The return of the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu: 2023 day 3 part 2

The return of the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu: 2023 day 3 part 2

The perch has been caught. The pyre has been lit. The undertakers have committed the rites of Mu. And the bar is open.

Badger Kull play at midnight.

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The return of the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu: 2023 day 3

The return of the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu: 2023 day 3

The only previous time I've 'borrowed' a shopping trolley was to transport a falling-apart tent from the train station to the Reading Festival. 23 years later, I'm doing it again.

A more deliberate operation, I must take one to 'the Florrie' (Liverpool loves giving everything a nickname) for 2:30pm.

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Bootleg mixes get a legal lease of life with new deal

Bootleg mixes get a legal lease of life with new deal

The first major record label has signed with Dubset, a startup which provides rights management and clearance to bootlegs and unofficial remixes.

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Web Curios 25/08/17

There was meant to be one of these last week. I had dragged myself from my pit at 6am as per normal, drunk unconscionable quantities of appallingly-stewed tea and spaffed out about 6,500 words before a stray swipe of a sausagefinger on trackpad condemned each and every single one of those words - and they were good words, we have the best words here on Imperica, although I concede that occasionally the order in which they're arranged could stand a little more care and attention - promptly vanished forever. 

Reader, I howled. I gnashed and I flailed and I had something of a minor tantrum, it's fair to say. I'm not sure if you've ever had anything like that happen, though I imagine most of you have,  but it was the worst case I've ever experienced of intellectial coitus interruptus. Not to overextend this analogy (trust me, I'm no more comfortable with it than you are), but let's just say I've been in quite some discomfort this week. 

But! It is another Friday, and the web has delivered, and LO YOU ARE ONCE AGAIN BLESSED! So before you go out and spend the final bank holiday of 2017 assiduously pursuing cirrhosis or seratonin-deficiency, or both, fortify yourself with this - a veritable BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH BUFFET of content, except without being surrounded by a bunch of dickheads Instagramming everything in sight whilst they diabetes themselves on crap prosecco. It's Friday, it's a three-day weekend, nukes are out but nazis are back...it's WEB CURIOS! 

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The return of the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu: 2023 day 2 part 2

The return of the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu: 2023 day 2 part 2

I wan't listening when the day was introduced. I didn't know we'd have to make a presentation. I did know we were to construct an artistic response to our chapter and we did. But it was written in chalk on the walls and floors of Liverpool.

But we do have to make a presentation. To the JAMs.

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The return of the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu: 2023 day 2

The return of the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu: 2023 day 2

The JAMs aren't really interested in Why people think they burned a million quid. Jeremy Deller last night set it in the context of the history of auto-destructive art. The JAMs, flanked by two Public Enemy-styled security officers said "Whatever".

But is the three (plus)-day Welcome to the Dark Ages event an act of destruction, finally destroying the mystery of the JAMs and the money? Is it destroying the legacy?

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The return of the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu: 2023 day 1

The return of the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu: 2023 day 1

The discordance is kicking in. A scratchy tarmaced road in the east bit of Liverpool town centre, the plonks of a ice cream chime thump in their metallic way against the brick. A crowd cheers, mobile phones are raised, photos are taken. The van says "Bill's Whippy".

The KLF are back.

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Mistrust, efficacy and the new civics

Mistrust, efficacy and the new civics

When things get serious in the media space, my friends at the Knight Foundation rally the troops. Last week, I was invited to a workshop Knight held with the Aspen Institute on trust, media and democracy in America. I prepared a whitepaper for the workshop, which I’m publishing here at the suggestion of several of the workshop participants, who found it useful.

The paper I wrote -  “Mistrust, efficacy and the new civics: understanding the deep roots of the crisis of faith in journalism” -  served two purposes for me. First, it’s a rough outline of the book I’m working on this next year about mistrust and civics, which means I can pretend that I’ve been working on my book this summer. Second, it let me put certain stakes in the ground for my discussion with my friends at Knight. Conversations about mistrust in journalism have a tendency to focus on the uniqueness of the profession and its critical civic role in the US and in other open societies. I wanted to be clear that I think journalism has a great deal in common with other large institutions that are suffering declines in trust. Yes, the press has come under special scrutiny due to President Trump’s decision to demonize and threaten journalists, but I think mistrust in civic institutions is much broader than mistrust in the press.

Because mistrust is broad-based, press-centric solutions to mistrust are likely to fail. This is a broad civic problem, not a problem of fake news, of fact checking or of listening more to our readers. The shape of civics is changing, and while many citizens have lost confidence in existing institutions, others are finding new ways to participate. The path forward for news media is to help readers be effective civic actors. If news organizations can help make citizens feel powerful, like they can make effective civic change, they’ll develop a strength and loyalty they’ve not felt in years.

Read more (Medium)

William Gibson has a theory about our cultural obsession with dystopias

William Gibson has a theory about our cultural obsession with dystopias

Few authors have crafted more vividly realized future worlds than William Gibson. In timeless classics such as Neuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive, he dreamed up environments filled with fantastical technology and innovative social arrangements. Those works are often held as seminal works of modern dystopian literature, but in his latest outing, Gibson explores the past, too. Along with co-author Michael St. John Smith and an array of artists, Gibson has created Archangel, a comic book published by IDW that follows a group of time travelers sent from an apocalyptic 2016 back to the smoking ruin of 1945 Berlin. Their mission is to avert world-ending catastrophe, though the contours of that catastrophe remain a mystery for much of the work. As part of Vulture’s Dark Futures week, we caught up with Gibson to talk about Archangel, but also about dystopian and apocalyptic literature in general.

Read more (Vulture)

Total eclipse of the art: 27 artists respond to the big solar event

Total eclipse of the art: 27 artists respond to the big solar event

Digital artist Rick Silva has invited 27 other artists to develop an online work in response to this week's solar eclipse. The exhibition, entitled Eclipsecore, is now available online with an accompanying text by Joanne McNeil.

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Why Generation X might be our last, best hope

Why Generation X might be our last, best hope

Demographics are destiny. We grew up in the world and mind of the baby-boomers simply because there were so many of them. They were the biggest, easiest, most free-spending market the planet had ever known. What they wanted filled the shelves and what fills the shelves is our history. They wanted to dance so we had rock ‘n’ roll. They wanted to open their minds so we had LSD. They did not want to go to war so that was it for the draft. We will grow old in the world and mind of the millennials because there are even more of them. Because they don’t know what they want, the culture will be scrambled and the screens a never-ending scroll. They are not literally the children of the baby-boomers but might as well be—because here you have two vast generations, linking arms over our heads, akin in the certainty that what they want they will have, and that what they have is right and good.

The members of the in-between generation have moved through life squeezed fore and aft, with these tremendous populations pressing on either side, demanding we grow up and move away, or grow old and die—get out, delete your account, kill yourself. But it’s become clear to me that if this nation has any chance of survival, of carrying its traditions deep into the 21st century, it will in no small part depend on members of my generation, Generation X, the last Americans schooled in the old manner, the last Americans that know how to fold a newspaper, take a joke, and listen to a dirty story without losing their minds.

Read more (Vanity Fair)

Design Museum announces Designs of the Year shortlist

Design Museum announces Designs of the Year shortlist

London's Design Museum has announced its shortlist for the Beazley Designs of the Year, with award winners to be announced in January 2018.

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The State of Cryptocurrency: Mid-2017 Edition

I went to the 2017 Blockstack Summit to try and get a feel for the current state of the cryptocurrency technology and market. Many of the people I follow in the cryptocurrency space were either attending or speaking, including Naval Ravikant, Nick Szabo and Balaji Srinivasan. It gave a good overall picture of current state of the technology, so I thought I’d publish my notes on a few of the panels here.

I also give my high level thoughts after the notes for where I think the technology is heading over the next few years.

Read more (Hacker Noon)

Imperica Magazine issue 2 - call for writers

Imperica Magazine issue 2 - call for writers

We promised that we would be back, and so Issue 2 of Imperica Magazine is currently at the planning stage.

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BBC soft-launches its new brand identity

BBC soft-launches its new brand identity

The BBC is soft-launching a new brand identity. With it comes a custom-made typeface, BBC Reith - something very much du jour in contemporary rebrands.

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Reading cyberpunk as a guide to surviving hyper consumerism

Reading cyberpunk as a guide to surviving hyper consumerism

It is no secret that we live in an era of vast and unprecedented technological advancement. We are inundated in computers of all sorts, smart phones, drones (both commercial and military), juiceros, a growing and inescapable surveillance presence, robotic radiosurgery systems, the list goes on and on. Some of this technology is miraculous, some of it is frivolous, some of it is downright scary. At times, it seems as though the conditions of the world as we know it are less than half a step away from the teeming circuitboard studded eco-systems of Cyberpunk fiction. The comparison has been made before, in this excellent Washington Post editorial, for example.

The backdrop of my favorite Cyberpunk works are commercialized wastelands; the walls built and buttressed by corporate power, floorboards laid by cyber crime and corporate espionage, furnished with wires, neon and advertising. With every passing day our world more and more resembles this speculative and cautionary setting.

However, Cyberpunk is more than a warning to me… it’s a road map. Cyberpunk, in many ways, leads us through the boundaries and pitfalls that it seems to predict. That’s not to say that Cyberpunk is a monolith, by any means. However, by examining the common narrative strands shared by different Cyberpunk works, themes and trajectories become all the more apparent and applicable to our lived experience.

Read more (Society Pages)

How can creative industries benefit from blockchain?

How can creative industries benefit from blockchain?

Many readers will be familiar with blockchain as the underlying enabling technology developed for Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency. Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, provides this summary in his book on the Fourth Industrial Revolution: “In essence, the blockchain is a shared, programmable, cryptographically secure and therefore trusted ledger which no single user controls and which can be inspected by anyone.”

Blockchain has the potential to become a powerful disruptive force. A survey of 800 executives, featured in the same book, suggests 58 percent believe that up to 10 percent of global GDP will be stored using blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology may provide several important features that could be leveraged for use in the creative economy:

Transactions are verified and approved by consensus among participants in the network, making fraud more difficult.The full chronology of events (for example, transactions) that take place are tracked, allowing anyone to trace or audit prior transactions.The technology operates on a distributed, rather than centralized, platform, with each participant having access to exactly the same ledger records, allowing participants to enter or leave at will and providing resilience against attacks.

The implications of such features reach far beyond blockchain’s original use in financial transactions. Any transaction, product life cycle, workflow, or supply chain could, in theory, use blockchains.

Read more (McKinsey)

Pussy Riot takes to the stage

Pussy Riot takes to the stage

(In)famous punky political performance group Pussy Riot are aiming to turn their experiences into a theatre project, to be staged in London later in the year.

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Web Curios 11/08/17

There was meant to be a Curios last week, but I had to go to a wedding. Sorry about that. Also, if I'm entirely honest, there was going to be one until I fcuked up the CMS and lost 4000 words of TOP QUALITY PROSE and was too dispirited to contemplate starting again. So it goes. 

Anyway, at this wedding I met someone from Swindon, a friend of mine's girlfriend - someone who said something so world-shakingly troubling to me that I have to share it with you here. We chatted for a bit, doing the whole 'do you remember x' jazz, before someone else asked this (otherwise lovely) young woman whether I had a Swindon accent - reader, she said that I did, that I had a 'proper twang'. I DO NOT HAVE A FCUKING SWINDON ACCENT. Do I? Anyway, at that moment I had a proper 'Donald Sutherland at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers' moment, except looking a lot more like a very haggard Wooster-era Hugh Laurie, if you imagine he was acting out a scene in which Bertie had suddenly realised that he was trapped in a neverending sisyphean joke of someone else's invention, that he would never get laid or get rid of Gussie, and that the aunts would NEVER DIE. It was bleak. 

Anyway, I tell that less-than-fascinating anecdote because everything else this past fortnight, out there in the 'real' world, is so bone-shakingly horrid as to be unspeakable. WE ARE NOT ALL GOING TO DIE (YET)! Repeat it, mantra-like, and hope it stays true. So, in what might be the last edition of Curios before we're all living in Threads, let me wish those of you who aren't so selfish as to be sunning yourselves by a pool in France and killing yourselves with cheese consumption a VERY HAPPY FRIDAY. As per usual after a week off, this is a BUMPER CURIOS, pregnant with promise - or, depending on your perspective, bloated and pullulating with larva just waiting to explode from its swollen, greenish belly. Let's get the gloves on and see which! It's WEB CURIOS - tell your friends (or, more likely, enemies). 

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Amazon, Netflix and righting the wrongs of television’s gender problem

Amazon, Netflix and righting the wrongs of television’s gender problem

Netflix will spend $6 billion on original content in 2017. Between them, Amazon, Hulu and Netflix have scored 125 Emmy nominations this year. The message is clear: Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) is no longer the new kid on the block. And it is this blooming platform which is starting to turn the traditionally male-dominated world of television production on its head.

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