3 min read

disappearing acts

places, trades, and styles from the past, and how we remix and reengage with it
disappearing acts

I just found out about the Anata no Warehouse right as it is closing, so please join me in mourning this video game arcade that was built to look like it’s part of the Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong.

On the other side of the world, I am captivated by the Cape Romano Dome Home, now abandoned and sinking into the sea:

Originally built on a spit of sand and intended to be self-sustaining (solar panels, the works), eventually the shoreline eroded away from beneath it (the poles were originally to account for potential high tides). Here’s a shot of the house on land when it was first built—it’s now 180 feet offshore.

House and Garden toured the factory of Les Passementeries de l’île de France, one of the last tassel-making workshops in France left open (90 years later!) and I am fascinated to see how even tassels are subject to shifting tastes (emphasis mine):

“Thankfully, having moved on from the bland Noughties, we are seeing significant increases in our trimming sales year on year…”

Another dying (or at least diminishing) trade is that of making glass eyes, and the Wellcome Collection interviewed the last glass-eyemaker in the UK. I have to say, until I read this, I had no idea that glass eyes were blown.

I’ve seen a few examples of brooches of Halley’s comet, but never so many in one place, and thank you to one of my new fave newsletters, Dearest, I have! (Heartily recommend a follow if you love olde tyme jewelry) Also love that she pointed out the difference in the c. 1835 versions (top) vs. the c. 1910 versions (bottom) and how the style evolves:

To that end: Is there anyone out there keeping track of the weird stuff we send into space? (Yes). I feel like the one that stresses me out the most is the copy of War of the Worlds that we sent to Mars (!)

Taking a journey in the uncanny valley: The Wall Street Journal tried to create hedcuts digitally, with monstrous results.

…and someone made a…thing (machine learning language is beyond me) that generates random beetles, based on old beetle engravings:

I love California Sunday because they do these incredible deep dives into things (they did that great piece on water & almonds in California) and this new piece on a new apple that’s being created, the Cosmic Crisp (or just WA 38, for the non-trademarked name) is just as good, taking us through the realities of what it means to grow apples in a world when it takes 20+ years to see new varieties and how hybrids combine the best taste + longevity to create the best apple for the market.

Also this is great (Red Delicious is garbage)

For years, the industry resisted Barritt’s efforts to even start a breeding program. When he stood up at the annual meeting of the state horticultural association and announced that Red Delicious was an obsolete apple, the crowd booed.

Did I find the Cosmic Crisp in my supermarket after reading this piece, and purchased at ate it? Reader, it was delicious.