History

Section



Design History

A Glass Floor in a New Dublin Grocery Opens a Window to Medieval Viking History

October 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

Embedded in the architecture of a new Lidl store in Dublin is a glass floor that allows shoppers to peer down into medieval history. During the supermarket’s construction, archaeologists discovered a 1,000-year-old home of Hiberno-Norse Dubliners, who were ancestors to the Vikings, in addition to a 13th-century wine jug and the below-stage trap of the former Aungier Street Theatre. Rather than excavate the items and build on top of the site, covering the ruins, the store installed glass flooring that provides shoppers with a literal window into local history. (via Twisted Sifter)

 

 

 



History Photography

No Memory Is Ever Alone: A Photographer Reimagines Family Moments Using Her Dad's Old Slides

October 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Catherine Panebianco, shared with permission

Jamestown, New York-based photographer Catherine Panebianco compresses the space between family memories and her life at present through her series, No Memory Is Ever Alone. The moving collection features vast landscapes and unoccupied rooms with Panebianco’s continued intervention: in each shot, she holds up a photographic slide of her family in a similar location, juxtaposing the decades-old visual against a current-day backdrop.

Beyond capturing loved ones in moments of joy—many feature her mother, who died in recent years—the film reminds Panebianco of a holiday tradition. Her dad “used to bring out a box of slides that he photographed in his late teens and early 20s every Christmas and made us view them on an old projector on our living room wall telling the same stories every year,” she writes in a statement. “It was a consistent memory from a childhood where we moved a lot and I never felt like I had a steady “place” to live and create memories.” Imbued with nostalgia, the new images bind the threads of family memory and tradition with the histories of her parent’s lives and now, her own.

Panebianco chose to recreate each shot manually rather than using Photoshop to place one on top of the other. “Part of the process that was necessary for me was to find the right location and feel my dad’s slides united with how I live today—a place within a place, a memory within a memory,” she says.

See more of the shots in No Memory Is Ever Alone on Panebianco’s site and Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 

 



Art History

Archaeologists Unearth a Nearly 2,000-Year-Old Cat Geoglyph Lounging on a Peruvian Hillside

October 20, 2020

Grace Ebert

A new discovery on the side of the Mirador Natural Hill in Peru reveals that common feline activities—namely sprawling out in the most comfortable position—have remained relatively stable throughout the last 2,000 years. This week, archaeologists unearthed a 120-foot-wide etching of a cat at the Nazca Lines site in Peru, which is home to a series of geoglyphs depicting a spider, monkey, hummingbird, whale, and fish. The feline rendering dates back to the Late Paracas period between 200-100 BC, making it the oldest in the area.

With bulbous eyes and a striped tail, the now-faded creature was created by stripping the top layers of soil to reveal the lighter-colored bedrock beneath, with lines ranging from 12 to 16 inches thick. “The figure was barely visible and was about to disappear due to its location on a fairly steep slope and the effects of natural erosion,” the Peruvian Ministry of Culture said in a release.

The area is located in the Nazca Desert, which is about 250 miles south of Lima, and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Although the cat predates Nazca culture—according to the ministry, feline renderings were common in Paracus society and found on textiles, ceramics, and other iconographic objects—similar prehistoric drawings influenced many of the geoglyphs found at the Nazca Lines site. (via Gizmodo)

 

 



Documentary Food History

Immerse Yourself in the Luxurious Process of Artisan Butter Making at a French Shop

October 9, 2020

Grace Ebert

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better pairing for the flood of sourdough loaves baked in recent months than a pat of butter, and perhaps a tour of Le Beurre Bordier will inspire the next craze for ambitious home cooks. Claudia Romeo, a journalist with Food Insider, meets with artisan Jean-Yves Bordier to document the processes of French butter making at the Bordeaux shop, revealing the slow and luxurious methods of manufacturing the milky staple.

Le Beurre Bordier is dedicated to 19th-century practices, including using a wooden malaxage, a large grooved wheel, to churn the substance and extract excess water. Workers knead the butter by hand, constantly slicing it with their fingers and turning it over and over, before shaping it into miniature cones and stamped cylinders. The entire process is measured and manual, similar to the laborious nature of baking bread from scratch.

For more of Food Insider’s deep dives into global food culture, head to YouTube.

 

 

 

 



History Photography

A Colorized Snowball Fight from 1896 Shows Not Much Has Changed in the Art of Winter Warfare

October 8, 2020

Grace Ebert

A short clip, originally captured by Louis Lumière in 1896, documents a rowdy snowball fight on the streets of Lyon, France. Thanks to Saint-Petersburg, Russia-based Dmitriy Badin, who used a combination of the open-source software DeOldify and his own specially-designed algorithms to upscale and colorize the historic footage, the video of the winter pastime is incredibly clear, revealing facial features and details on garments.

Badin applied a similar method—which involves a lengthy process of removing duplicate frames, adjusting brightness and contrast, and manually correcting color—to clips from cities around the world, many of which you can find on YouTube. You also might enjoy this flying train ride through a German village in 1902. (via Twisted Sifter)

Update: A previous version of this article incorrectly cited Barcelona-based Joaquim Campa as the creator of the colorized footage.

 

 

 



History Photography

Eerie Photographs Reveal the Unseen Ruins of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in a New Book

October 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

A tame fox poses in front of the sign pointing the way to Pripyat from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. All images © Darmon Richter/FUEL Publishing, shared with permission

After embarking on both permitted and illegal ventures into the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, British writer and photographer Darmon Richter was able to document the ghostly ruins and abandoned structures throughout the hazardous region. He captures eerie Cold War-era relics in a series of mysterious photographs, including a paint-curling mural venerating Soviet heroes and the room where the initial malfunction, which decimated an area now part of Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia, occurred in 1986. Decades later, the nuclear disaster still is considered one of the worst catastrophes throughout history.

Published by FUEL, Chernobyl: A Stalkers’ Guide encompasses Richter’s unprecedented access to the mysterious zone in its 248 pages. The volume is available from the publisher or for pre-order on Bookshop. Keep up with Richter’s travels on Instagram, and check out his blog for further dives into abandoned history. (via Hyperallergic)

 

Control Room 4, the room where the 1986 disaster originated. Now stripped of many of its fittings and cleaned of dust, it has been declared safe for visitors. Since autumn 2019, the power plant authorities have included it on official tours.

Mural on a residential building, Heroes of Stalingrad Street, Pripyat. This Socialist-realist mural depicts virtuous citizens (a farmer, a firefighter, a police officer, and a Young Pioneer) under a radiant Soviet crest.

Control Room 3, Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. This room and the associated Reactor 3 remained in use until 1995 when they were put out of service following an agreement with the EU. Now, along with Reactors 1 and 2, it is undergoing a decommissioning process.

202: Control Room 3. The top left of these cube-shaped shielded buttons marked A3-5 – or ‘AZ-5’ – was the ‘scram’ kill switch. This manually operated control would immediately terminate the fission reaction by inserting all the control rods at once. In neighboring Control Room 4, on 26 April 1986 at 1.23.40 a.m., this switch was flicked and a malfunction occurred, causing the meltdown.

Post Office, Pripyat. The mural illustrates the evolution of communication, from stone tablets and scrolls, to mail trains and finally a Soviet cosmonaut.

Izumrudniy’ (‘Emerald’) Holiday Camp, near Chornobyl. Once a popular spot for summer holiday breaks, these rustic wooden chalets, painted with characters from cartoons and fairy tales, were completely destroyed by forest fires in April 2020.

Kindergarten No.7 ‘Zolotoy Klyuchik’ (‘Golden Key’), Pripyat. Discarded artifacts are arranged into unlikely dioramas by visitors.

Abandoned trolleybus, Kopachi, Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. This highly contaminated village was mostly bulldozed after the disaster. In April 2020 this vehicle was severely damaged by forest fires.