Friday, 19 December 2014

everybody looks the same

Image ]
Dutch photographer Hans Eijkelboom captures the universal anti-style of pedestrians around the world.

Record Store Day and the return of vinyl

Thursday, 18 December 2014

The rise of the essay

Monday, 15 December 2014

return of books and bookshops

Saturday, 15 November 2014

The Self-Repair Manifesto

from ifixit

True Fiction

In 20,000 Days on Earth, Nick Cave plays Nick Cave in a fictionalised documentary of a day in the life that takes in a trip to his therapist, lunch with bandmate Warren Ellis, drives around Brighton with Kylie and Ray Winstone and a gig at the Sydney Opera House.

The Possibilities are Endless is a documentary of the true story of how Edwin Collins suffered a stroke that almost killed him and how his partner Grace Maxwell helped him recover.  Edwin’s son plays him in re-enactments, some of which are beautifully realised expressions of how Edwin felt, lost at sea, drowning in black water.

Pulse Productions, who are behind both films, specialise in films about music and musicians.  Both films are part reality, part imagination, much like the best songs.  Like Madonna says of her lyrics, “I’m constantly inventing scenarios that are a combination of something I know and something I imagine. “

A couple of years ago the American writer David Shields wrote Reality Hunger, a collage book of insights, excerpts and quotes about how reality rather than fiction was driving much contemporary art and music, especially hip hop. Shields couldn’t bear to read novels anymore as he felt there was no truth in them.

Both these movies are about truth and what truth feels like.

From Wikipedia: "In Vanity Fair, Elissa Schappell called Reality Hunger "a rousing call to arms for all artists to reject the laws governing appropriation, obliterate the boundaries between fiction and nonfiction, and give rise to a new modern form for a new century.""

Both these films are part of that new form.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

consumers or citizens

Epic Thread tells the story of a girl who decides to find out how her T-shirt was made by following a loose thread first back to the factory where it was made and then to the farm where the cotton was grown.  Along the way she discovers that no child labour was involved in its production and that it was grown in a sustainable way.

It is a very modern parable that taps into a growing trend towards more socially aware consumer behaviour.

In Authentic Brands: from Transparency to Full Disclosure,Authentic Brands: from Transparency to Full Disclosure, Fernley and Beattie found that around the world brand transparency is now more persuasive than brand status as people are motivated more by how a brand behaves than its perceived status.  A luxury brand sourcing from sweatshops is less attractive than a brand with better practices.

People are changing.  They are becoming investigative consumers, curious about the politics around the things they spend their money on and the real world behaviour of the companies behind the brands.  They are not blithely accepting the traditional sources that inform brand choice – advertising, reviews, celebrity endorsement etc.  They are digging around themselves and asking friends or others sources they trust.

In Kill the Consumer, Jon Alexander shows the positive effect of people adopting the label “citizen” rather than “consumer”.  One study took a sample of people and asked half to fill in something called the Consumer Reaction Study and the other half to do the same for a Citizen Reaction Study.  The questions were the same but the “citizens” cared more about society and the environment. 

Meanwhile, Andy Wheatley thinks it is time for brand owners and advertising agencies to start encouraging citizen behaviour.  He argues brands, as a powerful global force, could make a massive difference if they encouraged citizen rather than consumer behaviour.

Ultimately, it will be people themselves who decide whether they are looking at life through the filter of one label or another.  Since the defining event of the great crash, more and more people have been adopting a less wasteful, destructive and reckless lifestyle.  They have paid off debt rather than racking it up; they buy local and value quality and craftsmanship in everything from clothes to beer and coffee.  Some brands picked up on this quickly and some bigger ones were slower, but there doesn’t seem to be any return to pre-crash bling consumerism.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Scottish independence and the rise of the small nation

The Catalan estelada and the Scottish saltire

"The symbolism, again, was clear – small nations of feisty people, fed up with remote elites, should stick together and disrupt the global order."

Paul Mason in the Guardian:

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

where are all the aliens?

Why haven't we met any aliens?  According to Geoffrey Miller:

"Basically, I think the aliens don’t blow themselves up; they just get addicted to computer games. They forget to send radio signals or colonize space because they’re too busy with runaway consumerism and virtual-reality narcissism. They don’t need Sentinels to enslave them in a Matrix; they do it to themselves, just as we are doing today."

From Seed Magazine:

And referred to in the engrossing End of Absence.