You have to watch this amazing Joan Rivers documentary

Incredible doco following the unstoppable, incomparable, unflappable Joan Rivers, one of the most driven, intense and hilarious comedians of all time.

(39 degrees at Coogee)

The always-awesome KK Outlet have released their own set of royal wedding china…

royal mem

- from KK Outlet

Discovering Sargent Johnson’s “Forever Free”, 1933, and SFMOMA’s brilliant One on One series.

I love this beautiful statuette by pioneering African-American artist Sargent Johnson, and what I love even more is that I discovered it through SFMOMA’s fantastic “One on One” series, which asks artists, writers, poets and curators to respond to works in their collection.

- from blog.sfmoma.org

Kim Keever’s dreamy tanks and dramatic constructed landscapes

- from newarttv.com

I was mesmerised from the moment I saw Kim Keever’s work, in a talk by the director of the Museum of Arts and Design (NYC). I missed the name, or got the spelling so wrong I couldn’t find anything on him till just now. This video gives an insight into how he crafts these dramatic, epic images – recalling a land before time – relying on algae, bubbles, lighting and the human need to see our world in dreamscapes.

Alexander Chen’s “Conductor” makes beautiful music with subway data

Conductor: www.mta.me

Conductor, an interactive digital art project inspired by the New York City subway system, sonically represents actual transit data. Artist Alexander Chen recreated, and then animated, the famous Massimo Vignelli NYC subway map. Each time a train leaves the station in the MTA dataset, so does a dot on Chen’s interactive map trailing a line with the same color as the train line. The music comes in when two train lines cross. Each intersection causes a twang, like a plucked string on viola—Chen’s chosen instrument. Listen to how the notes get deeper the longer the lines stretch.

- from GOOD

Detroitism: how “ruin porn” blinds us to the structural causes of failing cities

Ruin photography, in particular, has been criticized for its “pornographic” sensationalism, and my bookseller friend won’t sell much of it for that reason. And others roll their eyes at all the positive attention heaped on the young, mostly white “creatives,” which glosses over the city’s deep structural problems and the diversity of ideas to help fix them. So much ruin photography and ruin film aestheticizes poverty without inquiring of its origins, dramatizes spaces but never seeks out the people that inhabit and transform them, and romanticizes isolated acts of resistance without acknowledging the massive political and social forces aligned against the real transformation, and not just stubborn survival, of the city.

- from Guernica

Self-made, footloose plutocrats in The Atlantic: The Rise of the New Global Elite

It is perhaps telling that Blankfein is the son of a Brooklyn postal worker and that Hayward—despite his U.S. caricature as an upper-class English twit—got his start at BP as a rig geologist in the North Sea. They are both, in other words, working-class boys made good. And while you might imagine that such backgrounds would make plutocrats especially sympathetic to those who are struggling, the opposite is often true. For the super-elite, a sense of meritocratic achievement can inspire high self-regard, and that self-regard—especially when compounded by their isolation among like-minded peers—can lead to obliviousness and indifference to the suffering of others.

- from The Atlantic

Brandon Lattu, “Rejected Products”, 2002

- from vvork.com

Mike Daisey on Apple: “It is irresponsible not to consider the circumstances in which a beautiful thing is designed. That is part of the design itself.”

“There are no personal electronics that are made in a humane fashion, by any of the major manufacturers, or any of the minor ones. There’s nothing I could recommend people switch their buying decisions to today. Everything we need to do begins with changing the circumstances under which the things are made, so we can finally get to the point where the companies realise the public are awake enough to even care about something like a sweatshop-free label on electronics.”

- from Techcrunch

Newsha Tavakolian’s “Listen” series: images for female singers without a voice in Iran

- from 500photographers.blogspot.com

Newsha Tavakolian, 1981, Iran, is a self-taught photographer. Her work has been published in magazines as Time Magazine, Newsweek and Stern. Her main focus lies on women’s issues. She started out as a photojournalist, covering stories in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon amongst others. Slowly her work has shifted towards a more documentary and creative approach. In her series “listen”, she photographed six female singers who are not allowed to sing solo, perform in public or produce CD’s due to the Islamic tenets. She then created six images and turned them into CD covers for these singers. As a statement she left the CD cases empty. Newsha’s portfolio is filled with interesting stories. The following images come from “listen” and Mother of Martyrs.

Peter Hartcher: Give us $52m, and we will decide who runs the country

The miners saved $4.6 billion for an outlay of just $22 million, a return on investment of 20,800 per cent. This makes political activism one of the few activities in Australia more profitable than mining.

- from SMH

Nam June Paik Retrospective at FACT

- from wallpaper.com

Photo essay: Juba – The World’s Newest Capital?

- from foreignpolicy.com

Quants: The Alchemists of Wall Street

- from youtube.com

I am half-way through watching this fascinating doco about the mathematicians behind Wall Street’s risk equations, and I’m pretty sure I’ll have to watch this half at least three more times to half understand it.

This makes me miss making magazines (a lot).

- from creativereview.co.uk

Inside Cindy Sherman’s studio

- from wallpaper.com

Tod Kapke

- from madebysix.wordpress.com

Genius of the day: Victor Pelevin

As for the point where writing no longer interests me—I reached it for the first time five minutes after I had started to write my first short story. But on the sixth minute I felt that writing interested me again. If we take this to be my cycle, I reach this point approximately twelve times every hour that I dedicate to writing. So I don’t have to imagine reaching it, I know it very well. But this point is never the final one. I think there’s no final point at all. Life is a bitch, and then you die. Death is a bitch, and then you are born. Writing is very much like this, as it is living multiple short lives within your longer one.

- from BOMB

Human Transit: build your own system

A government agency’s process of communicating with the public needs to listen and educate at the same time.  Citizens want to feel listened to, but they also want to understand.  Metro simplified the question down to the essential non-technical value judgment, which was: “Growth is coming.  Do we grow up or out?  Increase density or spread out over more land?”  This was the hard question that first motivated Oregon’s land use laws — laws whose purposes is not to prevent sprawl but to ensure that it’s the result of such a conscious decision.

… It was a huge achievement, but the real achievement was not just that the question was answered but that it was so clearly asked.  A citizenry, through its elected representatives, faced a clear value judgment about their city.  It wasn’t about approving a project or assessing some politician’s performance; it was about raw economics and geometry: grow up or grow out?  No rational person could argue that this wasn’t a real and consequential question.  Through Metro’s work the question got answered, and, partly because the process was so clear and democratic, the basic answer has held despite the inevitable turbulence of shorter-term politics.

- from humantransit.org

Sarah Moon: major survey show at Stockholm’s Fotografiska

- from lensculture.com

A colourful approach to Kafka

- from creativereview.co.uk

“I suppose what some find most relevant and compelling in Kafka,” writes Mendelsund on Jacket Mechanical, “is his ability to inspire in them that paradoxical feeling that great literature always aspires to arouse in readers – the feeling of the universality of their own alienation. Kafka is the ne plus ultra of alienation – alienation being arguably the defining emotional condition of the twentieth century.

Peter Granser

-from 500photographers.blogspot.com

I was lucky enough to meet Peter Granser in Germany a few years ago. He gave me a copy of his amazing book, Signs, from which these images are taken. It’s a darkly funny/humorously tragic view of the Texan way of life, from a photographer whose sense of humour never outweighs his humanity. I’m really looking forward to seeing more work from Peter.

NIME 2011 | New Interfaces for Musical Expression | 30 May – 1 June, Oslo, Norway

- fromnime2011.org

"Recyclicity": Dutch House Built From Salvaged Billboards and Umbrellas

Unlike most projects that start with a design, Villa Welpeloo started with a heap of scrap materials sourced locally at factories and warehouses. The team also used Google Earth to find abandoned buildings and lots near the building plot in Enschede, The Netherlands that may contain useful materials. As a result, the home’s framing comes courtesy of steel taken from abandoned machinery in a textile mill. The exterior is clad with boards salvaged from 600 cable reels that were first heat-treated by a process called Plato to weatherize them. The cladding’s clean lines do not betray the humble origins of these materials.

Inside is a treasure trove of interesting reuse — advertising signs are transformed into cabinets that reveal their origin when a drawer is opened. The architects asked for people in the town to drop off their broken umbrellas, whose spokes were transformed into low-voltage lighting.

- from inhabitat.com