Friday, March 30, 2007

Nikon's Universcale is like Powers of Ten for the Internet age; it puts 40 magnitudes of measurement at your fingertips.

After an extended hiatus from producing or performing at events locally, DethLab shifts focus back to Detroit next month with two very different events - on back to back nights no less. Our last Detroit show was Friday, October 13th, so Friday the 13th seemed like a good date to really kick off the 2007 season... like some kind of Satanic Solstice.

JAK the Ripper: blog size

Co-produced with our good friends at Interdimensional Transmissions, JAK the Ripper promises to be an all-out bloodfest of evil electro and volatile acid, featuring the one and only Traxx. Expect it to be dark, loud and sinister until the wee hours. Count on selections from Traxx's new label Creme JAK.

cftpa_poster2 (360px)

The following night is the second installment of our live music and media series at CAID. Machines That Feel II features the smart, warm and infectious indie-electro-pop of CFTPA, and Square Root Records artists Spectral Mornings and Thirty (Over) Thousand.

Cowboy Mark will be joining us both nights, and we hope you do too!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bethany and I are zipping off to New York City to catch the closing night of Edward Scissorhands at the Brooklyn Academy of Music this weekend. Tickets are still available for Saturday, after which the production picks up and moves to Toronto for three shows next week. More info at the official site (previously posted January 25.)

Also Saturday evening in the 718, Monkeytown is screening lost underground French punk/new wave film La Brune et Moi. Described as a "Downtown 81... if it were shot in Paris..." La Brune et Moi was filmed over one week in 1979 and features performances by Artefact, Astroflash, Ici Paris, Edith Nylon, The Questions, The Party, Marquis de Sade and more. Our good friend Dan Selzer will be playing french punk/post-punk/new wave stuff with Ceci from East Village Radios' Radio Heart show and other friends after the film. Screenings are at 7:30 and 10 PM and reservations are recommended.

Speaking of Dan, if you haven't visited Acute Records lately, there is all kinds of new stuff to see, hear and buy.

If you're in Detroit this weekend, be sure to check out two great events: Lighting Bolt and Perfect Wieners and Butts at MOCAD Friday Night, and the Les Infants Terribles Three Year Anniversary Party Saturday night at Corktown Tavern.

Follow up to Rob's post:

After twelve years, Liz Copeland's final shows on WDET are tonight and tomorrow. Ralph Valdez, Night Train, and Front Row Center are among the other locally produced shows going off the air.

If you have an opinion about that, write a note to the station and let them know.

Eames Demetrios is doing two events with the Goldwell Open Air Museum. Eames will be giving a public talk on Kymaerica April 10 at 7 PM at the Sahara West Library in Las Vegas. Even more fun will be a hands-on workshop April 9th:

Demetrios recently uncovered document fragments from what were believed to be long-lost Kymaerican history texts. Demetrios will be leading a hands-on workshop Monday, April 9th, from 6 to 9 PM with invited guests to recreate these ancient documents for use in his planned exhibit at the Goldwell Open Air Museum. This is a unique opportunity to be able to participate in the guided creation of a part Demetrios' Kymaerican body of work and a rare artist apprenticship experience with one of the 21st century's most intriguing figures in design.

Given the controversy among Kymaerican scholars concerning the veracity of these unearthed documents, the workshop is being held in a secret, exclusive location. Cocktails and repasts will be served in keeping with the ancient tradition.

If you happen to be in the Las Vegas area, don't miss out on this.

Thou Shalt Always Kill by Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip, directed by Nick Frew. "Losing My Edge" for 2007? Perhaps. (Perhaps better, even.) The single will be released digitally on April 2nd, followed by a limited 7" on April 16th. There will be no escaping after that, but who would want to?

I can't help watching this without imagining Scroobius is our own Allen Goodman. It really makes it that much more fun.

[Big thanks to Phoenix Perry, spelled P-h-o-e-n-i-x.]

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

More Mute related news: Grinderman's self-titled debut LP is out now in Europe and will be released in the United States April 10th on ANTI.

The official US record release party will be at Motor City Bar in New York tomorrow night, March 28. Jim Sclavunos (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Sonic Youth, The Cramps, etc. - and of course, Grinderman) will be DJing starting at 10PM, and the album will be played in full at midnight. More info at New York Night Train. No word if Cave and rest of the lads dirty old men will be in attendance, but I wouldn't risk missing this.

New MOTOR video above (better quality here,) and brand new album Unhuman out this week on Mute - European release only, but you can buy it at Beatport now.

I'm mildly surprised no one's mentioned this yet, but one of Burnlab's own -- Liz Copeland -- is currently counting down the final days of her radio program. Angry commentary aside, these programs are available over the net at WDET's website, or if you're in Detroit on 101.9FM.

A statement from Liz is on her website.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Mad About Orreries

Few things bring out science nerd/steampunk fetishist quite like the complex mechanical movements of an Orrery. The first known such astronomical clock, The Antikythera Mechanism is believed to have been constructed around the first century BC (some 1600 years before Galileo faced the Roman Inquisition.) The first modern Orrery was created in 1704 by English clockmaker and inventor George Graham.

Only a small number of skilled craftsmen still build mechanical astronomical clocks. One such artisan is Brian Greig. Greig's instruments can be found at planetariums, museums and private collections around the world. Some of his instruments are for sale, ranging in price from $250 to about $15,000.

The Long Now Foundation Orrery (details pictured above) is an eight foot tall planetary display which was dedicated in 2005. The foundation, co-founded by Brian Eno, "was established in 1996 to develop the Clock and Library projects, as well as to become the seed of a very long term cultural institution. The Long Now Foundation hopes to provide counterpoint to today's 'faster/cheaper' mind set and promote 'slower/better' thinking." See the excellent Flickr page on this gorgeous contraption.

Also of interest: The Long Now Foundation 10,000 Year Clock.

Cyberoptix Trunk Show: April 7th

To follow up BitBoy's post last Friday: Cyberoptix TieLab is having an open studio night/trunk show next Saturday, April 7th.

Bethany will be debuting the new Whiplash collection and previewing Concealed Weapons pieces for Summer/Fall '07. There will also be a full range of ties, ascots, scarves, jackets, accessories and one-off couture pieces for sale and view.

Come for the fashion, drink the wine, eat the cheese - and meat of course, stay for the music (provided by DethLab and Friends) and buy the goods.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Mosh Pits by Dan Witz

BLDG BLOG and Materials & Applications are hosting an event about science fiction and architecture May 8th at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasedena.

As part of the Silver Lake Film Festival, Science Fiction and the City will be an evening of talks and presentations about film, science fiction, space, landscape, and architecture. Almost as cool as the subject matter, the event will be held in a converted wind tunnel, formerly owned and operated by Douglas Aircraft and recently rehabbed by Daly Genik Architects.

Speakers will include conceptual designers James Clyne (Minority Reort, The Fountain,) Ryan Church (Star Wars II and III,) and Ben Proctor (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.)

Friday, March 23, 2007


Burnlab on Boudicca: The Third and Final Report

What sets Zowie Broach and Brian Kirkby apart from a majority of their peers I believe, is that they are serious artists working in a medium that is too often not taken seriously enough, nor does it take itself seriously enough. It is not the fault of the medium, but one of perception. I can only imagine the cringes on their faces to the comment, "it's just clothes." How many times I've cringed myself to, "it's just [blank]," or "you're not making art here." If you're not at least trying to make some art in everything you do, you are wasting everyone's time.

There is the flip side of course - one I consciously exploit in my own work often. There is an advantage for any artist to engage in a medium considered to be "lower" than the classical disciplines, in effect recontextualizing both the work and the medium. Bowie was the absolute master of this. Our own Jon Ozias and Don Downie challenged the conventions of theatre and club culture in 1998 by producing Heiner Muller's avant-garde masterwork Hamletmaschine in a night club. Diller+Scofidio constantly make us question what is art and what is architecture. Whether Boudicca has consciously engaged the fashion world as a way for their artistic visions to be noticed, or if they are truly that much more serious than their peers, the result is good for them and good for the fashion world alike.

Boudicca's spring 2007 collection, enter_An Artificial Paradise is their most sophisticated effort yet in concept (though I think spring '06 was better in execution.) The pair have created an independent website for the collection, which I believe to be in part inspired by the work of Peter Greenaway. Their inspiration is broken down into three books: The Book of Elegance, The Book of Science, and The Book of Violence.

The collection itself attempts to address living within synthetic realities and information overload in the 21st century. I will leave the rest to Kirkby and Broach's own words.

Also see Boudicca Couture and Castle Accoutrements.


Boudicca Part 2

Kirkby and Broach launched the label in 1998 with Leave (spring) and Bomb (fall.) Leave conjured images of exotic travels - such as an African safari or space flight - while Bomb portrayed a sort of post-apocalypse chic (or as Jason Amm might put it, "Prada Goth.") The collections introduced what would become Boudicca's trademark clean and sculptural (almost theatrical) quality, with crisply folded layers.

Fall 1999's System Error began the combination of historicism and futurism - as if the designers were imagining what "future clothes" would look like, thinking from the perspective of a previous point in history. The runway show for the fetish-inspired Plans for a Woman collection was smartly set against a white tiled wall and made use of oversized magnifying lenses.

Kirkby and Broach's highly conceptual collections are complimented by equally conceptual runway shows, sometimes more like performance art. said of What havoc in the garden of Beauty, "Zowie Broach and Brian Kirkby carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Their Boudicca presentations are symbolic, troubling experiences, drawn from sources so deep inside their heads there ought to be a handbook with footnotes. But then again, who needs explanations?"

The designers provide their audience with plenty of clues via their website. In addition to the basics, there are sections with titles such as Library, Cinema and Declaration where Kirkby and Broach share their inspiration, philosophies and explorations into other media.


Boudicca is quickly quickly becoming one of my favorite design houses, fashion or otherwise. I think their work and process deserves to be explored in detail, so this will be the first of three posts.

" exploration and documentary of ourselves and the world we live in.

The collections from B O U D I CC A are stories, short scenes from films, that at times are simple and reference the obvious, at others become complex and ill fitting. The modern paranoia of human life, the beauty and the vanity of modern life, the anger of another, the fake lies that we are told and the real truths we forget..."

Designers Brian Kirkby and Zowie Broach's collections are highly informed by history and art, film and literature, cultures and fetishes, memories and fantasies. Their garments strike a near perfect balance between the new and the familiar, and between the avant-garde and the functional.

Although ispired by the work of Joseph Cornell and the Brothers Quay, their Spring 2006 collection, The Romantic Museum reminds me of Blade Runner, with its blend of 1940s film noir, Japanese influence, and touches of science fiction - a crisp yet playful globalized retro-futurism.

More soon.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

As I start to seach for new digs in Los Angeles, with their $1500+ rent, I'm reminded that house's in Detroit are cheaper than cars

Aaron Betsky has been making his impact as new Director of the Cincinnati Art Museum. Just last week, a recently acquired and quite rare 1950 Ferrari 166MM Barchetta was given a prominent spot in the museum.

"It's just one car, but I wanted to send a signal as soon as possible that this museum is going to engage in the history of decorative arts and design," Betsky said. "That art is not just ancient and not just something in a frame on a wall."

March 10th saw the opening of Arenas, a museum-wide collection of site-specific installations by Cincinnati multimedia artist Anthony Luensman. Through sound, video, automation and other non-traditional media, Luensman hopes to engage museum goers in playful, thought provoking, experiential ways.

The director says, "What Tony has done is to create bridges between our collection and our senses. In doing so, he has used technology to open up new dimensions in works we thought we knew too well."

On a local interest note, I was quite bummed about the timing of Betsky's appointment at the CAM, because I think he would be the most qualified and most exciting candidate to follow retiring Cranbrook Art Academy Director Gerhardt Knodel - one of the few persons I could imagine taking Gerhardt's place, actually. The good news for Cincinnati (and for the art world) is that Cinci may become an Art Mecca - not for bombastic architecture, but for intelligent, progressive and engaging exhibitions.

More on designer Jennifer Sterling: Although her firm's website has been missing for some time and her book was never published (I pre-ordered a copy back in 2000 and am still hoping it may see the light of day,) we hear she is alive and well and teaching at AAC in San Francisco.

Does anyone else remember the fabulous laser-etched aluminum Absolut Vodka ad which ran in Metropolis?

Graphic-ExchanGE may be the best collection of print design I have ever seen in a single browser window.

Operated by MediaFix art director Fabien Barrel, Graphic-ExchanGE stands apart from most design blogs due to the beautiful high resolution imagery - often professionally shot to expose the subtle nuances of print design and process - and the top-notch content filtering.

Be sure to check out the "excellence" section, including the work of master Jennifer Sterling and newer faves such as Scott Hansen and Emmanuel Polanco.

Excuse while I change my pants.

Architecture adventure in Detroit: Tonight Burnlab HQ is accompanying a group from the RISD and Cranbrook architecture departments to an abandoned site for a guerrilla screening of student films. A charrette continues through the weekend, including a seminar [literally] on the People Mover, followed by a site survey of another abandoned structure. The students will then fabricate site-specific installations overnight which will be installed and critiqued the following day. Our own Ms. Toybreaker is one of the invited jurors. Should we get through everything in one piece, expect documentation right here afterwards.

More Detroit related art, architecture and urbansim news: Open City, featuring an installation by Object Orange, remains on display at Eyebeam in NYC through April 7th. Make sure to stop by if you're in New York, and check out Andy's photos from the opening here.

This Saturday night is the opening of Disposable Heroes, featuring new work by painter and musician [and DethLab portraitist] Ron Zakrin at Cass Cafe. Festivities start at 7pm and the exhibition runs through June 16th.

Happy birthday Bill Shatner!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Friday, March 16, 2007

News from the City of Angels, our favorite purveyor of high-design, All Purpose has joined with Cyberoptix TieLab to illustrate the concept of James Dean's 1955 car crash "Whiplash" - intricate prints of auto part schematic illustrations repeated and mirrored into complex, twisted patterns. I'm sure Ms. Bethany or Mr. Doyle will be posting more on this soon.

Until then, enjoy our Friday Night Video tribute to all things French (Videos de Vendredi Nuit?)

Rare cold-wave par excellence
Another French rarity (from 2003)
Even the fake french are fabulous
But we still love North America

re: Sonar, although it's not listed on the site yet, we are told that Matthew will be performing with his new live band "Matthew Dear's Big Hands."

A more complete listing for Sonar 2007 is up, with the obvious lack of Sonar staple Richie Hawtin or anyone Ghostly...I know they´ve been doing a hell of job keeping things fairly interesting and non-commercial but something´s definitely missing.

Monday, March 12, 2007

This is for Mr. Theakston, in regard to Buddy Hackett:

Scientists break the speed of light.

For the experiment, the researchers manipulated a vapour of laser-irradiated atoms that boost the speed of light waves causing a pulse that shoots through the vapour about 300 times faster than it would take the pulse to go the same distance in a vacuum.

[via Archinect]

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Some recent selections from the excellent urban exploration/photography blog Worksongs:

Also, fellow Canadian exploration site The Vanishing Point has updated with a lovely new map-based menu.

Damien Hirst: Superstition at the Gagosian Gallery Beverly Hills and London, through April 5th "...wherein the artist revives his penchant for arranging dead animals in interesting poses. This time, butterflies as stained glass windows."

From Gravestmor.

For $12,000 to $25,000, depending on edition number, you can own a nice set of dead butterfly china.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Further evidence that 2007 is going to be a great year: listen to Deserter, the excellent first single from Matthew Dear's upcoming LP Asa Breed.

The significance of the record being released on Ghostly rather than its dance-oriented sister label Spectral should be immediately apparent to the ears. Vocals and rhythms share more DNA with the likes of Joy Division than Dear's recent Audion work, or even 2003's cross-over hit Leave Luck to Heaven. The warm, thoughtful melodies are distinctly "avant-pop," and perhaps the most realized and definitive example to date from the label.

A 10" vinyl and digital format single will be available May 8th. Asa Breed is scheduled for a June 5th release.

The MetroTimes Blowout is pretty darn grassroots as far as big music festivals go, but all big festivals must have an outsider event, or "anti" showcase. This year the Undercover Eskimo Collective presents Stevie a.k.a. multimedia artist David Blunk live TONIGHT at the Chill & Mingle in Hamtramck. Get your dolled-up, plastic-wrapped, blood-soaked electro-punk performance art weirdness fix. Flyer here.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Daft Punk to tour North America this summer

07-21 Los Angeles, CA - Sport Arena
07-27 Berkeley, CA - Greek Theatre
07-29 Seattle, WA - WAMU Center
07-31 Denver, CO - Red Rocks
08-05 Toronto, Ontario - Arrow Hall
08-07 Montreal, Quebec - Bell Center
08-09 New York, NY - Keyspan Park

I'm thinking Montreal is the one.

OMG art school!

[Thank you, Mr. Gorrell.]

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Something special for the thirtysomething set: GEOS, the 8-bit graphical user interface for the Commodore 64.

If you recall, the first Macs left the best selling computer of all time in silicon dust, but what teenager had several grand to plop down on a home computer? Berkeley Softworks came to the rescue in 1986 with this brilliant Mac-like OS for the bullet-proof (and affordable, even on a paper route income) 1MHZ C64. I do recall that the operating system took so much memory that it required a 5-1/4" scratch disk just to open applications such as geoWrite and geoDraw, but it breathed a whole new life into the trusty little beige one-piece. Toward the end of it's life cycle, Commodore bundled GEOS with every new C64 shipped, and it ranked as the thrid most popular OS in the world for a time.

If you happen to have an old C64 or 128 sitting around the house, you can download GEOS from CBM Files.

I must say, I miss Commodore very much. Programming Choose Your Own Adventure style stories in BASIC on a metal bodied PET at the Royal Oak Schools TAG program was my first real experience with the world of bits and bytes, and later lusted after the Amiga 2000. Commodore was truly the people's computer.

Detroit has been in quite a funk the past few months, but as of last night's Metro Times Blowout launch party, it seems the winter blahs are melting away as the creatures of the night crawl out of hibernation. This was my first year not playing the Blowout with Dorkwave, and to my surprise, I really enjoyed just kicking back, being a spectator and talking with friends I'd hardly seen since the frost set in. The guys played an excellent, rocking set.

The highlight of the evening of course was ADULT.'s very first live show in support of the new album Why Bother?. If there is one thing consistent about ADULT., it is that they constantly challenge their audiences, and last night's performance was no exception. In a time when others are rehashing trends that kinda sucked the first time around (I'm looking at you, "new rave,") Detroit's darkest duo push full speed forward into uncomfortable new territories. Notions of what rock, techno, goth, electro-punk or even ADULT. are supposed to be are out the window. The new material, especially presented live, is by far the most developed, original and polarizing yet. It's the kind of brash yet precise "newness" that makes Detroit unique, and hopefully will be the shock to the system needed to set the tone for an exciting year.

Here is a video clip of "I Feel Worse When I'm With You."
It's really dark and shaky, but the sound is good.

ADULT. gave Detroit an enema last night.

Video, photos and commentary later today. Right now we'll just say that both rock'n'roll and techno, as we know them, have been rendered obsolete.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Halo 24

If you've been trying to follow the story behind Year Zero as it unfolds, NIN Wiki is a great up-to-the-minute information source.

For those who haven't been following, the upcoming Nine Inch Nails concept album is one element of a broader multi-media project set in the year 2022. Bits of the story are continualy being released through the introduction of websites, phone numbers, audio files and coded images. Trent Reznor recently told Kerrang magazine that he is in talks about a movie version.

The multiple cryptic websites related to the project, offering glimpses into the dystopian world of Year Zero, appear to be broadcasts from the future (ala Prince of Darkness and Eugene Mirman.) This theory is supported by the recently introduced Secure Broadcast Informatics site.

So far, four tracks form the album have been leaked planted on memory sticks at recent concerts and can be heard at the NIN MySpace page. The release date is April 17th.

Just a moment ago my iTunes shuffled from NIN's The Hand That Feeds to Kiss' King of the Night Time World.

One of the most magnificent pairings I've ever heard from man or machine. I have the chills. (Or perhaps it's the three pots of coffee I've drank so far today...)

Before the age of homogenization and micro-machinery, before the tyrannous efficiency of internal combustion and the domestication of electricity, lived beautiful, monstrous machines that lived and breathed and exploded unexpectedly at inconvenient moments. It was a time where art and craft were united, where unique wonders were invented and forgotten, and punks roamed the streets, living in squats and fighting against despotic governance through wit, will and wile. Even if we had to make it all up.

SteamPunk Magazine is a publication that is dedicated to promoting steampunk as a culture, as more than a sub-category of fiction. It is a journal of fashion, music, misapplied technology and chaos. And fiction.

Download Issue One: Putting the Punk back into SteamPunk, including (among other things) DIY electrolytic etching, the story of anarchinst Gaetano Bresci and an interview with singer/songwiter/mad scientist Thomas Truax.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Tourist Map of Gotham via Strange Maps.

Death From Above

The Last House by architects System Lab is a contemporary take on vertical cemeteries, which are common in Brazil.

The 108-meter-high tower would hold some 25,000 "niches". In lieu of flowers, each container would be assigned a phone number which would trigger a little light on the tower when called.

I think the project is aestheticaly inventive and beuatiful, but something doesn't sit quite right with me about it. Geoff ponders a new version of Night of the Living Dead, with zombies falling to the ground in packs.

The Hanging Cemetery of Baghdad by NaJa & deOstos is proposed as "a gigantic presence of a hanging funeral structure" that will hover above the war torn streets of Baghdad, floating unceasingly "from bright explosive mornings to airless night hours."

Alexander Trevi of Pruned comments, "Lest someone say that this can never be built, a prototype already exists in the skies above Iraq. To see it, one only need to track the endless flights of cargo planes delivering dead coalition soldiers back to their home countries."

A book on the project will be published next month by RIEA.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Two apologies:

1) Sorry I haven't posted all week. Have lots of good stuff, just haven't had the time (which is a good thing.)

2) We've caved in and switched over the new verison of Blogger. This means all of our editors will have to sign up with Google when you log in, if you haven't already. It's really not so painful at all. The only bummer is that the interface works way better with Firefox than Safari, and Safari is far superior browser.

Two promises:

1) Highlights from the past week soon.

2) Site re-design this year. (Yes, I say that every year.)