This guy is good!
What worries me – and what I feel the need to call out – is not about whether or not everyone in the world will benefit in some ways by information and communication technologies, but whether or not the privileged will benefit more in ways that further magnifies structural inequality. I am certainly seeing this as the US college level, as more privileged US freshman are leaps and bounds ahead of their less privileged peers in terms of technological familiarity, a division that makes educating with technology in the classroom challenging.
I posted earlier about OK Go’s fantastic Rube Goldberg music video. I had assumed that because that video is embeddable the band had made inroads in convincing EMI to reverse their prohibition on video embeds. It turns out that OK Go decided to drop their label and form their own. From Fast Company:
OK Go rocketed up through the indie rock world in large measure due to the band’s brilliant, lo-fi music videos, which have spread like wildfire on YouTube. But EMI, in a misguided attempt to wring every penny out of the band’s success, decided to block embedding on the YouTube videos — meaning the videos were unable to disseminate out through music and pop culture blogs, news sites, and personal blogs the way they did before the restriction. And that’s not a minor detail: the band saw a 90% drop in views when that restriction went into effect. As in, 100,000 views one day, 10,000 views the next.
It’s obvious what the bands have at stake in this situation: more people watching their music videos translate into more exposure. Which means more income for the band. One would assume that what’s good for the band is also good for the record labels. Why would they undermine their own success?
Only today did I come across this letter by Philip K. Dick, published in the excellent Letters of Note last September, addressed to the production company for Blade Runner. He loved how the film was developing, but died before it was actually released.
I came to the conclusion that this indeed is not science fiction; it is not fantasy; it is exactly what Harrison [Ford] said: futurism. The impact of BLADE RUNNER is simply going to be overwhelming, both on the public and on creative people — and, I believe, on science fiction as a field. Since I have been writing and selling science fiction works for thirty years, this is a matter of some importance to me. In all candor I must say that our field has gradually and steadily been deteriorating for the last few years. Nothing that we have done, individually or collectively, matches BLADE RUNNER. This is not escapism; it is super realism, so gritty and detailed and authentic and goddam convincing that, well, after the segment I found my normal present-day “reality” pallid by comparison.
This photo from the Abramović opening is kind of touching. Her performance in the MoMA atrium is not supposed to include any interaction with those who sit across from her.
The caption from the Facebook album reads:
Ulay, Marina Abramović’s partner from 1975-1988, sits with her during her performance. This was the first time they “performed” together since The Great Wall Walk (1988), when they each walked over 1,200 miles (2,000 km) along the Great Wall of China starting at opposite ends and meeting in the middle to say their goodbye.
Somebody in the comments asks the obvious: “I thought there was to be no interaction with the art.” To which the moderator responds: “Correct, no interaction, but this was her partner in life and art for 12 years who she has had almost no contact with since 1988…”
George Lois on the first cover he art directed for Esquire:
Hayes mentioned that we were going to have a spread of Floyd Patterson, the boxing champion of the world, and Sonny Liston, the challenger, and Patterson was an 8–1 favorite. I knew right away what I was going to do, because I knew that Liston was going to kill him. So I called the photographer, and I said, “We’re going to get a guy with the same body as Patterson, we’re going to lay him flat on the ring, and we’re going to show him killed, knocked out by Liston. Leave him for dead.” I wanted to show a metaphor for boxing — if you’re a loser, you’re left for dead, which is also a metaphor for life. So we get the shot and I sent it to Hayes.
“George, I never saw a cover like this in my life! You’re calling the fight — suppose you’re wrong? Everybody says you’re wrong.” I told him we had a 50/50 chance of it working, but if it does, it shows we have balls. It hit the newsstand a week before the fight, and it was roundly laughed at in the sports crowd. But a week later, of course Liston kills Patterson, just like I thought. And Esquire got tons of publicity and the best sales since the start of the magazine. And Harold said to me, “You gotta keep doing my covers.”
He went on to create 92 iconic covers during the 1960s that were exhibited at MoMA and added to the permanent collection. Unfortunately only five of the covers have their image rights cleared to display online. Not many people realize that even if a work is “owned” by the museum, having the right to display it online is another matter. This is an issue the Brooklyn Museum has addressed nicely on their blog. This is why photography is usually not allowed in museums, except within the older permanent collections.
On Sunday we either lose an hour of sleep or gain an extra hour of sunlight, depending on your outlook.
Douglas Rushkoff is hosting a virtual round table with danah boyd, Nicholas Carr, Clay Shirky, RU Sirius and a bunch of other smart folks. It’s a chaotic mix of academic hyperbole and hastily typed rhetoric, but somehow it keeps me checking in for new entries. You may find that subscribing to the RSS feed is an easier way to read this since new content doesn’t always appear at the bottom. The first part is mostly about Nicholas Carr arguing with everyone else about whether groups can collectively “have an idea.” Carr says they can’t:
I think one of the reasons we’re having trouble discussing the way brilliant new ideas emerge from “networked ‘mass’ groups” is because that phenomenon doesn’t happen. The ideas for Wikipedia and Linux, to take, once again, the obvious examples, came from individuals, not from the groups that subsequently formed to bring the ideas to fruition. As Eric Raymond, the author of “The Cathedral and the Bazaar,” once wrote in an email to me, “The individual wizard is where successful bazaar projects generally start.”
Marina Abramović is having a retrospective here at MoMA. It’s the first time a performance artist has had such a show, which will include reenactments of her pieces by other performers. The main event is a new endurance piece:
Marina Abramović will perform in the Atrium at MoMA throughout the duration of the exhibition, starting before the Museum opens each day and continuing until after it closes.
The New Yorker has an article (subscriber-only) on the exhibition that I haven’t read yet. There’s also a podcast interview with Judith Thurman, who wrote the article, that provides some useful context.