From his base in Switzerland, Dr. Jörn Günther runs a small team focussed to the collection and preservation of antique and rare books for his company's clients. Many of these books are centuries old, valued at several thousand - or even hundreds of thousands - of dollars.
But, in an age where we can download and read practically any work that has ever been published, how is value, and the perception of value, changing when it comes to the historical printed book? We asked Dr. Günther about how his work has changed, and is changing.
Another week, another example of how the web has basically ruined political discourse forever (not to mention journalism - I do feel a very sincere twinge of pity for the media forced to replicate Jeremy’s Train Funtime in the ceaseless pursuit of truth, justice and the hottest of takes). Please can we all just STOP - look, there are enough tedious obsessives devoted to cataloguing the minutiae of the Labour Party’s descent into full-on madness on the fringes of the web, so can the mainstream media which these people so disdain simply just stop covering it, please? It’s boring, and frankly this week absolutely ruined the silly season for me. FFS, JEREMY.
Anyway, it’s a bank holiday and I am preparing to celebrate it by, as is traditional, spending as much of it as possible disconnected from the sordid quotidian reality of of existence. You should too - after all, you won’t have to worry about the comedown until Tuesday, and that’s frankly so far away as to be basically fictional. Consider this a preparatory lining of the stomach, if you will, ballast to keep you going through the next 72 hours of hedonic joy and right up to the point of desktears and unpleasantly syrupy urine - GET YOUR INFORMATIONAL PRELOADING SORTED RIGHT HERE WITH WEB CURIOS!
The Rio Olympics will be remembered for many things: the green pools, the banning of GIFs, the new Bolt meme. But maybe these Olympics will have a longer lasting legacy – a legacy not without its fair share of controversy, but one of opening difficult conversations, adapting rules to match societal progress and of questioning what it means to be fair. Once the tweets die down, the BuzzFeed summaries wane and the commentary ceases to be reactionary, Rio will be remembered as the Olympics which questioned competitive gender.
The internet has rewired civil society, propelling collective action into a radically new dimension. Democracy is now not only exercised at the ballot box, but lived and experienced online on a day-to-day basis. While this may have positive implications for political participation, it’s also causing problems for leaders. They have been elected through time-honoured democratic systems, but now find themselves vulnerable to the whim of the baying internet mob.
People are encouraged to speak up online about matters they deem to be of public concern, so the internet shows just how diverse public opinion can be. This is particularly visible at times of controversy, when a motivated group of users can be relied upon to speak out. They are capable of applying enormous pressure in these moments.
All over the world, contradictory views are expressed online, and these views can impede the smooth governance of a country. Sometimes that’s a positive step but this is uncharted territory. We have to wonder if we are heading in a dangerous direction.
Ordinarily I’d kick this off with some sort of tedious screed about how terrible everything is - I’d be right to do so, everything is terrible - but seeing as we’ve only got three more days of TEAM GB OLYMPIAN SOMA left in the can, let’s just crack right on with the GOOD INTERNET STUFF - regular opening paragraph misanthropy will doubtless be resumed next week when the golden glow has worn off and we all remember that no matter how much effort most of us put in we will still never amount to anythi...oh, look, I just can’t seem to stop myself. Sorry.
Anyway, prepare for this week’s hot injection of performance-enhancing internet - tie one off, slap the vein and prepare for the hit, without of course thinking too much about what all this content is actually doing to your ability to think or feel or love or empathise or care or oh god make it all stop please. This, as ever, it’s WEB CURIOS!
Seth Godin’s 2005 All Marketers are Liars was subsequently published with “liars” exchanged for “storytellers” in the title. Godin defends equating storytelling with lying as a promotional stunt, a story and lie in of itself. Yet in many ways stories are lies that aid us in identifying where, and where not, to find meaning. They are always works of selected truth, containing information relevant to the story teller’s aims, chosen based on the meaning that the teller wants to create. They are never the full or only story; the meaning deduced is not inevitable. The resulting relationship between story and meaning is a minefield of construction.
In a bid to stem the tide of digital radicalisation by terrorist groups such as Islamic State, the European Parliament has approved plans for new legislation which will allow rapid and widespread removal of extremist content from the internet. Digital rights activists are up in arms over the decision, which they fear will lead to private organisations policing and censoring internet users with impunity.
Every time I take a break from this I forget how utterly terrifyingly huge the mountain of internet I have to wade through becomes (seriously, you think there’s a lot of crap in here? IMAGINE HOW MUCH STUFF I DON’T INCLUDE), and each time I basically have something of a small, internalised nervous breakdown at 6am on Friday when I look at the linkdump and know that I am going to be typing for 6 hours solid. And yet, here we are once again - it’s a compulsion, I tell you.
Anyway, how are you? DID YOU MISS ME? No, you didn’t, but that’s ok because I didn’t miss you either. You mean nothing to me (no, I don’t mean you- you’re special). While we kill time waiting for the superhuman parade of athletic achievement to kick off again in a few hours’ time, let’s embark upon our very own long-distance endurance test; stay hydrated, stock up on nutrional gel packs, and settle in for the long haul. The web is a marathon, not a sprint - and just like in a marathon, you may feel an almost irresistible need to void yourself at around the halfway mark. This, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!
White Noise is a project featuring eight artists taking up residencies in the East Tower of Television Centre, in west London. Television Centre is, of course, famous as being the hub of the BBC's televisual output for over 50 years, and will be demolished later in the year to make way for a mixed-use development.
One of White Noise's residents is Alan Warburton, a well-known CGI and 3D animation artist. Alan will render the East Tower as a 3D CGI mapping, laying the groundwork for a digital archive of the building. We caught up with Alan to find out more about the project, and how the personal and mass-media memories of Television Centre have influenced it.
The ongoing crisis in Turkey, protracted through a three-month state of emergency called last week by the Government, has resulted in Wikileaks issuing almost 300,000 emails from the ruling AFP party. However, not all is what it seems, leading the move to be seen by some as highly irresponsible.