Archive for March, 2010

Yours Truly

March 26, 2010

A couple of years ago I received a digital mix tape from a friend of mine. It was called Yours Truly and truly amazing. I still listen to it now and again, and always wondered how she came up with it. Thanks to It’s Nice That I finally know. Yours Truly is a great website for music lovers, including play lists and videos of performing artists. Enjoy.

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21 Pledges

March 21, 2010

Yesterday I went to The Battle for Politics, a one-day public summit, organised by the Institute of Ideas. With regards to the upcoming general election the debate dealt with the question of voting, especially with the “none-of-the-above” option in mind. Many people are of the impression that none of the political parties have clear ideological differences anymore, a phenomenon not only visible in the UK. In fact, it is much more about politicians and personalities, partly due to media coverage of politics, so one can’t blame them. Nevertheless, there are still many unresolved issues, which is why the IoI came up with 21 Pledges for Progress 2010 which people should put to their local MP’s and find out where they stand on it. Some pledges I find really worthwhile are:

Revoke unnecessary and nonsensical health and safety rules and guidelines in the interests of countering today’s risk-averse, safety-first climate of fear.

Limit the police’s power to detain people without charge to 24 hours rather than 28 days, in the interests of civil liberties and due process.

Abolish the monarchy and the House of Lords in the interests of a fully elected legislature and executive.

Support the arts financially, for their own sake, in the interests of liberating them from ever more prescriptive and politicised instrumental demands.

The Battle for Politics also touched on other issues such as immigration, the welfare state and the relationship between science and politics. All very interesting and way to much to recall it all here. What became clear to me though was that I am always fascinated by accumulations of knowledgeable, passionate people who care for something and are not afraid to stand up for it. I love the English debating culture and hope to take some of that skill with me should I return to Germany at some point.

I was especially intrigued by Brendan O’Neil, editor of political online magazine sp!ked, whose anger and passion impressed me. Check out the site and get some really good insights and witty, sharp comments about what’s going on around us.

Politics are important and should concern all of us. Sometimes they can be fun and entertaining as well.

Ron Mueck

March 12, 2010

I first came across Ron Muecks work back in the nineties, when I traveled to London and visited the Saatchi Gallery. I loved this tiny little naked miserable looking men, lying on the floor, with the title Dead Dad.

His hyper-realistic people have since fascinated me, especially because of the proportional aspect. I often wondered how Mueck works, which is why I find these pictures of him in his London studio, preparing for an exhibition in Paris, especially interesting.

Umph

March 11, 2010

In addition to yesterdays post here is a video of Fever Ray (solo project of Karen from The Knife) accepting an award on a Swedish show. Grumph!

Tomorrow, In A Year

March 10, 2010

Electro-psycho-experimental-amazing-sound artists The Knife have recently, in collaboration with Mt Sims and Planningtorock, released an opera. The musical project is based on Charles Darwin and his book “The Origin of Species” and has very promising titles like Colouring of Pigeons and Variation of Birds. To find out more about the project visit their website and listen to it.

To get a taste have a look at this little video by Berlin-based studio Hort , who were asked to visualise a round table conversation about the project with all contributors. Definitely worth watching!

Vimeo

Moral Panic

March 9, 2010

Today I came across the term moral panic. Intrigued by the combination of moral and panic I looked it up and according to Wikipedia it is the intensity of feeling expressed in a population about an issue that appears to threaten the social order. In other words, people panic about increased teenage drug abuse, hooded youth gangs or how the social media turn us all into sociopaths, often fueled by tabloid newspaper reports.

Wikipedia further explains that those who start the panic are often so called moral entrepreneurs (someone who seeks a group to adopt a certain norm) whereas the ones that are a threat to society are folk devils (an outsider who can be blamed for crimes or social problems). This sounds all too familiar. Whether it’s about drugs, satanic cults, sexual topics, obesity or media influences, everything unknown is first and foremost a potential danger to the status quo. The role of the media is especially interesting as they, regardless their orientation, often like to act as agents for certain moral standards.

What’s caused by this is not only a constant level of anxiety but more importantly a chronic mistrust amongst people. I believe this is a sad thing, as most people and unknown lifestyles are usually not dangerous, they are just unfamiliar. We should try to be more open, be interested and try to find out more about things before we condemn them as potentially dangerous and a threat to us.

Infoporn

March 6, 2010

DATA FLOW 2, the successor of DATA FLOW, will be published by Die Gestalten Verlag at the end of this month. It should be worth buying, even if your not terribly into colorful graphs and geometric shapes. People come up with so many different ways to translate information in something that is easier and, more importantly, more entertaining to digest, it shouldn’t left you bored.

Christoph Niemann, I hate mosquitoes

Xavier Barrade, Models

Aleatory Compositions

The first time I realised how important and effective good infographics are, was when I looked at distorted world maps, where territories are re-sized according to the subject of interest. In an instant your get the huge imbalance between actual land area, compared to for example population or carbon emission. For a big selection of many more maps go and visit worldmapper.org

Conventional map, based on actual land area

Based on population

Carbon emissions in 2000

Atheists and agnostics combined