, we’ve surfaced several emerging themes to make it easier to find what will speak to you.

Amazon’s Launchpad also has collections for other crowd funding sources such as CircleUp, Indiegogo, and a collection specifically for products founded by women.

Chance The Rapper

A Collection Of Thousands Of Hip Hop Mixtapes

Chance The Rapper

Jason Scott has uploaded thousands and thousands of hip-hop mixtapes to the Internet Archive (almost 6,000 to date). He says he has access to over 17,000 tapes and somewhere close to that number might end up on the Archive over the next few months. There is obviously a ton of hip-hop culture to dig through here. Jason notes:

There’s a lot coded into the covers of these mixtapes (not to even mention the stuff coded into the lyrics themselves) – there’s stressing of riches, drug use, sexual drive, and oppression. I’m personally fascinated at the amount of reference to codeine and the purple color of “Purple Drank”, which, if you’ve missed that subject matter up to now… good for you.

If you’re new to the world of hip-hop mixtapes (as I am) the links below should get your discovery started

This is a great time to point out that the Internet Archive is an invaluable resource. In these times of link rot and the haphazard closing of essential web services (we miss you Google Reader) the Internet Archive is, well, archiving the web. The Wayback Machine now indexes over 435 billion webpages going back nearly 20 years.

The end goal here, like all the things I do in this realm, is simple: Providing free access to huge amounts of culture, so people can reference, contextualize, enjoy and delight over material in an easy-to-reach, linkable, usable manner. Apparently it’s already taken off, but here you go too.

The Sound And The Fury

The Color, The Sound, And The Fury

The Sound And The FuryImage courtesy of The Folio Society
“The Sound And The Fury” is acknowledged as one of the masterpieces of 20th-century. It is also one of William Faulkner’s most difficult books. It is told from multiple points of view and the narrative jumps across multiple time frames with little indication of doing so. It is confusing enough that, according to the LA Times, Faulkner wanted to color code the book:

But when Faulkner was working on the book in the 1920s — “The Sound and the Fury” was published in 1929 — he imagined a way to make the section clearer to readers. “I wish publishing was advanced enough to use colored ink,” Faulkner wrote to his editor, “as I argued with you and Hal in the Speakeasy that day… I’ll just have to save the idea until publishing grows up,” he added, inadvertently launching a challenge to future publishers.

Today the Folio Society has published the book the way that Faulkner always wanted. Unfortunately, it is only a limited run of 1,480 copies that will cost you $345.00 a pop.

Postcards From Google Earth

Deception Pass

Golden Gate

Brooklyn-based architect and designer Clement Valla is the creator of “Bridges” a screenshot collection made from bridges and roads from Google Earth. The collection concentrates on capturing Google Earth’s alogrithmic mishaps in elevation. The screen caps show surreal landscapes of twisted 3D & 2D aesthetics where stringy bridges slouch across caved in canyons and highway seem to melt with gravity.

The images are screenshots from Google Earth with basic color adjustments and cropping. I am collecting these new typologies as a means of conservation – as Google Earth improves its 3D models, its terrain, and its satellite imagery, these strange, surrealist depictions of our built environment and its relation to the natural landscape will disappear in favor of better illusionistic imagery. However, I think these strange mappings of the 2-dimensional and the 3-dimensional provide us with fabulous forms that are purely the result of algorithmic processes and not of human aesthetic decision making. They are artifacts worth preserving.

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