Current Reblogger: Chloë Bass

Chloë Bass is an artist, curator and community organizer based in Brooklyn. She is the co-lead organizer for Arts in Bushwick (, which produces the ever-sprawling Bushwick Open Studios, BETA Spaces, and performance festival SITE Fest, which she founded. Recent artistic work has been seen at SCOPE Art Fair, CultureFix, the Bushwick Starr Theater, Figment, and The Last Supper Art Festival, as well as in and around the public spaces of New York City. She has guest lectured at Parsons, the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, and Brooklyn College. Other moments have found her co-cheffing Umami: People + Food, a 90 person private supper club; growing plants with Boswyck Farms (; and curating with architecture gallery SUPERFRONT ( Chloë holds a BA in Theater Studies from Yale University, and an MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Arts (PIMA) from Brooklyn College.

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Great to see another phone with an alternative energy source.

Kyocera Concept Phon

The Kyocera mark has just presented this concept of telephone with foldable screen OLED in three parts a such wallet. Equipped with a keyboard, backlighted buttons and entirely propelled by the kinetic energy. More images of the project in the continuation.






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This entry was posted Tuesday, 31 March, 2009 at 2:23 pm


Nick Cave’s Soundsuits are physical manifestations of his energy. He has said, ‘I believe that the familiar must move towards the fantastic. I want to evoke feelings that are unnamed, that aren’t realized except in dreams.

More info and pictures after the jump:

via: \\\

Cave explores and reiterates cultural, ritualistic and ceremonial concepts. Concurrently, his focus on the connotations of materials as a way to construct narratives, coupled with the fact that the wearer is at times completely concealed, allows the work to transcend preconceived notions of class, race, and sexuality. Cave, who studied fiber arts at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, is Associate Professor and Chairman of the Fashion Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.



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The Gadget Orchestra

Posted by Miss Cellania in Gadget, Music, Video Clips on April 20, 2009 at 8:54 am

(YouTube link)

Can you get any geekier than Bohemian Rhapsody played by an orchestra of vintage gadgets? I think not. From the YouTube page:

Please note no effects or sampling was used. What you see is what you hear (does that even make sense?)
Atari 800XL was used for the lead piano/organ sound
Texas Instruments TI-99/4a as lead guitar
8 Inch Floppy Disk as Bass
3.5 inch Harddrive as the gong
HP ScanJet 3C was used for all vocals. Please note I had to record the HP scanner 4 seperate times for each voice. I tried to buy 4 HP scanners but for some reason sellers on E-Bay expect you to pay $80-$100, I got mine for $30.

I wonder if it takes requests? -via Arbroath

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The Wire 300: Alan Cummings on the origins of the Tokyo underground sound

Image: Minor
Previously unpublished essay commissioned to celebrate The Wire's 300th issue.
In an 1889 essay entitled “The Decay Of Lying”, Oscar Wilde commented astutely that “the whole of Japan is a pure invention. There is no such country, no such people”. Japan’s value, for the late 19th century aesthete (and just as much for his 21st century equivalent), lay in its distance and strangeness, which allowed it to exist as an endlessly malleable foil for the imagination. Western artists in particular saw in Japanese objects a way to break out of European orthodoxies, though the fruits of the Japonisme boom would have made little sense to their original creators or consumers. Think, for example, of Madame Monet in her gaudy kimono in Monet’s La Japonaise, or of Van Gogh’s painted copies of Hiroshige – the flat planes of the printed surface remodeled in thick oils, the cheap and mass-produced commodity turned into a one-off piece of art. But if the West’s engagement with Japanese culture has been dominated by fantasy and projection, Japan’s engagement with Western culture has followed an equal path of appropriation, creative (mis)usages and imagined narratives.

This trope is particularly apparent in the genesis of the Tokyo underground sound best associated with the PSF label. While groups like Fushitsusha, High Rise, Kousokuya, Ché-SHIZU and Maher Shalal Hash Baz only began reaching Western ears in the early 90s, their sonic strategies were formulated a good decade earlier. Pivotal in the development of the Tokyo underground sound was Minor, a tiny, cold live space in the Western suburb of Kichijoji, 20 minutes by train out of Shinjuku. Incongruously located on the third floor of a mixed-use building in Kichijoji’s red-light district, for two and a half years from 1978 to September 1980, Minor served as the crucible for the creation of a new Tokyo music. Minor began life as a more or less conventional jazu kissa (jazz coffee house) – a hangout for students and wannabe intellectuals, invariably equipped with an expensive stereo and a huge library of jazz records. Its proprietor was a frustrated painter and free jazz pianist called Takafumi Sato. But gradually the tablecloths and menus disappeared, to be followed by the tables and chairs as Minor transformed itself into a bare walled live space with a freewheeling booking policy. Minor situated itself in an interzone both geographically and chronologically, half between the hippy 70s underground rock scene that clung on further west, and the newly emerged punk sound of groups like Friction, Mirrors and Lizard who were associated with live spaces further east in Shinjuku and Roppongi.

Underground heads like Masashi Kitamura, editor of Fool’s Mate magazine and later founder of the heavy rock group YBO2, held record parties where he would spin European Prog rock. Saxophonist Tamio Shiraishi booked the Aiyoku Jinmin Juji Gekijo (Ten O’Clock Theatre of the Lust People) series of events, kicking off daily at 10pm. The space, cheap prices and laissez faire booking policy attracted misfits from across Tokyo, those who couldn’t or wouldn’t conform to the stylistic demands of the city’s multiple other scenes. The result was that it became a gathering ground for refuseniks of all stripes, a space in which anything went, no matter how amateur, inept, aggressive or just plain weird. A glance at the few surviving gig lists at Minor provides a glimpse of just how cross-genre it was - and how crucial in the creation of the Tokyo underground sound. Free jazz heads like Tamio Shiraishi, Motoharu Yoshizawa and Tori Kudo, outlaw punks like Michio Kadotani, Gaseneta and Honeymoons, and free Improv/unclassifiable types like Keiji Haino, Chie Mukai, Ken’ichi Takeda and Toshi Tanaka were all regulars. The creative ferment threw up large, ad-hoc free Improv workshop groups like The Vedda Music Workshop, Factory or Sighing-P Orchestra, as well as a stream of small, incestuous groups such as Noise, Kyoaku no Intentions, Taco or Kousokuya that tried to weld Improv, psychedelic rock, primitive electronics and No Wave into some kind of emotionally meaningful amalgam. Tori Kudo remembers the music created at Minor as coming from an absolute zero – “The sounds we created there had absolutely no musical potential. We were always starting from somewhere below the proper starting point for music. Normally that would be zero, but at Minor somehow we always seemed to be starting from minus. If playing three notes of a scale would be 0.01, no one at Minor ever got that far. But it was the only place we could play.”

Hearing the results of these experiments ten years down the line in the late 80s and early 90s was a dislocating experience for many Western listeners. The dislocation lay in hearing the familiar tropes of Western psychedelic rock, punk, free jazz and collective improvisation borrowed and turned to entirely other purposes. The Japanese take on these sounds seemed to suggest the exciting possibility of new syncretic forms, ones that admitted no contradiction in allaying the structural and performance strategies of free jazz and free improvisation with the dynamics and aesthetics of rock. And like reading any alternative history, this music raised intriguing questions. Why shouldn’t riff-based composition and improvisational structure co-exist? Why shouldn’t distortion be used as a textural tool?

If much of the Tokyo underground sound was driven by an obsessive love of rock and a strong belief in its validity as an ongoing aesthetic choice, misreadings and misapprehensions too played their part. Makoto Kawabata of Acid Mothers Temple, for one, has spoken of understanding Pete Townshend’s wind-milling right arm not as an occasional piece of grandstanding but as his normal approach to playing. The Japanese musicians’ isolation from the socio-cultural background of the music they loved also seems to have played a part. Appreciation and understanding of rock music, particularly in the generation of Japanese underground musicians who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, was a hard-won prize, based on close listening, intensive thought, and the creation of personal rock narratives. Many of these musicians display a sensitivity to purely musical nuance - rather than the trite mythmaking that Western rock journalism seems to have created. It’s the sound and effect of Syd Barrett’s rhythm guitar playing that’s important, not the retelling of yet another crazy diamond drug loon story.

Complaints from neighbours and the police finally put paid to Minor in September 1980. The musicians eventually found new spaces in which to play – Goodman, Gyati, Hakkyo no Yoru, and Takafumi Sato would go on to start the Pinakotheca label which released Keiji Haino’s first solo album and the Aiyoku Jinmin Juji Gekijo compilation LP documenting the Minor scene. But that tenacious sense of syncretic creativity unleashed at Minor has continued to drive the Tokyo underground sound.
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Giant robot spider in Yokohama (pics/ video)

19 Apr 2009

La Princesse mechanized spider in Yokohama --

A pair of giant robotic spiders designed and built by French performance art group La Machine have come to Yokohama to take part in the upcoming Expo Y150, a 5-month festival commemorating the 150th anniversary of the opening of the city’s port.

La Princesse giant spider robot in Yokohama --

Although the Expo Y150 festivities are not scheduled to officially begin until the end of April, the enormous steampunk spiders could be seen prowling the Yokohama waterfront this weekend.

Here is some superb video of the spectacle on Friday (April 17) night, when one of the 12-meter (40-ft) tall, 37-ton mechanical spiders was observed in the red brick warehouse area of Yokohama — far from its natural habitat of Nantes, France.

+ Video

On Saturday (April 18) evening, one of the mechanical spiders performed a water dance at Shinko Pier while the other looked on from its perch atop a nearby shipping container. For the performance, the spider moved its mechanical legs and shot steam and water and from its mouth and rear end, while suspended over the water from a large crane. Water cannons, fog machines, lights and live atmospheric music added to the drama.

La Machine's mechanical spider in Yokohama --

On Sunday (April 19), both spiders were scheduled to depart Shinko Pier, take a stroll up Nihon-Odori street, and head back to the red brick warehouse area.

La Machine's giant arachnid robot in Yokohama --

La Machine’s giant spiders will be on public display at Expo Y150 from April 28 to September 27.

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Sibylle Bergemann, from the series Das Denkmal (A Monument), 1975-1986,

After Postopolis, a talk at ENSAD in Paris, a few days at the STRP festival in Eindhoven, a couple of days washing dirty clothes, queuing all over the city and catching up with work at home, i'm back on the road again and will probably disappear for half a week unless i manage to extract myself from the 'evening entertainment' that -rumour has it- will be forced upon me these coming days.


Gundula Schulze, Ohne Titel, Dresden (1986)

The plan was to write a long and well-documented post about a remarkable exhibition i saw at LACMA in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago: Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures, i promised myself i'd do it before i get on the plane to Linz but guess what? The plan failed miserably. So here, dear reader, for your eyes only comes a sloppy version of what this post should have been. It is not exhaustive, it is not very informative but it might give you an idea of a couple of works i found particularly striking. Sometimes i might even explain why:


Gunther Uecker's "TV auf Tisch (TV on Table)", 1963

Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures: For East and West Germany during the Cold War, the creation of art and its reception and theorization were closely linked to their respective political systems: the Western liberal democracy of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the Eastern communist dictatorship of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Reacting against the legacy of Nazism, both Germanys revived pre-World War II national artistic traditions. Yet they developed distinctive versions of modern and postmodern art--at times in accord with their political cultures, at other times in opposition to them. By tracing the political, cultural, and theoretical discourses during the Cold War in the East and West German art worlds, Art of Two Germanys reveals the complex and richly varied roles that conventional art, new media, new art forms, popular culture, and contemporary art exhibitions played in the establishment of their art in the postwar era.


Wolf Vostell, Coca-Cola

I knew i would get a powerful lesson of history but i was not expecting the show to be so overwhelmingly good.


Installation view. Image courtesy LACMA

Artworks are choreographed in chronological order. First comes WWII's immediate aftermath, 1945-1949, a dark period that would not be brightened by the division of the country into two separate states--East Germany and West Germany--along the lines of Allied occupation.

Richard Peter Sr.'s B&W photographs that document the bombing of Dresden translate the mood better than any word could:


Richard Peter Sr., Dresden, from the series Dresden, eine Kamera klagt an ("Dresden, a photographic accusation")

The second section, covering the 1950s, reveals the influence of Soviet and communist imagery on East Germany.


Konrad Klapheck, Erwartung, 1959

I particularly liked Konrad Klapheck's strict and flat paintings of various instruments and devices that have often been interpreted as a reflection of the stern and strong Nazi regime.


Heinz Mack, Relief Wand (Relief Wall), c. 1960

The Zero Group explored the relationship between science, technology and art. Strangely (to me) the movement was illustrated by an installation of it founder, Heinz Mack, that covered a wall with slowly spinning silver panels and disks.

Section three, dedicated to the 1960s and '70s brings familiar faces: Joseph Beuys (right from my arrival at the exhibition, i was pacing the rooms wondering "so which Beuys will be here? Which one?), Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter.


Gerhard Richter, Onkel Rudi (Uncle Rudi), 1965

Uncle Rudi is a 1965 painting of a family snapshot of a SS officer, he was Richter's uncle, "the Nazi in the family". A smiling and proud young man who, years after the picture had been taken, evokes war and violence.


Raffael Rheinsberg, Hand and Foot, 1980. Installation shot

The final section brings us to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The most arresting piece in the section refers to the country's darkest hours again. For the installation "Hand and Foot" (1980), Raffael Rheinsberg carefully ordered on the floor 400 shoes and gloves painted dark brown. The shoes belonged to forced laborers during World War II, they were found in an abandoned train station in Berlin.


Sibylle Bergemann, Ohne Titel (Gummlin) (Untitled [Gummlin] (1984)

Sibylle Bergemann's photos of sculptures of Marx and Lenin have become symbols of the dismantling of the Soviet power in Eastern Germany, when in fact the images documented the monument's birth, not its destruction.


Candida Höfer, Ratingen, 1976. From the series Turks in Germany, 1973-79

Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures is on view until April 19, 2009 at LACMA: Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

All images courtesy LACMA.

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It's the jewel in the crown of internet piracy, but is the verdict against Pirate Bay a pyrrhic victory?

Pirate Bay's four co-founders face one year in prison and a $905,000  fine each. They will appeal, but the consortium of 17 media and music companies behind the prosecution will be crowing over their victory for years. It's a landmark, certainly, but one that raises more questions than it answers.

• Technology versus old corporations

Aware that the case has been polarised into the new, popular tech crowd versus faceless big media business, the consortium has been quick to use the verdict as a way of endorsing legal tech startups.

John Kennedy
, chairman and chief executive of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, insisted that the music industry has done its best to explore legal variations of file-sharing as well as other new business models.

"Common sense is the new currency," he told me. There are more than 400 legal sites worldwide, and one great site getting a lot of attention at the moment is Spotify. It's a great service that offers great value but sites like that cannot flourish if its competition is free."

How will the music startup space respond to this enthusiasm for embracing new and innovative business models? Ben Perreau, chief executive and co-founder of Gigulate, said: "Technologists see Pirate Bay as representing innovation. Obviously, as a startup, we are keen to make sure artists get paid and the licencing issues are sorted and it's a shame Pirate Bay couldn't make their service more legitimate. But it is a very focused, very strong, unique and distinctive proposition that has caught people's eye.

"It's strange for the IFPI to say it supports innovation when a lot of those leftfield services have paved the way for the new startups who have played with those ideas with and created legitimate businesses from them."

• The technicality of the prosecution

Prosecutors had to drop the charge of assisting copyright infringement for the lesser charge of assisting making available copyrighted material, with reference to 33 specific files. Given that Pirate Bay doesn't host files but links to them, what are the further repercussions for this seemingly tenuous distinction? If someone was to post a link to an unauthorised copy of a music video on Vimeo, would that also be illegal? In a precedent based legal system - and one with few precedents, what are the implications?

Simon Levine, global practice group leader at DLA Piper, has represented clients on both sides of this debate, but still feels the verdict is a good one. "Just because it is online, digital and cool doesn't make make it a different principle from bootleggers on Abbey Road 20 years ago." The charge of assisting the crime of copyright infringement isn't as tenuous as it seems – that's a standard legal distinction. But we only have to look at the Viacom and Premier League cases against Google to see more on the principle of assisting infringement. In penalty terms, though, this is a hefty sentence.

• Will it really have an impact?

The big music companies have to be seen to be protecting their business assets; these are major companies with shareholders and corporate, fiduciary responsibility. To that end, they have no option but to pursue these kind of cases.

The comment by British Phonographic Industry chief executive Geoff Taylor sums it up: "We hope that this decision will encourage British music fans to steer clear of these parasitic illegal download services and support the future of British music by downloading legally."

As NME editor Conor McNicholas pointed out on Radio 4's Today programme this morning, the 'capturing' of music within pieces of plastic is a relatively recent phenomenon. For centuries, music existed only in the ether, shared vocally between people and only paid for through performances. What these companies are protecting is not the music, but the business model around the music.

Kennedy insisted the verdict will have an impact on the popularity of file sharing as a technology, despite the widespread problem. "In the digital world we suffer from 90% piracy but it is still a $3.8bn digital industry that is more successful than newspapers, film or books. Even if we can move the needle slightly from 90%, it will be good."

Perreau's not so sure. It might have an impact on his mum, who will come to know the name Pirate Bay and the term file sharing as A Bad Thing. "That's what it's all about – casting a sinister shadow over the scene and saying 'we will find a way of taking you down'." Labelling, or seeming to label a popular and effective technology in this way is what causes the tension between the corporations and the tech community. Can't there be a more constructive way, he asks?

"It's the old carrot and stick approach. We get the stick, the stick, the stick, the stick ... we're in a recession – can't we have some carrot?" That's a call for the funding of legal music services, if you didn't hear it loud enough.

"What is frustrating is that this doesn't clear the way for music startups, it doesn't help the industry and it doesn't help musicians," he said.

"It is helping these companies retame an existing model for licencing but what we're hoping for is a model that helps artists get paid in a new economy where we know the market for recorded music is shrinking. And maybe the future for EMI, Warner, Sony and Universal is in an eight-person team in Shoreditch?"

Meanwhile, given the notoriously lenient conditions of Swedish jail, the Pirate Bayers may well be given weekend leave, will retain their passports and, dare we suggest, a regular and substantial broadband connection... © Guardian News & Media Limited 2009 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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Dan McPharlin’s Mini Retro Electronics Papercraft

Posted by Alex in Arts & Crafts, Gadget, Pictures on April 17, 2009 at 2:06 am

This neatolicious: Dan McPharlin creates what is probably the cutest papercraft set of miniature analog electronic devices, from tape recorder to retro synthesizers. Take a looksee: Link [Flickr Photoset] - via The Terminally Juvenile



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The Pirate Bay: Museum piece - April 16, 2009

Democratic cultures, particularly capitalist ones, have a way of eventually taming their own counter-culture impulses. Often it's accomplished by commodifying those impulses and absorbing them into the broader, rationalized market culture. Witness the marketing and exploitation of 60's iconography in the U.S., from selling CBGB T-shirts at Wal-Mart to Dennis Hopper shilling for investment services in TV commercials. Other times, those impulses are turned into objects of respectable scientific or academic inquiry and embedded into official cultural institutions supported by the government or corporate largesse.

That's what already seems to be happening to The Pirate Bay, regardless of tomorrow's today's verdict in its trial for copyright infringement. While the defendants in the case at times have seemed to be channeling the Chicago 7, seeking to turn the trial into a spectacle and the plaintiffs and prosecutors into objects of ridicule, the taming has already begun.

Sweden's National Museum of Science and Technology recently put on display a confiscated Pirate Bay server, originally seized by Stolkhom police, as part of a display on how the battle over the reproduction of copyrighted material has evolved over time, right next to a 1970s-vintage tape recorder.

"This gadget belongs in a museum!" museum curator Nils Olander told Swedish web site The Local. "It attained major symbolic value by pinpointing a big problem or a big opportunity."

While many copyright owners would no doubt love to see The Pirate Bay become history, turning it into a museum piece doesn't necessarily help the media companies' cause. Once embedded in the official culture, an object or phenomenon loses its transgressive value. And without transgression, it's harder to portray something as a crime.

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14 April 2009 Life Hacks Published on 14 April 2009 in Life Hacks

Ever since the internet became an integral part of daily life, we’ve become accustomed to securing a wide range of online identities with usernames and passwords. But what happens when someone passes away, leaving their family and business associates unable to access their email, online photos, financial accounts and other online assets? It’s a problem that San Francisco-based startup Legacy Locker aims to solve.

Legacy Locker lets people store details for every online account they use, from Gmail and Facebook to eBay and PayPal. They can assign different digital assets to different beneficiaries, who are entrusted with access details in the event of the customer’s death or disability. Users can also prepare letters for the loved ones to whom they’ve entrusted their accounts. Legacy Locker, which launched last week, uses a multi-step verification process to ensure that the digital assets are as secure as a real safety deposit box. (Related: A virtual vault for information-age valuables.)


Spotted by: May Almero-Cruz

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