Friday, November 02, 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lebbeus Woods, 1940-2012

One of my greatest philosophical influences has passed away at age 72. As long-time friends of Burnlab know, the work of architect, theorist, disruptor, artist, teacher, terrorist with a pencil and Michigan native Lebbeus Woods has appeared on these pages more than a few times. Woods was an erudite iconoclast of the very highest order. He was an intellectual with punk ethics throbbing in his blood. There is so much I could say, but I will leave you with his own words. The following brief manifesto "was read aloud on the steps of the burned-out Olympic Museum in Sarajevo on November 26, 1993, in full view of Serbian snipers and artillery gunners."

Architecture and war are not incompatible. Architecture is war. War is architecture.I am at war with my time, with history, with all authority that resides in fixed and frightened forms. I am one of millions who do not fit in, who have no home, no family, no doctrine, no firm place to call my own, no known beginning or end, no “sacred and primordial site.” I declare war on all icons and finalities, on all histories that would chain me with my own falseness, my own pitiful fears. I know only moments, and lifetimes that are as moments, and forms that appear with infinite strength, then “melt into air.” I am an architect, a constructor of worlds, a sensualist who worships the flesh, the melody, a silhouette against the darkening sky. I cannot know your name. Nor you can know mine. Tomorrow, we begin together the construction of a city.

Lebbeus Woods blog

Without Walls: 2007 BLDGBLOG interview

BLDGBLOG tribute

The Guardian tribute

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Theatre Bizarre "Summoning" a Second Year at the Masonic Temple

Excellent interview with design genius John Dunivant about Theatre Bizarre and the largest (and possibly weirdest) Masonic Temple in the world:

Theatre Bizarre "Summoning" a Second Year at the Masonic Temple: Detroit’s underground carnival is heading back to the Masonic Temple this fall. John Dunivant is co-creator and the artist-designer of Theatre Bizarre. The design of this year’s edition of, what organizers call, “The Greatest Masquerade on Earth” picks up where last year’s ended.

Dunivant spoke recently to WDET’s Rob St. Mary about this year's event "The Summoning", the design, working with the Masonic Temple, lessons learned from last year's event and the current state of Theatre Bizarre's "grounds".

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Weirdos Who Make Stuff

An excellent article about OmniCorpDetroit graces the cover of Detroit's alt weekly Metro Times today.

The Nerdy Playhouse

Author Laurie Smolenski does a fantastic job capturing the essence of OCD:

The OCD pop machine dispenses Pabst and strange treasures. Like a bizarre twist on the secret prize of an arcade game, if you press the machine's mystery button and feed it a buck, you may win a something most unexpected, like a bottle filled with colored tinsel. And it's not the prize that matters; it's that some grown-up hacked this thing to dispense hilarious junk that other grown-ups made, probably just to make each other laugh. This is the credo steeped through OCD: hilarious, whimsical, handmade genius. It's stuff that both confuses and illuminates, that incites discussion, and calls us to wonder how it is that things are made.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012


There's a rumor going around that Dethlab [T0ybreaker, David Blunk II and myself] are opening for Black Asteroid on the eve of my birthday in Boston.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Here's to an iconoclast who made the world more extraordinary.

"Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Moving Day

Since spring of 2000, has been everything from a platform for experimentation, a place to showcase work of friends and artists I admire, a travel log and notebook, and in 2002 became a full-fledged group blog often updated several times a day by myself and a diverse group of conspirators with unique perspectives and weird and wonderful things to share.

As you've noticed over the past two or three years, updates have been thin here. I mainly attribute it to being spread out over a range social media platforms that provide more instant (albeit more ephemeral) publishing options.

In an effort to consolidate various outlets, my Google+ feed had become the official successor to this blog you're reading now. Google+ combines the instant publishing ease and community benefits of social networks with the ability to do the more thoughtful long-form writing and formatting Blogger is well suited for. Since Blogger is also owned by Google, I hope the two will be integrated at a future date.

We're still unpacking and painting the walls, and might even still put some special posts up here, but head on over to the new digs for all future Burnlab bloggery.

Thanks for eleven great years, and here's to eleven more.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

This is my my new favorite band.

I need to be less lazy and blog more. Here's a recent tweet.

Believing Democrats and Republicans represent poles of political thought is like McDonald's & Burger King representing the spectrum of food.

Sunday, January 02, 2011 2010 Readers Poll + my top five singles of 2010

I didn't know they were missing, but I think I found my bat wings this year, based on the music here.

The venerable has pretty much the choice list of awesome musick in 2010. If you're into this sort of thing. Lots [lots!] of the usual suspects, but also a ton of names I'm now anxious to check out: 2010 Readers Poll

The legendary Legendary Pink Dots seemed to come out of nowhere with perhaps their best album in a decade. [Not "nowhere" exactly, as they've been continually making music for thirty years now.] Russian Roulette is as captivating and brilliantly constructed as the best of anything you've heard all year:

Very nice to see one of the most exciting new artists, Zola Jesus take three of the top five single spots. Night wasn't one, but it's on my top five:


I didn't see one of my other favorites of 2010, Matthew Dear's Black City or the murderously great single You Put a Smell on Me make the Brainwashed readership crossover, but it was right near the top my list, so here it is:

Yet another track on my personal top five that didn't make the cut [probably because it just came out] is Ms. Lauren Flax & Lauren Dillard's first single from their CREEP project, Days. Here's a great clip of our friend Thalia Marvos talking to Warren Fischer about the video for The Creators Project:

Last but certainly not least, Marc Houle put out a wicked album in 2010 that inspired the neologism/my current made-up genre of choice "warlockhaüs". Fair to say that I haven't been thrilled with Minus' direction over the past few years, but they've been blowing my mind lately and I'm loving it. Sweet might be my favorite track of the year:

Happy 2011 everyone!

I told a nice man named Josh in New Orleans I would blog more this year. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Journeyman Project

Dirty Jobs photographer and cameraman Troy Paff's The Journeyman Project is a beautifully documented survey of the tradespeople and DIYers of the new century.

"In the five years since Dirty Jobs‘ premiere, its small crew has experienced an unprecedented number of vocations. With nearly 300 jobs and 50 states under their belt, Dirty Jobs has investigated – and celebrated – those occupations which, while often unsavory, keep the country running. A common thread which runs through these occupations is a particular character required to do them. It is a fundamental commitment to do a job and do it well, where glamour takes a back seat to service, and where pride in a job done well is its own reward. It is this sense of character that Troy will explore, shining a light on the individual behind the job, and expressing the personality and the motivations of the worker.

"The route Troy takes will be an evolving one directed by the subjects of the project. Some of the subjects Troy knows, or has wanted to meet. While many of the Dirty Jobs alumni will be revisited, referrals from this ‘family’ will further lead him to individuals who exemplify that same through-line of character: the tradesmen and skilled labor who are driven to succeed in spite of the challenges of their vocations and the hardships of the economy, if not because of them.

"The Journeyman Project shall be a celebration of the individual, and over time and the course of a growing compendium of subjects, it will express the collective character of the skilled worker in contemporary America. In an environment where ‘The American Dream’ has been outmoded, themes to explore include the trending decline of the trades and the growing demand for skilled workers, the loss of manufacturing and the effect of trade agreements with Asia and Central America, the decline of infrastructure, high unemployment rates, the housing and mortgage crisis, continued war and national security, ecological catastrophes, and just what ‘recovery’ means in the 21st century."

I love this for a lot of reasons. One of them is the project's focus on truly 21st Century lifestyles. Another is Paff's "celebration of the individual," because we aren't a "we" in the abstract, but a collection of heroes - every last one of us, in our own unique way - who make the choice to work together for greater things. And, of course, because our dear friend Jeff Sturges and our very own Bethany Shorb are featured!

update: It was just pointed out that our pal & MAKE editor Gareth Branwyn posted about The Journeyman Project this afternoon: clickity-click!

The Blast Shack

If you read only one essay on Wikileaks, Cablegate, Private Bradley Manning, Mr. Assange and cypherpunk culture, this is the most erudite and eloquent I think you'll find: "The Blast Shack" by Bruce Sterling.

I'd quote a couple paragraphs here, but you should just read it straight through. It would be like disrupting a meal - a meal filled with melancholy, humor and enlightenment. [I don't think it's quite as melancholy as Bruce says it is. Then again, "optimistic" is one of the two words in my current made-up political alignment.]

If you do read two articles on the subject, perhaps the second best I've seen is this morning's piece by Zeynep Tufekci in The Atlantic: "Wikileaks Exposes Internet's Dissent Tax, not Nerd Supremacy".

Oh, and a Canadian poet prophetically explains exactly why an Australian hacker would target the USA [spoiler alert: optimism.]

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Paper Cuts

Paper Cuts from Michigan Daily on Vimeo.

A short video showcasing the work and process of paper engineer and U of M lecturer [and Cranbrook grad and totally awesome guy] Matt Shlian.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Sorry I've been neglecting this blog. Big thanks to our editors who've kept it alive.

I missed posting major Burnlab news like the Detroit Lives premiere [starring T0ybreaker], updates about our hackerspace OmniCorpDetroit and our Satanic techno arm Dethlab opening for Gary freaking Numan last week [and Nitzer freaking Ebb in November!]

Thinking about switching over to Tumblr. Thoughts on that, loyal readers and contributors?

Red Tide

Don't worry. This won't change anything. We all voted for a Muslim Socialist Antichrist just 2 years ago and effectively got George Bush III. Elections are overrated. It assumes millionaire sociopaths will solve your problems. If you want to make a difference, start a community workshop, an ethical business, teach. Ignore authority & don't wait for a savior. You are the one you've been waiting for.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

VITALIC San Francisco

A few shots from VITALIC in San Francsico. His set included wo enormous LED walls mounted behind mirrored panels, with everything choreographed to his mindblowing music performed live. Hit the Flickr link for a few videos.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Early 20th century gags from 1929:

Are you an aficionado of various post-Victorian but definitely Vaudevillian pranks and other such contrivance? Look no further. Yes. I certainly would like to peruse this most bully catalog reproduction of vintage parlour tricks:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Aaron Draplin in Detroit Thursday

AIGA Detroit and Team Detroit Present: Tall Tales From a Large Man

Born in Traverse City, Michigan, Aaron Draplin is the sole proprietor of Draplin Design Company and created Field Notes Brand. Located in the mighty Pacific Northwest, the freedom fighters of the Draplin Design Co. proudly roll up their sleeves on a handful of projects related to the Print, Identity, Web, Illustration and Gocco Muscle categories.

Hunkered down in his “36th year” the DDC has shipped the goods for Coal Headwear, Union Binding Company, Snowboard Magazine, Grenade Gloves, Gnu Snowboards, Ride Snowboards, Forum Snowboards, Giro Helmets, Richmond Fontaine, Chunklet Magazine, Exit Real World, Timberline, Snowboarder Magazine, Wired Magazine, Chuck Prophet, Nike, Cobra Dogs, Uncle Buck, and the Obama Administration.

Draplin promises to tell his story, show some work, talk some smack, and hawk a mountain of merch. Gonna’ be fun as hell. Be there, or be added to his ever-growing shit list. In Gary we Trust.

Thursday, August 26, 2010 — August 26, 2010 7:00pm - 8:30pm 1515 Broadway
1515 Broadway
Detroit, Michigan

*Less than 20 tickets left!

America Is F*cked.......(Graphically at least) from Jess Gibson on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks

For those of us who dare to imagine a stateless, completely free and transparent future for humanity, that rejects vain attempts by both Bush and Obama to restore the neoliberal glory days of the 1990s [which were in retrospect perhaps morally worse than 1950s nostalgia & Reaganomics combined,] your new charismatic civil libertarian posterboy doesn't make soap. Our 21st Century Tyler Durden is a hacker and talks to TED: TED Talks: Julian Assange


Malaria! - Geld/Money [1983]

Speaking of the great Gudrun Gut, see this new Quietus interview, Women At Work: Greie Gut Fraktion Interviewed

Detroit Lives trailer

VBS.TV and Palladium Boots presents Detroit Lives

Once the fourth-largest metropolis in America—some have called it the Death of the American Dream. Today, the young people of the Motor City are making it their own DIY paradise where rules are second to passion and creativity. They are creating the new Detroit on their own terms, against real adversity. We put our boots on and went exploring.

The full VBS.TV documentary debuts on August 30th. Look for lots of familiar faces!

Monday, August 23, 2010

I have a man crush on Julian Assange. There, I said it.
He is to civil libertarians what Palin is to inbreds.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Thursday, July 01, 2010

DeLorean Hovercraft

This is easily the best thing I've seen all day.

From Jalopnik:

Matthew Riese, a 26-year-old grad student, is hand-building what every kid in 1985 desperately wanted — a hovering DeLorean just like in the movie Back to the Future. Now he needs your help...

Now that there is a how a pitch video is done.

Be a micro venture capitalist and donate on Kickstarter to make Riese's dream a reality.

Monday, June 28, 2010

We demand absolute liberation from Newton's gravitational mania

Today's dose of Blixa comes in the form of a satirical manifesto to end all manifestos.

Einstürzende Neubauten - Was Ist Ist [live at Palast der Republik, 2004]

Guerilla Marketing Goes Prehistoric

More advertising should be this clever, humorous and downright weird. A German ad agency planted items such as fake dinosaur legs and saber tooth fillets in grocery stores to promote Bosch refrigerators.

I could totally go for a fresh mammoth steak.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Atrocity Exhibition 2010

A Taiwanese news network has created video game style 3D animations of current events ranging from Tiger Woods' SUV crash to the Leno/Conan debacle. The latest one - graphically depicting Al Gore's alleged sexual assault of a Portland masseuse - takes it to a new level. Far more of a car wreck you can't look away from than some golfer smashing his Cadillac while fleeing from his enraged wife.

Watch below for the visual metaphor involving a poodle.

A couple things come to mind.

First: imagine your most embarrassing moment. Now imagine that interpreted by someone you've never met half way around the world and rendered in glossy 3D animation. Is it accurate? Doesn't matter. It's out there. All over the world.

Second thought is: if some contemporary artist had done this before a tabloid news program did, they'd be bigger than ol' Damien Hirst right now. Could you imagine? Huge! Imagine digital reenactments of fictional scandals involving historical figures. Lincoln is never going to live down that blowjob he gave Hitler.

[via io9]

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Give the man an ashtray.

If I could be 10% as cool as Alexander Robotnick when I'm 60...