Networks of New York: Field Guide to Internet Infrastructure

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[ By WebUrbanist in Travel & Urban Exploration. ]

network guide

We tend to think of the internet as something akin to aether, present all around us in the void – or perhaps something traveling down a series of tubes – the reality is much more complex, rich and intriguing.

networks of new york

In an upcoming book titled Networks of New York: An Internet Infrastructure Field Guide, Ingrid Burrington presents an urban variation on a naturalist’s handbook, giving you the tools to tour the real-life objects that are often obscured or simply hidden in plain sight all around cities.

network internet infrastructure handbook

From the author, “New York’s network infrastructure is a lot like the city itself: messy, sprawling, and at times near-incomprehensible. However, the city’s tendency toward flux is a strange blessing for the infrastructure sightseer: markings and remnants of the network are almost everywhere, once you know how to look for them.”

network field guide notes

The story starts with manhole covers and progresses through street markings, which follow a federal color-coding standard: “Orange refers to the broad catch-all of ‘Communications, alarm, signal lines, cables and conduit.’ This means that orange lines can be internet cables, television cables, telephone lines, or other kinds of conduits.”

network deciphering symbols systems

“The markings are sometimes really sloppy, and often in fragments. Sometimes you’ll see several different labels in the same place. A lot of these cables are bundled up together running through ducts under the city.” Suddenly all of the strange acronyms are comprehensible, including but not limited to: CATV, NXTG, T, ECS, RCN, MCI, L3, XO and FO.

field guide example

The book also branches out to cover different kinds of antennas security cameras we are so used to seeing but many of which we do not understand the purpose of at a glance, from subway wifi devices and distributed antenna systems to CrimeEye, MTA and NYPD surveillance camers.

field guide examples

Finally, the authors builds up to the biggest elements of the built environment: architectural structures housing various large-scale elements of internet infrastructure along the city. Some of these are well-known, but the book brings to light a series of buildings less frequently visited, and provides tips on how to identify others.

field guide illustrations

Recognizing “these buildings when looking on the street is not always easy, but one telltale sign is to look for signs of ventilation and cooling systems. Alternatively, look for windows, or more accurately, the absence of them. (Note: on much larger buildings, in particular skyscrapers, vents also could just be a sign of a mechanical floor, the centralized space dedicated to maintaining utility needs for the entire building).”


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Networks of New York: Field Guide to Internet Infrastructure

Bild

[ By WebUrbanist in Travel & Urban Exploration. ]

network guide

We tend to think of the internet as something akin to aether, present all around us in the void – or perhaps something traveling down a series of tubes – the reality is much more complex, rich and intriguing.

networks of new york

In an upcoming book titled Networks of New York: An Internet Infrastructure Field Guide, Ingrid Burrington presents an urban variation on a naturalist’s handbook, giving you the tools to tour the real-life objects that are often obscured or simply hidden in plain sight all around cities.

network internet infrastructure handbook

From the author, “New York’s network infrastructure is a lot like the city itself: messy, sprawling, and at times near-incomprehensible. However, the city’s tendency toward flux is a strange blessing for the infrastructure sightseer: markings and remnants of the network are almost everywhere, once you know how to look for them.”

network field guide notes

The story starts with manhole covers and progresses through street markings, which follow a federal color-coding standard: “Orange refers to the broad catch-all of ‘Communications, alarm, signal lines, cables and conduit.’ This means that orange lines can be internet cables, television cables, telephone lines, or other kinds of conduits.”

network deciphering symbols systems

“The markings are sometimes really sloppy, and often in fragments. Sometimes you’ll see several different labels in the same place. A lot of these cables are bundled up together running through ducts under the city.” Suddenly all of the strange acronyms are comprehensible, including but not limited to: CATV, NXTG, T, ECS, RCN, MCI, L3, XO and FO.

field guide example

The book also branches out to cover different kinds of antennas security cameras we are so used to seeing but many of which we do not understand the purpose of at a glance, from subway wifi devices and distributed antenna systems to CrimeEye, MTA and NYPD surveillance camers.

field guide examples

Finally, the authors builds up to the biggest elements of the built environment: architectural structures housing various large-scale elements of internet infrastructure along the city. Some of these are well-known, but the book brings to light a series of buildings less frequently visited, and provides tips on how to identify others.

field guide illustrations

Recognizing “these buildings when looking on the street is not always easy, but one telltale sign is to look for signs of ventilation and cooling systems. Alternatively, look for windows, or more accurately, the absence of them. (Note: on much larger buildings, in particular skyscrapers, vents also could just be a sign of a mechanical floor, the centralized space dedicated to maintaining utility needs for the entire building).”


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Last Stop: Photo Book Documents 150 Vanishing US Rest Stops

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[ By WebUrbanist in Culture & History & Travel. ]

rest stop photo montage

For the last five years, this photographer has been traveling around the United States and capturing an eclectic but dying breed of roadside architecture: the American rest stop.

rest stop brick wood

rest stop simple a frame

the last stop big bend

rest stop waggon cannon

Ryann Ford of Austin, Texas, who has taken 150 pictures of  these to date, notes that this architectural typology has been associated with ” rest, relief, hospitality, and nostalgia” for the last half-century. The shots shown here include Big Bend National Park, Texas (FM 170), Walker Lake, Nevada (U.S. 95), Thackerville, Oklahoma (I-35), Clines Corners, New Mexico (U.S. 66/I-40), Monument Valley, Arizona, and more.

the last stop photo book

the last stop picture pages

the last stop cover page

Though The Last Stop has just reached her crowdfunding goal on Kickstarter, there is still time left to support the project in return for this oversized coffee table book which will be filled with 100 pages of images and stories. It represents both an aesthetic treat but also a critical archive of these structures, many of which are being abandoned or destroyed. Polaraids, prints and other prizes are also available.

rest stop map image

rest stop abandoned deserted

rest stop desert roof

rest stop picnic area

“When interstate highways were first built, passing up many small towns, rest stops were a way to reconnect people to the places they were traveling though. They gave small towns a chance to show their cultural significance. Rest areas have become relics of America’s roadside past. These sites not only illustrate a unique period in the American travel experience, but are significant for the architectural forms found within them.”


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Tiny Flip Books Filled with Secret Slots & Negative Spaces

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[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Products & Packaging. ]

flip book negative space

Pushing the limits of the traditional printing craft, these stunning little Japanese flip books illustrate the power of slicing, splicing, zooming and panning, all to create a series of vertigo-inducing effects and dizzying optical illusions.

gif dizzying flip books

Flipping through the pages of these creations of artist Mou Hitotsu reveals a series of hidden surprises, including embedded objects and stories that unfold in the negative space cut out progressively in sequential sheets of each volume.

gif flip book design

Some of these play into abstract and surreal short stories about planetary systems or biological processes while others are simply used to convey holiday-themed wishes.

flip book secret surprise

Via Colossal and spotted by Travelry during a book convention, there are a number of works in this series from JP Books, each one playfully using similar devices to tell different tales as the pages unfold.


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Tiny Flip Books Filled with Secret Slots & Negative Spaces

Bild

[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Products & Packaging. ]

flip book negative space

Pushing the limits of the traditional printing craft, these stunning little Japanese flip books illustrate the power of slicing, splicing, zooming and panning, all to create a series of vertigo-inducing effects and dizzying optical illusions.

gif dizzying flip books

Flipping through the pages of these creations of artist Mou Hitotsu reveals a series of hidden surprises, including embedded objects and stories that unfold in the negative space cut out progressively in sequential sheets of each volume.

gif flip book design

Some of these play into abstract and surreal short stories about planetary systems or biological processes while others are simply used to convey holiday-themed wishes.

flip book secret surprise

Via Colossal and spotted by Travelry during a book convention, there are a number of works in this series from JP Books, each one playfully using similar devices to tell different tales as the pages unfold.


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Variations on Normal: Book of Absurdly Brilliant Inventions

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[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Products & Packaging. ]

dominic wilcox sleeping bed

The work of Dominic Wilcox is a wonderful blend of out-of-the-box design inspiration that, finally, you can get shipped to your door (in a box, no less!).

cost saving fence designs

duel use coffin workstation

Often intentionally impractical and definitively theoretical, the ideas found inside this 128-page book (as on his blog) are nonetheless extremely compelling. Presented as something between sketches and comics, they will challenge you to look at the world from fresh new angles, not to mention their pure entertainment value.

variations on normals

ladder escalator playful design

From mobile fences and motorized ladders to square peas and coffin workstations, there is always an element of functionality (hence design, not art) but also a playfulness to each piece.

square peas genetically modified

yoyo bungie system design

About his inspiration: “I’ve convinced myself that within everything that surrounds us, there are hundreds of ideas and connections waiting to be found. We just need to look hard enough. Some of my ideas develop from observations on human behaviour and I express them through the objects I create. I also experiment with materials to try to find surprises that can’t be found simply by thinking with a pen or a computer.”

scarf with integral propeller

variations on normal static

Wilcox lives in London but was educated at the Royal College of Art (Design Products MA) and the Edinburgh College of Art (Visual Communication BA).  More about his book and other recent works can be found on his website.


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Book of Shadows: 2D Shape Cutouts Cast Silhouettes on Pages

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motion train animated example

A children’s book with an interactive twist, Motion Silhouette engages readers through pop-up pieces that require lighting to animate shadow pictures on each page.

motion train moving page

motion train other page

motion womans face page

motion butterfly shape page

The idea is to add elements of manual animation that are necessarily subjective – each person will hold, turn and highlight the cutouts in different ways.

motion animated book shadow

motion silhouete tree city

motion silhouette

Secondary readers or viewers (young kids watching over parents’ shoulders) will also have their own unique experience each time.

silhoutte book one

silhouette spider web

silhouette plant shapes

silhouette cross page

silhouette bird page

Motion Silhouette is actually a sequel to another book, simply titled Silhouette (excerpts shown above), a work which similarly uses slightly less-developed pop-up pages to create a more basic multi-dimensional experience.

motion silhouette book

From its Japanese creators, Megumi Kajiwara and Tathuhiko Nijima: “I will begin to talk about the story and illustrations shadow falls on top of the page overlap. In this work, you can enjoy the animation of shadow phantasmagoric by you move the light. Trees and become bigger and bigger, which aims to train a distant star. Story that changes depending on the page falling shadows, shadows move around the top of the page.”


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Mini Book of Major Events: Whole World History in Your Hand

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[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

mini book major events

In a handful of pages in a book the size of a fingernail, this book artist tells a minimalist story of life on Earth, illustrating pivotal moments with brief text and tiny images.

mini life arises page

mini dinosaur extinction page

mini fire discovered page

mini agriculture planting page

A beautiful bit of hand-bound book art, The Mini Book of Major Events is just one of a series of micro-volumes made by Evan Lorzenzen, all of which pack large ideas into the smallest space possible.

mini the plague page

mini electricity discovered page

mini first contact page

mini book of major cover

Of course, selectivity is key – which events warrant mentioning when space is at a premium? Then, how does one illustrate these most effectively at such a minute scale?

mini book wordless volume

tiny book folded open

little book inside pages

little book of big ideas

Along similar lines, The Little Book of Big Ideas tackles large and important concepts from war and death to love and infinity, again with lovely drawings alongside each.


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