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Let's Plan a "Peacetime" Home was published in 1945 by a home gas heating company to try to answer and capitalize on a severe housing shortage being accentuated by returning WWII vets--I'm not sure why "Peacetime" is placed in quotation marks in the cover copy; perhaps it was just sloppy editing. But the planning was real, and the ideas were sort of fresh for the time, including a number of new and innovative ideas regarding heating/heat retention and cooling services. It is a slick, bright, shining publication filled with simple luxuries for the middle class--roomy kitchens, playrooms in the basement, extra bathrooms, storage for baby carriages in the garage, and other pieces of happiness that were still relatively new to the Depression-recovering working folks of the United States.
I can see a lot of interest in the archaeology of comfort in the many plans and pictures in this brochure, but that's not why I'm presenting it here today. There's more than a heavy helping of bulbous Bauhaus design, and lots of small rooms surrounding large big main rooms with enormous windows. But the thing that seems to bookend all of this development are women-in-aprons. There are men sitting and leaning around plans, smoking pipes, sleeves rolled up, and looking very earnest; at their elbow or across the table is the woman, usually in an apron, looking on in appreciation.
[This item may be purchased at our blog bookstore.]
What happened to art in the period before Impressionism that was made by people who needed glasses and didn't or couldn't wear them? The answer is obvious because, I think, nothing quite like that exists in galleries or public collections: people who painted but had poor vision were probably/simply told that they couldn't paint. If a far-sighted person without corrective specs attempted to paint a sunset over a forest, and painted it exactly as they saw it, and were doing this in 1787, there work undoubtedly would have been rejected as utterly failing in realism. On the other hand, the result of their work may have been beautiful collections of forms and colors capturing the essence of the forest and the sunset, but they would have been 50 years shy of the JMW Turner time, and 70 years or whatever shy of the Impressionists.
A person with poor or disturbed vision who tried to paint during this time would have been roundly scooted out of the palace of correct painting, though they could have been inspirations to generations of Barnett Newmans and Jasper Johns and Clyfford Stills and Wassily Kandinskys.
All this said, does something like Edvard Munch's The Voice (1893) start to look a little "different" if you imagine a far-sighted artist at work without their glasses?
Or a vision-impaired person producing Les Alpilles (1890) instead of a visionary Van Gogh?
Or a macular degenerating issue producing a painting like Georgia Okeefe's Light Coming on the Plains III (1917)?
Or a half-blind artist painting Matisse's The Open Window, Collioure (1905), simply painting exactly what they saw?
I don't think of revolutionary artworks in terms of their common ophthalmologic varieties--I just wanted to make a point about what happened to all of that artwork that was no doubt produced by people with impaired vision before the Impressionists and Fauves and non-representational artists came into being. I wonder if those who received J.M.W. Turner (as with, say, Rain, Steam, Speed--the Great Western Railway, 1844) so badly so early on in his career and so early in the History of Disappearing Details wondered whether he had a visual issue, or not?
And in a way, similar to the probably non-existent vision-challenged art of the past is the Robot art of the future--or at least the robot art of what was described by P.K. Hoenich in his article "Robot-Art, the Hopeful Monster" that appeared in two part in the unlikely journal Cybernetica in 1963 and 1964. It was with high hopes that I started reading this article wanting the author to address robots-making-art in the future. After all, my friend George Widener, who is a fabulously gifted artist, directs some of his fantastically involved calculating/numerical artworks to the interests of his robot-collectors of the future--given this case, why (if the robots are collecting) wouldn't they also produce art themselves? And why, if given the legions and multitudes of robots of the future couldn't they produce every recorded piece of art that has ever existed and then insinuate development and trends and institution and all of the other gifts of the singularity and produce all of the works of art that will ever be produced?
Well, Hoenich turns out to be describing "robots" of a very different sort, whether he uses the term "monster" in his title or not. He was broadly addressing a style of art that is produced by externally-controlled structures (mostly), and his particular brand was a mobile-like device with art bits whose movement was powered by the wind...and also used found spectra and sunlight. It was not what I was hoping for, the vision of robots-at-the-easels/keyboard/whatever remaining unfulfilled.
Still it was an interesting read, mostly in laying Hoenich in a continuum of similar artists whose "robots" were the wind (as for example with a Calder) or Nicolas Schoeffer (with spectacular luminodynamics) or Mohly-Nagy (with a combo of light and movement) or Arp (with chance painting) and maybe even Pollock. I guess even Duchamp could be included in a category like this if you considered his work to be governed by selective, found chance, a sort of choice-chance, for his Readymades.
So in a way these artworks were made by "robots" insofar as they were produced by not-exactly the artist but with external assistance.
"Squinting with Art" perhaps could have been the title of this post--squinting at your landscape to see it with semi-non-representational vision, and squinting at the titles of other works to make their possibility more appealing to what you 'd like to see.
Nothing quite says "bizarro" like the bizarre1--and there has been plenty of that on this blog. There have been a number of places that I have identified as Bizarro Worlds, but so far it seems that the only self-proclaimed Bizarro World is this one, from the Superman2 comic book--a place that was the opposite of the Superman-y traits that made Superman Superman. Somehow to equate bizarreness on this world everything appeared as geometrical shapes with basically no sphere or rounded edges. (How Braque or Picasso and company would have reacted to this is unclear.)
It is evident that Bizarro World inhabits a place in the universe that allows for bizarre things to happen, a sort of bizarrograviation, that also allows for shadow to be cast in space without regard to light source.
It is a lovely to addition--if only by this brief note, to a continuing series on Extra-Earths. This is an Earth, and it is Extra, hence: Extra Earth. Some of the other Extra-Earth posts include:
1858 W. Bagehot Lit. Stud. II. 194 The bizarrerie of Mr. Dickens's genius.
A. In Nietzschean thought (also with capital initial): an ideal superior man of the future who transcends conventional Christian morality to create and impose his own values; = Übermensch n. More generally: a man of extraordinary power or ability; a superior being. Cf. superwoman n.In later use sometimes influenced by sense 2.
1894 Forum May 302 The ‘cosmic, super-man’ of the future.
1903 G. B. Shaw Man & Superman 196 We have been driven to Proletarian Democracy by the failure of all the alternative systems; for these depended on the existence of Supermen acting as despots or oligarchs.
1909 T. Common tr. F. Nietzsche Thus spake Zarathustra ii. xxvi. 108 Never yet hath there been a Superman. Naked have I seen both of them, the greatest man and the smallest man... Verily, even the greatest found I—all-too-human!
1925 H. V. Morton Heart of London 110 Above the kneeling priests is the Pharaoh, that ancient superman.
1969 G. Jackson Let. 28 Dec. in Soledad Brother (1971) 179 How could there be a benevolent superman controlling a world like this.
2008 K. Hawkins Talk of Town 241 Poor Nick. He's determined to be a superman and resist emotional entanglements that could cloud his judgment.
2010 M. G. Kendrick Heroic Ideal ix. 161 The Zarathustrian vision of a post-Christian faith rooted in the real world and dedicated to the creation of the superman, inspired a whole generation of radical Russian artists and Marxists.
B. With capital initial. (The name of) an almost invincible superhero having the power to fly and typically depicted wearing a tight blue suit with a red cape; a person likened to this superhero.The character first appeared in 1938 in a U.S. comic strip by writer Jerry Siegel (1914–96) and artist Joe Shuster (1914–92) and has since been the subject of radio and television series, as well as numerous films.
1938 Action Comics June 1 So was created..Superman! champion of the oppressed, the physical marvel who had sworn to devote his existence to helping those in need!
1940 Time 26 Feb. 44/3 Last week Superman took to the air in earnest, as a three-a-week serial.
1958 Times Lit. Suppl. 1 Apr. p. xx/4 The impression remains of a sense of values associated with ‘Superman’ and American comics.
1968 S. Ellin Valentine Estate iii. iv. 142 ‘How the hell did he come to miss me?’.. ‘You're Superman,’ the first man answered. ‘Bullets bounce off you.’
1980 F. Weldon Puffball 77 ‘Now it's our turn.’ ‘I don't want it to be,’ she said, as if he, like Superman, could turn the world the other way.
1995 FourFourTwo Oct. 135/1 Presenting Shearer as a goalscoring Superman seems a bit OTT.
This glorious and anonymous photograph features 22 women, 20 of whom appear in U.S. flag dresses in front of a 40-star American flag. The 40-star appeared in 1889 with the entrance of South Dakota into the Union, one of the four new states in that single year.
When I looked though the original, looking for the image-within-the-image, I was surprised by a photobomb by the fellow in the tie and cap.
Here he is:
The outfits/costumes are nothing but stars and stripes, and each woman holds a staff with a small flag.
There is a great experience in this not-so-incidental image.
This is emphatically not a robot-type contraption, not by a long shot--it just happens (if you look at it in a certain way) to look like one. The automatic man was still a bit away, though Steam People and the like had certainly made appearances decades before this one.
The toys--Crandall's Acrobats, patented in 1867--came in boxes, a number of "acrobats" per box, as seen in the following post from Tracy's Toys blog:
I've posted a number of bits in this blog about stupendously large and enormously small things, but it is infrequent to find the story of something made exceptionally large in a reduced world. Perhaps it is normal fare in the science fiction world, but I found the not-obvious but still-obvious making of a giant in microland to be, well, less than obvious.
There have been countless stories told of shrinking people, or the discovery of vastly small communities living withing a larger host community, and so on, like the following:
This is a story by Henry Hasse and it involves a great scientist and the his elixir called "Shrinx" which after it has been injected into his assistant shrinks the man immeasurably, so science-fictionally small, that he has passed through the microscomos and "subuniverses" to the point where he emerges on a primitive place called Earth. The assistant has traveled from a planet in a solar system revolving around a sun in a solar system in a galaxy in a universe to something small, something sub-atomic, landing in an electron holding within it its own universe.
And then there is this piece of magnificent ne plus ultra, where we remain in the microworld but where there are also micro-giants.
of Fantastic Novels (1921?) seems to tell a straightforward story, but as it turns out the giant is giant but one living within a world in an atom of a gold wedding ring.
Ray Cummings (1887-1957) found a nice writing niche for himself in his
fictional discovery of a drug that could make people as small as atoms
and then, once inside the microworld, could be made as immense as
micro-mountains. The Girl in the Golden Atom was one of a five-part trilogy(?)1 and
so far as I can tell, Cummings used the hell out of his original idea.
The prose reads like it is punctuated with invisible periods every
fifth word--evidently Cummings was so very busy writing 750
books and short stories that it left him little time to edit or, maybe,
It was a very nice surprise for me. That said, I can only imagine the giddiness and suspension of (dis-)belief when the mass market readership of Robert Hooke's Micrographia got a look for the first time on what the small creepy crawlies that lived around them looked like under magnification. Suddenly the blots and blotches took on real--and sometimes terrifying--forms. These were basically unseen during their long interactions with human beings, until, suddenly, Mr., Hooke made his investigations and put a face on the unseen microworld and shared it with the General Public.
"It is my hope, as well as belief, that
these my Labours will be no more comparable to the Productions of
many other Natural Philosophers, who are now every where busie about greater
things; then my little Objects are to be compar'd to the greater and
more beautiful Works of Nature, A Flea, a Mite, a Gnat, to an Horse, an
Elephant, or a Lyon" said Mr. Hooke
at the end of his 28-page preface to Micrographia in 1665.
[Mr. Hooke's drawing of his flea, in full and unexpected glory, with as much detail and armor as anything that had ever been imagined--only this thing was real, and common, and lived on you.]
It may have been a similar shock to those seeing these images for the first time as it was for people to see Galileo's images of the Moon, or to read him announcing that the perfect sky of Creation was actually not so, and that his telescope revealed ten-fold the number of stars that people could see with only their eyes, and which faith alone could not elaborate.
Yes, the incredible shrinking giant woman was a surprise but not on this order, not by a stretch--though it seems to be the world of science rather than scifi that has delivered the most shocking stories of the big and the small.
Q: What is the one sure thing that is very impressive about this publication by Mr. Rex Knight?
A: The 35-ring wire binding on a six-inch tall publication. There's not much to recommend itself to recommendation and memory.
[Perfection had better hurry up and get here given my own fast-short-sleep habits]
Mr. Knight had some ideas about sleep and well-being and achieving various states of normalcy and perfection, most of which had to do with waking up during hte night and staring at one of the many full-page neuro-demands which evidently were in direct confrontation with whatever it was in your head that was keeping you from success and strength and wealth and inspiration and self, combating "enslaving habits" and "lesser habits" by telling the brain what to do with the mind. Or something along those lines.
In any event, Mr. Knight tried something out and used a lot of wire to bind the really rather nice paper his effort was printed on, so Wake Up and Sleep had at least that going for it. Aside from that, his suggestions seem more disruptive and potentially rheumy-eyed more than anything else, waking you through the night to hand deliver messages to your sleeping and semi-enslaved brain to find its own appropriate "wave" to enrich your life. "The prize idea that you seek is in the air all around you", he writes. "Ether waves, mental waves, cosmic or whatever you choose to call them, are everywhere. All you are trying to do is to get tuned in on the right wave".
"Expect more and more of sleep" says Mr. Knight--at least that is one remedy that would sound good to almost everyone.
It is interesting to note that "Rex Knight" is very close to being "Rx Night". And "King of the Night".
Lastly, according to WorldCat, there is only one copy located in libraries worldwide--that at NYPL. My copy was from the copyright office/collection at the Library of Congress when it came to me in a Very Large Grouping (called with little imagination "The Pamphlet Collection") many years ago. It never was a hit for the libraries.
These lovely images are found in a long, shining and slightly darkroom-smelling The City of Light, which was a pamphlet made for the Consolidated Edison exhibition at the New York City World's Fair of 1939. Con Ed I think just wanted to get the point across that they saw into the future and were getting ready for it, NYC being stuffed to the gills with buildings and each window stuffed and outlined in Con Ed-supplied electric light. The vision is vaguely threatening to me, though, the buildings in a stadium-seating arrangement that is unsettling, like they're part of our robot-overlord future--someone or something must be living in those room filled with Con Ed light, though...
Thomas Wright (1711-1786) saw about as deeply into the deep as just about anyone else--he looked into the night sky and pretty much saw all of it. In his book, An Original Theory or New Hypothesis of the Universe, Founded upon the Laws of Nature1, he described a version of the universe that was influential in the thinking of Kant and Herschel, finding a rectangular/squashed "finite infinity" of stars, "a vast infinite Gulph, or
Medium, every Way extended like a Plane,
and inclosed between two Surfaces".
Our Milky Way, which at the time was thought to be the entire universe rather than a galaxy as it was later discovered to be--one galaxy in a seemingly endless sea of galaxies--was presciently seen by Wilkins as being but one assembly of stars in an "endless immensity" of stars:
"And farther since without any impiety; since
as the creation is, so is the Creator also magni-
fied, we may conclude in consequence of an in-
finity, and an infinite all-active power; that is
the visible creation is supposed to be full of si-
derial systems and planetay worlds, so on, in
like similar manner, the endless immensity is an
unlimited plenum of creations not unlike the
known Universe."--page 143. (Again, the "Universe" eferred to here is the Milky Way galaxy.)
Wright's vision of this plethora of Universes, in which each creation is one like the Milky Way--a radical thought in 1750:
[Part of me wants to include the first Wright engraving in this blog's series on the History of Lines, seeing as how they represent the great Something that seem to be infinitely binding the infinity of universes...]
Wright also writes on the minuteness of the human condition, of the perfect sense of nothingness that is the Earth in a sea of infinite possibilities of other earths and earthy creations, which was definitely an outpost of thinking in 1750:
"In this great celestial creation, the catastro-
phe of a world, such as ours, or even the to-
tal dissolution of a system of Worlds, may pos-
sibly be no more to the great author of nature,
than the most common accident in life with us,
and in all probability such final and general
doom-days may be as frequent there, as even
birth-days, or mortality with us upon the Earth.
This idea has something so cheerful in it, that
I own I can never look upon the Stars without
wondering why the whole world does not be-
come Astronomers; and that men endowed with
sense and reason, should neglect a science they
are naturally so much interested in, and so ca-
pable of enlarging the understanding, as next to
a demonstration, must convince them of their
immortality, and reconcile them to all those lit-
tle difficulties incident to human nature, with-
out the least anxiety."--page 132
1. The full title: An Original Theory or New Hypothesis of the Universe, Founded upon the Laws of Nature, and solving by Mathematical Principles the General Phenomena of the Visible Creation ; and particularly the Via Lactea. Comprised in Nine Familiar Letters from the Author to his Friend. And illustrated with upwards of thirty graven and mezzo-tinted Plates by the best Masters. London, MDCCL." Full test, here.
2. An odd note about Thomas Wright's personal history, from Science, 1902: "A word, in passing, about Wright. Like many another, so unfortunate as to live ere the
times were ripe, he has been consigned to unmerited oblivion. Even the writer of the entry upon him in the ' Dictionary of National Biography '—a work so uniformly accurate — is unaware of the sources from which information could have been obtained, and so has nothing to tell, — does not even know the dates of his birth and death, or why he was called 'of Durham."--[Science, N. S. Vol. XIII. No. 321. 2-22-1902
An interesting poem by Rafinesque to start of his edition of Wilkins:
"Where ends the range and limits have been set
To mortal eyes, there mental sight begins
To fathom space, and worlds invisible
The mind must feel that space can have no bound*,
Whatever number be of things or thoughts
Others may be beyond—and thus behind
The Nebulas and Belts, our Galaxies
Of stormy clouds and oceans
There stands the central land and throne
Of our wide Universe, the home of Angels,
The seat of Love Divine"
Rafinesque, Poem on Instability, found at the beginning of Rafinesque's 1837 American edition of Wright's 1750 work.
Hermann Plauson, a German engineer and director Fischer-Tropsch Otto Traun Research Laboratories of Hamburg, Germany (in the 1920's) built on an idea of N. Tesla to "convert alternating radiant static electricity into rectified continuous current pulses". It was an expansive idea of at least artistic merit, as seen in his patent application (below) and visualization of the completed installation.
"For many years electrical engineers have endeavored to devise some means whereby it would become possible to utilize the free electrical energy ever present in the atmosphere, but they were not successful, as every now and then an extra heavy surge of static current would rush down the elevated conductor and endanger the lives of the experimenters, or else destroy the apparatus connected with it. A German engineer has, however, devised the somewhat elaborate scheme here shown in brief, and he has succeeded, at least so his report states, in safely extracting several kilowatts of electrical power from the atmosphere with metallic surfaced balloons, elevated to a height of only 1000 feet."--Hugo Gernsback, "Power from the Air (II)", in Science & Invention, March 1922.
Adolf Ehrt (1902-1973) was a twice-born Nazi who in 1935 let
his 3-year membership in the party lapse so that he could do better work for
Hitler from the “outside”.In short, and
to skirt some very interesting detail (over which I really don’t have much
expertise), Ehrt felt that there was too much influence from the Church and government
sources to fuel his unrequited need for purity in the party.
Ehrt wrote this anti-Communist propaganda (Der Weltbolschewismus ein internationales
Gemeinschaftswerk über die bolschewistische Wühlarbeit und die Umsturtzversuche
der Komitern in allen Ländern) from an imaginary perch in something called
the Anti-Kominetern, but was really nothing more than an arm of the Nazi party.Appearing in Leipzig
in 1936, this book savaged communism, communists and the Soviet
Union to no end.I own a copy of the book because it is an interesting document and speaks to its period, and also has
hundreds of unusual photos, giving it a documentary appeal.What I noticed just recently though was a map
on part of page 481 in the weirdly skimpy section on the Soviet Union—a reproduction
of a French map showing the distribution of concentration camps in the USSR.I cannot remember seeing such a map in
English during this time period. (The forced labor camps are referenced in the map as "concentration camps", though in th eSoviet Union they were known by the acronym "Gulag", which stood for Glavnoe Upravlenie ispravitel’no-trudovykh LAGerei, or "Main Administration of Corrective Labor Camps".)
A more modern mapping of the Gulag system (for the period 1923-1961):
Ehrt was a Nazi painting with broad historical/Nazi strokes
across a Communist canvas, and did get a lot of stuff right in his attacks; but
considering the source his book is useless except for its pictures.The USSR was a wicked place to be at this time for millions and millions of people, the
bestial Joseph Stalin busy killing hundreds of thousands, imprisoning more—but
this was in general not the story reaching folks in the United States.
That this French map (source not given) showed two dozen or so concentration
camps (Gulags, work camps) is remarkable; and of course it is just the tip of
the Gulag system iceberg.It was at
least a start. It was also just the beginning of a particularly nasty period
for the Russian people, who staggered under the weight of an edict called Article
581 that sent millions of people to their doom.This map was also published just before the Great Terror2, a
spectacularly bad war of internal doom that tore millions from their homes and
hundreds of thousands from the
The map, rare as it is in appearance and sentiment,
seriously underestimated the extent of the barbaric Soviet existence of the
1. “One can find more epithets in praise of this
article than Turgenev once
assembled to praise the Russian language,
or Nekrasov to
praise Mother Russia: great, powerful, abundant, highly ramified, multiform,
wide sweeping 58, which summed up the world not so much through the exact terms
of its sections as in their extended diacritical interpretation.Who among us has not experienced its
all-encompassing embrace? In all Truth, there is no step, thought, action, or
lack of action under the heavens which could not be punished by the heavy hand
of Article 58” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,
The Gulag ArchipelagoSee "Article 58" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_58
2. NKVD Order no. 00447, 1937, directed against
and other "anti-Soviet elements" (such as former officials of the Tsarist regime,
former members of political parties other than the communist party, etc.)See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_PurgeGenerally, any unfriendly could be uprooted and shot or sent off to Siberia. .The operative made it easy for local justice
units to identify trouble makers and shoot them.
This is a detail from an image of great hope lost. Here's the full picture, one of many, one of hundreds similar to it:
is a letter from a woman named Emma Hauck (1878-1920), a "pateint", a committed
person, in an asylum for the "fatally" insane; a schizophrenic, an
incurable who simply wanted to go home. She was not insane enough to not
know where she was, not insane enough to not want to get out, not insane
enough to know that she was in desperate straights, not insane enough
to try to get some help. Emma Hauck wrote letters to her husband,
Michael (father of her two children) after her second and last commitment, beginning in 1909. Mostly the letters were composed of single words (like "kommen,
kommen", "come/come") or simple phrases ("Herzensschatzi komm" or "sweetheart/come")
written concisely and tightly, over and over again, layers of
kommen/kommen, so many that there is a geology of letters, though there
is no geologist.
The images appear in the book and collection of psychiatrist and art historian Hans Prinzhorn (1886-1933), in his Bildnerei der Geisteskranken: ein Beitrag zur Psychologie und Psychopathologie der Gestaltung1,
which was published in Berlin in 1922. Prinzhorn was among the first
in his profession to study the art of the insane, and to use it in
diagnosis. In the meantime, over dozens of years, he accummulated a
collection of thousands of works of art (many coming when he was an
assistant to Karl Wilmanns at the psychiatric hospital of the University of Heidelberg), most of which are housed today in the Sammlung Prnzhorn (UniversitätsKlinikum Heidelberg, here).
Emma Hauck's letters were never sent. I think it is unclear whether they were not sent because the institution in which she was confined did not mail them, or if she simply did not actually try to send them.
A very distrubing short experimental film was made by the Brothers Quay in the U.K. featuring Hauk's letters (complicated and viscerakized by a very grating Stockhausen soundtrack), which is located here.
1. The English translation of this work: Hans Prinzhorn, Artistry of the mentally ill: a contribution to the psychology and psychopathology of configuration,
translated by Eric von Brockdorff from the second German edition, with
an introduction by James L. Foy, (Wien, New York: Springer-Verlag),
It was a curious thing to find, these engraved images of Egyptian dance and movement, seeming for all the world like motion shorthand, a sort of antiquarian Labanotation or kinetography. They appear in the stray atlas volume here by Juste Adrien Lenoir de La Fage (1801-1862), Histoire Generale de la Musique et de la Danse, which was published in Paris in 1844. I imagine that this is a surprise mostly to me--the Egyptians certainly knew that tey danced, and from the looks of it, they danced with athleticism.
Most of the surprise part of this--the opening the book and having a sense of the "aha!" and deja vue-- were these images' association in my head with the work of the motion picture pioneer and all-around smart guy, Etienne Marey, who in the 1870's created what was essentially the
world's first "slow motion" device. One iteration of Marey's apparatus
was basically a long series of ganged cameras recording a motion for a
simple task at a given time frame and presented on a continuous strip
of photographic paper, sort of like a motion picture with the camera
speed set at three frames per second. The resulting images were
phenomenal and showed people for the first time the exactness of all
manners of simple motions--motions that no longer looked so "simple"
once all of its aspects could be studied from captured photographic
evidence. Even the act of hopping over a small stool or bending to pick
up a bucket of water were enormously revealing in a way like Robert
Hooke's Micrographia displayed the great detail and complexity
of the seemingly simple fly. Perhaps the most famous of Marey's series
of images was that of a galloping horse, which also for the first time
revealed what exactly the horse's legs were doing and proving that
almost every painter in the history of art represented the galloping
horse incorrectly. His series of photographs (as in the samples above and below)
show a fairly close fit to the work of the futurists (like for example
Duchamp) who would come into being after another four decades.
But the la Fage comes earlier still--granted, they are engravings, and they don't necessarily all show a progression of movement, though some of them do--but it makes them very interesting in a capturing-the-moment way like few people had done before.
interesting and somewhat futuro-paleo 1944 pamphlet combines two modern interests in one package: Green’s Ready-Built Homes Present the Solar Home
presented both a prefabricated, well-designed house that was also passive solar
friendly. The former is a long-established architectural state of achievement; the later, not so--at least on a popular, let's-have-everyone-own-one level. The architect and engineer was
George Fred Keck (1895-1980) , a true modernist, and designer of one of
the twelve “Homes of the Future” for the Chicago “Century of Progress" World’s Fair in 1933--this effort (which is also the copyright deposit copy) was published in 1944.
Soalr panels such as we have known them over the last few decades were not available back in 1944. The “solar home” that he offered here used seasonal variations and house
location to regulate heating/cooling, glazing and siding, air movement, and the
storage of thermal energy in building materials—mostly, there were lots and
lots of transfer-friendly double-paned windows, all of which were
forward-thinking ideas for 1944.In
addition the house was prefabricated, making construction easier, simpler, and
quicker than any of the stick-built houses being constructed at that time.There was also an impetus for quick, good
construction given the housing shortage caused by the returning WWII veterans.
The prefab idea was also a relatively new one in architecture—though there are
instances of bits and pieces of prefab architecture reaching back hundreds of
years, the first earnest attempts at providing such housing on a mass scale
dates only to the 1920’s. In any event, the double-effort here was a fairly early effort at combining these two ideas--and certainly something that seems to have been about 60 years too early.
Nothing exceeds like excess, and the excessful is not often successful. Victor Lougheed saw this in the first decade of powered heavier-than-air flight in a homey and sensible article in Popular Mechanics in 1912. He had a nice touch in trying to reign-in the impossible stuff that was happening in imagining flight, saying "it is safe to give to fancy only when fact is far away"--and that imagination is perfectly fine, but now that "human flight is a thing accomplished" that the issue of future aircraft should be one of engineering. Thinking big is fine just so long as you have those tools in the box.
Lougheed offers the above illustration as an example of big-and-bad thinking, though he unfortunately does not credit the thinker or the artist. Too bad--it would have made a nice follow-up. That said, as a casual reader in early flight I have rarely seen someone taking on what are clear excesses of expectation--Lougheed is an interesting exception.
He does go on to give an example of possibly-flyable future aircraft and presents the remarkable New Antoinette--a fantastic and prescient design for a plane only nine years removed from the Wrights' flight, a streamlined monoplane that seems to come from reasonable future, which it sort-of does. This plane evidently was too heavy for the 100-h.p.engine, but the engineering was at least definitely "there".
Here's a very long and very illustrated thumbnail site for French pre-WWI aircraft: http://flyingmachines.ru/Site2/Arts/Art4743.htm