It still all feels quite unreal, doesn't it, this post-electoral landscape, like everyone's just sort of playing at politics and at any moment they're going to turn round and say 'aha! fooled you! we're going to have the proper election now, you can ignore all the made-up stuff that we've put you through for the past 3 months'. Except obviously that's not actually going to happen - this is REAL LIFE, or at the very least a pretty convincing holographic representation thereof, and those lizards at the top of the pile are the ones that WE CHOSE. Crivens.
Anyway, it's been a long week and a longer morning (not technically possible, fine, but that's what it FEELS like) - my preamble therefore is going to be limited to seriously recommending that you check out The Angry Brigade at the Bush Theatre as it's an excellent production, and also that you try and check out Back Down at the Roundhouse if you're at a loose end between now and Sunday as it's also GREAT. That's it. No more. Tonight I'm going to go out and celebrate Fat Bob getting a new job - well done, Fat Bob - by listening to Nils Frahm; tomorrow will doubtless be characterised by a crushing comedown and a sense of almost overwhelming existential bleakness, which by uncanny coincidence is exactly the sort of feelings you can experience for yourselves RIGHT NOW by fully immersing yourself in the rapdily coagulating pool of freshly harvested webspaff that is this week's WEB CURIOS!
The International Center of Photography in New York recently hosted a panel discussion asking, How is Instagram Changing the World? The summary of the event begged the question, “Is Instagram a real agent of change or the ultimate symbol of our ever-growing cultural obsession for images? Is its worldwide success the representation of the emergence of a whole generation’s new language?” Interestingly, the week before there had been a similar discussion at Tate Modern - Capture and Consumption: images and digital culture.
A publication from the European Commission's Joint Research Centre claims that closing pirate sites has a limited effect in terms of the acquisition and use of pirated content.
Well, so that happened. This time last week I was just about clambering out of bed, too scared to read the news which would only serve to confirm what I was told (and failed to believe) at 1030pm and then for the subsequent 6 hours on TV. It made me feel like this, in case anyone cares.
Anyway, however annoyed you might be that not everyone agrees with your way of how the country should be run - how dare people exercise their democratic right in the wrong way?! - it's OVER. Just be grateful that you don't have to go through the whole sorry experience again in 4 months' time (as you scrape together the pennies to feed the electricity meter and contemplate another week of eating solely at Wetherspoons, inbetween zero-hours shifts cleaning the increasingly poorly-cut cocaine from the desks of the day-traders and asset managers welcome to the futurezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz). Yes, it's time to put all that politicospaff behind us and go back to what we all do best - living life in the third person, fixing that shiny smile into a camera-ready pout and presenting an unrealistic and unrealisable version of ourselves to the world whilst inside we cry and cry and cry and cry. Once again webmongs, I'm here to provide you with your (almost) weekly dose of web-based SOMA, helping you forget the past and ignore the future and to live only and ever in the ephemeral glow of the digipresent - SWALLOW IT DOWN AND WAIT FOR IT TO TAKE EFFECT. This is WEB CURIOS!
The IET may be the Institute of Engineering and Technology, but even the smart folks there understand that wearable technology has to look good as well as function appropriately. That's the call this morning from IET editor-in-chief Dickon Ross.
Michael Ang's work features light, print, colour, fauna, and the evolution of species. Speaking at this year's ThingsCon in Berlin, Ang's work takes the personal and blows it up into public space: (We Are) Light Catchers projects light sculptures from personal movement; Chrysalis "morphs" into a butterfly through light patterns.
We chatted with Michael in advance of his talk at ThingsCon - about his work, the future of artistic construction, and why Berlin is one of the world's hotbeds for creative innovation.
Georgina Voss - ethnographer, researcher and writer - will be speaking at the ThingsCon conference later this week. We took the opportunity to catch up with her in advance and ask her some questions about her work examining how institutions, systems and cultures shape the development and use of technologies.
And now, the end is near - chin up, webmongs, only a week of this to go (followed by the inevitable horse-trading and crushing realisation that regardless of what you voted for you will, at the end of it all, get what you're bloody well given and like it, sonny)!
I jest, of course, I jest - three cheers for representative democracy, or at least the simulacrum of it we're presented with every 5 years. I don't know about you, but I am VERY ready for this all to be done - perhaps next time around we can just stick the two main candidates in a ring and charge £100 for people to watch on pay-per-view, thus solving the problem of getting a definitive result AND potentially sorting out the whole 'austerity' thing in one fell swoop (NB - obviously I am not a political satirist and should shut up about this sort of stuff, but if you want to see someone getting truly schooled whilst horrendously out of their depth on this sort of thing then can I just recommend you check out Jolyon "I SPEAK FOR THE YOUTH!" Rubinstein getting massacred on This Week last night? Good).
Anyway, Web Curios will be taking next week off due to the fact that I intend to spend next Thursday night / Friday morning shouting at the television, as befits a failed journalist (Web Curios TRUFACT - I worked on the Election Night Broadcast for BBC R4/5 in 2001, and was in the studio with James Naughtie et al all night. Personal highlight was Neil Kinnock, who was there to comment on STUFF, witnessing Peter Mandelson's infamous "I'm a fighter, not a quitter!" speech; Kinnock, who it's fair to say was pretty shtfaced by this point and had his feet up on the mixing desk, offered one, single off-mike comment - "Oh Peter, you effete cnut". Poetry). In the meantime though, webmongs, grasp the Chalice of Internet with both hands and steel yourself to drain it in one long draught - but take care, and try and filter it through your teeth a bit, as it's full of suspiciously organic material. THIS IS WEB CURIOS!
Songs now stay in the UK’s Top 40 singles chart for more weeks, on average, than at any point in the last forty years. Of the 10 songs that have spent the longest time in the charts, nine come from the last decade. At the end of 2014, Happy by Pharrell Williams, had spent 49 weeks in the Top 40 – an all-time record.