Apr 29 2012: Eighteen Plates from The Art of Macrame: Modern Design in Knotting by Joan Fisher (Hamlyn, 1972)

Despite both pre-dating and surviving the 1970s, the art of macrame is nevertheless almost entirely identified with the post-hippie decade in which handicrafts, self-sufficiency, nascent feminist politics and early ecological consciousness converged around the visual symbolism of the knotted string and woollen construction: whether a poncho, a chess set, a headband or – in one … Continue reading

Apr 28 2012: Monochrome Photograph of an Unidentified Yugoslav Sculptor with Bust of Tito and Child (c.1970s)

As a kind of brief aside to yesterday’s catalogue of monuments and sculptures from the former Yugoslavia, this small monochrome photograph offers a portrait of a sculptor from the same era and country, as found in the pages of the Treasures of Yugoslavia volume itself. Presumably dating from the same era, to judge by the … Continue reading

Apr 27 2012: Twenty-One Modernist Monuments, Buildings and Memorials from a Guide to the former Yugoslavia (Yugoslaviapublic Beograd, 1980)

The volume that these photographs of futuristic monuments, public sculptures and buildings were selected from is a mammoth guide to the whole territory of the former Yugoslavia (now the separate states of Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro) packed with historic landscapes, landmarks and artefacts. Published in English around 1980, it’s presumably intended as a … Continue reading

Apr 25 2012: The Modernist Christ (Geraint Evans Sings in Llandaff Cathedral, Delyse Records, 1962)

I suppose this record sleeve, containing a 1962 recording of Welsh opera singer Geraint Evans performing in the imposing setting  of Llandaff Cathedral, might be seen to connect to yesterday’s post, in which the graphics of generic Soviet LP covers of a similar era were featured. While specifically designed for this one particular release, the … Continue reading

Apr 18 2012: The “Mr Universe” Magazine Giant Body Beautiful Issue Featuring Clarence Ross (1950s)

American masculinity has always been a curious creature, with its more regressive manifestations generally among the nation’s most blatantly homoerotic cultural forms: perhaps it’s a submerged consciousness of this blurring between extreme machismo and ‘lavender leanings’ that underlies much of the anti-gay discourse that surrounds images like the one above, a 1950s portrait of bodybuilder … Continue reading

Apr 17 2012: Two Illustrations Showing the Atom and its Nucleus from The Boys’ Book of Radio, Television and Radar (Burke, 1957)

Following yesterday’s sequence of advertising pages from Atomics Magazine (1956) these two images cut to the heart of what all that hardware was in pursuit of: the latent power of the atom itself and its nucleus, as expressed through Einstein’s E equals MC squared equation (surely one of very few equations to be known outside … Continue reading

Apr 2 2012: Seventeen Varieties Of Tents Named After British Birds (from Bukta Campedia Catalogue, 1960)

A 1960 edition of the Bukta Campedia – a sort of general catalogue of camping equipment – manages a certain poetry in its adoption of the common names of British birds for its various models of tent, here presented in a hand drawn format, their variations on the temporary architectural theme united by being coloured … Continue reading

Mar 6 2012: Six Photographs of Grottoes, Canyons and Other Rock Formations (from Unknown Encyclopedia, 1930s)

The interiors of bodies and geological formations have been fused together in a few of the visual equations of Robert Holcombe before now, and occur again (several times) in a series of poems I’ve been writing under the working title A Cycle of Songs for the Body’s Interior, modelled somewhat obliquely on the rather compelling seasonal songs produced … Continue reading

The Invisible Hand, Pupaphobia and the Puppet State (NVA 11, 2013)

“The puppet is what best represents the position of man in today’s manipulated world. The hand of a puppeteer is always the hand of one who ‘leads’, the hand of the Great Manipulator. The puppet’s immobile expression, its inability to mimic, does not allow it to communicate the subtle oscillations of the soul, but it … Continue reading

Feb 9 2012: A Gallery of Twenty-Two Still Life Photographs from the Radford Reclaim Yard (2010)

After yesterday’s series of buildings, scattered around various bits of Europe I’ve happened to visit over the past five years or so, a more localised gallery of still lives from the Radford Reclaim Yard in Nottingham, taken during the Summer of 2010 or thereabouts. Under the rust and sense of accumulated historical junk is something poignant in objects … Continue reading