The plague was abroad.
Londoners knew not where it had come from, only that it was upon Holland. “It was brought, some said from Italy, others from the Levant, among some goods which were brought home by their Turkey fleet; others said it was brought from Candia; others from Cyprus,” Daniel Defoe wrote in the opening of his historical novel, A Journal of the Plague Year.
On the very first page of his book, Defoe signals that information ecology will be a key subtext (emphasis added).
We had no such thing as printed newspapers in those days to spread rumours and reports of things, and to improve them by the invention of men, as I have lived to see practised since. But such things as these were gathered from the letters of merchants and others who corresponded abroad, and from them was handed about by word of mouth only; so that things did not spread instantly over the whole nation, as they do now.
— Alexis Madrigal (via criminalwisdom)
I was thinking the other day about how there aren’t songs anymore with found-audio samples from interviews, like “Little Fluffy Clouds.” It was such a thing in the 90s, and now it’s not. What happened? If anything, it’s become easier to find these sorts of things. And I think that’s precisely the problem. Before, these snippets were rare, passed around on cassettes or bought as secondhand records at flea markets. But now, almost any interesting moment from media in the past lives on YouTube, and everyone has access to them. If you put them in a song, the listener hears someone playing a YouTube clip, not the sounds themselves. In the 90s, though, they would be hearing the obscurity, the rarity, the unexpectedness. The clip functioned as a signal of something ephemeral and therefore magic captured and preserved by an audio connoisseur. Now, however, it’s just another banal aspect of everyday life. You might as well put the audio from “David After Dentist” on your electro track. And you can do that, of course - but it will mean something very different now than it did then.
— Mike Barthel
What if we could receive real-time feedback on our social interactions? Would unbiased third party monitors be better suited to interpret situations and make decisions for the parties involved? How might augmenting our experience help us become more aware in our relationships, shift us out of normal patterns, and open us to unexpected possibilities? I am developing a system like this for myself using Amazon Mechanical Turk. During a series of dates with new people I meet on the internet, I will stream the interaction to the web using an iPhone app. Turk workers will be paid to watch the stream, interpret what is happening, and offer feedback as to what I should do or say next. This feedback will be communicated to me via text message.
— Lauren McCarthy (via newaesthetic)
8:45 am • 6 February 2013 • 12 notes • View comments
Geolocation: Maritimes : Larson & Shindelman
Photographers Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman use Twitter as a location scout for their haunting, beautiful images. The two artists scan the social network for tweets with location information embedded but no picture, head to those locations to shoot, then caption each photograph with the tweet’s original text. If the photographs weren’t so good, the concept might come off as gimmicky. But in the hands of Larson and Shindelman, it is anything but–their images, always free of people, capture the loneliness and dread that underscores much of our online communication.
— Andy Cush (via Andrew Sullivan)
…It was a challenge to choose between these photos.
3:46 pm • 19 January 2013 • 5 notes • View comments
“CAPTCHA Poems 1, 2”
It’s something like the opposite of ‘concrete poetry.’
8:17 pm • 16 January 2013 • 42 notes • View comments
Yo La Tengo - Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House
I only have so many tropes, you know? I could sit here and write about sodium-vapor street lights and fog and AM radio, or I could follow the old dictum of “show, don’t tell.”
11:27 pm • 12 January 2013 • 62 notes • View comments
“And this room—she calls it her “crazy archive”—is a key part of that, she will explain, so, “you know, I can always say, ‘I want that interview I did for GQ,’ and we can find it.” And indeed, she will be able to find it, because the room in which you are sitting is rigged with a camera and microphone that is capturing not just her every utterance but yours as well. These are the ground rules: Before you get to see Beyoncé, you must first agree to live forever in her archive, too.”
— Bey is a camgirl (via melissa)
6:33 pm • 10 January 2013 • 47 notes • View comments
What is it that makes the “artselfie” so irresistible? Are we (the great unwashed “we,” of course—not the royal form) simply conditioned by our devices (our selves!) to behave as such
in public? Or is it simply a matter of proof of occupation or ownership, as the photograph has always enabled us to have and to hold a given person, thing, or moment? Here, I believe that the question is one of perceived value: A person who not only photographs themselves reflected in a Nam June Paik sculpture using Instagram, but deliberately tags that photo with the hashtag #artselfie
knowing that it will be subsequently featured on Dis
and blogged across Tumblr has a functional understanding of how cultural capital circulates in a networked world—whether they actively realize as much or not.
Do you ever wonder why commercial galleries rarely prohibit photography? Or why some museums refuse to allow it? What’s the behavioral boundary between promotion and transgression?
Me and Watching Buddha #artselfie #namjunepaik — by @tweendaze
(Source: artselfie, via forwardretreat)
7:24 pm • 9 January 2013 • 4 notes • View comments
"On the Empress’s Mind" by John Ashbury
"In a poem, John Ashbery says let’s build a bureaucracy. And supplies, at least at first, something of a recipe." — @alfilreis
7:42 pm • 5 January 2013 • 19 notes • View comments
Eye of Time brooch by Salvador Dalí.
A clock can be discerned inside the eye. Speaking of this particular piece, created with diamonds, rubies and platinum, Dalí used to say: “one cannot flee from time, nor change it. The eye sees the present and the future”.
"In 1981 the collection was acquired by a Saudi multimillionaire, and later by three Japanese entities, the last of which agreed to sell it to the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation…" More here.
3:40 am • 29 December 2012 • 1,312 notes • View comments
Abstract Season Changes
Google is constantly updating the images and interface, and sometimes satellite photos of the same landscape are captured during different times of year and stitched together. The effect is to view, for instance, a mountaintop simultaneously in summer and winter, with one slope covered in snowfall and the other baked by the sun.
In other images, a mere change in seasonal lighting and cloud cover creates a stark contrast in a single frame. These images do not, in fact, offer the absolute “truth” of the world, as Radice sees it; they’re photographs screened through a moment in time.
— Emily Badger (via Andrew Sullivan)
5:44 pm • 27 December 2012 • 6 notes • View comments
Photo from the first Russian beauty pageant, 1989
…More at English Russia, though no photographer credit that I can find. Anybody else?
6:29 pm • 25 December 2012 • 74 notes • View comments
Trapped between machines.
(My new policy is to only take self-shots with my face partially or fully obscured. It’s like wearing a mask.)
1:03 pm • 20 December 2012 • 8 notes • View comments