Monday, August 22, 2011

Brick Moon

The Pageos Satelloon (ca 1966); Piranesi, Carceri (ca 1750)

The other day I found a copy of Arthur C. Clarke's 1968 edition of The Promise of Space one of my neighbors had thoughtfully placed on his stoop along with a collection of equally ancient self help books. In it there is a spectacular image of the "Pageos satellite" and a brief description that I had been planing to email to my satellooon loving friend Greg Allen
For simplicity it would be hard to beat the "balloon" satellites, of which the Echo 1 was the first and most famous. On June 24, 1966, NASA launched singularly perfect specimen, the 100-foot-diameter Pageos, which looks like a giant highly polished ball bearing. Made of Mylar film 0.0005 inch thick, Pageos weighed only 120 pounds and when inflated in orbit was half a million times larger than the canister into which it had been skillfully packed. Moving in a polar orbit at an altitude of 2600 miles it is easily visible to the naked eye.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Kitchen of the Future: Meatspace

Norman Rockwell, Freedom From Want (1950); Jennifer Rubell (2011)

Most often, when the word 'modern" is used in a generic lower-case sense - i.e. modern warfare, modern aeronautics, modern audiences - it is being used in one of two ways; either to mean 'best practices' or 'early adopter.' At the moment modern cuisine is most strongly associated with the best practices of locovore organics championed by the Californian school of Alice Waters' Chez Panise; the minimalism of Mark Bittman; and the fundamentalism of Michael Pollan. The early adopter equivalent to the haute cuisine of Chez Panise and Bittman's minimalism are the 'molecular gastronomy' of Ferran Adria's ElBulli and Wylie Dufresne's WD-50. These chefs use the techniques of industrial food scientists at an artisanal scale. The alternative to Pollan are the industrial food scientists themselves. While Pollan urges us to eat only things our grandmothers would recognize as food, these early adopters, high and low, point to a future of food as removed from your grandmother's kitchen as conceptual art is from a Norman Rockwell painting.