Written by

Chris Gonzales


Dan Winters

Welcome to this week’s edition of our Friday Quality Linkage column. Please enjoy this week’s collection of interesting and entertaining links. Brew a fresh cup of coffee, find a comfortable place, and relax.

* * *

Photo: Dan Winters, New York Magazine

Photo: Dan Winters, New York Magazine

Hope, and What Came After: 8 Years in Obama’s America »

[Some of the photos at this link are NSFW for nudity. —Ed.]

Earlier this week, New York Magazine published an enormous timeline of Barack Obama’s presidency, with contributions by Obama himself and “60 other protagonists and observers”:

More than “hope,” Obama’s candidacy promised “one America.” It is the deep irony of his presidency, and for Obama himself probably the tragedy, that the past eight years saw the country fiercely divided against itself. The president still managed to get a ridiculous amount done, advancing an unusually progressive agenda. But however Americans end up remembering the Obama years decades from now, one thing we can say for sure is that it did not feel, at the time, like an unmitigated liberal triumph. It felt like a cold civil war.

Or a never-breaking political fever. There was the tea-party rage and Occupy Wall Street. Every other week, it seemed, a new shooting. Each movement was met by a countermovement, and yet, somehow, both the left and the right were invigorated, watched over by a president marked so deeply by temperamental centrism even his supporters called him Spock. Whether you noticed or not, our culture was shaken to its core. There was a whole new civil-rights era, both for those whose skin color and for those whose love was long met by prejudice. The first iPhone was released during the 2008 campaign. We got our news from Facebook, debated consent, and took down Bill Cosby. Elon Musk built a spaceship to Mars.

You’ll want to set some time aside (and brew lots of coffee) for this one. It’s beautifully organized and very thorough. It also shows that Obama got a lot more done in eight years than people give him credit for.

Photo: Emilio Morenatti, Associated Press

Photo: Emilio Morenatti, Associated Press

Photo: Emilio Morenatti, Associated Press

Photo: Emilio Morenatti, Associated Press

Teams Compete in Spain to Build Tallest Human Tower »

Associated Press photographer Emilio Morenatti recently published this awesome gallery from the 26th Human Tower Competition in Tarragona, Spain:

The tradition of building human towers, or Castells, dates back to the 18th century and takes place during festivals in Catalonia, where “colles”, or teams, compete to build the tallest and most complicated towers.

The structure of the castells varies depending on their complexity. A castell is considered completely successful when it is loaded and unloaded without falling apart. The highest castell in history was a 10 floor structure with 3 people in each floor. In 2010, castells were declared by UNESCO one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

This is something I’d like to see in person someday. Wow.

How One Woman Photographed Every Library in New York »

Love this photography project, with photo excerpts curated by Catherine Talese and Rachel Cobb of Literary Hub (I’ve added links in the following blockquote for your convenience):

When architectural photographer Elizabeth Felicella was not working for clients, she spent her free time photographing all 210 branches of New York City’s Public Library system. Five years later, the resulting work, [Reading Room: A Catalog of New York City’s Branch Libraries], is essentially an enormous catalog of over 2,000 negatives covering libraries in all five boroughs. We chose some of our favorites to feature below…

“Cadmium” by Pinegrove (Audiotree Live) »

Lately I’ve been digging this live performance of “Cadmium” by New Jersey indie rock band Pinegrove. It’s a bit of a slow burn at first, but starts to pick up around the 1:26 mark, and the way he sings at 2:54 gets me every time.

What’s cool about these Audiotree Live live sessions (most of which are terrific) is that they get released for purchase/streaming on various platforms. For example, here’s where you can find the entire Pinegrove session:


Village Life in China »

Back in mid-September, Kevin Kelly — of Wired and Cool Tools fame, and so much more — shared these incredible photos of his then-recent visit to rural China:

I’m just back from another few weeks in rural China. I visited Guilin and south-west China, particular the Tea-Horse Road connecting the tea growing areas of Yunnan with the horse breeding grounds of Tibet. I also visited the last undammed river in China, the Nujiang along the Myanmar (Burma) border. Here are some of my favorite photos that focus on the disappearing culture of that area.

Cursed Images »

I’ve become increasingly fascinated by the @cursedimages Twitter account, which started in July and whose sole purpose is to tweet a steady stream of photos that are creepy, sinister, or flat-out weird, but in a funny way. There’s nothing outright horrifying or gory or anything; just a steady, hilarious stream of “WTF?”

I’d say the feed is generally safe for work, but some of the photos will earn you strange looks from people around you if they happen to eavesdrop. Maybe save it for when you’re at home later.

Illustration: Jamie Jones

Illustration: Jamie Jones

The Perils of Letting Clients Go Behind the Curtain »

Daniel Benneworth-Gray wrote this amusing piece for Creative Review about why artists/designers should never send raw, unfinished work to clients:

I worry that my designing will sully the client’s perception of the design. They already like it, but if they see how it’s constructed, what then? You don’t want to think about how a scotch egg is made while you’re eating a scotch egg. The scotch egg is delicious. Don’t think about the scotch egg. Don’t look at the scotch egg. Don’t contemplate how the scotch egg’s various layers are in fact an affront to everything good and pure in the universe. Just eat the scotch egg.

* * *

Got any suggestions for articles, videos, stories, photographs, and any other links you think we should be posting in our weekly Quality Linkage? Please do let us know on Twitter.